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Taxes and fiscal cliff

Races for the Senate, U.S. House, etc. and other issues of national importance.

Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby Sandi » Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:36 pm

HawkHead wrote:Your comment shows your lack of understanding on the economy. Our economy is struggling to sustain tiny growth. Cutting government spending at this point would be disastrous. It would take so much money out of the economy it would collapse.


Government spending does little to jump start private business which is the real economy.

As for taxes, the proper amount is the "optimum." Too little taxes and the revenue drops. Too much taxes and the revenue also drops because there is not enough for reinvestment. I don't know what that figure is, and not sure if anyone knows. There are too many economists with wide views on it.

However whatever rate that is has to be balanced with spending cuts: something that congress has an aversion too, and what has us in this mess to begin with.

Mostly I blame the Republican house. No matter what Obama asks for a budget, he can't spend a dime. Only congress handles the purse strings, and only they can spend money.
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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby pjbogart » Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:53 pm

Sandi wrote:Government spending does little to jump start private business which is the real economy.


I would be lying if I said I was surprised that so many people buy into this completely baseless argument. We've been hearing it ad nauseum from Republicans for the past 30 years so it should come as no surprise that it's completely ingrained into people's thoughts about economics. But it's still completely false. I know why you believe it, Sandi. But you're wrong and as long as you keep repeating it, you'll continue to be wrong.

Government contracts and government jobs drive a significant portion of the economy. It's not a matter of opinion. It's a fact. If you take away that spending, people will lose their jobs in both the private and public sector. Tell the folks at Oshkosh Truck that government doesn't create jobs. Now tell the folks at the grocery stores and bars in Oshkosh where Oshkosh Truck workers spend their money that government doesn't create jobs. And the people who work at those grocery stores and bars spend money at hair salons and department stores and restaurants. And guess what? The people at the hair salons and department stores and restaurants also spend money at other local businesses. So if Oshkosh Truck lays off 1000 workers, it has a ripple effect throughout the community.

And that's how economies work.
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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby fisticuffs » Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:01 pm

Government contracts and government jobs drive a significant portion of the economy. It's not a matter of opinion. It's a fact.


Ask any of the "We Built it" speakers at the GOP Convention this year. All of them had huge government contracts.
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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby green union terrace chair » Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:05 pm

LAFFER CURVE

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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby snoqueen » Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:37 pm

During the Thompson administrations, the state worked to open avenues of trade between China and Wisconsin business. During the Doyle administration the Dept of Agriculture worked with state farmers and food producers to develop small ag businesses including a number of excellent cheesemaking operations and organic farms.

This is what we have come to expect from our state government, and in the past it has brought a good return on investment.
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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby Huckleby » Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:42 pm

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/won ... dividends/

Outgoing Senator Kent Conrad says that the place to find the necessary revenue to address deficit is in raising taxes on capital gains and dividends, in addition to caps on deductions.
I have found Conrad to a be a reliable and truthful budget expert.
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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby Detritus » Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:06 pm

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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby DCB » Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:26 pm

Huckleby wrote:Outgoing Senator Kent Conrad says that the place to find the necessary revenue to address deficit is in raising taxes on capital gains and dividends, in addition to caps on deductions.
I have found Conrad to a be a reliable and truthful budget expert.

also, Medicare:
http://boldprogressives.org/democratic- ... -and-fair/
North Dakota Democratic Senator Kent Conrad said that it would be “fair and balanced” to raise the Medicare age, which would require a huge cut in benefits to American seniors:


And really, why shouldn't our seniors cough up a few bucks to pay for war and tax cuts?
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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby Huckleby » Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:19 pm

DCB wrote:And really, why shouldn't our seniors cough up a few bucks to pay for war and tax cuts?


Raising the age of eligibility for medicare may be an unavoidable reality. Kent Conrad is being a realist, not a jerk.

There is a hell of a battle going-on on how to deal with people in the 50-68 age bracket. The vision from Obama is that those people will be covered by Obamacare, making it possible to raise the eligibility age of medicare, and thereby make that program solvent. Obamacare actually is progressive, lower income older people will get subsidies if they need them.

The vision from the Republican Party is no Obamacare guarantees for over 50, and raise the age of medicare eligibility. In other words, all but the financially screwed are gonna be screwed as they age.

I agree with your wishes, I think people over 50 should be eligible for medicare, possibily in a buy-in program. But I don't see that working with the current budget trajectory.

If you want a generous safety net, you have to collect the taxes to support it. Our country is very resistant to taxes. My preference would be for a VAT to expand medicare eligivility & draw down deficit, but that is not politically viable any time soon. What is your plan to fix medicare?

If you want to help people, then deal with reality. I don't see any point in feel-good philosophizing that medicare eligibility should be frozen in place or expanded. The real battleline for helping people is in the details of Obamacre, where insurance companies are fighting to change the law to allow insurance companies to charge older Americns up to 5x as much per policy. The current law caps at 3x.
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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby Donald » Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:49 pm

This is the problem when lifetime politicians (Conrad) start social engineering for the rest of us. They really don't have a clue how most of us have to live.

Just to point out the obvious, if seniors are going to be dumped from Medicare, which is actually pretty efficient, they have to go somewhere for health coverage. Most will have to continue working so they can be on their employers' plan, likely raising costs for employers and co-workers, because, yeah, we oldsters will work through colds which the youngsters stay in bed for, but we have expensive issues like cancers and heart issues. Those of us who aren't working will be tapping our children or the state taxpayers for health care, or we will just sign up for the Republican health care policy---DIE FAST.
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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby Huckleby » Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:26 am

Donald wrote:This is the problem when lifetime politicians (Conrad) start social engineering for the rest of us. They really don't have a clue how most of us have to live.

My impression is that Conrad is a very good man. The left wing of the Dem party turned against him during Obamacare debate because he did not support public option, or some other percieved failing.
Conrad wants all of us to have good health care access.

Donald wrote:Just to point out the obvious, if seniors are going to be dumped from Medicare, which is actually pretty efficient, they have to go somewhere for health coverage. Most will have to continue working so they can be on their employers' plan.

The effect, and I would say point, of Obamacare is to make it possible for EVERYONE to be able to buy insurance regardless of whether they have an employer plan.
So aging people will not have to hold on to jobs to get health care. If they aren't working, they probably will be on lower end of income scale and will be subsidized.

You mention that medicare is "pretty efficient" - is it really? The administrative costs are low, but it actually is a costly program with much over-prescribing.

Whether we have Obamacare-for-all or Medicare-for-all is not so important, I believe either can be made to work. In either case, the key is that costs have to be driven down. Both are very progressive, when you look at costs/benefits for individuals.
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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby Stella_Guru » Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:52 am

Henry Vilas wrote:Where was the talk about a fiscal cliff when G.W. Bush cut taxes for the super rich at the same time he was spending hundreds of billions on his unnecessary invasion of Iraq?

So a fix for a budget problem caused by cutting taxes and massively increasing military spending will be "solved" by.....not fixing those things? Maybe a good first step would be to re-institute Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 of the Constitution in the literal spirit in which it was offered, vest the power to declare war on Congress. The endless ill-defined, ill-advised, undeclared wars and police actions, not the "entitlements" are a major part of the problem.
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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby DCB » Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:38 am

Huckleby wrote:
Donald wrote:This is the problem when lifetime politicians (Conrad) start social engineering for the rest of us. They really don't have a clue how most of us have to live.

My impression is that Conrad is a very good man

He's already bargaining away Medicare before discussions even begin. Nobody in his social circle is worried about paying for health care.
Huckleby wrote:Whether we have Obamacare-for-all or Medicare-for-all is not so important, I believe either can be made to work.

Why force people to switch from a program that is established and working ? just to fuck with them? From the article
The Congressional Budget Office studied the proposal when it was part of the House GOP’s budget plan and found it “would have little effect on the trajectory of Medicare’s long-term spending

Digby wrote:This is basically an offering to get the Republicans to agree to ask those making more than 259k (or a million)a year to "pay a little bit more." Or perhaps it's better understood as a human sacrifice.
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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby Huckleby » Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:10 am

DCB wrote: He's already bargaining away Medicare before discussions even begin. Nobody in his social circle is worried about paying for health care.

Why force people to switch from a program that is established and working ? just to fuck with them? From the article


That article states as fact that the Obamacare subsidies will be inadequate to allow older people to buy health insurance. That is a glib statement that is certainly wrong in the case of lower income people. Whether it is true for people of higher income is unclear and unsettled.

Obamacare does some important reform that is not so well publicized - it removes the burden on businesses to create their own insurance pools. That is the main factor driving age descrimination in the labor market.

To my mind, a sensible policy would place the age of medicare eligibility at about 50. The problem is paying for it.

One reason to put older Americans in Obamacare instead of Medicare is that it forces wealthy people to pay more into the system.
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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby kurt_w » Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:15 am

Britain and the EU both responded to the economic downturn with exactly the kind of austerity the US is now contemplating: spending cuts and working-class tax increases.

In contrast, the US has so far taken a softer approach, with austerity at the state level (state budget cuts) partially counteracted by stimulus at the federal level (payroll tax holidays, extension of the Bush tax cuts, modestly increased spending while the stimulus package was in effect).

How did all that work out?

Image

Things aren't great on this side of the ocean, but we're doing a lot better than Britain or the EU. (Japan is a different story, for a number of reasons.)

We've made it through the worst of the Great Recession. Now if we can just keep from shooting ourselves in the foot with the kind of austerity mania that has gripped the leadership of Britain and Europe, we might have a halfway decent chance of recovery during the next few years.

There will be plenty of time to worry about long-term fiscal issues once the short-term problems are solved. Trying to improve the long-term budget situation when you're in a recession -- or the fragile early stages of a recovery -- will just make both the short-term and long-term outlook worse.
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