June 30, 2011
Cut Spending. Increase Taxes. Do Both?

Commentator, actor and attorney Ben Stein was on Fox News' O'Reilly Factor with Laura Ingraham last Wednesday. Stein, generally considered a conservative, made the case for tax increases as part of any debt reduction plan. Ingraham countered with the, "We don't have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem." mantra.

Indeed we do have a spending problem and it has caused a debt crisis that spending reductions alone will never resolve. The Federal government is currently borrowing 40 cents of every dollar of expenditure. Arrival of that elusive economic recovery would take care of a portion of the revenue/expenditure gap but significant cuts across the board would still be required to achieve a balanced budget. Cuts in Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and the military would surely be included. Even then, a balanced budget does nothing to reduce the $14 heading to $16 trillion debt.

At some point tax increases will be required but before the deficit hawks toss in the tax increase chip, they must extract a high price. Something more than just a high ratio of spending cuts to tax increases. A constitutional balanced budget amendment tops the list. It would give cover for legislators from the demands of special interest groups. Liberals would be forced to temper their demands for more spending and conservatives would have to at least be open to tax/fee increases. Both could blame the balanced budget amendment for having to make painful votes contrary to their principles. A close second is true tax reform. Not revising the current code but repealing it and instituting a Fair Tax (national sales tax) or a flat tax with a single standard deduction. In either case, everyone should be required to have some "skin in the game" by paying a minimum tax even if it is only a nominal amount. A simpler tax system would be a transparent system. No burying tax breaks in the massive code, no fiddling with brackets and deductions.

Former President Bill Clinton has suggested a lower spending and increase taxes plan that would not go into effect until the economy has recovered. It speaks to the "don't cut spending, don't raise taxes in the middle of a recession" debate. It's an interesting idea, clouded by some cheap shots at Republicans, but not nearly strong enough. The time line for approval of a balanced budget amendment and a new tax system would accomplish the implementation delay Clinton is suggesting but the result would be two powerful tools for fixing our fiscal mess.

It's trite but true, if not now, when, if not soon, Greece?

Cross posted on: clear fog blog

Posted by warrenpeterson at June 30, 2011 10:42 PM | Email This
Comments
1. Actually, the solution is to cut corporate income and capital gains taxes (ideally both to zero). Per the OECD's own decade-long research project, GDP growth in enhanced with lower capital gains and corporate income taxes. Grow the GDP, and the number of dollars the Federal Government receives increases. And if we're not spending ourselves into oblivion, we can actually make headway against our debt.

Stop adding to the debt, grow the economy so more revenue flows into the Federal Government, and we can work it out. However, increasing taxes won't do it - Hauser's Law is pretty much spot-on over any 4+ year term. Set the tax rates to what you want and you tend to capture ~18% of the GDP as Federal tax revenue. So the solution to getting more dollars is to actually increase the GDP, not try to get a bigger chunk of the GDP.

Cut spending, and cut taxes - you'll slow the growth of the debt, and you'll increase the growth of the GDP and Federal tax receipts. It works.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on June 30, 2011 11:14 PM
2. Until or unless governments at ALL levels PROVE they can get spending under control, I will oppose any and all tax increases.

Just for one example, the UW raised tuition 20% today. That's government completely out of control.

Any government employees that didn't take a substantial pay cut? That's government completely out of control.

Having drivers pay tolls with their food stamps? That's government completely out of control.

Spending almost a trillion dollars on a porkulous that accomplished nothing?

Again.... government out of control.

And I will oppose any tax increase at any level I can until they can prove they're spending OUR money as if it's there own. Which means I'll be opposing tax increases until I die.

Posted by: hinton on June 30, 2011 11:15 PM
3. Excessive Government has long since become a Cancerous Growth upon the body of this Nation. With its recent tremendous growth, it now, demands more blood than the Nation is able to give. It has reach the point where the Host/Nation hasn't enough blood of it's own to remain viable. This Nation is dying from this tumor and unless the tumor is significantly reduced and or removed, this Nation is finished.

Posted by: Daniel on July 1, 2011 01:03 AM
4. We have far too much centralized government and far too many out-of-control, unconstitutional cabinet agencies in DC. Several should be disbanded immediately. They are:

Education: Disband and return function to states.

Energy: Totally failed in its mission to develop sources of domestic energy. Disband.

HUD: Tell me again why our federal government is in the business of building/managing urban apartment complexes and subsidizing rents?


Other agencies should be cut to the bone:

Agriculture: Has become yet another welfare agency.

HHS: Yearly throws billions into the welfare toilet. Most functions should be returned to states or eliminated entirely.

Homeland Security: Either begin enforcing border security or disband and parcel out this out-of-control behemoth.

Labor: Tell me again why we need this agency. Oh, yes, to further the cause of big labor.


Others (Commerce, Interior, Transportation) should endure major cuts in bureauocratic staffing and budget.


Treasury and State should be reorganized and be subject to reductions in budgets.


The office of AG should be cleansed and de-politicized or the stench of Holder's reign will be endured for decades.


Defense should be restructured and cut. Far too many do-nothing flag-grade officers and senior civilians.


Veterans Affairs should receive some of the funding cut from HUD, HHS and other welfare agencies. Not for bureaucracy but to assist wounded veterans.


We can either take these measures now or when the country goes bankrupt. You choose.

Posted by: Saltherring on July 1, 2011 06:42 AM
5. Very good post...Saltherring. Thank you.

Posted by: Daniel on July 1, 2011 07:48 AM
6. Tax increases are not required. Period.

We only "need" to increase taxes if we don't "want" to cut spending.

I want to cut spending.

The ONLY tax increase I would support -- and I do not currentlly support it, but in a year or so, when the recovery takes full hold, I likely will -- is eliminating all corporate subsidies, including all special corporate tax breaks. A corporate "tax break" should be for everyone, or no one.

We need to get government out of the economy business.

Posted by: pudge on July 1, 2011 08:27 AM
7. Warren,
For the most part, I agree with your post. To move the discussion along, however, I think the first thing to do is to common agreement on terms. Comments here and the GOP in congress all claim the mantra that we are "spending too much." This is a vague statement. What is too much? At what level is it not too much. It seems to me that everytime cuts are proposed, the mark moves. It seems to me that for some they won't be satisfied until there is no spending period, which is futile, because this means the congressmen themselves would not receive salaries. So, there must be some line in the sand that they are shooting at. Rep. Ryan tried to draw that line and yet even his own party is backing away from his line, yet at the same time claiming that cuts proposed are not enough.

A second term that needs to be agreed upon is what is an "increase in taxes." Grover Norquist's pledge that many have signed has become a noose around the party. It is good to see a few brave souls like Coburn challenge Norquist's definition and say that if a subsidy is silly, it should go. To not give up "horse racing subsidies" because the Senate majority leader is afraid for his reelection chances (i.e., Tea Party challenger), is idiotic.

I agree, cut as much as you can, but this also includes getting rid of unsupported subsidies, like the horse racing one, ethanol, etc. Coburn is on the right track. Norquist and his stranglehold needs to be broken.

Posted by: tc on July 1, 2011 09:13 AM
8. It is more an issue of principles. In reality, the tax increases that the Democratics propose will not increase revenue more than a few percent at most. If the GOP capitulates there, the Dems will offer more phony spending cuts like in the 2011 budget. Some military spending will have to be cut, which is only fair - that may have to be the olive branch for now.

If the GOP holds fast and shows their new surgically implanted backbone, a more honest deal(s) will likely result. However, if the GOP thinks that they can get to this without selling it and exposing the Dems agenda, they will be sorely mistaken and they'll surely be blamed for any financial consequences. The Dems will demagogue this to death, as sure as the sun rises.

If there is no deal reached, the GOP's best strategy is to only raise the debt ceiling incrementally - like $300 billion, after incremental spending cuts are secured and continue on that road for as long as it takes. They cannot raise taxes (although there should be an open attitude toward tax increases in better economic times, which does not apply here). The symbolism of raising taxes is that the GOP is not serious about shrinking the size of Federal Government - the main centerpiece of this debate. If they capitualate in any tax increases, they have caved in this debate it will be perceived as a loss. This is political theatre, that the public will take to heart going into next year's election.

Posted by: KDS on July 1, 2011 10:26 AM
9. Government doesn't need any Tax Increases...PERIOD! What is this Crap that when, the economy recovers that then, some tax increases will be OK? That will only allow the Government to, once again, increase its growth and spending. What part of not over feeding the Beast to grow and destroy us do you not understand?

Posted by: Daniel on July 1, 2011 10:39 AM
10. "At some point tax increases will be required ..."

Seems pretty straight forward and a common sense proposition.

In fact, in March of this year the Republican Joint Economic Committee proposed 85% spending cuts and 15% revenue increases (page 10).

Only last week the Obama administration laid an 83% spending cut and 17% revenue increase on the table. What did our congressional Republicans do in response? They walked away from the table. Why would they do that?

This is the same group of Republican clowns who increased spending (Medicare Part D: Prescription Drug plans & 2 wars) while cutting revenue. Surprise! Deficit!!

You can blame the Obama administration and the Democrats all you like for government spending and deficits, but when the Republicans took charge in 2001 the deficit was under control. When they left in 2009, the entire global economy was in tatters.

Now, in 2011, facing the first ever US default on its debt obligations if we don't once again routinely raise the borrowing limit, your Republicans won't even say "yes" to what the proposed as the solution 3 months ago.

There really cannot be a debate about how to address a net balance problem. It is called a balance sheet for a reason.
But, reality has a well-known liberal bias so let's ride the hobby horse and shake our fists in anger.... wearing a tri-cornered hat, of course.

:-)

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on July 1, 2011 10:52 AM
11. We can discuss this all day long, but the end result is going to be a tax increase coupled with spending cuts.

Posted by: Poitically Incorrect on July 1, 2011 11:00 AM
12. Mike BS: Whenever Dems propose revenue increases, it means raising taxes because they can't conceive of any other way to increase revenue,and it maintains power over the masses.. Usually when Repubs talk about revenue increases, it is generally due to decreased spending, and lowering of taxes, resulting a by-product of increased revenue to the government. Big difference.

Posted by: katomar on July 1, 2011 11:08 AM
13. And while we are discussing it, let's not look over here.

10-figure paychecks with a historically low marginal tax rate is no reason to cheat like hell and screw you in the bargain.

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on July 1, 2011 11:11 AM
14. @12 katomar on July 1, 2011 11:08 AM
"Usually when Repubs talk about revenue increases, it is generally due to decreased spending, and lowering of taxes, resulting a by-product of increased revenue to the government. Big difference."

Yeah, that's what Republicans said. Funny how it did not work out that way (2002-2009).
Also funny is what Republicans said would happen when the Democratic Congress and Clinton raised taxes in 1993 and what happened.

Whatever you do, don't ask yourself 'why?'. Instead, get on your hobby horse and shake your fists in anger.... wearing a tri-cornered hat, of course.

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on July 1, 2011 11:20 AM
15. Lastly, folks like Republican Senator Mark Rubio wants you on the hobby horse shaking your fists in anger.... wearing a tri-cornered hat.

Rubio tells Robert Costa over at The Corner

"Three years into his presidency, he is a failed president," he says. "He just has not done a good job. Life in America today, by every measure, is worse than it was when he took over."

Really? By every measure?

1. When Obama took office, the economy was shrinking. Now it's growing. In what way is that "worse"?

2. When Obama took office, the economy was hemorrhaging jobs. Now it's gaining jobs. In what way is that "worse"?

Why is the party that brought us the worst economic recession in 70 years, and along with it an untenable fiscal position blatantly lying to you? Is it because they think you are smart?

Never mind. Get on your hobby horse and shake your fists in anger.... wearing a tri-cornered hat, of course.

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on July 1, 2011 11:38 AM
16. MikeBS: Exactly what part of my post demonstrated anger and an affinity for hobby horses and hats? I would suggest cooling your own feelings of hatred towards conservatives and protecting your blood pressure. You'll live longer.

Posted by: katomar on July 1, 2011 11:41 AM
17. I would suggest cooling your own feelings of hatred towards conservatives ...

No. Let him hate. It's all he's got.

Posted by: jimg on July 1, 2011 12:17 PM
18. ...wants you on the hobby horse shaking your fists in anger

Sounds like ol' Mike BS has a thing for horses. He must be from Enumclaw where they REALLY go the extra mile to love their horses. Giddyup, Mike!

Posted by: Rick D. on July 1, 2011 01:08 PM
19. Why is the party that brought us the worst economic recession in 70 years, and along with it an untenable fiscal position blatantly lying to you?

We don't know, Mike. That might be a question to ask of your fellow Democrat's who support this failed president who's lead the country down the path to despair. The only thing this failed president has had success in is taking a full stroke of his golf handicap, which makes sense given his overabundance of vacation time and golf outings he's done in office while the average American is experiencing hard times.

Hope and change!! A slogan used by loser's because they knew it would work on the sucker's in life.

Posted by: Rick D. on July 1, 2011 01:28 PM
20. seriously...Ben Stein is NOT a conservative....follow his donating trail....Al Frankin is hardly a conservative.....but I just love it when the rich elites insist on telling us just how much they should be taxed...

these bozos have rooms full of accountants just so they can avoid taxes...

hey ben....what I would love to see is ALL of your income including all your muni income be TAXED for SS ...all of it....then you'll preach a different tune...

Posted by: lee on July 1, 2011 03:12 PM
21. Anther condition; No tax increases until the current tax code is overhauled and reformed and simplified for fewer loopholes - some deductions will go away, resulting in more revenue. There is something seriously toxic about a country where 48% of its citizens pay NO taxes.

The Democrats do not want that to change at this time. This all plays into the hands of creating a welfare state/3rd world country - liberals; be very careful about what you wish for; The only way to stop this toxic downward spiral is to DEFEAT Obama in 2012.

Posted by: KDS on July 1, 2011 03:16 PM
22. Question...KDS. Why, does there need to be ANY Tax Increases...PERIOD? Have you been so Brain Washed that you think Excessive Government, in its position of overtaxing and spending its Citizens into poverty, has the right after reducing spending, to continue to raise taxes after a so-called recovery has occurred? Wouldn't that just, start the cycle of Government growth, more spending and put us back in the same crisis? The whole name of the game is to reduce Government permanently and thereby. reduce spending, reclaim Liberty, Purse and Live the American Dream.

Posted by: Daniel on July 1, 2011 04:21 PM
23. The socialists want to raise taxes without meaningful spending cuts. Their intention is to make the current spending levels, inflated by the gargantuan Democratic party spending spree, the baseline for future government budgets.

Posted by: Attila on July 1, 2011 05:18 PM
24. The socialists want to raise taxes without meaningful spending cuts. Their intention is to make the current spending levels, inflated by the gargantuan Democratic party spending spree, the baseline for future government budgets.

Posted by: Attila on July 1, 2011 05:19 PM
25. Can someone please, please do something to show what a boondoggle the new bridge across the Columbia is going to be? This is not trivial, as it is a 4billion dollar project that everyone in the state will foot the bill for. And, since they intend to charge toll even after it's paid for, we'll be paying for it forever. They've included plans for light rail, despite the fact that Clark County voted against light rail.

Posted by: Teri Pittman on July 1, 2011 05:22 PM
26. Can someone please, please do something to show what a boondoggle the new bridge across the Columbia is going to be? This is not trivial, as it is a 4billion dollar project that everyone in the state will foot the bill for. And, since they intend to charge toll even after it's paid for, we'll be paying for it forever. They've included plans for light rail, despite the fact that Clark County voted against light rail.

Posted by: Teri Pittman on July 1, 2011 05:23 PM
27. So people want tax increases? Great - first cut spending to no more than 20% of GDP (historical average). Leave it there for 2 years. THEN we can talk taxes if they're still needed.

We tried the "increase taxes first then cut spending" and it didn't work - taxes went up, and spending wasn't cut. So let's cut first, then evaluate if we need to tax.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on July 1, 2011 05:38 PM
28. MikeBS wrote:

1. When Obama took office, the economy was shrinking. Now it's growing. In what way is that "worse"?

Remove Government spending from the GDP; it's shrinking. And remember that 40% of that spending is BORROWED money. We borrow more EACH YEAR than Canada's entire GDP. Yes, our annual budget deficit - $1.7 trillion this year - is larger than the entire GDP of our neighbor to the North (and our largest supplier of oil), Canada.

2. When Obama took office, the economy was hemorrhaging jobs. Now it's gaining jobs. In what way is that "worse"?

Huh? We're on our 12th WEEK of 400,000+ first time unemployment claims. We've gone from an unemployment rate below 7% to something near 10%. Jobs aren't coming.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on July 1, 2011 06:14 PM
29. Question...KDS. Why, does there need to be ANY Tax Increases...PERIOD? Have you been so Brain Washed that you think Excessive Government, in its position of overtaxing and spending its Citizens into poverty, has the right after reducing spending, to continue to raise taxes after a so-called recovery has occurred?

@22 Who is brain-washed ? That' ridiculous - you make NO sense. Go back and reread my multiple comments here. Understand that the left does not want to modify the tax code, because if it is done there will be way less than 48% that don't pay taxes. That is almost as much of a threat to the Democrats as no new taxes - not quite, because that is the main principle they stand on.

@27 - I would go along with that, with one addition, the tax code must be changed before any talk about new taxes. A consumption tax or a flat tax is most preferred. The GOP must stand up to the demagoguery and bluser from the Democrats and the fecal heads in the press who is in the tank for these marxist sympathizers.

Posted by: KDS on July 1, 2011 07:21 PM
30. KDS...In your various comments on this thread you DO make comments pertaining to the allowance of tax increases if certain conditions are met. Such as, in your comment post #8 in which you stated: "They cannot raise taxes (although there should be an open attitude toward tax increases in better economic times, which does not apply here)." My point is, there shouldn't be a raising of Taxes....PERIOD! Because, it would lead Government back to raising Taxes, Growing and Spending and put us right back where we started from in another Crisis. Get It?

Posted by: Daniel on July 2, 2011 12:38 AM
31. Leftists like MBS will sill be blaming everything on Boooooooosh in another 50 years. Because no matter how much Democrats spend, it's **always** somebody else's fault.

Posted by: Jeff B. on July 2, 2011 01:14 AM
32. Harry Reid, on the Senate floor, just gave credit to congressional Democrats for balancing the federal budget during the 1990's. I guess Newt Gingrich was only a figment of the collective Republican imagination. Reid's claims would be abject comedy if not for the corrupt, lying Marxist Media and the stupidity of the American public.

You can follow this story on Orbusmax.com if you desire further details.

Posted by: Saltherring on July 2, 2011 03:13 AM
33. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that if tax increases are required, the time to implement them is NOT when consumer discretionary spending is nonexistent and we have 9+% unemployment. And Democrats talking about it aggravate both problems.

Posted by: jvon on July 2, 2011 02:00 PM
34. Facts are stubborn things, especially for those who live in the Fox News/talk radio "reality" bubble.

For those who choose to research FACTS, on Jan 20th, 2009, GWB handed over a nation already $10.6T (an increase of $4.9T since he took office in 2001). Where did that come from? Huge giveaways to drug companies (Medicare part D),tax cuts on millionairs that created NO stimulus. (supply side economics worked for Reagan, since the top rate was above 70% when he took office). Supply side falls apart below 40%. Under GWB, average family income actually FELL (for the first time since the depression), and job growth was anemic.

Since Obama took office, the FACTS are:
S&P500 recovered from 805 to 1339, a 66% increase (yes, this means folks may actually be able to retire!). Corporate America is booming, and profits are at record highs. So, the stimulus worked for corporations, and for Wall street. The bad news? Unemployment is still up (8.1-9.5%). The national debt is up +3.7B(although not as much as under GWB). What we should ALL be asking ourselves? Why haven't record corporate profits, and stock prices translated into increased job growth??!!! We cut taxes on the wealthy CEOs..yet it hasn't trickled down. We've pumped billions into the economy..yet it hasn't trickled down.

What could the answer be? Tax cuts? Taxes are already at record lows. Spending cuts? The only things that matter are the defense budget, social security, and medicare. Everything else is peanuts, and will do effectively nothing.

Posted by: Proteus on July 2, 2011 07:13 PM
35. jvon:
In no way will increasing taxes selectively on the very highest income earners affect consumer spending. A CEO making millions, or a hedge fund manager making billions isn't suddenly going to change their spending patterns because their taxes go up 4%. CEO salaries have ZERO to do with employment of workers in mid-large size companies.
Small business owners who chose not to incorporate can simply avoid the increased taxes by reinvesting in their companies, or hiring people! Wow..who'da thunk it?

Posted by: Proteus on July 2, 2011 07:21 PM
36. No increase in taxes without revising the tax code will do nothing in the long term. The tax code must be revised and wipe out the fact that 48% of eligible tax payers pay NO taxes. This must be changed or this country will become a welfare state. The GOP needs to be smart enough to make this happen and sell it to the Democrats and probably give up something in return. Some sort of compromise/deal for this will be required - no way around it.

Even if Obama loses in 2012 and say the tax code does not get revised, this will just make a welfare state for when the next Democrat is elected president, Daniel - Get it ?

Posted by: KDS on July 2, 2011 10:39 PM
37. Get REAL...KDS! The main reason that so-call 48% of eligible tax payers pay NO taxes is because, they are low-income, young, female-headed households, part-time workers and beneficiaries of the $1,000 per-child tax credit. This is a BAD economy. Not everybody is working at better paying jobs. Why? Because, again, this is a BAD economy. There are far too few good paying jobs available. You got Bloated Big Government with it's runaway entitlements, runaway taxes and regulations that is destroying the ability and the incentive for the Private Sector to produce Wealth. Yes, Government needs to go on a diet. It needs to downsize along with reduced Spending and reduced Taxes...PERIOD!


Bottom Line: For you to think that once the Economy recovers, if it ever does, then, the Government should be free to raise Taxes once again and start the destructive cycle all over again, makes you an IDIOT!

Posted by: Daniel on July 3, 2011 01:03 AM
38. Daniel: Get your head out of your posterior. You are making all kinds of ass-umptions and are a piss-poor mind reader. You don't think the tax code needs reforming ? That's crazy. The loopholes and tax credits in the current tax code makes it possible for 48% of taxpayers to not need to pay taxes. Of course, its a bad economy, - it's Obama's economy and he has no desire to significantly reduce Government spending, which is really what needs to be done. The reality of the situation is that it is unlikely to get done at once and more likely to be done incrementally. This issue will be revisited after August 2nd, which is a phony date.

Hey stupid - a flat tax or fair tax system will make it possible to change tax rates and in some cases, like increase taxes for the 48% that don't pay taxes, so that many of them will have some skin in the game for a change-that's what I was referring to. There will always be a small percentage that don't pay Federal Income tax and understandably so. A key component of no tax raises is revamping the tax code and also lowering corporate tax rates. The current tax code is conducive to a continuation of kicking the can down the road, even if tax increases are off the table. I did not say that compromise was an option of no tax increases, but it will be when it comes to reforming the current tax code.

Posted by: KDS on July 3, 2011 09:07 AM
39. Proteus,

Thanks for your posts which confirm it's a spending - not revenue - problem. Taxes aren't lower than they were in 2002 to 2008, and we didn't have 15% GDP taxation (below the historical average). Spending, however, is up - WAY up.

It's the spending, not the tax level, that has exploded our deficits.

And everyone - including Bernanke and Geithner - have said that it is the recession that is causing lower tax receipts (since we tax income, people not working means lower tax collected). So how do we get out of recession and get the GDP really growing (not the fake growth we have, which is 100% due to Government spending)?

Cut taxes. It works. The OECD's studies prove it. Lower corporate income and capital gains taxes stimulate GDP growth and lower unemployment. So there's the solution.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on July 3, 2011 09:31 AM
40. I Never said that the Tax Code didn't need reforming. However, for you to imply that it is the Tax Code that is the main reason for 48% not paying Taxes rather than, the collapsing Economy with high unemployment coupled with a lack of good paying jobs due to excessive Government representing destructive regulations, high taxes and spending is pure IDIOCY! Realize, that MOST of the 48% that don't pay taxes is because, their income is at or near the poverty level. It is NOT because, of loopholes where the majority of people who should pay taxes and are not paying taxes. Yes, a few are taking whatever advantage they can but, again, the Vast Majority of the 48% is because, of the lack of good jobs...PERIOD! You seem to be stuck on the FALLACY that it is the vast majority of the 48% of the people are well within the financial position to be and should be paying Taxes. You bought into a bunch of obfuscating pumped up Crap given to you by Government to deliberately sidetrack you from the real reason for our recession. You have joined the Easy Believers of the Liberal Class for thinking that is the major problem. We need to squeeze the American People for more Taxes rather, than deal with the real problem of too much Government, regulations, spending, debt, interest payments on the debt, taxes, etc.

Posted by: Daniel on July 3, 2011 09:52 AM
41. Oh, and Proteus, you talk about "under GWB" that average family income fell. When exactly did it fall? Can you post that timeline please?

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on July 3, 2011 10:02 AM
42. @40 - Cite me something that refutes that the existing Tax Code is not a main reason for the 48% of taxpayers not paying taxes. Show me what percentage of taxpayers paid no taxest back during the depression in the 1930's when the economy was worse ? Since then, numerous revisions have been made to the Federal tax code.

Posted by: KDS on July 3, 2011 10:14 AM
43. KDS...You're INSANE! You've lost all traction in defending your wrongful position while, trying to assail my position. Of course, you have to have a Tax Code to begin with or no Taxes would be paid. The Taxes that are being paid by the American People today is far higher than, the Taxes that were paid during the depression. It use to be that it required only one person to be working to support the average household with the amendities available and to do so with far more dependents than, today. Now, it requires more than one working with less dependents to provide the same level of support as it did in the 30s. Does that give you any clue that overall taxes today are definitely HIGHER than, they were back in the 30s? Yes, Government has grown substantially to the point of suffocating the ability and incentive of what is left of the those who are able to create, produce and have/provide the jobs in the Private Sector. Without the Private Sector producing Wealth, the Government has no Wealth to Tax. Get it? Naah...You're too confused to know where it is at.

Posted by: Daniel on July 3, 2011 10:51 AM
44. Daniel,

I used to have to fret about US tax codes, when I ran a manufacturing corporation and had personal taxes and a few partnerships.

Now in Hong Kong, there's 180 pages - TOTAL - for corporate AND personal taxes. It's a breeze, it's fair, it's flatter, and it's simple.

I fully agree with KDS - a big problem with our current taxation is the structure of taxation. Simplify it, flatten it, and you'll find you can lower overall tax rates and STILL collect equivalent revenue...

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on July 3, 2011 10:54 AM
45. Shanghai Dan...Please notice the first sentence of my post #40. I stated: "I Never said the Tax Code didn't need reforming". In other words, I agree that the Tax Codes DO need reforming. As far as your experience of being in business and dealing with Government, I also, have been in business as a owner/president since 1971. I know and have been to court over certain issues. I know how various Government agencies protect each other and will go after anybody who would dare to object to their excessive regulations and oppressive and criminal conduct. Yeah...That,s Right! They will sic various agencies to make rigorous inspections to the point of falsifying reports so they can fine/steal and inhibit if you give any objection to any segment their reign/rule. This is common knowledge. Be very careful of any complaint or objection to any procedure, fine or oppression because, they will gang up against you. Talk about Tyranny within Government, Federal and Local. Yeah...Tell me about it.


Posted by: Daniel on July 3, 2011 11:22 AM
46. Then you should be all for a flatter tax code. The key to reforming politics in the US is to remove the favoritism built in to the existing tax structure - and that includes having half the people pay ZERO income taxes.

Flatten it, make everyone participate, and you'll see a push from the people to lower taxes overall. Right now, half the people want higher income taxes because they don't PAY any income taxes. So it's no pain for them...

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on July 3, 2011 01:58 PM
47. Yes, a flatter tax may sound good and may be good if done Right. However, it depends on how it is structured. I have yet, to study any offerings in how it would be instituted. My concern is that if handled wrong, it may be a strong negative to investments which is the cornerstone for growth of business and the economy. Part of the flat tax would be to have a National Sales Tax which can be highly detrimental to the basic economic activity of commerce and would seriously deter the production of Wealth. However, I'm not against a flatter tax if other allowances are incorporated in the tax.

Bottom Line: Taxes and Government have got to be...REDUCED!

Posted by: Daniel on July 3, 2011 02:44 PM
48. Hey Daniel - Man up and answer my question and stop making a mountain out of molehill with the dramatics. Enough of the bullcrap about me saying that tax increases were OK for now - you misunderstood and my position is no new taxes and reform the tax code.

You seem to be afraid to answer otherwise you would have done so. Instead, you offered assumptions about how taxation was back then, otherwise you would have done so. It will either support or refute your argument. If there were over 45% of the taxpayers (I'd bee very surprised if that was the case) were not paying taxes during the great depression, then so be it. The tax code must be revised !

Posted by: KDS on July 3, 2011 08:49 PM
49. Quit being an IDIOT...KDS. The Bottom Line: Income Taxes combined with Taxes in general were far less for the average individual during the 30s than they are today. Only, an IDIOT would disagree. To give you a little history when, the Sixteenth Amendment was ratified in 1913, roughly only 2 percent of American households paid the new tax. If you're too DUMB to take it from there or realize that Taxes overall were much less during the 30s, I can't help you.

Posted by: Daniel on July 3, 2011 10:06 PM
50. Stop being lazy and look it up instead of your ignorant and immature name calling. What in the hell is your point - you can't handle being wrong just like a liberal progressive can't.
Look up the top income tax rate during the mid - 1930's and you will find it was 90% +. The tax code was thinner then, taxes were high for higher incomes. They were lower for middle and lower classes, even though a higher percentage of people paid them than the 52% that pay Federal tax today, even though the amounts were less - a higher % people had skin in the game then than today. One more time - we need tax reform - it's a no-brainer. Go argue with Pudge or a liberal progressive instead of wasting my time - it's people like you that make conservatives look irrational.

Posted by: KDS on July 3, 2011 11:00 PM
51. You're full of CRAP...KDS. The highest tax rate on regular income for 1935 was 63% not 90%. I and nobody else on this thread has come out against the need for tax reform. What's your problem besides being Clinically INSANE!

Posted by: Daniel on July 3, 2011 11:15 PM
52. You cherry picked - The top marginal tax rate became 79% in 1936 until 1939, then increased to 81% in 1940-41 and peaked at 94% from 1942-45. After the war it remained high - from 1950-63, it was 91%. Get over it, @51.

No one had acknowledged tax reform until I brought it up. It wasn't part of the original question, but needed to be.

Posted by: KDS on July 4, 2011 09:29 AM
53. KDS@50: Look up the top income tax rate during the mid - 1930's and you will find it was 90% +.

KDS@52: You cherry picked - The top marginal tax rate became 79% in 1936 until 1939, then increased to 81% in 1940-41 and peaked at 94% from 1942-45. After the war it remained high - from 1950-63, it was 91%.

So, now cherry-picking means pointing out that you just make crap up.

Which part of the mid-1930s included 1942-45?

Bonus points if you can also explain how those high tax rates stunted economic growth in the post-war period.

Posted by: scottd on July 4, 2011 09:57 AM
54. @53 - Is 1936 in the mid-30's ? Yes, it is and while 84% is not 90% it is way above the 39.5% today. You have no point. Kindly mind your own business.

BTW - cherry picking does not mean making crap up - it means selectively screening and only including those cases that fit a specific agenda.

Posted by: KDS on July 4, 2011 08:00 PM
55. Daniel,

When scottd is defending your position, you REALLY need to rethink what you're typing!

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on July 4, 2011 08:17 PM
56. Shanghai Dan...Tell me what I need to rethink. Tell me what I typed that was wrong.

Posted by: Daniel on July 4, 2011 08:46 PM
57. @54 KDS...You're full of Crap again. You LIED when you said that the 30s had a top income tax rate of 90%. I selected 1935 because, it was a dead center year for the 30s and for that year it was 63% and not your phony claim of 90%. Now, you're LYING again, claiming that 1936 was 84% when, it was 79%. When you're so bad off that even a Liberal can legitimately find errors and rightfully points them out...Where does that leave you?

Posted by: Daniel on July 4, 2011 09:52 PM
58. KDS@54: Is 1936 in the mid-30's ? Yes, it is...

Good for you. Now explain how 79% is greater than 90%.

...and while 84% is not 90%

Make up your mind. Was it 79%, or 81%, or 84%? You really are just making stuff up. And you still haven't explained why high tax rates in the post-war period didn't stop rapid economic growth.

BTW - cherry picking does not mean making crap up - it means selectively screening and only including those cases that fit a specific agenda.

You're right, you're not screening data -- you're just making it up. What do you call that?

Posted by: scottd on July 4, 2011 10:10 PM
59. Daniel,

You're wrong about a few things...

1. The top income tax rates were CONSIDERABLY higher than what we have today, over twice as high as what we currently have.

2. You've evidently never heard of Hauser's Law, which says to a large extent the top marginal tax rate is irrelevant to actual Federal revenues - over 3-4+ year periods the Federal Government will get around 18% of GDP in terms of tax receipts.

Just a couple of things that come to light...

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on July 5, 2011 12:48 AM
60. Take a look at the outlandish salaries being paid in King County government, and this is before medical and retirement benefits.

http://www.thenewstribune.com/soundinfo/kingsalaries/?appSession=160117720995594

73 pages of jobs paying over $100,000 to $270,000 per year.

I wonder how many of these could be exported to India for $5000 a month like our jobs are?

Posted by: gs on July 5, 2011 05:30 AM
61. Shanghai Dan...Apparently, you haven't read my posts clearly or with any attention to detail. My position had nothing to do with the top tax rate. My position is that overall, taxes were far, far less and far, far less punitive during the 30s than, the taxes of today. Plus, there was no statement of mine pertaining to the relevancy of Federal revenues coinciding with the top tax rate. You are deliberately obfuscating what I have said in order to sustain your wrongful position and claim against me. You are beginning to show the same problems in dealing with the Truth as KDS has. Truthfully, I had thought better of you than, that.

Posted by: Daniel on July 5, 2011 06:59 AM
62. Daniel wrote:

Apparently, you haven't read my posts clearly or with any attention to detail.

I have. Perhaps any issue with clarity comes from the writer, and not the readers? If multiple people are misunderstanding what you're writing, then the issue is not with the readers...

My position is that overall, taxes were far, far less and far, far less punitive during the 30s than, the taxes of today

Really? Based on - what? Historically, the income tax started in 1913 and within 5 years it increased by more than an order of magnitude. Once Government gets ANY new source of revenue it does all it can to maximize its inflow of tax dollars. Every time, always.

And by 1944 the Federal Government's receipts were HIGHER - as a share of GDP - than they are today. That means the Federal Government was consuming MORE of the output of each person, on average, than it does today.

Now, do not read into this what you are reading into KDS's statements: this is NOT a call for the Federal Government to consume ever-more taxes! Far from it - I still whole-heartedly stand by comment number 1 of this very subject (by yours truly).

Rather, this is clarification - the issue is not the load of taxation, the issue is the fact taxation even exists. Once the income tax was implemented it was used to quickly ramp up tax receipts to the Federal Government. You see the income tax rates (for individuals and corporations) jump and order of magnitude in just the first decade.

Since WWII (the modern era) we see Federal tax receipts have been quite constant at about 18% of GDP. Independent of the tax rates set, the Federal Government consumes 18% of our total output as a nation.

Take this into consideration with the proven gluttony of the Federal Government and how it loves to consume ever-increasing tax dollars, and uses tax rates to try to accomplish that. The net result really isn't more dollars received; it is, however, greatly increased complexity and load on individuals and corporations.

And no matter if taxes were high or low, the Federal Government tends to get about 18% of the GDP - that's built-in to the system, fundamentally.

Thus, if you want to cut the actual GDP consumption of the Federal Government, you CANNOT do it by just adjusting tax rates. You need to restructure the entire thing - toss the tax code and rebuild it from the ground up, so that structurally you build in a lower effective limit.

KDS is 100% correct about this; the way to limit total overall tax load is not to just worry about marginal tax rates, it is to restructure the way taxation is done in the first place.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on July 5, 2011 08:43 AM
63. Here is a piece written by Steven Hayward about the case for raising taxes for conservatives; Rather than reprint it here, here is the link.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/07/is-there-conservative-case-for-higher-taxes.php

Not saying I support this, but this nuanced discussion needs to be had. Daniel needs to read this and be less simplistic about how the spending problem will ultimately get resolved.

An increase of revenue will be required to pay down our debt - how we get to that is open to this discussion. There are more ways to increase revenue than increasing taxes and it can also be argued that increasing taxes will not result in increased revenue.

BTW - cherry picking does not mean making crap up - it means selectively screening and only including those cases that fit a specific agenda.

You're right, you're not screening data -- you're just making it up. What do you call that?

Posted by scottd at July 4, 2011 10:10 PM

False, I retrieved that data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics - for top marginal tax rates. Obviously, you did not bother to look it up before you made that irresponsible comment.

Posted by: KDS on July 5, 2011 12:20 PM
64. @62 Multiple people are not misunderstanding what I wrote. Just, what statement have I made that you could not understand? Bottom Line: You are continuing to be disingenuous to support KDS as being above repute in this discussion. He is not. He is full of Crap and you with your remarks have proved to me that your full of Crap as well.

You try to cover your dishonest remarks by following with a standard dissertation that is acceptable as being true and of common sense. You're a Con that purposely mixes lies with truth with the hope that the reader will believe it all. Your credibility is zero. Case in Point: The mere fact that you have given yourself a pumped up moniker of Shanghai Dan, gives rise to suspicion to start with. Also, your claim that you are a businessman who does business offshore is now, highly suspect. Naah, you're a phony...PERIOD!

Posted by: Daniel on July 5, 2011 12:28 PM
65. @64 - It appears that you are working in cahoots with scottd. Both of you are obfuscating while you are pretending to be above repute.

Your argument would have some credibility if you didn't have to resort to ridicule and name calling, which is the first sign that you have lost the argument. scottd is a leftist, but it is difficult to tell you and him apart (even though you are politically opposed) from your tone of rebuttal. The essay by Steven Hayward should be considered, but at the same time - conservatives need to be wary of demagoguing from BO and the left, fire back and stand firm.

Posted by: KDS on July 5, 2011 01:56 PM
66. My arguments do have credibility. As far as calling a Spade a Spade...Yes, by all means. Let us not be so Politically Correct as to not call a Spade a Spade for it only protects the Evil of the Liars and the Wrongdoers. It is your duty to point out the wrongs. It is your duty to point out the Viper that lies waiting in the grass. If people especially, Politicians were called out more often, we wouldn't be in this Mess of declining Liberty, Purse and the disappearing American Dream.

Posted by: Daniel on July 5, 2011 02:38 PM
67. Daniel,

Now you prove you're either batsh*t insane or off your meds. I've been on this board for at least 5 years, originally as Edmonds Dan before I moved.

The fact that you cannot write a coherent sentence, nor string together logical statements reflects on you not the reader.

I'd suggest a little introspection about what you're trying to do, consult your doctor about the lithium dose, and breathe deep a few times. Then maybe you'll realize the depths of your paranoia and lunacy in your ramblings.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on July 5, 2011 03:24 PM
68. Keep pontificating Shanghai Dan...You're sounding more and more like your typical Liberal...Full of CRAP!

Posted by: Daniel on July 5, 2011 03:31 PM
69. Pudge was right - you are off your rocker...

Good day, Daniel!

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on July 5, 2011 05:50 PM
70. Pudge never said that I was off my rocker. But then, you're just, proving once again...That you're a LIAR!


Posted by: Daniel on July 5, 2011 06:07 PM
71. " The national debt is up +3.7B(although not as much as under GWB)."

That number and conclusion is false and an idiotic. The National Debt has increase over $1 Trillion since Bush left office. Although not as much as under GWB ? You contradicted yourself, Congratulations, you exposed yourself as being a propagandist and a liar, Proteus.

Posted by: KDS on July 6, 2011 03:40 PM
72. Shanghai Dan:
Here, this should make your head explode nicely:
http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/07/chart-of-the-day-out-of-control-spending-not-really-out-of-control-at-all.php

To answer your specific question, regarding the decline of median household income during GWB's presidency:
http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/10/a-decade-with-no-income-gain/

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

Raw data:
http://www.census.gov/prod/2009pubs/p60-236.pdf

KDS:
I even posted the numbers for you, but apparently your're incapable of handling simple math:
National debt when Bush took office, Jan 20, 2001-
$5.7 trillion (most of this was Reagan btw).
National debt when Bush left office, Jan 20, 2009: $10.6 trillion.
10.6-5.7=4.9. Therefore, the US national debt increased over $4.9 trillion during the term of George W. Bush.

Currently, the national debt is at $14.6 T. Simple math shows that the debt has risen $3.7T under Obama. It also shows my statement was correct, since 3.7T (Obama)

Now, lets look at WHY the debt is so high? According to the detailed information here:http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/07/chart-of-the-day-out-of-control-spending-not-really-out-of-control-at-all.php

discretionary spending has been flat for the past decade. As I stated before, the problem *primarily* record low tax rates, and greatly increased expenditures for the military, social security, and medicare.

Government revenue as a percentage of GDP was 21% in 2001. Now its 14%. All those tax cuts for the top 2% apparently haven't done much to stimulate the economy, have they?!

Facts are a real bitch, aren't they? The whole GOP world view is slowly starting to crumble. Time to give in to reality. Even Reagan was a pragmatist, and raised taxes (3 times!) when he had to.

Posted by: Proteus on July 6, 2011 05:24 PM
73. Proteus posted:

To answer your specific question, regarding the decline of median household income during GWB's presidency:
http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/10/a-decade-with-no-income-gain/

Huh, from this link it says that income went UP from 1998 to 2007. What happened in 2008? Well, we had a term of Pelosi and Reid and the start of the melt-down... And even then it dropped from $51,300 to $50,300 - a 2% change. That's the big decline, really?

I'm sure you'll talk about the continuing decline in median income through the Obama years, too? It's down another $500 or so...

If you want to get technical about it, GWB (why start in 1998?) "lost" $100 per year. Barack Obama's losing about 5 times that amount, per year.

Kind of like how he increased the deficits by a factor of 5 as well...

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on July 6, 2011 06:53 PM
74. Proteus - how convenient - you changed your story and your math sucks.

First, you said 3.7 B, not 3.7B in @34 - go back and reread it. You added new information, to cover up for the sloppiness of your original comment, which made you a propagandist and a liar, just as I wrote. Actually, Bush's deficit expanded after the Democrats gained control of the Senate and House after 2006. Secondly, Bush increased the debt in 8 years and Obama has been in office 2.5 years only 1/3 as long, yet at his current rate he will exceed Bush's increase in debt sometime within the next 6-9 months, Yeah, facts are real bitch...Your argument fell flat on its face. BTW, Obama doesn't care if he outspends Bush - its evident if one looks at his actions, not what he has said.

Eliminating tax loopholes may be a part of this debt ceiling deal, but no tax increases. No tax increases until after the tax code is revised. The GOP should advocate recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles debt commission if they want to bolster their case for reelection in 2012. The GOP had better vet the spending cuts proposed by the Democrats, much better than they did last time.

Posted by: KDS on July 6, 2011 07:45 PM
75. First, you said $3.7 B, not $3.7 T in @34 - go back and reread it.

Posted by: KDS on July 6, 2011 09:07 PM
76. First, you said $3.7 B, not $3.7 T in @34 - go back and reread it.

Posted by: KDS on July 6, 2011 09:07 PM
77. Proteus,

This should show where the problem is:

In constant (inflation adjusted) 2010 dollars, revenue is up 300% over the last 45 years. Interestingly, it was up 400% until the 2008 recession began. But we'll include the recession - that's a 2.5% annual gain in Federal tax revenues over the last 45 years, above inflation. And the Bush tax cuts didn't hurt it - they drove receipts even higher.

Meanwhile, spending is up 500% over that same time period - that's a 3.6% annual increase, above inflation. And if you look at it, it skyrocketed in 2009. When receipts were falling a bit, spending launched itself into the air.

We have a spending, NOT taxing, problem.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on July 7, 2011 08:08 AM
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