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Posts Tagged ‘taxes’

Sullivan:

These are not the words of a president serious about cutting the debt. Cutting “waste” in government isn’t going to get you anywhere near what you need. And the president needs to get serious about the burgeoning long-term costs of Medicare. That requires real honesty about real future sacrifice – not blandishments about how we might be able to bend the cost curve slightly.

Can we, please, get something other than typical deficit-scold group think? Andrew seems to think that all we need is more seriousness and more sacrifice and then we’re golden. He decries the President’s desire to raise additional revenue as not serious because it won’t raise enough. Well, OK, I agree it won’t raise a whole hell of a lot. But previously Sullivan complained that the President wanted too much (relative) revenue! 

I would ask how much, specifically, is thecorrect amount? 

More importantly, I would ask how much deficit reduction, specifically, is the correct amount? 

We’ve already done $2.4 Trillion. But I guess that’s just not enough serious sacrifice for the deficit scolds. They won’t be happy until, well, they will never quite say. Is stabilizing the debt to GDP ratio sufficient? We can do that with another $1.2 Trillion. Obama’s “not serious” revenue ask gets us half way there. 

Alas, we will now continue our charade of THE DEFICIT WILL KILL US ALL MORE AUSTERITY NOW I’M VERY SERIOUS AUSTERITY NOW! followed by AUSTERITY WILL KILL US ALL! (remember the fiscal cliff?) and then back again. 

If you’re having trouble making sense of the Very Serious beltway opinion on fiscal matters, its because it doesn’t make a goddamn bit of sense. 

Sullivan finishes:

If you want to go small, Mr President, and leave the real debt cutting to your successor, that’s your prerogative. But it is not the change we believed in. Or voted for.

Well, actually that’s exactly what we voted for. Obama made no secret of his desire to squeeze revenue out of the rich via sunsetting the Bush tax cuts for only high earners and via closing Mitt Romney’s favorite loopholes. In fact, it was the entire premise of his campaign. Voters overwhelmingly rejected Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s (conflicting) versions of austerity for Obama’s “balanced” and minimally austere (by comparison) approach. 

I don’t ever recall Barack Obama running on a platform of “serious” austerity. Sullivan has been lamenting Obama’s failure to “embrace Bowles-Simpson” for two years, a lamentation that made as little sense then as now. On spending, Obama actually has (very nearly) embraced BS (in terms of net amounts, if not line items). On revenues, he never intended to. He’s made that abundantly clear for almost two years. 

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Sullivan:

And if Obama pretends that we can resolve this by revenues alone, he is part of the problem, not the solution.

What part of the past 2 years makes Sullivan think that Obama favors revenue without spending cuts? Was it that Obama has enacted nearly 75% of the spending cuts called for by Bowles Simpson, and basically none of the revenues? Or the part where the federal workforce has declined more than any other time in history save for the post World War II draw down?

Are we talking about the same guy?

Save me, Jeebus!

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Crisis averted for now! The House miraculously did something last night, and the cliff is over!

Until next month.

The deal did not reach a decision over the sequester cuts, just delayed them for two months, setting up yet another crisis deadline next month. It also did nothing about the debt ceiling. Crisis deadline number two. Finally, the continuing resolution for the federal budget expires at the end of March. Crisis deadline number three.

Now that the tax cuts part is dealt with and were on to spending, though, you can expect a return to full on freak out mode over spending and debt. We’ve spent two years hearing about how wonderful and virtuous and Serious austerity is, followed by two months of apocalyptic hysteria because austerity was about to happen, and now its all aboard the austerity train once again.

Because otherwise, there would be no reason to invite the smug assholes at FixTheDebt, and all their Very Serious enablers, onto Meet the Press. That, friends, would be the real crisis.

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No Deal

The house GOP’s very own personalized crazy bill, plan B, if you like, wasn’t able to pass the… house GOP. Josh Marshall comments:

The likely truth is that John Boehner never had the votes to cut a deal with President Obama. Any deal. Not a grand bargain of deficit reduction. Not a piecemeal deal that might have lessened the blow of all the Bush tax cuts expiring on Jan. 1. Nothing.

Yep. You’re just now getting this?

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Really?

I hope this is just a negotiation thing:

“I’m pretty confident that Republicans would not hold middle class taxes hostage to trying to protect tax cuts for high-income individuals.” – Barack Obama

…are you kidding me? That’s exactly what’s happening! If we all agreed on middle class tax rates and Rs didn’t want to hold them hostage for the high end rates, then we would’ve just extended the middle class rates and then moved on to the next thing. No fiscal cliff.

But instead congress has taken itself hostage and is threatening to shoot the country.

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A lot of people misunderstand the way our tax system works.

If the tax rate for income over $250,000 increases, that rate only applies to income over $250,000. The rate on the first $250,000 is unchanged. If you make $250,001 and the high end rate increases, you only pay the increased rate on $1.

If you ever hear someone saying that they want to turn down a raise (or turn away customers, or whatever) in order to keep their income in a lower tax bracket because their increased tax bill would be larger than their raise, please refer them to me. I have some things I’d like to sell them.

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More Brain Emptying

Let’s add another not fully formed thought to the afternoon’s list.

It occurs to me that the people I hear arguing that poor people just feel entitled to food, healthcare, etc without paying for it are often the same folks arguing for significantly lower taxes. Or, to put it another way, they feel entitled to all the benefits of living in an advanced democracy, without paying for it. Not saying that it’s always inconsistent to hold those two positions or that anyone saying one necessarily says the other, but I do hear it pretty often.

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