Wednesday, 12/1/10, Public Square

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Filed under The Public Square

122 responses to “Wednesday, 12/1/10, Public Square

  1. GOP to Block All Democratic Bills

    So much for olive branches. Republican Senators have quietly signed a letter pledging to obstruct all Democratic legislation, save for moves related to tax cuts and government spending. That includes Democrats’ plans to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and to pass the DREAM Act, which would allow some illegal immigrants to attend state colleges. It’s unknown which GOP senators have signed the letter, which is expected to be made public soon.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2010/11/30/national/w191950S50.DTL&type=politics

    • The letter comes after comments by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and others in his party that the voters made it clear in the elections they want lawmakers to focus on economic issues.

      How many Americans do you think are like me and want Congress to work toward what’s good for our country without regard to party affiliation? How many are like me and think the ‘Party of No’ has done more damage than one generation can easily overcome?

  2. As Robert Gates predicted when he spoke to Congress yesterday, the courts are ready to repeal DADT and then everyone will be able to complain about activist courts. Some of us may realize Congress isn’t doing what they’re responsible to do and the courts are only picking up the ball they dropped on this one, but many will give Congress a free pass they don’t deserve.

  3. itolduso

    Repeal DADT

  4. If you ever wondered just how far back some of the tea partiers want to take America, wonder no longer:

    Tea Party Nation President Says It ‘Makes A Lot Of Sense’ To Restrict Voting Only To Property Owners

    PHILLIPS: The Founding Fathers originally said, they put certain restrictions on who gets the right to vote. It wasn’t you were just a citizen and you got to vote. Some of the restrictions, you know, you obviously would not think about today. But one of those was you had to be a property owner. And that makes a lot of sense, because if you’re a property owner you actually have a vested stake in the community. If you’re not a property owner, you know, I’m sorry but property owners have a little bit more of a vested interest in the community than non-property owners.

    http://thinkprogress.org/2010/11/30/tea-party-voting-property/

    • wicked

      Fine and dandy. Take my voting rights away, because I don’t own property. And while you’re at it, make sure I pay no taxes. If only the privileged can vote, then they are the ones to benefit. Let them pay for it.

  5. 2 million Americans lost the last hope of keeping the roofs over their heads, food on the table because the GOP refuses to allow an extension on unemployment benefits — all the while supporting extending the tax cuts for the most wealthy in our country.

    Make some sense of that?

  6. itolduso

    Nope. Let all the Bush tax cuts expire. ALL of them. Increased revenue to the treasury over the next 10 years. 3.8 trillion dollars

  7. itolduso

    As difficult as it is for some to understand…unemployment benefits are not the hill to make a stand on for a financially responsible government. These are difficult times. Extend the benefits… For those on the other side of the aisle, surely you can find somewhere to pay for them if that is what it takes for a compromise.

    ASSHOLES GET FRIGGIN BUSY TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS INSTEAD OF YOURSELVES

    • tosmarttobegop

      I said that when it was the last time that caught me, its as much they are saying:

      In order to spare the children and grandchildren of the future from hardships.
      We will starve the children and grandchildren of today to death!

      They must not have any faith that in the future the economy will rebound.
      It really is like they are operating in some different reality and perceptions.

      Fighting and threatening to block tax cuts for middle America If the well off do not get cuts too.
      And willing to borrow money to fund tax cuts for the well off.
      Waving their arms and shouting how they are fiscally responsible and the is why they are blocking unemployment benefits. While willing to borrow money adding it to the national debt to fund tax cuts period.

      Yet standing in the way of extending unemployment benefits when those receiving it will almost immediately put it into the economy.

  8. I read a bunch of statistics yesterday (and of course can’t find them today) about how much paying unemployment to the jobless will benefit America, not just the individuals. Seems not extending the benefits in today’s jobless world is a double whammy and will end up hurting all of us very badly.

  9. wicked

    It’s a sad, sad day when it comes down to choosing party over country. And by ‘country’ I mean the people–human beings–who make up this once great country. Without the people, there is nothing, only empty land, wasting away. I’d thought it would be something atomic that would be the end of all things. Now I see it’s to be politics.

    • indypendent

      Not just politics – deeply divided partisan politics.

      That is usually what happens when religion gets mixed into anything. Once that line is crossed, all hell breaks loose – literally.

      The Religious Right must not know the main reason the Pilgrims came to America was to get away from religioius persecution. And the Founding Fathers were wise enough to put that separation of church and state in our government.

      Ever since Reagan used the Religious Right to get their votes in 1980 – this down spiral has been taking place. And then the Neo Conservatives got control and bankrupted us even further with their insatiable thirst for wars.

      If you doubt that religion is divisive, just think back to this blog on certain days. Nothing is more divisive than the game of whose God is bigger.

  10. indypendent

    The picture of Reagan is classic. I’ve always said Reagan had the gift of the silver tongue – too bad it was forked.

    That man caused alot of damage to this country but yet there are still people who worship this Golden Idol.

  11. indypendent

    As for the tax cuts – let them all continue – even for the wealthiest. But let’s make a deal, shall we?

    Everyone getting a taxpayer subsidy for their farm or business is no longer going to get that money.

    I wonder if the Republicans would go for that?

    • indypendent

      I would also like to see Medicare go the way of the dinosaurs – at least the Medicare Drug Program part of it.

      Again – the same deal is on the table. If the Bush tax cuts continue – then no more Medicare or Medicare Drugs. Let’s see if the private health insurance companies will jump in there and offer coverage to thes people.

      I still have not had one Tea Party Republican show me in the Constitution where taxpayers have to subsidize any certain groups of people. And we do want to go by the Constitution, don’t we?

    • tosmarttobegop

      No they would not, because the meaning of a subsidy is the same as the make believe tax credits and “tax cuts”. There is no money during the year which is when you need it.
      It is at the end of the year when you are just getting back a little more then you would have without it.

      Since they are the ones playing this shell game, they would not be fooled.

  12. tosmarttobegop

    Obama is playing by rules set not by his party but by the other party.
    I had that problem in Oklahoma and used the analogy of playing a softball game where before the game the city set the rules. Like changing it that instead of being safe at first once you managed to get on base.
    To being safe once you had went twenty feet pass first.

    But once getting that far pass first, they walked up and tag me out.
    When I complained they stated that they had once again changed the rules and now it is twenty five feet passed first!

    In reality it is impossible to claim when many of the Conservative suggestions are adopted into bills.
    Had caused a change in the agenda from that which the Democratic wanted.

    To then turn around and say that they are not being listen too!
    It amazes me that some many times that is being stated by rank and file Conservatives and it is totally against the reality and facts available.

    • indypendent

      Realibity and facts are not not quite as available on Fox News – which is the major news source for Republicans.

      To do independent research outside of the ‘approved’ news source would be considered blasphemy in some circles.

    • Their reality isn’t real, it’s politics. It’s an attempt to keep the masses fooled, ignorant and scared. They have Fox News on their side and they seem to be doing a fair job in convincing great numbers of people.

    • I hit “reply,” went to answer the phone, came back and typed my reply before reading yours, Indy. Guess there are some of us who see past their silly games and refuse to be fooled, ignorant and scared!

    • indypendent

      We are ususally on the same page on most issues. And with Fox News, it is so obvious to me they are GOP controlled. That was proven the night they declared GWB the next president due to Florida – remember?

      Now how did they know about Florida…..hmmmmmm..

    • indypendent

      The Fox News is like the gossip section of any news source. All the innuendos, snarky, snide comments. I’m waiting for the day these Fox anchors do nothing but sit there for their broadcasts and tweet all the talking points for the day.

      But, of course those blondes will still have to be there to wear the short (and I do mean short) too-tight dresses with their stilleto heels.

      I do wish these women anchors would do us all a favor and stop crossing their legs when they wear those too-tight short dresses. But I guess that would greatly reduce their male audience of adoring supporters? LMAO

  13. I’m no fan of Harry Reid, and I wanted him defeated last election until the GOP ran a total nut against him, but this time I agree with him. The GOP is continuing to be The Party Of HELL No, they still have NO ideas and NO solutions, and they are still down on the floor kicking and screaming, throwing their fit like spoiled two year olds.

    —————————————

    GOP to block all bills until tax cuts are addressed

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced this morning that Republicans will block any legislation from coming to the Senate floor until two key economic issues are addressed: funding the government (the “continuing resolution” which must pass to prevent a government shutdown) and the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts.

    McConnell said that members of his caucus are united in the pledge to use procedural votes to prevent any other non-economic issues — including the new START treaty, the DREAM Act, or the defense authorization bill that contains a potential repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy – from coming to the floor for debate.

    “Republicans have pleaded with Democrats to put aside their wish-list – to focus on the things Americans want us to focus on,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “They’ve ignored us. The voters repudiated their agenda at the polls. They’ve ignored them.”

    In a letter signed by all 42 members of the GOP caucus, Republicans write that, “with little time left in this Congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities.”

    “While there are other items that might ultimately be worthy of the Senate’s attention, we cannot agree to prioritize any matters above the critical issues of funding the government and preventing a job-killing tax hike,” the letter reads.

    Speaking on the Senate floor this morning, before McConnell made his remarks, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid slammed the GOP tactic as “very cynical, but very obvious and very transparent.”

    “With this letter, they have simply put in writing a political strategy Republicans have pursued this entire Congress,” he said. “Namely: obstruct, delay; obstruct delay.”

    • itolduso

      Well, it looks to me like their priorities are pretty straight. Straight economic issues should be first. Passing whatever is necessary to keep the government functioning, and the solution (whatever it is) for the Bush era tax cuts. should be priority one. Everything else non economic is simply a distraction.

      For me it is simple. Pass the continuing resolution, allow the Bush era tax cuts to expire. For everyone. Increased revenue to the government treasuriy….3.8 trillion dollars.
      Once you get those done, and extend the unemployment insurance benefits, then you can work on the rest. Until then, no.

      As far as I can see, those issues are a much higher priority than the Dream ACT, DADT, the Start Treaty, etc.

    • What makes them look like two year olds throwing hissy fits is that they state unequivocally they will not compromise. You have an opinion of what should be done with regard to the tax cuts, they have a differing one and they aren’t at all interested in what your opinion might be.

  14. tosmarttobegop

    A couple of facts that seem to get lost in the debate over extending the “tax cuts”.

    One: When the argument is that by increasing the income tax it will stifle the hiring by small business.
    The problem with that is, apples and oranges income tax is on the gross amount you have earned.
    On a personal level and not on a professional level.

    Even if you are not incorporated, your business is separate from your personal income.
    You can not claim a deduction for the utilities at your home unless your business is also run from your house. You would have to do a long form, but it is how you keep separate those costs and liabilities.

    Two: No matter whether for the middle class, the wealth or both.
    The Government has no intention of suffer a reduction of revenue.
    So the shell game is played, they borrow the same amount of money that is lost by the claimed “tax cut”.
    Adding it to the national debt which is something that all American play a part in paying.

    It actually amounts to they take five dollars out of your right pocket then with fanfare put it into your left pocket. Saying you now have five dollars!

    But what is the reality? How much more money do you now have?

    • indypendent

      I think Republicans throw out that ‘it will hurt small businesses’ B.S. because it is more in line with the average American.

      I mean seriously, do you expect them to say they want to keep giving Wall Street, Halliburton and other large corporations more tax cuts?

      But make no mistake about it – Republicans only care about the wealthy. They have proven that time and time again.

      But Reagan did bring in the religious so now they have God’s sign of approval – or they pretend they do. And that is what makes the most angry.

    • wicked

      tstb, my business ismy income. All three businesses. Do I get tax cuts? I suppose they’re offered, but I don’t have a way to take advantage of most of them. For example, a portion of the cost of health care can be deducted. Uh, I still can’t pay for health care, so I don’t get that deduction.

      As for the deduction of use of home as business, it’s based on the percentage of the home that’s used, and there are strict guidelines to it. Do I save a little by being able to deduct a portion of my rent/mortagage and certain utilities that my business also uses? Yes. But if I rented office space, I could deduct that.

      Oh, and I don’t use the long form. Never have. I use Schedules C and SE (self-employed).

      Of course I’ve have to have a list of the taxes I pay as a business and another list of what tax cuts I, as a business, receive, before I can say if the tax cuts will or won’t hurt me. Hey, I’m human. I take all the deductions I legally can! 🙂 I also don’t bitch myself silly about paying taxes. I consider it part of being a citizen. Many of the things my taxes go to pay for don’t affect me, some of the things I disagree with, but that’s how it works in a democracy (democratic republic) 😉 .

  15. indypendent

    I often ask any Religious Conservative Reublican one question – I wonder if God will want to know how much money you made in your lifetime or how did you treat your fellow human being?

    I suspect alot of these Religious Right will have a rude awakening if and when they do meet God. For all we know, God might just be a black lesbian woman. Ikes…….the average Religious Rightie will be in deep doo doo if that is true!

  16. itolduso

    “What makes them look like two year olds throwing hissy fits is that they state unequivocally they will not compromise”

    Out of curiosity, what is your “compromise” position?

    • wicked

      itolduso, taking a look at the health care bill before and after the vote would be an indication. Concessions were made for what Republicans said they wanted. Compromise=Give and Take. A we’ll-make-these-changes-in-exchange-for-your-vote. In response, those same Republicans voted NO.

      If that’s the way the Rs in Congress want to play, I say don’t invite them. Too late now, and they haven’t changed their game. It’s their way or not at all. And just who loses? We all do.

    • I told you last week when you asked that I thought maybe the $200,000 / $250,000 could be raised, and that if any of the cuts are extended it should be a temporary extension, none should be permanent. Although I’m not adverse to letting them all expire, I think that would hurt people who put their money right back into the economy thus each penny of tax cuts for the middle class would not only help individual taxpayers but also our anemic economy. My opinion is that the uber wealthy have recovered completely anything they may have lost during the Great Recession and they need no more help. Plus, any savings given to them will not benefit anyone but them personally.

  17. itolduso

    Again, on the Bush tax cuts, what is the “compromise” position?

    • Help both middle class taxpayers who are still struggling and our anemic economy by extending temporarily the tax cuts for those incomes less than _________. I’m good with the $200,000 /$250,000, but find it an area where compromise could be made.

    • wicked

      Haven’t you already stated it, itolduso?

      Let the tax cuts expire in exchange for extension on the unemployment.

      I don’t agree with that completely. I think it’s terribly imbalanced. fnord said it all very well, and I’ll stand on her side of the chalk line. LOL

    • tosmarttobegop

      They will end up giving them to those over 250 thousand with the agreement to extend the unemployment.

      Both are playing a shell game, one playing off as being the party of the people and the other being the party of business.

      The tax cuts are a bright and shiny object and nothing more!

      You will get 500 dollars out of it, how much an impact will 500 dollars have on your life? Mine it would be about one minute since it would take that long to sent it to pay bills.

      But for many the real meaning of the extension is being overshadowed by the thought of that small amount they thought they would not get otherwise.

      Yes both sides are being disengenuous.

  18. itolduso

    “and they need no more help, and any savings given to them will not benefit anyone but them personally.”

    Well, contrary to many people’s opinion, it is their money to start with.

    ” that if any of the cuts are extended it should be a temporary extension, none should be permanent”

    Agreed.

    • No one here has ever said what you point out.

      The uber wealthy along with every other taxpayer currently pay the lowest tax rates we’ve had for the last 50 years. The two tax cuts during the bush administration (those being discussed) favored the uber wealthy more than any other taxpayer so they’ve had years of ‘extra special tax treatment.’

  19. itolduso

    Help both middle class taxpayers who are still struggling and our anemic economy by extending temporarily the tax cuts for those incomes less than _________. I’m good with the $200,000 /$250,000

    that is not a compromise position. It is the Democratic parties position, and has been. Which the Republicans must go along with, or seen as not “compromising”

    So, what is the compromise?

  20. itolduso

    As a compromise to my position, I am willing to support an extension of 2 years to all BUSH era tax cuts, with a irreversible expiration of all of them at the end of that time.

    • tosmarttobegop

      what is the price paid for those two years?
      I am not too sure that Obama could have a second term.
      Oddly it will not be the Republican who will not reelect him.

      I would predict that history will show that it was the liberals who voted out the first Black President.

      Unlike most of my side who put partisanship in major matters above principles and the good of the people.

      Liberals motivation is more ideological and principle based decisions.
      Even when it is not good for them, or their political party.

      The President is losing or has lost his key voter base.
      The young voters, the Independents and the moderate Republicans.
      The ones truly needed to win reelection, in these times.

      Short of suddenly the economy turns around where even those who still have a job feel less like the floor is going to sudden fall out from below them. He does not stand much chance of winning.

      Back to the point after the background, in two years there will be a Conservative President and with that those two year extensions will go for ever! This is something that has occurred to both side and kicking it down the road is their thoughts.

  21. itolduso

    If you choose to use some of my words and not all of them I suppose you can also make them mean whatever you want.

    Please explain

    • I said: I’m good with the $200,000 /$250,000, but find it an area where compromise could be made.

      You chose to repeat: I’m good with the $200,000 /$250,000

  22. wicked

    What do the incomes of the uber wealthy do for the country? Where is there discretionary income being spent now and would that be affected by a loss of tax cut? If it will be affected, where and by how much?

    Since most of us here are middle income and lower, I think we can honestly say how the loss of our tax cuts will affect us. I do believe, as fnord has stated, there will be a reduction in our discretionary spending, which will affect the country. Is that true of the uber wealthy? (Uber being millions and millions or even billions. Think Gates, Buffett, etc. Or here’s the Forbes list: http://www.forbes.com/wealth/forbes-400) You see, I don’t think it will affect them adversely or even the country. Many of them are willing to pay their share without a whimper. The rest know where the loop holes that resemble black holes are. (grin)

    • itolduso

      “The rest know where the loop holes that resemble black holes are. (grin)”

      “, I’m human. I take all the deductions I legally can”

      Exactly

    • wicked

      I really do wish WP had a preview box.

      Where is theretheir discretionary income being spent

    • itolduso

      What do the incomes of the uber wealthy do for the country? Where is there discretionary income being spent now and would that be affected by a loss of tax cut? If it will be affected, where and by how much?

      I don;t know. Do you? I don’t have access to the personal affairs, nor do I know how much money they invest in AMerican companies providing jobs for those American middle class and lower. How many buy Gulfstreams? and on and on.

      And ….neither do you

    • wicked

      My loopholes aka deductions aren’t even close to black holes. Honestly? I haven’t always taken ones I could. There aren’t a whole lot I can. And just think, there are people who are PAID to find those loopholes for us!

      But, yes, I admit to being human. Sucks, but it’s true.

    • wicked

      itolduso, I never said I did know. I’m asking questions that I assume no one here knows the answers to. Foolish, probably. No need to get touchy. But the country is in financial meltdown. Is it fair to ask these people to tighten their belts a little?

      Of course they pay more taxes. They make more money. I’m not ‘up’ on how much percentage-wise they pay, but I do remember Buffet’s remark about his secretary paying more than he does. I assume, rightly or wrongly, that he meant proportionately. My question then is…why?

    • tosmarttobegop

      LOL I saw the publisher of a magazine for the super rich.

      How did he answer your question?

      Well the super rich getting more money they might add on or expend a wing to their mansions.
      This would create jobs in construction, plus with the larger house they would need to hire more butlers and maids!

      That was his serious answer to the question of: “What do the incomes of the uber wealthy do for the country? Where is there discretionary income being spent now and would that be affected by a loss of tax cut? If it will be affected, where and by how much?”

  23. itolduso

    And the percentage of people not paying ANY income tax is, my guess, Higher than it’s ever been.

    In addition, while it is true that tax rates are low historically, the number of deductions able to be claimed are smaller than those higher tax rate years.
    DO they balance? I don;t know. But the tax “rate” is only part of the equation. One frequently the only one in discussion

    • As we’ve discussed previously — none of us are sure which brackets those who don’t pay taxes fall into.

      If there are savings to be realized without hurting people who already are having a hard time, I see no reason to not save some. I see no justification for all or nothing. And I certainly see no reason to give the uber wealthy additional years of extra special tax rates.

  24. itolduso

    If there are savings to be realized without hurting people who already are having a hard time, I see no reason to not save some

    okay, let;s bring it down to 75,000 per year. In addition, eliminate the Earned Income Credit, and any other credits that allow those who receive them to receive a larger tax refund than they paid in.

    • Do you think some of those would use other federal programs to get by? Would it save to increase the number on food stamps and Medicaid? Do you think it possible the EIC payments keep some from finding it necessary to live in homeless shelters? Do you suppose there are credits that are aimed at wealthy people that cost at least as much as EIC credits?

      ——————————————

      America’s middle class is disappearing. A lifestyle sustained for 30 years by rising debt is dissolving as the credit dries up. And the question beyond the crisis is: can it ever come back? Americans have been living a middle-class lifestyle on working-class wages – and bridging the gap with credit. And it’s over. The number of people surviving on food stamps is rising as biting unemployment refuses to abate.

      A record one in six American families went hungry last year because they did not have enough food. Some 17.4million U.S. households – 50 million people – were classified as ‘food insecure’ which meant they regularly skipped meals even if they wanted to eat. Others went for entire days without eating and handed round smaller portion sizes to make their meager offerings suffice.

      The news comes as it is revealed that top U.S. executives saw their pay and bonuses shoot up last year in the face of the worst recession for 80 years.
      Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1330254/50MILLION-Americans-starve-Wall-Street-executive-pay-rockets.html

  25. fragotwofortwo

    Let’s see the world has changed in the last 40 years. Private enterprise is doing everything it can to reduce its overhead. Personnel are a global commodity. Technological advances have allowed the labor force to shrink drastically. Education is not the key.
    The USA may become a government sponsored make work project. What I don’t understand is why TPTB do not see this. Why are they treating “The Great Recession” as any other garden variety recession?
    Tax cuts ? What’s that gonna do? Maybe we should ask god.

    http://www.titane.ca/igod/main.html

  26. wicked

    itolduso, how much income tax would you like me to pay on my $16,000 a year (sometimes less) income?

  27. itolduso

    The simple matter of fact is …eliminating the Bush era tax cuts for those making over 250 grand per year saves the sum total of 700 billion over the next 10 years. 70 billion a year average. it’s just not where the money is.

    Eliminating all the BUsh era tax cuts…..3.8 trillion dollars extra revenue.
    Not hype, not emotion, just fact

  28. The nation that once gloated over its ability to feed the entire world is seeing an explosion of poverty, and the GOP thinks it’s OK to borrow more money to give tax breaks to people who couldn’t spend the money they currently have if they made spending their full-time job?

    • itolduso

      I can;t and don;’t defend the GOP position. Neither do I defend the Democratic party position. I have my own.

  29. itolduso

    Do you think it possible the EIC payments keep some from finding it necessary to live in homeless shelters?

    No.

    Do you suppose there are credits that are aimed at wealthy people that cost at least as much as EIC credits?

    Although it is possible, I doubt it.

    I am in favor of eliminating all tax credits, and personal deductions. One tax rate. Possibly two or three. No credits, no deductions, no “social engineering” by the government thru the tax laws.

    • I would like to see a complete overhaul of the American tax system. Since those responsible for accomplishing this can’t even discuss tax rates that were enacted with a definite expiration date, I don’t plan to hold my breath they will tackle something like that. They’re better at abdicating responsibility than actually tackling challenges.

    • itolduso

      No tax credit for buyin g”volt” vehicles, no tax credit for buying energy star compliant appliances, etc, etc, etc.

    • tosmarttobegop

      Do you think it possible the EIC payments keep some from finding it necessary to live in homeless shelters?

      For some no but for others yes, EIC is for some a life saver and the difference between being all out flat out and being able to keep from total failure.

    • wicked

      tstb, those people should pull themselves up by the bootstraps and get to work! Otherwise, there’s space under the bridge and garbage in trash cans.

      Hey, I tried.

  30. itolduso

    I consider $700 billion an amount worth saving

    See, your focus is wrong. It is not “saving” in fact, it is just not “taking” as much. Much different mindset.

    However, as I indicated above, let’s bring it down to where it has some real effect. Let’s lower the point at which the tax cuts expire to 75K or 100K of income, prior to deductions. I have no problem with that, and it greatly increases the “take” of the government

  31. itolduso

    The problem is, everybody wants somebody elses taxes to go up. Not their own. SO, the Democratic Party position is just pandering to those who like to use Wealth envy as politics. Does little good to take an extra 70 billion dollars in a 2 trillion dollar budget. It just sounds like they are doing something

    • I still consider $70 billion a considerable amount.

      If I saved every penny I made it would be more than saving 10% of what I earn. I still consider saving 10% to be wise. I can take any figure and compare to a larger figure and point out that lower figure is less than the larger figure.

    • indypendent

      And you think Republicans truly care about the average guy’s taxes?

      For all their yapping about not cutting out any services THEY want, who do think are going to be paying to pay for those services?

      Especially when there are no jobs and now the unemployment benefits for 2 million people are gone.

      Corporations love the fact of cheap labor – either here or overeseas – but then when these same corporations try to sell their products they made on the cheap – who is going to be able to afford them?

      Sounds to me like they are cutting their nose off to spite their face.

      Branson of Virgin Airlines was on the Morning with Joe MSNBC show this morning. He stated that he believes in treating his employees and customers fairly and success will be guaranteed.
      When asked why are American airlines not following his model for success – he said probably because they have not had to. They pretty much can do what they want. But when Virgin Airlines gets bigger and grabs more of the market share – that is when these American airlines will have to change their ways.

      In other words – corporations can pretty much do what they want because no one is telling them NO. Sounds alot like Republicans giving corporations whatever they want.

      That kind of thinking has ruined the country – IMHO. But of course, when money in politicins’ pockets talk, BS walks.

  32. What benefit is realized in not saving $70 billion?

    • Since you’re into semantics — what benefit is realized in not taking $70 billion?

    • itolduso

      Again, it is not saving. Saving can only be done when reducing spending. I am sure that we could find 70 billion in savings out of a 2 trillion dollar budget. Let’s see…… That’s about 3% So if we reduce spending by just 3 percent, it works out the same. SO let’s do that. What is wrong with saving 70 billion dollars?

    • itolduso

      However, as I indicated above, let’s bring it down to where it has some real effect. Let’s lower the point at which the tax cuts expire to 75K or 100K of income, prior to deductions. I have no problem with that, and it greatly increases the “take” of the government

    • So “real effect” is like “real American?” Defined by the person who sees what “real” is?

      Is “I guess it depends if you are the one paying it or not” a ‘real’ answer? I really wanted to know of any benefits. I stated above that the uber wealthy benefit and already understood that, but thought there must be more benefit since so many are arguing to extend those tax cuts. We’ve listed benefits to extending the tax cuts for those who earn less and they are more than to the individual.

      I am totally dizzy with the arguments that have no end and change no opinions. Seems like an exercise in futility. We are a small group of Americans and we each cling to our opinions so tightly we seem almost obsessed with them rather than merely convinced. Are we representative of what will happen when this issue is brought to the floor of the House and Senate? How many issues?

  33. itolduso

    Since you’re into semantics — what benefit is realized in not taking $70 billion?

    I guess it depends if you are the one paying it or not.

  34. The discussion here is, IMHO, one that can go on ad infinitum without coming to any real conclusions. Tax policy has, unfortunately, become integrated into social policy, foreign policy, and other areas of our societal involvements for about 80 years.

    As itoldyouso has already observed, the changes in rates/brackets over the past 30 years or so have been accompanied by the elimination of many deductions that formerly existed, as well as by limitations on others. While most of us are not affected by the reduction in the amount of itemized deductions that are allowed to determine taxable income (along with the reduction of the amount of the deduction for personal exemptions) that occurs once a taxpayer’s adjusted gross income exceeds a certain amount, this is an example of such limitation. The abolition of the itemized deduction for “personal interest” paid (think credit cards, car loans, etc.) is an example of an elimination of a deduction (which, BTW, merely returned things to the status quo ante).

    I’ll be returning to this thread later, I hope, for there is much to say and throw out for discussion. For now, back to work.

  35. itolduso

    “Is it fair to ask these people to tighten their belts a little?”

    Sure, just as it is fair to ask everyone to tighten their belts a little.

    “My question then is…why?”

    My best guess as an answer….Somebody, some time or another, in order to encourage “investment” in American companies, decided that capital gains taxes should be less than income taxes. Or, that because of inflation induced “increase in value” the tax should be less.

    I am for removing nearly all such considerations. They only bolster one side or the other, with the other side being able to point the finger at the other side, while hyping their own

    • wicked

      Okay, we’ve now moved into areas that are beyond my capability to understand. IOW, I’m lost. Therefore, I’ll go work so I’ll have some income next year, since the work I’m currently doing won’t receive compensation until after Jan. 1, 2011. Sucks, don’t it? LOL

    • indypendent

      It doesn’t help to hear the Republicans whining about the poor coporations and how they are holding on to their money because of the mean man Obama in the White House when those same corporations just posted record breaking profits.

      Something just does not smell right. And I would be saying the same thing if it was reversed and the Democrats were the ones trying to make this B.S. fly.

  36. itolduso

    since the work I’m currently doing won’t receive compensation until after Jan. 1, 2011. Sucks, don’t it?

    Yeah, it does. Hopefully, what you have worked on previous will be compensated soon.

    Have a productive time

    • wicked

      Thank you. It’s the nature of the beast, so not unknown when I started. My choice, so I’m not complaining.

  37. itolduso

    It doesn’t help to hear the Republicans whining about the poor coporations and how they are holding on to their money because of the mean man Obama in the White House when those same corporations just posted record breaking profits

    Agreed, but I believe it to be more complicated than that.

    • indypendent

      Really, how complicated can it be? These corporations have money – obviously – so they cannot truly complain that they don’t know what to do with it until that mean man Obama gets out of office.

      Isn’t that really the only complication in the Republicans’ plan? Obama is in and they want him out.

      Plain and simple – not really all that complicated.

  38. Capital gains opens a real morass. The idea behind the differing treatment of long term capital gains vs. ordinary income did indeed revolve around the concept of encouraging investment in American companies. This was expanded a bit into some other areas for reasons that may/may not make sense to anyone in particular, but the same involved “equitable” treatment for income tax purposes of economically similar gains.

    One proposal I would advance for discussion involves special treatment of the gain (or loss) that an original investor in the stock of a business makes, i.e., an investor whose money actually goes into the corporation. Subsequent purchasers would, upon future sale, not receive this special treatment, as their investment “in the company” went to the seller of the stock, and not the corporation itself. Any gain would be ordinary income, any loss nondeductible (as other personal losses generally are) by this subsequent holder of the security.

    Remember, folks, that the shares of stock being held legally give the holder thereof a right to a proportionate share of the assets of the issuing corporation upon its dissolution; that’s all. The right to receive dividends, etc., is wholly dependent upon the classification of the stock, the actions of the Board of Directors of the corporation in declaring a dividend, and the laws of the state where the corporation was incorporated. Thus, to me it makes sense to discriminate among original investors and subsequent holders of the stock in the proposed manner. Any subsequent holder is looking for an income stream and a share of the net assets on dissolution, while the initial investor has a bit more personal stake in the success of the corporation, and took the risk by making the initial investment.

  39. indypendent

    As for complication – let’s talk about this.

    If business are not hiring due to the question of forthcoming taxes, then what do they plan to do when there are even more people out of work?
    Nobody is going to be able to buy their product or services.
    the more people we have working, the more money goes around to keep the country’s economy going.

    How freakin’ hard is that to understand?

    As for those unemployed – who do you think is going to eventually wind up paying for these people – the taxpayers will.

    So our taxes will go up due to all the social costs involved in not having millions of people working.

    And all this because the top 2% wealthy don’t want to pay the same tax rate they had under Reagan?

    Please – give me a freakin’ break.

    • indy, your view of this is, to paraphrase, too limited. Who cares about the domestic market if the international market is there to purchase the supply?

      BTW, I don’t agree with this, but I’ve heard the argument made in essentially these terms on other occasions.

    • wicked

      Ah, but the problem is that if the U.S. goes down, so follows the world. Take a look around. Can we say Greece? How about Ireland and the EU bailout? Are corporations willing to take responsibility for that? For the fall of the WORLD? Because pretty soon the truth is revealed.

    • tosmarttobegop

      Right now they are living off the fat of the land, that has been the problem there was so much fat that everyone could simply live off the fat. So no need to produce anything of substance.

      You hit a nail on the head though, there is as it turns out a limit to that fat.
      They continue to consume at the same rate when it was everyone had fat.
      But now that fat is only consumed by the larger consumers and soon they are finding themselves in dire straights.

      They do not seem to be aware that unless they spend some of that fat there will be a day when they have none themselves.

  40. indypendent

    I think our entire tax system needs to be kicked to the curb and some sanity restored.

    I realize that ‘sanity’ is in the eye of the beholder.

    I, for one, did not like it when Republicans passed that child credit. Why give a tax credit for only people with kids? Where in the Constitution does it say that is okay?

    Both parties have tweaked the current tax system to the tune of THEIR own personal base and nobody wants to get rid of THEIR tax credits but they are all for taking away THAT GUY’S tax credit.

    That’s the rub – here. But it is way past time we can continue to coddle certain groups within our country.

    That’s why I keep harping on abolishing Medicare and the Medicare Drug Program. Until the government can provide taxpayer-subsidized health care for all – then there should be none for certain groups like the seniors.

    • itolduso

      Perhaps we should get rid of SCHIP also?

    • itolduso

      Both parties have tweaked the current tax system to the tune of THEIR own personal base and nobody wants to get rid of THEIR tax credits but they are all for taking away THAT GUY’S tax credit

      Yep. So I say abolish them all

    • My opinion is — absolutely no. If we do stop taking care of our most vulnerable we should also plan to tell the world the truth about America.

      Read this and study the graphs and charts. Tell me what is superior about America after you’ve compared her to other countries. Does it boil down to the military? Is America better at waging war and better prepared to fight in those wars so that makes us superior?

      ——————————————-

      http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/11/29/923787/-Death-of-American-dream,-60-million-no-sick-leave,-132-million-no-dental,-59-million-without-medical

      America will toot her horn all day long about all the good they do, about how much they can be depended on but the truth is that America is the only major industrialized nation in the world that does not offer universal medical access. No country in the European Union uses food stamps to humiliate its poor in the grocery checkout line like America does. While 50 million Americans go hungry, the corporatist fatcats are paying themselves ever larger salaries.

      America has the least generous unemployment system. Let’s consider that in Britain, their unemployment benefits never run out. Another example is in Germany, when your unemployment benefits run out, you get unemployment assistance called HartzIV and it also never runs out. Under HartzIV their people still get medical coverage. The American system is one in which you lose your health insurance when you lose your job — yep, you lose your insurance when you most need it.

      “In the United States, the figure varies from state to state, but overall a couple with two children and an income a little below average will have about 50 percent of earnings replaced by public assistance in case of unemployment. In France, the replacement ratio for the same family is 86 percent; in Britain 83 percent; in Germany 74 percent; in Sweden and the Netherlands 90 percent.”

      The statistic that is being widely reported in the European press is that we have 59 million medically uninsured in America. From a country that boasts 403 billionaires, this is a scandal!

  41. itolduso

    “Subsequent purchasers would, upon future sale, not receive this special treatment, as their investment “in the company” went to the seller of the stock, and not the corporation itself”

    Not necessarily. I have seen existing companies offer stock on the open market, and not in the way of an IPO.

    617…
    I dunno. Your idea merits consideration. Never really thought of splitting it that way. Not sure I agree, but not really sure I have a reason to disagree either. I will have to mull it over some.

    • I understand; it may not have been stated as clearly as I hoped, but if the original investment went to the corporation, whether by IPO, sale of Treasury Stock, subsequent issue, whatever, the investor would receive the special treatment, not subsequent holders.

  42. Remember that the Bush-era tax cuts also involved the Federal transfer tax system, i.e., the Federal Estate and Gift Tax part of the IRC. I know this is not an issue for most of us here. However, as one example, if the current law expires, beginning in 2011, the maximum estate tax rate returns to 55%, with the “exemption equivalent amount” of the credit returns to $1 million (in 2010, there is no federal estate tax, BTW). I believe the current “present interest” deduction for gift taxes also reverts to $10,000/donee/year from the current $13,000 (double those amounts for a married couple where one spouse makes a gift and the other agrees to gift-splitting). Any gift made in excess of these amounts are subject to gift tax, although until the lifetime equivalent amount of the credit ($1 million, aggregate) will shield the gift from tax until it is exhausted.

    • itolduso

      Sorry, not a fan of the estate OR gift tax. I understand the argument for them, I just don;t agree. And living in a farming community, $1 million dollars in estate is not a lot…. considering $1500 an acre value for even marginal land these days is About 1 section. 640 acres. which at 40 bushels of wheat to an acre, and 4 dollars a bushel, grosses 160 per acre, or $97,000 total. Selling the farm to pay the estate tax doesn;t seem like a great idea.

    • There are arguments to be made both for and against the transfer tax system, which can wait another day. The selling the farm to pay the taxes is a concern, but there seems to be some rough agreement that the $1 million should go to $3.5 million which, IIRC, represents the inflated value of the $1 million from when it was originally legislated as part of an Accountants and Attorneys Full Employment Act (otherwise known as a Tax Reform Act) in the 1980s or early 1990s, when the changes of the 1976 TRA were “modernized” to account for inflation, etc.

      Of course, if “Use Value” is elected, and the appropriate requirements met/other elections made, valuation of farmland would not necessarily be the $1500/acre but a value based upon the land’s productivity, which is usually substantially lower.

    • wicked

      That’s why ‘gifting’ is the way many farmers go. Others incorporate their farm assets within the family.

      Even 30 years ago my now ex’s grandparents were worth over a million in land. Not that they ever realized it in dollars, but it sounded good. 😉

  43. itolduso

    I understand; it may not have been stated as clearly as I hoped, but if the original investment went to the corporation, whether by IPO, sale of Treasury Stock, subsequent issue, whatever, the investor would receive the special treatment, not subsequent holders.

    Gotcha. But then, would that not create Another class of stock? With another set of rules?

    • Not necessarily; it would, however, create a need for accurate record keeping on the part of the issuer, the requirement for which already exists (for other reasons) under state corporate law (not to mention SEC regulations).

  44. itolduso

    True.

    As I said, I will have to mull it over. Currently, the whole thing is a mess.

  45. fragotwofortwo

    Emperor has no clothes
    snip
    Why The Idea Of Corporate Cash On The Sidelines Is A Myth

    Corporate Cash Lie

    Please consider The biggest lie about U.S. companies
    You may have heard recently that U.S. companies have emerged from the financial crisis in robust health, that they’ve paid down their debts, rebuilt their balance sheets and are sitting on growing piles of cash they are ready to invest in the economy.
    You could hear this great news pretty much anywhere — maybe from Bloomberg, which this spring hailed the “surprising strength” of corporate balance sheets. Or perhaps in the Washington Post, where Fareed Zakaria reported that top companies “have accumulated an astonishing $1.8 trillion of cash,” leaving them in the best shape, by some measures, “in almost half a century.”
    Or you heard it from Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher, who recently said companies were “hoarding cash” but were afraid to start investing. Or on CNBC, where experts have been debating what these corporations are going to do with all their surplus loot. Will they raise dividends? Buy back shares? Launch a new wave of mergers and acquisitions?
    It all sounds wonderful for investors and the U.S. economy. There’s just one problem: It’s a crock.
    A look at the facts shows that companies only have “record amounts of cash” in the way that Subprime Suzy was flush with cash after that big refi back in 2005. So long as you don’t look at the liabilities, the picture looks great. Hey, why not buy a Jacuzzi?
    According to the Federal Reserve, nonfinancial firms borrowed another $289 billion in the first quarter, taking their total domestic debts to $7.2 trillion, the highest level ever. That’s up by $1.1 trillion since the first quarter of 2007; it’s twice the level seen in the late 1990s.
    Central bank and Commerce Department data reveal that gross domestic debts of nonfinancial corporations now amount to 50% of GDP. That’s a postwar record. In 1945, it was just 20%. Even at the credit-bubble peaks in the late 1980s and 2005-06, it was only around 45%

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/why-the-idea-of-corporate-cash-on-the-sidelines-is-a-myth-2010-8#ixzz16tTm9Lfb

  46. fragotwofortwo

    emperor still has no clothes

    http://www.thetradingreport.com/2010/08/06/huge-debt-levels-in-%E2%80%9Ccash-rich%E2%80%9D-corporate-america/

    Huge Debt Levels in “Cash-Rich” Corporate America
    Written by Daily Reckoning – Rocky Vega – 8/06/10
    For some time now pundits, and to some extent politicians, have been trumpeting the mountains of cash US corporations have sitting on the sidelines just waiting for ripe opportunity and that, in one fell swoop, could seemingly restore the economy. However, an article this week questions where the cash has actually coming from, and whether it’s as readily deployable as has been suggested.

    According to MarketWatch:

    “American companies are not in robust financial shape. Federal Reserve data show that their debts have been rising, not falling. By some measures, they are now more leveraged than at any time since the Great Depression. You’d think someone might have noticed something amiss. After all, we were simultaneously being told that companies (a) had more money than they know what to do with; (b) had even more money coming in due to a surge in profits; yet (c) they have been out in the bond market borrowing as fast as they can.

    Does that sound a little odd to you? […] According to the Federal Reserve, nonfinancial firms borrowed another $289 billion in the first quarter, taking their total domestic debts to $7.2 trillion, the highest level ever. That’s up by $1.1 trillion since the first quarter of 2007; it’s twice the level seen in the late 1990s.

    “The debt repayments made during the financial crisis were brief and minimal: tiny amounts, totaling about $100 billion, in the second and fourth quarters of 2009. Remember that these are the debts for the nonfinancials — the part of the economy that’s supposed to be in better shape. The banks? Everybody knows half of them are the walking dead.”

    • I think the concept of “cash hoards” being a part of the popular narrative was for political reasons, for the most part. Thus, the idea of corporate uncertainty over the policies of the current Administration, the future costs of (cough) “health care reform”, etc., were preventing corporations from hiring, and to bring back the economy, vote for X who will repeal…

      You get the picture, I’m sure.

  47. fragotwofortwo

    Your welcome 6,
    Amazing how we only hear half of the story from the MSM. Noticed that Wall streeters are selling cdo’s composed of corporate debt hmmmmm.

  48. indypendent

    I guess $3.3 trillions going towards corporations is okay but let’s sit an haggle over unemployment benefits and tax cuts for middle class.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/01/federal-reserve-documents_1_n_790433.html

    • indy, without reading the link (just a quick scan), it seems to me that at least a part of the money was in the form of loans, which have been repaid. Did I miss something (all the while recognizing the Fed can do a lot of things without the Congress needing to act)?

  49. Well, I need to get off, and go on to other, less pleasant things. I leave you with:
    http://robertreich.org/

    The current post is quite interesting, in light of (at least a part of) our joint blogging discussion hereinabove.

    Hope all have a good evening, and as a former female friend used to say: “Be good; if you can’t be good, be careful; and, if you can’t be careful, be sanitary”.

    • wicked

      Wow. Verrrrry interesting. Several corps there that I would expect to be in the black (green) are way in the red. Just check the difference between Goldman Sachs with BoA.

      I didn’t realize HP is a smaller corp. They’ve been doing a lot of downsizing, btw. I have a friend who worked for HP in Houston and is now (luckily!) working elsewhere after being caught in that downsizing.

      The parent company of my *employer is Torstar, a Canadian company. The Toronto Star and Harlequin, Enterprises are the largest holdings. As newspapers decline, HQ takes up the slack. We who are involved with HQ keep an eye on quarterlies and yearly reports of Torstar and are aware that we’re assets to their asset. ::grin::

      *Employer is a relative term here. I am not employed by HQ, nor is what I do work for hire. It’s contractual.

  50. fragotwofortwo

    Ok,
    the last one loads. It takes a little bit of time for the graphic to come up. On the graphic it shows who gots da cash.

  51. indypendent

    If rumors are true, the Bank of America is the target of the next-to-be-released documents from Wikileaks.

    6176 – I know some of that money was for loans but my point was that if we have $3.3 trillions to help corporations – why are we haggling over money that would be a drop in this multi-trillion dollar bucket? Is it just because the unemployed and middle class don’t really matter in the big picture of corporations rule our country?

    • 6176746f6c6c65

      indy, thus my parenthetical originally. To do what was done (excluding TARP) took little to no Congressional action; to extend UE benefits, middle class tax cuts does take Congressional action. Plus, irrespective of what I might otherwise think, the Fed’s actions did preserve some “middle class” jobs by preventing total meltdown of the borrowing corporations (or some of them, at least). I’ll go out on a limb and speculate that had the Fed not acted as it did, our current economic situation would look like sunshine and roses when compared to what was going to happen.