Patterico's Pontifications

12/13/2010

Krauthammer Acts Like a Weiner: A Failure to Increase Taxes is Stimulus (II) and a Victory for Obama!

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 6:28 am



[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

This is not as risible as the LA Times and the well-named Congressman Weiner saying that keeping the tax rate the same = deficit spending, but it’s pretty bad.  And in some ways it is worse because it is Charles Krauthammer.  I mean normally Krauthammer is not a Weiner.  I think he is typically brilliant and a basically honest broker.  But his column last Friday is a bit much.

Barack Obama won the great tax-cut showdown of 2010 – and House Democrats don’t have a clue that he did. In the deal struck this week, the president negotiated the biggest stimulus in American history, larger than his $814 billion 2009 stimulus package. It will pump a trillion borrowed Chinese dollars into the U.S. economy over the next two years – which just happen to be the two years of the run-up to the next presidential election. This is a defeat?

If Obama had asked for a second stimulus directly, he would have been laughed out of town. Stimulus I was so reviled that the Democrats banished the word from their lexicon throughout the 2010 campaign. And yet, despite a very weak post-election hand, Obama got the Republicans to offer to increase spending and cut taxes by $990 billion over two years. Two-thirds of that is above and beyond extension of the Bush tax cuts but includes such urgent national necessities as windmill subsidies.

So you catch that?  The Republicans fought for and won legislation that would not have raised taxes.  And Krauthammer not only treats this as a tax cut, but as a stimulus.  And further, this was all something that supposedly Obama wanted. As though Obama hadn’t revealed himself to be in favor to increased taxation for several years running, and not just on the “rich” who earn more than $250K.

Krauthammer goes on:

After all, these are the same Republicans who spent 2010 running on limited government and reducing debt. And this budget busting occurs less than a week after the president’s deficit commission had supposedly signaled a new national consensus of austerity and frugality.

Yes, they ran on those two things.  And keeping the tax cuts.  You forgot that part, Chuck.  Indeed, one of the best ways to limit government is to cut taxes, because the less money the government has, the less it can do..

And this assumes that raising taxes necessarily increases revenue.  You are free to believe that, Charles, but it would be helpful to state that assumption plainly.  Some of us tend to think that money is best invested in the people, rather than the government.

And then he demonstrates that he literally doesn’t understand the Tea Party movement at all:

While getting Republicans to boost his own reelection chances, [Obama] gets them to make a mockery of their newfound, second-chance, post-Bush, Tea-Party, this-time-we’re-serious persona of debt-averse fiscal responsibility.

Sure, because what the Tea Party was all about, was raising taxes, right Chucky?

Seriously, who exactly do you think you are fooling, Chaz?  I mean look, I get it.  You don’t like supply side economics.  You don’t buy into the laffer curve.  And if that is how you feel, say it.  Make the case that the best way to reduce the debt is by raising taxes.  But don’t pretend this is 1) violating party principles, or 2) a victory for Obama or 3) a violation of Tea Party principles.  Because that is just pure bull___.

Well, at least that is one theory to explain this completely “wtf?!” column.  The other is that he is hoping that all the liberals who read his columns will suddenly decide that this is a good deal and vote for it.  Consider this passage toward the end:

Where, after all, does the left go? Stay home on Election Day 2012? Vote Republican?

No, says the current buzz, the left will instead challenge Obama for the Democratic nomination. Really now? For decades, African Americans have been this party’s most loyal constituency. They vote 9 to 1 Democratic through hell and high water, through impeachment and recession, through everything. After four centuries of enduring much, African Americans finally see one of their own achieve the presidency. And their own party is going to deny him a shot at his own reelection?

Not even Democrats are that stupid. The remaining question is whether they are just stupid enough to not understand – and therefore vote down – the swindle of the year just pulled off by their own president.

When you read this you start to really wonder whether he is engaged in reverse psychology.  He is saying, “I am mad at republicans for passing this, and democrats would be stupid not to take this deal.”  But maybe in fact he likes the deal and is hoping democrats will be convinced by columns like his own to pass it.  “If Krauthammer, a true conservative hates it, it must be good!”

But of course that depends on his entire column being a lie, a bit of dishonest performance art, which seems like a questionable approach for writing a column.  As a general rule of thumb, I believe in politics being carried out honestly, having our disagreements openly, and not hiding it behind layers of B.S.  Hence, why I am calling Krauthammer on this column, whatever his motivation in writing it.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

75 Responses to “Krauthammer Acts Like a Weiner: A Failure to Increase Taxes is Stimulus (II) and a Victory for Obama!”

  1. Congressman Weiner’s recent antics have been very embarrassing. Not just his recent comments, which are deceptive or merely unfair, but also his basic attitude lately.

    This is a shame, because I’ve met Weiner a few times and he was extremely gracious towards me when he absolutely didn’t have to be. My impression was that he was a completely genuine patriot and good man, albeit from the far left (and at the time, he knew I was a Texan Republican).

    I guess I should be glad that someone I thought was a brilliant and formidable liberal leader has turned out to be a crank, but I’m pretty disappointed.

    Krauthammer raises some good points. If the GOP does not cut spending, then extending the tax cuts is the wrong thing to do. I agree that raising taxes would be a disaster for out economy, but spending and taxing should be much closer than they probably will be.

    My other concern is that these tax cuts are still extremely temporary, which undermines one of their benefits (stability).

    When the new House is seated, it will be time to start passing austerity measures, permanent tax cuts, balanced budgets, and nothing else until we’ve got our country back on track.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  2. First, failing to raise taxes IS stimulus. Not in traditional ‘DC’ speak, but in the sense that removing the fear of having our taxes raised will encourage people to spend and invest. I know of at least one person (me) that was holding off until I could figure out what was going on.

    Second, it is a victory for Obama, at least to the extent that he got more than he should have been able to get. The GOP didn’t have to cave on unemployment and the other spending and they could have gotten more than a mere two year extension and a slightly lower estate tax than otherwise would have been the case.

    steve (369bc6)

  3. No, the good doctor has missed the point of the tea party, a few times, thinking the protests would cause a backlash, the larger problem is the pork, specially ‘green jobs’ that have been loaded onto the bill. The withholding is temporary, and not particularly significant. The estate tax modification will likely cause a sell off, in some corner, as people have to sell assets to pay the new tax.

    narciso (6075d0)

  4. steve, I agree with both of your points.

    Especially that not raising taxes is more stimulating than raising them. But I think it’s more reasonable to characterize it as status quo, and the alternative hikes as economically destructive, than to say doing the same thing is a stimulus.

    We’ll see if we can even pass this extension, but I suspect almost everyone involved is BSing heavily.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  5. I object to calling it a stimulus because it is suggesting we are doing something different, which gets into dustin’s point about the status quo.

    Yes, keeping taxes low does “stimulate” the economy, but calling it a stimulus incorrect, imho.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  6. Kraut is one of the few intellectuals left in the party of anti-intellect science deniers. Who was it that designed these tax cuts to expire?

    leo (a5a81f)

  7. The “who was it that designed this tax rates to expire” theme is pretty hilarious. It shows the utter ignorance of those commenting rather than making any particular point.

    More timely, what didn’t the Democrats deal with the tax rates sometime in the last two years? They are squealing like little rodents now that they are being squeezed by the GOP and the President but it is all their own fault.

    The Democrat controlled Congress ignored this issue for two years, for purely ideological reasons, and is now paying the price for their own stupidity. And this is not an isolated example, there is no budget for FY2011 even though we are now two months into the FY. The Republicans will have the opportunity in the House to design FY 2011 to their own preferences solely because Pelosi and Reid could not do the basic part of their job as Congressional leaders – getting a budget adopted.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  8. Chas K is part of the Beltway. He is one of the “elites” that needs to go. Along with Steele, Rove, Powell and a lot of others.
    The Tea Party folks need to remain on point.
    If those elected by the Tea Party start trying to rationalize compromise then they should be reminded. If they don’t want to9 listen then they should also be voted out in ’12.

    Buck (2f4203)

  9. “5.I object to calling it a stimulus because it is suggesting we are doing something different” Well, the FICA cut is something different. It may be stimulative, but it’s the wrong thing to do with respect to the debt and the entitlement crisis. It’s another delay on the journey toward fiscal responsibility reform.

    gp (72be5d)

  10. What is even more hillarious is the Taxed Enough Already sign …. dated 2009.

    leo (a5a81f)

  11. This is not as risible as the LA Times and the well-named Congressman Weiner saying that keeping the tax rate the same = deficit spending, but it’s pretty bad.

    Do you find it… wisible?

    JohnW (ec1b2b)

  12. Yelverton’s link is pretty hilarious, as it shows again that he never reads anything he links to see if it actually says what he claims. The link lists three reasons why the effective tax rate is lower in 2009 … and two of the three are because the recession lowered people’s income so they pay less taxes because of the Bush tax rates or because they spent less that was subject to sales taxes.

    The opposite of Yelverton’s point.

    Sheesh, the stupidity of the twit is getting exponential.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  13. William Yelverton has added “leo” to his ever growing list of cowardly sock puppet names.

    JD (306f5d)

  14. Leo at 7:48.

    What is hilarious about that? First, anyone who goes to any Tea Party rally will see that slogan, period.

    Second, have taxes gone down since then? um, no.

    Or are you trying to say Bush’s taxes were too high. Interesting, but so what? It doesn’t contradict my point which is that Tea Partiers were against higher taxes.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  15. Its not just that, Aaron. Yelverton’s link does not support his snark. Its yet another example of his complete incompetence.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  16. First, everyone claiming Leo = Yelverton… is absolutely correct.

    SPQR

    Well the copyright is from 2009 on the sign i showed. to be fair to the douchenozzle.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  17. SPQR, it’s amazing how many levels this guy can fail on at the same time.

    I really wish I could meet this creep, just to know if he’s capable of having a normal conversation.

    One thing I’ve noticed about his blog… he’s alone. He doesn’t have friends or a wife or kids, even though he’s getting on in years. He occasionally mentions a female, invariably to promote himself in a way that demeans the woman (who appears to be fictitious). I’m not surprised to see a troll get really nasty and crazy around the holidays. That’s when lonely and failed people often lash out.

    As far as the T.E.A. slogan, he didn’t really articular anything other than some vague ‘gotcha’ that makes no sense. You’re right that he didn’t read his own link.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  18. I’d have to concur with the insinuation that Charles strays from the narrow way which I take to be because he’s an elitist in his bones.

    I also get the impression he disdains intuition and the vulgar senses, like smell, in taking the measure of men. Must be that Johns Hopkins indoctrination.

    gary gulrud (790d43)

  19. 10. I don’t get the point about 2009. The Santelli Rant, catalytic event for the Tea Party, was in Feb 2009. What’s hilarious about 2009?

    gp (72be5d)

  20. I’ve enjoyed his work over the years for the most part, since he’s usually witty and on – target. But we should remember that he never understood the tea party in the first place, and wrongfully disparaged them and their efforts not that long ago. He had to act contrite and admit he was wrong on camera a few months later, but it would appear his apology wasn’t genuine.

    Dmac (498ece)

  21. “Indeed, one of the best ways to limit government is to cut taxes, because the less money the government has, the less it can do.”

    This statement alone is indicative of how confused everyone is over their various economic ideologies. As both parties have shown the less money the government has the more it BORROWS.

    Neither party wants taxes to go back to Clinton levels because they are afraid that everyone will scream at them and maybe even vote them out of office. But……

    Dems want more tax revenue for what they think will stimulate the economy (spending by the middle class), and Reps want more tax breaks for large corporations and the wealthy (starting with this one, making a temporary tax break permanent is a tax break no matter how much BS you put on top of it)which they think will stimulate the economy by increasing hiring and capital investment.

    Neither side has any idea if their forms of stimulus actually will work this time so they are trying to simultaneously claim a “win” for their constituencies and at the same time make the OTHER party responsible for the tax deal. Thus Krathammer and everyone else’s lunacy.

    Ed Wood (ea3713)

  22. Forgot to add that although my hero (Paul Ryan) doesn’t like the macro of this plan, he still thinks it’s worth passing in the short term interests of getting the economy growing again. Yes, he admits that the deficit will increase, but as he’s been tirelessly advocating for many months now, Washington doesn’t have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. He’s just the person to start making cuts in those programs, which I expect he’ll begin doing as soon as he takes his new position on the Budgetary committee next year.

    Dmac (498ece)

  23. Aaron- I am going to pick at a nit, but there is nothing to suggest that the taxes in question will result in lower revenues.

    JD (9742eb)

  24. Ed Wood, much of the tax breaks for “large corporations” in the tax deal are ethanol subsidies supported by Democrats.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  25. Ed

    and what happens when no one will extend credit to us anymore?

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  26. http://crfb.org/blogs/tax-cut-compromise-costly-deal

    I would really suggest a read of that link for how the dollars break down in this deal.

    Only a small part of the funds cover the tax extensions.

    Yes it is a stimulus again and the pork up is multiples of what the tax extensions do to the deficit.

    nano (ea6549)

  27. I find it annoying to see the simplistic, and simply wrong rhetoric of “The Republicans are for Large Corporations!” that we see from people like EdWood.

    The Democrats have a large section of “large corporations” as their constituency today. Banks, credit card companies, mortgage companies and more have seen a large amount of support among Democrats in policy and tax treatment. Large Corporations are not libertarian in their view of ideal policy – there is a lot of rent-seeking behavior at that level and the Democrats are as willing if not more to feed it. Ed Wood and his ilk ignore this because it does not fit their simplistic world view.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  28. “Second, it is a victory for Obama, at least to the extent that he got more than he should have been able to get.”

    steve – That’s one school of thought. By being too chickensh*t to address the issue before the midterms the Democrats backed themselves into a corner, but holding on to majorities in both the House and Senate were still afraid to push for their preferred outcome. VICTORY!!!!!!11ty!!!!

    daleyrocks (c07dfa)

  29. Ed Wood and his ilk ignore this because it does not fit their simplistic world view.

    SPQR, I agree.

    The truth is that these tax cuts affect small business owners, and their hiring, much more than they effect ‘huge corporations’ or billionaires.

    Most jobs come from small business, too, so it makes sense to ‘stimulate’ them. But keeping the current tax regime is a far cry from helping them when they are already struggling. It’s purely a matter of how you want to spin it.

    At the end of the day, this is our money, not the government’s. That’s another mistake Ed Wood makes. He says keeping the current tax levels permanent would be a break, but we’re used to that tax level… it helped the economy and boosted revenue, and lifting it would not be a nothing… it would be a tax hike and a disaster.

    I have no idea how he thinks doing so would help the middle class. I think tax cuts help the middle class quite a lot. The difference between Obama actual tax wish and what we got is only tens of billions… how was that going to help the middle class?

    But Ed Wood’s right that we just borrow what we don’t bring in via tax, to meet expenses.

    The left wants to pretend we can’t fix the spending problem, so anyone concerned with the deficit must agree to tax hikes, even if when the economy is struggling. That’s sick.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  30. Dustin, a lot of the benefit of extending the tax rates has already been lost due to Democrat incompetence. There has been no certainty for months now about what the 2011 rates would be. And so people have been more affected by the uncertainty than the rates themselves.

    For example, imagine that today you are an investor with a significant amount of capital gains in the stock and bond markets. Do you sell today to take those gains in 2010 tax rates or not? How do you make that decision today … or last week ? With the incompetence of the Democrats, we’ve seen a lot of economic harm already occur that is irreparable.

    All of which goes right over Ed Wood’s head. Yelverton of course does not even know that there is such as thing as economics …

    SPQR (26be8b)

  31. Ed Wood, much of the tax breaks for “large corporations” in the tax deal are ethanol subsidies supported by Democrats.

    To be fair, a hell of a lot of GOP reps supported this excreable piece of sh-t boondoggle, including one of their newest stars, Novi (R – SD). Her explanation of her support of this pork was laughable, and I have a hard time believing that her local Tea party supporters are going to be forgetting that anytime soon. They still don’t get it, and this initial foray into porkland was truly disappointing.

    Dmac (498ece)

  32. BTW, of course your broader point still stands.

    Dmac (498ece)

  33. Dmac, yep, there are already signs the GOP will be a major disappointment, and Ed Wood is justified to complain about them if they do not work very hard towards reduced spending.

    Anyway, I had some proposals for stimulus.

    Proposed: that the US Government does not nuke Nebraska.

    Proposed: that the CIA does not invent Super-AIDS.

    Proposed: that the income tax policy not be raised to the “1 for you 19 for me” concept.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  34. I saw a good analogy about the narrative surrounding this tax debate. The idea that the government is giving millions and billions to the rich, or tax cuts to anyone, since it just maintains the status quo, is like saying because I did not steal your 72 inch LED flat screen, I gave you one.

    JD (b98cae)

  35. Live by identity politics, die by identity politics.

    mojo (8096f2)

  36. Can we please leave the snarky name-calling like Chaz and Chuck to the liberals?

    Aren’t we the side who can actually make intelligent arguments?

    Chad (164dbd)

  37. Hate to break orthodoxy, but Obama’s move to lower the bottom of the bucket on Social Security was both a brilliant move and is stimulus. The bottom 47% of households that pay no INCOME TAX do pay FICA if they work; they now have a few more dollars in their pocket to spend on gas, food, diapers, video rentals and meth.

    The Republicans have missed their chance, yet again. The idea has been around for decades, and when Republicans presented it Democrats thwarted it. Now, the idea has been hijacked and branded (D).

    Well, back to the real issue, spending still has not been addressed, so the baby carriage is still rolling down the hill.*Sigh…thinking about what’s for lunch.*

    TimesDisliker (5fe13c)

  38. “much of the tax breaks for “large corporations” in the tax deal are ethanol subsidies supported by Democrats.”

    Adding to the deficit AND bad environmentalism! They get a twofer!

    SPQR-I honestly forgot to add corporate America to the Dem’s list of constituents. I was paying attention in this latest financial fiasco and subsequent bailout-fest.

    Since both parties work for Goldman Sachs and etc….apparently starting in the Clinton administration onward, making Bush’s tax cuts permanent was really a forgone conclusion. The only thing left for politicians to do is to see what they can get out of it.

    EdWood (c2268a)

  39. “Novi (R – SD). Her explanation of her support of this pork was laughable, and I have a hard time believing that her local Tea party supporters are going to be forgetting that anytime soon.”

    How many of them farm corn/biomass or service that industry? If lots of them do then they can give themselves a pass by reminding themselves that all the big budget items are Social Security and Medicare (or if libs “the military/spook network”)so little subsidies like this don’t really count right?

    EdWood (c2268a)

  40. “This is not as risible as the LA Times and the well-named Congressman Weiner saying that keeping the tax rate the same = deficit spending, but it’s pretty bad.”

    IIRC, Current estimates of the deficit are based on keeping the law the same — meaning that the current tax rates expire. Changing the law to keep rates the same would thus be an increase in the deficit, just as would changing the law to add spending.

    imdw (c5488f)

  41. How many of them farm corn/biomass or service that industry?

    If you look it up, it’s just about all of them, and I wouldn’t be too surprised if ADM was also a huge contributor to their campaign war chests.

    Dmac (498ece)

  42. Don’t feel badly, as many people don’t understand such complicated issues, such as reconciling their bank statements or comprehending deficit spending. But, to make things easier to digest, let’s look at how we got here in the first place.

    Democrats spend, and to do so they must either tax or borrow. “Social justice” sounds good to liberal voters, and soaking the wealthy has always appealed to the not-so-wealthy. Republicans also spend, regardless of what they claim. But the promise of cutting taxes, or allowing those with money to keep more of it, appeals to conservative voters.

    The result of either strategy is debt, and lots of it, since we always spend so much more than we bring in. I don’t make a million dollars. I also don’t have a Congressman at my beck and call, and my financial situation matter little to the Capitol Hill Millionaire’s Club.

    So, under cover of “compromise” (apparently in principles only), the GOP is willing to allow a massive increase in unfunded entitlements in order to keep the Bush Tax Cuts in place for the wealthy. Although some Dems may whine about their precious Death Tax, the tax rate freeze is only temporary. Unfortuately, the huge increase in the deficit will be permanent.

    If the current tax rates are extended by this “compromise” we have only succeeded in adding to our debt, this time pulling from both ends. Contrary to what Pelosi says, unemployment checks are not the best way to create jobs. They are, however, a great way to increase the deficit, without a way to offset the cost.

    In 13 months, we will undoubtedly extend unemployment yet again, and in 24 months we will be forced to again consider raising our tax rates. By then, of course, we will have added another $2 trillion in debt. But, when we eventually do raise taxes, under the guise of dealing with our runaway debt, it only means a bigger pile of money for more spending.

    What we have here is failure to communicate….while I don’t agree with Krauthammer’s numbers, he did hit the nail on the head – this deal is a win for the GOP, a win for the Democrats, and another loss for the taxpayers, no matter how either side wishes to spin it.

    IrateNate (e35d11)

  43. I agree that Krauthammer usually seems quite reasonable and willing to look at the obvious instead of demand the esoteric, but just when you think he is a conservative who “gets it”, he says something that comes straight from the beltway.

    Even if he does not agree with the idea that maintaining a lower tax rate will help the economy and be a net increase to collected revenues, he ought to be able to acknowledge the concept and intent. In which case, it is not going to add to the deficit, and is a “stimulus” only in the sense that when people have their own money they can spend it.

    What does seem to be Obama’s and the Dem’s victory is the amount of spending they have attached to it as a cost of “being willing to compromise”. On the surface it seems a clear loss to Obama because he is caving on his “no tax cuts for the rich” mantra. On the surface it seems a clear win for the Repubs who were able to maintain the entirety of the Bush tax cuts. But when you go beyond the superficial sound bites, there are dems who do not want to concede maintaing the tax cuts on the upper brackets who are nonetheless happy about spending, and there are Repubs who are happy about maintaining the tax cuts, but who see no reason to compromise much to get them, even if it means waiting a few months until the new Congress is in.

    I think it seems pretty straight-forward: the Conservatives, including TEA Party, won their continued low taxes. The deal as it now stands, means the Dems are getting a lot of pork to let the Repubs get their way. To some degree it is up to each side to think how hard of a bargain they can drive. Those who elected a wave of Repubs in the last election will not be happy if they can’t stand tough enough.

    MD in Philly (cac12c)

  44. I agree. I think CK is doing some tongue and cheek here, because otherwise the column makes no sense. Republicans have been promising to do what they could to extend those tax cuts for years, to back off that now because of $5 billion for ethanol subsidies or 56 billion for unemployment benefits would be insane. I saw that polls have as much as 69% of the people supporting this deal. And the idea that if they just hold their breath until their faces turn blue they can get the perfect deal for the conservative movement is crazy, after all Obama and Reid and Pelosi are still in charge..and after Jan, Obama will still be president. Considering that, this was not a bad deal.

    I read this at Powerline:

    But how many of these porky provisions have been included, and what is the combined price tag? Also, are these new perks or extensions of already existing ones?

    I haven’t seen an answer to the first questions. As to the second, it appears that the tax deal legislation contains no new special perks. The Washington Post reports that the only new tax breaks are the reduction in the payroll tax and a provision allowing businesses to write off 100 percent of the cost of capital investments next year. Most Republicans favor these methods of promoting growth. According to the Post, “the bill does not contain a single perk requested by a lawmaker, perhaps a first for major tax legislation.”

    Moreover, again according to the Post, more than 40 existing tax breaks that have been around for years have not been included in the new legislation. And most of the breaks that would be retained are likely to be killed next year by the new Congress.

    Thus, to the extent one characterizes these breaks as “stimulus,” they are a continuation of longstanding stimulus, not new stimulus like that adopted in the $800 billion plus package of 2009.

    Terrye (7d99e4)

  45. What we have here is failure to communicate….while I don’t agree with Krauthammer’s numbers, he did hit the nail on the head – this deal is a win for the GOP, a win for the Democrats, and another loss for the taxpayers, no matter how either side wishes to spin it.

    Comment by IrateNate — 12/13/2010 @ 5:20 pm

    Apparently the tax payers don’t feel that way, a strong majority supported this deal.

    Terrye (7d99e4)

  46. much of the tax breaks for “large corporations” in the tax deal are ethanol subsidies supported by Democrats.”

    Adding to the deficit AND bad environmentalism! They get a twofer!

    Oh come on, this is $5 billion. That is not one tenth of one percent of the cost..and it is not bad environmentalism either. I live in a rural area. And so much of what people say about ethanol is just city people talking about something they know nothing about. Really it is..for instance, using the corn for ethanol does not destroy its value as feed for livestock. The by product is mash and cows love that stuff. Nothing is wasted. I am not saying ethanol is a good alternative to gasoline, but it is not an evil terrible thing either.

    Terrye (7d99e4)

  47. #

    Hate to break orthodoxy, but Obama’s move to lower the bottom of the bucket on Social Security was both a brilliant move and is stimulus. The bottom 47% of households that pay no INCOME TAX do pay FICA if they work; they now have a few more dollars in their pocket to spend on gas, food, diapers, video rentals and meth.

    The Republicans have missed their chance, yet again. The idea has been around for decades, and when Republicans presented it Democrats thwarted it. Now, the idea has been hijacked and branded (D).

    Well, back to the real issue, spending still has not been addressed, so the baby carriage is still rolling down the hill.*Sigh…thinking about what’s for lunch.*

    Comment by TimesDisliker — 12/13/2010 @ 11:38 am

    My God, how condescending. Believe it or not, there are a lot of working poor out there who do not use meth…just like there a lot of wealthy people who use all kinds of drugs.

    Those people who do not pay income taxes still pay social security taxes, state taxes, county taxes, medicare taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, gas taxes just to mention a few. And as for the Republicans having their chance to stick it to the working poor or whatever, it should be remembered that the Democrats still control the government and after Jan, they will still control the White House and the Senate..there are limits to what the Republicans can actually do.

    Terrye (7d99e4)

  48. My God, how condescendingpatronizing. Believe it or not, there are a lot of working poor housepainters out there who do notuse meth…just like there a lot of wealthy people who use all kinds of drugsbetter drugs than meth.
    Comment by Terrye — 12/13/2010 @ 7:28 pm

    FIFY

    TimesDisliker (3c68a6)

  49. Mr. Krauthammer is right and Team R has lost a huge amount of credibility by embracing this deeply silly deal.

    happyfeet (c0d821)

  50. I saw a good analogy about the narrative surrounding this tax debate …

    That’s actually a terrible analogy, unless you believe that Congress does not have the Constitutional power to raise or lower taxes — an interesting if odd offshoot of the libertarians’ contention that ‘taxation is theft’, where the only tax rates ever allowed are the ones we currently have.

    Furthermore, extending the Bush tax cuts does not ‘maintain the status quo’. It is a tax cut because maintenance of the status quo would see them expire and rates return to those of the Clinton era. That is the existing state of affairs — only through Congressional action will we see the current rates extended.

    Thus, by taking positive action, Congress can give tax breaks to Americans that they would not otherwise have if Congress does nothing. Of course, Congress could also take positive action in actually RAISING rates above those of the Clinton era — that too would be perfectly legal despite whatever analogies to flat panel TVs were offered, if politically and (probably) economically disastrous.

    D. Aristophanes (7699fe)

  51. but it is not an evil terrible thing either.

    I think you’re missing the point, Terrye. These folks were elected primarily by citizens who want to put a stop to these wasteful programs, no matter what the numbers represent. Ethanol has been a huge payoff to ADM for decades at this point, and justifying it by claiming that it’s “only 5 billions dollars” only makes it worse, not to mention bringing up echoes of the crony capitalism that the last GOP majority engaged in. To approve this kind of crap before the GOP House even takes control next year sends exactly the wrong kind of message to the voters.

    Dmac (498ece)

  52. the ethanol thing is…

    you tell farmers and industry to plan a certain way and they make the appropriate investments and then you jerk them around by going all Emily Litella and they’re left holding the bag

    I’m not saying ethanol subsidies aren’t stupid but it’s a very third world banana republic way of doing business.

    happyfeet (c0d821)

  53. Well, happy, you are correct. However, isn’t it about time that we stop acting like a third-world country and return to being the greatest nation on Earth?

    How about stop interfering with everything that Americans know how to do, without the guidance of Uncle Sam?

    I mean China is nice and everything, but they don’t have chicken-fried steak.

    Ag80 (e828a4)

  54. yes it is time Mr. 80 but this whole tax deal says loud and clear that Team R is not on board with that idea

    tumbling and tumbling into a widening abyss of debt are we

    surely some revelation is at hand

    happyfeet (c0d821)

  55. No argument from me, happy.

    Ag80 (e828a4)

  56. “yes it is time Mr. 80 but this whole tax deal says loud and clear that Team R is not on board with that idea”

    Mr. Feets – I am surely confuzzled. I thought Uncle Sam had a big azzed spending problem since the dirty socialist democrats took over congress, not a revenue problem.

    Keeping tax rates level is not spending money. Help a brother out.

    daleyrocks (c07dfa)

  57. Mr. Feets – I believe Ms. Sarah will help our little banana republic with its spending problem after she is elected president in 2012. You betcha!

    daleyrocks (c07dfa)

  58. the FICA tax cut is same as spending cause the program is in the red and the useless codgers will still get their checks, now just with even less revenue to balance against the outlay

    It blows a huge hole in the deficit in the name of stimulus. But that’s not the worst of it.

    Next year we’ll be treated to an argument about whether our pathetic embarrassment of a government will or won’t extend the FICA tax cut.

    Like teasing a mongrel dog with a tasty treat. That’s how Americans have come to expect to be treated by their government – whether it’s Team R or Team dirty socialist.

    Pathetic. And doubly pathetic that people lap this swill up from a Team R what just got elected to … rein in the spendings.

    America is become a farce. The world is laughing.

    happyfeet (c0d821)

  59. The main problem is that the whole point of this deal is that it’s based on the idea that Americans need to start spending/consuming to get the economy going again. Except for guns, ammo, gold, and silver, I’m not seeing much evidence that they’re eager to spend whatever spare money they have on consumer goods. “Black Friday” had to be turned into “Black November” just so stores could dump their inventory.

    Revolving credit has been dropping for 26 months straight–that’s credit card purchases–and has been steady at around -10% since the beginning of the year. Does anyone outside DC honestly believe that’s going to change anytime soon?

    http://www.market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=174370

    Both parties are on crack if they think extending these tax rates and lowering the employee-side payroll tax is going to increase consumer spending and save the economy; the numbers on consumer credit speak for themselves. They’re acting as if we won’t have to go through any pain to get the country solvent again. It’s not just charter-school applicants that are “Waiting for Superman,” it’s every politician in Washington expecting some deus ex machina to swoop in and make everything right once more.

    Another Chris (2e9afa)

  60. what Mr. Chris says is very wise and very apt

    here Mr. Chris you win 90s dance party

    happyfeet (c0d821)

  61. !

    happyfeet (c0d821)

  62. #

    My God, how condescendingpatronizing. Believe it or not, there are a lot of working poor housepainters out there who do notuse meth…just like there a lot of wealthy people who use all kinds of drugsbetter drugs than meth.
    Comment by Terrye — 12/13/2010 @ 7:28 pm
    FIFY

    Comment by TimesDisliker — 12/13/2010 @ 8:14 pm

    Hey, thanks

    Terrye (7d99e4)

  63. I think you’re missing the point, Terrye. These folks were elected primarily by citizens who want to put a stop to these wasteful programs, no matter what the numbers represent. Ethanol has been a huge payoff to ADM for decades at this point, and justifying it by claiming that it’s “only 5 billions dollars” only makes it worse, not to mention bringing up echoes of the crony capitalism that the last GOP majority engaged in. To approve this kind of crap before the GOP House even takes control next year sends exactly the wrong kind of message to the voters.

    Comment by Dmac — 12/13/2010 @ 8:36 pm

    No, I am not missing the point. The point is that 69% of the people support this deal and do not want to see it jeopardized by a bunch of purists who want to kill the deal over something like an ethanol tax credit.

    Terrye (7d99e4)

  64. I’m not saying ethanol subsidies aren’t stupid but it’s a very third world banana republic way of doing business.

    Comment by happyfeet — 12/13/2010 @ 8:39 pm

    No argument from me on that, but this is about the overall tax hikes that will come if they don’t pass it. There are things in the bill I don’t like, but sometimes you just have to act like a grownup and take the bad with the good.

    Terrye (7d99e4)

  65. “only 5 billions dollars”

    And its not only 5 billion. 10% Ethanol in your tank is 10% reduced mileage-yes, really. The Ethanol is the more expensive component. You pay 10% more in State and Federal gas tax.

    The corn price is propped up, wheat and soy taken out of production, you pay more for grain products.

    The Debt Ceiling comes up immediately after 112th seated. Why not wait?

    gary gulrud (790d43)

  66. Via Wizpiffle:

    “The opportunity cost in future federal energy policy is huge. In a 2009 analysis, LSU Professor Joseph Mason determined that America stood to gain $8 trillion in additional GDP, $2.2 trillion in tax revenue over the next 30 years, and 1.2 million new jobs annually by opening access to America’s offshore resources.”

    I’m not worried about growing up. My toddler? Yeah.

    gary gulrud (790d43)

  67. Terrye, those polled for your number were not informed of the pork.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  68. Well we don’t have control of the Senate, because
    the smell of epic fail, Senators like Reid, and
    Murkowski (who distinguished herself, by voting
    for a FS bill that had to be scrapped and retooled)
    was more conforting than any of the newcomers. So sooring food prices, gas prices, because of the choke hold on the gulf, and an estate tax hike, that will call cause certain folks, ‘to neccesarily
    sell’ off assets. Hope the 112th can reverse this.

    narciso (6075d0)

  69. Purists?

    At what point do you stand on your principles? Eventually, it won’t matter what you feel is pragmatic, because no one will be willing to fund our debt without a bigger rate of return, then all bets are off. Game over!
    QE&infin:! You may want to invest in wheelbarrows to carry your worthless cash to purchase the contaminated goods China provides.
    We’re still finding out how the TARP funds were used regardless of the supposed restrictions. It just never seems to end. In the very near future, we’ll have no options left.

    jfap (e7577d)

  70. Dmac at 41 -“If you look it up, it’s just about all of them, and I wouldn’t be too surprised if ADM was also a huge contributor to their campaign war chests”.

    Yep. Tea Party or not who runs South Dakota?

    ADM, the “individual” who buys all the corn, wheat, and soy.

    Dmac at 51- “bringing up echoes of the crony capitalism that the last GOP (and Dems, added for SPQR) majority engaged in”.

    Yep.

    ADM gets taxpayer money, their execs and well heeled employees get to keep money next year that they would have had to fork over, ok, what do we, the American people get in return for this subsidy?

    EdWood (c2268a)

  71. Mitt Romney had a very good opinion in US News today about this tax deal.

    I am by no means a fan of Mr Romney, but it’s good great points.

    In my book, failing to make these cuts permanent is a fatal flaw. If we need to change our policies later, fine, but holding tax hikes like an anvil over every employer’s head makes them plan not to hire. It’s incredibly stupid.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  72. I only pulled part of Dmac’s quote from his comment at 51 but I agree with all of it. Everyone is going on about the Dems not listening to their base but I’m not sure the Reps are exactly going to be given a pass. Good. Put the screws to all of them.

    EdWood (c2268a)

  73. We’ve lost a lot of the benefit of passing the extension of the tax rates simply from the fact that its been delayed so long. Any minute now, the market is going to give up waiting for the extension and start dumping stocks to take capital gains under 2010 rates …

    And indeed, just two years of rates will discourage some people from acting upon them.

    SPQR (e4f54d)

  74. Another Chris as usual says it best.

    EdWood (c2268a)

  75. This blogpost was pretty informative. Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute has a pretty cool lecture series on the Laffer Curve. You might want to check it out. Here it is (in 3 parts):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIqyCpCPrvU
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsB_rnzBA08&feature=channel
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mw7LtVwDCbs&feature=channel

    adasmith (94d5b2)


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