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uncle ebeneezer
08-04-2010, 02:20 PM
Is Coming!!! (http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=the_return_of_the_tax_fairy)

TwinSwords
08-04-2010, 07:41 PM
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_9ks36c549BI/TFmwuZ9-b9I/AAAAAAAABhU/uQ7iccmWqDI/s1600/NA-BH188_TAXES_NS_20100725185218.gif

The funny thing is that if Obama's tax plan were enacted, most Republicans would pay less income tax, and yet, that group -- Republicans -- is so deeply confused and so totally misled by their deliberately dishonest leadership that the vast majority will think their taxes have been increased.

Too bad you can't get through to a wingnut. They make easy targets for a ruling class that controls them through fear and lies.

TwinSwords
08-04-2010, 07:59 PM
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/taxcutscbpp.jpg

Unit
08-04-2010, 09:55 PM
I'm not sure how these projections are made, but if they take current tax revenues and extrapolate, that can lead to a distorted picture because we're in a recession right now so tax revenues are depressed at the moment.

Unit
08-04-2010, 09:57 PM
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_9ks36c549BI/TFmwuZ9-b9I/AAAAAAAABhU/uQ7iccmWqDI/s1600/NA-BH188_TAXES_NS_20100725185218.gif

The funny thing is that if Obama's tax plan were enacted, most Republicans would pay less income tax, and yet, that group -- Republicans -- is so deeply confused and so totally mislead by their deliberately dishonest leadership that the vast majority will think their taxes have been increased.

Too bad you can't get through to a wingnut. They make easy targets for a ruling class that controls them through fear and lies.

Well the typical answer is that small businesses employ about half of the labor force, and so people realize that such taxes might affect future employment. Is that a wingnut thing to say?

bjkeefe
08-04-2010, 11:31 PM
Is Coming!!! (http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=the_return_of_the_tax_fairy)

Eh. You know what that "Statue of Alexander Hamilton, first secretary of the Treasury, in front of U.S. Treasury building" needs?

Moar codpiece.

Then it would look like "Mission Accomplished" for realz, and 'fur could take pleasure in it without feeling ... uncertain.

Whatfur
08-04-2010, 11:38 PM
Eh. You know what that "Statue of Alexander Hamilton, first secretary of the Treasury, in front of U.S. Treasury building" needs?

Moar codpiece.

Then it would look like "Mission Accomplished" for realz, and 'fur could take pleasure in it without feeling ... uncertain.

OMG...I must be in your heads. How did I become a part of this discussion? ....and please tell me you didn't come skipping over when you saw the title?

bjkeefe
08-04-2010, 11:53 PM
OMG...I must be in your heads.

Nope!

#furryfail

Once again, you're mistaking self-importance for importance.

Better luck next time!

....and please tell me you didn't come skipping over when you saw the title?

Nope. You're the only "curious" sort we have on this board. If you know what I mean, and I think you do. Everyone else besides you is comfortable in his or her own sexual identity and orientation, as far as I or anyone else can tell.

Not to worry, though. I have some confidence you'll admit to yourself what you are before you start collecting Social Security. Five years is a long time!

Whatfur
08-04-2010, 11:54 PM
Once again,...mistaking...

Whatever the case, thanks for helping build the legend.

bjkeefe
08-04-2010, 11:58 PM
Whatever the case, thanks for helping build the legend.

#furryfail

Once again, you're mistaking self-importance for importance.

Better luck next time!

(Kind of funny how you fled once we started talking about your ... curiosity, though.)

Whatfur
08-05-2010, 12:07 AM
#furryfail

Once again, you're mistaking self-importance for importance.

Better luck next time!

(Kind of funny how you fled once we started talking about your ... curiosity, though.)

Are you flirting with me?

bjkeefe
08-05-2010, 12:09 AM
Are you flirting with me?

As much as that notion gives you a woody, no. You're not my type. I like people with self-confidence.

Glad to hear you're fantasizing more about beating me off than beating me up, though. This is progress for you! Very good!

stephanie
08-05-2010, 02:45 PM
Well the typical answer is that small businesses employ about half of the labor force, and so people realize that such taxes might affect future employment. Is that a wingnut thing to say?

I don't think it's necessarily a wingnut thing to say, no, but I think it's incorrect. First, in terms of the effect on small businesses being an actual worry, and, more significantly for the current discussion, in terms of why people react the way they do.

Unit
08-05-2010, 04:52 PM
I don't think it's necessarily a wingnut thing to say, no, but I think it's incorrect. First, in terms of the effect on small businesses being an actual worry, and, more significantly for the current discussion, in terms of why people react the way they do.

Why not? If half of the labor force is employed by small business owners, wouldn't they be particularly worried that higher taxes on their employer might lead to hardship?

Don Zeko
08-05-2010, 06:05 PM
I'm not sure how these projections are made, but if they take current tax revenues and extrapolate, that can lead to a distorted picture because we're in a recession right now so tax revenues are depressed at the moment.

Good point! Why don't you call the CBPP and inform let them know right now? I'm sure they never thought of that when they were making this projection.

Unit
08-05-2010, 07:13 PM
Good point! Why don't you call the CBPP and inform let them know right now? I'm sure they never thought of that when they were making this projection.

I don't know anybody there. It would indeed be nice to know how exactly this graph was produced. Obviously, when making predictions there's a lot assumptions to be made etc...

stephanie
08-05-2010, 09:24 PM
Why not? If half of the labor force is employed by small business owners, wouldn't they be particularly worried that higher taxes on their employer might lead to hardship?

Because I listen to the types of things people say, and that's not the kind of thing they get all emotional about. It tends to be some (often imagined or confused) effect on their own taxes.

Also, of course, the effect on small businesses and their taxes isn't nearly what you say. I am a part owner of a small business, and increased taxes would not be a difficult thing for us (or for most other small businesses) to avoid.

TwinSwords
08-05-2010, 09:39 PM
I don't know anybody there. It would indeed be nice to know how exactly this graph was produced. Obviously, when making predictions there's a lot assumptions to be made etc...

Yeah, because it's impossible to imagine that increasing taxes might lead to lower deficits. I suspect Alinsky methods.

Unit
08-05-2010, 09:48 PM
Because I listen to the types of things people say, and that's not the kind of thing they get all emotional about. It tends to be some (often imagined or confused) effect on their own taxes.

Also, of course, the effect on small businesses and their taxes isn't nearly what you say. I am a part owner of a small business, and increased taxes would not be a difficult thing for us (or for most other small businesses) to avoid.

If the new taxes would be so easy to avoid, why impose them?

Also there are more people out there then you ever will be able to talk to. I don't know what the average Republican voter says, my point is that there are coherent arguments that could be made.

Unit
08-05-2010, 09:50 PM
Yeah, because it's impossible to imagine that increasing taxes might lead to lower deficits. I suspect Alinsky methods.

Not so obvious: take the PIIGS, they have high taxes AND high deficits.

stephanie
08-05-2010, 09:53 PM
If the new taxes would be so easy to avoid, why impose them?

I didn't say they'd be easy to avoid across the board (I think that they will increase revenues). I'm talking about the argument that there's going to be some huge effect on small businesses.

Moreover, the question wasn't whether there are coherent arguments that a person could make for being against increasing taxes. If one is asking why the rhetoric against the increases by certain types of people who will pay less, not more, in taxes, it's worth looking at the rhetoric and what seems to draw the emotion.

Don Zeko
08-05-2010, 10:12 PM
Correlation does not equal causation. There are lots of other obvious variables at work here that you're ignoring.

Unit
08-05-2010, 10:23 PM
I didn't say they'd be easy to avoid across the board (I think that they will increase revenues). I'm talking about the argument that there's going to be some huge effect on small businesses.


Of course the effect is always at the margin and especially on businesses that don't get created as a result. It's always hard to describe the unseen consequences.


Moreover, the question wasn't whether there are coherent arguments that a person could make for being against increasing taxes. If one is asking why the rhetoric against the increases by certain types of people who will pay less, not more, in taxes, it's worth looking at the rhetoric and what seems to draw the emotion.

If a coherent argument exists, it could very well be the case that emotional reactions (against tax increases in this case) could stem from experience/tradition/philosophy/etc even though they are not completely well-articulated. But again, I don't know. In fact, last I'd heard, people who pay very little in taxes usually vote Democrat.

Unit
08-05-2010, 10:25 PM
Correlation does not equal causation. There are lots of other obvious variables at work here that you're ignoring.

Do you now of any historical case where a country reduced deficits by increasing taxes?

Don Zeko
08-05-2010, 10:51 PM
Seriously? Are you seriously going to ask me this question? Let me answer it with a question of my own. Do you actually believe that a reduction in the income tax rate from today's levels would cause an increase in revenue?

Unit
08-05-2010, 11:02 PM
Seriously? Are you seriously going to ask me this question? Let me answer it with a question of my own. Do you actually believe that a reduction in the income tax rate from today's levels would cause an increase in revenue?

Seriously, I don't know of any example. Do you?

About your question, I actually don't know. It depends on too many variables, in short it would depend on which side of the Laffer curve you happen to be. But I have no idea how to determine that.

stephanie
08-06-2010, 12:47 PM
In fact, last I'd heard, people who pay very little in taxes usually vote Democrat.

Remember McCain pointed out that most of the country pays very little or nothing in taxes (since apparently only the income tax counts, and not FICA or any of the various other taxes).

But I think there are plenty of people who pay little in taxes in that sense in both parties. There's still some denial about that that seems most extreme among certain groups who vote Republican.

Unit
08-06-2010, 08:21 PM
Remember McCain pointed out that most of the country pays very little or nothing in taxes (since apparently only the income tax counts, and not FICA or any of the various other taxes).

But I think there are plenty of people who pay little in taxes in that sense in both parties. There's still some denial about that that seems most extreme among certain groups who vote Republican.

This is what I was referring to. (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/product-description/069113927X/ref=dp_proddesc_0?ie=UTF8&n=283155&s=books)

bjkeefe
08-06-2010, 08:45 PM
... (since apparently only the income tax counts, and not FICA or any of the various other taxes).

Something that can never be stated often enough. Thank you.

stephanie
08-09-2010, 12:33 PM
This is what I was referring to. (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/product-description/069113927X/ref=dp_proddesc_0?ie=UTF8&n=283155&s=books)

I've read that. You vastly oversimplied what it says, and nothing in what it says contradicts the original comment we've been discussing.

Unit
08-10-2010, 06:45 PM
I've read that. You vastly oversimplied what it says, and nothing in what it says contradicts the original comment we've been discussing.

I'm not sure what I've oversimplified, and it does seems pertinent to the original comment if the people that pay "more" taxes (relatively speaking) are more likely to believe in anti-tax Republican rhetoric. Also, as I said above, you don't have to be paying a lot of taxes to understand the argument for a low-tax regime.

Unit
08-10-2010, 06:47 PM
Seriously? Are you seriously going to ask me this question? Let me answer it with a question of my own. Do you actually believe that a reduction in the income tax rate from today's levels would cause an increase in revenue?

From your tone, it sounds like yours was a rhetorical question. Yet it's far from being unanimously settled. (http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/08/where_does_the_laffer_curve_be.html)

stephanie
08-10-2010, 07:01 PM
I'm not sure what I've oversimplified

The book is about how the effect of income on vote is strong in states which are poor and much less to non-existent in states which are relatively richer.

More significantly, TwinSwords' (was it his?) original comment didn't claim that all Republicans who ranted about taxes paid little in federal income taxes, etc., let alone as compared to Dems. He asked about those who do. (Who, IME, typically rant about their supposed taxes, apparently not understanding that they actually pay very little in federal income tax and are in that group McCain basically dismissed as deadbeats.) I think he's right that there's something going on here besides an academic attachment to a belief that increased taxes might indirectly affect them by increasing taxes for a few small businesses on the margin.

Unit
08-10-2010, 09:06 PM
The book is about how the effect of income on vote is strong in states which are poor and much less to non-existent in states which are relatively richer.

More significantly, TwinSwords' (was it his?) original comment didn't claim that all Republicans who ranted about taxes paid little in federal income taxes, etc., let alone as compared to Dems. He asked about those who do. (Who, IME, typically rant about their supposed taxes, apparently not understanding that they actually pay very little in federal income tax and are in that group McCain basically dismissed as deadbeats.) I think he's right that there's something going on here besides an academic attachment to a belief that increased taxes might indirectly affect them by increasing taxes for a few small businesses on the margin.

Well, that's easy enough: this is what TwinSwords said:


The funny thing is that if Obama's tax plan were enacted, most Republicans would pay less income tax, and yet, that group -- Republicans -- is so deeply confused and so totally misled by their deliberately dishonest leadership that the vast majority will think their taxes have been increased.


There are a lot of claims packed in this paragraph: first (and this is what I objected to) he dismisses the idea that "lower taxes for everyone (including the rich)" could be one of the fundamental values of the Republican side; the other claim is that the leadership is deliberately dishonest, I'm guessing because they're in the pockets of the top 1%, or 5%.

As I said above I think that such a fundamental value could be held a priori, without a logical argument underlying it (even though such an argument might exist).

For the second point, the very rich seem to lean slightly to the left and lobbyists seem to be quite happy in the current "stimulating" context.

TwinSwords
08-10-2010, 09:55 PM
There are a lot of claims packed in this paragraph: first (and this is what I objected to) he dismisses the idea that "lower taxes for everyone (including the rich)" could be one of the fundamental values of the Republican side
No, I didn't dismiss that idea; it's clearly true. It's not the whole picture, because (1) there are a lot of conservatives who complain that the working class and poor pay too little in taxes, and (2) there are a lot of conservatives who favor a flat tax or other regressive tax measures that would further shift the tax burden from those who can afford it to those whose standards of living have been steadily eroded by decades of conservative economic and tax policy.

But as a general bumper sticker summary of the Republican position on taxes, "lower taxes for everyone" is as fair and accurate as you can probably get in four words.

I am curious what I said that you thought meant I was "dismissing the idea" that lower taxes for everyone is a fundamental Republican value.


the other claim is that the leadership is deliberately dishonest, I'm guessing because they're in the pockets of the top 1%, or 5%.
The first half is indisputably true. I won't bother to argue the details; I don't have time, and you wouldn't believe me no matter how exhaustively I documented the claim.

As for why the Republican leadership lies, it's not simply because they are working to protect and promote the interests of the super rich. I mean, they are. But there's a more precise explanation: they can't sell their proposals to the public on any honest basis. That is, if you make it clear that the only beneficiaries are the top 1%, you won't get much public support. If Republicans were fully honest about their economic agenda -- greasing the skids for the rich and powerful at the expense of everyone else -- no one would support them. Therefore they have to justify their proposals with populist language and pretend that they are looking out for all people.

I'll grant that this is sometimes true of conservative Democrats, too. For example, NAFTA was universally understood by educated and informed people as a scheme to undermine American labor and, specifically, American unions. The whole point of NAFTA was to accelerate the decline in the standard of living that Americans had enjoyed since The New Deal and the rise of unions led to the largest and most prosperous middle class in human history.

But you can't go to the people and tell them you want to reduce their wages and their standard of living. So you have to lie. The policies themselves compel our leaders to lie to us.

What's really unsettling is how easy it has been to manipulate and misinform the public.

Don Zeko
08-10-2010, 10:46 PM
From your tone, it sounds like yours was a rhetorical question. Yet it's far from being unanimously settled. (http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/08/where_does_the_laffer_curve_be.html)

I think we were reading different articles. The only people that were willing to say that the peak of the Laffer Curve is below the current rate were Pat Buchanan, Larry Kudlow, and Donald Luskin. If it's demagogues and scam artists like that against actual serious people/economists on the left and the right like Bruce Bartlett, Greg Mankiw, Brad Delong and Dean Baker, that doesn't sound like a serious debate to me.

Unit
08-10-2010, 10:50 PM
No, I didn't dismiss that idea; it's clearly true. It's not the whole picture, because (1) there are a lot of conservatives who complain that the working class and poor pay too little in taxes, and (2) there are a lot of conservatives who favor a flat tax or other regressive tax measures that would further shift the tax burden from those who can afford it to those whose standards of living have been steadily eroded by decades of conservative economic and tax policy.

But as a general bumper sticker summary of the Republican position on taxes, "lower taxes for everyone" is as fair and accurate as you can probably get in four words.

I am curious what I said that you thought meant I was "dismissing the idea" that lower taxes for everyone is a fundamental Republican value.


Well, if you agree that it's one of their fundamental values, why are you so puzzled by the apparent contradiction of 'wingnuts' complaining that O's plan raises taxes for the rich while lowering those of most Republican voters?


The first half is indisputably true. I won't bother to argue the details; I don't have time, and you wouldn't believe me no matter how exhaustively I documented the claim.

As for why the Republican leadership lies, it's not simply because they are working to protect and promote the interests of the super rich. I mean, they are. But there's a more precise explanation: they can't sell their proposals to the public on any honest basis. That is, if you make it clear that the only beneficiaries are the top 1%, you won't get much public support. If Republicans were fully honest about their economic agenda -- greasing the skids for the rich and powerful at the expense of everyone else -- no one would support them. Therefore they have to justify their proposals with populist language and pretend that they are looking out for all people.

I'll grant that this is sometimes true of conservative Democrats, too. For example, NAFTA was universally understood by educated and informed people as a scheme to undermine American labor and, specifically, American unions. The whole point of NAFTA was to accelerate the decline in the standard of living that Americans had enjoyed since The New Deal and the rise of unions led to the largest and most prosperous middle class in human history.

But you can't go to the people and tell them you want to reduce their wages and their standard of living. So you have to lie. The policies themselves compel our leaders to lie to us.

What's really unsettling is how easy it has been to manipulate and misinform the public.

Since I don't believe such conspiracies I would have liked if you hinted to the details, but the part about NAFTA is probably enough. Why would educated and informed people would want to deliberately undermine American labor? And are you so sure that unions are so beneficial to said labor? They procure benefits for job-holders at the expense of those who don't have a job.

TwinSwords
08-10-2010, 11:18 PM
Well, if you agree that it's one of their fundamental values, why are you so puzzled by the apparent contradiction of 'wingnuts' complaining that O's plan raises taxes for the rich while lowering those of most Republican voters?
I never said anything like that. What I said was that despite the fact that Obama's tax plan would lower taxes on most Republicans, most Republicans would believe just the opposite: that Obama had increased their taxes. And the reason for this confusion? Because they are systematically lied to by conservative leaders, most prominently talk radio and Fox News, but extending to virtually all elected Republican leaders and other conservative pundits. There's nothing controversial about anything I've said here. We just know that conservative leaders will claim Obama has raised their taxes, and we just know that most conservative followers will believe them.

Incidentally, we don't need to project the future; we can look to the past. In his first year in office, Obama oversaw tax cuts for most people, and yet countless Republican rank-and-file complained that their taxes had been increased.

It's kind of like the conservative paranoia that Obama is moving to take away their guns. In fact, the only action Obama and the Democrats have taken since 2008 has been to extend gun rights. But if you talk to most rank and file conservatives or their leaders, they will tell you just the opposite. In the main, the leaders are lying and know they are lying, but the conservative rank and file are dupes who honestly believe what they are told.


Since I don't believe such conspiracies I would have liked if you hinted to the details, but the part about NAFTA is probably enough. Why would educated and informed people would want to deliberately undermine American labor?
Because it's expensive! They would rather not pay those "high" wages and salaries, or pay for those expensive benefits. They'd rather pay much, much less for labor and keep the difference for themselves. The wealthy have already been able to shift hundreds of billions (if not trillions) in wealth out of the hands of the middle class and into their own hands, but they've just gotten started. Things are going to get much worse.

Incidentally, I don't know what you do for a living, but I work in corporate America at a sort of middle-to-high level, and I can tell you flatly: there are frank and open discussions inside the walls where I work about how wages and benefits can be further cut. When NAFTA passed, there was practically dancing in the halls where I work, and my company hit the ground running, literally ready to exploit the new law on Day One.

Unit
08-11-2010, 12:51 AM
I think we were reading different articles. The only people that were willing to say that the peak of the Laffer Curve is below the current rate were Pat Buchanan, Larry Kudlow, and Donald Luskin. If it's demagogues and scam artists like that against actual serious people/economists on the left and the right like Bruce Bartlett, Greg Mankiw, Brad Delong and Dean Baker, that doesn't sound like a serious debate to me.

Well Ezra has an advantage here, since he's the one picking the spokesmen on either side. BTW recall that I would have sided with the ones who said "I don't know". And Mankiw's answer was more subtle...

Unit
08-11-2010, 01:15 AM
I never said anything like that. What I said was that despite the fact that Obama's tax plan would lower taxes on most Republicans, most Republicans would believe just the opposite: that Obama had increased their taxes. And the reason for this confusion? Because they are systematically lied to by conservative leaders, most prominently talk radio and Fox News, but extending to virtually all elected Republican leaders and other conservative pundits. There's nothing controversial about anything I've said here. We just know that conservative leaders will claim Obama has raised their taxes, and we just know that most conservative followers will believe them.

Incidentally, we don't need to project the future; we can look to the past. In his first year in office, Obama oversaw tax cuts for most people, and yet countless Republican rank-and-file complained that their taxes had been increased.

It's kind of like the conservative paranoia that Obama is moving to take away their guns. In fact, the only action Obama and the Democrats have taken since 2008 has been to extend gun rights. But if you talk to most rank and file conservatives or their leaders, they will tell you just the opposite. In the main, the leaders are lying and know they are lying, but the conservative rank and file are dupes who honestly believe what they are told.



If I'm uncertain about the side of the Laffer curve we happen to be on as far as general tax rates go, I'm quite certain that you cannot raise revenue simply "soaking" the rich. That has never happened, not even in Europe.

Also, there are different ways of "cutting" taxes, I don't think Obama has tweaked tax brackets so far, am I wrong.

Finally, let's talk political rhetoric: the impression one has is that the Dems have given out a lot of goodies, made a lot of promises, but have punted the ball on how to pay for them to future politicians, so I suspect the partisan line on the right is more that taxes *will* go up, for sure, on everyone.




Because it's expensive! They would rather not pay those "high" wages and salaries, or pay for those expensive benefits. They'd rather pay much, much less for labor and keep the difference for themselves. The wealthy have already been able to shift hundreds of billions (if not trillions) in wealth out of the hands of the middle class and into their own hands, but they've just gotten started. Things are going to get much worse.

Incidentally, I don't know what you do for a living, but I work in corporate America at a sort of middle-to-high level, and I can tell you flatly: there are frank and open discussions inside the walls where I work about how wages and benefits can be further cut. When NAFTA passed, there was practically dancing in the halls where I work, and my company hit the ground running, literally ready to exploit the new law on Day One.

But those savings on wages are passed on to the consumers. Cost cutting means progress, if you disagree then you should also oppose cost-cutting technological advances. Suppose that a firm fires all its employees and replaces them with computers, how is it different from your NAFTA outsourcing scenario?

Don Zeko
08-11-2010, 01:23 AM
But those savings on wages are passed on to the consumers. Cost cutting means progress, if you disagree then you should also oppose cost-cutting technological advances.

Then why didn't median real wages rise in the last business cycle? I'm not saying that returning to the government policies of the 40's, 50's, and 60's will bring back the broadly shared growth that we had then, but the failure of the last 10 years to improve the lives of most Americans is clear. I wouldn't claim to know exactly how to fix it, but there's clearly something wrong with the economic policies you're hawking.

TwinSwords
08-11-2010, 01:44 AM
But those savings on wages are passed on to the consumers.
No, not really. Prices will be as high as the market will bear, regardless of profit margin. Savings on cost absolutely are not automatically returned to the consumer. They only time they are passed on to the consumer is when market pressure demands it. Whenever possible, corporations will pocket the additional profit and keep it for themselves (i.e., pay it out to shareholders).

This isn't complicated stuff. All you have to do is look at charts showing the massive redistribution of wealth that conservative economic policies have brought about in recent decades. There has been a massive, continuing, and now accelerating transfer of wealth out of the hands of the working class into the hands of the ultra rich.

Even in the midst of the Bush economic collapse:

June 22 (Bloomberg) -- Global millionaires’ ranks increased by about 17 percent in 2009, with the Asia-Pacific region posting a 26 percent gain, according to a report by Capgemini SA and Merrill Lynch & Co.


See also, the charts below. Notice how the wealth of the vast majority of Americans steadily rose during the entire post New Deal era -- the liberal, Democratic, union era. And note how it abruptly stopped during Nixon's presidency, and has remained stagnant during the entire period of conservative governance since.

Note, also, how ever-increasing shares of the national wealth is going to the ultra wealthy at the top of the income distribution.

This is just the beginning of a deliberate plan to restructure the US economy to benefit the very few at the top.

http://img46.imageshack.us/img46/3407/incomedistribution.gif

http://img149.imageshack.us/img149/6177/incometopdecile.gif

Almost half the wealth in the nation is owned by 1% of the population -- right back to pre-Great Depression levels. Conservatives should be proud; they have completely reversed all the gains made by liberal, Democratic, pro-union policies of the 20th century. And next? Next they will roll the quality of life back even further, so that the rich control an even greater share of the nation's wealth than they did during the robber baron era. The plan is to immiserate the population.

Remember: these are people who were willing to own human slaves if it meant more profit and wealth for themselves. They certainly won't think twice about ruining the lives of millions more Americans. The funny thing is that they will get the enthusiastic cooperation from a significant number of their victims.

Unit
08-11-2010, 02:13 AM
Then why didn't median real wages rise in the last business cycle? I'm not saying that returning to the government policies of the 40's, 50's, and 60's will bring back the broadly shared growth that we had then, but the failure of the last 10 years to improve the lives of most Americans is clear. I wouldn't claim to know exactly how to fix it, but there's clearly something wrong with the economic policies you're hawking.

You're assuming that the policies I'm "hawking" (whatever those might be) were implemented in the last 10 years. Per capita govt spending has been rising steadily since the70s and is now at an all time high. The interesting thing about th 40s is that it witnessed one of the largest deregulations of all times: the so-called demobilization.

Also you're presuming that real median wages are somehow determined by policies, while in fact the might be subject to other factors such as productivity etc....

Unit
08-11-2010, 02:23 AM
No, not really. Prices will be as high as the market will bear, regardless of profit margin. Savings on cost absolutely are not automatically returned to the consumer. They only time they are passed on to the consumer is when market pressure demands it. Whenever possible, corporations will pocket the additional profit and keep it for themselves (i.e., pay it out to shareholders).


But everyone is a shareholder, as soon as you have a retirement fund for instance.

But you haven't answered my question: are you against technological improvements in the work-place? Aren't you afraid that that the only people who'll profit are the super-rich?


This isn't complicated stuff. All you have to do is look at charts showing the massive redistribution of wealth that conservative economic policies have brought about in recent decades. There has been a massive, continuing, and now accelerating transfer of wealth out of the hands of the working class into the hands of the ultra rich.

Even in the midst of the Bush economic collapse:



See also, the charts below. Notice how the wealth of the vast majority of Americans steadily rose during the entire post New Deal era -- the liberal, Democratic, union era. And note how it abruptly stopped during Nixon's presidency, and has remained stagnant during the entire period of conservative governance since.

Note, also, how ever-increasing shares of the national wealth is going to the ultra wealthy at the top of the income distribution.

This is just the beginning of a deliberate plan to restructure the US economy to benefit the very few at the top.

http://img46.imageshack.us/img46/3407/incomedistribution.gif

http://img149.imageshack.us/img149/6177/incometopdecile.gif

Almost half the wealth in the nation is owned by 1% of the population -- right back to pre-Great Depression levels. Conservatives should be proud; they have completely reversed all the gains made by liberal, Democratic, pro-union policies of the 20th century. And next? Next they will roll the quality of life back even further, so that the rich control an even greater share of the nation's wealth than they did during the robber baron era. The plan is to immiserate the population.


The problem with income comparisons with the 50 and 60's is that the family structure was different then. There are less married couples filing jointly nowadays and that makes it look like middle class incomes have gone down. Unlike you, I think it's actually *very* complicated stuff. Very hard to prove anything with graphs and stats.



Remember: these are people who were willing to own human slaves if it meant more profit and wealth for themselves. They certainly won't think twice about ruining the lives of millions more Americans. The funny thing is that they will get the enthusiastic cooperation from a significant number of their victims.

This is a bit over the top. Are you saying that modern entrepreneurs are comparable to the slave-owners of the American South?

popcorn_karate
08-11-2010, 01:44 PM
thanks for this whole thread Twin. great arguments with excellent supporting evidence.

kudos.

uncle ebeneezer
08-11-2010, 01:50 PM
thanks for this whole thread Twin.

Ahem! (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showpost.php?p=173540&postcount=1) ;)

Seriously though, while I may have been the "creator" of the thread, I agree that Twin has certainly been the "Natural Selection" mechanism that has improved it and made it worth reading.

Unit
08-11-2010, 06:46 PM
Remember: these are people who were willing to own human slaves if it meant more profit and wealth for themselves. They certainly won't think twice about ruining the lives of millions more Americans. The funny thing is that they will get the enthusiastic cooperation from a significant number of their victims.

In fact there are stats about how much turn-over there is at the top, whether the top-500 firms or in the income distribution, and the US is quite exceptional in that "it's not the same people" that populate a given bracket from decade to decade. This also makes it harder to believe your theory of a conspiracy by the top 1%.

popcorn_karate
08-11-2010, 07:50 PM
Ahem! (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showpost.php?p=173540&postcount=1) ;)

Seriously though, while I may have been the "creator" of the thread, I agree that Twin has certainly been the "Natural Selection" mechanism that has improved it and made it worth reading.

thanks to twin, and his gracious enabler, uncle e.

; )

Unit
08-11-2010, 09:47 PM
I think we were reading different articles. The only people that were willing to say that the peak of the Laffer Curve is below the current rate were Pat Buchanan, Larry Kudlow, and Donald Luskin. If it's demagogues and scam artists like that against actual serious people/economists on the left and the right like Bruce Bartlett, Greg Mankiw, Brad Delong and Dean Baker, that doesn't sound like a serious debate to me.

BTW assigning Bartlett to the right might be a bit of a stretch. From Wikipedia:
"In Bartlett's latest book, The New American Economy: The Failure of Reaganomics and a New Way Forward, he embraces Keynesian ideas, stating that while supply-side economics was appropriate for the 1970s and 1980s, supply side arguments do not fit contemporary conditions."

I'm not saying that I necessarily disagree with Bartlett, I'm just talking about the ideological classification.

Unit
08-11-2010, 11:56 PM
Then why didn't median real wages rise in the last business cycle?

BTW the period under consideration is probably quite relevant. The "last business cycle" is to vague, e.g. since currently we're in a pretty deep recession, if you're comparing real wages now with, say, ten years ago at the hight of the dotcom bubble it's more likely that you won't find a rise.

Secondly, total compensation is a more relevant stat, because the mix of fringe benefits/wages has been changing over time (more benefits, less wages).

Don Zeko
08-12-2010, 03:41 AM
BTW the period under consideration is probably quite relevant. The "last business cycle" is to vague, e.g. since currently we're in a pretty deep recession, if you're comparing real wages now with, say, ten years ago at the hight of the dotcom bubble it's more likely that you won't find a rise.

Nope. Median real income was slightly lower (http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2008/08/income-and-pove.html) at the peak of the 2001-2007 expansion than at the the peak of the 90's boom.

Secondly, total compensation is a more relevant stat, because the mix of fringe benefits/wages has been changing over time (more benefits, less wages).

I think you've hit upon a possible culprit for the problem: rising health care costs overwhelming productivity increases. I don't think this reflects any better upon the economic performance of the last few decades, though.

Unit
08-12-2010, 11:02 AM
Nope. Median real income was slightly lower (http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2008/08/income-and-pove.html) at the peak of the 2001-2007 expansion than at the the peak of the 90's boom.


I guess the dotcom bubble was more 'bubbly' than the the latest housing bubble :-).


I think you've hit upon a possible culprit for the problem: rising health care costs overwhelming productivity increases. I don't think this reflects any better upon the economic performance of the last few decades, though.

Well productivity increases should not be a bad thing as long as you allow some deflation. I agree on rising health-costs (we might differ on the root causes though...)

I still doubt however that our political class has any say in all this, they're always late at the accident scene, blame everyone but themselves, and don't even clean up.

Unit
08-16-2010, 08:00 PM
I think we were reading different articles. The only people that were willing to say that the peak of the Laffer Curve is below the current rate were Pat Buchanan, Larry Kudlow, and Donald Luskin. If it's demagogues and scam artists like that against actual serious people/economists on the left and the right like Bruce Bartlett, Greg Mankiw, Brad Delong and Dean Baker, that doesn't sound like a serious debate to me.

More back-and-forth on Federal tax revenues (http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2010/08/16/paul-krugman-on-carter-and-reagan-wrong-again/)