Saturday, 1/28/12, Public Square


Filed under The Public Square

13 responses to “Saturday, 1/28/12, Public Square

  1. (from the article) The point is this: we will always have big deficits as long as tax policy is radically different from the post-World War II average until about 1981. And Republicans now want to cut taxes, mainly on the wealthy, even further. So the GOP’s moaning about the deficit has no credibility whatever to anyone who knows budgets.

  2. This morning when I was out and about I heard part of an interesting NPR radio show. People over-estimating their income tax rates was being discussed and it was a great reminder to me of something I know but need to be reminded about. Someone might say they pay a 28% tax rate, but the truth is they didn’t pay that rate on all their income. I won’t say it as well as NPR did, but this is the general gist —

    Think of a layer cake. The bottom layer represents the lowest income and is taxed at a lower rate. The next layer we pay a higher rate but only on the earnings that fall within that layer. And at the top of the cake if our earnings are high enough we pay, say 28%, on only those earnings that are above the layer below. Our ‘effective tax rate’ is the average of those rates we paid on the layers.

    We all paid the same rate on the first layer, the same rate on the second layer… until we get to those exemptions and loopholes. There aren’t very many for those with the lowest incomes but those with higher incomes have more available, and that’s how it works out that even on money earned from working, without even considering income from investments that is taxed at a lower rate, the wealthiest often pay lower ‘effective tax rates’ than those with modest income.

    Just a reminder of what we already know. When you hear about raising the tax rates for those who make above $250,000 remember they’ll only pay that higher tax rate on the dollars that exceed $250,000.

    • Another point we all know but forget — today tax rates are lower than they’ve been in over 60 years. We hear all about President Obama raising taxes. It’s a blatant lie. President Obama has reduced taxes.

  3. Robert

    I had an interesting conversation with a friends brother, who votes Republican straight down the line, and has probably his whole life. In talking to him for about a1/2 hr when the conversation went political, I discovered that we totally agree on every issue thats killing the country, be it taxes and healthcare, foreign exspansion etc., but he would rather stick a fork in his eye than vote for Obama. I on the other hand couldn’t possibly vote for any of the Republican canidates. I weight the Democates in bed with the banks and the Republicans wanting to kill any hope for a decent healthcare system, and keep trying or hinting at robbing social-security. At the present time in my life the Republicans will turn everything I ever worked for upside down. So it’s a no-brainer which way I have to lean. I think Bill Maher described how the news media has put the republicans in a bubble, I believe with media coverage no fault of their own. For some reason I can’t comment more on this page. I don’t know if it’s my ignorance of computers or this comment line. It doesn’t look like anyone else has a problem making more than a page comment. Anyway, Fnord catch Bill on HBO if you get a chance.

    • So when you two found that you agreed on every issue except who to vote for did you continue talking and did either of you make headway in swaying the other? What I find amazing is how entrenched we are. There are those none of us should waste time speaking with — the ones unable to state their beliefs and opinions without denigrating someone who differs is a total waste of time! But even when we communicate with rational people who conduct themselves as adults we seldom change our opinions unless we’re already wondering if we’ve considered enough information, unless we’re looking. I find that interesting.

      I voted republican for most of my life. Didn’t think about it, was very ill informed, never missed voting but I couldn’t have told you why I was voting for the candidates. Everyone I knew voted for republicans. I was raised in Kansas, that’s just the way it was. Then along came Bush2. The spectacle of his election decided by SCOTUS was so wrong and so impossible to ignore. Of course we all know it got worse from there. I paid attention, asked questions, looked at history. Maybe there was a time when the Republican Party actually stood for fiscal responsibility, small and unobtrusive government, and didn’t wage wars, but that isn’t true today. My BIG issue is women’s rights and equality, but when you look closely you see a great deal to find fault with in today’s Republican Party.

      Today I see a backwards party that refuses to give equal rights and liberty to same sex couples, who refuse women the rights to make their own decisions about their bodies and reproductive choices, who have no solutions to our country’s high health care costs, have NO solutions to our rising deficits (remember when the entire stage of wannabes raised their hands saying they would oppose a plan that contained a ratio of $10 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases). I looked closely and it’s easy to see that spending is highest under Republican administrations. It’s fact and impossible to ignore that Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush alone are responsible for most of today’s national debt.

      I know we can change our opinions but I don’t think it happens until we want to.

      I don’t have HBO but sometimes I can watch Maher on the web. I count on you and Wicked to share links to his shows. 🙂

  4. Robert

    I find that the ill informed are so entrenched in their ideals and information which they get on Fox and nothing else, that there’s no possibility of conversation. That’s the Bubble Bill talks about.

    • Yes there are two different ways of being ill informed.

      1. Don’t pay any attention.

      2. Listen only to misleading propaganda.

      Both leave a person ill informed, but the second leaves them full of lies.

  5. Selling the ‘Supply-Side’ Myth

    Any rational assessment of America’s economic troubles would identify Ronald Reagan’s reckless “supply-side” economics as a chief culprit, but that hasn’t stopped Republican presidential hopefuls, led by Newt Gingrich, from selling this discredited theory to a gullible GOP base, reports Robert Parry.

    Despite Newt Gingrich’s claim that “supply-side” economic theories have “worked,” the truth is that America’s three-decade experiment with low tax rates on the rich, lax regulation of corporations and “free trade” has been a catastrophic failure, creating massive federal debt, devastating the middle class and off-shoring millions of American jobs.

    It has ”worked” almost exclusively for the very rich, yet the former House speaker and the three other Republican presidential hopefuls are urging the country to double-down on this losing gamble, often to the cheers of their audiences — like one Florida woman who said she had lost her job and medical insurance but still applauded the idea of more “free-market” solutions.

    Gingrich even boasts of his role in pioneering these theories of massive tax cuts favoring the rich, combined with sharp reductions in the role of government. That approach, once famously mocked by George H.W. Bush as “voodoo economics,” was supposed to spur businesses to expand production (the “supply side”), thus creating jobs and boosting revenues from all the commercial activity.

    “I worked with Ronald Reagan to develop supply-side economics in the late ’70s, along with Jack Kemp and Art Laffer and Jude Wanniski and others,” Gingrich declared at a recent town hall event. “We ended up passing it into law in ’81. At the time it was very bold. People called it ‘voodoo economics.’ It had one great virtue: it worked.”

    But that is not what the historical record really shows.

    continue reading —

  6. It’s like a gift! 🙂 Newt Gingrich pledged on Saturday to continue campaigning until the Republican National Convention in August. “Why don’t you ask Gov. Romney what he is going to do if [Mitt Romney] loses, since he is behind in both national polls,” Gingrich told supporters at a rally in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Gingrich predicted a “wild and woolly” campaign as he toured Florida’s affluent “Treasure Coast” this weekend.

  7. Robert and Fnord – I think the Republican Party has been hijacked by the Far Right Religious Right – and Reagan was the one that let Jerry Falwell into the inner circle of the GOP.

    As long as we have politicas and religion intertwined so much as the current GOP is – there will be never be a bipartisan compromise.

    Because these Religious zealots will NEVER compromise because they have tied everything they have said and have pushed in their narrow agenda as God’s will.

    Who in their right mind would go against God and tell God he is wrong?

  8. I just heard a snippet of a Conservative Talk Radio (don’t know the host because he was too busy yelling at the caller who was not a Romney fan).

    Anyway – this talk radio shock jock was blabbering on about how much good the Bain Capital guys have done. And without investment firms, there would be no businesses.

    Excuse me, but in the olden days – before those special 10-year Bush tax cuts and the crashed economy – the country was full of AMERICAN companies. We had alot of manufacturing companies also. The ‘Made in America’ meant something that was quality and our workers took pride in their products.

    But since the onslaught of just making profit at all costs (which I believe Reagan ushered in) and the special treatement that our tax system has been given to corporations – that is when these investment firms were formed and became the ‘chic’ and trendy thing to do.

    Whatever happened to good old fashioned capitalism? You know, that type of capitalism where someone went to the bank to get the loan in their name – or went to alot of investors and used the collective money to start a company or to buy an existing company?

    These investment firms are nothing more than playing these companies as in some chess game. And these firms treat the workers and the companies like nothing more than pawns on the board.

    There are real people involved here and there are real consequences to these firms’ actions.

    But to make it bottom line clear – if these venture capitalists really want to be true capitalists – then stop using taxpayer-funded subsidies, special tax cuts and/or special taxpayer-funded l0ans/bailouts to simply enrich the few major players in the investment firm.

    Bain Capital needs the taxpayers more than the taxpayers need Bain Capital.

  9. bobwhite

    O.K. So, do we (anybody) know or understand “how” people can be persuaded to change their mind?

    • I don’t think it can happen until

      –those who have totally ignored everything decide they want to become informed,

      –those who already hold information are willing to put it to the test and find out whether it’s true or not. If you’re possessed of ideas you’ll never be willing to let go of those and make room for new information. But those who are merely convinced and still curious will always be learning.

      Few people will find genius in someone who has offended them so conversations and ideas must remain civil and respectful to be heard.