Tag Archives: tax cuts

As good as it gets

POSTED BY ORHAN

New jersey Governor Chris ChristieCalifornia’s belt-tightening, tax increases, and subsequent projected budget surplus contrasts sharply with Gov. Chris Christie’s plan to cut New Jersey’s income tax, even though the state’s deficit grew again this year, as it has for almost a decade.

Christie believes that cutting taxes on the 1% will bring “job creators” into the state: according to Thinkprogress, “The tax cut plan that Christie unveiled in 2012 would have given 40 percent of its benefit to the richest 1 percent of New Jerseyans, while cutting taxes for middle-class families by just $80.”

Christie would cut state taxes even though it would dramatically lower revenue; meanwhile New Jersey desperately needs money to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy. And while Christie is smart, tough, personable, and appears to be one of the few non-crazies on the national Republicans scene,  he still clings to the market fundamentalism that brought the country to its present condition.

My people might do the right thing for the wrong reason

FOX News reports (yeah, I know) that Pelosi has said she might let all the Bush tax cuts expire if the House Republicans don’t agree to the Obama plan. They say that in the Senate, Democrat Patty Murphy has suggested the same thing.

Obama’s Democratic allies in Congress only want to pass that partial, one-year extension. Republicans only want to pass an extension that continues those rates for everyone. Each side is accusing the other of threatening to trigger tax hikes in 2013.

Right now, both parties want to do the wrong thing. So let’s allow the tick-tocking clock to make the decision for us. Let the damn things expire.

I dearly hope this happens. Letting those cuts expire for everyone – even us little guys – is the best way to bring the deficit under control. We can deal with the tax code and the social security cap later, but for now, letting the taxes revert to 2001 levels might be the least painful way to address our debt.

Now, just to be annoying, Let me add that I actually also believe we should be investing right now in infrastructure – borrowing for that is as cheap as it will ever be.

Let the economists explain if that’s contradictory or not. Borrowing cheaper money today and paying off yesterday’s more expensive debt, which continues compounding at a higher rate, seems to be a good idea.

Meanwhile, let the tax cuts expire. Please.

I am so tired of Republicans getting away with this shit . . .

Since he was only a “chief economic policy adviser” to Reagan, what Bruce Bartlett says probably doesn’t count. In fact, these days that credential makes him suspect; he might be a Muslim-Kenyan liberal. Just like David Stockman. And David Frum*. You know, yesterday’s conservatives.

Republicans assert that Barack Obama assumed sole responsibility for the budget on Jan. 20, 2009. From that date, all increases in the debt or deficit are his responsibility and no one else’s, they say. This is, of course, nonsense – and the American people know it.

. . . Contrary to Republican assertions, there were no additional revenues from legislated tax increases.

. . . On the spending side, legislated increases during the Bush administration added $2.4 trillion to deficits and the debt through 2008.

The projected surplus when George Bush took over from The Big Dog:

was primarily the result of two factors. . . first, a big tax increase in 1993 that every Republican in Congress voted against, saying that it would tank the economy. This belief was wrong. The economy boomed in 1994, growing 4.1 percent that year and strongly throughout the Clinton administration . . .

During the 2000 campaign, Mr. Bush warned that budget surpluses were dangerous because Congress might spend them, even though Paygo rules prevented this from happening. . . .[he] reiterated this point and [said] . . .  future surpluses were likely to be even larger than projected due principally to anticipated strong revenue growth.

The 2001 tax cut did nothing to stimulate the economy, yet Republicans pushed for additional tax cuts in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2008. The economy continued to languish even as the Treasury hemorrhaged revenue, which fell to 17.5 percent of the gross domestic product in 2008 from 20.6 percent in 2000. Republicans abolished Paygo in 2002, and spending rose to 20.7 percent of G.D.P. in 2008 from 18.2 percent in 2001.

. . . Putting all the numbers in the C.B.O. report together, we see that continuation of tax and budget policies and economic conditions in place at the end of the Clinton administration would have led to a cumulative budget surplus of $5.6 trillion through 2011 enough to pay off the $5.6 trillion national debt at the end of 2000.

. . . Republicans would have us believe that somehow we could have avoided the recession and balanced the budget in 2009 if only they had been in charge. This would be a neat trick considering that the recession began in December 2007.

. . .  they continually imply that one of the least popular spending increases of recent years, the Troubled Asset Relief Program [TARP], was an Obama administration program, when in fact it was a Bush administration initiative proposed by the Treasury Department that was signed into law by Mr. Bush on Oct. 3, 2008.

Lastly, Republicans continue to insist that tax cuts are highly stimulative, often saying that they add nothing to the debt, when this is obviously ridiculous.

Like I said though, Bartlett’s probably a commie by now, so no one should pay attention to him.

David Frum in 2012: Imagine, if you will, someone who read only the Wall Street Journal editorial page between 2000 and 2011, and someone in the same period who read only the collected columns of Paul Krugman. Which reader would have been better informed about the realities of the current economic crisis? The answer, I think, should give us pause.

8 hours, 35 minutes

Sen. Bernie Sanders just wrapped up his filibuster. Good for him. I listened from 4:30 till now and could have gone on for hours. He was riveting.

Hey Republicans, that’s a real filibuster.

A real filibuster. Right now.

I’ve been off-grid, off-line almost all of today – got home a short while ago and, as I do, checked the news by scanning the news channels. I landed on CSPAN2 and am staying there. Bernie Sanders is filibustering the tax bill. The cryon says he began at 10:25 a.m. today – almost eight hours.

I cannot remember the last time there was an actual filibuster in the US Senate.

UPDATE: Politico has a story up dated 4:04pm, almost an hour and a half ago. They were apparently among the 12,000 people trying to access the Senate’s video servers at the same time – the servers crashed. I don’t understand why their story isn’t being updated. Wonder how long Bernie will go on?

I just checked and the last real filibuster appears to have been in 1986 – SEn. Al D’Amato of NY went for 15 hours. The longest in modern history was by Strom Thurmond. He went for 24 hours trying to stop the 1957 Civil Rights Act.  He read the phone book.

Bernie is still on subject – reading constituent letters right now.

No more either/or. Neither/nor.

A fine post at Middle of The Freakin’ Road. He says:

“So back to reality . . . at this rate the future of this country is bleak indeed; so to argue which group should get the benefit of continuing tax cuts that were ill-conceived from the get go is absurd.”

He says we should let ALL the tax cuts expire. I can be down with that.

UPDATE: Here’s another post from the EconomistMom who agrees that this is the proper way forward:

She says the proposals of the two sides really boil down to:

  So the Administration and Congress are debating over whether we should commit to over $2 trillion, versus closer to $3 trillion, in deficit-financed Bush tax cuts . . . [if only] policymakers could consider doing at least the “non-crazy” thing with the Bush tax cuts and stop proposing that any of them be permanently extended.  Instead of frantically trying to “decouple” the high-end Bush tax cuts from the “middle-class” ones, we should be thinking about the best way to eventually “decouple” ourselves from all of them.

What the Bush tax cuts were really about

For my commenter-friend Alan who argues that all Bush (GW) wanted to do wtih Social Security was allow 4-5% of withholding to go to private accounts. Right, and that was for starters. (from 2001)

Cutting NPR should take care of this

From David Michael Green at the Smirking Chimp today via Political Irony: The Seven Ironies of the Tea Party. Here’s one:

“What would it look like if Obama didn’t have to pay for Bush’s wars . . .didn’t have to pay for Bush’s prescription drug plan, didn’t have to pay for Bush’s tax cuts, didn’t have to pay for stimulus funds to rescue the country from Bush’s Great Recession, and didn’t have to pay interest (one of the biggest items in the federal budget) on the money that Bush and Reagan borrowed previously? Most likely, it would look like it did on January 20, 2001, the day that Bush came to office, and the United States was running the greatest surplus ever in its history.”

Most distressing to us should be that of those interest payments, 50% go to China. In earliler years that money stayed in the country with American citizens holding the debt in the form of bonds.