Patterico's Pontifications

11/27/2012

Your Mandatory Fiscal Cliff Post

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:11 am

I suppose that it is incumbent upon me as the proprietor of a political blog to have a “fiscal cliff” post. But I can’t find words to express how supremely uninterested I am in the already-underway kabuki dance of finger-pointing and posturing.

Because, as a resident of California, I have seen this game played before, and I already know how it’s going to end.

There will be plenty of drama and fiscal cliffhangers. There will be rending of garments and gnashing of teeth.

And then, in the end, we will arrive at a Solemn Agreement to Tackle This Problem Head-On . . . next year.

The details of this agreement will be a matter of intense interest to the same group of politicos who discussed polling every day during the presidential election and never really discussed policy.

Meanwhile, our massive government debt bubble will continue to grow, and nobody will show the slightest bit of interest in letting the air out.

At this point, since the popping of that bubble is inevitable, I just want it to hurry up and happen. The problem isn’t going to get fixed. We’re not paying off the debt. So let’s get the catastrophe over with now instead of later, and give my children some chance at a few decent years.

141 Responses to “Your Mandatory Fiscal Cliff Post”

  1. this is the same loser little country that can’t even pass a budget

    pushing this useless whore over a cliff is too merciful

    happyfeet (3eead3)

  2. and I’m tired of hearing people whine about cuts to the military

    kickass militaries are for superpowers

    the whiners are making a very very basic category error

    happyfeet (3eead3)

  3. Any way this Kabuki theatre resolves we’ll have ‘borrowed’ another third of the script spent on knick knacks we toss into the dustbin on unpacking.

    Don’t even ask me to vote for this crap anymore, I just refuse to care about another Booosh.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  4. Any minute now Barack will utter one of his patented Obamaisms: “We can’t afford to kick the can down the road” — as we face the imminent activation of ObamaCare, wherein John Roberts (maybe he’ll do it right after the 2nd inauguration ceremony?) kicks said can over said cliff.

    Icy (weR$krEwd) (15e9b9)

  5. Kabuki theatre, fake WWF matches, partisan fiscal cliff negotiations. It’s all pretty much the same thing. But the real story to watch is the media’s “handling” of it and how they attempt to shape the narrative by continuing to bury a lot of truths from the American people.

    I’m a fiscal conservative, I deplore subsidies and as a sign of good faith I’m ready to let the mortgage interest deduction go along with the farm subsidies, wind and energy deduction subsidies, and a whole lot of other subsidies. Who’s with me?

    elissa (0d16a3)

  6. BTW, in light of what just happened to Petraeus one really starts to wonder what the administration might have on Roberts.

    Icy (weR$krEwd) (15e9b9)

  7. Households over 250K are going to get buggered.

    JD (318f81)

  8. I’m with you but the mortgage interest deduction should be phased out slowly

    people made big decisions in part on the basis of that deduction

    happyfeet (3eead3)

  9. not me I went to school to where I could tell buying a hoose in California was a not good vestment

    but I’m a very clever pikachu that way

    happyfeet (3eead3)

  10. #7 All this will do is further intensify tax avoidance. They never use that “variable” in their revenue models.

    Fact is lower tax rates increase tax participation. Higher tax rates drives more folks into the informal economy.

    I hope they jack the rates to 90% on the rich, 80% on middle class and 50% on the working poor. Tax collections will collapse.

    That will teach them to vote Democrat

    Rodney King's Spirit (951136)

  11. “let’s get the catastrophe over with now” I agree. But how? The politicians won’t tackle it realistically.

    “Households over 250K are going to get buggered.” Everybody at every income level is going to suffer greatly at some point. We brought it upon ourselves. Better now than later.

    gp (5a38d9)

  12. 6- Electrical Banana!!

    mg (31009b)

  13. My mindset currently is to just let Dems have want they want. No debt ceiling, just let it rip. Any Republican resistance will be blamed for the coming inevitable meltdown anyway. Let them own it outright. The sooner it explodes, the sooner we can try to fix it…assuming that it is even possible.

    Gazzer (e70d98)

  14. 2 & 3-
    It is not the “country” that can’t pass a budget -
    it is Harry Reid & Co.
    Perhaps they need a dose of industrial-strength ExLax to pass anything?

    Also, when there is a “cop on the beat”, crime tends to be relatively benign.
    When that “cop” spends all of his time at “Winchell’s”, the bad guys run wild.
    It works the same way with a “SuperPower”:
    When the rogues of the world know you’re watching, taking names and kicking a$$, they tend to play nice with each other!
    In the 20th-Century, when the U.S. withdrew behind its Atlantic and Pacific “walls”, bad things happened which had to be corrected at tremendous costs. It happened again at “The End of History” marked by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet-Empire.
    We thought we could relax, and the Islamist’s seized the opportunity.
    That momentary relaxation and “taking our eye off the ball” cost us greatly on 9/11 (both times).

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  15. I’m with elissa and Gazzer too.
    The Dems won, let them do what they want, they’ll OWN it.
    Remember, when elephants fight, it’s the grass that gets trampled.

    But, one of these days Alice, one of these days.

    “When in the course of Human events….”

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  16. Hey, I got a different number even though I am on the same computer at home?

    Gazzer (e70d98)

  17. I read in the New York times of Friday, November 16, 2012 that the term “fiscall cliff” was coined by Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke.

    It means all those things that are supposed to change on January 1, 2013. The Bush tax cuts. the stimulus tax cuts (the big one is the payroll tax cuts) And the sequestration, or automatic budget cuts.

    Yesterday, NBC Nightly News said that he said it “in the spring.” But they video of him saying that evidently in testifying before some committee of Congress, and they labeled it:

    “Feb 29″

    Even if youa re veliever in global warming – and the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams is a big believer in global warming – they ran a story about somebody somewhere saying the sea level could rise by 5 feet by 2100 (actually, sea level has been rising at abouyt a rate of a foot per century) and showed a map of how the coastline of the United States would be shrunken – and they also showed what it would be for 25 feet which somebody said could happen in a few centuries..

    Even if you are a big believer in global warming February 29 is still not the spring.

    A person was alsoquoted as saying that if sea lkevels rose to whatever levelk he was claiming we could have another Hurricane Sandy flood every 15 years.

    A whole 15 years between floods? That’s a relief.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  18. The Fiscal cliff has nothing got to do with the debt, just with a sudden change in policy where teh government is sudddenly taxing more and spending less.

    It’s supposed to cause a recession.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  19. yes Mr skeptic there’s consequences when your little country manages its affairs less competently than does your average crack whore

    bad consequences

    happyfeet (2f4380)

  20. Gazzer broke it

    happyfeet (2f4380)

  21. The sequestration is just cutting spending. Democrats expect Republicans to panic at defense cuts. Let them happen. Mortgage interest deduction should be limited to $250,000 of mortgage.

    The best alternative would have been Romney’s plan but, oh well.

    Mike K (326cba)

  22. 250000 doesn’t even buy a meth lab in Los Angeles

    happyfeet (2f4380)

  23. Someone who lives in the ‘Valley would know about meth-labs (Heh!).

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  24. I want to rename the Affordable Care Act, the Cloward-Piven Wet Dream Act!

    Amalgamated Cliff Divers, Local 157 (721840)

  25. All I know about meth labs really is they can be super super cheap cause of the contaminations what happen when you cook meth. But really it’s the kind of thing it’s best to let be Someone Else’s Problem.

    happyfeet (3eead3)

  26. 5 – I can dig it. No subsidies.
    The farmers will have a conniption fit.

    mg (31009b)

  27. 24. Comment by Amalgamated Cliff Divers, Local 157 (721840) — 11/27/2012 @ 11:17 am

    I want to rename the Affordable Care Act, the Cloward-Piven Wet Dream Act

    Cloward Pivens was that idea floated around 1970 that you woudl try to overload the welfare system. The Affordable Care Act does a bit of that, in that it tries to get more opeople on Medicaid and tries to enroll everyone currently eligible for Medicaid into Medicaid.

    But Dustin told me the ultimate goal was to abolish all these means tested progarms anbd give everyione aguaranteed income.

    …which is actually an idea of Milton Friedman’s, I think.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtpgkX588nM

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_income_tax

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  28. Cloward Pivens = Negative Income tax?

    If you did that, you could get rid of the minimum wage, of course.

    From Wikipedia:

    Criticism

    The main drawback is one commonly found in almost any income-based tax system: it requires considerable reporting and supervision in order to avoid fraud. The incentive to commit fraud may be increased with a NIT, since the monetary reward for fraud could be larger than a taxpayer’s total tax liability. The added expense of policing fraud could offset the benefit from reducing administration costs resulting in a net increase in costs.

    Another criticism is that the NIT might reduce the incentive to work, since recipients of the NIT would receive a guaranteed minimum wage equal to the government payment in the absence of employment. A series of studies in the United States beginning in 1968 attempted to test for effects on work incentives. The studies showed minimal disincentives, but were difficult to analyze as the monetary benefits were rarely as generous as those already received through the traditional welfare system. These results lead to an apparent dilemma of maintaining the benefits of existing programs through an NIT without creating significant disincentives and while restricting coverage to any manageable portion of the population.[3]

    Specific models

    Various different models of negative income tax have been proposed.

    One model was proposed by Milton Friedman, as part of his flat tax proposals. In this version, a specified proportion of unused deductions or allowances would be refunded to the taxpayer. If, for a family of four the amount of allowances came out to $10,000, and the subsidy rate was 50% (the rate recommended by Friedman), and the family earned $6,000, the family would receive $2,000, because it left $4,000 of allowances unused, and therefore qualifies for $2,000, half that amount. Friedman feared that subsidy rates as high as those would lessen the incentive to obtain employment. He also warned that the negative income tax, as an addition to the “ragbag” of welfare and assistance programs, would only worsen the problem of bureaucracy and waste. Instead, he argued, the negative income tax should immediately replace all other welfare and assistance programs on the way to a completely laissez-faire society where all welfare is privately administered. The negative income tax has come up in one form or another in Congress, but Friedman opposed it because it came packaged with other undesirable elements antithetical to the efficacy of the negative income tax. Friedman preferred to have no income tax at all, but said he did not think it was politically feasible at that time to eliminate it, so he suggested this as a less harmful income tax scheme.[4][5]

    Initially Friedman lobbied hard for NIT, but ended up fighting against it when the NIT proposal was going to be added to the current system instead of replacing it.

    the negative income tax should immediately replace all other welfare and assistance programs

    Dustin: Didn’t you say that was Cloward Pivens?

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  29. Oh good Allah

    JD (318f81)

  30. Comment 70 here: http://patterico.com/2012/11/15/l-a-times-californians-favor-having-other-people-pay-for-their-free-stuff/

    Dustin: Richard Cloward and Francis Piven (they were married) wrote an article, “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty,” calling for the Democrat Party to enact policies that result in the US entitlement system to be overloaded and unsustainable, while campaigning on high awareness of this welfare (for example, food stamps). As too many recipients apply for benefits (and vote for the democrats who continue to reduce the threshold to get them) this plan would cause a crisis that would be resolved with guaranteed annual income (AKA outright socialism).

    No, a Guaranteed Annual Income is not socialism – it’s Milton’s Friedman’s negative income tax.

    It also could be similar to what exists in Alaska and what George W Bush wanted to do in Iraq (he wanted them to assign the oil revenues to every person and not run it through the politicians)

    The Alaskan guaranteed annual income is pretty small.

    Everything of course depends on the dollar amounts set and the conditions

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  31. If Dustin is right about the ultimate goal of Cloward Pivens 9and there may be something wrong about the way he stated it) than what they were aiming for was something Milton Friedman endorsed.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  32. At this point, since there is no chance of the budget-cutting and governmental downsizing that might-have-been, I’m favoring the powered decent down the fiscal cliff.

    RAISE TAXES A BUNCH. Add a 10% national sales tax on top of the current structure so that the people who want “free stuff” can effing pay for it too.

    Sure, we’ll have a big recession and all, but we’ll be paying for this crazy spending and not just debting or taxing the bejeezus out of those productive high income folks.

    WIth any luck people will decide they don’t like all that free stuff if it isn’t free, but at least the budget might balance.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  33. I’m a fiscal conservative, I deplore subsidies and as a sign of good faith I’m ready to let the mortgage interest deduction go along with the farm subsidies, wind and energy deduction subsidies, and a whole lot of other subsidies. Who’s with me?

    We actually killed farm subsidies in the late 90′s under Clinton and Gingrich, complete with buyouts of near-term expectations. It took Bush & Hastert about 30 seconds to start them up again. I’m not too keen on promises.

    More than just subsidies, we need to end about 4 Cabinet departments and endless programs. Cutbacks don’t work, you have to remove the program’s roots or the weed just roars back

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  34. ==More than just subsidies, we need to end about 4 Cabinet departments and endless programs==

    I’m in!

    elissa (0d16a3)

  35. “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.”

    Which results in a Soviet-era joke:

    “We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us!”

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  36. Comment by Sammy Finkelman (d22d64) — 11/27/2012 @ 1:17 pm

    I would like to see a real link to the actual words of MF endorsing that form of Socialism.

    I know that he was an advocate of relatively Open-Borders, but he qualified it by saying that if you did so, you would have to end the Welfare-State; as you can have one or the other, but not both.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  37. One only has to look at this country (New Zealand) to work out why: the party that takes the hard decisions takes a massive political hit.

    Voters who depend on the state don’t like fiscal discipline. And there are a lot of voters who depend on the state.

    scrubone (e7e0ea)

  38. Sammy,

    I never said cloward and piven sought to abolish welfare programs.

    And of course a ‘to each according to his needs’ approach is socialism no matter what terms are used to mask it.

    dustin (4a5301)

  39. So true, Patrick. We have seen in CA this relentless slide into third-world status as if it’s a good thing; then the GOP takes its crumbs and goes back to its corner.

    All of this fiscal cliff yapping by them is meant to distract us from the fact they threw away one of the last best chances to save the Republic a few weeks ago.

    Patricia (be0117)

  40. Cloward Piven plan: to overload our financial system with welfare and dependancy to the point of a collapse that leads to total welfare and dependancy.

    dustin (4a5301)

  41. Remember, CA is at the tip of the spear of the phalanx’ charge into the Kingdom of Socialism.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  42. Give the Democrats what they want. Then they can’t blame us again.

    Annie (2a0566)

  43. Annie–they will always blame somebody else.

    elissa (0d16a3)

  44. 38. Comment by dustin (4a5301) — 11/27/2012 @ 2:01 pm

    Sammy,

    I never said cloward and piven sought to abolish welfare programs.

    But you said, their strategy was:

    for the Democrat Party to enact policies that result in the US entitlement system to be overloaded and unsustainable, while campaigning on high awareness of this welfare (for example, food stamps). As too many recipients apply for benefits (and vote for the democrats who continue to reduce the threshold to get them) this plan would cause a crisis that would be resolved with guaranteed annual income

    Now resolving a crisis sounds like the “unsustainable” welfare system would be replaced by a guaranteed annual income.

    Milton Friedman backed off his proposal according to the Wikipedia article says because it didn’t abolish welfare programs.

    And of course a ‘to each according to his needs’ approach is socialism no matter what terms are used to mask it.

    “To each according to his needs” is neither socialism (which is government ownership) nor a guaranteed annual income, (even if it gives needs and it doesn’t wants, and we do “needs” now pretty much anyway. In fact it’s in the Bible Deuteronomy Chapter 15) and it’s certainly not “from each according to his ability”

    A guaranteed annual income preserves the profit motive.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  45. 36. Comment by askeptic (b8ab92) — 11/27/2012 @ 1:49

    I would like to see a real link to the actual words of MF endorsing that form of Socialism.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtpgkX588nM

    This is William F. BNuckey interviwing him. Go to 3:30. The minimum income would be $1,500 for a family of 4 (around 1970 = something like $10,000 to $11,000 now) but the break even point would be higher. He says it is very important to preserve the incentive. He says we are not starting from scratch. The old welfare program took 100%.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  46. The Earned Income Tax Credit I think is based on Milton Friedman’s proposal, in part.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  47. elissa: you beat me to it.

    scrubone (e7e0ea)

  48. Ah, Sammy, the key was the mention of “incentive”.
    He was advocating a support system, that would eventually be unnecessary since the incentives would, to someone with any sort of ambition, be more powerful than the safety net, thereby causing those in the system to eventually advance to a point where it would not be necessary any longer.
    “Ending Welfare as we know it”

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  49. Sammy. I already contradicted your very bizzare reinterpretation of what I said, and i did so specifically. So it is clearly a challenge to communicate with you.

    So for the record: sammy’s version of my views are not my views

    dustin (4a5301)

  50. It’s mathematically impossible to pay off the debt. We owe more than actually exists. If you took every dime from every bank and business you could not pay it off. Time to 86 the Federal Reserve.

    mg (31009b)

  51. Very simple: rein in spending, eliminate excesses. Increase taxes on those who can afford to give more, stop borrowing!

    The Emperor (09061e)

  52. Increase taxes on those who can afford to give more,

    Utter nonsense. Taking all of the wealthy’s money would solve nothing n

    JD (518ff4)

  53. “Taking all of the wealthy’s money would solve nothing”. Jd.
    Only if you are among the rich and wealthy.

    The Emperor (09061e)

  54. If its so simple, The Emperor, why do the Democrats refuse to do three quarters of your prescription?

    SPQR (768505)

  55. I am not going to listen to any of this fodder as long as the only proposal on the table by taxing the rich would fund the government for 8 days. 8 days. 8 days.

    sybilll (ae7f46)

  56. 50. Global GDP is $30 Trillion, all the goods and services the world produces in a year.

    For 2013, for the first time in decades, Global GDP will be down.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  57. “The most powerful force in the world is compound interest”.
    Albert Einstein

    mg (31009b)

  58. Our esteemed host wrote:

    At this point, since the popping of that bubble is inevitable, I just want it to hurry up and happen. The problem isn’t going to get fixed. We’re not paying off the debt. So let’s get the catastrophe over with now instead of later, and give my children some chance at a few decent years.

    I take it by that that you agree with me that going off the fiscal cliff is probably a better alternative than any compromise policy that avoids it.

    The biggest problem with the sequester portion is that it does not cut spending enough, not nearly enough. As for the tax increases, if taxes have to be increased, they should be increased on everybody, not just the top producers. Let’s take that 47% who pay no income taxes, and reduce that number significantly; make taxpayers out of the non-taxpayers, and you’ll see more interest in cutting spending.

    The contrarian economist Dana (f68855)

  59. Dana, as I said — a stiff national sales tax. EVERYONE pays sales tax.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  60. For those that counsel to let the left “own it” by standing out of the way of whatever these people want you’re being unrealistic. There is no way when the crap happens that the media will allow any blame to stick to the Dems. Somehow the line will still be Republicans shirking their duties. In any event the real bloodbath won’t happen until the world decides not to take the US dollar as either reserve currency or oil payments. Then there will be a horrendus bout of stagflation that will be unbelieveably painful and last years.

    scr_north (efde4d)

  61. We already voted for free fall. That cliff will soon be a pleasant memory.

    Amphipolis (e01538)

  62. Here’s a bit of comforting history.

    Germany went through catastrophic hyperinflation, and afterwards the country was still functional. No one was starving in the streets, the railroads and utilities still operated. Unemployment was not horrible.

    The Nazis? Remained an insignificant fringe party for another eight years, until the Depression took hold and unemployment did become horrible. The Communists also gained very little.

    So it’s possible for a country to survive a hyperinflation episode in fairly good shape. Of course, that case was Germany, with its hard-working, highly-skilled, law-abiding population. Our case may be a little different.

    Rich Rostrom (c6c488)

  63. Rich, did you not look up “Freikorps” ?

    SPQR (768505)

  64. The end is likely to come when the government offers up yet more debt at auction and the paper is left without bids. This could happen for a number of reasons but it will probably catch Geithner by surprise, sort of like his FICA payments…

    What is going on now is just eGOP performing a little soft-shoe prior to their surrender during the initial seating for the “Fiscal Cliff negotiations.”

    The eGOP has NO INTENTION of WINNING this fight…

    WarEagle82 (97b777)

  65. Taxing the rich won’t do the trick, as Emperor knows, because revenue won’t go up much.. could even go down, if taxes were increased. There’s only so much you can squeeze out of this turnip. JFK was right to cut taxes, and so was Bush, and so as Reagan. We saw proof as revenues have gone up when taxes have gone down.

    Because we can only get so much tax revenue, even those who ignore the moral issue of overtaxing the productive should recognize: We Have A Spending Problem, Not a Taxing Problem.

    Dustin (73fead)

  66. That is just crazy talk, Dustin.

    JD (518ff4)

  67. Refuse to raise the debt ceiling. Instant balanced budget.

    luagha (1de9ec)

  68. Refuse to raise the debt ceiling.

    Now we’re talking.

    Only, I have no doubt they would keep spending anyway. They are required by law to pass a budget… what power does the law have? Taxes have to originate in the House, yet Obamacare was upheld because the Senate originated bill is a tax.

    Obama could mutter that an unjust law is no law at all and spend our children’s future away for social justice.

    Dustin (73fead)

  69. The Republicans will cave. And, their apologists will insist that it is the smart thing to do. After all, if they were to show some spine, it might upset people and cost them in the next election.

    You know, all the same things these twits have been saying for the last two years.

    Anon Y. Mous (8ec442)

  70. it might upset people and cost them in the next election.

    And this willingness to pursue election wins at any policy cost is exactly why the GOP struggles. If spending isn’t a crisis, then Obama’s goodies aren’t so bad. If spending is a crisis, why would the GOP act otherwise?

    Electability is more complicated than the beltway seems to realize (conveniently, the beltway needs the bloated government to persist, and some may even prefer being in the minority… able to whine but not responsible for the hard solutions.

    Dustin (73fead)

  71. Taxes have to originate in the House, yet Obamacare was upheld because the Senate originated bill is a tax.

    The bill originated in the House.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  72. Only, I have no doubt they would keep spending anyway.

    Spending what? If Congress doesn’t authorise the debt the USA is not liable to pay it, so what idiot would be willing to lend for any term longer than 2017?

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  73. Democrats expect Republicans to panic at defense cuts. Let them happen.

    Count me in as one conservative who doesn’t shed tears over the idea of the defense budget being chopped. Although protecting the safety of this society is the number-one task of the federal government, I nonetheless feel that the spendthrift mentality throughout the military and the defense industry (now largely headquartered in the Washington DC area) is no less galling than what oozes out of the welfare-kum-ba-yah-do-gooder industry.

    Annie–they will always blame somebody else.

    Speaking of which, I’m acquainted with a hard-core liberal in my workplace, and the guy is the biggest scapegoater on two feet. Always blaming others for — or seeing boogeymen as the cause of — the sad, pitiful plight of those who, in reality and fact, are their own worst enemy. I’ve noticed that trait of assigning the blame to the wrong person/group/reason in quite a few liberals in general.

    Yep, some on the right are guilty of that behavior too, but it seems far more pervasive among liberals.

    Mark (9095af)

  74. Mark, there’s nothing so expensive as the second-best military. Yes, of course the military spends very inefficiently; unfortunately that’s the nature of the beast. It has to spend like that, because it can’t work any other way. So we have to budget in the overspending. Expecting the Pentagon to spend only what necessary things really cost is like feeding a baby and expecting more than half the food to go down his throat. Imagine only getting as much baby food as the kid actually needs to eat, rather than at least twice as much because you expect most of it to end up on the floor, the high chair, his clothes, and everywhere else; you might be “right” in some sense, but the kid will starve. What the kid needs to be fed is at least twice what he needs to actually eat. And the Pentagon is the same. Give it less money and military effectiveness will be reduced, and people will die.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  75. Government doesn’t work; public funds cannot be spent efficiently. That’s why nothing that can be run privately should be run by the government. But the military can’t be run privately. It has to be a government project, so we have to accept that it will be inefficient.

    In fact ironically its apparent inefficiencies are actually carefully designed to be the most efficient it can be. For instance, Pentagon procurement rules at least double the cost of everything it buys; hence the stories we always hear about a $100 hammer or whatever. So the obvious answer is to get rid of the rules, streamline them, reduce the overhead, right? Wrong. Those rules are there for a very good reason — experience shows that without them there is rampant theft, and you end up spending three or four times what that hammer should cost, and then it falls apart when it’s needed. There has to be all this auditing and reporting to stop outright theft, but it doesn’t come for free.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  76. 75- Perhaps if people had lost hands for stealing, theft might not happen.

    mg (31009b)

  77. how pitiful and frankly sad to have this melodramatic cliffy cliffy cliff thing and then have to realize your team is looking to John Boehner for a message and a strategy

    stale and fail

    these people are not serious

    happyfeet (44e61c)

  78. bjork yodels at your so called cliffs

    pdbuttons (71b691)

  79. that *should* grip my heart with terror and despair, yodelings so baleful and puissant

    and yet I can but sigh

    happyfeet (44e61c)

  80. If Congress doesn’t authorise the debt the USA is not liable to pay it, so what idiot would be willing to lend for any term longer than 2017?

    They are already idiots for lending us money that we are very unlikely to be able to repay.

    The bill originated in the House.

    Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd)

    HR 3590 was a bill pertaining to tax breaks for military homeowners. The Senate stripped out the content of this “shell” bill and then inserted Obamacare to pass it. This is where Obamacare originated, and in that House Bill, before the Senate passed it, there wasn’t a word about Obamacare.

    But legally the Court does consider this to be compliance with the constitution. The truth is that the first time Obamacare’s language passed a house of Congress, it was the Senate.

    Dustin (73fead)

  81. “I’m ready to let the mortgage interest deduction go along with … a whole lot of other subsidies. Who’s with me?” I am. I want the govt to get completely out of the housing business. Get rid of Fannie and Freddie and FHA and all other market-distorting interference. In the short term, it will be extremely painful and disruptive, but it has to be done, better now than later.

    No matter what policies are chosen: whatever goes wrong, whatever pain ensues, Republicans will be blamed. Logic has nothing to do with it. The majority of the electorate is mis-educated, ignorant, blinded by envy and hatred of the rich, and still stunned by the 2008 panic.

    If we fight BHO, we’ll be blamed for whatever happens. If we give BHO full reign, we’ll be blamed for whatever happens. We have to try to do the right things to save America, regardless of the political consequences.

    gp (5a38d9)

  82. how pitiful and frankly sad to have this melodramatic cliffy cliffy cliff thing and then have to realize your team is looking to John Boehner for a message and a strategy

    Who do you think agreed to create the cliff in the first place? I mean, this isn’t something that just happened, it was deliberately planned, by agreement of both parties. I remember we had a discussion about it right here at the time.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  83. They are already idiots for lending us money that we are very unlikely to be able to repay.

    But we’re legally obligated to repay it. If we don’t they can sue and get a judgement against the USA. But if 0bama issues debt that wasn’t authorised by Congress then that debt will not be binding, and if the next administration repudiates it (as it should) and a lender sues he will be laughed out of court. So who would lend this money, unless it’s to be paid within the term of this administration (and even that’s risky, since who’s to say the Socialist In Chief won’t repudiate his own administration’s unauthorised debt?)

    HR 3590 was a bill pertaining to tax breaks for military homeowners. The Senate stripped out the content of this “shell” bill and then inserted Obamacare to pass it. This is where Obamacare originated, and in that House Bill, before the Senate passed it, there wasn’t a word about Obamacare.

    But legally the Court does consider this to be compliance with the constitution.

    Yes, and it’s done all the time. It’s a standard practise, part of the rules of the game as it is played, and probably has been for over 200 years. Not just in this country either; it’s a standard parliamentary practise pretty much everywhere. So it would be extraordinary for a court to cavil at it just in this instance. Though actually I don’t know whether any court has ever been asked to rule on it in the first place.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  84. The mortgage deduction should go anyway, because it was always wrong, and if it goes now then there’s at least a chance of the Ds bearing the blame. The next R congress can just quietly forget about reenacting it.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  85. Another cliff:

    http://sayanythingblog.com/entry/bubble-popping-student-loan-delinquency-rates-spiking/

    Millions of kids who ought to be pursuing a remedial GED and career training in vo-tech, are indenturing their parents and themselves for the rest of their respective spans on this earth tripping thru ‘College’.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  86. Basically bright guy who gets bogged down thinking too much:

    http://keithhennessey.com/2012/11/27/the-president-is-bluffing/

    Keiff, Dog’s only interest is hosing his John damn good, giving him AIDs and watching the street kids beat him to death.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  87. It’s a standard practise, part of the rules of the game

    Just note that my point was not that there is a winning legal argument in any actual courtroom. My point was that this law is one example of how ‘the game’, as you aptly put it, finds ways around the law, and our system will not correct that.

    Obamacare did not originate in the House. The bill that originated in the house had not one letter pertaining to Obamacare, and was stripped of its language and had Obamacare inserted and passed in the Senate, where it actually originated. A tax, which Obamacare turned out to be after all, constitutionally should originate from the people’s representatives in the House because it is more accountable due to the smaller sample of each representatives constituency.

    But they found a stupid way around this law ages ago that is more or less equivilant to using white out on the Constitution.

    But if 0bama issues debt that wasn’t authorised by Congress then that debt will not be binding,

    I hope that is right in practice, but I think they would find some way around that. They always do. They could just reinterpret the debt ceiling language in a transparently wrong and ad hoc fashion. They could “repay” $100 gazillion dollars with an IOU from themselves and say we now technically have a huge savings. When it comes to keeping the money flowing, I think they will find a way. I would be delighted to be proven wrong.

    Dustin (73fead)

  88. The mortgage deduction should go anyway, because it was always wrong

    I agree.

    Dustin (73fead)

  89. 70. Exactly right. The GOP has no winning scenario open to it over the Fiscal Cliff vs. Bush Tax Cut dilemma. Dhimmis will rape them any way they tilt.

    Boehner is guaranteed to make it a perforated penetration.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  90. The mortgage deduction should go anyway, because it was always wrong

    Of course, doing it now would drop any number of houses into foreclosure as the 30% subsidy of mortgage payments disappeared. Maybe no one would notice.

    Rather than tinker with the income tax code, which always results in competing lobbyists and minor shaving in the end, do something that HURTS EVERYONE.

    Put in a two-year sunset “emergency” 10% national sales tax. Not a VAT, a straight sales tax on everything but food and housing. Make it clear that this is the price of continuing entitlements and government at the current clip, and that getting rid of it means getting rid of big government. Then in two years, let the people choose.

    But so long as the tax is hidden in debting and soaking the rich, there is no choice needed; just keep the “free stuff” coming.

    “Taxes should hurt” — Ronald Reagan.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  91. IIRC it used to be that all interest was tax deductible and when that was abolished in the Tax Reform act of 1986, mortgage interest was carved out, with some limitations.

    (for most people the most significant thing eliminated would be credit card and store card interest. If the underlying expenditure is deductible, of course, the interest is too)

    Under current law, the following mortgage interest is deductible:

    1) All mortgages taken out before October 13, 1987.

    2) Home acquisition debt used to buy, build or improve a first or second home, up to a limit of $1 million principle (including any grandfathered debt in the $1 million)

    3) Home equity loans (not used for home expenditures) up to $100,000. It’s deductible only if there is equity and you also won’t hit the $1 million cap.

    (Married filing separately gets half of 2 and 3, which is probably why Nakoula the Mohammed Moviemaker and his wife got divorced, even though they still live together, since she probably, on advice of her husband’s counsel, refused to sign a joint return.)

    Sammy Finkelman (375edc)

  92. The mortgage deduction should go anyway, because it was always wrong

    But my main objection to this and other deduction changes is that they all avoid taxing the people who don’t pay income tax and who suck down the entitlements.

    We need a broad-based tax that gets everyone, even those in the underground economy.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  93. Kevin, I’d love to see a national sales tax replace an income tax or property tax.

    This is contrary to our nation’s evaluation of its economic health, which is based on consumerism. We need to tilt things towards earning, creating, and saving. If we have to put a tax somewhere in the system, we should put it on spending, the thing we have the most control over.

    Texas and some other states exempt groceries from the sales tax, and that’s more progressive than a progressive income tax, as those who are struggling to feed their families are more accurately targeted.

    But this would depress consumerism at the benefit of longer term economic stability, and what politician cares about the long term?

    Dustin (73fead)

  94. Not a bad little brier on the real Cliff:

    http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-real-crash-surviving-americas.html

    Still not figured in to a cliff called $87 Trillion is all the pension obligation and any of the financial market uncollaterlized debt.

    The total Cliff is something north of $700 Trillion in notional debt, the paper value, all of which is put at risk when the default cascade gets rolling.

    The article implys that Dollar status of Global Reserve Currency goes first before the splat, but in actuality, universal war, general starvation and Global RESET can lead the way.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  95. I’d be surprised if a ‘comprehensive’(sarc) bill gets done before April, but mortgage interest deduction will be capped not revoked.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  96. (Married filing separately gets half of 2 and 3, which is probably why Nakoula the Mohammed Moviemaker and his wife got divorced, even though they still live together, since she probably, on advice of her husband’s counsel, refused to sign a joint return.)

    Brilliant

    JD (318f81)

  97. “I’d love to see a national sales tax replace an income tax or property tax.” But it would end up being not a replacement, but in _addition_ to other taxes. The politicians would screw it up so we’d be paying natl sales tax PLUS income tax. Better not to let the new tax genies (sales taxes, VATs) out of the bottle.

    gp (5a38d9)

  98. The draconian cuts in the fiscal cliff sequester amount to $100B, less than 7% of our now annual $1.3T deficits. Less than 3% of last years budget, should the Dems ever get around to passing a budget again.

    JD (318f81)

  99. Actually, if we must raise about 20% of GDP, I think it would be best to split that between a 10% flat income tax and a 10% VAT. That way the incentive to cheat on either one is minimised.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  100. But it would end up being not a replacement, but in _addition_ to other taxes.

    That’s sadly pretty realistic.

    I would only support the idea if they completely shut down the income tax. I’d also want to see the budget maximum be equal to 90% of last year’s revenue until the debt is brought below two years of revenue, with an exception in times of emergency requiring a super majority vote of both houses.

    And I’d also require a balanced budget.

    This post was brought to you by Saint Jude.

    Dustin (73fead)

  101. a 10% VAT.

    Yuck.

    Dustin (73fead)

  102. Theoretical musings on yet another Cliff:

    http://solen.info/solar/

    The Sun is slowly slouching back to secular quietude in its 11-year activity cycle. During this period we normally see some volatility in Earth’s magnetic field as a result of Solar influence.

    Spikes in the blue ‘ap’ curve in the linked graph are often followed directly, and days thereafter, in heightened seismic activity, e.g., 3/11/11 Japanese quake. Another such spike should occur in the coming week to ten days.

    In case you in Kali were interested.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  103. Whenever Finkelman writes “… probably …”, its pretty much easy to just translate that to “… I made up the idea that …”

    SPQR (768505)

  104. The politicians would screw it up so we’d be paying natl sales tax PLUS income tax. Better not to let the new tax genies (sales taxes, VATs) out of the bottle.

    Well, we are paying a debt tax anyway.

    I live in a state where there’s income tax, (limited) property tax and sales tax. Everyone gets hit by some tax, right down to the illegal aliens and drug dealers. As such, there is a constant reluctance to raise taxes, and they go up a lot slower than if there was no sales tax.

    But the federal system now has lots and lots of people who pay no federal tax, and everyone wonders why they think federal money is free. When to them, it is.

    If we had won this election, I’d be all for holding t5he line on taxes and savaging spending and ending programs. But we didn’t. Why? Because it’s ALL FREE. We need to change that and no amount of income tax will hit people who deal in cash or barter.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  105. Dustin,

    For a Balanced Budget Amendment (now at least 4 years off), you’d want to tie the current year’s spending to an average of the prior 3 or so. Not only does this give you a hard number, but it allows spending to stay up in a recession, and holds spending down after one.

    But right now we need a broad-based tax that isn’t tied to income, so that everyone hates taxes.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  106. *tied to an average of the prior 3 year’s GDP*

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  107. A balanced budget amendment is just silly when the Democrats refuse to negotiate a budget through the Congressional process, refuse to pass a budget and the MSM lets them get away with this institution destroying behavior.

    The Democrats have created this crisis after crisis environment deliberately. They want to avoid responsibility for actually negotiating and passing a budget, avoid responsibility for the deficits they’ve created and blame the GOP for “obstruction” for being the adult in the room.

    The “fiscal cliff” is being portrayed in the MSM as the fault of those pesky Republicans, when they were pushed into accepting this deal of putting off spending cuts to pass the debt ceiling compromise last year.

    We need to stop this juvenile Democrat behavior, we need to stop the propaganda efforts that push Democrats’ tactics onto the GOP’s “fault”.

    The GOP should simply refuse to cut any “deal” at the end of the year that isn’t a full budget with all the trimmings that a real budget must have including 10 year reconciliations.

    SPQR (768505)

  108. “Households over 250K are going to get buggered.”

    It shouldn’t surprise anyone that as the Baby Boomers die off, their last act is to vote to increase taxes to send their legacies to the government. They want to take it with them, and this is the only way: to give their money to their incarnation of their deity: the government.

    ErisGuy (76f8a7)

  109. 107. Excellent point.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  110. A balanced budget amendment is just silly when the Democrats refuse to negotiate a budget

    I agree. Nevertheless, eventually we must have one. I have basically no expectation we actually will or that it would be abided by in good faith, but that’s exactly what this country needs.

    For a Balanced Budget Amendment (now at least 4 years off), you’d want to tie the current year’s spending to an average of the prior 3 or so.

    Good idea. One year’s revenue would not be as good of a basis.

    Dustin (73fead)

  111. Right now, all Barack Obama is interested in doing is in increasing the tax rates on the upper two brackets, while keeping all the other income tax brackets the same. It doesn’t even have to go back to where it was during Clinton’s presidency. That’s where he is.

    Obama doesn’t care about spending cuts, reducing the deficit or anything. Just this political victory (and fulfillment of a campaign promise)

    But he doesn’t have to win it all to win a victory. two points is enough. One point may be enough. Maybe even less. Maybe just temporary.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  112. I already explained what my busget amendment idea is. First of course we get rid of the budget.

    Then we tie every single expenditure to a source of funds, which can include borrowing.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  113. Comment by Kevin M (bf8ad7) — 11/28/2012 @ 9:05 am

    We need a broad-based tax that gets everyone, even those in the underground economy.

    CARBON TAX?

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  114. 95. Comment by gary gulrud (dd7d4e) — 11/28/2012 @ 9:28 am

    I’d be surprised if a ‘comprehensive’(sarc) bill gets done before April, but mortgage interest deduction will be capped not revoked.

    It already is capped – at $1 million of principle.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  115. Comment by Sammy Finkelman (375edc) — 11/28/2012 @ 9:02 am

    “(Married filing separately gets half of 2 and 3, which is probably why Nakoula the Mohammed Moviemaker and his wife got divorced, even though they still live together, since she probably, on advice of her husband’s counsel, refused to sign a joint return.)”

    103. Comment by SPQR (768505) — 11/28/2012 @ 9:56 am

    Whenever Finkelman writes “… probably …”, its pretty much easy to just translate that to “… I made up the idea that …”

    Well, it often is an idea I thought up – but I can’t say for certain. It could have been any numbe rof things of courtse, but I would kind of suspect his messed up and untrustworthy finances, and shielding her from it, would have something to do with it.

    I know that deliberately getting a diovorce to save on taxes is considered fraud (avoiding marriage is not, though) so I gave a somewhat stronger reason.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  116. The only reason the Post office is not running out of cash this year is all that election mail.

    The only reason it is in danger, though is because Congress requires it to overfund its pension I think. (the extra money counts toward reducing the deficit)

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  117. A balanced budget amendment is just silly when the Democrats refuse to negotiate a budget

    Of course. As are massive budget cuts. I really despair of anything good, given this cluster-f*** of an election, so I argue for less bad. Rather than soak-the-rich taxes, I’d prefer broad-based ones. Doesn’t mean I want tax increases (I want an end to HUD, Energy, Education, Commerce and Labor Departments, but no chance.) I’m just resigned.

    If we have to have this big government, I want it paid for in a way that effing hurts on a daily basis. A sales tax fills the bill.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  118. Disclaimer- I haven’t read all of the above.
    The format never bothered me before, but the new format is pleasing to the (mine anyway) eye.

    Here is my suggestion, for what it’s worth. The Repubs signal they will go for Obama’s plan of “getting rid of the Bush tax cuts” for the top 1%, 2%, or whatever, then say they want to make an announcement to the press.
    With the assembled press present, they say they will give President Obama what he wants. Then, with everyone watching and going wild over Obama’s victory, the Repubs will give a graphic display of what the problem is and how what Obama just won is like pissin’ into the sea, and if that is all of the plan for the future that he’s got, he’s got nuthin’.
    Then say, “Eastwood was right, when somebody isn’t getting the job done, you should have replaced him when you had a chance”.
    And say thank you and walk off of the stage.
    As far as the drubbing in the PR wars that the Repubs generally receive, can it get worse? So go ahead and call a club a club or a diamond a diamond.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  119. The Obama proposal today shows how unserious they are about this, and how they want to go over this cliff. $1,600,000,000,000 in taxes, $50,000,000,000 in new spending, tax dividends as regular income, jack up estate tax rate and lower threshold to 3.5M. Oh, and a vague mention of 400B in savings in healthcare costs and savings from ending the war at unspecified point in the future.

    JD (518ff4)

  120. No entitlement reform.
    No real cuts, except to defense
    No recognition of the problem

    I wouldn’t negotiate with them until the Senate passes a budget.

    JD (518ff4)

  121. We’re number One! We’re number One!! Illinois has the least popular governor in the whole country right now.

    SPRINGFIELD — With only one in four Illinois voters approving his job performance, Gov. Pat Quinn is the least popular in the country and would lose in head-to-head pairings against two of three Republicans eying his job in 2014, a newly commissioned survey found Thursday.

    Just 25 percent of voters in Illinois approved of the work Quinn is doing, while 64 percent disapprove, the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling firm found. That level of support made him “the most unpopular governor [it] has polled on anywhere in the country this year,” the polling firm said.

    elissa (8ecf1e)

  122. Elissa – yet your state will still elect another Dem.

    JD (518ff4)

  123. JD:

    I hate to disagree with you, but the President is dead serious. He really doesn’t care what happens because shut up and he is the President. And nothing, absolutely nothing, will be his fault. He won.

    Ag80 (b2c81f)

  124. Elissa, I hope you’re right. In my humble opinion, the state of Illinois operates best with an effective Democratic mayor of Chicago And a Republican governor to hold back his ambitions.

    carlitos (49ef9f)

  125. By the way, for those of you contemplating The horrors of a 10% VAT, I’m posting this from a town that has exactly that.

    carlitos (49ef9f)

  126. Ag80 – I agree with you. This is Teh One untethered from
    Having to worry about re-election. And it will only get worse.

    JD (518ff4)

  127. JD–Well Quinn for sure will be primaried and it is almost certain he’ll not be the Dem gubernatorial nominee in 2014. Still, don’t forget that after the Blago fiasco we came darn close to an R win last time even with the wrong candidate. This state is so messed up I’m not sure why anybody would want to be governor of it, though.

    Chris Christie sitting at 72% favorability must be laughing his big butt off at Quinn. And poor old Moonbeam is prolly breathing a huge sigh of relief that at least he’s not the lowest ranked governor.

    elissa (8ecf1e)

  128. I used to play volleyball with Jack Ryan, of all people. Don’t get me started.

    carlitos (49ef9f)

  129. Maybe Mel Reynolds can rehabilitate himself as Governor

    JD (518ff4)

  130. Well, in a league with, to be accurate. We’re not friends

    carlitos (49ef9f)

  131. I absolutely cannot believe that Mel Reynolds is back on the scene. I will never forget when Steve and Garry read the transcripts of his tapes on the air on Chicago’s 97.9 the loop. When he found out the 13 year old girl was a Catholic school student with the uniform he said and I quote “what, did I win the lottery?” This is a congressman.

    carlitos (49ef9f)

  132. nah–the convicted pedophile ex congressman Mel Reynolds says he is going after JJJ’s newly vacant congressional seat.

    elissa (8ecf1e)

  133. Hey someone tell the tech guy on the iPhone 4S with iOS six, when you click on RSS feed it somehow interprets this blog as a podcast, but with no result.

    carlitos (49ef9f)

  134. Funny you should remember that particular quote, carlitos. You’re not the only one. A local political blog here which I regularly scan had a “contest” earlier this week for readers to submit press release statements or campaign slogans in honor of Mel and his uh, special circumstances. By acclamation the winner was as follows–

    Mel: Wow, JJJ just resigned from congress? What? Did I win the lottery?

    elissa (8ecf1e)

  135. sales taxes are regressive it shows you how much the socialists really care about their precious food stampers

    happyfeet (ee96a3)

  136. Well there are surprises all around, 18-24 year olds are getting a 45% cost increase in their insurance, and Pell Grants are getting cut 13%,
    ‘things they should have made aware sooner’

    narciso (ee31f1)

  137. “I absolutely cannot believe that Mel Reynolds is back on the scene.”

    carlitos – Good times. Wear your pink underwear!

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  138. Comment by MD in Philly (3d3f72) — 11/29/2012 @ 6:45 pm

    Here is my suggestion, for what it’s worth. The Repubs signal they will go for Obama’s plan of “getting rid of the Bush tax cuts” for the top 1%, 2%, or whatever, then say they want to make an announcement to the press.
    With the assembled press present, they say they will give President Obama what he wants. Then, with everyone watching and going wild over Obama’s victory, the Repubs will give a graphic display of what the problem is and how what Obama just won is…he’s got nuthin’.

    This might make sense, as once he gets his tax raise, he’ll be more amenable to make deals.

    Right now I don’t think he wants any deal that doesn’t also take care of the debt limit – for the rest of presidency if possible. The debt limit ius coming up around mMarch.

    They could do alittle better tahn this:

    Maybe:

    1) Separate the sequester from the tax raise and kick the can down the road three to six months.

    2) Extend all the below $250,000 cuts indefinitely, and also all the other coming tax changes – AMT. capital gains and dividends, payroll tax cuts, exclusion for debt forgiveness on a mortgage, as long as possible, with the proviso, they’ll be renegotiated.

    3) Make the Bush tax cuts permanent, but put instead a surtax. A surtax of 5% would gove Obama everything he wants, but a surtax is more repealable. The question becomes should it expire or not.

    So maybe 4) The surtax expires if the military budget is cut below a certain percentage of GDP, or perhaps if Medicare is cut.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  139. 121. Comment by JD (518ff4) — 11/29/2012 @ 8:01 pm

    The Obama proposal today shows how unserious they are about this, and how they want to go over this cliff.

    Obama probably wants two things:

    1) A tax increase on the upper two brackets, while extending all the other Bush tax cuts.

    He’ll settle for less than half of what is scheduled, but he wants something.

    2) Only one complex negotiation. (that means the debt ceiling has to be wrapped up into it)

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)


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