Sacrifices & the Deficit

A future-noir style Ridley Scott ad, written to follow the 1986 State of the Union address in which President Reagan called for deficit reduction, even as he expanded it, has finally been getting the attention it deserves:

But the focus should be not on the dramatized consequences of deficit spending, or even the general idea that deficits should be avoided. The focus should be on how the goal of deficit spending can slip away from even a well-intentioned populace. Our imprisoned character makes that clear:

…but no-one was willing to make the sacrifices.

Two days before election day, we would all do well to view this as the takeaway message. If balancing the budget is to be a real issue, not just a new bloody shirt for the GOP to wave, it’ll require that the new Republican majority, once elected, do the one thing they’ve steadfastly refused to do: tax us, and by “us,” I mean the wealthy.

Making Bush’s tax cuts permanent will deepen the deficit, and there’s no room for principled disagreement on this point; letting them lapse would be the first of many politically courageous acts any GOP majority would have to undertake to prove its bona fides. Without this or some commensurate act, it’s hard to tell what the next two years will look like. But standing on the precipice, it doesn’t look good.

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88 comments

  1. …once elected, do the one thing they’ve steadfastly refused to do: tax us, and by “us,” I mean the wealthy.

    One of my favorite liberal remarks in quite some time. Hilarious.

  2. I guess I don’t get the joke :(

    1. “by us, I mean the rich” implies “by us, I mean Others”, I think is the joke.

  3. I’m quite sure you don’t….

  4. Well. This has been productive.

  5. It’s the hilariousness of liberals being so blunt about their coveting the wealth of the rich. At least you guys have balls about it.

  6. The Bible verse is a neat trick that lets you imply theft without actually saying it. Well done!

    Of course, I have a hard time viewing a return to what it was just a few years ago as anything radical.

    Edit to add this, ugh: deficit with Bush tax cuts.

  7. I’ve never followed that logic you use on tax policy which is that if we simply go back to a previous tax rate then it’s okay. Just because we had that rate previously doesn’t mean it was smart and before you go referencing the Clinton surplus – they aren’t connected.

    And yes – it IS theft when people advocate taking someone else’s money and not their own. If you all were truly serious about the necessity of raising the tax rate you would do it across the board.

    1. They aren’t connected? I believe most economists point to the tax cuts, and proposing their extension, have and would continue the deficit.

      http://crfb.org/blogs/cbo-finds-tax-cuts-are-bad-economy

      There’s all those stats too that people are paying less taxes than they have before…
      http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/taxes/2010-05-10-taxes_N.htm

      Part of those things were to provide temporary boosts. Once things are better, we shouldn’t need them anymore. Especially if we ever want a possible balanced budget.

      I mean, I’m sure this has been brought up too much recently, but even the British Conservatives are realistic enough to know that if you are serious about deficit reduction you need to focus on both taxes and spending. Although, then the debate on is if that will hurt the economy.

      p.s. The rich already have more say in our system…money buys power and influence…

      1. Clinton’s surplus had nothing to do with the tax rate.

        And I have no problem with tax cuts after spending is brought under control. Until then it’s like giving an alcoholic a case of beer and asking them to save it for Christmas. Never going to happen.

        P.S. If the Democrats are successful in getting taxes raised, isn’t that proof that the influence of the rich isn’t working?

        1. Correction: ‘…I have no problem with tax increases after spending is brought under control.

    2. All I was saying was, economists, the CBO, say that tax cuts deepen the deficit. Say what you want about the details of the surplus, deficit increasing through tax cuts stays the same. You sometimes need to figure out how to pay for stuff you implement.

      1. Well of course they do because there is never a spending increase to go with the tax cuts. So basically the liberal mindset is that we need to keep raising taxes and re-distribute the wealth. Conservatives want to see a tax reduction accompanied by a spending decrease.

        Both approaches are flawed. On the liberal side, the public generaly resists redistribution, as I believe tomorrow’s election resutls will show. On the conservative side it would be better to focus on spending cuts instead of cutting more taxes. With spending under control a tax cut might be appropriate down the road.

        1. The problem is that the public opposes both tax increases and spending reductions on the only areas of the federal budgets that are going to matter, i.e. defence, social spending and health care.

          The great challenge here is that fixing the deficit is going to piss people off no matter what is done, but of course not fixing it leads to even greater problems down the line.

          1. How about this as an excellent solution: A non-partisan commission is appointed to deterine a reasonable $$ amount that should be cut from those buckets. One the amounts are established we allow the GOP to make the defense cuts (and sell it to the public) and we ask Democrats to make the cuts on social spending and health care (and sell it to the public). Both sides can blame the commission and say their hands are tied. Political cover and needed cuts accomplished.

            1. There is such a commission already:
              http://www.fiscalcommission.gov/

              My understanding is they haven’t really done much so far, and they are to present their proposals by December 1. I’m not optimistic about it.

              Interestingly, Esquire magazine established their own small commission a couple of months ago, which since made a number of proposals that seem quite reasonable:
              http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/federal-budget-statistics-1110

          2. Of course the public opposes cuts in social spending and health care. The public is a mass of greedy vermin who love their bread and circuses.

            1. In fairness, clamoring for tax cuts is also a product of being greedy vermin who love bread and circuses. Basically, people are shit and we should turn governance over to Skynet.

      2. I would, also in a paired down form say, Democrats propose things and try to find a way to pay for them. Republicans propose things and don’t worry about how to pay for them, because taxes are bad. It should be like Reagan and Bush, use your talking points all you want, but in the end you will need to raise taxes.

        And about the election, I never went back and saw if you responded to the poll where Americans still blame Republicans more than Obama for the bad economy…so I don’t see this as a referendum, even if your hypothesis that we’ve had some major redistribution happen. How is this election any different than any post election cycle?

        1. But on the other hand – have Democrats ever seen a govt program they didn’t like?

          I don’t think the nation blames Democrats for the economy as much as they blame them for not trying harder to fix it. The Stimulus Plan was a complete boondoggle (which I also believe will haunt them in 2012) and they focused on HCR when they should have been talking about jobs.

          1. The stimulus was not a “boondoggle” – the economy would have been much, much worse had it not happened.

            And yes, I fully realize that sort of counterfactual arguing does not win elections.

            1. Of course it was. There were millions in mispent funds. And I think the economy would have been okay without those potholes getting fixed.

          2. I was going to say something similar to LanFranc.

            It is unpopular in retrospect, so that could hurt them because as I said before, voters are probably more “economy bad, incumbents bad”, than nuanced economists.

            But the actual numbers don’t paint the stimulus as some boondoggle: http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/2010-08-30-stimulus30_CV_N.htm

            I mean, have your opinion on it, but it isn’t as clear cut as you make it.

            1. So what happens when all of those funds run out? How many new jobs were actually CREATED (read: lasting beyond the funds)?

            2. We’re away from boondoggle? Are we arguing different economic theory now?

              I mean, in the article it describes that a lot of the stimulus was your favored tax cuts, so I would imagine, 300 million people having jobs and tax cuts. So people could spend more money, giving more money to businesses, who can then hire more people. I guess that could happen indefinitely as long as nothing externally bad happens. But then you’d be in Krugman territory that we should have done more.

              1. So now we’re back to boondoggle, and not effectiveness or economic theory?

                http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/02/09/60minutes/main1302378.shtml

                Budget accountability is important and necessary, I actually met a person who does that last month in DC.

                Yet, still a different issue than economic theory or policy results.

                1. Is “boondoggle” really separable from effectiveness or economic theory? It strikes me as one of those loosely-defined terms you can apply to any spending you disagree with. Don’t like the stimulus? Boondoggle. Don’t like military spending? Boondoggle. Don’t like welfare? Boondoggle. Don’t like a bridge to nowhere? Boondoggle.

                  I think calling something a “boondoggle” is the same as calling stuff “pork”, only it’s more syllables and sounds funnier. Either way, all you’ve said is “I think this spending is not in the best interests of America.”

                  1. Boondoggle – term for a scheme that wastes time and money

                    I would define it as Stimulus spending that actually did nothing to create jobs or shore up the economy.

                    1. It’s impossible to prove that it did nothing, just as it’s impossible to prove that it worked. Such effects are only apparent in hindsight.

                      However, the hindsight of other, past recessions strongly suggests that stimulus money does in fact work very well.

                    2. You can’t be politically stubborn enough to say it didn’t create any jobs, so just say in your opinion it didn’t create lasting jobs.

                    3. Or good jobs. Or enough jobs.

          3. Yet another poll, showing that people want yet another stimulis, and don’t really favor full extension of tax cuts: http://www.gallup.com/poll/144164/Democrats-Favor-New-Stimulus-Republicans-Healthcare-Repeal.aspx

            1. 38% support. Pretty tepid.

              1. In a choice between four priorities, 38% is pretty solid.

                It’s not “38% support a stimulus”, it’s “38% think it should be done right away”.

            2. It’s more of a response that you’ve said before, that people favor economic policies, and are against liberal policies. When that’s not really true, just as many people seem to prefer a stimulis and repealing of the tax cuts, more health care reform, than want less government spending.

              1. Sorry, I mean, “you’ve said before that people favor conservative/republican economic policies”.

              2. The question is pretty misleading…”a stimulus designed to create jobs”. Yeah, on paper that would probably sound the best out of the four, but that’s a big promise. The first stimulus was supposed to create jobs and has been a pretty big disappointment.

                1. Just in January 2009, the US lost almost 750,000 jobs. Last month, you gained 150,000, and the GDP grew by about 2%. If it’s not the stimulus, how do you suggest that change happened, perhaps by magic?

                  1. So…is it your contention that ALL U.S. job growth is directly attributable to the stimulus? My company has hired 450 workers in the last 3 months and we get zero stimulus funds. Our clients get zero stimulus funds.

                  2. That’s not just my contention, it’s the whole Keynesian school of economics. The job growth does not happen because some companies themselves are given money, but because it is channeled into society through them. That money ends up in the hands of the consumers, who use it for increases consumption. This in turn increases demand and company profits, and thus job growth. It worked for Roosevelt, it worked for Reagan, and it has worked for Obama.

                    Again, where else are the jobs coming from?

                    1. So – then we must have a permanent stimulus? Capitalism cannot work without the infusion of government money on a regular basis?

                    2. Three presidents over a few centuries isn’t exaclty “a regular basis,” is it? Lanfranc, it’s more that, when needed, the government can function as a marketplace actor and create demand, right?

              3. I took that as, and I believe it’s been worded in this way in the other poll I referenced, do you want the government to spend to create jobs?

  8. Philosophies of government are built on implied consent — American constitutionalism, peculiarly so. That principle works especially well for taxes. In exchange for your “stolen” money, the theft of which you consent to by residing within the borders of the sovereign, you get the privilege of living in a country with infrastructure capable of supporting your lifestyle, defending your peace, and providing for you should the unthinkable happen. Of course you can vote to change that allocation. But if (when) you lose, the result isn’t theft; it’s simply the result of a process that you consent to by your continued residence.

    As to the last point, you would have us wring blood from a stone, before we turn to the sources that benefit most from (and are best able to support) the continued peace? Yeah, suck it, Poors!

    1. So…question…if the rich ‘benefit most’ from our system and are thus obligated to provide a greater share of the mutual costs…would you be opposed to a weighted vote in elections? Let’s say the rich get 2 votes, the middle class get 1.5 and the poor get 1? If they bear more burden, shouldn’t they get more say?

  9. It’s interesting that that’s where your logic leads; but it’s asking the wrong question. The question is, fully spelled out: assuming as a premise a democratic system where each person receives one vote, is it just to require those with the means to carry more of the burden of civilized governance to do just that?

    Questioning the premise lets you answer an easy question, without answering the harder one.

  10. Ames – you said benefits = greater obligation. I’m just asking if that should also = a louder voice?

    1. They have a louder voice, or did you miss that money = speech?

      Ames is apparently too interested in playing silly buggers. The answer to your question (as any decent debater is supposed to offer up first) is “no, they don’t get 2 votes.”

      1. But is that loud voice quantifiable? How do you put that in writing?

        1. Of course not. The only “quantifiable” thing in a representative democracy is “one man, one vote”. Start tampering with that, and the legitimacy of the system goes out the window.

          That, by the way, also answers your “progressive tax is theft” argument above. Something legitimate can by definition never be theft. And a progressive tax system is legitimate when established by a political system in which everyone is represented equally.

          1. I think the question isn’t so much about ‘legitimacy’ as it is ‘just’. I mean, a ban on gay marriage is ‘legitimate’ but Ames certainly doesn’t consider it just.

            1. Whether something is just or not is a political question. But legitimacy is more fundamental than that, and a tax increase, however unequal, established by Congress acting within the bounds of the Constitution is indisputably a legitimate exercise of authority. You can disagree with it and work to change it as much as you want, but denouncing it as “theft” is not appropriate. Entirely different categories.

              For that matter, the question of whether a ban on same-sex marriage is legitimate is not quite as indisputable, since it may still be found to be unconstitutional.

              1. Well then why talk about anything that conflicts with established law? Afterall, slavery was ‘legitimate’ at one point under your criteria.

                1. I’m not sure I understand the question. My point is that tax increases are not theft any more than a cop shooting a would-be murderer isitself a murder. Both are legitimate exercises of power because they rest on the basis of a constitutional democracy with the consent of the governed.

                  But that doesn’t mean you can’t argue against taxes from a political point of view as much as you want. By all means do that.

                  1. …and that’s sort of what i have been doing. So let me be clear here: In MY OPINION a progressive tax rate is theft. If we need more taxes there should be an increase across the board. in lieu of that, at least tax the middle class in addition to the rich. I don’t quite follow why people like Ames believe they (the middle class0 should get a pass.

  11. I asked Lanfranc, “..is it your contention that ALL U.S. job growth is directly attributable to the stimulus?

    If Lanfranc isn’t implying that job growth can’t happen without the infusion of stimulus funds then he should specify that. Even if the stimulus was wildly successful, at some point you can’t keep attributing job growth to it. Also, it’s mind-boggling to claim that jobs can only be created with the help (directly or indirectly) of stimulus funds.

    1. Under normal circumstances, job growth happens on its own without government interference. But the whole point is that a recession is not normal circumstances. It appears because for whatever reasons, the consumers do not have enough money (in this case because of the debt crisis) to create demand. When there’s no demand, companies do not hire workers, which in turn means the consumers have even less to spend and there’s even less demand, and then you have the vicious circle where you’re losing 750,000 jobs a month.

      The way to turn that back is to give people money to spend, which increases demand, which increases job growth until the point where the economy’s back on track and can run by itself. But you can’t just hand out that money directly, because that would increase inflation. So instead you do it pafrtly through tax cuts and partly through stimulus projects which, however inept some of them may seem from a business point of view, at least fulfill the objective of putting some people on the payroll and injecting money into the economy.

      The reason why I mention Roosevelt, Reagan and Obama is that they have had to deal with the three greatest economic crisis of the last 100 years or so, and they all did so in exactly the same way: Tax cuts and deficit spending. The only difference is that Reagan was clever enough to do it primarily through the defence budget (40% increase) and call it “peace though strength” instead of “stimulus bill”.

      But yes, as Ames says, like it or not, the government is the single greatest agent in a modern economy and the only entity with the power to pull the whole system out of a recession. If the government is not there to do that, as the tea partiers apparently want, with continual radical boom-and-bust cycles which would leave hundreds of thousands bankrupt every few years. I’m not sure why that’s so particularly desirable.

      What I would like to ask you for the third time now, Mike, is if the stimulus did not work, why did the economy turn around? Why is there suddenly job and GDP growth now? One might suspect you’re avoiding the question because you don’t have an answer.

      1. I haven’t answered because I am stil trying to get my head aroun dthe claim that all job growth is attributable to the stimulus.

        I believe there is job growth and GDP growth because product supplies don’t last forever. Eventually things wear out and people have to replace them. There’s also 90% of the country that wasn’t out of work and are now feeling better about spending for a variety of reasons.

        The economy turned around after Bush Sr’s recession. No stimulus. Care to explain?

        1. The problem is that simply maintaining a certain life standard (basic necessities and replacing worn-out stuff) does not create growth. The only thing that can do that is increased consumption based on increased disposable income.

          (This is where I’d usually draw a consumption function to illustrate, but that’s a little difficult in this medium, so you’ll have to imagine it.)

          And sure there was stimulus under Bush Sr., even if it wasn’t called that. It cost the government over $100 billion just to clean up after the savings and loans crisis which caused the whole thing. It wasn’t really enough, and growth remained pretty sluggish for a couple of years after. But on the other hand, that recession was pretty short and mild in the US, though (the UK was hit much harder).

          1. Of course that creates ‘job growth’. Job growth is defined as a net increase in the number of employed workers from a previous point of measurement. If Acme Inc laid off half their workforce because people weren’t buying widgets in 2008 and had to rehire half of them because the widgets started wearing out in 2010, that goes down as job growth, right?

            1. Yeah, but then they’ll fire those people again when the widget demand has been fulfilled for the next couple of years, and then we’re back to square one.

              At least as far as I understand, companies hire people on the basis of future expectations, so if Acme doesn’t expect its market to grow (or even contract) in the next couple of years while people enjoy their brand new widgets, why should they hire new people?

              1. It depends on the company. Some companies hire in cycles. Other companies plan for long-term growth. My company is the latter. The thing is though, most of our customers are not in industries that are driven by stimulus spending. One of our customers grew by nearly 50% during the recession because they rolled out a new product that changed their industry, not because people were flush with stimulus funds.

                Maybe the problem is that you seem to be speaking in absolutes. Stimulus spending didn’t drive all hiring and even much of what it did is temporary. You can’t be claiming ALL hiring is stimulus-based. If our economy is that fragile it seems like we have much bigger problems.

            2. As I said earlier when we briefly spoke about economic theory before talking about wasteful spending, I mentioned how government stimulus jobs give people money who then demand more widgets, then Acme Inc can hire more people, who can then buy more widgets. Multiplying jobs and demand.

              I don’t see how that’s any less viable than the Republican response which would be to give Acme Inc. a tax break and lessen the CEO’s taxes, which leaves widget demand at 0 and could only temporarily save jobs at Acme Inc…that’s if hypothetically they didn’t lay off anyone in preparation for a downturn.

              I don’t think it’s simply, Democrat or Republican economic policy is The Right Answer, I think a combination of both work and it’s deciding which is needed more in a current economic situation. Yet you take the the hard line of, nope, doesn’t create a single job, only answer is to give tax cuts.

              1. My opinion on tax cuts vs. stimulus spending is that the tax cuts is that with tax cuts the responsibility for a company’s future lies with them. They have more capital available for R&D, marketing, etc but they still have to create the demand and spend their own money. Normal business rules apply.

                On the flip side, often stimulus funding means companies getting money thrown at them because it’s like monopoly money. I have a friend in the rail business and his company is getting blown up with stimulus funds right now. He said most of their customers don’t really even know what they want but they have stimulus funds burning a hole in their pocket and they feel like if they don’t spend it the govt will take it away. He said most of his meetings turn into spitball sessions while they try to come up with a project to put the money into. His company is getting a nice profit, but he says the work they are doing is mostly meaningless.

                1. But again that doesn’t matter, because the point is not to help companies directly, but to inject money in the economy. Even if your friend and his clients spend the money shipping gravel back and forth from Washington to Baltimore for the next six months, that’s fine as long as some people get paid for it.

                  Tax cuts are another way of injecting money, but the problem is that it’s less effective than spending because it encourages different spending patterns. But yeah, ideally you’ll try to do both.

                  1. “Even if your friend and his clients spend the money shipping gravel back and forth from Washington to Baltimore for the next six months, that’s fine as long as some people get paid for it.”

                    So what happens when the stimulus funds dry up? Where do those people go?

                    On the other side, if I take advantage of a tax cut to develop a new product and create demand, those jobs are permanent.

                    1. When the stimulus funds dry up, aggregate demand through consumption will hopefully have increased enough to keep the economy running on its own.

                      It’s sort of like a pendulum, you know. It can’t really start on its own. You need to give it a good shove to set it in motion, then it’ll run by itself for a while.

              2. We had the same conversation a long time ago, and I still complain that Republicans think they can give money to the rich and imagine that they’ll create an economy out of nothing while the rest of America flounders because they can’t afford or participate in that economy that the rich are involved in. They live in this one sided delusional economy.

                And how is giving tax breaks any less of throwing money? As I said, you give Acme Inc more money, and the CEO a tax cut, that doesn’t actually do anything for the business. There is absolutely no incentive for them to do anything but wait out a downturn, lay people off, to maintain a bottom line. What would having more money do if there’s still no demand? A hope they’ll go off and R&D for a hobby? Spend money to make money at risk? I’m saying, your proposal, doesn’t seem any better for an economic stimulus than the ones Democrats propose. It relies on faith, theory, and happenstance. I mean, even in your example, there’s no reason if he found more money due to a tax cut, that he wouldn’t be doing the exact same thing, and it would be possible, he wouldn’t be having a spit ball session at all to do anything practical, except wait it out and save.

                As I said, you’re hardlining it and it seems impractical to think that OMG tax cuts useful, stimulus useless.

                1. Opps, delete this double comment please? And this follow up. Ha.

                2. You have to spend money to make money – bottom line. And the jobs that come from that are long-lasting as opposed to putting out-of-work blue collar guys out there patching holes in the freeway.

                3. Slightly annoyed that you read my mistaken draft and not the first one I wanted to post, but whatevz.

                  You ignored most of my counter argument that, giving CEO or a business a tax cut, does not mean they won’t lay people off, doesn’t mean they won’t just use the money to cover declining income, doesn’t mean that they won’t still go out of business if they can’t figure out something that works in a bad economy, and it doesn’t mean they won’t be doing the exact same thing as your friend in the board room.

                  Spending stimulates the economy directly. As LanFranc says, it spends it in a different directed way.

                  As I’ve said before that construction worker improves roads, which affects trucking businesses, and businesses that transport, and benefits the industries involved in construction materials, and as I’ve repeatedly said, gives a consumer more money that he HAS to spend as part of his daily livelihood. Whether that be the day care, a grocery store, retail store, restaurants, hard ward store, keeping demand up in several other areas..both in material and service industries.

                  As I’ve said before, Republicans seem to obliged only to help businesses while ignoring the increasing povery level that’s happened in this country, ignore foreclosures, ignore everything, focus on helping businesses, and think that the people in poverty won’t have any ill affect on said businesses.

                  1. “You ignored most of my counter argument that, giving CEO or a business a tax cut, does not mean they won’t lay people off, doesn’t mean they won’t just use the money to cover declining income, doesn’t mean that they won’t still go out of business if they can’t figure out something that works in a bad economy, and it doesn’t mean they won’t be doing the exact same thing as your friend in the board room.”

                    So the stimulus money was attached to requirements about job creation right? The money had to translate into jobs or it had to be paid back, correct?

                    You still seem to be very much in the ‘welfare’ mode as opposed to the ‘hand-up’ mode. You want a temporary infusion of money that creates temporary prosperity, rather than an approach that creates longterm success.

                    We also haven’t even touched on the longterm negative effects of the stimulus being borrowed funds from China. When do those repurcussions begin to be felt? A tax cut (with equivelant spending cuts) is the best way to encourage the kind of LONG-TERM growth which will make the country prosperous.

                  2. All i’ve said, is Obama went in gave tax cuts to small businesses, in addition to extending unemployment benefits, and doing a stimulis to create jobs. It’s a multi-pronged effort which I respect, and I think it will help various levels of the infrastructure of this economy off the ground.

                    As opposed to what Republicans seem to say is, feed the rich, pray for the poor.

                    1. So if we lower the capital gains rate (or keep it at Bush levels) who gets rich at Coca-Cola? Does the Coke family buy another gold-plated yacht?

                  3. I didn’t say it was bad for the rich to buy whatever they want. I JUST said, doing multiple things, in multiple areas, some things people would consider conservative, some consider liberal, is the most pragamatic to address several areas of the economy.

                    I think it’s for the political ideologues and delusional to think that doing one thing, giving tax breaks to the rich/businesses, is the sure fire and only way to fix the economy.

                    There are no guarantees in economics.

                    1. What you DID say was, “As opposed to what Republicans seem to say is, feed the rich, pray for the poor.”

                      I’m asking you – who at Coca-Cola benefits if the capital gains rate remains at Bush levels? Who are these ‘rich’ that the GOP care so much about?

                    2. Then we need to clarify our argument and get the analogy’s out of the way.

                      We’re talking about stimulus (or sometimes The Stimulus), versus tax cuts for businesses.

                      I was saying, Republican answers to everything usually are tax cuts for the rich (to spur business as you said), and for businesses.

                      Those are the people the GOP cares so much about.

                      That’s who the main focus is on. That’s the answer proposed for economic reform from fiscal conservatives.

                      And I think that leaves out a whole bunch of people that affect the economy. That’s all.

                      When the democrats did The Stimulus, it was a mixture of tax cuts, and spending, aimed at various income levels and business.

                      That is not something Republicans like yourself seem willing to support.

                      Like you, they tend to take a hard line view against any spending directly to helping poverty/lower/middle class. And I think that’s ignoring an important segment of the population.

                      It’s not that they care so much about the rich, it’s again, they think it’s the one way to fix everything and treat it as a fundamentalist law. I think that’s short sighted.

                    3. You’re still not answering my question. Who are ‘the rich’ who benefit at Coca-Cola?

                    4. I don’t know or care and I think it’s a distraction of a question. So just make your point.

                    5. Well of course you don’t care because for liberals they picture ‘the rich’ as something like this:

                      The REALITY is that ‘the rich’ are the thousands of Coca-Cola shareholders who support the company. When the capital gains tax goes up, the company’s ability to create more revenue goes down. Stock values fall, etc. That means middle class families see their mutual funds hurt.

                      ‘The rich’ aren’t just individuals. Companies pay capital gains taxes too. Companies don’t hoard their welath. They re-invest it. Raise taxes and you kill that.

                    6. No, I didn’t care because I didn’t want to do the Socratic Method thing, and wanted to hear your point.

                      I’ll repeat it again, I’m fine with stimulating through tax cuts and businesses and your Coca-Cola stockholders, but the economy is more complex than just helping a relatively few stockholders and BAM everything’s great.

                      The millions of unemployed and the new people in poverty, are not there because they were lazy, unskilled, and did not contribute to society. They’re not there because businesses needed a bit of a tax cut. They’re there because of a depression. Yet those people do have an affect on businesses and their success/failure and the broader economy.

                      I mean, if we dropped everyone from unemployment benefits, and the number of people in poverty doubled, do you think there would be no affect on businesses and the economy as a whole? Do think Coca-Cola would not feel that? Their share-holders?

                      Ignoring them, saying, I hope you get better, while only giving tax cuts to businesses, to one segment of the population, is not a guarantee of success. They can still drag everything else down. All I’m saying, is a multi-level approach to help stimulate multiple areas of the economy, is wise decision. Focusing on both the consumer and the supplier.

                      Instead of telling me why that’s wrong, you are telling me why tax cuts are great. I’m not really arguing against that right now.

      2. Sui generis. The end of Bush I’s recession coincided with the beginning of the tech bubble. In many ways some causative factors continued and helped induce this most recetn recession.

  12. So a non-stimulus source of funds killed the recession? That’s sort of what I am getting at. Yeah, the stimulus has directly created some temporary jobs and indirectly created more, but to give it all the credit for the job creation over the last two years is over-selling by a long-shot.

  13. From Oneiori,

    “Ignoring them, saying, I hope you get better, while only giving tax cuts to businesses, to one segment of the population, is not a guarantee of success.”

    You do know that the Bush tax cuts were an across-the-board cut, right? It’s not ‘only for businesses’. Democrats want to keep all of the cuts for the lower tax brackets and only want to raise the rates on the top ones. We’re saying that by raising those rates you hurt he companies that actually employ the rest of us by limiting their ability to reinvest their profits in their business, which ultimately leads to more jobs.

    You are ignoring my other point though which is that your populist rhetoric of ‘tax cuts for the rich’ is misleading. When corporations are taxed heavily by the Left it’s not the Vanderbilts and the Rockefellers that suffer. It’s the shareholders and the employees.

    I’ve mentioned this before and I think you and Ames have both dismissed it, but I’m telling you that I work for a Fortune 500 company and we would probably be increasing our hiring by at least 50% if we knew the capital gains rate was going to stay at Bush levels. Because of the uncertainty though, we’re holding back on hiring because we don’t want to over-extend ourselves with salary expense. So the tax rate is directly affecting the employment level here in Louisville.

    1. What I’m saying is this, when Republicans, who, if you know, have been historically been in charge of cutting lately, inordinately focus on businesses and upper class. At a higher percentage than anyone else.

      My theory, is that it only helps a select few, and that helps contribute to the ever growing income inequality gap, which doesn’t in the long run help out anyone.

      I mean, if middle class families can’t make ends meet in

    2. Wow, that was a mistake. I didn’t even begin drafting my response and accidentally hit enter. I’m tired, going to sleep, Please delete!?

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