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  #1  
Old 09-20-2011, 05:27 PM
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Default Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

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  #2  
Old 09-20-2011, 05:51 PM
Sulla the Dictator Sulla the Dictator is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

I admire Tim's enduring optimism......

http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/276...8:33&out=34:20
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  #3  
Old 09-20-2011, 06:48 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

Rich, Rich, Rich, come on. For one, you admit here that Warren Buffet can afford any tax rate. That's true, but it's also true of the other 400 or so richest Americans that this proposal targets. More seriously, if Warren Buffet does as you suggest, gives away all of his wealth, moves to an expensive place to live and picks up some more family expenses, then gets a job that pays $249,999 a year, Obama increasing the top bracket won't increase Buffet's taxes at all. Not one more red cent will go to Uncle Sam. We're talking about the top marginal rate, meaning it only applies to income above that threshold. So if somebody makes $300,000 (6 times the median income), then the last $50,000 gets taxed at a 3% higher rate, for a total increased tax bill of $1,500. If somebody makes $400,000 (8 times the median income), the additional tax bill will be $4,500.

The editor of a nationally syndicated political news magazine should know the basic mechanics of a progressive income tax, so this argument either displays an embarrassing ignorance of what he gets paid to talk about or some pretty serious mendacity.
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  #4  
Old 09-20-2011, 06:55 PM
graz graz is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
The editor of a nationally syndicated political news magazine should know the basic mechanics of a progressive income tax, so this argument either displays an embarrassing ignorance of what he gets paid to talk about or some pretty serious mendacity.
The third option is that it's a feature not a bug. Lies in service of political ends are welcomed by some and ignored by even more. Do you think he'll respond?
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  #5  
Old 09-20-2011, 07:12 PM
Sulla the Dictator Sulla the Dictator is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

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Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
Rich, Rich, Rich, come on. For one, you admit here that Warren Buffet can afford any tax rate. That's true, but it's also true of the other 400 or so richest Americans that this proposal targets. More seriously, if Warren Buffet does as you suggest, gives away all of his wealth, moves to an expensive place to live and picks up some more family expenses, then gets a job that pays $249,999 a year, Obama increasing the top bracket won't increase Buffet's taxes at all. Not one more red cent will go to Uncle Sam. We're talking about the top marginal rate, meaning it only applies to income above that threshold. So if somebody makes $300,000 (6 times the median income), then the last $50,000 gets taxed at a 3% higher rate, for a total increased tax bill of $1,500. If somebody makes $400,000 (8 times the median income), the additional tax bill will be $4,500.
Rich's point was that Buffet would qualify for the top tax bracket as defined by Obama previously, and then have to factor in the cost of living in a manner which reflects his income in a major metropolitan area. Rich is suggesting Buffet wouldn't be so casual with figures at that point, and would hardly consider himself in the same league with "millionaires and billionaires".

I don't see what error you think he made here.
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  #6  
Old 09-20-2011, 07:20 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

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Originally Posted by Sulla the Dictator View Post
Rich's point was that Buffet would qualify for the top tax bracket as defined by Obama previously, and then have to factor in the cost of living in a manner which reflects his income in a major metropolitan area. Rich is suggesting Buffet wouldn't be so casual with figures at that point, and would hardly consider himself in the same league with "millionaires and billionaires".

I don't see what error you think he made here.
Here's a quick and dirty transcript of what Rich said. Please correct me if I got any of it down wrong:

Quote:
He should give all his wealth away to a charity. do it now, just get rid of it all. move to Westchester county, move to McClean, Virginia, move to the suburbs of san Fransisco, with his wife, adopt a couple of young kids so he has a young family again, and just make arrangements so he only makes $250,000 every year. let’s see how he likes being lumped in with millionaires and billionaires and see how he likes his taxes being increased when he actually has to worry about expenses.
Increasing the top marginal rate means higher taxes on income above $250,000, meaning that someone making $250,000 would not have his taxes increased at all. Zero, zip, nada. Absolutely no increase in taxes whatsoever. If Lowry understands, at a very basic level, how our tax system works he shouldn't make an error like that.

Last edited by Don Zeko; 09-20-2011 at 07:31 PM..
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  #7  
Old 09-20-2011, 07:26 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

A weaker version of my complaint would still apply if Lowry had picked $300,000 instead. Again, the top rate applies to income over $250,000, so someone making $300,000 only sees a $1500 increase (.5% of income). Whereas someone making $1,000,000 sees an increase of $22,500 (2.25% of income), and someone making $1,000,000,000 sees an increase of $29,992,500 (2.999% of income). It's a much bigger tax increase, proportionally and in real terms, for those millionaires and billionaires than it is for people that just barely clear the threshold.
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  #8  
Old 09-20-2011, 07:30 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

And of course I would go farther than that and say that, while it's obviously a whole different can of worms than a million or a billion, $250,000 a year is still a whole lot of money. In fact, it's five times median income and more money than what 98.5% of American households bring in. One doesn't have to be Kublai Khan in his pleasure dome to count as rich.
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  #9  
Old 09-20-2011, 07:31 PM
miceelf miceelf is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

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Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
A weaker version of my complaint would still apply if Lowry had picked $300,000 instead. Again, the top rate applies to income over $250,000, so someone making $300,000 only sees a $1500 increase (.5% of income). Whereas someone making $1,000,000 sees an increase of $22,500 (2.25% of income), and someone making $1,000,000,000 sees an increase of $29,992,500 (2.999% of income). It's a much bigger tax increase, proportionally and in real terms, for those millionaires and billionaires than it is for people that just barely clear the threshold.
Why are so many republican arguments based on the assumption that the listener is bad at math?
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  #10  
Old 09-20-2011, 07:34 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

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Originally Posted by miceelf View Post
Why are so many republican arguments based on the assumption that the listener is bad at math?
Because innumeracy is a pretty common condition, and because honest arguments would account for the reverse class warfare that's been quietly reshaping the economic nature of our country for the past four decades. That, or maybe it's just that Lowry is better at parroting talking points than he is at multiplication.
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  #11  
Old 09-20-2011, 08:50 PM
Sulla the Dictator Sulla the Dictator is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

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Why are so many republican arguments based on the assumption that the listener is bad at math?
You mean like the suggestion that you can make a substantial dent in the deficit with tax increases on the top 2% to Clinton era rates? Oh, that isn't a Republican argument that assumes the reader is bad at math.
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  #12  
Old 09-20-2011, 09:07 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

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Originally Posted by Sulla the Dictator View Post
You mean like the suggestion that you can make a substantial dent in the deficit with tax increases on the top 2% to Clinton era rates? Oh, that isn't a Republican argument that assumes the reader is bad at math.
What do you mean by "substantial?" If you think the deficit is a problem, how is the fact that a policy only partially resolves this important intractable issue a reason not to do it?
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  #13  
Old 09-20-2011, 09:21 PM
chiwhisoxx chiwhisoxx is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

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Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
What do you mean by "substantial?" If you think the deficit is a problem, how is the fact that a policy only partially resolves this important intractable issue a reason not to do it?
because we have both a limited amount of time and political will to accomplish certain things. you know as well as I do that packages like this tend to entail broad based reform, and not including structural changes to entitlements now wastes precious time and resources. Intransigence will only increase over time, and given that this is a medium term problem, not a long term one, that's a problem. Deals brokered at the nadir of a crisis tend to be bad legislation. (here, i'll throw you a bi-partisan bone as an example: the patriot act) You might be thinking "none of this would be a problem if our stupid political system could walk and chew gum at the same time!" And you'd be right. But it can't. anyway, there are arguments independent of the deficit to make against the tax increase that I may or may not agree with (still reading and thinking!) but I won't make them here.
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  #14  
Old 09-20-2011, 10:02 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

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Originally Posted by chiwhisoxx View Post
because we have both a limited amount of time and political will to accomplish certain things. you know as well as I do that packages like this tend to entail broad based reform, and not including structural changes to entitlements now wastes precious time and resources. Intransigence will only increase over time, and given that this is a medium term problem, not a long term one, that's a problem. Deals brokered at the nadir of a crisis tend to be bad legislation. (here, i'll throw you a bi-partisan bone as an example: the patriot act) You might be thinking "none of this would be a problem if our stupid political system could walk and chew gum at the same time!" And you'd be right. But it can't. anyway, there are arguments independent of the deficit to make against the tax increase that I may or may not agree with (still reading and thinking!) but I won't make them here.
Doesn't Obama just have to use a veto threat to get these taxes raised?
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  #15  
Old 09-20-2011, 09:27 PM
Sulla the Dictator Sulla the Dictator is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

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Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
What do you mean by "substantial?" If you think the deficit is a problem, how is the fact that a policy only partially resolves this important intractable issue a reason not to do it?
By substantial, I mean more than the foreign aid budget. If you recall cutting that budget was painted by the left as a sign of unseriousness because of the paucity of the program.

Last edited by Sulla the Dictator; 09-20-2011 at 09:30 PM..
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  #16  
Old 09-20-2011, 10:01 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

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Originally Posted by Sulla the Dictator View Post
By substantial, I mean more than the foreign aid budget. If you recall cutting that budget was painted by the left as a sign of unseriousness because of the paucity of the program.
Repealing the Bush tax cuts for incomes over $250,000 gets you about $40 billion a year. Because it's broken up among a few different budgetary line items, finding the total foreign aid budget number is actually a bit of a pain, but it's approximately .5% of the budget in a source referring to the 2010 budget, which comes out to $10.4 billion.
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  #17  
Old 09-21-2011, 02:13 AM
Sulla the Dictator Sulla the Dictator is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

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Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
Repealing the Bush tax cuts for incomes over $250,000 gets you about $40 billion a year. Because it's broken up among a few different budgetary line items, finding the total foreign aid budget number is actually a bit of a pain, but it's approximately .5% of the budget in a source referring to the 2010 budget, which comes out to $10.4 billion.
Nope, you're a little light there. We spend $26.8 billion in development assistance (ODA) alone. Add to that Israel, Egypt, Pakistan, Africa, AIDS relief, and you have somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 billion. Obama proposed $50 billion in spending on foreign aid.

Now, when Republicans have called for cuts to foreign aid, Democrats characterized the idea as heartless, sure. But they also said it is trivial. So trivial it betrays a lack of seriousness about balancing the budget.

Since I was correct, how is this tax scheme of Obama's anything more than a political gimmick?
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Old 09-21-2011, 02:18 AM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

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Originally Posted by Sulla the Dictator View Post
Nope, you're a little light there. We spend $26.8 billion in development assistance (ODA) alone. Add to that Israel, Egypt, Pakistan, Africa, AIDS relief, and you have somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 billion. Obama proposed $50 billion in spending on foreign aid.

Now, when Republicans have called for cuts to foreign aid, Democrats characterized the idea as heartless, sure. But they also said it is trivial. So trivial it betrays a lack of seriousness about balancing the budget.

Since I was correct, how is this tax scheme of Obama's anything more than a political gimmick?
Unless you're proposing the complete elimination of the entire foreign aid budget, we've got apples and oranges here. And besides, I've explained upthread what I think about this. We ought to let all of the Bush tax cuts expire, but if we're not going to do that, then there's no excuse not to at least let the top bracket cuts lapse. Whether it's a political gimmick or not, whether or not it will make a "substantial" dent in the deficit don't matter. None of these side arguments are actually arguments in favor of keeping the low post-Bush rates.

As an aside, I think the substantive case for the foreign aid that's in the budget is far stronger than the case for not modestly increasing the top marginal tax rate. particularly if you compare it to our other foreign spending, maintaining the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty alone would be a bargain for ten times what we pay the Egyptians.

Last edited by Don Zeko; 09-21-2011 at 02:22 AM..
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  #19  
Old 09-21-2011, 02:39 AM
Sulla the Dictator Sulla the Dictator is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

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Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
Unless you're proposing the complete elimination of the entire foreign aid budget, we've got apples and oranges here. And besides, I've explained upthread what I think about this. We ought to let all of the Bush tax cuts expire, but if we're not going to do that, then there's no excuse not to at least let the top bracket cuts lapse. Whether it's a political gimmick or not, whether or not it will make a "substantial" dent in the deficit don't matter. None of these side arguments are actually arguments in favor of keeping the low post-Bush rates.
If spending is cut to about 18% of GDP, I wouldn't mind a phase out of the Bush tax cuts as long as all extra revenue went to debt payment.
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:07 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

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By substantial, I mean more than the foreign aid budget. If you recall cutting that budget was painted by the left as a sign of unseriousness because of the paucity of the program.
While you're wrong on this one, I don't dispute that raising taxes to Clinton levels for incomes above $250,000 isn't enough. That's why I think we should repeal all of the Bush tax cuts. But this has nothing to do with whether or not Lowry ought to have known better, whether he was accurately describing Obama's policy, whether or not it would be reasonable to expect the rich to pay slightly higher income tax rates, and basically everything else we've been talking about. The fact that raising the taxes oft he super-rich doesn't completely eliminate the deficit certainly isn't a reason not to do it.

As far as I can tell the only real argument going around for that is the unspoken one: that people, most of them themselves rich, don't want to raise taxes on the rich because then they would have less money, and they like having money. In fact, they like having tons of money even more than they like having a balanced federal budget or adequate social programs.
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:23 PM
whburgess whburgess is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

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As far as I can tell the only real argument going around for that is the unspoken one: that people, most of them themselves rich, don't want to raise taxes on the rich because then they would have less money, and they like having money. In fact, they like having tons of money even more than they like having a balanced federal budget or adequate social programs.
I think the more important argument is the ideological one that there is an inverse correlation between economic growth and government expenditures as a percentage of GDP. This seems to be born out by the actual data of countries around the world. Government expenditures here. and growth rates here.

This, oddly enough, is exactly what Republicans say their motives are; they think more government expenditure equal less economic growth.
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:29 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

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I think the more important argument is the ideological one that there is an inverse correlation between economic growth and government expenditures as a percentage of GDP. This seems to be born out by the actual data of countries around the world. Government expenditures here. and growth rates here.
Correlation =/= causation, particularly with a problem like this, where you have all sorts of countries like China that don't have welfare states and are experiencing rapid catch-up growth as they industrialize. I don't think that the evidence is strong at all for the contention that slight increases in taxes will have significant negative effects on economic growth. There are all sorts of ways to support this, but I'm feeling lazy so I'll go with the easy one. What about the 90's? How is it that we had a prosperous decade under these slightly higher tax rates, but the Bush economy sucked even before the recession hit?

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This, oddly enough, is exactly what Republicans say their motives are; they think more government expenditure equal less economic growth.
Of course that's what they say their motives are. I'm sure that in many cases that's an accurate account. But you're being seriously naive if you don't think selfishness is a huge part of how our political system manages not to take the incredibly popular step of raising taxes on the rich over and over and over again.
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:02 PM
whburgess whburgess is offline
 
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Correlation =/= causation, particularly with a problem like this, where you have all sorts of countries like China that don't have welfare states and are experiencing rapid catch-up growth as they industrialize. I don't think that the evidence is strong at all for the contention that slight increases in taxes will have significant negative effects on economic growth. There are all sorts of ways to support this, but I'm feeling lazy so I'll go with the easy one. What about the 90's? How is it that we had a prosperous decade under these slightly higher tax rates, but the Bush economy sucked even before the recession hit?
Government spending as a percentage of GDP trended inversely with the booming 90's economy.

I don't think Republican seriously believe that a small tax hike on income effects the economy either way. What they believe is that government expenditures does this and that tax increases lead to more government spending. I don't think its so much that they're afraid the Obama proposal, taken alone, will do that much damage as they believe that its a step in the wrong direction, which makes the next step, and following steps increasingly easier.

As with alcoholics and other addicts, that first little hit wouldn't be a problem if it didn't always make the next one so damn easy.

This disagreement represents just one battle in a longer ideological war. The Republicans, at this point, feel that however little ground is gained or lost in this battle, it is worth fighting. Team Obama has decided its better to pick a fight then give ground on this as well. Neither side thinks a win or loss here effects anything other then political position. That's my opinion.


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Of course that's what they say their motives are. I'm sure that in many cases that's an accurate account. But you're being seriously naive if you don't think selfishness is a huge part of how our political system manages not to take the incredibly popular step of raising taxes on the rich over and over and over again.
Call me naive. I think if most Americans in the higher tax brackets who truly understand how Obama's proposal affected them, if they thought the tax increases would actually improve things rather then make them worse, would be for it.

Last edited by whburgess; 09-20-2011 at 11:04 PM..
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  #24  
Old 09-20-2011, 11:21 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

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Government spending as a percentage of GDP trended inversely with the booming 90's economy.
Of course it does, but the causation runs the other way. Good economy = more jobs and less poverty, so Medicaid, Welfare, and so forth all spend less.

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I don't think Republican seriously believe that a small tax hike on income effects the economy either way.
If that's true, I wish you could get them to stop claiming that they it does.

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Originally Posted by whburgess View Post
What they believe is that government expenditures does this and that tax increases lead to more government spending. I don't think its so much that they're afraid the Obama proposal, taken alone, will do that much damage as they believe that its a step in the wrong direction, which makes the next step, and following steps increasingly easier.

As with alcoholics and other addicts, that first little hit wouldn't be a problem if it didn't always make the next one so damn easy.

This disagreement represents just one battle in a longer ideological war. The Republicans, at this point, feel that however little ground is gained or lost in this battle, it is worth fighting. Team Obama has decided its better to pick a fight then give ground on this as well. Neither side thinks a win or loss here effects anything other then political position. That's my opinion.
There's a lot of truth to this as an account of conservative thinking. But then, I think this reflects quite poorly on Conservatives. You admit that their larger ideological project of low services and low taxes is more important than public policy problems like the deficit that they profess to care about. Beyond that, you're suggesting that spending money on things like Medicare or Social Security is a harmful addiction, akin to drug or alcohol abuse. Thinking that is your right, of course, but I think that reflects a pretty twisted moral calculus that isn't shared by the vast majority of the country.

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Call me naive. I think if most Americans in the higher tax brackets who truly understand how Obama's proposal affected them, if they thought the tax increases would actually improve things rather then make them worse, would be for it.
Upton Sinclair had this one to rights. It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it. The attractiveness of conservative anti-tax ideology to the wealthy and privileged is no coincidence. That isn't to say that selfishness is the only, or even the most important reason to be drawn to such beliefs. But it's absolutely a part of it, just as the smug sense of moral superiority is part of the appeal of Liberalism

Last edited by Don Zeko; 09-20-2011 at 11:24 PM..
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  #25  
Old 09-21-2011, 12:15 AM
whburgess whburgess is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

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Of course it does, but the causation runs the other way. Good economy = more jobs and less poverty, so Medicaid, Welfare, and so forth all spend less.
I think a likelier explanation is that more money in the market rather then the Government creates economic growth. This is based on a belief that a lot of people each directing their money according to their own demands are better at directing money to where it is most economical rather then bureaucrats in DC.

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If that's true, I wish you could get them to stop claiming that they it does.
As soon as you stop the Obama and the Democrats from claiming that the tax hikes will be significant in reducing the deficit. Of course, you can't do that because politics isn't, and never will be, about telling the whole truth. No one can win telling the truth in politics.

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There's a lot of truth to this as an account of conservative thinking. But then, I think this reflects quite poorly on Conservatives. You admit that their larger ideological project of low services and low taxes is more important than public policy problems like the deficit that they profess to care about.
I think that is the case, yes. But, in politics, as with any sales job, you sell the people the features they like most. Dems do it too, of course. You know that.

Quote:
Beyond that, you're suggesting that spending money on things like Medicare or Social Security is a harmful addiction, akin to drug or alcohol abuse. Thinking that is your right, of course, but I think that reflects a pretty twisted moral calculus that isn't shared by the vast majority of the country.
Is the morality of a calculus determined by the percentage of people who share it?
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  #26  
Old 09-21-2011, 12:42 AM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

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Is the morality of a calculus determined by the percentage of people who share it?
Of course not. I'm saying both that I find this moral calculus abhorrent and that I think it is (fortunately) not widely shared.
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Old 09-21-2011, 01:01 AM
whburgess whburgess is offline
 
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Of course not. I'm saying both that I find this moral calculus abhorrent and that I think it is (fortunately) not widely shared.
Well, you're the one who named Medicare and SS, not me. I think SS is a ponzi scheme and a ripoff, but I don't begrudge those who have been ripped off by paying into it their whole life getting their measly returns on it, so I'm not talking about them.

I do think we should means test it though. This would constitute the second corn holing, by the SS program, for those rich enough to afford it. Their 'contributions' were never really anything more then taxes anyway.

Medicare should be means tested also. Hey, I agree with your guy on this!

My addiction metaphor wasn't directed at government spending on those who couldn't survive without it. They're not the problem.
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Old 09-21-2011, 01:04 AM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Well, you're the one who named Medicare and SS, not me. I think SS is a ponzi scheme and a ripoff, but I don't begrudge those who have been ripped off by paying into it their whole life getting their measly returns on it, so I'm not talking about them.

I do think we should means test it though. This would constitute the second corn holing, by the SS program, for those rich enough to afford it. Their 'contributions' were never really anything more then taxes anyway.

Medicare should be means tested also. Hey, I agree with your guy on this!

My addiction metaphor wasn't directed at government spending on those who couldn't survive without it. They're not the problem.
I named Medicare and SS because they're the big, popular programs. if not them, then what government spending are we addicted to? Also, who's "my guy" that wants to means-test Medicare?
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Old 09-21-2011, 01:19 AM
whburgess whburgess is offline
 
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I named Medicare and SS because they're the big, popular programs. if not them, then what government spending are we addicted to? Also, who's "my guy" that wants to means-test Medicare?
There is addiction in those programs, as I described. I simply do not believe the government should be sending money to people who don't need it. Even if they have been fed a lie that their payroll taxes were 'contributions' rather then taxes.

There are lots of agencies that I think contribute nothing of value, much less are needed, that could be gotten rid of. The military, Justice, the EPA, are important. There are probably a few more I could be convinced to keep, but I don't think many. There's a lot of addiction in the 'military industrial complex' as well.

Obama wants to means test medicare. I agree.
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Old 09-21-2011, 01:28 AM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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That's a link to a news story that ran before Obama delivered his Jobs speech. There's no mention of means-testing in the transcript, nor have I seen anything about means-testing in the summaries of the actual bill. It looks to me like ABC misreported it.
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Old 09-21-2011, 01:44 AM
whburgess whburgess is offline
 
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That's a link to a news story that ran before Obama delivered his Jobs speech. There's no mention of means-testing in the transcript, nor have I seen anything about means-testing in the summaries of the actual bill. It looks to me like ABC misreported it.
Looks like that may be the case. He made news with this before. Maybe AARP got to him. Too bad.
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Old 09-21-2011, 01:48 AM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Looks like that may be the case. He made news with this before. Maybe AARP got to him. Too bad.
Huh. I read that as him saying "I could grudgingly accept means-testing if that's what it takes to pacify you people," seeing as that story was written at the height of the debt ceiling fight, which to my mind isn't the same thing as supporting it. At least I hope that's what he was saying. I can never be sure with this guy lately.
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Old 09-21-2011, 02:11 AM
whburgess whburgess is offline
 
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Huh. I read that as him saying "I could grudgingly accept means-testing if that's what it takes to pacify you people," seeing as that story was written at the height of the debt ceiling fight, which to my mind isn't the same thing as supporting it. At least I hope that's what he was saying. I can never be sure with this guy lately.
If he wasn't in such a weak position politically, I bet he'd do it. I like Obama and tend to believe he wants to do the right thing rather then the politically expedient thing, so I see it as something he'd actually like to do.

It's simply not right to tax working Americans struggling to keep up, in order to send it to retired people who are much more well off and don't need it.
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Old 09-21-2011, 12:07 AM
rcocean rcocean is offline
 
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Government spending as a percentage of GDP trended inversely with the booming 90's economy.
Correct, because the spending stayed the same while GDP increased. It not direct cause and effect, unless you believe the increase in Govt spending from 20% of GDP in 1940 to 35% in the mid 80s was responsible for the greatest boom in American history.

Bottom line: we're can't keep running deficits. We borrowing huge sums and getting away with it because we're have negative real interest rates. If the T-Bill rate 10 year goes back to 3-4 percent our interest payments will double!
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:17 PM
eeeeeeeli eeeeeeeli is offline
 
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Of course that's what they say their motives are. I'm sure that in many cases that's an accurate account. But you're being seriously naive if you don't think selfishness is a huge part of how our political system manages not to take the incredibly popular step of raising taxes on the rich over and over and over again.
I think its hard to separate though. To conservatives, "selfishness" is a feature not a bug. That is, wasting money on government spending doesn't feel selfish. In fact, by not spending the money, you're allowing it to be put to more productive uses.

To a liberal, this seems crazy. Not only does government do plenty of good, but it's a dangerous game to play - finding excuses not to pay your dues.

Bottom line is there is a fundamental disagreement over what government should spend on. As a redistributive institution, small-government arguments will always look selfish, big-government arguments will look wasteful.

It makes sense that rhetoric from the right will be about waste and spending, while the left will talk about selfishness and greed.
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Old 09-21-2011, 06:17 PM
miceelf miceelf is offline
 
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You mean like the suggestion that you can make a substantial dent in the deficit with tax increases on the top 2% to Clinton era rates? Oh, that isn't a Republican argument that assumes the reader is bad at math.
You CAN make a substantial dent in it. The counter is the usual republican innumeracy which is that if you can't completely eliminate a problem then it's not useful to reduce it (see also, unemployment).
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Old 09-21-2011, 07:32 PM
Sulla the Dictator Sulla the Dictator is offline
 
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You CAN make a substantial dent in it. The counter is the usual republican innumeracy which is that if you can't completely eliminate a problem then it's not useful to reduce it (see also, unemployment).
No, you can't. If we define as "substantial" figures greater than Democrats have previously said were "insubstantial" as savings.

Of course, since language is an artifact of culture, I can understand how little the Left respects it.
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Old 09-21-2011, 12:19 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Why are so many republican arguments based on the assumption that the listener is bad at math?
Know any better way to characterize the base conservative in these United States?

(Well, okay ... anti-science, racist, xenophobic, homophobic, and drooly would all work equally well, But you take my point.)
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Old 09-20-2011, 07:52 PM
Starwatcher162536 Starwatcher162536 is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

Ouch! I'm sorry to say that one slipped right by me.
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  #40  
Old 09-20-2011, 08:49 PM
Sulla the Dictator Sulla the Dictator is offline
 
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Here's a quick and dirty transcript of what Rich said. Please correct me if I got any of it down wrong:

Increasing the top marginal rate means higher taxes on income above $250,000, meaning that someone making $250,000 would not have his taxes increased at all. Zero, zip, nada. Absolutely no increase in taxes whatsoever. If Lowry understands, at a very basic level, how our tax system works he shouldn't make an error like that.
Well I think the actual error though is that he cited the bare minimum of the President's preferred top bracket. If he had said $300,000, or $275,000, his point would be taken. I'm certain he wasn't trying to be 'deceptive', he was speaking in the political short hand of the rate's beginning.
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