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  #41  
Old 09-21-2011, 01:42 AM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

Quote:
Originally Posted by whburgess View Post
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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  #42  
Old 09-21-2011, 01:44 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 Don Zeko View Post
Yeah, I'm trying to internalize TNC's Grant approach, although not particularly successfully. You don't have to say that he's a hack to show that he's a hack.
Ok, this is in no way on topic, but I just re-read the passage TNC excerpts and want to promote it a bit more:

Quote:
After sending cavalry to drive Van Dorn away, my next order was to dispatch all the wagons we had, under proper escort, to collect and bring in all supplies of forage and food from a region of fifteen miles east and west of the road from our front back to Grand Junction, leaving two months' supplies for the families of those whose stores were taken. I was amazed at the quantity of supplies the country afforded. It showed that we could have subsisted off the country for two months instead of two weeks without going beyond the limits designated.

This taught me a lesson which was taken advantage of later in the campaign when our army lived twenty days with the issue of only five days' rations by the commissary. Our loss of supplies was great at Holly Springs, but it was more than compensated for by those taken from the country and by the lesson taught.

The news of the capture of Holly Springs and the destruction of our supplies caused much rejoicing among the people remaining in Oxford. They came with broad smiles on their faces, indicating intense joy, to ask what I was going to do now without anything for my soldiers to eat. I told them that I was not disturbed; that I had already sent troops and wagons to collect all the food and forage they could find for fifteen miles on each side of the road.

Countenances soon changed, and so did the inquiry. The next was, "What are WE to do?" My response was that we had endeavored to feed ourselves from our own northern resources while visiting them; but their friends in gray had been uncivil enough to destroy what we had brought along, and it could not be expected that men, with arms in their hands, would starve in the midst of plenty. I advised them to emigrate east, or west, fifteen miles and assist in eating up what we left.
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  #43  
Old 09-21-2011, 01:45 AM
bramble bramble is offline
 
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Default Re: Rove is the Defacto Leader of the Republican party?!

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Originally Posted by rcocean View Post
Rove is like Tom Ridge, except for a few elite Republicans and liberal reporters, no one gives a damn about them.
I think Noah is totally off-base calling Rove the de facto leader of the GOP, but if you think of Rove and Perry as two guys who come from the same political milieu and have bad blood you can see how Rove MIGHT be able to cause Perry some headaches with raising money, building coalitions and convincing conservative opinion-makers that he is electable. Rove may not be a Wonder Boy anymore, but he is certainly not powerless.

That said, Lowry made good points about the respective strategies of Perry and Romney. For Perry, win big-time in Iowa; for Romney, poll nationally better against Obama than Perry. The outcome of these strategies is what i think will matter most in the end.
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  #44  
Old 09-21-2011, 02:01 AM
whburgess whburgess 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
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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  #45  
Old 09-21-2011, 02:04 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 whburgess View Post
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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  #46  
Old 09-21-2011, 02:19 AM
whburgess whburgess 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
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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  #47  
Old 09-21-2011, 02:28 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 whburgess View Post
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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  #48  
Old 09-21-2011, 02:44 AM
whburgess whburgess 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
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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  #49  
Old 09-21-2011, 02:48 AM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

Quote:
Originally Posted by whburgess View Post
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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  #50  
Old 09-21-2011, 03:11 AM
whburgess whburgess 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
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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  #51  
Old 09-21-2011, 03:13 AM
Sulla the Dictator Sulla the Dictator is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

Quote:
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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  #52  
Old 09-21-2011, 03:18 AM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

Quote:
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 03:22 AM..
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  #53  
Old 09-21-2011, 03:36 AM
Sulla the Dictator Sulla the Dictator is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
That's true, she would pay the higher rate...on the $40,000. A whopping 3% higher.

So we're talking about a tax increase of $1200. And again, I don't see any basis in what Lowry said to think that he had this in mind. You're arguing that he wouldn't have been wrong if he had said something different, but he didn't, and he was wrong.
He didn't specify anything about the wife's job situation. We're free to make assumptions if you insist. You notice he didn't betray any ignorance about hot progressive tax rates work, and that didn't stop you from assuming error. You are also talking about an additional $1200 on what is about a $70,000 bill. Not counting state and local taxes. For what?

Quote:

What I'm saying is that living in a highly desirable place like that is something that you can do with your money if you make a lot. So in essence you're saying that people making a ton of money aren't rich, because they spend it on something valuable and therefore can't spend it on other valuable things. If you can't afford to live in some fabulously expensive place, then do what the other 99% of the country does and live somewhere cheaper!
No I'm saying that you are paid more to live someplace more expensive because that's where your job is. Part of your salary is to compensate you for the cost. Otherwise, moving someplace more expensive is a pay cut.

Quote:
The existence of high rents in Manhattan doesn't make people in the top 1% of the income ladder non-rich, nor does it entitle them to pay lower taxes than they otherwise would. This is like saying that $400,000 really isn't that much because the car payment on your Bentley is so high.
This is pretty strange, actually. There is rich and there is "rich". One is genuine, real wealth that anyone would recognize. The second category seems to mean "have more than you". If you are in a certain line of work, living at the beating heart of that industry isn't a luxury like a Bentley, its a necessity. So if its finance, Manhattan. If its high tech, any number of the money traps in California or in Oregon. If it is law or government, Washington.

Unless you are the animated, risen clone of Bill Gates, you aren't going to be able to get a job with a big San Francisco tech firm with a deal that lets you work from home in Tulsa.

The issue isn't "Is $250,000 a lot of money?" That issue is obvious. I said $300,000 was about what $100,000 got you in Vegas. My point wasn't that $100,000 isn't a lot of money either. The point is that these salaries are relative to the region. You'll be a very wealthy man with $300,000 in Reno, Nevada. You'll be upper middle class in Manhattan.

Quote:
What does this have to do with anything that we're talking about? Anyway, I feel like this has gone on for a while and that we're wandering pretty far afield from the initial disagreement. I'm going to call it quits and let you have the last word. Ta ta for now.
Ummmmmm it is a tax. These are expenses that people have to pay to the state. There is a whole system of taxation separate from the Feds, and it all adds up.
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  #54  
Old 09-21-2011, 03:39 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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  #55  
Old 09-21-2011, 07:01 AM
Starwatcher162536 Starwatcher162536 is offline
 
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Default Rich: Obama just wants to raise taxes

The whole segment was very stupid. I'll let readers draw their own conclusions on why I think this.
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  #56  
Old 09-21-2011, 11:58 AM
unhandyandy unhandyandy is offline
 
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Default Unemployment?

Another long discussion of the budget with no mention of the unemployment crisis. Both participants should be ashamed.
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  #57  
Old 09-21-2011, 07:17 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 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.
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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  #58  
Old 09-21-2011, 07:21 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 Sulla the Dictator View Post
His wife wouldn't need to make $250,000. She could make $40,000, and the household would pay the higher rate.
Only on the extra 40K above 250. Not on the whole 290. That's the point.

(and this assumes that the brackets would be exactly the same for married couples filing jointly as they are for individuals).
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  #59  
Old 09-21-2011, 08:32 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 miceelf View Post
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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  #60  
Old 09-22-2011, 01:45 AM
brucds brucds is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

Does the editor of the National Review not comprehend that Warren Buffet's "salary" of $100,000 isn't likely his main income - but that his capital gains income undoubtedly dwarf what he allots himself as wage? And why doesn't Tim Noah push back on this infantile attempt to derail the tax discussion from the rails of...uh...reality?

On the other hand, I love that the National Review is on Rick Perry's bandwagon. Last shovels of dirt on the grave of rational conservatism. This "ideology" is now officially little more than a pathology...
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  #61  
Old 09-22-2011, 01:47 AM
brucds brucds is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

"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."

Because my numerologist tells me that "18" is a magic number...
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  #62  
Old 09-22-2011, 04:33 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 brucds View Post
"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."

Because my numerologist tells me that "18" is a magic number...
Except sustainability. Historical norms. And wisdom. Nothing to the number but that.

But you're right. If 18%, why not 99%? Say the number comrade.
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  #63  
Old 09-22-2011, 05:53 AM
Parallax Parallax is offline
 
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Default Taxes

There was a discussion about capital gains tax vs income tax. Team left apparently argues that we should treat them the same, I tend to agree but definitely not with the current tax code. The combined corporate income tax and the capital gains tax would be really bad for the system as a whole. So a true tax reform should do the following:

1. Get rid of AMT & corporate income tax.

2. Tax dividends and capital gains as ordinary income.

3. Get rid of highly distortionary income tax breaks for mortgages, municipal bonds and state income taxes.

4. Adopt a 3 bracket income tax with lower rates (0%, 10% and 25%) using savings from part 3.

5. Replace the payroll tax with a 10% VAT.

This can be done in a revenue neutral manner. Even better you can use the transition period as a fiscal boost. For example eliminate the payroll tax starting in 2012 then introduce a 6% VAT in 2013 which will become 8% in 2014 and 10% in 2015. Same can happen with 3 & 4: lower the rates and simplify the code but still allow 50% of the deductions for 2011 income and get rid of them for 2012 income. This could possibly be big enough so that household can repair their balance sheets by the end of 2012. So that the recovery can finally begin in 2013.

But it won't happen b/c the president likes to use the overcomplicated tax code to promote certain things and demote others and he is not willing to get rid of corporate income tax b/c it would completely alienate his base. Which is a shame b/c I really wanted to see GOP turn down a proposal that promises to get rid of AMT, FICA and corporate income taxes. It would be very entertaining to watch.

Last edited by Parallax; 09-22-2011 at 05:58 AM..
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  #64  
Old 09-22-2011, 07:07 AM
Parallax Parallax is offline
 
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Default Timothy Noah's optimism borders on delusional

And he gets payed for coming up with stuff like this? At least if it was after Bin Laden's eradication you could justify the statement in some ways ...

On the other hand this was taped on Sep. 20th, before Fed lowered Obama's reelection chances to never before seen lows. Fed inaction means high unemployment well into 2012. The comparisons with Reagan are irrelevant: by Nov. 1984 the unemployment had fallen to 7.4%. To get a sense how far off we are: US needs about 6.5% RGDP growth in the next year (Q42011 - Q32012) to lower the unemployment number from 9.1% to 7.4%. That probably would mean more than 10% growth in NGDP.

People have stayed with Obama so far because they blame Bush for the slump. However as time passes the number of people holding such an opinion will get lower and lower, in fact a year from now it will be just the die hard Obama fans who would blame Bush.

Anyway I need whatever Tim is smoking/snorting/injecting, it has to be really good.
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  #65  
Old 09-22-2011, 07:31 AM
Parallax Parallax is offline
 
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Default Perry 12 vs Nixon 68: Lessons from history

I think the 1968 GOP primary gives us an interesting perspective on the GOP primary, after all there was a Romney in the race back then as well! The 4 major candidates were: Nixon, Romney (Mitt's dad), Rockefeller and Reagan. In today's field that would translate to Perry, Huntsman, Romney and Ron Paul.

Note that this comparison is about the relative ideological positions. In other words I don't think Ron Paul will become president in 2024 or that he will get as many votes as Reagan did back in 1968. I am just saying he is as far to the right of the field as Reagan was in the 1968 field. For example Mitt Romney represents the liberal wing of the GOP same as Rockefeller in 1968. Moreover Rockefeller, very much like Romeny today, campaigned on his electability. But he was unsuccessful since his positions were too much to the left for the GOP voters liking.

So how did Nixon win the primary and then the general election? Well in the primaries he tilted heavily towards the right (compare with Perry trying to lynch Bernanke or the Ponzi scheme comment) and by the general election he went back to the center (I am sure if he is nominated Perry will stress his current weaknesses: HPV vaccines and immigration). Perry is a relative unknown in the national arena and if he plays his cards right he will be in extremely good shape. A majority of voters won't make up their mind about him until the debates next year this time. So if he appears a moderate then it is over.
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  #66  
Old 09-22-2011, 09:52 AM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: Timothy Noah's optimism borders on delusional

Quote:
Originally Posted by Parallax View Post
People have stayed with Obama so far because they blame Bush for the slump. However as time passes the number of people holding such an opinion will get lower and lower, in fact a year from now it will be just the die hard Obama fans who would blame Bush.
What do you blame for the slump?
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  #67  
Old 09-22-2011, 11:27 AM
sugarkang sugarkang is offline
 
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Default Re: Taxes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Parallax View Post
So a true tax reform should do the following:

1. Get rid of AMT & corporate income tax.

2. Tax dividends and capital gains as ordinary income.
Agreed. Tell your Democrats that #1 is a prerequisite to #2. Good luck with that.
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  #68  
Old 09-22-2011, 01:36 PM
brucds brucds is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

Sulla - are you talking about "historical norms" base on right-wing "deficits don't matter" "wisdom."

You clowns are laughable. You have a religion. It's not been working. "Conservatives" have screwed the country with fiscal profligacy. Tax rates need to be based on a plan for spending that's politically viable and serves the broadest interests of the citizenry. That's "fiscal conservatism", not "tax cuts pay for themselves" or magic numbers based on "historical norms" that have proven themselves totally not sustainable.

Wisdom? Hardly. More like cynicism.

I'm concerned about employment and job growth, not magic tax rates - and cutting taxes across the board isn't the formula. Here are some "historical norms" for you to suck on:

http://titanicsailsatdawn.blogspot.c...bs-growth.html

Last edited by brucds; 09-22-2011 at 01:40 PM..
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  #69  
Old 09-22-2011, 02:39 PM
Sulla the Dictator Sulla the Dictator is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

Quote:
Originally Posted by brucds View Post
Sulla - are you talking about "historical norms" base on right-wing "deficits don't matter" "wisdom."

You clowns are laughable. You have a religion. It's not been working. "Conservatives" have screwed the country with fiscal profligacy. Tax rates need to be based on a plan for spending that's politically viable and serves the broadest interests of the citizenry. That's "fiscal conservatism", not "tax cuts pay for themselves" or magic numbers based on "historical norms" that have proven themselves totally not sustainable.
I don't understand if you are angry and hyper partisan, or just are unaware of the facts. Do you understand this country has a long term deficit problem? But you wouldn't want that to interfere "get people back to work"....teaching interpretive dance for $350,000 a job, or spending billions of dollars for weather stripping.

I love how the unjustified arrogance of liberal elites is not only reflected, but exaggerated in the embarrassing egotism of their followers. It would be hilarious if it weren't so terrifying that these people control the levers of power.
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  #70  
Old 09-22-2011, 03:37 PM
brucds brucds is offline
 
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Default Re: Double Couch Edition (Timothy Noah & Rich Lowry)

Good Lord - of course the country has a long-term deficit problem. Current debt was run up by a profligate gospel of "tax cuts uber alles" that began with Reagan, which ties the country's hands during a crisis, when more spending is absolutely necessary. This is elementary stuff, that's only ignored by idiot ideologues. As for as the future deficit issues are concerne, we have a long-term problem with inflationary health care spending, which will screw with our % of GDP spent on health care, whether it's provided by the more cost-effective government programs like Medicare and VHA, or the private markets that have driven most of the underlying problems. The government programs point toward better solutions than Ryan's folly - that's just a fact. Check with the CBO. Compare our health care inflation to France, for starters. You guys are living on Kool-Aid.

Total fools, steeped in arrogance and ignorance. As a so-called "conservtive" , look in the mirror for the source of our deficit problems and the continuing obliviousness to pragmatic, as opposed to faith-based solutions. You don't deserve to be taken seriously. At all. Get back to me with something based on evidence that raising marginal tax rates isn't (a) essential to cover the spending that the country has chosen as a matter of practical politics, and (b) that based on "historical norms" or even "theory" it kills job creation. The data just doesn't support that crap assertion.

Correction: I just realized that you originally stated that it was okay to let the Bush tax cuts expire, which means I'm piling on you when I'm really arguing with the kind of crank "wisdom" being peddled by Lowry, the entire GOP, etc. etc. Your assertion that spending be cut to 18% is still just a number pulled out of thin air, IMHO, but I'm unfairly pushing you into the "99% of alleged conservatives" cohort. In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is indeed King. If I were voting in the GOP primaries, I'd write in "Sulla The Dictator" as a matter of conscience. Sorry for arguing past you and getting so sloppy...

Last edited by brucds; 09-22-2011 at 04:00 PM..
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  #71  
Old 09-22-2011, 07:35 PM
Parallax Parallax is offline
 
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Default Re: Taxes

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Originally Posted by sugarkang View Post
Agreed. Tell your Democrats that #1 is a prerequisite to #2. Good luck with that.
Tell your Republicans they are free, slavery was abolished long ago. I am not a Democrat and certainly don't own any.
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  #72  
Old 09-22-2011, 07:58 PM
Parallax Parallax is offline
 
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Default Re: Timothy Noah's optimism borders on delusional

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What do you blame for the slump?
I was explaining the public sentiment and why Obama is polling better than you would expect.

As for myself, I am almost certain that with John Kerry as president we would have this lesser depression as well. I have said this before here, I am not entirely sure what caused it. People generally blame the housing bubble but there is a two year gap (Q42005 - Q12008) between the peak of the bubble and the start of the recession that makes this unlikely. Then there was the financial crisis 3 years ago but now most financial institutions are quite healthy (see their excess reserves) and yet we are still in a deep hole.

That does not mean that we should not fix these even though they might not be the ultimate cause of the crisis. The federal government has no place in mortgage industry. Fannie, Freddie and Ginnie Mae should be liquidated and HUD should be downsized and replaced with simple rules on mortgages such as requiring a minimum down payment of 10% for any mortgage and a maximum duration of 30 years. Also make all the mortgages recourse loans so as to lower speculation in the housing market. Finally the US government should stop subsidizing housing via the mortgage interest deduction, you could even replace it with a tax credit for whoever pays more than the legally required minimum down payment to promote people lowering their debt load and save. The financial part is easier and harder. You could just cap leverage at a fixed low number, say 15. But this would definitely slow growth at least in the short term.

Both of the above policy suggestions will have adverse effects on housing and finance sector. So they should be combined with strong monetary and fiscal stimulus. Ideally you package both together in a money bomb where the treasury issues 1.5 trillion dollars in long term debt and sells it directly to the Fed, using the 1.5 trillion US government gives anyone who files for taxes $6000 (this is basically the 2008 Bush stimulus times ten). The president should go on TV and say to people that they should use the money to pay down their debts: mortgage, car loan, credit cards and so on. This is the quickest way of government assuming household debt so the economy can recover again.
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  #73  
Old 09-22-2011, 07:59 PM
stephanie stephanie 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
Ok, this is in no way on topic, but I just re-read the passage TNC excerpts and want to promote it a bit more:
I really like TNC's book club. Are you a member? I think his blog deserves general promotion.
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  #74  
Old 09-22-2011, 08:10 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 stephanie View Post
I really like TNC's book club. Are you a member? I think his blog deserves general promotion.
I'm not, but I take TNC's reading suggestions very seriously. I just finished Wedgewood's 30 Year's War a couple weeks ago. Hopefully I can get my mitts on Grant's memoirs soon.
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  #75  
Old 09-22-2011, 10:55 PM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: Timothy Noah's optimism borders on delusional

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Originally Posted by Parallax View Post
People generally blame the housing bubble but there is a two year gap (Q42005 - Q12008) between the peak of the bubble and the start of the recession that makes this unlikely.
Thanks. I have many questions. As for the housing bubble 1) don't you think it wasn't a normal bubble in that people were in way over their heads with ARMs and no equity? In many cases their adjustable rates hadn't adjusted yet. 2) What is the normal time lapse between a bubble and a recession?

Quote:
Also make all the mortgages recourse loans so as to lower speculation in the housing market.
I started copying all your separate points...but I figure you know what you said, so I'll just ask my questions.

3) So, in the case of a house that is worth less than the mortgage owed, you would favor the bank being able to go after the entire loan amount instead of being paid off with the collateral only. This I suppose would encourage people to stay even though they're underwater. Would you want this to be a federal bank regulation?

4) What does it mean to cap leverage and who are you capping leverage on?

5) Treasury selling debt to the Fed...is that allowed? Then it's given to the taxpayer in the form of a tax rebate so that the taxpayers pay to reduce everyone's household debt? And this would be a suggestion by the president on TV? Hmmm. I guess desperate times call for desperate measures.
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Last edited by badhatharry; 09-22-2011 at 11:41 PM..
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  #76  
Old 09-22-2011, 11:02 PM
sugarkang sugarkang is offline
 
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Default Re: Taxes

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Originally Posted by Parallax View Post
Tell your Republicans they are free, slavery was abolished long ago. I am not a Democrat and certainly don't own any.
I'm not a Republican and I didn't mean your as property possession. But maybe you think you own your friends and your family.
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  #77  
Old 09-23-2011, 12:51 AM
Parallax Parallax is offline
 
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Default Re: Timothy Noah's optimism borders on delusional

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Originally Posted by badhatharry View Post
Thanks. I have many questions. As for the housing bubble 1) don't you think it wasn't a normal bubble in that people were in way over their heads with ARMs and no equity? In many cases their adjustable rates hadn't adjusted yet. 2) What is the normal time lapse between a bubble and a recession?
Look at the 2000 stock market crash: the crash happened in Q12000 the recession was Q2 & Q3 in 2001. Barely a year between the crash and the start of the recession while here you have more than 2 years (you can take the peak of the housing bubble to be Q32005 as well depending how you measure it).

Quote:
I started copying all your separate points...but I figure you know what you said, so I'll just ask my questions.

3) So, in the case of a house that is worth less than the mortgage owed, you would favor the bank being able to go after the entire loan amount instead of being paid off with the collateral only. This I suppose would encourage people to stay even though they're underwater. Would you want this to be a federal bank regulation?

4) What does it mean to cap leverage and who are you capping leverage on?

5) Treasury selling debt to the Fed...is that allowed? Then it's given to the taxpayer in the form of a tax rebate so that the taxpayers pay to reduce everyone's household debt? And this would be a suggestion by the president on TV? Hmmm. I guess desperate times call for desperate measures.
RE-3: Some states and a majority of provinces in Canada do this. The bank can go after all the money not just the collateral. And you require that all mortgages issued on or after Jan. 1st 2012 have to be recourse loans.

RE-4: For leverage I am using a simple formula: total liabilities divided by total assets. There are a lot of fancier versions but the crux of the matter is that fraction. You should think of this the same way FDIC closes a bank: it had capital requirements, if a bank does not meet them it starts with issuing warnings and ends with overtaking the bank. Same here congress passes a law that any financial institution that is under the regulatory control of a US government agency or the Fed can not have leverage above lets say 20. If a institution has a leverage of 20-25, you give a warning. If it has a leverage of 25-30 you force them to deleverage, if it goes above 30 you just take over liquidate with shareholders getting wiped away so that next time they have equity in a similar firm they be alert not to let management to run away with it.

RE-5: Why would treasury selling to Fed be illegal? Desperate is an interesting choice of word but since we have the worst economic crisis since the great depression I don't know what is wrong with bold action. The reason I am proposing the money bomb is two fold:

1. Almost everyone agrees that unless households repair their balance sheets we won't have a real recovery and this will very quickly remedy that situation (also better give that the Federal government can borrow at negative real rates while the individual households can't).

2. Politically this has very little cost: "After Wall St. we are helping out Main St.". This would be very hard to oppose by GOP since Bush passed something similar back in 08. And come on beside Ron Paul what politician does not like to give away money?
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  #78  
Old 09-23-2011, 10:43 AM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: Timothy Noah's optimism borders on delusional

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Originally Posted by Parallax View Post
Look at the 2000 stock market crash: the crash happened in Q12000 the recession was Q2 & Q3 in 2001. Barely a year between the crash and the start of the recession while here you have more than 2 years (you can take the peak of the housing bubble to be Q32005 as well depending how you measure it).
OK, but still every situation is different. I don't think recessions get their instructions from headquarters about when they're supposed to start and stop.

Quote:
RE-3: Some states and a majority of provinces in Canada do this. The bank can go after all the money not just the collateral. And you require that all mortgages issued on or after Jan. 1st 2012 have to be recourse loans.
I'd be cool with this. Is there anything that is keeping banks from doing this?
I guess I think banks should have flexibility, however.

Quote:
RE-5: Why would treasury selling to Fed be illegal? Desperate is an interesting choice of word but since we have the worst economic crisis since the great depression I don't know what is wrong with bold action. The reason I am proposing the money bomb is two fold:
One hears so many things...but here is Erin Burnett calling your idea a Ponzi scheme at 1:45.

Quote:
1. Almost everyone agrees that unless households repair their balance sheets we won't have a real recovery and this will very quickly remedy that situation (also better give that the Federal government can borrow at negative real rates while the individual households can't).
I don't like quick remedies... something about moral hazard.

Quote:
2. Politically this has very little cost: "After Wall St. we are helping out Main St.". This would be very hard to oppose by GOP since Bush passed something similar back in 08. And come on beside Ron Paul what politician does not like to give away money
This is true and also part of the problem.
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  #79  
Old 09-23-2011, 06:14 PM
Parallax Parallax is offline
 
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Default Re: Timothy Noah's optimism borders on delusional

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Originally Posted by badhatharry View Post
OK, but still every situation is different. I don't think recessions get their instructions from headquarters about when they're supposed to start and stop.
The instruction comes from the shock. It is always instructive to look at extreme cases: you would not blame a decade old crash for the recession, would you? So the bigger the gap the looser the connection.

Quote:
I'd be cool with this. Is there anything that is keeping banks from doing this?I guess I think banks should have flexibility, however.
It is state laws: the bank can not go after anything more than the collateral. We either need a federal law or we US government should push all states to adopt such laws.

Quote:
One hears so many things...but here is Erin Burnett calling your idea a Ponzi scheme at 1:45.
Really? Someone called it a Ponzi scheme on TV, so it is dubious? (actually that makes me glad I don't have a TV anymore). People don't know or forget but even during good times when the Federal Funds rate was well above zero the Fed lowered it not by decree but by buying treasuries and raised it by selling them. The funny thing is that the money bomb/helicopter drop, was first brought up by none other than Milton Friedman. But those who claim to be his intellectual descendants (such as Mr. Fischer who sits at the Federal reserve board) are opposed to this idea entirely.

Quote:
I don't like quick remedies... something about moral hazard.
Well get back to me next time you get sick because based on that logic you should not get any medication. After all if we give you medications that will cure you very quickly you might not pay attention to preventive measures. Thinking there is always the doctor who will bail you out of sickness.

Look the moral hazard is a good abstract argument but practically when the ship is sinking it is utterly useless. Policy makers need to and have to act at that time. They can't sacrifice the economy to punish some bankers.

Besides I am not sure what kind of moral hazard you create if you follow my suggested policy. People buying expensive homes they can't afford? That is why I said there should be a minimum down payment requirements and the mortgages should become recourse loans. Consumers spending money b/c they think more is on the way? That is why I said the President should go on TV and tell people with no ambiguity that they should pay down debt first. Moreover this process is already happening with the big deficits and government transfers (SS, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment benefits, FICA tax cut, ...) but it is way too slow. And as it stands we might be in this period until the middle of the decade. The goal of the policy is to shorten this transition period.
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