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The Big, Racist Lie at the Center of the Romney-Ryan Campaign


US Politics & Gov't  (tags: Mitt Romney, usa, obama, Paul Ryan, republicans, elections, dishonesty, americans, government, candidates, media, news, politics, lies )

Cal
- 701 days ago - alternet.org
How long can they get away with blatantly lying?



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Comments

Dee C. (214)
Friday August 24, 2012, 3:21 pm
They can get away with it as long as there are fools out there who believe it..
Thanks Cal..
Noted..
 

Jae A. (323)
Friday August 24, 2012, 3:28 pm

Well BUsh/Cheney and the rest of their administration got away with it for eight years...so I guess by now..get away with it or not...it's the mindset as a political party and as politcal candidates. How many fools will believe them or defend them, even knowing they are lying lying lying and as corrupt as the day and night are long...too many ...no doubt, in my opinion. We see evidence of that being the case on care2 daily....most claiming to also be Christians. Really pethedic of most but for those using and hiding behind their religion as they spread their lies....those to me are just pure InsaniTea mindsets that there is no hope for their ever recoverying from being habitual liars that are blantently......hell bent on going to their Christian hell for,in the name of ,a political party.
 

KEVIN KREISS (2)
Friday August 24, 2012, 3:32 pm
Another reason NOT to vote RomneyRyan.
 

Maggie S. (40)
Friday August 24, 2012, 3:45 pm
They will get away with it as long as there are total idiots who will vote for them! These jackasses think this is OK! AND, talk about racism, look at Ohio and their voter suppression - admitting on vido they are targeting blacks!
 

John S. (297)
Saturday August 25, 2012, 3:55 am
When they drafted the welfare law the executive branch could not waive work-participation rules and that is what has angered some Republicans. The question is does he have the authority to issue waivers? That's the funny thing about politics, it doesn't matter if you are right or wrong, but what process you followed.
 

Allan Yorkowitz (452)
Saturday August 25, 2012, 10:02 am
Romney should ask those Americans who are receiving food stamps, welfare checks, unemployment checks the same question Reagan asked during his campaign:"Are you better off now than you were 4 years ago?"
 

tasunka m. (333)
Saturday August 25, 2012, 10:15 am
politicians?
A; forever,it's the nature of the occupation
 

Stephen Brian (23)
Saturday August 25, 2012, 12:09 pm
As usual, Alternet misses vital details:

First, Obama did ,verifiably, "raid" medicare for everything. Unless I am mistaken, the funds used for Medicare come from part of the Social Security trust fund, about $2 trillion, that's with a "t", of which is held in Treasury bonds. Treasury bonds, after some time, mature and have to be repaid. The problem is that, running a massive structural deficit, the only way to repay them is by selling more Treasury bonds, and that means as long as the U.S. government runs a deficit, it has to keep finding more buyers (or buyers willing to buy more) of those bonds. Eventually, as the debt grows faster than the economy, it will be unable to do so. At that point, the Treasury will be unable to repay the bonds as they mature, and that includes the ones owed to the Social Security trust fund. Those $2 trillion in bonds would be what is commonly called "junk bonds", or just "garbage", effectively stolen from all Social Security programs, including Medicare. This is precisely the consequence of deficit which Ryan's plan is intended to prevent. Then there is the almost comical side of the article's claim here: Looking at the Alternet article used as a source there, one must ask, "How exactly does one take $700 billion out of medicare without touching its benefits?"

Now, on the "The Big Lie":
It is clear that Obama's intent in removing the federal work-requirements for welfare is to have states develop their own criteria. However, there is absolutely no assurance built into the change in July that states will do any such thing, especially given that the money for these programs comes, at least in part, from the federal government. The laxer the state-criteria, the more money flows into the state. For this reason alone, that it involves distribution of funds taken from federal taxes, this is one place where federally-run regulation is absolutely appropriate. If legislators really wanted to see state-flexibility, then they should have cut the federal funding and let the states run it on their own taxes, giving them appropriate incentives to run effective programs rather than tell them, "If you just hand out the checks, that's more money flowing into your state." Obama may have had precisely the intentions attributed to him by AlterNet, but he screwed up so badly that he ended up doing exactly as Romney claimed. (I should probably point out that the Republican "block funding" plan of the 1990s would not have included the incentive for straight handouts.)
 

Past Member (0)
Saturday August 25, 2012, 1:36 pm
How long can our people be fooled? Some of the people, all the time?

Ask yourself, am I one of them?

Not me!

FDR calls out Romney/Ryan/republiscums

http://rt.com/programs/big-picture/fdr-calls-romney-ryan/
 

pam w. (191)
Saturday August 25, 2012, 5:19 pm
It's a mystery to me....why would ANYONE who's not in that ONE PERCENT favored by Romney's politics be willing to vote away rights for women, homosexuals, the environment and freedoms FROM religion?
 

BMutiny TCorporationsEvil (467)
Saturday August 25, 2012, 5:27 pm
From the article:

'Charles Pierce of Esquire calls him the “zombie-eyed granny-starver,”'

GOOD one.
 

Diane O. (149)
Saturday August 25, 2012, 5:38 pm
Stephen, you are correct, in that Obama did take money from Social Security to fund ObamaCare. The language is available in print for those who do their research. If you are not into researching for the truth then you'll just jump in line with the emotional posters who haven't a clue why they are angry. However, the truth is the truth.

Ladies and gentlemen, you are paying with your tax dollars, if, in fact, you are paying any taxes at all since 53% of Americans pay no tax at all, $60 billion a year in fraud and abuse of our social programs. Why is that? Ask yourself that question. How does a country as large as ours position themselves to pay out $60 billion a year in fraud and abuse? We have three and four generations of American families who are still receiving welfare benefits. Think about that. Do you think a new President needs to address this large elephant in the room and if so...how? We, as a country, are at the point of having to ask the hard questions. Do we aspire to be a nanny state? 50% of Americans are now receiving entitlement checks...have they been qualified to receive these checks or has our government no earthly idea how to control this fraud and abuse??? So, if left alone what does this morph into? Bankruptcy? Then what?

As Americans, whether you are a liberal or a conservative, the hard questions need to be asked. Liberals are quick to criticize the rich but if we didn't have the rich paying the lion's share of the taxes in our country, who would we turn to pay the bills? China? I don't think so. We've already worn out our welcome there. Germany? No, they are already paying the lion's share in the euro market having to pay for those countries who weren't smar enough to understand that one day you run out of rich people.....will that happen to us...the United States of America?

So, when the bleeding heart liberals chastise the rich what they are really doing is shooting themselves in the foot through pure ignorance of simple math.

 

Fred Krohn (34)
Saturday August 25, 2012, 6:50 pm
WTF?!?! The Borkup Obummer campaign has been pushing the biggest lie and pack of racists ever! Moroni Mitt and Ryan are telling little foma while Obama babbles baldface lies and Biden's entire life and career is an outright sham! This whole article is based on a false premise and should be revised; the Dummycrats have been false since LBJ mob-hit JFK in 1963!
 

Seth E. (57)
Sunday August 26, 2012, 12:23 am
Aww! Isn't it cute that some of the ignorant right wingers showed up to throw in some fallacies?

One easy place to start on this is the $700 billion from Medicare. Stephen is NOT correct, Diane, and neither are you.

"How exactly does one take $700 billion out of medicare without touching its benefits?" That's actually quite simple. Health insurance companies do it all the time, as do most businesses. It's called negotiating.

If someone goes to see a doctor, they might be charged $100 for an office visit, if they don't have insurance, but most insurance companies will have contracts with providers that negotiate lower rates, so they might mutually agree with the doctor that $50 is actually fair for the same visit, especially if he's getting more patients by being contracted with that insurer.

If Medicare, however, is still paying that doctor $80, then the taxpayers are getting ripped off, so over the course of 10 years, that $716 billion accounts for a 7% reduction in reimbursements, based on such discounting.

This will be paying for the same services, and doctors will undoubtedly cry foul, but it's not fair to Medicare, taxpayers, patients, or the health insurance industry for them to overcharge one party while accepting less for the same services from another.

As far as the done-to-death myth about '50% of the population pays no taxes', first off, NO ONE pays NO taxes.

Some people have no net income taxes, after credits are applied, because they earn so little that it serves them best to be allowed to keep every dollar they can to afford some quite basic expenses, but even they pay sales taxes, gasoline taxes, property taxes, and various other fees over the course of a year, depending on their situation, and these add up and affect these people at a far greater proportion than they do for others who earn more.

If one person can afford all their needs and wants and still have enough to save, that doesn't help the economy as much as allowing those who barely earn enough to scrape by and end up having to spend everything they earn.

If anything, keeping as much money as possible in the economy helps stimulate jobs because it keeps purchasing power among consumers, creating demand that is served by opening and expanding businesses, and from the jobs created, revenues from taxes will increase, and public spending will decrease.

The old thing about the rich paying most of the taxes is a crock, too.

If the top 400 richest people in the US control more wealth than the bottom 150 million combined, of course they'll pay a greater AMOUNT of taxes, but they still pay it at a much lower proportion to their income than those earning less do.

The lack of intelligence and knowledge from the right never ceases to amaze and amuse.
 

Christopher Fowler (84)
Sunday August 26, 2012, 11:06 am
When Romney lies, it isn't news, it's business as usual.

But it should still be reported, because all knowledge is learning, and therefore, good.
 

Diane O. (149)
Sunday August 26, 2012, 11:21 am
Seth, easy....you may want to sit down for this....Obama cuts medicare benefits and takes that money to fund ObamaCare.

Don't any of you read?
 

Diane O. (149)
Sunday August 26, 2012, 11:26 am
Seth, regarding over 50% of Americans do not pay taxes, I'm actually shocked at your reply. There are reasons, different reasons, why 53% of Americans pay no taxes at all. You might want to spend some time doing easy research to learn the reasons why but bottom line is this....53% of Americans have nothing to do with tax revenues in our country. The top 1% pays the lion's share of taxes in our country. The middle class picks up a majority of the rest.

I still can't believe there are adults in our country who don't understand who brings in the tax revenues. This is scary.
 

Seth E. (57)
Sunday August 26, 2012, 12:04 pm
Oh, Diane, I love when people try acting authoritative about subjects that they obviously don't know nearly as well as I do.

I've actually worked in the healthcare industry, so I know quite well about contracting and discounting on reimbursement, so please don't insult me by even thinking you have a clue about the subject.

There's nothing being cut from the benefits, contrary to the fearmongering from the right. What there is, however, is an opportunity to spend less for the same services, and this savings will help reduce the costs of healthcare, therefore making the reforms more affordable.

Even those on the right (including Paul Ryan himself) have supported these spending reductions, but they paint them as a villainous act when it's done by Democrats.

I can understand some shock at my reply because you obviously don't understand the concept of progressive taxation or the value of revenue in budgeting and spending, nor do you appear to understand the breadth of government spending (here's a hint: it's not just welfare for the poor) and its value to society, as a whole.

I'm quite aware at who brings in the tax revenues, but the major reasons for our deficits and debt has been the loss of these revenues by allowing the wealthy to pay lower percentages of their incomes in taxes than those earning less, and the loss of income tax (coupled with the increased need for spending) resulting from unemployment.

The benefit of lower taxes for the wealthy is the doing of the right, and the persistent unemployment and lack of economic growth is the fault of the right, as well, and the wealthy who have hoarded fortunes without spending them on innovation that could create jobs in the private sector.

The best solution would be to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire for those earning above $250,000, tax capital gains as income, reinstate the financial transation tax, and spend on a real stimulus (as opposed to the neutered one the Republicans begrudgingly allowed when Obama first took office) that spends significantly on infrastructure and other public works, creating public jobs that will put enough money back into the economy to stimulate creation of private jobs at the small business level instead of having to overcome the foot-dragging of larger companies that have either failed to create jobs, or even worse, have created jobs overseas.

With more employment opportunities, we could drastically reduce spending on social programs while increasing revenue from taxes, and this could be accomplished without cutting valuable programs.

Trust me, I understand all of this. I have a feeling that even after I've explained this fairly simply, you may still be at a loss, however.

Perhaps you could try learning a bit about the subject matter instead of reciting talking points and long-debunked myths like your "53%" statistic.
 

Stephen Brian (23)
Sunday August 26, 2012, 3:12 pm
Hi Pam :)

Which rights are being voted away?

Hi Seth,

there is a major difference between negotiations and Medicare paying lower rates: In the first case, the doctors or other vendors of services have a say in the matter. In the case of Medicare, doctors have been known to refuse care when legally permitted to do so because they would have had to work at a loss. (Rent for space and other overhead would cost more than the income from Medicare-beneficiaries' visits.) Now, given that Medicare already "negotiates" such a below-the-bottom price, how exactly is there supposed to be a ~ 10% cut without a reduction of services? Are doctors to be legally required to work at even more of a loss? I come from Quebec. The government tried that. Despite universal healthcare coverage, there is actually worse coverage in Quebec than in the U.S. now due to a doctor-exodus and shortage.

Now, about the whole 53% paying no taxes thing: Have you taken credit-refunds into account? There are people who pay negative income-tax, with more credits than income, and while I haven't done the math, it does not seem implausible that this negative income-tax could overwhelm sales-tax and other taxes paid by some. Regardless, the amount paid in those taxes is relatively little:
http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/background/numbers/revenue.cfm/
Unless you're somehow personally paying corporate tax, excise tax, or payroll tax without paying income-tax, then your taxes go into that 6% category of "other".

The "The rich pay lower rates" is the real crock there: The problem is that a lot of that income is non-taxable for very, very good reasons. At the low end of the scale, the money that passes into our accounts can almost all go to personal wealth. However, at the high end, the vast majority goes into business-expenses, and the wealth they control is not personal. For example, imagine you own a shop: You are legally free to do whatever you want with your revenues, but if you want your shop to stay open, you had better spend just about all of it restocking the shelves. That is technically your income, but not really disposable for your lifestyle-enhancement. Now imagine you own office-building. Suddenly you legally control a whole lot of wealth, but it doesn't feed directly into your lifestyle like an equivalent monetary value in personal mansions/cars/enormous TVs would, and you can't actually do anything with it if you want to maintain your income. Now consider that on the scale of the entire U.S. economy and accumulated wealth. The rich are still obviously much richer, but not nearly as much as is often reported, and I am not convinced that they actually pay a lower proportion of their disposable income.

I should also point out that while Ryan and company have "supported the cuts", cutting money to Medicare is not the objective in itself. The question has always been where the money goes. Cutting from Medicare and then diverting the same money to golden toilets for the White House, for example, is not exactly about to get applause from fiscal hawks (though they would generally prefer that over increasing borrowing for the same purpose).

Government-spending is, like you say, very broad. However, looking at the proportions, a lot of it really is direct transfers of money to the poor/old/pro-Democrat demographic groups. There is a lot of good government-spending, but there is also an enormous amount that is just so inefficient or should outright not be done that massive cuts are needed.

Your comment about the "major reasons for our deficits" is a straight Democrat talking-point, and is simply wrong. The primary reason behind both the unemployment and the reduction in revenues from the wealthy is that the U.S. business-environment, between unstable regulations, high compliance-costs, taxes, and other problems, is just not as attractive, relative to the rest of the world , as it used to be. The resulting reduction in investment in the U.S. means less taxable U.S.-based income for the wealthy and fewer jobs. Look at how Canada handled the recession and came out on top: An across-the-board corporate tax-cut, vastly lower regulatory costs (roughly a factor of 6, proportionally), and access to markets (which the U.S. has) turned it into the haven to which mobile businesses moved.

Taxing capital gains as income doesn't really work as you describe: Because the corporations are already taxed, reducing the dividends and value of stocks proportionally, there is double-taxation. That is why capital-gains and dividends are taxed at a lower rate, because the owners, as shareholders of the corporations paying taxes, have already paid taxes on that income. The same applies to physical capital: A potential buyer's disposable income is already reduced by taxes, so taxes are already reducing the increase in value. Why not just be honest about it and, rather than say you want to tax both corporations and major investors at 35%, just tax the major investors at 57.75%? Is it because that would make it too obvious how bad a business-environment you want the U.S. to be, and how much that problem plays into the deficit that you want fixed by having its cause exacerbated?

Another problem with stimulus-spending is that to put the money into the economy, it first must come out. Either new money must be printed, driving inflation and reducing the value of all savings appropriately, including the Social Security Trust Fund, the money must be borrowed, pooling it from would-be private investors, or it must be raised in taxes, taking it from would-be private investors. It can't really be added. Again, improving the U.S. business-environment and cutting red tape would stop larger companies from dragging their feet in the U.S. The problem with using public works to reduce spending on social programs, rather than to do work that needs doing regardless of the state of the economy, is that those jobs-programs are a social program. The money comes from the same place. Sure, if you give a guy $40,000 to do a job that doesn't really need doing, he doesn't need $20,000 in welfare, but you haven't really saved $20,000. It's practically the "broken window" fallacy.

To quote part of your conclusion, "Trust me, I understand all of this. I have a feeling that even after I've explained this fairly simply, you may still be at a loss, however."
 

Carol H. (229)
Monday August 27, 2012, 4:29 am
noted, thanks Cal
 

Pamela D. (16)
Monday August 27, 2012, 8:08 am
I get sick and tired of the right spewing out that the middle class is taking advantage of entitlement spending. Let's take this scenario: Rich daddy dies from execessive drinking and smoking habits; his sons inherit all his money (throgh no work or effort of their own) that is hidden in tax shelters. The sons go to college on the social security and pell grant dime because daddy dies. They become successful government officials and now propose that we cannot afford entitlements anymore and want to deny those that really need social security and financial aid such as pell grants to go to college. Sound familiar?
I say to fix this overspending in government; we start with our elected officials. Most of us file the 440 simple tax return and do not have the money for an acccountant to file every single write off that rich people do (expense accounts, entainment, clothing, yes just about anything can be written off in some way or another); or hide their money in tax shelters. Middle class people pay what they owe! I think we should pay the congress and senate on only what they accomplish rather than all of this filerbusting and arguing that goes on. Limit their expenese spending dramatically; make them fly economy only (unless they foot the bill for the extras); cut their vacations in half or no vacation if there is nothing passed. Life time health insurance for them and their families...sorry we cannot afford these "entitlements" anymore. Let's stop picking on those trying to better themselves by getting an education or taking care of a family while a husband or a wife is off fighting a war and they cannot make ends meet on the meager amount a soldier can send home and need a little help. Or the poor kid (of any race) that want's a better future or the senior citizens that thought they saved enough to pay their taxes or buy thier medicine; only to find out costs skyrocketed! Their are more rich blood suckers off this government than poor or middle class!
 

Seth E. (57)
Monday August 27, 2012, 10:28 pm
Thanks for the laughs, Stephen! You don't even understand this stuff, do you?

Throwing a few big words around might make some people think you're authoritative, but those who really do understand the subject can see right through it, and I can tell right away that this ain't your bag right here.

First off, sure, doctors don't have to accept Medicare patients, but that's a great way to kill a practice. Those patients who have Medicare will just see another doctor who will accept it, and this is no different than any other business.

That's actually a problem I saw quite often in the industry. Too many doctors don't realize that they're operating a business and need to serve their customers in order to prosper. Even most stores offer pricing to stay attractive to their clientele, and if there's a choice between accepting less money for the same services or losing their customers completely, smart businesspeople will take the sure money any day.

Besides, it's not like these providers are impoverished, and they're already getting less money for the same services not only from private insurers, but also from Medicare Advantage; if Medicare Advantage is already paying a certain rate, and regular Medicare Parts A and B are paying more, it's not fair for these providers to hold Medicare, taxpayers, and their own patients hostage by accepting overpayments.

The fact is, there's always a mark-up for their services. If they're losing money, it's from their own mismanagement (and the arrogant failure to understand their role as businesspeople), not because they'll have to take a cut in an already excessive reimbursement.

As far as the 53% issue, you really fell apart on this one, so I'll have to respond to some individual statements you've made about it:

"Now, about the whole 53% paying no taxes thing: Have you taken credit-refunds into account?" - Yes, tax credits have been taken into account, and these credits and deductions are what negate gross income taxes to produce a net result of zero or a negative amount (which would give a refund to the person).

"There are people who pay negative income-tax, with more credits than income" - Yes. See above."

"while I haven't done the math" - This one gave me a laugh. If you HAD done any math on these issues, we wouldn't even be having this conversation.

"it does not seem implausible that this negative income-tax could overwhelm sales-tax and other taxes paid by some." - Huh? If they get refunds because their credits and deductions exceed the amount of taxes, how would that 'overwhelm' other taxes? The amounts of the credits and deductions at such low income levels aren't a major cost for the government, and they help put money into the pockets of the people who are eligible so that they can spend it on things they need (or want; either way, the money is spent and therefore circulating in the economy). If anything, these refunds are 'overwhelmed' by other taxes these people have to pay, such as state and local taxes, sales tax, gasoline tax, etc. that are assessed at levels below federal, but not the other way around. Because those are taxes from other levels of government, they wouldn't be overwhelmed by the relatively low costs to the federal government of the credits and deductions for people with low incomes, and there's no correlation between the taxes from the different levels of government anyway.

"Unless you're somehow personally paying corporate tax, excise tax, or payroll tax without paying income-tax, then your taxes go into that 6% category of "other"." - And here is where I can see that you didn't understand the graphic or the concept it represents (the composition of federal tax revenue). This isn't a breakdown of spending by individuals, it's the proportions of revenue received by the entire government through taxation from a variety of sources. Corporate and excise taxes are commercial assessments, so these wouldn't apply to individuals, and payroll taxes include income taxes (as well as Social Security and Medicare payments). The 'other' 6% from the chart is still additional federal taxes, and those who still accuse so many people of not paying any taxes, by virtue of their paying no or negative income taxes, aren't talking about this 6%, but they still overlook that there are the taxes from state, county, city, and other levels that are not even represented on this graph.

"The "The rich pay lower rates" is the real crock there:" - Not at all. Progressive taxation is supposed to have an increase in percentage as income levels increase, but with the Bush tax cuts, while rates were cut at most income levels, the cuts were more favorable at the highest income levels so that they actually have percentages lower than those at many lower brackets. The Buffett Rule premise of the CEO paying a lower percentage than his secretary might oversimplify this to some extent, but it's not false, even when the CEO is actually paying income taxes, as opposed to some that get away with paying the capital gains rate instead (but that's another issue altogether).

"The problem is that a lot of that income is non-taxable for very, very good reasons." - Another 'huh?' here. This isn't a question of income being non-taxable, it's about the rate at which it is taxable.

"At the low end of the scale, the money that passes into our accounts can almost all go to personal wealth." - Huh? What accounts? Bank accounts? How does it 'go to personal wealth' 'at the low end of the scale'? If you mean lower income people receiving tax refunds, at those brackets, people can't really afford to save, so there's no 'personal wealth'. Poorer people typically spend all they earn, and even beyond, and it's not all for luxuries; there are subsistence expenses, such as food and shelter, that everyone needs, but their affordability is far less for those with limited incomes.

"However, at the high end, the vast majority goes into business-expenses, and the wealth they control is not personal." - Really? If the wealthy were really spending their fortunes on business expenses, then there wouldn't be any lack of jobs. This ties in with the fallacy that taxation affects job creation. Jobs aren't created because taxes are a certain rate, they're created because there's a demand for goods or services, and this demand results from consumer spending (such as that by the poor, for their basic living expenses, but NOT by the rich putting excess money into savings of whatever kind). And the rich don't spend any money for personal reasons? Then who buys mansions? Who buys Ferraris? Are those business expenses?

"For example, imagine you own a shop: You are legally free to do whatever you want with your revenues, but if you want your shop to stay open, you had better spend just about all of it restocking the shelves. That is technically your income, but not really disposable for your lifestyle-enhancement." - Yes, business owners must spend some of their revenues on the expenses associated with operating a business (not unlike a government does with tax revenues, by the way), but successful businesses do achieve some level of profitability, and the owner is entitled to draw an income from that profit, but it's not wrong for them to pay taxes on that income, just as an employee would; that's why they call business owners 'self-employed'.

"Now imagine you own office-building. Suddenly you legally control a whole lot of wealth, but it doesn't feed directly into your lifestyle like an equivalent monetary value in personal mansions/cars/enormous TVs would, and you can't actually do anything with it if you want to maintain your income." - Why not? Again, if someone is successful in operating their business, they could profit from it, and that profit could allow them an income which would be taxable. If a business owner is unsuccessful, however, the cost of the office building, for example, might not allow them to afford such luxuries as the mansions, cars, or TVs, and they might have to close their business, likely selling the office building, and they wouldn't be profiting, but they could still write off losses on their taxes, allowing them a way to recover and resume life in another role, whether working elsewhere, or maybe starting a different business.

"Now consider that on the scale of the entire U.S. economy and accumulated wealth." - That's actually not an accurate comparison as the government is not a for-profit operation. A government tries to raise revenue to maintain operation, and if they manage to raise more revenue than their expenses, then rather than profiting, it instead allows additional spending or a tax cut to adjust revenue back to whatever level is needed.

"The rich are still obviously much richer, but not nearly as much as is often reported, and I am not convinced that they actually pay a lower proportion of their disposable income." - Really? Ever seen any reports from corporations on their executive reimbursements? Do you know why a lot of them get stocks instead of all cash? So they can draw investment income instead of salaries and pay those capital gains rates instead of the income tax rates. And then there's also the issue of the Bush tax cuts again that reduced the percentages they pay even when they pay taxes on income. There's also the issue of the loopholes and offshoring of money to avoid taxation altogether. If you think the rich aren't as rich as they really are, you really have no idea.

"I should also point out that while Ryan and company have "supported the cuts", cutting money to Medicare is not the objective in itself. The question has always been where the money goes. Cutting from Medicare and then diverting the same money to golden toilets for the White House, for example, is not exactly about to get applause from fiscal hawks (though they would generally prefer that over increasing borrowing for the same purpose)." - Golden toilets? I'm not even going to ask. The reason Ryan supported this is because it saves money from unnecessary spending so that it can be reallocated and spent on something more constructive while avoiding the need to raise more revenue. They just criticize it when Democrats do it because they can't claim credit for it.

"Government-spending is, like you say, very broad. However, looking at the proportions, a lot of it really is direct transfers of money to the poor/old/pro-Democrat demographic groups." - You mean like educating children? Building roads? Ensuring safety and security of the people?

"There is a lot of good government-spending, but there is also an enormous amount that is just so inefficient or should outright not be done that massive cuts are needed." - Yes, and Democrats are for cutting wasteful spending, too, but most of the cuts the Republicans want are for useful programs that serve constructive purposes and employ people to do so. These cuts don't stop at just the inefficient things.

"Your comment about the "major reasons for our deficits" is a straight Democrat talking-point, and is simply wrong." - If it was a talking point, I wouldn't have been able to explain it. Most times people use talking points, they don't understand the subject and instead memorize and repeat what they've heard from those they believe, even if those people aren't any more knowledgeable themselves. If someone really understands what they're talking about, they can go into far more detail than talking points give, just as I have done.

"The primary reason behind both the unemployment and the reduction in revenues from the wealthy is that the U.S. business-environment, between unstable regulations, high compliance-costs, taxes, and other problems, is just not as attractive, relative to the rest of the world , as it used to be." - This is nothing more than an excuse for those corporations. They could hire here, but a lot don't because they can get cheaper labor elsewhere, and this increases their profits. Unstable regulations? The point of regulations is to ensure that business is being conducted fairly and safely. Didn't you say before that businesses should invest some of their revenues in stocking inventory? Well, what they sell is just as important as who makes it, who sells it, and whether or not the products are made safely and operate safely. Spending as an investment to operate within reasonable guidelines might reduce their short term profits, but it will allow long term sustainability to the business and the world around it. As far as the taxes businesses pay, if the government educates those who work for them, builds the roads they and their customers use, and provides them the safety and security afforded them by police, fire, military, and other such public servants, isn't it fair to reimburse the government for those benefits that allow the business's very existence?

"The resulting reduction in investment in the U.S. means less taxable U.S.-based income for the wealthy and fewer jobs. Look at how Canada handled the recession and came out on top: An across-the-board corporate tax-cut, vastly lower regulatory costs (roughly a factor of 6, proportionally), and access to markets (which the U.S. has) turned it into the haven to which mobile businesses moved." - So it's okay for a government to concede revenue to pay for the services they provide and to allow businesses to operate in ways that could be detrimental to people and the environment? If Canada did that for their corporations, it's obvious that the businesses screwed the government there, just as they've been doing to our own government, and again, this does not allow long-term sustainability for the government, the people, the world, or even the businesses.

"Taxing capital gains as income doesn't really work as you describe: Because the corporations are already taxed, reducing the dividends and value of stocks proportionally, there is double-taxation. That is why capital-gains and dividends are taxed at a lower rate, because the owners, as shareholders of the corporations paying taxes, have already paid taxes on that income." - This isn't really double taxation, though. These two taxes might as well be apples and oranges. Corporate taxes to pay the government back for the services they provide that allow a conducive enviroment for the company to operate are no less a business expense than rent for their office space, salaries for their workers, utility bills, or raw materials for production. The tax on the capital gain is for the individual who is profiting from their investment, and if this is their only income, then they would not be contributing in such other ways as the payroll taxes do, so this allows an imbalance to the individual over the government, which would be deprived of a fair share of revenue from that individual that would be obtained from income obtained by employment. And keep in mind that payroll taxes include advance payment of income taxes, as well as allocations for Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, etc.

"The same applies to physical capital: A potential buyer's disposable income is already reduced by taxes, so taxes are already reducing the increase in value. Why not just be honest about it and, rather than say you want to tax both corporations and major investors at 35%, just tax the major investors at 57.75%? Is it because that would make it too obvious how bad a business-environment you want the U.S. to be, and how much that problem plays into the deficit that you want fixed by having its cause exacerbated?" - This is funny, too. Why not just get rid of all taxes? Don't tax individuals because that gives them less to invest, then don't tax the business because it reduces the amount they can pay shareholders. Then, without any taxes, the government will have no revenue, and it will just leave the corporations running all society, free to do whatever they want, however they want. How long do you expect that world to last?

"Another problem with stimulus-spending is that to put the money into the economy, it first must come out. Either new money must be printed, driving inflation and reducing the value of all savings appropriately, including the Social Security Trust Fund, the money must be borrowed, pooling it from would-be private investors, or it must be raised in taxes, taking it from would-be private investors. It can't really be added." - Not really. While our deficit and debt are high, they're still manageable, especially relative to GDP, and even if more borrowing is needed for capital to invest in the right stimulus programs, the resulting boost to the economy would return revenues that might allow budget surpluses that could help pay down more of the debt. Also, don't forget that there's revenue still available to be raised by letting the Bush tax cuts expire.

"Again, improving the U.S. business-environment and cutting red tape would stop larger companies from dragging their feet in the U.S." - Cutting the red tape like eliminating safety and fair business practice regulations? Damn those rules that dare protect the world from businesses that care only about their profits! Besides, one of the only big things wrong with the US business environment is the lack of jobs that give people spending power so that they can pay for the products and services US businesses offer. By creating jobs here, these companies can make more money here, too, but as long as the executives are earning 6, 7, or more figures with their companies operating as they are, there's no incentive for them to change anything. They're certainly not going to do it out of ethics, patriotism, or the goodness in their hearts.

"The problem with using public works to reduce spending on social programs, rather than to do work that needs doing regardless of the state of the economy, is that those jobs-programs are a social program. The money comes from the same place. Sure, if you give a guy $40,000 to do a job that doesn't really need doing, he doesn't need $20,000 in welfare, but you haven't really saved $20,000. It's practically the "broken window" fallacy." - Ever heard the saying about those not learning history being doomed to repeat it? Ever learned anything about the Great Depression? The causes of the Depression were very similar to the causes of this recession, and one of the best things the government did was funding public works to create jobs and stimulate the economy. Besides, it's not like the jobs don't need doing, contrary to your allegation; roads and bridges need to be made and repaired; teachers, police, firefighters, and other public employees are still needed; scientific and medical research is always necessary. And for all the public hiring, whether at the federal level or lower, there will be people newly employed and with money to spend, and that can stimulate private job creation. All it takes it the right push. Even your $40,000/$20,000 statement doesn't hold water because each person employed not only saves the government on social program spending, but it also recovers taxes on the income for the job that was created, and then there's also the money each of those people will spend, which will go into businesses that already exist, as well as new ones created to serve the demand of the people who now would have money to spend on the goods and services they would offer. That is how economies grow, by the combination of people offering supply and those with the demand for that supply.

I'm really touched that you quoted me back to me, but I guess repetition of what others say without understanding it is your thing. Economics and reality sure ain't it.
 

Stephen Brian (23)
Tuesday August 28, 2012, 8:04 am
Hi Seth,

You really don't know what "working at a loss" means, do you? Turning away those Medicare patients frees up the doctors' time to see other patients. There is certainly no shortage of those. It's a vendor's market, but I don't really expect you to get that either. You also don't seem to get the relation between supply, demand, and price: EVERYBODY tries to "accept" as many "over-payments" as they can. It's called charging a price appropriate for the supply and demand.

Learn basic economics before pretending to understand them. You have a lot of "huh"s, Try understanding what's going on before asserting that you know everything.

I just did the math: I receive more from the U.S. federal and state-governments due to tax-credits than I pay in any other taxes. I get about $500 per year from them (after subtracting off the tax I pay initially), and after counting all my taxable expenses, I pay less than that, totalled across all levels of government, in sales-tax. I have no car, so forget about gasoline-tax, and many others, like property-tax do not apply to me directly. Sure, my rent goes to pay it, but if we count that then one could argue that consumer-prices go to pay the income-tax of the rich, so transferring the tax-burden would do nothing. You're right, we shouldn't be having this conversation.

there is enormous correlation between taxation at different levels of government. With low income, you are buying fewer goods to which sales-tax applies. You also either do not own land, or pay much lower property-tax. I would laugh at your comment about this, but it's just not funny enough.

I am familiar with the drop from 35% to 30% at the top-end of the federal tax-scale. It usually doesn't have much of an effect because most people at that level of income are paying capital gains-rates anyways. Now, about those capital-gains: The big companies with the stock-paid executives already pay 35% tax-rates, so the capital-gains themselves are reduced by that amount. Until this year, they paid 15% tax on long-term capital gains, resulting in a federal effective tax-rate of 44.75%, well above any rate paid by wage-earners. You won't see this by looking only at their accounts because much of that money gets taxed before it reaches them.

You somehow managed to miss the point about the shop. Five-year-old children have understood this one, but you managed not to. The vast majority of revenues go back into the shop. However, when counting how much wealth the rich have relative to everyone else, most people count those business-expenses as personal income, as though restocking the shelves contributed to their wealthy lifestyle. For example, if a shop-owner gets $300,000 in revenue and must pay $270,000 that year to keep it open, the counts of relative wealth have counted the shop-owner as having $300,000 in income when he would have really been living on a tenth of that. I'm not arguing that owning businesses would not provide income, only that you vastly overestimate the relevant income by counting all revenues. As you mentioned, income at the low end of the scale goes to subsistence and whatever commodities can be afforded, with maybe a little going into savings. That is how people dispose of their disposable income and acquire personal wealth, like I said.

The U.S. government and other non-profits are not the country's entire economy, nor do they hold the entire accumulated wealth. If you really want to get picky, perhaps I should have said "Now consider that on the scale of the entire tax-paying private economy and its associated accumulated wealth." I thought my point was pretty clear, though.

Regarding Ryan's support for the cuts, but opposition to Obama's use of them: I am not convinced that Obamacare would be a "more constructive" use of those funds. We have socialized medicine where I am from, and it works as well as it does (not terribly well) mostly because we have an effectively unicameral government, structured far more like a functional corporate executive than the self-paralyzing system of checks and balances in the U.S.

You didn't really explain the claim that the deficit is due to the failure of the rich to pay taxes as expected. You went into implications of the claim instead. It really does appear to have been a straight quotation of a talking-point.

You seem to understand the point of regulations, but not the concept of their instability. The trouble is that government-agencies produce regulations, changing the rules, faster than the payback time of major investments. After the money has been sunk into a new factory or whatever, but before products get sold from there, the operation can become illegal. Yes, business-owners should pay taxes to pay for the services upon which they depend, not things like home-ownership programs for people who couldn't really afford to pay back the loans, or huge loans for students, most of whom only need universities because the federal government bans hiring practices based on general aptitude-testing so they end up effectively outsourcing the testing to colleges. Also, do you even know which party supports these programs? Your comment about who wants to cut what just does not hold water. How about we go into the individual programs to be supported or cut?

The businesses did not screw the government in Canada. I know there are a lot of complaints about business-practices in Canada on Care2, but the people who complain the least are the ones who are supposedly getting screwed. The ones living practically on top of the Alberta tar-sands are quite happy about the drilling.

Two taxes on the same people are not apples and oranges. Money is fungible.

I don't advocate the elimination of all taxes. However, there is a point of diminishing long-term returns and the U.S. is far past it. Letting the Bush tax-cuts expire would raise revenues in the short-term, but the economic growth which they spur would be lost and so would the future revenues. This would dig the whole deeper in the long-term. They work as stimulus is supposed to, except that they let the private economy determine where the money goes, and it does a much, much better job than the politics-sensitive government. Also, the current debt and deficit are still manageable like you say, but how long do you think that will last as the debt grows? China is apparently in fiscal trouble. Refusing to renew its purchase of Treasury bonds may screw it economically in the long-term due to the linked economy, but it may be forced to take that risk soon.

The red tape that needs to be cut is the politically motivated BS which masquerades as "fair business-practice" stuff. It's not.

Like so many others on Care2, you focus on jobs as though they were the driver of the economy. They're not. They're a great indicator of economic performance, but paying people to break windows and fix them will not help anyone. Creating jobs without physical economic growth just drives inflation, not growth. I did learn about the great Depression, and apparently more than you have. There were other factors at play as well: For example, the work-ethic which only arises during total war played a major role in pulling the U.S. out of the depression, as did enormous changes in technology. People complain constantly about U.S. infrastructure, but frankly, after having seen quite a bit of that "horrible" infrastructure, I like it. It's a whole lot nicer than we make do with back home. The U.S. government does not need nearly as many people as it has to get the job done. Some teachers, police, firefighters, etc. are needed, but not at current pay-levels. There is a town here where the starting-salary of a police officer was, a couple years ago, near the high end of the FBI investigator pay-scale.

The taxes and spending by public employees does feed some money back into the government, but, especially once you the per-person count tax-credits, they're not nearly as much as the money paid out, and certainly not more. Deficit-spending by an already highly indebted agency is how to create a bubble, not stable economic growth.

(The Golden Toilet was an infamous case a budget-blowing by a ministry back home, intentionally leaving the ministry with a deficit without obviously taking it all in raises and bonuses to justify its demands for a larger budget the next year so that salaries could go up more.)
 
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