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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 Henry Vilas » Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:17 pm

More Republicans are disavowing their no tax pledge.

Lindsey Graham, Peter King break with Grover Norquist
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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby Huckleby » Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:53 pm

snoqueen wrote:I know the affordable care act is a giant political football, but can anybody explain in 25 words or less what it is about it the Republicans hate so much?


I can't do it 25 words. Republican party elites have their political motives. But opposition to universal health care really is not a Republican/Democrat issue, many opponents are working class people who might vote Democratic. The barrier to universal health care has little to do with corporate power, or even special interests. Obamacare has shown that special interests can be co-opted. Fox News and conservative media are a problem, but they are just pushing existing buttons. The main opposition to universal health care is deep values and philosophies of the American people. Obviously that is an over-generalization, since liberals and liberal values are also part of the picture.

Myself and my best friend just completed immersion courses in Obamacare opposition. That course is more commonly known as "Thanksgiving with the relatives." We exchanged notes from our experiences in a long telelphone conversation. She was with her hillbilly family in southern Ohio, I was with a spectrum of Republicans from the Nord.

Maybe I will favor you with details later, but today there is football on the telly to be attended to.
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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:46 am

Grover Norquist on tax pledge: ‘No one is caving’

Some Republicans are showing a willingness to raise taxes, but conservative activist Grover Norquist, who has convinced Republican candidates and policymakers to sign a pledge never to increase rates, think it's all a bluff.

"No one is caving," Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published Sunday. "For 20 years Democrats have tried over and over to trick Republicans into breaking the pledge. It hasn't happened. This isn't my first rodeo."

So he says.
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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby Stella_Guru » Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:34 am

snoqueen wrote: What are they telling their people to convince them the ACA is so awful?

Black people want free shit.
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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby Huckleby » Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:11 pm

Stella_Guru wrote:
snoqueen wrote: What are they telling their people to convince them the ACA is so awful?

Black people want free shit.


That's close. Race is part of it, but mostly it's the free shit part, the "makers and takers" narrative. And it's not what people are being told, it's what they already feel inside.

You might think that the rejection of Medicaid across the South is all about racisim. My impression is that the notion of individualism, deeply engrained in America culture but especially dominant in the South and sparsely populated West, is the greater culprit.

I watched a lecture recently on the notion of "honor" in the pre-civil war South that re-enforced this view.
http://www.c-span.org/History/Events/Le ... 737432487/
The main take-away there was that the ultimate disgrace in an honor society is to be dependent. (That is cruelly & paradoxically why the South saw slaves as subhuman and dishonorable, because they weren't free and self-sufficient.) I think the deep South's notion of honor and self-sufficiency lives on today.

The "makers and takers" story is a dominant thread running through Ayn Rand enthusiasts, evangelical christians, country club Republicans, and redneck working class whites.
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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby DCB » Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:28 pm


The Republicans want to be seen as 'brave' for daring to raise revenue. In return all they ask is a complete dismantling of the social welfare system. Including Social Security, which has no effect on the deficit.
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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby ArturoBandini » Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:08 pm

DCB wrote:Including Social Security, which has no effect on the deficit.
Pardon? I'll certainly not make the claim that SS is the lowest of the low-hanging deficit fruit, but I don't see how it has no effect on either the budget or the deficit.
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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby pjbogart » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:42 am

ArturoBandini wrote:
DCB wrote:Including Social Security, which has no effect on the deficit.
Pardon? I'll certainly not make the claim that SS is the lowest of the low-hanging deficit fruit, but I don't see how it has no effect on either the budget or the deficit.


Social security is not part of the general fund, and though you may have a point that shortfalls in the social security system threaten the budget, because we keep them separate, technically social security does not add to the deficit. Payroll taxes are split between federal, state, social security and medicare. Medicare has significant problems due to the large number of baby boomers retiring and the skyrocketing costs of healthcare, but the social security trust fund remains solvent, provided that you trust the government bonds used to borrow against the trust fund.

Oh wait, but Republicans have spent 30 years attempting to make social security insolvent by waging wars, offering huge tax cuts to the super rich and passing drug benefits through medicare that were unfunded. Much of our federal debt is actually money owed to the social security trust fund, replaced with questionable bonds.

But that's a disingenuous complaint, isn't it? We can't fix social security by raising taxes on the job creators, even though lowering taxes on the job creators led the shortfalls in the first place. It's a carefully calculated and crafted plan, one that took decades to achieve. The people who benefited most by the policies that caused the shortfall now complain that they're unfairly targeted for fixing it.

I don't have a problem with that.
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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby Igor » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:53 am

snoqueen wrote:I know the affordable care act is a giant political football, but can anybody explain in 25 words or less what it is about it the Republicans hate so much?


My concerns are mostly about unintended consequences. Any effort this big will have some, because people will change their behavior. I think the benefits will outweigh the consequences, but like most cost/benefit analyses I have seen, I am guessing that the costs were probably understated and the benefits overstated. Nobody ever goes back 5 years later to make sure your CBA actually produced all those savings.
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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby ArturoBandini » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:35 am

pjbogart wrote:but the social security trust fund remains solvent, provided that you trust the government bonds used to borrow against the trust fund.
I understand the technicalities of the distinctions of which programs fall under the discretionary and non-discretionary portions of the budget, but these are semantic differences that have no impact on the actual solvency of the government. In reality, SS is just like any other government program - it has revenue coming in and payments going out. The "trust fund", consisting of bonds, is just an arrangement to siphon off tax dollars in the future in exchange for spending-money now. When that starts to happen - when SS becomes a net liability for Treasury, not a cash cow - trust in the Treasury's ability to make good on bonds will fall, interest rates will rise, and insolvency will occur. The entire program rests not just on trust in the government to safeguard our coerced "retirement savings", but also trust in government to extract tax revenues to keep up with increasing liabilities, because that's where the rubber hits the road. Treasuries remain a safe financial instrument as long as Uncle Sam can keep taxing (or printing), but there is only so much patience for taxation among the people.
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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby Galoot » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:44 am

ArturoBandini wrote:but there is only so much patience for taxation among the people.


This is particularly laughable, considering that taxes are currently at the lowest levels since 1950.
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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby Stella_Guru » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:39 am

ArturoBandini wrote: The entire program rests not just on trust in the government to safeguard our coerced "retirement savings", but also trust in government to extract tax revenues to keep up with increasing liabilities, because that's where the rubber hits the road. Treasuries remain a safe financial instrument as long as Uncle Sam can keep taxing (or printing), but there is only so much patience for taxation among the people.
And there is only so much trust, which is being intentionally undermined by those who recently raided SS funds by reducing employer and employee contributions and setting the stage for yet another rip-off. If economic viability depends on confidence, so does the legitimacy of our government in honoring its social contracts. Bait and switch is criminal when businesses do it, no less for the government.
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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby ArturoBandini » Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:43 am

Galoot wrote:
ArturoBandini wrote:but there is only so much patience for taxation among the people.


This is particularly laughable, considering that taxes are currently at the lowest levels since 1950.
This is good news, but beside the point. The government has racked up large liabilities in the form of bonds that will become payable in the future, on the order of 5-30 years from now. Today's low tax revenues and high spending only make this problem bigger. When those bonds come due, there are a few options - pay the nominal amounts in dollars collected by taxation, roll-over the debt into new bonds at whatever the future interest rate is, inflate the money supply via the printing press, or default. If the economy grows robustly in the interim, the first two options will not be a burden on the economy, and the second two options will not be necessary. If the economy does not grow, and if we want to avoid high inflation, spiraling interest rates or debt default, then taxation is the only option left on the table.
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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby ArturoBandini » Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:59 am

Stella_Guru wrote:And there is only so much trust, which is being intentionally undermined by those who recently raided SS funds by reducing employer and employee contributions and setting the stage for yet another rip-off.
Before anyone jumps to conclusions about this somewhat vague statement - the Obama administration pushed for and achieved the SS payroll tax cut in 2010.
Stella_Guru wrote:If economic viability depends on confidence, so does the legitimacy of our government in honoring its social contracts. Bait and switch is criminal when businesses do it, no less for the government.
I absolutely agree. If you're like me and think that the federal government has no legitimacy and hasn't for about 200 years, you quickly realize what the correct path should be in this situation. Regarding the criminality of the bait-and-switch - let's put the architects of entitlement programs in jail, no question. (What? They've been dead for decades? There goes that idea...) And it's not just the recent breed of Republicans that have been undermining SS - it has never functioned the way people assume it does. The true nature of SS was laid bare in 1960 in Fleming v. Nestor - the money doesn't belong to you, the person who pays in a slice of your paycheck every week, it belongs to Uncle Sam, and it will be administered on the whims of Congress.
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Re: Taxes and fiscal cliff

Postby Mean Scenester » Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:23 am

ArturoBandini wrote:If you're like me and think that the federal government has no legitimacy and hasn't for about 200 years, you quickly realize what the correct path should be in this situation.

This may be the best thing I've ever read on the DPF.

"If you're like me, a complete bore of a delusional moron who thinks he knows everything and is as resistant to all logical argument as AIDS is to penicillin, the answer to every problem becomes completely obvious!"

Well, no fucking doi.
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