Patterico's Pontifications


Do We Need a Third Party?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:25 pm

I’m starting to think we do. Because I don’t think the Republicans have the slightest idea what we’re all so pissed off about.

As evidence, let me cite a recent Allahpundit post about the GOP’s dithering about whether they can cut a whole fucking $100 billion from the budget:

Their excuse will be that the fiscal year, which began on October 1, will already be almost half over by the time the budgetary resolution that was passed during the lame duck runs out in March. That means they’ll only have seven months to work with this fiscal year; when they said they’d cut $100 billion, they meant the first full fiscal year that they’re in charge. But wait, you say! Shouldn’t it be fairly easy to find $100 billion to cut in an annual budget that exceeds $3.5 trillion? Well, yes — except that the GOP’s limiting itself to cutting discretionary spending (Social Security and Medicare are, as ever, completely off-limits) and even within discretionary spending they refuse to touch “security” budgets, i.e. Defense and Homeland Security. That leaves just $500 billion or so for this year to play with, and since, as Rich Lowry noted earlier at the Corner, a good chunk of that will already have been spent by the time the continuing resolution expires in the spring, they’d have to make huge cuts to what’s left in order to get to $100 billion in savings overall.

The point to ponder here, I think, is that even the highly touted $100 billion figure is just a small fraction of last year’s deficit. Even with a tea-party Congress, even with a gigantic pool of expenditures to cut from, political reality is such that not only can’t they reach that modest, largely symbolic target in seven months, they’ll actually have to move heaven and earth during the next full fiscal year to get Obama and the Senate Democrats to agree to it. This is what we’ve been reduced to — the suspense of wondering whether the new Republican majority can achieve cuts that will barely make a dent in our annual budget shortfall. Hugely depressing.

“Depressing” doesn’t begin to cover it. There really aren’t words for how absolutely infuriating this is. More and more, the temptation to leave the keyboard one is calmly typing on, and simply pound the fucking wall in frustration and dream of an armed insurrection . . . becomes something understandable rather than something we all know we should calmly denounce.

Say what you will about President Bush — whose memoir I am about 2/3 of the way through and enjoying immensely — but at least he tried to do something about Social Security. This ridiculous notion that everything that actually contributes to spending must be considered off the table — well, we have to take that notion off the table. We have to. No matter what it takes. We have to do it.

Realize: you’re talking to someone who (for all the dishonest portrayals of me as a bloodless pragmatist) voted for freaking Ross Perot in 1992, and voted for Tom McClintock in the California recall over that bastard Ahhnold who just commuted the sentence of his bestest buddy’s kid. The thing is, a lot of us are starting to wonder about this whole “voting” thing. Because we just got through trying that. And we thought we had sent a message . . . but now, it appears, the goddamned message is being interpreted as: can you please please see if you can maybe slice $100 billion off these crushing deficits and if you can’t we understand but could you try? Please?

Fuck that. I know a lot of you share my desire to take one of these lawmakers by the scruff of their neck and scream in their face that they don’t seem to understand what we’re on about, but HOW ABOUT ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING ABOUT ALL THIS SPENDING SO OUR KIDS AREN’T FACING A HOPELESS FUTURE YOU MORONS!!!

We’re living in a country where the idiot liberal judges want to rewrite our Constitution; where the lawmakers could not care less about mortgaging our childrens’ future; where those of us who want to live our lives responsibly and be left alone are slapped in the face again and again AND AGAIN.

What does it take to wake these people up? Honestly?!

Does it take a third party?

Whatever it is, we have to do it. Because the message clearly is not getting through.

221 Responses to “Do We Need a Third Party?”

  1. And yes, I know, a third party is doomed to failure.

    And if we try it, we will probably fuck up our judiciary beyond recognition.

    But goddamn it, what other option do we have? If these people can’t cut $100 billion off the budget without blinking an eye, they are fucking worthless and it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

    God help me, the medium of blogging is not enough to convey the frustration.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  2. No,a third party would be disasterous. It would only be taking votes from big government Rs, meaning big government Ds would win…We need to vote out those big government Rs with small government Rs,not bigger government Ds.

    In the mean time we need to treat those big government Rs like slow children, repeat it constantly and continuously “Cut spending, cut spending, cut spending” every day and in every way.

    flicka47 (e43cc1)

  3. In the mean time we need to treat those big government Rs like slow children, repeat it constantly and continuously “Cut spending, cut spending, cut spending” every day and in every way.

    Can we hit them some? Just to drive the message home?

    Maybe just slap them?


    Really, REALLY hard?

    Patterico (c218bd)

  4. I think part of the issue, sir, is that we haven’t had enough of a chance, yet, to kick these idiots in the teeth.

    The GOP candidate has to lose every time to the Tea Party Candidate. The current crop of GOP executives all need to be shit-canned — starting with Michael Steele. You have to keep pounding their heads into a wall, until the ones who Just Don’t Get It quit and leave the whole process. One election cannot — will not — be able to repair the rot that lead to 2006 and 2008 — it took years of BS to have it happen.

    Think of the Tea Party not as a Third Party — think of them as the “Two-and-a-Halfth” Party. They are the people, and the ideals, we want to replace the GOP with, instead of the ersatz moderate pseudo-liberals that infest it like a disease nowadays.

    Case in point, from last year about this time —

    Why are there a bunch of friggin’ libtards in charge of the GOP?


    The Republican National Committee, pressed to find a way to more clearly distinguish itself from Democrats, on Friday
    adopted a rule that will prod GOP leaders to provide financial support to only those candidates who support the party’s

    The resolution, enacted by voice vote with no opposition at the party’s winter meeting here, is an alternative to a more
    stringent proposal that would have required GOP candidates to support 10 policy positions if they wanted party help.

    That proposal, sponsored by Indiana RNC member James Bopp and backed by the RNC’s more conservative members,
    was strongly opposed by party Chairman Michael Steele and a group of state party chairs.


    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)

  5. Pat,

    I no you disagreed with me last time I said this but until people stop voting democrats, until at least 25% of people have lost their jobs – the painful pain of a huge depression – its the only way to get people to realize self dependence and little govt is the answer

    The Republicans have no way to cut 100 billion unless its from entitlements which are most of the budget, they would be demonized and they dont have the senate

    The Senate is where all the power is

    EricPWJohnson (e83e82)

  6. whoops i meant I know not “no”

    EricPWJohnson (e83e82)

  7. Also, Allah needs to reread the article – no where is there a statement that there wil not be ignificant and historic budget cuts proposed – you know 25 billion, 50 billion, 100 billion 200 billion, nothing will pass the senate or get signed by the president

    Also, when do we listen to unsourced unquoted “aides” from the nytimes?

    This is the same frustrated drumbeat by tghose that think without 60 to 66 votes i the Senate that 70 years of progressivism can be reversed with one or two bills

    Democrats would love nothing better to rule from the minority forever bt schisming the right into realists and purists

    EricPWJohnson (e83e82)

  8. Yeah, slap them with a big Stupid Stick, every time they forget that big government is the problem, not the solution. Hard.

    Seriously though, if the big government Rs don’t figure it out we all lose. Because they won’t get a second chance to get it right.

    So, loudly and continuously “Cut spending, cut spending, cut spending.”

    flicka47 (e43cc1)

  9. It’s like Lucy and Charlie Brown and the football, and you guys fall for it every time. Good luck with the slapping and stupid sticks. I’m afraid they have already hit you with the that last one, though, because you keep voting for them.

    Chris Hooten (2b9678)

  10. It’s probably time to start sifting through the pile of potential primary candidates and evaluating them. It seems another round of forced retirements will be needed to hopefully drive the message home.

    Blacque Jacques Shellacque (e09322)

  11. “another round of forced retirements”

    See, isn’t that part of the problem? That being in Congress is a desirable “career” which one must be forcibly “retired” from? The role of Senator or Representative needs to be tweaked, so that the office-holder feels more like a waiter or a sous-chef than like a guest in the dining room.

    Maybe we should stop holding elections for federal office, and use something more like a draft, or jury-duty service. Make the job an irritating disruption of your normal life, rather than a life you aspire to.

    d. in c. (6ca166)

  12. I’m with you on this. It is as though we are speaking a foreign language, and the mainstream Republicans are just standing there, nodding, but not understanding a word we say.
    In 1920, when they had a looming depression, they cut federal spending by 50%, and the depression never materialized. That’s 50% out of the TOTAL, not 50% out of the proposed increase from the previous year. The 100bil figure is 3% (approx) of the budget, and will make absolutely no difference in our overall financial stability. The biggest problem with that is that Congress will (if pushed) gladly cut 10% of the proposed increase from last year, but will sell it (with teary eyes) as a whopping 10% cut that has to start with teachers, firefighters, and police officers.
    We need a founders movement, with a leader who will shoot straight and tell it like it is. Cut federal employees by 50% and freeze the salaries of all the rest. Nationalize the Fed, so everyone can see the books and know what monetary manipulations are occurring. Nationalize Fannie and Freddie, split them into 50 pieces (state by state) and sell them off to investors FROM EACH STATE. Put Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security on the table for discussion, but START the conversation with a 50% cut in expenditures, and make them justify every penny above that.
    There are LOTS more things we can do, but none of them will occur until the leadership actually starts listening to us, and they get rid of the stupid notion that there are budget items they can’t touch.

    JaceCar (63194d)

  13. i fooled them: i have no children, and i’m spending what’s left of my 4.01K on booze and ammunition.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  14. A third party would more than likely be a disaster.A continuing establishment GOP, who do the same old thing, who lack the balls to take the arrows while refusing to shirk their convictions would be a disaster.

    Quite frankly, I am still a registered Republican who considers himself an Independent because I refuse to back Bolsheviks whether they have a “R” or “D” next to their names.

    Will I continue to support the GOP if they don’t diligently fight to greatly reduce the size of this government…….NO.

    Drider (5ef5c6)

  15. A third party would entrench the Democraps in power more firmly than anything. THAT’S the problem with a third party. It is doom.

    Other than calling them, all the time, showing up unexpectedly at their office, scheduling meetings with them when they are in town, sending them letters every week the best thing we can do is to join the process locally. That really is where all these bullshit politicians cut their teeth. Join your county/parish party. Demand that your local politician read the frickin Constitution and love it. Pick better candidates for county/city council. These people get their starts locally, we ignore local politics for national to our detriment.

    Look at the wasteland of Detroit. Now look at Dallas. If you all really want change, you need to get involved and pay attention to that 25 year old kid who serves on the city council. This isn’t a fix for the next election, this HAS to be a decades long retrenchment of our political class.

    Vivian Louise (62ee05)

  16. You did not send a clear message with the tea party because you did not. Yeah – there is the no more spending chant, but right next to it is the keep the Government out of my Medicare chant. A huge part of the GOP congressional victory was old people voting against Medicare cuts. Something you reinforce every time you start talking about rationing and death panels (yeah I know you think that its a critique of any government run healthcare, but since Medicare really is not going to just go away it becomes an attack on cuts). You simply aren’t going to cut 100 billion out of the 500 billion left when you take everything big off the table. In order to have a real effect you have to attack the people who say that the Military and Medicare are off the table (SS too, but thats really the smallest of the problems in terms of long term growth over dedicated taxes). You also probably have to be more realistic and accept at least some modest tax hikes because you don’t have the majority to force all deficit balancing through cuts alone.

    TomO (72d137)

  17. Are we all children? Are we incapable of understanding the problem of federal spending?

    So much of it is structural in entitlements it is beyond reach. The fiscal year will be in the second half before ANY cuts can take effect, and we’ve ruled out any cuts in military or Homeland Security.

    With what can’t be cut, and what will already be spent, cutting $100 billion isn’t easy in this fiscal year.

    The Federal government is like a huge super-container ship. It can’t be maneuvered like a speedboat. It can only turn around slowly.

    If you can’t get your head around that reality, it’s going to be a very frustrating two years, and probably longer. And no third, fourth, or fifth party would be any better able to satisfy you.

    Estragon (ec6a4b)

  18. okay, two critiques.

    First, isn’t it early to declare them a failure? Aren’t they like being sworn in today?

    Second, I am really not seeing how you square that with all your comments that we should accept the lesser evil, say, in the Castle/O’Donnell question, to the point that maybe an update or another post should clarify. I mean the kind of third party you are talking about will probably have the short term result of getting more democrats elected. So for instance, that means even more liberal activist judges. And all those republicans who didn’t come out for mccain learned that there was indeed something worse than a republican who is insufficient on these issues: a democrat. we may be rightfully pissed at bush for his overspending, but we learned we hadn’t seen nothing yet.

    Mind you, I am not sure I have the answer either. I suspect the biggest point of the post is to express your frustration. Why can’t we get ppl in politics who finally do what they are elected to do? But I am really having a hard time squaring this with stuff like this:

    “When we lose elections, the Constitution gets rewritten.”

    And that was said, here:

    And maybe the answer is “i’ve changed my mind, Aaron, okay?”–which is perfectly acceptable. I don’t know. But this post is really hard to square with all those other posts right now.

    Aaron Worthing (1a6294)

  19. Epiphany?

    Civil War.

    gary gulrud (790d43)

  20. A third party is a complete loser, the Democrats and Republicans long ago got together to erect a firewall against that possibility, ballot access laws and the like, which makes all third party efforts futile. Even if the Republicans get beaten down again, it is not in the Democrats’ interest to permit them to be replaced with an effective opposition, they’ll pass whatever new laws are needed to preserve their ineffectual nominal opposition party.

    The tea party movement demonstrated what’s needed, it just hasn’t gone far enough yet. We win the primary, and the party doesn’t support the winning candidate?

    Fine, construct a parallel party to do the work the GOP won’t. All the guts of a new party, but it works through the GOP.

    Brett Bellmore (48aeab)

  21. Gary Gulrud…..Civil War?

    No, not a civil war but this past election is the
    “start” of a new era of American politics in that they had better get results come Hell or high water.

    I mentioned that if they fail or revert to their cowardly ways that I wouldn’t support the GOP but let me clarify.I will support individual candidates as I did this past election.Some may be huge risks,unknown people who face tough odds but if I like them I will support them “directly” with my money for what thats worth.I will not be sending money to the GOP or any other organization who doles out my cash to whomever they see fit, up until I feel they have righted the ship via actions, not words.
    I can be bought off with logical, common sense solutions that work.

    Drider (5ef5c6)

  22. Having literally slept on it a little, it seems to me that Allah’s report might be a trial balloon. As in, “gee, would you accept that we won’t cut spending, etc.?” so the correct answer is to deflate the balloon. write and call your congresscritter. don’t come off as a lunatic, but say simply this.

    “Do NOT vote to increase the debt cieling. cut spending until we run a surplus. and if you don’t, we will start a third party.”

    Or whatever message conveys your feelings, obviously.

    its not time to start a third party. but it is time to start making that threat.

    Aaron Worthing (1a6294)

  23. There are some dissapointing signs, with the selection of Bacchus and Neugebauer (who flubbed
    the Fannie Mae challenge, last time,) and Upton,
    who permitted the banning of the incandescent light
    bulb, and still entertains some kind of carbon tax!
    and Rogers, who was the pork addict at Appropriations, but all that is considered enlisting in the ‘purity brigade’ so never mind.

    narciso (6075d0)

  24. Aaron,

    Where in the article did they say thy were NOT cutting spending, what we had was a typical propaganda piece – well placed – to disrupt the republican leadership by quoting anonymous sources that they were not going to cut 100 billion (okay so they cut 99?)

    I’m not falling for it – I love Allah but this is a miss by him by a wide wide margin and what Allah is doing here is further pointing out the folly of ever electing progessives by highlighting how damn difficult it is going to be to cut anything other than national security

    just ask Reagan..

    EricPWJohnson (4380b4)

  25. I don’t because he plays all these cute little games, when he was a stand alone blogger, he
    was entertaining, now he’s just an Eeyore with longer ears

    narciso (6075d0)

  26. Crissyhooten eats boogers. Socialist boogers.

    JD (109425)

  27. If he was any dummerer, he would be a toenail fungus.

    It seems he was on a bender last night, and was just keeping his resolution to be a bigger weinerhole in 2011 than he was in 2010. Brava, beeyotch. Excellent start.

    JD (109425)

  28. Second, I am really not seeing how you square that with all your comments that we should accept the lesser evil,

    There is no one perfect answer as to where to draw the line when the “lesser evil” is good enough. Everyone has a point where they realize they can’t have everything and will settle for what they can get. Then there is the point where one is getting so little that it doesn’t seem to make sense to accept it, but to say, “Enough is enough!!”, or, with a cinematic reference, “I’m not going to take it any more!!”. Those lines vary from person to person, and from time to time for an individual person. Here we have an example of the, “Enough is Enough!!” reaction to yet another appalling development (if the worst is true).

    The good thing about House members is that they are up for election in 2 years and are generally more circumscribed in area, often “gerrymandered” to make the election safe for one party. As IgotBupkis says, think of the Tea Party as making it 2 1/2 parties. For example, the Tea Party could look at those Dems who get elected with a conservative platform and see if they govern like they said. If not, find a truly “conservative Democrat” like Robert Casey Sr. or Moynihan/Scoop Jackson to run for the seat in 18 months.

    10.It’s probably time to start sifting through the pile of potential primary candidates and evaluating them. It seems another round of forced retirements will be needed to hopefully drive the message home.Comment by Blacque Jacques Shellacque

    Exactly. Let them know we are watching and give them 6 months before we start looking for alternatives, including for people like Upton who are established and chair committees, but do it wrong.

    BTW, what happened in that race in Michigan where the Dem representative sold out the pro-life people on ObamaCare?

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  29. Kind of off-topic, but Pelosi and the Dems calling for bipartisanship should have created a new wormhole in the space-time continuum.

    JD (e7c2a1)

  30. 31.Kind of off-topic, but Pelosi and the Dems calling for bipartisanship should have created a new wormhole in the space-time continuum

    Maybe SNL will amplify this. They actually have taken some good shots at Obama, in all fairness, it’s just that those don’t get the repeat exposure.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  31. Now hang on a minute, Patterico, how exactly do you expect $100B in cuts this financial year? As you yourself point out, it can’t be done without cutting Social Security and Medicare; and while those definitely need reforming, I can’t think of any responsible way to do so that will save money immediately.

    Do you want to cut the benefits of existing pensioners?! I’ve never heard anyone suggest that before; it’s a non-starter. Any reform to Social Security must focus on those who haven’t yet retired. Raise the retirement age. I’ve been saying for at least 20 years that Congress should pass an act providing that — as of a year from the New Year following enactment — the retirement age shall go up 3 months per year, every year, forever. If we start at 65, then after 20 years it will be 70, and after 40 years 75, etc. With the mess we’re in now, something steeper may be called for, but I don’t know how steep one can go before it gets draconian. But my point is that once someone is retired you can’t mess with their benefits; they depend on them to live, and they can’t be expected to go find another job for a year or two and then retire again — nobody will hire them.

    So I repeat, how do you cut that budget before October, by enough to enable total cuts to come to $100B for the year? If they promised $100B/year in cuts, then surely it’s reasonable to prorate that for whatever’s left of the current year by the time they get the bill enacted.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  32. Had occasion to watch Hannity’s Luntz forum with some of the new GOP COngress last night. Allan West was not there. No matter.

    One guy struck me down; Congressman Mike Grimm of Staten Island, who did his damndest in the primary and in the general to tap into Tea Party support, suddenly was looking for reasons to go along with the debt celing increase. He especially and several others(not all) seemed to now be talking about how this wasn’t going to be solved in one day, we cannot do this all at once, we need to know the facts…BLAH BLAH BLAH.This is awfully different than what he was saying during his campaign. And he wasn’t alone. “We need the facts”.


    Here’s the simple basic facts;we’re broke. We have to stop the borrow and spend idiocy now. If these people won’t, they are useless.

    Bugg (4e0dda)

  33. How about the Constitution Party? the name says it all and when you read their platform it is what people keep asking from the Republican Party. I have no faith in GOP leadership. They never stand up for themselves. They keep letting the D’s run amok with their lies. I don’t get it!!!
    link to constitution party website

    nacho475 (9dc93d)

  34. I say we apply some of the unspent money in Obama’s slush fund the stimulus bill to other commitments to decrease spending in this fiscal year, and cut back on vacation and entertainment spending.

    Besides, we’ll save some money as Boehner will not be using up the resources Pelosi was flying in “Air Force 2″.

    When individuals or corporations have maxed out their credit they need to decide what to go without. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  35. OK, yes, you all are angry about spending, and want to do something about it.

    Except that everyone no matter how strident they may be about spending, comes to face the same numbers problem as the Republicans.
    Namely, that all the spending is concentrated in only a few areas of government.
    As the article makes clear, there are only 5 main categories of government spending:

    1. Debt Service- about 0.4 Trillion;
    2. Medicare- About 0.6 Trillion
    3. Social Security- about 1.0 Trillion
    4. Defense/ Homeland Security- about 1.0 Trillion
    5. All other spending- about 0.5 Trillion

    Total spending- about 3.5 Trillion

    Revenue- about 2.1 Trillion, leaving a deficit of about 1.4 Trillion.

    These are the numbers- like it or not, they are facts on the ground that no one disputes.

    If we don’t want to raise taxes (revenue) then we can only cut spending.

    If the first 4 categories are off the table, then the total pool of spending available to be cut is – as the article states- only 0.5 Trillion.

    Even if it were cut 100%, if the entire government were to shut down, we would still be spending a Trillion dollars more each year than we take in.

    Go ahead, get pissed- scream and cry and tear your hair out- but thats the reality America is facing.

    Liberty60 (bd6581)

  36. Why do people simply assume that increasing tax rates will always increase revenue?

    JD (e7c2a1)

  37. I liked Perot, but he lead to Clinton winning a plurality, and that will be the exact same result the next time around. Let the Tea Partiers have a chance before condemning the entire party – slowly but surely Boehner’s getting the message, and with Ryan in charge of the whole shebang the macro view on this is excellent. Trust me, Ryan knows what the hell is worth cutting and what isn’t, and over the next 90 days he’s going to show the entire country just what he thinks must be done. It will be monumental and will lead to the kind of caterwauling in the MFM that we’ve all come to know and loathe – and that’s when you’ll realize that they’re serious in their intentions.

    Dmac (498ece)

  38. The first 4 cannot be off the table. Which was the whole point of the Tea Party. The whole federal government, including defense and entitlements,are going to have to be cut.

    Unless the raise the retirement age to 70 now, no one under 50 is going to cash an SSI check anyway.

    At a loss why we continue with the nation building, nor why we have bases in Germany, Korea and Japan to name only a few luxuries.

    Medicare is chock with waste, abuse and fraud.

    And the debt ceiling is right in the middle of the debt service.

    Reality it has to stop NOW.

    Bugg (4e0dda)

  39. People, people, people, Jesus Christ! The Repubs haven’t even opened their House yet and all ya’all are calling them a failure? Did you know the source of this story is Jackie Calmes of the NYT? A Class A sxxtbird?

    Get those jerked knees back on the ground for God’s sake. Let’s see what they do.

    Fred Beloit (3f1b2d)

  40. The interest on the debt is based on the total debt,

    narciso (6075d0)

  41. A third party, aka as independant, just gave MA residents Deval Patrick back in office. Who woulda thunk it…so no that isn’t the answer….I fear it will come to something more deliberate and exacting to bring these morons in line, if you get my drift.

    Mary (ff7c81)

  42. #39, Debt service is on the table?! Are you nuts?

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  43. Has any nation in history ever rescued itself from financial ruin after first creating the conditions that caused it? We’re doomed.

    I agree with Patrick, it’s simply maddening.

    How about they agree to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for raising the eligibility age for SS and Medicare two years for everyone under 50? How much would that save?

    Patricia (3aa1fd)

  44. Your frustration is entirely reasonable and is, I have no doubt, shared by millions. There is nothing else to say; we want to pound the walls. We watch time and time again how the people we elect to represent our interests don’t begin to absorb or reflect our interests. The GOP learned nothing from the midterms in any sense of “learning,” i.e., of lessons or understandings reaching into consciousness. As presently constituted, as defined by political experience and personal character, they cannot and will not learn. The next two years will be more frustration in the face of their weakness and insulting public relation efforts to placate us. A third party is a massive temptation. However, I still believe the problem is executive. Congress was never meant to “lead.” They need to be driven to do the right thing. They need leadership. I have corporate experience. I have personally seen what a bold and effective leader can do to lift seemingly rudderless and incapable groups of people to astounding accomplishments. I am waiting until 2012. But if we do not buck the RINOs, throw the elites to the curb and elect a powerful and determined executive in 2012, I will join the third-party train.

    rrpjr (2ddbb3)

  45. Historically (at least in the past 50 years) in the US, the ‘third party’ votes have served mainly to ensure that Democrats got into the White House …

    When the MSM succeeds, yet again, in convincing us that the current GOP House is already a failure before we have had a chance to actually see what they do, we behave like the useful idiots the MSM enjoy being …

    When we take the rational approach, and say “Wait and see”, and *then* respond with approval (when they do good things, like the 1995 Congress) or disapproval (*if* they screw up), we defeat those in the MSM who seek to divide the conservative side …

    Vivian Louise #16 has a very sensible and cogent comment to which we should ALL be paying attention …

    Alasdair (5e1e48)

  46. 37. Why do people simply assume that increasing tax rates will always increase revenue?
    Comment by JD — 1/5/2011 @ 8:03 am

    Because that makes sense if one thinks about it superficially.

    If I pay Y dollars a year in taxes now and the tax rate is increased 5%, the direct thinking would be that I pay Y+(.05xY) after the increase, and so does everybody else, hence the total tax revenue increases. In this thinking it is assumed that tax rates have no bearing on how the rest of the economy is functioning. I thought along those lines for many years myself, because to say decreasing the tax rate would increase tax revenue was “voodoo economics”, which it is IF you make this false assumption.

    Since most of the news we get is superficial the majority think superficially. So, the idea is people don’t want to increase the tax rate simply because they are “selfish uncaring-if-your-child-goes-to-bed-hungry rich Republican Conservative pigs”. The Dems play this to the max and to some degree actually believe that is “just” to take more money from the wealthy even if there is not increased revenue to help others, simply cutting the rich down to size is just.

    Now, if there ever was enough discussion of the facts in the media, the vast majority of people would think such an idea is absurd, that there is no sense in penalyzing some people “just for spite ‘justice'”. But it is much easier, especially if you want to believe it, to say the rich selfish Republican pigs just don’t care about anyone else.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  47. In this thinking it is assumed that tax rates have no bearing on how the rest of the economy is functioning…

    Tax rates do have a bearing on how the rest of the economy is functioning, but the Great Lie comes from those on the right who insist that the effect on the rest of the economy is so great that it would negate any increases in tax revenue.

    Tax increases result in increased tax revenue.

    Kman (d30fc3)

  48. who in this thread is saying increasing taxes always increases revenue. Thats a really silly non-point. I don’t think increasing taxes always increases revenue, but I do think given our current tax rate there a number of tax increases that we could implement now that would increase revenue. There seems to be strong evidence for that given that only 9 years ago we had higher taxes and a robust growth rate and our Western European and East Asian peers have higher taxes and collect more revenue.

    TomO (a524c5)

  49. Bush’s tax cuts increased revenue. MD hit on what I was referring to. The yacht tax under Clinton is always a good example.

    JD (0d2ffc)

  50. there is a laffer curve, but we are no where near the wrong side of it.

    TomO (a524c5)

  51. TomO – You think raising taxes will improve things, right now? Raising taxes to pre-Bush levels while unemployment remains at nearly 10% is a good idea? I would love to hear the reasoning behind that.

    JD (6e25b4)

  52. 9 years ago we had a robust economy?

    JD (6e25b4)

  53. JD we have had this discussion before, Bush’s tax cuts increased revenue only in the fallacious (literally post hoc ergo propter hoc) since that revenue was higher in the fiscal year post enactment than the fiscal year prior. But thats because the overall economy grew during that year. As it had the year before, and the year before, and the year before going back to ’93. The Bush tax cuts did not have a significant impact on the rate of growth – so there is little evidence that they caused it. And therefore in a world in which they hadn’t passed we would have collected more revenue.

    TomO (a524c5)

  54. The number of assumptions to unpack in that one comment is remarkable.

    JD (822109)

  55. JD – will increase revenue is a very different standard than is a good idea.
    So I’m fine with a short tax holiday. Note cutting spending is a bad idea in a fragile economy too.
    But medium term we need to get our budget into alignment – thats going to need major entitlement cuts, military cuts, and tax hikes. Given the size of our problem I don’t think any one lever will do. And I definitely don’t think that their is much popular support for the complete dismantling of Social Security and Medicare that would be necessary if you are getting all of the fix out of them.

    TomO (a524c5)

  56. But medium term we need to get our budget into alignment – thats going to need major entitlement cuts, military cuts, and tax hikes.

    Neither party has the courage to admit this, much less enact the necessary cuts/hikes.

    Kman (d30fc3)

  57. The economy is gasping for air, because there is a swarm of locusts, of new laws and regulations, ready
    to consume the grain, the payroll tax holiday is fine, but the hike in gas prices, in part due to QE 2 and the drilling moratorium, will swallow that up,

    narciso (6075d0)

  58. 9 years ago we had a robust economy?

    It seems fairly clear that it was more robust than the economy of today. Not as robust as, say, 1994-2000, or 2003-2007, but clearly more robust than 2011.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  59. I would quibble with the idea that it is bad to cut spending during a fragile recovery.

    As to medium and long term, it would be hard to make those cuts, though I support those with the spine to do so. The demagoguery from the leftists and the MFM will be deafening.

    JD (6e25b4)

  60. Raising or lowering tax rates do not ALWAYS raise or lower overall revenue;

    All arguments have reasonable limits, and the notion that tax decreases can have an stimulative effect on the economy is the basis of the LAffer Curve;

    Except there are strict limits to this argument; obviously, if we reduced rates to 0%, we would not have infinite revenue.

    Also just as obviously, if we increased rates to 100% we would not increase revenue.

    There is an optimum rate somewhere that produces maximum revenue while having minimum depression on the economy.

    Trouble is, no one is making that argument; all we hear is how taxes are inherently evil and must always be lowered, never raised.

    As I remarked in my post above, fixating only on the spending side of the budget leads to the corner the Republicans have painted themselves into-

    That is, trying to decrease spending by a full 1/3 of the budget, while exempting 6/7 of the budget from consideration.

    Liberty60 (bd6581)

  61. Aphrael – I was not comparing it to today. This time 9 years ago was not a good economy. The stock market had taken a beating, as this was 4 months post 9/11. Many companies were closing their doors. Uncertainty and anxiety were more likely accurate descriptors than robust.

    JD (109425)

  62. JD: reducing spending during a fragile recovery results in job losses: the people who are getting paid by the state are getting paid less, and either this translates into state employees losing their jobs, or it translates into state contractors cutting jobs.

    This would be less true if people would take pay cuts, but generally speaking they won’t.

    Job losses mean higher unemployment as a first-order effect, but it also means less spending by the people who lost their jobs, which means less demand for goods and services, which means whoever these people are buying things from have less money, and this can easily develop into a spiral.

    It’s one thing to do this when demand for labor is high; the risk of a negative spiral is low under those circumstances. But when demand for labor is low and labor supply outstrips demand … it’s a risky thing to do.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  63. Actually read the Obamacare bill, and the Fin Reg bill and most likely the Food Security bill, it’s chock full of taxes, fees, et al. There will likely
    be some cutting of defense, as it was with that sham budget that was ‘balanced’ in ’97.

    narciso (6075d0)

  64. Liberty – in the converse, all we hear from one side is that taxes are inherently patriotic, and the evil rich can never pay enough.

    JD (0d2ffc)

  65. JD – to some degree 9/11 was an external shock whose effect on the economy doesn’t really present a fair picture of the economic state as a whole. Even something robust may take a while to recover from an external shock.

    That said, the period 2001-2002 was also right after the .com bubble burst, which was an economically uneasy period. And I think most of us on the left would say that even the mid-2000s boom wasn’t as big as the one in the 1990s, and that it generally left out working class people … meaning that, for a lot of people, the last period which wasn’t economically uneasy was the mid-90s.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  66. Why is it any worse to lose a State job than a private sector job, aphrael? maybe if government felt the job killing effects of their intrusion into every nook and cranny of our lives, and suffered the same effects as the private sector, they might approach things differently.

    JD (109425)

  67. Only you guys would believe that collecting more money would mean that we have less money than had we collected less money. See it doesn’t even make sense when you say it out loud.

    Chris Hooten (2b9678)

  68. Aphrael – I did not pick the 9 year ago metric, and I was not comparing then to now.

    I suspect that a lot of what socialist crissyhooten says sounds quite silly. You have some assumptions in there that are kind of silly.

    JD (109425)

  69. JD: I didn’t say it was worse to lose a state job than a private sector job. It isn’t. But any large-scale job losses are bad under current economic conditions.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  70. You have some assumptions in there that are kind of silly

    I’m not sure who that was directed at. :)

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  71. Aphrael ai it was directed at the booger-eating socialist. I do not think you fall in that category.

    JD (109425)

  72. Yes, but were the 00s, so bad, when we had half the unemployment rate that we have now.

    narciso (6075d0)

  73. Who makes more assumptions when they believe that cutting the taxes will create enough jobs and revenue to not only match what would be gained from increasing taxes, but increase revenue even further? This has not panned out historically.

    Chris Hooten (2b9678)

  74. No third party — instead, take over an existing one:

    A registered voter has no vote in internal Party policy; a precinct committeeman does. A PC elects district, county and state party officers, delegates to the Presidential convention and RNC members. PCs sent to the Pres. Convention vote on what policies the party platform will be advocated in the next two years. Through a monthly meeting, PCs interact with their elected Party officials to influence legislation.


    In most counties, more than half of the PC slots are empty, and all it takes to become one is to attend a meeting or two, and volunteer. Take charge, and take over! It’s easy — and fun, because you get to laugh at the entrenched dinosaurs befuddled by these newfangled “Tea Party” types rocking their world, and tossing them out on their ears.

    BobInFL (bae5a3)

  75. Also, as someone else noted, Clinton’s raising of taxes wasn’t quite the ball and chain on the economy that it apparently should have been, given your theories.

    Chris Hooten (2b9678)

  76. Now you are just lying, crissyhooten. Or willfully ignorant. You pick. JFK increased revenue. Reagan did. Bush did. TomO and aphrael had some thoughtful responses above. You, not so much. Hint, you assumed “collecting more money”.

    JD (109425)

  77. Talk to an economist. Or a therapist. Whichever will help you with your delusion. Sheesh.

    Chris Hooten (2b9678)

  78. Am I wrong? Did revenue go up or down after JFK cut taxes? Revenue go up or down after Reagan did so? Apparently facts make one delusional.

    JD (d48c3b)

  79. Reagan also increased spending, and revenue went up…But correlation is not causation.

    Same with his tax cuts.

    Again, there is no magic formula that results in increased revenue; a cautious and prudent manager would recognize that sometimes taxes must be increased, other times decreased in order to balance the budget and provide for fiscal order.

    The idea that tax cuts will always and forever result in increased revenue is simply magical thinking powered by faith not empirical evidence.

    Liberty60 (bd6581)

  80. It is a matter of “why,” not “whether.” Talk to a real economist.

    Chris Hooten (2b9678)

  81. That was for JD

    Chris Hooten (2b9678)

  82. JD: when JFK and Reagan cut taxes, they were cutting from higher levels than today. It’s far from clear that cuts from current levels would increase revenue.

    To be fair, it’s also far from clear that they would decrease revenue.

    Ultimately, there’s a limit to how far you can cut taxes and increase revenue (0% is an obvious limit, but the limit is going to be somewhat above that). There doesn’t seem to be any actual evidence, though, as to where that limit is.

    As far as I can tell, every opinion I’ve seen expressed on the subject is effectively religious: based in faith as to the outcome rather than economic analysis of the likely result.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  83. Related to this argument about ‘where we are on the Laffer curve: will reducing marginal rates raise (if we’re on the \ side of the curve) or lower (if we’re on the / side) revenue?’…I present Hauser’s Law: tax revenue is 19% of GDP, regardless of the marginal tax rate:
    Hauser’s Law.

    So, it seems that The Right Thing To Do is choose tax policy based on how it will influence GDP, and let the 19% do the magic for you.

    BobInFL (bae5a3)

  84. Bob – I would note that one problem with that data set is that there’s no data point involving a top marginal rate lower than 25% or so. Meaning it’s not clear from that data that a top marginal rate of 22% wouldn’t reduce revenue below 19% of GDP, for example. (And it’s certainly clear that a top marginal rate of less than 19% would reduce revenue below 19% of GDP).

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  85. We keep hearing how horrible it is to cut spending during a recession.

    However, unfortunately, no one is really even proposing that. The Federal government has spent to the tune of more than $3 trillion dollars in deficit spending alone during this recession. Bringing this under control would still mean more spending than the Federal government was doing before the recession.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  86. Did you look at that graph? To me it looks like the top marginal rate (the only rate in the graph) is completely disconnected from the GDP. The GDP steadily grows over time, yet the top marginal rate jumps all over the place. And calling that a “law” is just inaccurate. Things aren’t called “laws” anymore in science, they are all referred to as “theories” since it leaves room for science to grow. If Newton came up with his law of gravity today, it would be referred to as a theory of gravity.

    Chris Hooten (2b9678)

  87. Chris Hooten-

    It is exactly your kind of superficial idiocy that gets us nowhere. If interested in contributing something worthwhile, reread #’s 47, 61, and 65 for a start. If you then have a serious question, feel free to raise it.

    We have a choice:
    1. Do nothing different. Even if the economy collapses, pretend you are doing nothing different.
    2. Keep snipping and sniping to undercut every proposal, no matter what it is. But this essentially collapses into #1.
    3. Be truthful, make the options clear, and make decisions.

    I’m tempted to say the first decision should be to arrest every federal elected official over the last 60 years and ask what they did about the federally-run Ponzi scheme which is what Social Security has been. George W. Bush will be one of the few who doesn’t earn tar and feathers because he at least was clear on the problem and proposed a solution.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  88. Hooten, you just confirmed what everyone already knews – that you are not following the conversation.

    And you were the one urging others to talk to an economist?

    Comedy gold.

    I bet you have no clue what it was that you wrote in Comment by Chris Hooten — 1/5/2011 @ 11:41 am that is flat out wrong.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  89. It’s a bunch of op-ed hogwash. What kind of evidence is that?

    Chris Hooten (2b9678)

  90. Chris, SPQR is right about your misunderstanding of the graph. The graph demonstrates that tax revenue as a percentage of GDP remained more or less constant at just under 20% from 1952 through the present day, regardless of what marginal tax were.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  91. I am curious. For “liberty” and crissyhooten, how many people, up to what income level, should be exempt from income taxes. Thenn define rich, and what amount of their money should be be allowed to keep.

    Aphrael – it is more philosophical than religious.

    JD (85b089)

  92. aphrael, while Hooten thinks that the line is absolute GDP. Which really shows (1) he can’t read and (2) he has no intuitive knowledge for what a graph of GDP ought to look like.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  93. Things that were called laws before are still called laws. Any new theories never make it into the category of “laws” and are permanently stuck in the limbo of “theory.”

    Chris Hooten (2b9678)

  94. Chris, at 90:

    Date sources: top marginal rates from the IRS, Historical Table 23, federal revenue 1930-2002 from US Statistical Abstract, Historical Statistics, federal revenue 2003-07 from US Statistical Abstract, Table 451.

    that’s not op-ed hogwash. :)

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  95. Eric: interesting table, thank you.

    It seems quite clear from that that the 2009-2010 problem is a result of a combined revenue fall (from 18.5% of GDP in 2007 to 14.8% of GDP in 2009) and expenditure increase (from 19.6% of GDP in 2007 to 24.7% in 2009).

    In particular, the 14.8% of GDP received as revenue in 2009 was unnaturally low by historic standards – it was the lowest level sine 1943. Meanwhile, the 24.7% of GDP expended was unnaturally high – the highest since 1946.

    The average revenue-as-percentage-of GDP in the postwar period (1947-2008) is 18.1%. The average expenditure-as-percentage-of-GDP over the same time period is 19.8%.

    So, three seperate-but-related problems:

    * average expenditure has been higher than average revenue throughout the postwar period;

    * expenditure is currently unnaturally high;

    * revenue is currently unnaturally low.

    any serious plan to address the problem should address all three prongs.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  96. As for the Hauser law graph, here’s an interesting decomposition.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  97. For “liberty” and crissyhooten, how many people, up to what income level, should be exempt from income taxes. Thenn define rich, and what amount of their money should be be allowed to keep.”

    I assume you mean, were I in charge of Congres, elected by a broad mandate to set things right.

    First off, I believe that as a matter of policy, everyone should be required to pay something, no matter how small, to the general good.

    Secondly- taxes are unpopular, but some level of taxation is necessary; we accept and embrace the notion of soldiers sacrificing for the common good, but reject the notion that paying taxes is a civic obligation of free citizens.

    Which is a long way of saying that the “appropriate tax rate” is that which produces enough revenue to balance the spending we want.

    Caveat- there are times- rare times- when running a deficit may be needed; but generally speaking, government should match spending with revenue.

    Liberty60 (bd6581)

  98. Edit my post to change-
    I don’t know why we accept and embrace the notion of soldiers sacrificing for the common good, but reject the notion that paying taxes is a civic obligation of free citizens.

    Liberty60 (bd6581)

  99. So lets take for instance, the last ten years, with Bush’s tax cuts:

    Was the average percentage of GDP collected actually 19%, like the graph suggests it should have been?

    Or was it considerably lower (many percentage points)?

    And various sources including Pew, CRS and CBO have all stated that if the Bush tax cuts were not reinstated, the revenue would increase 200-300 billion.

    As one of the comments on the original WSJ article noted:

    The bottom line is that our country needs to stop the theft of income in the form of transfer payments to the wealthy. The upper 1% of incomes is now 27% of total national income versus 9% in the 1970s. Has the societal contribution of the wealthy tripled since then? I think not.

    The problem is clearly Judas and his 30 pieces of silver. He needs to stop outsourcing American jobs, strop transferring capital out of the nation, and pay his fair share of the national burden. That means fewer trips to the Caymans and perhaps a second (or first in some cases) conscience about the nation that has given him so much in return for so little.

    Chris Hooten (2b9678)

  100. Who rejects the notion that taxes are a common sacrifice? Arguing over the nature and extent is not the same as arguing over the existence.

    What we want should not be the driving factor behind tax rates.

    JD (85b089)

  101. Chris

    If 9/11 didnt happen the Bush years would have been the best America ever saw – in fact for many they were

    We had to spend 1 trillion fighting terrorism – which also equals what Bushes deficits were until the Dems took power in 06 and blew the ceiling out of the economy

    EricPWJohnson (c5f1fc)

  102. Hooten, you remain clueless. CBO estimates are based on a static model of tax rates, which does not take into account how people may change their behavior in response. CBO estimates are never correct, as they themselves acknowledge if you ever bothered to read one of their reports.

    As for the lame ass class warfare crap, the top 1% of incomes pay more in taxes in relation to their share of income after the Bush tax rate changes than before. They pay more of the total tax burden than their share of income as well.

    Go learn something from real facts instead of Democrat talking points.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  103. Crissyhooten – are you trying to not get it, or are you incapable of understanding?

    Let it be known that crissyhooten is now advocating for raising taxes on every American during a time of nearly 10% unemployment, and a stagnant economy.

    JD (306f5d)

  104. I wonder who was doing so wonderful under Bush? Hmmm. Maybe that top, but not the average workers? I wonder if it had to do with the MASSIVE TAX GIVEAWAY? Or the fact that the top percentiles to well under Democratic AND Republican regimes, while the average workers only improve under Democratic ones.

    Chris Hooten (2b9678)

  105. MASSIVE TAX GIVEAWAY – this is what I meant about it being a basic philosophical difference, aphrael. People like this particular socialist wanker think taking less of Your money is actually giving you money.

    JD (d48c3b)

  106. The last successful challenge to the two-party system was in 1860, and it was the precipitating event for the Civil War.

    I can’t take seriously anyone who’s serious about “the third-party route,” regardless of how profound and valid your frustrations with the both of the existing two parties are.

    The existing two parties aren’t the same. If you want to be relevant, pick one, and work inside it.

    Beldar (ff4f38)

  107. Where are all the jobs from the Bush tax cuts?

    Chris Hooten (2b9678)

  108. (My “you” in that last comment, #108, wasn’t directed solely to Patterico, but everyone who’s pondering a third-party route.)

    Beldar (ff4f38)

  109. Your use of the F-word reminds me of HuffPo.

    Juan (0ca870)

  110. Where are all the jobs from the Bush tax cuts?

    Comment by Chris Hooten — 1/5/2011 @ 12:40 pm

    They were lost in the Collapse of the Democratic Financial System.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  111. So I guess other variables have to be taken into account besides those two in the graph? Is that what you are saying? Economies aren’t as simple as Hauser’s graph suggests? Wow, who would have thought that.

    Chris Hooten (2b9678)

  112. Where are all the jobs from the Bush tax cuts?

    Comment by Chris Hooten

    What was the unemployment rate on the day the democrats took Congress?

    There you go.

    Bush ‘inherited’ an economic catastrophe in 2001 and dealt with it the way JFK did. Denying that his efforts kept unemployment low is unfortunate.

    Beldar’s a bit harsh, but he’s right. We need to accept one of the two parties and work within it. Personally, I’m willing to wait a short while for them to try to fix what the democrats and republicans have done, and Malkin’s proclamation to manage expectations is important.

    Some Republicans are going to screw up. The best solution to our country’s problem is the Tea Party running great candidates in primaries across the country for the next decade or more.

    We did not win sufficient power in 2010, and Patterico is right to be very frustrated with what will probably be weak results in 2011.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  113. Also, I’ve learned not to let politics rule your life or get you too pissed off.

    Even though the democrats and several republicans have done a lot of damage to our great country, there are more important things than this great country. Enjoy your life, your family, your work. People have lived great lives under kings or despots. Not as great as the American Dream, but compartmentalize that issue. It can be hard for a patriotic person to swallow this country’s situation, but there’s only so much we can do at any point.

    Blowing off some steam once is a while is great (I think Juan’s wrong, and this rant is not much like the pathetic huffpo’s). Just make sure you follow it with some laughter.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  114. Bush ‘inherited’ an economic catastrophe in 2001…

    Soda-through-the-nose inducing comment. Thanks for nothing.

    Kman (d30fc3)

  115. Allahpundit’s quoted above as saying: “This is what we’ve been reduced to — the suspense of wondering whether the new Republican majority can achieve cuts that will barely make a dent in our annual budget shortfall. Hugely depressing.”

    But there is NOT a “new Republican majority.” There is only a modest Republican majority in the House of Representatives. Democrats control the Senate. Democrats control the White House. Absent mind-bogglingly unusual events, this is guaranteed to remain true until at least January 2013.

    The situation may still be “hugely depressing,” but that’s because of the persistent effects of the 2008 election (and to some extent, in the Senate in particular, the 2006 one).

    Change of the scale you’re calling for will take a complete four-year election cycle to accomplish — and that’s the best-case scenario. Even if every newly elected GOP legislator had a kamikaze-like zeal to cut spending immediately, even if every one of them made you look like a tax-and-spend liberal, Patterico, they still lack the power, within the existing constitutional structures, to accomplish what you want on the timetable you’re demanding.

    That we can do so little with merely a modest majority in the House is a reason to work very hard to complete what started in November 2010, but which can’t be completed until November 2012. It’s a very poor reason to tilt at windmills, inevitably injuring your would-be allies in the process, by engaging in “third party” nonsense.

    Beldar (ff4f38)

  116. You didn’t know that, Kman?

    At any rate, it’s hard to say he inherited the workload of the job he applied for, which is why I used scarequotes. If you aren’t aware that 2001 was a year of tremendous financial misfortune, that’s actually basically what I’d expect.

    But it’s true… a lot of issues Bill Clinton did not manage properly were then managed by W because they came to a head. Including the economy, but also including terrorism. The democrats are at fault for a lot of spilled blood, wars, terror attacks, and economic damage. That’s not opinion, but fact. But elections have consequences, and there’s a good example. The GOP signed up to lead us in a different direction in 2001, and Bush didn’t proceed to whine constantly about the work he asked to do (the way Obama whines).

    Anyway, enjoy your soda.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  117. Here was a thought inducing comment:

    One explanation of that article is that the tax base has shifted. Income has became more concentrated among fewer payers, while their tax rate has simultaneously fallen (both due to a lower top marginal rate and the shift of income to sources that have a different, lower tax rate). The chart does not appear to account for the changed nature of income and the changing distribution of both income and marginal tax rates.

    Our taxation regime never adjusted for the movement of income away from wage and salary and towards investment. It consistently lowered the top marginal rate while the middle income rates remained comparatively consistent. Receipts did not grow, not because tax rate is irrelevant (try changing it to zero, or 99), but because we have consistently evaded gains by allowing increased wealth, concentrated among a shrinking portion of the population, to receive progressively greater tax cuts (and benefits, loopholes, havens) over the decades.

    In other words, as you move forward in time income has grown and shifted towards the highest tax brackets and towards investment income. Simultaneously, those top tax brackets have been continually cut. And income from investment has grown, while those taxes also steadily declined to a much lower rate than wage/salary income.

    Chris Hooten (2b9678)

  118. Juan,

    Yeah, my wife didn’t like the f bombs. I use them rarely for shock value.


    I tend to agree re third parties. But if the GOP won’t take care of business, what option is left?

    Patterico (a0877b)

  119. Kmarts wants to ignore the collapse of the dot com bubble, and the smoke and mirrors of borrowing from the SS trust fund in the 90’s.

    JD (109425)

  120. You didn’t know that, Kman?

    I think any president would rather inherit what Bush did from Clinton (a surplus and struggling economy), rather than what Obama did from Bush (a huge deficit and the worst recession in decades).

    The democrats are at fault for a lot of spilled blood, wars, terror attacks, and economic damage. That’s not opinion, but fact.

    That’s an opinion. Your credibility would soar if only you could understand the difference.

    Kman (d30fc3)

  121. Was there an actual surplus, or a projected surplus, when Bush took office. What were the assumptions in said projections? Good Allah.

    JD (822109)

  122. Hooten, that comment is only thought inducing to those who have not bothered to study the data that has been released regarding the contributions to income tax revenues among the various quintiles of income.

    Like you.

    The tax rate changes that occurred over the Bush administration increased the progressive nature of the income tax. Proportionally more tax comes from the upper incomes than the middle and lower incomes after the tax code/rate changes than before.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  123. That’s an opinion. Your credibility would soar if only you could understand the difference.

    Comment by Kman

    LOL, Kman.

    No, it’s simply a fact. Democrat leaders made mistakes that led to tremendous problems. There’s no pretending otherwise. You might as well say it’s an opinion that water makes you wet.

    As to my credibility, I’m not losing sleep. You’re Mr Ad Hom Stalker, whose credibility was lost the second you finished a long argument, stuffed with your trademark dumb ad homs, by admitting you didn’t bother reading the linked content.

    You’re just a liar, then.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  124. Kman, there was not a surplus in the FY 2001 budget. So Bush did not “inherit” one.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  125. Was there an actual surplus, or a projected surplus, when Bush took office

    Both. (Although both were lower than the previous year, we were still on the plus side, and in any event). But we’re in an economic catastrophe NOW; it wasn’t that way in January 2001.

    Kman (d30fc3)

  126. Kman. Nope. Democrat myth. Long debunked. Like Chris Hooten’s failed understanding of the distribution of income tax revenues, does not match the facts.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  127. SPQR is operating under the assumption that if the debt increases, you ran a deficit.

    This approach has the benefit of being correct.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  128. Yep, Dustin. Exactly. And it did that every year of Clinton’s administration, and FY 2001 (Clinton’s budget which spanned the first year of Bush’s admin).

    Every year, Kman. No budget surpluses.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  129. SPQR is operating under the assumption that if the debt increases, you ran a deficit

    Ah. Well, I use the terms the way most people understand them to mean. That’s why we come out differently.

    Kman (d30fc3)

  130. Patterico (#130), you ask: “[I]f the GOP won’t take care of business, what option is left?” There are two choices:

    (a) Become a Democrat and try to reform the Democratic Party so it will do what you wish the GOP would do.


    (b) Work within the GOP — e.g., by identifying and promoting candidates to run in GOP primaries, even against GOP incumbents — to [continue to] reform the GOP so it will do what you wish for it to do.

    To the extent the Teaparty Movement has acquired and asserted power, it’s been through option (b). That’s had its own costs and missteps, I’m pretty sure we agree (see, e.g., U.S. Senate races in Delaware and Nevada that were eminently winnable with better candidates, and by that I don’t necessarily mean RINOs, see, e.g., the NJ governorship). But even with the limits to the Tea Party’s success, its birth and growth in influence is easily the most important political development since 9/11, probably since the end of the Cold War, possibly since the New Deal.

    I don’t mean to be harsh. I just think you already know this.

    I’m all in favor of third-party alternatives — for Democrats.

    Beldar (ff4f38)

  131. “I tend to agree re third parties. But if the GOP won’t take care of business, what option is left?

    Comment by Patterico — 1/5/2011 @ 1:08 pm ”

    IDK. Manage expectations properly (advice from Michelle Malkin, no less!), and don’t let Allahpundit’s desire for blog traffic lead you to propose something rash?

    Brad S (9f6740)

  132. Kmart and crissyhooten work under the construct that if the CBO or OMB says so, it is true. Note how kmart did not address the underlying assumptions, since they were over-exuberant and flawed going in, resulting in garbage coming out. Sound familiar?

    JD (85b089)

  133. Though I will say this, as a means of starting discussion: Have we gotten past the point of diminishing returns when it comes to the Laffer curve? Could a tax increase actually BE JUSTIFIED and actually WORK, just on the “hey, it’s something different” grounds?

    Do bear in mind that the Kemp-Roth-Steiger tax cuts that Laffer proposed to Cheney and Reagan were only first implemented 30 years ago this coming July. And also keep in mind that the supply-side economics theory that provided the foundation for those tax cuts was widely derided and “discredited” for about 50 years prior to their implementation.

    The question is: Who’ll pull the trigger and implement a major tax increase? I’d say look to California around May-June.

    Brad S (9f6740)

  134. Wow. Just wow. I read through about #60 or so but couldn’t keep going.

    I worked with the American Independent Party back in the 1970s when I was in high school. We tried to elect a really great guy to the Senate from Indiana. His name, IIRC was Don Lee. He was a machinist. He was fairly well read in history. He had good conservative, constitutional principles.

    The state convention of the American Independent Party was held in a hotel ballroom.

    A small one.

    It was really sad. Here’s a statement from their website today. “Today, the political climate in America is changing. The people are looking for new voices, new choices, new vehicles for political expression. The people are looking to the American Independent Party for leadership.”

    You can almost hear the echo of the nearly empty ballroom.

    Gesundheit (cfa313)

  135. Ah. Well, I use the terms the way most people understand them to mean. That’s why we come out differently.

    Comment by Kman


    “an excess of expenditure over revenue ”

    If you didn’t have enough revenue to cover your expenses, your debt goes up. It’s really, really simple. You’re wrong, SPQR is right, and this is a good way to identify sheep.

    We have proof that there was a deficit. It is utterly uncontroversial fact rather than opinion. But we also have a major PR attempt to tell a lie. 2+2=5. And we can see who not only doesn’t mind the lie, but will fight to defend the lie.

    Kman, you belong in an Orwell novel, not reality. You’re a sad little specimen.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  136. I’m all in favor of third-party alternatives — for Democrats.

    Comment by Beldar — 1/5/2011 @ 1:34 pm

    That was pretty funny.

    So Patterico’s right. We need a third party! time to end the DLC bailout for the insurance companies! Obama’s a closet Republican! Bla Bla Bla!

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  137. LOL back to Craig Steiner and his idiot theory that we should change the way they do the accounting so Clinton is denied his surplus. Gee, that’s not politically motivated at all. It is also not accurate at all.

    Chris Hooten (2b9678)

  138. Clinton had a surplus. You cannot just change the way they do the math because it gives Clinton a surplus and that upsets you, because it looks bad for Republicans. That’s not how it works.

    Chris Hooten (2b9678)

  139. When you convince everybody else to do the math your way, we’ll concede the surplus. Until then, you have to do the math the way everyone else does, which means Clinton had a surplus.

    Chris Hooten (2b9678)

  140. Hooten, it is not changing the “math”. Math says that if you spend more than you receive in revenue, you have to borrow the remainder. That the total debt increased each year indicates that that is what happened, due to off-budget spending. Clinton did not have a surplus. He had a projected surplus that did not happen.

    It was the Democrats who decided that off-budget spending “counted” to attack Bush that changed the math.

    But what is hilarious is that you don’t even realize this – so you put your foot in your mouth without realizing it.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  141. So many things go over Chris Hooten’s head that I hope he lives in a high-ceiling house.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  142. Anyone can steal from the Social Security surplus fund during a tech boom and call it a projected surplus.

    That doesn’t make it one, because the Social Security surplus fund is already connected to a future liability, which you are choosing to ignore to make your balance sheet look nice temporarily.

    That’s not how real accounting works.

    luagha (5cbe06)

  143. It’s not some kind of scheme to deceive you, Chris. The projections Clinton was operating under were schemes to deceive you, but saying ‘hey, if we lost money this year we had a deficit’ is not some crazy theory… it’s just language.

    Another point is that Clinton was President, and thus wasn’t the House of Representatives, so saying it was Clinton’s surplus when the House is responsible for the purse is also dissembling.

    The fact is that Clinton’s era saw very low deficits, Bush’s say higher (as Obama’s speech indicates, he ran 1 trillion in 5 years), and Obama’s is even higher. But the problem is more than just who the president is. You’re so obsessed with partisanship we never get beyond your deification of Bill Clinton. Stop worshiping democrats, stop defending lies you obviously know are wrong, and start thinking for yourself so you aren’t duped into making terrorists richer.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  144. laugha’s got a very important point that I feel lazy for skipping over, but I did so because this is such a basic lie.

    The financial state of the union in 2000 was not acceptable in many ways, and Laugha’s point is probably the most major way.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  145. JD, @123; according to, there was an actual surplus in 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001.

    In those years, revenue as a percentage of GDP had risen – for most of the preceding ten years it had fluctuated between 17.5 and 19.2 percent, whereas during the four years of surplus, it was between 19.5 and 20.6 percent. Meanwhile, spending had fallen – for most of the preceding ten years it had fluctuated between 19.5 and 22.3 percent, but during the four years of surplus it was between 18.2 and 19.1 percent.

    Then, in 2002, revenue dropped to 17.6 percent of GDP. Revenue has never since been a larger percentage of GDP than in 2002; it remained at 16-18 percent until the economic crisis triggered a revenue drop. Meanwhile, spending jumped back to 19.1 percent and stayed in the 19-20 percent range until the economic crisis.

    So: the period 1998-2001 saw an inrease in revenue and a fall in expenditures, and a result net surplus. In 2002, revenue dropped (and stayed down) while expenditures rose (and stayed up), creating a 1-3 percent deficit which continued until the economic crisis caused a substantial revenue fall and a much larger expenditure rise.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  146. “…The thing is, a lot of us are starting to wonder about this whole “voting” thing…”

    We could always restrict our voting to those provisions existing under Rule 7.62!

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  147. SPQR, your claim that there was no surplus is directly contradicted by the OMB spreadsheet I pointed to in my last comment.

    The spreadsheet does not deny the claim that nominal spending rose year-over-year for every year in Clinton’s administration. But it does quite clearly show surplus in the last three years of his administration.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  148. JD: if you wish to dispute the OMB and CBO’s figures, can you at least point to some alternative set of figures with some explanation of what they’re based on?

    I mean, the government is publishing figures regarding its spending. They’re more reliable than no figures at all, or mere speculation that the numbers must be different because the government is inherently untrustworthy. If there are more reliable figures, please produce them. :)

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  149. Brad S: I think it will be remarkably difficult for Gov. Brown to convince the voters to approve a big tax increase.

    The way I expect him to try is to present a slash-and-burn budget that actually cuts 1/5 of state spending rather than using gimmicks, and then ask the voters “is this what you really want?”

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  150. aphrael: US Treasury says US debt has steadily increased from 2000 to 2010, and also in the 1990s.

    Every single year, we spent more than we brought in. We sank further into debt every year Clinton was president. That is the ultimate point of even discussing a deficit.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  151. aphrael, more power to Brown if he manages to do it. It’s very much an ‘only Nixon can go to China’ sort of approach. CA has to cut workers and pay them less, and I will be surprised and impressed if Brown does what is needed.

    And I’ll admit I was wrong.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  152. I think it will be remarkably difficult for Gov. Brown to convince the voters to approve a big tax increase.

    It’ll be interesting to find out just which tax or taxes Brown wants to try to increase.

    Blacque Jacques Shellacque (e09322)

  153. aphrael – Were that the case, would not there be year(s) on those charts that should our debt decreasing? Because as I read them, our debt increased every single year. Every one. OMB also does not reflect the borrowing from the SS trust fun, that SPQR refenced above.

    JD (57c1da)

  154. aphrael…
    The CBO/OMB numbers are budgetary projections, and are as accurate as smoke-signals – in fact, within the Beltway, smoke-signals might be more precise.
    The Treasury releases the real numbers each year in November(?) as to the change in the debt level – and that hasn’t gone down in any one year since 1969 (IIRC).

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  155. However, those are the figures of record, and you must prove them wrong to EVERYBODY before just dismissing them as wrong.

    Chris Hooten (2b9678)

  156. No, CBO/OMB operate with “wish lists”, the true NUMBERS OF RECORD are the numbers that Treasury releases after the conclusion of each and every Fiscal Year!

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  157. Chris, they moved numbers around and produces a surplus with an asterisk. However my links above prove the USA went further into debt every single year Clinton was President. We spent more than we had, every single year. We had to borrow money to make ends meet, every single year.

    So there, I just proved wrong to allcaps everybody as you demanded.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  158. And let me add that I resent Chris Hooten’s absurd burden of proof. I don’t really have to prove to “EVERYBODY” anything. The lies Chris defended are still untrue even if he refuses to accept the most basic points. he’s been over this 100 times and knew he was wrong when he brought it up.

    He’s arguing in bad faith, just as he was about Brad Freidman.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  159. aphrael, with respect, Treasury dept figures:

    Total annual debt year by year 1990’s:

    Total annual debt year by year 2000’s:

    Now, I know what you might say but I can reliably predict one thing: your argument will be above Chris Hooten’s head. 😉

    SPQR (26be8b)

  160. That’s not how it works, though. You can’t find any serious backers of your assertion. Everybody has already agreed upon a certain accounting system to determine whether there was a surplus or not, and you don’t get to come along and change it all willy-nilly because you don’t think Clinton deserves a surplus. That is just crazy.

    Chris Hooten (2b9678)

  161. Hooten, that’s not an coherent response.

    Obviously. Because you don’t understand what you are talking about. Except for 1950 to 1951, in the first link I and Dustin’s 2nd, the total debt rose. If your debt rises in a budget year, it is because you had to borrow more. If you had to borrow more, it is because you spent more than you received.

    This is indeed “math”. Its simple addition and subtraction. And its official Treasury department figures. Hard ones that can’t be fudged because the amount of debt is publicly disclosed and can’t be manipulated. All markets know to the penny how much Treasury bonds exist.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  162. Ladies and Gentlemen,

    May I suggest that the entry that started this thread was an expression of great frustration that sought to portray the extent of that frustration by: 1) Making a suggestion that was never intended to be acted upon literally anytime soon, and 2) using language not usually associated with the typical discussion.

    Hence, meaningful dialogue would take the intent* of the writer into consideration. (Had to do it, just had to). For example, when one is accustomed to being self-controlled, to simply say, “I’m really angry” may not get much traction, so one must resort to something more demonstrative that makes the point without giving cause for an arrest or permanent loss of a friend.

    I think people have made good points to:
    1. Give them a chance, already
    2. Realize some people may post to stir up things for the sake of stirring them up, and take that into account
    3. Rome was not built (not destroyed) in a day.

    Besides, we know our host has been trying to make California a better place, which must be one heck of a frustrating job considering all of those who are doing the opposite, both inside and outside of the state. In fact, by Gitmo standards, I’d say he has probably been subjected to torture by sleep deprivation if nothing else.

    Post #75 may have some useful information in conjunction with the “Two and a half” Tea Party- which is not a separate party, but a groundswell of passion that has had influence within both parties. (I suggest it has even had impact on the Dems in that some sraes the Dems that one sounded more like conservative Repubs. Now we’ll see if they govern like it, and if they don’t, if they get booted out come next primary season too.)

    *I do believe the writer’s intent was clear using standard and reasonable understanding of the words and grammatical structures used within the clear social-historical context known to all.

    BTW: Others have discussed the “Clinton surplus”, or lack thereof. I’ll just say that even if there was a surplus on paper, the Clinton years had the advantage of the dotcom bubble (without the cost of the burst) along with an overzealous cash-in of the “peace-dividend” (started under GHW Bush), not to mention a lack of national disaster like 9/11 (and Katrina). So, exhault in the economics under Clinton all you want, Clinton was about as responsible for it as I was.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  163. 3. Rome was not built (not destroyed) in a day.

    Hey, don’t remind me of Alaric.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  164. “…Clinton was about as responsible for it as I was.”

    Ah, now we know who to blame!

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  165. True, the effort involved is right up there with the Augean stables, that’s why Allah cribbing from
    the Times’s Jackie Calmes, who had that peppy piece
    on the need to push the lame duck agenda some weeks
    ago, is not the best indicator. They don’t mean us
    well, ever, it’s hard to keep the concept of Minitrue firmly in place

    narciso (6075d0)

  166. Notice how crissyhooten simply defends a dishonest construct and claims an authority not given, rather than address the facts?

    JD (57c1da)

  167. Yes, JD, i do notice. His hysterical approach, to say ‘I need to see a “serious backer” and you need to convince “EVERYBODY”, or The Party Line remains’ is the most clear example of a partisan hack I’ve ever seen.

    This is typical for a follower of Brad Friedman and his terrorist friends.

    for the record, I say what I do about that based on what I have learned of my own devices, and not based on what anyone has posted on this or any other blog.

    Chris Hooten is a hack, plain and simple, and like I said, he knew he was wrong when first commented on it today because we’ve been over this many, many times and the truth is not hidden.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  168. alpharel, please take my comments above as intended, with respect to you. My key point is that Kman and Hooten repeat simplistic talking points that they do not understand and cannot defend … all while making comments about how “dumb” others are and how they must be watching Fox News, etc.

    But in fact, it is they who are operating at the shallow level.

    I know that you have a more sophisticated understanding of the budgetary issues themselves and am not making any commentary on your command of the issues or facts.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  169. SPQR, Aphrael raises legitimate points, even though they are a bit indirect in their relation to whether the USA went further into debt every year Clinton was president. things about revenue, for example. There’s a major difference between good faith and bad faith, and Aphrael does a great job keeping me honest, so to speak.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  170. Clinton ran surpluses if you don’t count interest paid on the debt. In the same vein, I’m running huge surpluses each month because I put my mortgage ‘off budget’. Yet I’m poorer each month (declining savings). Did I go wrong somewhere?

    East Bay Jay (2fd7f7)

  171. East Bay – don’t forget that you wrote a check/loan to yourself that you don’t have to repay until some undefined date in the future.

    JD (6e25b4)

  172. 172.Clinton ran surpluses if you don’t count interest paid on the debt

    Assuming that’s true, it is an interesting manipulation of the numbers to say what you want, as in, “(As long as you don’t count what those knuckleheads did before I got into office), the budget is running a surplus”.

    Forensic accounting ought to be a growth industry.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  173. Comment by aphrael — 1/5/2011 @ 2:24 pm

    Oh, I’m inclined to think he can get the tax increase passed. Especially when all Jerry Brown and his staff have to do is take a look at Howard Jarvis Taxpayer’s Assn president Jon Coupal’s lastest missive:

    And realize how woefully unprepared Jon Coupal and his bunch are when it comes to defending their own reason for existence. Brown has HJTA right where he wants them.

    Brad S (6fa4f1)

  174. Dustin, please see my Comment by SPQR — 1/5/2011 @ 3:36 pm

    SPQR (26be8b)

  175. Wasn’t trying to correct you, SPQR. I was saying that basically because you’re right and that prompted me too. Sometimes someone is such a hack that it really makes me appreciate the people who are not hacks.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  176. Unfortunately, life intervened and I had to wander away mid-conversation. :)

    Black Jacques Shellacque, at 154:

    Brown’s budget proposal hasn’t been released yet, so it’s premature to discuss it, and off topic. That said, the rumblings are: major changes to be proposed.

    AD-RTR/OS, at 156:

    I would expect that numbers issued after the end of a fiscal year in a retrospective table would not be projections. That is, I would expect the OMB to issue projections before the fiscal year and then issue conclusions after the fiscal year, and I would presume that the data contained in the tables referenced by #92 would be consistent with that. I will grant that there’s nothing on that web page which says so; nor, on the other hand, is there anything on that website which denies it.

    So, I suppose, either of us could be right on this issue, based just on what’s declared on the web page; but since a historical retrospective based on projections rather than conclusions would be absurd, I think the burden lies on the person claiming the absurd interpretation.

    SPQR, at 161:

    Thank you for complying with my demand for alternative figures. :)

    Clearly the treasury and the OMB are measuring different things. Neither of their pages gives a clear explanation for the difference, and I’m not good enough at accounting to be able to come up with a coherent theory for it. The fact that they are measuring different things without explanation is, IMO, a problem: it contributes to a process which is close to impossible for the average citizen to understand.

    MD in Philly, at 164:

    I would agree that assigning sole responsibility for a surplus in 1998-2001 to Clinton is unreasonable.

    SPQR, at 171:

    Thank you for the clarity. Sometimes I’m overly sensitive to blanket accusations regarding liberals as a group, and I always appreciate more specific lines being drawn.

    East Bay Jay/MD in Philly, at 172 & 174:

    the data don’t seem to support that theory.

    Table 1.2 reports net outlays in 1998 of 1,652,463. Table 3.1 shows a description of that, and it includes net interest of 241,118.

    Interestingly, the total also includes off-budget amounts. Meaning that on/off budget doesn’t appear to explain the discrepancy between the treasury’s debt numbers and these numbers.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  177. Brad S: Arnold tried two or three times to get such a thing through the voters and failed each time.

    Now. Jerry Brown is almost certainly a better, more skilled, more effective politician than Arnold was.

    The fundamental problem in California is that voters both want no new taxes and no real spending cuts. Both Field ( and PPIC (I don’t have the link) have shown this with polls. The voters have been encouraged to think that this is a possibility by years upon years of shell games and gimmicks.

    So: it’s not clear to me, when faced with the question and all other alternatives being taken off the table, what the voters will decide. This is another issue where I think anyone who is sure has been, if you’ll pardon the expression, drinking the kool-aid.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  178. aphrael, I could explain it. But then I’d have to kill you. 😉

    The real explanation is consistent with both of our positions really.

    My purpose of my comments continues to be to illustrate that 99% of what Chris Hooten “knows” ain’t so.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  179. Surely there’s a way to square this circle, aprhael. It IS math afterall. I’ll run off and take a look.

    But I have a follow on point that’s less narrow: this shouldn’t be hard to follow. It’s big and complex but we pay folks to boil it down and make it semi-understandable. And if the government fails the media should be picking up the slack. Neither is clearly happening.

    Finally, I like our two party system just fine relative to the alternative. Yeah, Clinton won with 40% of the vote in 1992 (from memory)but for the most part our Presidents are elected by slightly more than half the electorate. I think that’s a good thing over the ‘plurality Presidents’ we would get with 3 or 4 parties.

    East Bay Jay (2fd7f7)

  180. Dustin, at 153:

    According to,

    “Over the past 30 years, state employment has averaged 8.8 state employees per 1,000 population. In 2009–10, there were about 9.3 employees per 1,000 population. On this basis, California ranks 47th among the states.”

    That suggests California’s problem is not that we employ too many people.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  181. Fair point, Aphrael. But the fact that a California employee costs so damn much is a serious problem, and it’s hard for me to see how to solve that problem without a major turnover (and perhaps layoff) of many of them.

    But you’re right that the problem isn’t simply that they employ too many people.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  182. At any rate, I do hope Brown somehow succeeds. I insisted that he wouldn’t even head in the correct direction, but I hope I’m proven very wrong.

    And another point about the clinton era (which, again, was the GOP House’s budget for most of its years). Though it was never in a bona fide surplus, I would welcome their deficit level if we could return to it. We’re adding more debt each year than we added the entire time Clinton was president.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  183. Remember how kids we’re being starved and old people killed when Team R passed those evil budgets?

    JD (109425)

  184. JD: i’m quite certain that if Brown presents a balanced budget, there will be loud screaming.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  185. Dustin, same source says:

    * In 2009–10, the state employed the equivalent of 356,436 full–time staff at a salary cost of roughly $22.2 billion (all funds). Employees in higher education represented more than one–third of these totals.

    That works to an average of $62,283/employee.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  186. 1,000 apologies as my statement upstream about interest not being included in the budget is wrong, wrong, wrong. But as I said previosly, this situation (opaque logic, apparently contradictorary numbers) is unsatisfactory. If you can’t nail down the numbers then you’re just chasing your own tail. Where’s the media (though it hardly matters in an era of trillion dollar deficits – hiding $0.1 trillion matters when you’re running small deficits, not so much when we’re where we are).

    Now that I’ve shown I’m a dumbass I’d like to place a vote of confidence in Brown. I think he’s in it (fixing the endless budget deficits) to the end. No Ahnald mid-term ‘remakes’ when the going gets tough. He’s old and his whole life has been about public service. He’s writing his legacy now (and he’s in competition with his Dad, Pat, too) and he may just wrestle the unions down. Even if he loses a few rounds first.

    East Bay Jay (2fd7f7)

  187. this situation (opaque logic, apparently contradictorary numbers) is unsatisfactory

    100% agreed.

    We can’t even have a discussion about what’s going on if we have different sets of numbers which appear to have contradictory data and no explanation thereof. And if people of goodwill from opposing political camps can’t have a discussion because the data are so bad, how can people of ill will have any hope?

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  188. The hootenanies of the world never had any hope to begin with, aphrael 😉

    JD (822109)

  189. aphrael, I was going to tie the debt totals to the upcoming issue of raising the debt ceiling, but Hooten couldn’t follow any of the bread crumbs I left.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  190. Aphrael:

    Misinformed people that refuse to boycott the sources that misinform them will never be able to have a discussion about what’s going on. You hit the nail on the head.

    Chris Hooten (2b9678)

  191. “how can people of ill will have any hope?”

    And who owns the megaphones? Mostly the people of ill will. Like FNC, MSNBC, the White House (no matter who’s in charge for the most part).

    I’m using ‘ill will’ to describe partisan know nothings and assume you are too. These aren’t bad people. They are just homers – they really think ‘their’ guys have the answers and ‘those’ guys don’t. When evidence contradicts their beliefs the megaphone folks figure out how to keep their partisan know nothings worldview intact. Sometimes that’s hard but by and large team Red and team Blue make it so that few ‘jump’ teams each year. It’s all highly entertaining but no way to run a democracy (though I also have no ideas about how to make it better in totality).

    East Bay Jay (2fd7f7)

  192. FOX NEWS Rush Limbaugh etc.

    Chris Hooten (2b9678)

  193. Right, Chris. How can anyone take the news business seriously after Dan Rather collected awards for a year after getting dumped by CBS for Rathergate? And still has a news job to boot! Maybe they can dig up Walter Duarty and give him another award too?

    East Bay Jay (2fd7f7)

  194. I think another point went flying right by crissyhooten’s pointy head.

    JD (0d2ffc)

  195. Misinformed people that refuse to boycott the sources that misinform them will never be able to have a discussion about what’s going on. You hit the nail on the head.

    Hey, moron, I showed you Treasury Department data.

    You showed that you are the misinformed one.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  196. I painted with too broad a brush with FNC. Hannity, yes (even though I agree with him quite a bit). O’Reilly at least makes the effort (EVERYBODY knows that O’Reilly is a rank partisan but EVERYBODY never actually watches his show because if they did they’d know he has the SLPC on regularly/roughly once a quarter and has lefties on constantly, including a once a week segment where he has two lefties together with just him). Don’t watch Beck, don’t watch Greta, and I don’t listen to Limbaugh except for a couple times a year/not enough to judge.

    And the only MSNBC I ever watch is Morning Joe. Their guests are mostly lefties plus Pat, though I like the fact that they’re using Major Garrett since he left FNC. But how can you call that show ‘fact based’ with Mika taking text messages from the White House while the show is on? Does she work for the viewer or the White House?

    East Bay Jay (2fd7f7)

  197. Fox leans more in our direction, but you’re right O’Reilly is serially incapable of understanding policy trends & details, Shep echoes the SRM line with disturbing fidelity, soon to be eclipsed by John Robert (hellow is this thing on) Geraldo and Huckabee, moving on.Megyn has generally eviscerated many unwary administration spokesmen, re SEIU, Black Panthers. Britt is the standard,
    that can rarely be attained, although Bret Baier
    does a decent job.

    Morning Joe, is filled the syrupy administration platitudes, of a machiatto, and it can be taken
    in small doses

    narciso (6075d0)

  198. “Britt is the standard”

    Why he’s not an alphabet anchor is a mystery to me. You want to turn around ratings why not go to someone with, you know, lots of viewers/a built in clientele?

    In comment 199, SLPC = SPLC = Southern Poverty Law Center

    East Bay Jay (2fd7f7)

  199. Well he was with ABC, until 1996, started out working for Jack Anderson, of all people. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly, and there are too many to count at the top ranks

    narciso (6075d0)

  200. East Bay Jay, I think Britt has partially retired. My impression has been that the loss of his son took a lot out of him.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  201. Well done, Narciso @ 200

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  202. I’m using ‘ill will’ to describe partisan know nothings and assume you are too. These aren’t bad people.

    That is one thing that puzzles me. I am sure many people are misinformed, misled by their biases, but at times it appears that people really should know better and are twisting things on purpose, whatever it is.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  203. ___________________________________

    Does it take a third party?

    A third party would mainly split the right, peeling off a percentage of both centrists, centrists-rightists and staunch conservatives, and therefore allow a liberal to waltz right in.

    However, I wouldn’t seeing the formation of a third party, but one made up of discontented progressives.

    Mark (411533)

  204. Youtube of Boehner promising to meet the pledge.

    I am confident that the irritation of many at the trial balloon of weaseling out of the pledge affects just how likely it is for the GOP House to keep their word.

    However, I have been impressed with Boehner’s sincerity. Trust but verify. Let’s give him a chance, but continue to shout when they waffle.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  205. Everyone who knows what they are talking about thinks there was a surplus under Clinton. No one has convinced them all otherwise. They laugh at the Craig Steiners of the world with their little treasury lookup, and misunderstanding of wtf is going on with the numbers.

    Chris Hooten (2b9678)

  206. Are you just trolling at this point?

    The USA went further into debt every year Clinton was president. Do you deny this point?

    You keep appealing to this bizarre ‘everyone who knows what they are talking about’ crap. You are an extreme fringe kook, Chris. You do not speak for normal, informed people, by any stretch of the imagination. You found this blog via Brad Friedman, remember? That insane kook with his conspiracy theories about Rove murdering election authorities, who directs an organization based in the home of a terrorist?

    It’s one thing to make the same argument from authority 100 times in a row, in the face of basic math evidence… that’s just being obnoxious. But to do so when you’ve been caught falling for lies from kooks is much more like projection.

    The USA went further into debt every year Clinton was president.

    The USA went further into debt every year Clinton was president.

    The USA went further into debt every year Clinton was president.

    The USA went further into debt every year Clinton was president.

    The USA went further into debt every year Clinton was president.

    You can’t change the truth. The relevance of this point is very limited, IMO, but it’s the truth, democrat.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  207. Crissyhooten knows better than the US Treasury. This is an article of faith for him.

    JD (4a3046)

  208. Under Chris’s view, if you run a surplus, that doesn’t mean you end up with more money. In fact, if you lose huge sums of money, it’s not a deficit if “No one has convinced them all otherwise.” Them all being selected from partisan shills, no doubt (but not specified clearly).

    And those who say ‘if you ran a surplus you must have wound up with more money at the end of the year’ are ‘misunderstanding wtf is going on’.

    Explain, Chris. Define surplus and deficit, without making any reference to Clinton or the US Government. Just explain these very simple words.

    In this case, the CBO counting Social Security savings was actually a very sick joke, especially since those who did that went on to promise it’s the GOP who wants to take social security away. It’s gone already; we took it to hide a lot of our deficit spending.

    By statute, CBO’s baseline projections must estimate the future paths of federal spending and revenues under current law and policies. The baseline is therefore not intended to be a prediction of future budgetary outcomes; instead, it is meant to serve as a neutral benchmark that lawmakers can use to measure the effects of proposed changes to spending and taxes. So for that reason and others, actual budgetary outcomes are almost certain to differ from CBO’s baseline projections.

    Who said that, Chris? Someone you would like to dismiss as ‘not an expert’? Whoever said that managed to paste it on the CBO’s own website. So you’re disputing real numbers… actual budgetary outcomes, by citing figures that are already disclaimed as not actual.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  209. Hooten’s so concerned with hiding Clinton’s failed legacy that he might as well put on a Monica Lewinsky outfit.

    2+2=5 because you haven’t convinced ‘everyone who really knows’.

    And this was a long time ago. Clinton didn’t even have power of the purse… the GOP did. Clinton submitted a budget, but he didn’t have the power to pass one. We’ve seen the results when democrats have congress and the white house. The CBO’s last projected deficit is more than 1,200 billion dollars. That’s with democrats having all the power, unlike 1994-2000 with Clinton.

    If Chris really believes in a low deficit, he should be willing to admit Obama’s the worse president in American history.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  210. Mr. Hume at Fox News (ex ABC):
    His given name is Brit (one “t”).

    His replacement’s name on Special Report is Brett.

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  211. Surpluses….
    An interesting comment by Thomas Sowell on this subject made during his interview with Peter Robinson (posted on Powerline):

    A surplus is that amount of money generated by a healthful, unfettered economy that flows into the Treasury faster than Congress can spend it!

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  212. Poor little misinformed people STILL think Clinton did not have a surplus, and that they don’t have to prove to everyone that he didn’t, he just didn’t. LOL. Dream on. Do you still think Obama is not a US citizen, too? Don’t need to prove that either, right? Or that “Czars” are anything other than nicknames created by the media for jobs with long, cumbersome names? How about that your taxes are going to go up? Where is that Snowplow-union-gate proof? What a bunch of conspiracy theorists. Maybe you think all incadescent bulbs are going to be outlawed? Or the Democrats are going to push the fairness doctrine? It is all hogwash conspiracy theories, including the craig steiner “proof” that Clinton did not have surplus. He just wants to change the accounting methods so Clinton is denied his surplus. It is not a legitimate complaint, since the same methods were used before and after, and are still used. He is just a crybaby.

    Chris Hooten (2b9678)

  213. Did you get a little aroused when you typed that little rant, crissyhooten?

    JD (1df0ee)

  214. Ewwwwwwww.

    Chris Hooten (2b9678)

  215. Chrissy is a communist spread the wealth kind of guy.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  216. BTW it’s the truth if you don’t like it move out of here.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

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