3 Essential Facts About the Current Moment: We're Out of Money, The Public Sector is Overpaid, & We Can't Tax Our Way Out of This.

"What Michael Moore Gets About Wisconsin...and America," shouts a recent headline for a story at The Nation's website.

The filmmaker Moore, of course, became famous for stalking a feckless GM exec years back and Charlton Heston (in the pro-gun-control Bowling for Columbine, which acknowledged that rates of gun ownership don't explain rates of violent crime). More recently, he became infamous for portraying Saddam Hussein's Iraq as an idyllic land where kids flew kites and Castro's island prison in Cuba as a model for U.S. health care reform. Last week, Moore had traveled to Madison, Wisconsin to cheer on students, union members, and other protesters standing up to the Republican-dominated state government that is pushing to increase the amount public-sector workers contribute to health-insurance and retirement benefits and strip down collective bargaining rights.

"America is not broke," said Moore. "Wisconsin is not broke. Saying that the country is broke is repeating a Big Lie."

"Moore does get it," enthuses The Nation's Washington correspondent John Nichols. "He gets it in a fundamental sense, the sense of having waited a very long time for some mass of citizens, somewhere in America, to say: 'We have had it!'"

Actually, Michael Moore does not get it. Neither does Nichols, nor protesters in Wisconsin and statehouses from Idaho to Ohio to New Jersey. Unfortunately, many Americans don't "get it," at least not yet.

[Watch "Are We Broke Yet?: Michael Moore Says No, Reality Begs to Differ." Article continues below video]

Here are three essential facts that we all better face up to, and fast, if we want to maybe not win the future but at least look forward to the next decade.

1. We are in fact broke. We can quibble about semantics - it's not exactly clear what it would mean for the federal or a state govenment to declare bankruptcy - but there's no question that the cash flows at every level of government are more screwed than Moll Flanders ever was. Under President Barack Obama's rosy-till-it-hurts-and-completely-unbelievable scenarios in his 2012 budget proposal, the feds will be running deficits larger than any incurred between 2002-2008 forever and ever amen. And that's best-case, Hail-Mary accounting. And on top of $14 trillion total federal debt, which will double over the next decade under the best-case scenario.

At the state and local levels, things are no different. Because they can't print money, states and cities need to balance their budgets annually, so they don't have deficits, they have shortfalls. Contra Michael Moore, Wisconsin in looking at a $3 billion-plus shortfall over the next two years (many states budget in two-year increments) and $1.8 billion for 2012 alone. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says 45 states (so far) are looking at a combined $125 billion shortfall for fiscal 2012. At the local level, The National League of Cities predicted back in 2009 that combined shortfalls between 2010 and 2012 would be somewhere between $56 billion and $83 billion.

So, are we broke-broke, or just screwed-broke? Call it what you want, but pretending that the mismatch between government revenues and government expenditures at every level isn't a major issue is delusional. Or that the past decade's massive growth in spending didn't happen. Or that we simply can't return to early levels of government expenditures without being reduced to living in Hoovervilles and wearing pickle barrels for clothing.

2. Public-sector workers are compensated better than similar private-sector workers. Nobody contests this claim anymore when it comes to federal workers and similar private-sector employees. They used to, of course, or made sideways explanations for the (nonexistent!) differentials by claiming that federal workers were smarter or did tougher work or had fresher-smelling breath or were congregated in high-cost areas, you name it. The single-largest category of public-sector workers are K-12 teachers (there's more than 3 million). Nationally, they make on average $14,000 a year more than private-school K-12 teachers, a gap that gets even bigger when benefits are added to the total. Studies such as "The Grand Bargain is Dead," by Ohio's Buckeye Institute extensively document "state workers today are paid much more than their private-sector neighbors in 85 out of 88 counties" and The New York Times' recent writeup on the issue make it clear that public-sector employees are doing well by any measure:

Surveys by the Bureau of Economic Analysis show that public workers’ annual compensation — salary plus benefits — is higher on average than private sector workers, and they suggest that the gap is growing....Public workers also put in significantly fewer hours per week. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, their compensation per hour is much higher....Most of the advantage is in benefits. They cost state and local governments $14 an hour on average, about 70 percent more than private employers pay for their workers.

That's The New York Times, mind you. Not the Heritage Foundation, or the John Birch Society, or anybody liberals and progressives want to dismiss out of hand. And what the Times is doing is verifying analyses that came out of the Cato Institute and the American Enterprise Institute and Heritage (I don't surf the JBS site, so I've got no idea what they think on the topic).

You don't need to introduce the related but distinct (and, to my mind, largely irrelevant) issue of collective-bargaining rights for public-sector workers to understand why state and local governments are trying hard as hell to reduce employment costs (and why public-sector workers are calling in sick or taking personal days to rally against cuts). There's big money at stake. The Buckeye Institute estimates that bringing state-worker compensation packages into line with the private sector could erase almost 30 percent of Ohio's projected $8 billion shortfall over the next two years. State expenditures ballooned by 80 percent in inflation-adjused dollars over the last decade and the cutting is going to have be big and ubiquitous. It's going to happen in states with collective bargaining, states without, and in states where the governors are not questioning that sort of activity. That public-sector jobs have been largely shielded from the broad layoffs that took place in the private sector only makes the imbalance greater. Between January 2008 and May 2010, the private sector lost almost 8 million jobs. Over the same time frame, public-sector employment actually increased by a net 590,000 jobs.

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  • ||

    LALALALALALA NOT LISTENING LALALALALALALA

  • Restoras||

    People will be made to understand in a very unpleasnat manner by the bond market. Coming soon.

  • -||

    One good bond default from a major city will force even the lefties stand up and take notice. After which they will blame Wall Street and The Rich.

  • ||

    ... and libertarians.

  • Rich||

    "Don't blame *me* -- I voted libertarian!"

  • -||

    Me neither. I didn't vote!

  • Jeffersonian||

    It's like the Vikings being broke...they're never broke when there's some coastal village that can be plundered.

  • Ragnar||

    Canada is but a short drive away.

  • Ted S.||

    They can't move to Los Angeles fast enough for me.

  • The Fringe Economist||

    Great line Jeff - I'm stealing it

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Pimco, one the biggest fixed income fund groups areound, has sold all of the US Treasury bonds it owned in it's largest fund.

  • Restoras||

    Right. Because it's a bad investment. Think about all the other funds holding treasuries - the respective fund managers are collectively scratching their heads and thinking "Ummm....that's not a good sign".

    It will be swift and brutal - just like a tsunami.

  • Almanian||

    No kidding? Wow - thanks for that tip!

    *updating portfolia immediately*

  • Keith||

    It is great to know that the dyke genius says Wisconsin is fine.

  • It is a far, far better thing||

    Why not just tax the Koch Bros?

    I like it. Leading by example is so libertarian ;-)

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: rather,

    I like it. Leading by example is so libertarian ;-)


    Several contradictions here - how can one be "leading by example" when one is being robbed? And how can being robbed at gunpoint be "libertarian"?

  • rather ||

    A reference to an earlier post-Joke fail :-(

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: rather,

    Thank you for the clarification, otherwise anybody here would be liable to believe you are losing your mind...

    ;-)

  • Concerned Observer||

    otherwise anybody here would be liable to believe you are losing your mind...

    *That* ship sailed a *long* time ago.

  • Stephen King||

    Why not just tax the Koch Bros?

    It's illegal!

  • uuUU Betcha!||

    Speaking of illegal, how about stealing $9 trill from the Fed Reserve!?!

    I appreciate y'alls enthusiasm, but go after the real criminals that caused this mess in the first place!

  • Steven Smith||

    If you force the Koch Brothers to pay taxes, the "Buckeye Institute" will draft a "study" that says that evil public workers will benefit too much, and their lackeys at Reason will start whining that their livelihoods are being threatened.

  • STEVE SMITH||

    STEVE SMITH RAPE LUST NOT SATISFIED!!!!!! MUST RAPE EVERYONE!!!!! STEVE SMITH EGALITARIAN THAT WAY!!!! GRRRR

  • Steven Smith||

    10% OF SASQUATCH RAPE 90% OF HIKERS. THIS UNFAIR TO STEVE AND OTHER LOWER CLASS YETI. STEVE ENTITLED TO BIGGER PIECE OF RAPE PIE! ARRROOOOOO

  • STEVE SMITH||

    STEVE SMITH RAPE MICHAEL MOORE WHILE HE AT MICROPHONE! MAKE FAT MIKEY SCREAM!

  • STEVE SMITH||

    STEVE SMITH DICK NOW SHRIVELED, BLACKENED SHADOW OF PAST SELF BECAUSE OF MICHAEL MOORE. STEVE SMITH NOT HAVE INSURANCE BECAUSE EVIL CAPITALISTS. STEVE SMITH DEMAND SINGLE PAYER SO STEVE SMITH CAN RAPE AGAIN.

  • ||

    In fact, you can tax for enough to cover this year.

    However, if you do, you won't have an economy next year.

  • Veruca DNS Salt||

    However, if you do, you won't have an economy next year.

    But, I want it now!

  • Mr. FIFY||

    We could be REALLY rich, as a country, if everyone were taxed at 99% of their entire net worth.

    ...and about fifteen minutes later, we'd be broke.

  • DNS||

    ...and about fifteen minutes later, we'd be broke.

    This cannot be repeated enough. Think about the people who win large lottery prizes: how many of them manage to avoid dying destitute because after they blew all that prize money, they finally figured out the fallacy of "If I was rich, all my problems would go away..."? Granted, some handle their new found wealth prudently; the majority don't.

  • Old Mexican||

    The single-largest category of public-sector workers are K-12 teachers (there's more than 3 million). Nationally, they make on average $14,000 a year more than private-school K-12 teachers, a gap that gets even when benefits are added to the total.


    And when you account for results, you find that the tax-fed leeches are woefully overpaid - by their total salary.

  • ||

    old mex is soo thick w stupid the army could containerize it then hose-down IED's which couldnt then explode. >saving live thru OM's stupid !

  • Old Mexican||

    OhioOrrin, the result of American public education, made the case for me that PE teachers are overpaid by 100% their salary; actually, they should be paying BACK that money, just by looking at OO's posts.

  • Restoras||

    A+

  • Mr. FIFY||

    The irony of Orrin calling anyone else "stupid"... oh, how it amuses.

  • Almanian||

    The level of Urine's stupid is approaching incomprehensible.

    What did he just write? Can someone translate this into "sentient being" for the rest of us?

    Urine, get back to pre-school - it's nap time for your group...

  • ponchy||

    "old mex is soo thick w stupid the army could containerize it then hose-down IED's which couldnt then explode. >saving live thru OM's stupid !"

    64% for spelling, 0% for content. I guess that deserves about a C if it means I don't have to see you again next year.

  • ||

    buncha civilian REMF's.

  • Gus||

    Everyone here - including you - knows that you are an asshole.

  • Assholes Everywhere||

    Sir! We take that as an insult. < slapping face with white glove > We demand satisfaction!

  • OO=========D||

    And that's what you're gonna get.

  • ||

    Hey you guys leave PFC Dipshit alone; he saw major action as part of the very special forces. He's still got PTSD from the pizza party.

    You civilian fucks don't know what it's like out there with all the singing and hand clapping...

  • Butts Wagner||

    You civilian fucks don't know what it's like out there with all the singing and hand clapping...

    And when I got to the pizza, there was only vegetarian left. Everyone took all of the pepperoni and sausage. They even took all of the plain cheese pizza. All that was left was vegetarian. *sobs softly*

  • 35N4P2BYY||

    Don't cast that net too wide there chuckle-nuts.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    I'm told that this word has fallen out of favor recently, and been replaced by fobbit. That's F.O.B.-bit.

  • Mensan||

    Q: What's the difference between a fobbit and an infantryman?

    A: About 20 points on the GT score.

  • LTC John||

    Speak for yourself, pal.

  • ulape||

    Fucking English, how does it work?

  • Masturbatin' Pete||

    Tide comes in, tide goes out. Can't explain that.

  • ||

    a gap that gets even bigger when benefits are added to the total.

    I think he left out a word here.

  • cynical||

    When you account for results, the fact that they are paid suggests that many of them are overpaid.

  • Bucky||

    "results" like the word "responsibility" doesn't exist in the fuzzy bunny, tax the rich world of lefty limbo, Mikey M.

  • ||

    Oh yes they do. They just don't apply to public union, or any, union employee. They use those terms all the time when the talk about the failure of fat cats to behave responsibility.

  • Dumbass||

    BUt...... our children, won't you think of the children. We need our teachers for the sake of our children.... do you hate our children?

    And Hitler, anyone who agrees with the Wisconsin bill is Hitler. Oh and stuff about big business and war on the middle class

  • Moore's Microphone||

    Help meeeee!

  • Charlotte Sometimes||

    *giggle*

  • Gramps||

    "Microphone."

    Is that what the kids are calling it these days?

  • ||

    Contrary to the idea that the tax code is an instrument of incredible precision, able to surgically separate wealthy people from the rest of us, it doesn't work that way. Costs are, alas, fungible and the rich know how to pass along new costs better than most people.

    And that sorry hypocritical fuck Moore knows this too. He knows that his accountants will just be able to exploit the government's idiotically complicated tax code. It won't cost him the price of his dirty baseball cap.

  • Amy Rican||

    So, are we broke-broke, or just screwed-broke?

    ** watching TV, driving car, eating snack, drinking beer, etc., etc. **

    Uh, apparently neither.

  • creech||

    We ain't broke until the looters run out of victims.

  • Rich||

    What are we when the victims run out the looters?

  • Almanian||

    RIGHT WING EXTREMISTS!!!!!1!!

  • Brett L||

    Figments of Ayn Rand's imagination. Which means lots of painful sex.

  • Kristen||

    I think STEVE SMITH and Ayn Rand would have gotten along famously.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Actually, Michael Moore does not get it"

    The ONLY thing that Michael Moore gets is first place in line at the all you can eat buffet.

  • ||

    I'd hate to be behind Michael Moore at an 'all you can eat' buffet.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    I'd hate to be behind Michael Moore at an 'all you can eat' buffet.

    That'll do it.

  • sarcasmic||

    I'd hate to be behind Michael Moore.

    done

  • Philip Glass||

  • ||

    Unless it's at the edge of the Grand Canyon.

    "I tripped over a dog, officer. Sorry about the huge mess at the bottom of the canyon"

  • Gilbert Martin||

    If the Grand Canyon had to aborb that much bulk, it would have to be renamed the Minor Pothole.

  • ||

    Well, if it's disgusting you want, you might try watching Michael Moore take first place at a live rat-eating contest. BTW, hs kids go to private schools and he shoots his movies with non-union crews.

  • ||

    I hope he didn't bring his non-union crews to film in Madison. They might get ideas...

  • sarcasmic||

    The fact remains that rich people exist.

    They can have no income at all and still be rich.

    Yet the government is not tapping into accumulate wealth. Nope, it only taxes income.

    Next step: a wealth tax.

    Have you been responsible and putting money into your 401K?
    Too bad. There are pensions to pay.
    But don't worry. I'm sure it will be replaced with shiny IOUs.

  • Restoras||

    I'd laugh, except this isn't funny. The antics of the Morons in Madison leave it open to a real possibility.

  • ||

    As a Canadian, I would love it if the USA would implement a wealth tax.

    The capital flight north would be a huge boost to our economy.

  • Restoras||

    Yes just beware of real estate bubbles...they tend to end badly.

  • ||

    I've lived through three of them (bought my townhouse at the peak of the second one, dammit) and seen them in other parts of Canada.

    For all the nannyism up here, at least none of the governments got involved in post-bubble bailouts for homeowners. YET.

  • ||

    Canadians atleast, know the hell what they are doing. They never bailed out their bankers yet, they are stronger than ever! Their secret, they cut expenses and lived within their means!
    Sounds like what Gov. Scott Walker is doing in Wisconsin. Wow! What a concept? Bet the liberals cannot think how that concept would work but,
    it does doesn't it? Ask the Canadians who had better sense the European or American socialist liberals however, that fact has not surprised me! Liberals like to tell conservatives how smart they are but, actions speak louder than words!

  • The Caymans||

    Yeah, good luck with that.

  • X||

    I've seen some of these public employee mooches call for a wealth tax on millionaires. when I pointed out a $50,000 a year pension has a cash value over $1million they said that doesn't count.

  • ||

    Good point, but I would caution you that $50k/yr would be quite high even for most public employees so that isn't exactly realistic to use as an assumption. Not that I disagree with your sentiment. Most teachers (assuming they are married) retire as millionaires when you factor in the present value of their pension, health care benefits, savings, home, and spouse's retirement benefits. I guess all I'm saying is that you don't have to use unrealistic numbers to get your point across. It leaves your argument open to the possibility that someone can just write the whole thing off by saying, "show me a teacher in THIS district receiving a $50k/yr pension. You can easily get there with a $30k/yr pension.

  • ||

    How about pension tax?
    We'll tax the pension funds to pay for the unfunded pensions.
    Brilliant.

  • sevo||

    "How about pension tax?
    We'll tax the pension funds to pay for the unfunded pensions.
    Brilliant."

    And if we tax at 100% with auto-deduction, the money can sit right there with no clerical costs!

  • ||

    Only that way, it goes to public sector union members, who will vote for US!

  • Bucky||

    let's tax the Chicago Climate Exchange...
    what? it closed already? but my electric bill just started going up?
    Damn It!

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Have you been responsible and putting money into your 401K?
    Too bad. There are pensions to pay.

    There's been rumours floating around about this for a while. Read around the net and you'll see that a quite a few people have shut down their 401ks and taken the initial tax hit, rather than risk Uncle Sugar dipping into that well.

    Our Sainted Government Leaders have encouraged the destruction of savings through rampant inflation the last 35+ years, so it's not entirely tinfoil to think that they'd enjoy taking a huge chunk of a retirement account as well.

  • ||

    When will these retards realize that broke or not, the gobmint is at the whims of us regular gun carryiing redneck hillbillies that pay the taxes, not the other way around. Douchebags.

  • The IRS||

    Smile when you say that, Billy-Bob.

  • ||

    If your house catches fire call 911, No to busy laid off a few oops. What should a fireman or lady be paid when they save lives in so many ways.Teachers over paid. They would be rich if thety gave up and opened a day care, Lets go watch a multi million football player. Who most likely learned to catch the football. They can bargian for obcene abounts of monet. Public empolyes need to bargian for a fair living. My daughter will be paying her student loans for years. Fir the privilege to teach your children

  • sarcasmic||

    The average Wisconsin teacher pulls in something of the neighborhood of fifty grand in salary. Add benefits and the number doubles.

    Sure sucks to be a teacher.

  • Gus||

    The average Milwaukee teacher earns $100,000/year in salary and benefits.

    http://maciverinstitute.com/20.....-100kyear/

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    I gotta say I don't know how I would support my family on anything less than $100,000/year and be able to put anything at all away for the future.

  • Kristen||

    In Milwaukee BSR?!? The COL there is about 50% less than it is in DC, where I live.

  • ||

    I'm with you on this one. I live in Pittsburgh(comparable COL to Milwaukee), and $100k would be more than enough to support a family and save as well.

    Unless you have 12 kids, or need a new bmw every 3 years.

  • ||

    I am so sick of reading these stupid comments. If all of you think that teachers get too much money for the work that they do, then why don't you BECOME ONE, after all its a "free market" - that how its supposed to work!

  • Bucky||

    its also a "free speech" thing, guess you're gonna have to get over yourself...

  • ||

    Yeah, the first amendment doesn't mean that no one can disagree with you, or tell you to shut up. It means the government can't make a law telling you to shut up. That's it.
    As for the teacher issue, it's ridiculous to try to compare public sector teachers and private sector teachers. The students and facilities are completely different in each setting. Now, it would make sense to, instead of paying the public teachers more, put at least a portion of that differential into improving the facilities and supporting students more effectively. Then maybe the public teacher's job would be a little less difficult. I also wonder if that Times article pointing to hours worked includes the many, many hours per week any teacher with a conscience spends working at home.

  • Bucky||

    the facilities are completely different?
    yeah right!
    many, many hours that the teachers are off during the summer! my heart bleeds...

  • Brett L||

    Your daughter was an idiot to take out loans to become a teacher.

  • C. Andrews||

    Did you even read the article? And did you ever pass an English class?

  • Kristen||

    Ask your daughter to teach you some English.

  • ||

    Harold Sentz, public school English teacher

  • Eric||

    For the sake of our children, I hope that it's your *step*daughter who's paying for the privilege of being part of our great and glorious propaganda machine.

  • Kristen||

    Most people here spend just as many hours undoing public school propaganda as people like your daughter do teaching it. And they don't get paid.

  • Tonio||

    Nice.

  • Kristen||

    Nope. It was damn hard & thankless work for my mom & dad to undo all that bullshit I they taught me in "social studies" and "economics". For a while there the indoctrination stuck, but I eventually came out of that trance.

  • Cytotoxic||

    How'd they do it? It's actually pretty important.

  • ||

    The thing with teachers is they brain wash students with their liberal garbage instead JUST TEACHING the kids what the subject is and how it applies to the real world. That is the reason a lot of young people end up liberal thinking that what they are doing is right until, they wind up
    in the real world and realize all the lies they have been fed with all the years!

  • LibertyMark||

    Harold, and really the rest of you, too, are making a big logical mistake when talking about how much someone should be paid.

    There is no "fair" wage. There is no cosmic accounting of "worth". There is no morality in this at all.

    This is simply about a price for a commodity. That that commodity happens to be labor and/or skills has nothing to do with how its price is determined.

    Scarcity determines what the price of a thing is.

    So, while I would agree that a teacher is "worth" more than a basketball player in the "cosmic" sense, the supply of people with the skills to be a teacher is huge compared with the supply of people with the skills to play in the NBA.

    Someone on these boards wrote the right way to do it (sorry I can't remember who):

    While keeping a way of measuring some lower bound on acceptable quality do this:

    1) Halve the salaries of all the public workers.
    2) Determine if you are still getting enough workers.
    3) Continue lowering until you do not get enough.
    4) Add 20% to your low point.
    5) Done.

  • sevo||

    "Someone on these boards wrote the right way to do it (sorry I can't remember who):"
    You're welcome.

  • LibertyMark||

    Thanks for pointing that out. Was my copy of your logic at least somewhat similar to yours?

  • sevo||

    "Was my copy of your logic at least somewhat similar to yours?"

    I used -25% increments and then +10%, but the numbers are irrelevant.
    The market clearing price for private school teachers' salaries is pretty clear, but not for public school teachers

  • ||

    Close. sevo was just a bit more elegant.

  • ||

    But this assumes that all teachers have equal value. How many dedicated, talented teachers do you drive away from the profession by trying to find the lowest market price for the lowest common denominator?

  • sevo||

    Dan|3.16.11 @ 9:23AM|#
    "But this assumes that all teachers have equal value. How many dedicated, talented teachers do you drive away from the profession by trying to find the lowest market price for the lowest common denominator?"

    Gee, Dan, how many talented, dedicated X did we drive away paying the 'lowest common denominator'?
    Hint: the process works for every other profession in the world.

  • GSL||

    To put a finer point on your (correct) idea here, a large part of what determines someone's salary is replaceability. That is, if a schoolteacher is demanding a higher salary than you care to pay, it's pretty easy to find another teacher who'll work for what you think is a fair wage. If you're the Yankees and Alex Rodriguez is demanding a higher salary than you'd care to pay, you're in a bind, because replacing Rodriguez' skills is not easy.

  • sevo||

    GSL|3.11.11 @ 1:25PM|#
    "....If you're the Yankees and Alex Rodriguez is demanding a higher salary than you'd care to pay, you're in a bind, because replacing Rodriguez' skills is not easy."

    And it's the teachers' *unions* which do everything they can to avoid rating teachers, thereby identifying the ARs among them.

  • Teachers Union Rep||

    That's because they're all ARods, and none of them are replaceable!

  • Kristen||

    Let supply and demand dictate salary?!?!?!? How dare you, sir? How. dare. you.

  • paloma||

    Lebron James could teach kindergarten a lot better than your kindergarten teacher could play for the Miami Heat.

  • ||

    Where I grew up, we only had volunteer fire fighters so fuck you. I will agree to public employees being able to collectively bargain if they give up their right to vote. At least that way there isn't a fucking conflict of interest. And your daughter chose to go into teaching so that's her own damn fault. Just like it's my fault for going into Architecture, where I have to get a master's to get licensed by the state, just to have people tell me that they don't need my services.

  • Tony||

    What conflict of interest? Just because you guys vote against your own economic interests doesn't mean everyone has to.

  • sevo||

    Tony|3.11.11 @ 1:40PM|#
    "Some stupid bullshit only a kos-kid would buy"

    Thanks, Tony, you're good at that.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Just because you guys vote against your own economic interests doesn't mean everyone has to.

    Says the dumbshit who couldn't do basic math to save his life.

  • Enemy Of The Revolution||

    Just because you guys vote against your own economic interests doesn't mean everyone has to.

    True, not everyone has to. But only total assholes do. Others among us are guided by principles, rather than by the chance to improve our own bottom line.

  • ||

    You just don't get it, lol

  • Bucky||

    no, soon you won't be getting it...

  • ||

    oh, so you think people should be obligated to need your services because you have a state license? I guess you really missed the public school gravy train - they get $100k for part time work, and its not like they have to get licensed to work or get advanced degrees. Boy, how stupid can you be?

  • Bucky||

    ahem, he said it was his OWN fault...
    -10 for reading comprehension.

  • fish||

    If your house catches fire call 911, No to busy laid off a few oops. What should a fireman or lady be paid when they save lives in so many ways

    Shit, I don't really mind paying for the firefighters....they have gear that most commoners can't afford and frankly has no place to park. But, given the overall structuring of your sentence, it appears that the school teachers owe you at least a partial refund.

    They would be rich if thety gave up and opened a day care, Lets go watch a multi million football player. Who most likely learned to catch the football.

    Dude are you in an oxygen deficient environment? Go outside if you're able and breath deeply until your mental faculties clear a bit.

    They can bargian for obcene abounts of monet. Public empolyes need to bargian for a fair living. My daughter will be paying her student loans for years. Fir the privilege to teach your children

    Okay....well this is just plain satire! Isn't it? Isn't it? Please god tell me this isn't for real!

  • WTF||

    Harold Sentz|3.11.11 @ 11:29AM|#
    They would be rich if thety gave up and opened a day care,

    Then I guess teachers are all morons for not opening day care centers and easily becoming rich.

  • Southerner||

    They can bargian for obcene abounts of monet. Public empolyes need to bargian for a fair living. My daughter will be paying her student loans for years. Fir the privilege to teach your children

    Anudder viktom uv tha publik ejucayshun sistom...

  • MNG||

    Holy crap that is a pretty incomplete-at-best/deceptive-at-worst summary of what the NYT says...

    http://www.nytimes.com/interac.....oyees.html

    But comparisons are tricky …Economists point out that government work tends to be in highly skilled categories, so it is misleading to compare the groups as a whole.

    Generally, with progress up the skill ladder, the public job premium declines or even reverses.

    Etc.,

  • MNG||

    Caveat: Seems Gillespie linked to a different write up so his summary may not be inaccurate, but the overall claim that 'even the NYT agrees' seems off given the one I link to.

  • sevo||

    "…Economists point out that government work tends to be in highly skilled categories, so it is misleading to compare the groups as a whole."

    Which "economists"?

  • Ray Pew||

    "…Economists point out that government work tends to be in highly skilled categories, so it is misleading to compare the groups as a whole."

    Which "economists"?

    This is such a farce. As if government jobs are so more complex than their private market counterparts.

  • ||

    Oh yeah, those private market bankers, they really excelled at their jobs, and the Enron guys too. Oh wait, those guys are getting 1000x more than their employees, so lets see what they employees do:
    1. They sit behind a cash register selling the things they got in China to us at 100% mark-up.
    2. They make the latest hot item, now in "flame red", and call it new.
    3. They sell advertising space.
    Yes, these private market "job-creators" - we must worship them!
    LOL

  • Bucky||

    always helps when you use a shotgun...

  • ||

    This is not a farce at all. Look at Technology workers. Most have more certification and higher education than their outside peers. I work in the IT field, prior service military and my training has been well above my civilian peers!

  • Chupacabra||

    You know, "some" economists. The statist kind.

  • Restoras||

    Top. Men.

  • ||

    Whose last names start with a K.

  • seguin||

    And end with "Rugman, Paul."

  • cynical||

    No, government work tends to involve credentials, not skills.

  • ||

    Wrong, Government jobs, specifically Federal jobs are built around the Trifecta: Knowledge, Skills & Abilities. For example, if you have a degree but not certifications or very little experience your dont stand a chance. However, if you have experience and certification, you can obtain employment but not make higher management levels without your degree. It makes sense!

  • ||

    I'm guessing this was written by a teacher, seeing as I counted fourteen (14) basic grammar errors and typos.

  • Byron||

    I counted at least 23, but I especially liked the "bargian for obcene abounts of monet". That's intense.

  • fish||

    What...you gotta problem with Monet?

  • ||

    Nope. Gotta have monet to buy the pusset.

  • Tony||

    The country is not broke. It's just that 10% have 90% of the financial wealth. Governments may be in debt, but I don't understand why people are bitching about it when they're the ones who have insisted on lowering revenues while never bothering with cutting expenses. This with the justification that tax cuts pay for themselves. When that proved to be a lie, you guys invented another lie. This "revenues have always hovered around 18%, therefore..." bullshit. So tax rates have no effect on budgets? That's what you're trying to argue? Yet somehow when we lower them, it is supposed to increase revenue, right?

    We had a decade of lower top tax rates to test the theory that lowering taxes increases revenue. No matter what excuses you offer, the lower taxes did not create jobs, did not increase government revenue, did not pay for themselves, did not make the country better off in any way.

    Despite Gillespie's dishonest attempt to claim that revenues and tax rates have nothing to do with each other, revenues are now the lowest they've been since the 1950s. Even before the Great Recession hit, per capita income tax revenues were decreasing as GDP grew.

    Everything about the last 10 years has completely destroyed libertarian/Republican tax & fiscal policy ideas. And what do both of you do? Double down of course. That's what dogmatists with no concern for facts do.

  • C. Andrews||

    Did you actually read the article? The problem isn't lower taxes; the problem is that we spend more than we have. Econ 101. Yes, a lower tax burden benefits everyone -- that much should be common sense. If you have more money in your wallet, you're better off. The problem is getting government to stop gorging. If the government has less revenue coming in, it needs to rein in its own spending, just like the rest of us do. Throw more taxes at the government behemoth, and it'll just blow it on more services and programs instead of actually paying down debt.

    But hey, if you want to fork over more of your money to Daddy Government, write a check. No one is stopping you.

  • Tony||

    The problem isn't lower taxes; the problem is that we spend more than we have. Econ 101.

    That is a matter of opinion, not fact.

    The bottom line is that the policies advocated here will result in even more wealth concentrated at the top and more government deficits, since there will never be the political will to cut enough government to fix the problem, nor should their be, since making the poor, elderly, and infirm pay for tax cuts for the rich is not what I'd call a morally laudable alternative.

    So as your policies increase the problem, you use the problem as the excuse to advocate the same policies, all in the service of a march to oligarchy. For freedom.

  • sarcasmic||

    Nice straw man.

    I like the hat.

  • ||

    What straw man? Perhaps you need that 12th grade education after all.

  • Bucky||

    did you ever have a class on logic?

  • sevo||

    Tony|3.11.11 @ 11:58AM|#
    "More bullshit I heard someplace"

    Thanks, Tony, you're good at that.

  • ||

    Very insightful, is this how you win all your arguments?

  • Bucky||

    you're still here?

  • Ray||

    How does anyone 'pay' for tax cuts? Allowing citizens to keep more of their own money requires no one else to pay for anything. A person's wealth belongs to that person. Not to you, Tony, not to me, not to anyone else. It's called property.

  • Tony||

    You guys really think you can sake on this deliberate obtuseness forever?

    There are revenues. There are expenses. A balanced budget means the former cover the latter.

  • sevo||

    "There are revenues. There are expenses. A balanced budget means the former cover the latter."

    True. And when your revenues don't cover expenses, what do YOU do? Ask your boss for another raise?

  • Tony||

    That's one option. Why not? Has the servant mentality you guys apply to workers made you forget that it is an option to ask for a raise?

  • sarcasmic||

    What happens when your boss doesn't give you a raise?

    Since you are a poor little rich kid who has never worked a day in his pathetic life and has had everything handed to you, you can not possibly know the answer.

    So I'll tell you.

    You cut expenses.

    You list your expenses by priority and decide what you can do without.

    That's how we workin' folks do it.

  • ||

    Right because going to school to get a good education and a better job is beyond you, LOL!

  • Bucky||

    yawn...

  • sevo||

    Tony|3.11.11 @ 1:17PM|#
    "That's one option. Why not?"

    Help yourself. Third time you ask for a raise with no real increase in productivity, you can grab your hat and clear out your desk.

  • ||

    Is that why your commenting in the middle of the day - very productive!

  • Bucky||

    ooo wait, LOL!

  • Dumbass||

    "Hey boss, I'm spending more money than this job is paying, you need to give me more"

    Would that accurately describe your approach to the situation? I'm actually becoming increasingly convinced you are intentionally satirizing Marxists, and not actually seriously arguing that platitude.

  • Slowburnaz||

    My God, Tony, you really are effing dense... you act as if expenses can never be cut to account for lower revenue.

  • sarcasmic||

    you act as if expenses can never be cut to account for lower revenue.

    If your parents have always paid your bills then you have no concept of what it is to either earn something or to go without something.

    That is why Tony has no qualms about taking what someone else has earned - he's done it his entire life.

    And that is why the concept of cutting expenses is foreign to him - he has never done it once in his entire life.

  • Tony||

    And that is why the concept of cutting expenses is foreign to him - he has never done it once in his entire life.

    That's true. Still gainfully employed and never had to take a pay cut. And my parents have never paid my bills. Well, with some minor exceptions. They didn't even have to contribute a dime to my college education, seeing as I got that for free based on my academic merits.

  • ||

    The fact that you think you should keep 100% of what you earn shows that you are unpatriotic, selfish, and an anarchistic. Who is supposed to pay for the police and firefighters. Do you really think private banks are going to build bridges and roads. Le's see how much money you make without these "common goods".

    Go back to school!

  • Tony||

    Sure they can. And you guys act like revenues can never be raised. See the government has this amazing ability to raise its own revenues. And yes they are accountable to a "boss," that being the American people, who if they don't like it can fire the people who passed the policy.

    I'm not the one ignoring half of the equation. You guys will NEVER advocate higher taxes, because government will always be doing too much. Your utopian dogmatism is getting in the way of your ability to offer solutions for fiscal soundness in the real world.

  • sarcasmic||

    And you guys act like revenues can never be raised.

    And you act like there are no consequences to raising taxes. That people do not change their behavior to avoid having their property confiscated from them against their will.

    See the government has this amazing ability to raise its own revenues.

    Yeah. It say's "Gimme or I'll send men with guns after you."
    Nice.

    And yes they are accountable to a "boss," that being the American people, who if they don't like it can fire the people who passed the policy.

    Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

    I'm not the one ignoring half of the equation. You guys will NEVER advocate higher taxes, because government will always be doing too much.

    Straw man. Government has a purpose, but that purpose is limited. Limited government does not mean no government.

    Your utopian dogmatism is getting in the way of your ability to offer solutions for fiscal soundness in the real world.

    Your utopian dogmatism is getting in the way of our ability to hear any solution that is not imposed through government force.

    We want liberty.

    You know... Liberty and justice for all?

    Why do you hate liberty?

  • Tony||

    And you act like there are no consequences to raising taxes. That people do not change their behavior to avoid having their property confiscated from them against their will.

    People will always do what they can to minimize their tax burden. The wealthy are certainly more able to do this than others. But why should our tax policy be based on their extortion? There are ways to ensure that people pay their taxes. It just takes the right policy and enforcement.

    Straw man. Government has a purpose, but that purpose is limited. Limited government does not mean no government.

    Okay so if historically high deficits isn't the time to raise taxes, when will be?

    Why do you hate liberty?

    I love liberty. That's why I want it to be available to more than the wealthy.

  • sarcasmic||

    Okay so if historically high deficits isn't the time to raise taxes, when will be?

    Okay so if historically high deficits isn't the time to cut spending, when will be?

    I love liberty. That's why I want it to be available to more than the wealthy.

    That statement proves that you do not understand what liberty means.

  • sevo||

    Tony|3.11.11 @ 2:12PM|#
    "bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, their EXTORTION?"

    Uh, your academic record in what? Making up new definitions for words?

  • ||

    Only in bizarro land could someone watch a budget double in five years and then say the only solution is taking more money from citizens. It never ends, leviathan cannot be sated.

  • WTF||

    Only in bizarro Tony land could someone watch a budget double in five years and then say the only solution is taking more money from citizens.
    FTFY

  • ||

    I'm inclined to agree with you. Cut social security in half - I don't give a damn. Cut military spending in half. What does it get us besides bases in Germany and a CIA that was utterly surprised when Mubarak fell? Cut Medicare & Medicaid - I really don't give a sh1t. Cut heating oil subsidies & agriculture subsidies. Cut the entire $1.6 trillion deficit from the $3.7 trillion budget. I wouldn't even feel it.

    I will admit, though, that extending the Bush tax cuts and Obama's 2% payroll tax holiday were both bad ideas.

  • ||

    Fiscal soundness is living within your means. Which means in layman's terms that you have a budget and stay with it! Most average joes have a budget because that is the only way you can pay all the bills and have food on the table. You DO NOT GET A
    LIMITLESS credit card! Politicians don't care because they are not paying for it! Now, here is an idea for you and all the liberal politicans----you can spend as much as you wish and raise taxes as much as you want. However, here is the proviso----you liberals HAVE TO PAY FOR ALL OF IT! Now, how do you like them apples?

  • ||

    Nice posts Tony.
    I always wonder if one of these guys (or any kind of right wing talking head) could ever answer the following two questions: 1. Is there any tax that is justified to have? and 2. When is the best time to raise a tax?

    I know (despite these guys thinking that you and I are Marxists) that we could easily answer the converse questions: i.e., when is a tax not justified? and when is the best time to lower taxes?

  • Bucky||

    what is the true cost of government?
    when is the best time to increase the size of government?

  • Brubaker||

    C. Andrews wrote: "The problem isn't lower taxes; the problem is that we spend more than we have."

    Tony, that's not an opinion, it's an irrefutable fact. Take discussion of taxes completely out of the equation. We're left with the fact that governments at all levels are spending more than they have.

    There are just two ways to reconcile that problem: Income might be increased or spending might be decreased.

    It's really just that simple. The problem comes when we begin to discuss which approach we'll actually follow.

  • sarcasmic||

    We're left with the fact that governments at all levels are spending more than they have take in in taxes.

    Government does not have anything. It only takes.

  • ||

    What country are you in? Because if you're in the U.S., you should leave and get your own nation. Really, how unpatriotic are you?

  • Bucky||

    patriotic = paying taxes?

  • sevo||

    Bucky|3.15.11 @ 2:29PM|#
    "patriotic = paying taxes?"

    rysl = the stupid

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Tony, if spending were reduced to 2004 levels (a time when tens of billions were being spent on the
    War on Sand Nazi terror), we would have a surplus.

  • WTF||

    if spending were reduced to 2004 levels

    People dying in the SREETS!! SOMALIA!!!11!!

  • ||

    Does that include the emergency costs from the two wars we were fighting that Bush did not include in the budget?

  • Bucky||

    read much?

  • ||

    It's a matter of opinion that we're running a budget deficit of 10% of the GDP?

  • ||

    Apparently, yes. It is my opinion that Treasury auctions occur, but it is not a fact. Right?

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Actually, it's worse than that--last year's deficit was $1.7 trillion.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    That is a matter of opinion, not fact.


    Thus said the economics and accounting-challenged.

    The bottom line is that the policies advocated here will result in even more wealth concentrated at the top and more government deficits


    Actually, higher taxes serve to concentrate the wealth much more on top as wealthy people move their assets from cash and investments to CDs and other tax shelters.

    Oh, by the way - you're an idiot for repeating the talking points of economic-illiterate, Keynesian nitwits.

  • Tony||

    Actually, higher taxes serve to concentrate the wealth much more on top as wealthy people move their assets from cash and investments to CDs and other tax shelters.

    So close these loopholes.

    So let's assume you're correct. Would that mean that a 0% tax would represent the most revenue? Of course not. So there has to be a sweet spot somewhere in the middle. What makes you think we're over that line now?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    So close these loopholes.


    Look, Tony! A unicorn!

    So let's assume you're correct. Would that mean that a 0% tax would represent the most revenue?


    No, it would represent more people keeping their property. More people being able to save more and invest more. It would mean a more prosperous nation, not a nation of shysters and procastinators like you have in Europe, where people spend their days inventing excuses for not going to work.

  • Tony||

    Why don't you try answering the question, OM?

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Why don't you try answering the question, OM?

    Show us some math, Tony.

  • sevo||

    Tony|3.11.11 @ 1:11PM|#
    "Actually, higher taxes serve to concentrate the wealth much more on top as wealthy people move their assets from cash and investments to CDs and other tax shelters.

    So close these loopholes."

    Been tried many times; folks will find a way to avoid taxes.
    Seen that chart from the time the marginal rate was 94%? Didn't matter.

  • Tony||

    So the rich have been cheating the system to keep more money than they are entitled to... yet it's the poor who are sucking us dry.

  • Ray Pew||

    So the rich have been cheating the system to keep more money than they are entitled to... yet it's the poor who are sucking us dry.

    OMG!!!!!!! It actually hurt to read this string of confusion.

  • sevo||

    Tony|3.11.11 @ 1:48PM|#
    "Some stupid bullshit line I read on Kos."

    Thanks, Tony, you're good at that.

  • ||

    Actually, that was a great time for the country and for businesses too. Instead of raping the company for what its worth, CEOs would invest the profits into the company to make to grow. That's also when a lot of the infrastructure was built in this country.

    Go back to school!

  • Bucky||

    financed by who?

  • sevo||

    rysl|3.15.11 @ 6:51AM|#
    "Actually, that was a great time for the country and for businesses too. Instead of raping the company for what its worth, CEOs"

    Yes, to brain-dead regressives, the past is always better than now.
    Unfortunately, there's no facts that support the claim.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    So there has to be a sweet spot somewhere in the middle. What makes you think we're over that line now?


    The Bush tax cuts did not reduce revenue, as was shown in this spreadsheet

  • ||

    Actually, Tony and Old Mex, CDs are not and never have been a tax shelter. I am an adviser to the rich (for 30 years) and they do practice tax avoidance through muni bonds (constitutionally exempt); insurance products, real estate; and tax strategies that are all legal and morally defensible. The tax burden for the "rich" in California is well over 50% from federal, state, local, real estate, sales, property taxes. Just exactly how much do you think is fair, Tony? When does a productive member of society say "too much" and stop working or investing. Each person who thinks that 50%+ is "fair" should voluntarily pay that much of their income to the government so that their money is where their mouth is. Tony, are you willing to send your contribution?

  • ||

    Actually, MA, if you do it right, your company should grow as the economy grows and so you should have to do less work. Once you reach that 50%+ rate (which is marginal, so not quite the same as asking most people to pay that rate on their middle-class salaries), you invest that money into your company.

    This does not even take into account that a "more productive" member of society is using a higher portion of common goods (roads, property, fire services, etc.) than someone else.

  • Bucky||

    a more productive member uses more roads, property, fire services?
    maybe they should get extra credit for all the people they employ, through all of their investments
    no, wait. i get it! rich people are evil!

  • ||

    You just don't have a clue don't you? Everytime they say tax the rich---it is the middle class who gets hosed! Now, why do you think the rich are SO DUMB to just let you and other liberal idiots tax them. That includes the liberal rich elite like Obama, the Democratic Senators and Democratic Congressmen who all happen to be RICH! Now, do you really think they will slit their own throats as opposed to your own? What the liberal socialist elite are good is paying lip service saying "We are not paying enough taxes." However, has anyone of these individuals cut a check for tens of millions or billions if they so desire to the US Treasury? Or they can just give up their tax loopholes? Has anyone of these liberal elite socialists done any of that? And one
    last thing, who writes our tax laws?
    Isn't it our dear Senators and Congressmen? Again, I ask you. Do you think the rich politicians are going to slit their own throats or yours?

  • ||

    What exactly are you arguing here? You are actually acknowledging that BIG BUSINESS has bought and paid for the people in government.

    Try to separate out what we "ought to do" (which you seem to agree is to tax the rich), and "how to do it". Obviously, strengthening regulations for election finance is necessary, and a fourth estate better than FOX would help too!

  • Bucky||

    yeah, and the New York Times says...

  • Rrabbit||

    I agree that the concentration of wealth at the top in the US has gone too far.

    But that has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that the US government at all levels, Federal, state, and cities, is spending way too much.

    And not only is the government spending way too much, it isn't creating anything of value for all those trillions per year.

  • ||

    C. Andrews|3.11.11 @ 11:51AM|#
    If the government has less revenue coming in, it needs to rein in its own spending, just like the rest of us do.

    You must be thick, the upper 1% or Americans, which control 50% of the wealth are doing better now than even before the recession! These guys are not TAXED ENOUGH!!!!!!! That is the ONLY reason why it seems like the country is broke!

  • Bucky||

    you have lost it.
    i sure hope you are self employed...

  • sarcasmic||

    You emote very well.

    Too bad you can't think.

  • C. Andrews||

    Also, the tax policy of the past 10 years has pretty much been print money, go even deeper into debt, and spend spend spend. That has nothing to do with "libertarian tax & fiscal policy." Put the blame where it belongs.

  • Restoras||

    He can't put the blame where it belongs because he isn't man enough to take personal responsibility for his political views. Like all good big government liberals everywhere.

  • sarcasmic||

    He can't put the blame where it belongs because he isn't man enough to take personal responsibility for his political views. Like all good big government liberals everywhere.

    ftfy

  • ||

    Yes, the blame belongs to Bush and all the republicans who voted him in!

  • Bucky||

    B.D.I.

  • ||

    WHERE'S MY GOVERNMENT CHEESE!!!!

  • Ray Pew||

    Everything about the last 10 years has completely destroyed Republican tax & fiscal policy ideas.

    Fixed it for you.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    The country is not broke. It's just that 10% have 90% of the financial wealth. Governments may be in debt, but I don't understand why people are bitching about it when they're the ones who have insisted on lowering revenues while never bothering with cutting expenses. This with the justification that tax cuts pay for themselves. When that proved to be a lie, you guys invented another lie. This "revenues have always hovered around 18%, therefore..." bullshit. So tax rates have no effect on budgets? That's what you're trying to argue? Yet somehow when we lower them, it is supposed to increase revenue, right?


    Let us find out how much revenues have gone down.
    Here

    And here

    From 2001 to 2009, revenues increased by about one hundred thirteen billion dollars.

    In fact, if spending were reduced to 2004 levels, there would be a projected surplus of hundred seventy four billion dollars.

  • ||

    Thanks for your voice of sanity. The reality is the more $$ you give to the government, the more they spend. Give them an extra dollar, they spend two dollars.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    The country is not broke.


    Thus said the Finance-challenged.

    It's just that 10% have 90% of the financial wealth.


    You mean - they have 90% of the money???

    SUCKERS!!!! That money is worthless! Bwa ha ha ha!!!

    Oh, by the way, the required announcement:

    WORLD - meet again the nitwit who believes money is wealth.

    Governments may be in debt, but I don't understand why people are bitching about it when they're the ones who have insisted on lowering revenues while never bothering with cutting expenses.


    Well, now they want to lower expenses. What's wrong with that?

    Everything about the last 10 years has completely destroyed libertarian/Republican tax & fiscal policy ideas.


    You mean applied Keynesianism destroyed free market economics?

    Somebody pinch me.

  • ||

    When Tony says "The country is not broke. It's just that 10% have 90% of the financial wealth" we shouldn't be too hard on him. Tony's not stupid, it's just that 10% of the people here make 90% the intelligent comments, and he's not in that 10%.

  • ||

    Economists point out that government work tends to be in highly skilled categories,

    Well, it tends to rely on credentials rather than skills, and many of those "skilled" jobs are in redundant layers of bureaucratic middle management.

    I deal with government people all the time. I have never met anyone who I thought was at the top of their profession working a civil service job, with the possible exception of a US Attorney or two.

    Mostly, the professional bureaucrats strike me as being middling at what they do in terms of skills and knowledge, and below middling in terms of energy and initiative.

    Not that many are truly terrible, but none are truly first rate, either.

  • DNS||

    Mostly, the professional bureaucrats strike me as being middling at what they do in terms of skills and knowledge, and below middling in terms of energy and initiative.

    It's almost like government encourages and rewards mediocrity.

  • Kristen||

    It does exactly that. There are very few merit-based incentives for government employees. Most incentives come from seniority, not merit. Add to that the fact that it is extrememly difficult to fire a professional bureacrat and you have a recipe for mediocrity. I see it every day working in the Federal government (as a contractor, by way of somewhat defending myself)

  • Draco||

    This is really a home run by "The Jacket."

    I'm not even going to quibble about the inaccuracy of the "bankrupt" meme when it comes to the federal government - in fact, Nick himself mentioned that it doesn't matter what you call it.

    I think a meme that we need to work much more frequently is the rather obvious truth that we, as a country and as individuals, could easily "go back" to the levels of government that we tolerated ten or twenty years ago, and not only would we save money, but we'd probably be better off - far from the world coming to an end. Extra credit to Nick for mentioning that one.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    I think a meme that we need to work much more frequently is the rather obvious truth that we, as a country and as individuals, could easily "go back" to the levels of government that we tolerated ten or twenty years ago, and not only would we save money, but we'd probably be better off - far from the world coming to an end. Extra credit to Nick for mentioning that one.


    If we reduced spending to 2004 levels, we would have a surplus.

    How many people back in 2004 believed the government was not spending enough money.

  • sevo||

    "How many people back in 2004 believed the government was not spending enough money."
    Pelosi, Reid, Obama, Kennedy, oh, and Tony.

  • ||

    The country is not broke. It's just that 10% have 90% of the financial wealth.

    Ah, the statist fallacy again. Note how the fact that private individuals are not broke is used as support for the claim that the state itself is not broke.

    Of course, there is only a disconnect if you believe that any property in the hands of a private individual is, in reality, government property that the Total State has graciously allowed the individual to have the use of, for a short time.

  • Tony||

    Revenues would be higher if the wealth were distributed among more people.

    Feel free to argue that 10% of the country earned 90% of its wealth through hard work and perseverance, while the 90% just slacked off the whole time.

  • ||

    WAAAAAHHHH!! He's got MORE than me!!!

  • mad libertarian guy||

    You just gotta love an entire socio-political line of thought based solely on nothing but envy.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Revenues would be higher if the wealth were distributed among more people.

    Feel free to argue that 10% of the country earned 90% of its wealth through hard work and perseverance, while the 90% just slacked off the whole time.

    Holy crap there is so much wrong here and so much to take issue with and simply destroy; where to begin?

    The stupid! It BUUUUURRRRRNNSSS!!!

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Working hard does not guarantee you will be wealthy, but it helps. Of course, working hard at digging a ditch isn't going to make you wealthy.

    Your arguments are always so simplistic and childish. At least you're consistent.

  • Clouds||

    What the fuck does working hard have to do with it? I probably work less hard than you, but i am immensely more talented. Therefore I get paid a shitload of money to do less work. Don't hate me because i'm beautiful.

  • Brubaker||

    Would it be okay to hate you because you're an idiot?

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Why--because he figured out a more efficient way to produce wealth than you did? There's a difference between internal motivation and shallow, pointless striving.

  • sevo||

    Tony|3.11.11 @ 11:50AM|#
    "Revenues would be higher if the wealth were distributed among more people."

    And if unicorns pooped gold nuggets, why we'd be all set.
    Hint, Tony, nobody cares what things would be like under your form of communism.

  • Restoras||

    No, they wouldn't, because a significant portion of the population pays no income tax. How would transferring wealth incease government revenue? Unless you plan to begin confiscating private property, taking a little off the top, and then "spreading the wealth around"?

    What exactly don't YOU get about this scheme not working anywhere at anytime in recorded history?

  • Ray Pew||

    Revenues would be higher if the wealth were distributed among more people.

    Uhhhh...yeah, just like yacht ownership would be higher if we just allowed people to take them from the warehouse.

    Feel free to argue that 10% of the country earned 90% of its wealth through hard work and perseverance, while the 90% just slacked off the whole time.

    There's no reason to argue such a nonsensical point, because no one claims this, but you.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Revenues would be higher if the wealth were distributed among more people.


    Since revenues increased during George W. Bush's presidency, he must have did a fine job in distributing wealth among more people.

  • Tony||

    Oh yeah?

    The Bush administration has claimed, based on the concept of the Laffer Curve, that the tax cuts actually paid for the themselves by generating enough extra revenue from additional economic growth to offset the lower taxation rates. However, income tax revenues in dollar terms did not regain their FY 2000 peak until 2006. Through the end of 2008, total federal tax revenues relative to GDP have yet to regain their 2000 peak.

    ...

    there is a broad consensus among even conservative economists (including current and former top economists of the Bush Administration such as Greg Mankiw) that the tax cuts have had a substantial net negative impact on revenues (i.e., revenues would have been substantially higher if the tax cuts had not taken place), even taking into account any stimulative effect the tax cuts may have had and any resulting revenue feedback effects.
  • wow||

    quoting wikipedia... wow... WOW.

  • Tony||

    It's got citations.

    But when your argument doesn't fit the facts, just attack the source of the facts. Always seems to work.

  • hmmm||

    Well, the metrics you quote rely on revenue as percentage of GDP, but in absolute numbers there was an increase from 2001 to 2009, as the spreadsheet posted by Michael Erjectio shows: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbud.....st01z1.xls

    As for revenue not reaching its portion-of-GDP levels at its height in 2000, the 90s had the tech boom powering growth, whereas the first years of the GWB administration had to deal with the bursting of that bubble, and then the downturn following 9/11 - no surprise that receipts were generally low.

    In any event, I would support small, gradual increases in (federal) taxes if the government could make a promise to reign in spending (just like in the 1990s). And at this point, that would have to include restructuring of social security and medicare.

  • hmmm||

    Furthermore, the W. Bush tax cuts "failed to pay for themselves" due to increases in spending. As others have pointed out, if spending were scaled back to pre-2004 levels, we'd have a surplus right now.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    I pointed it out.

    Not only that, 2004 had the second-worst deficit during the Bush presidency. It would have been the worst if Bush vetoed that bailout in 2008.

  • ||

    This does not make sense, just go back to school!

  • ||

    Excuses, excuses... it still does not address the fact that even conservative economists conclude it was worse than keep the rates the same.

    Now, for a brief second, I thought I was dealing with someone rational: How about we split the difference in the budget - if we have a $1.7T deficit, you righties figure out how increase revenue by $850B (through taxes - your choice), and us lefties will figure out how to cut spending by $850B dollars (our choice).

  • Bucky||

    amazing, the new Finance Czar...

  • sevo||

    Tony|3.11.11 @ 12:55PM|#
    "Oh yeah?"

    Yeah; quit cherry picking:
    http://www.sdnn.com/sandiego/2.....protestors
    (quarter of the way down)

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    Actually, what you'd expect if tax cuts did increase revenues is an initial sharp decrease in revenues - because you're collected a smaller percentage of GDP from an economy the same size, and then a gradually increasing amount of revenue as the economy grew. Which is exactly what happened until 2008 when the shitstorm started. It's certainly not strong evidence that tax cuts increase revenue, but it certainly doesn't disprove that contention either.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    What I don't get though (maybe somebody can explain this to me - I don't know much about economics at all) is while an you'd expect higher income taxes to decrease productivity, the same doesn't seem to be true of an estate tax. If you put a really high tax on someone's estate when they die, the government would raise money without damaging the economy all that much, since people would still earn the money they do already and get to keep it their whole lives. Plus it would prevent people from living off the money their parents made, encouraging them to produce and, presumably, boosting the economy. Now I should be clear I do not support an estate tax; I believe that all taxes are theft. I just don't know if there is an economic argument against it as well as a moral one.

  • ||

    Actually, high estate taxes are very bad for the economy. They force the sale of small businesses and farms to pay the taxes. However, in my opinion, at some point, estate taxes are appropriate. In 2010 there were no estate taxes and a couple of billionaires died tax free. Tax reform in late 2010 exempted estates of $5 million ($10 million for a couple) but this law expires in 2013. I favor this exemption amount permanently,but a lot of people feel that they have already paid their income taxes on their savings/investments so why should they pay additional on death? This is a very complicated subject and cannot be dealt with adequately in a blog

  • Apogee||

    In 2010 there were no estate taxes and a couple of billionaires died tax free.

    No they didn't. They paid taxes on that money when they earned it, unless you're implying that they made billions without reporting any of it.

  • ||

    So, who should built roads or provide for infrastructure? You really want roads like we pay for cellular networks?

    You must realize that "all taxes are theft" is extreme, no matter how many extremists you surround yourself with.

  • ||

    Let's just confiscate all the capital in the country, and use it to fund welfare programs.
    I'm sure that will be a winning formula for perpetual prosperity.

  • Tony||

    Just like cutting all taxes to 0.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Just like cutting all taxes to 0.


    The nitwit who believes thievery is prosperity.

  • ||

    I don't think anyone wants this, but I am sure you were just being sarcastic, and not stoking the fire or anything.

    Why don't you be constructive and go back to school!

  • Bucky||

    must be an echo in here...
    go back to school
    there it goes again...

  • ||

    Nevermind that 10% pay almost 75% of the income tax that is collected every year, right Tony?

  • Tony||

    Which is a pretty good deal since they have 90% of the wealth.

  • sarcasmic||

    Wealth is not income.
    Wealth is not money.

  • dunkel||

    Albert ice dancing Einstein, but you're dense! Income does not equal wealth...for the 7,345,655,998th time. Get that through your thick fucking skull. Or don't, it's entertaining to watch you get yout ass handed to you again and again and again.

  • WTF||

    Tony is lying and making shit up again. The top 10% have about 70% of the wealth.

  • ||

    Intellectually dishonest (and you have a license to practice architecture!)

    If you wanted to rail against a progressive tax system, you should use the relevant number's not just the numbers that "appear" to support your side. As Tony points out, the top 10% should be paying a lot more that 10% or the tax, because they make more than 10% of the income. Second, low income earners pay other taxes than income taxes (e.g. FICA) that are REGRESSIVE (i.e. the rich pay a lower rate than the poor). Than you have dividends being taxed at 15%. If you combine all the tax burdens together, our country's tax system is only slightly progressive.

  • Bucky||

    who's money is it?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Revenues would be higher if the wealth were distributed among more people.


    Really?

    Let's see:
    $1X.05=$0.05
    $2X.05=$0.01
    $3X.05=$0.15
    $4X.05=$0.2
    $5X.10=$0.5
    $10X.30=$3
    $200X.38=$76
    Total
    225 = $80

    More evenly distributed:
    $32.15X.3=$9.64
    $32.15X.3=$9.64
    $32.15X.3=$9.64
    $32.15X.3=$9.64
    $32.15X.3=$9.64
    $32.15X.3=$9.64
    $32.15X.3=$9.64
    Total revenue
    225 = $ 67.5

    Ergo, what you say is FALSE.

  • ||

    Intellectually dishonest (if that). According to your logic, than you should talk about how Bush's tax cuts couldn't generate more revenue either!

  • Bucky||

    cuz the New York Times says...

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Intellectually dishonest (if that).

    "HOW DARE YOU USE MATH TO REFUTE TONY'S ARGUMENTS! ARGUMENTS SHOULD ONLY BE WON USING APPEALS TO EMOTION AND SPECIAL PLEADING, THE ONLY METHODOLOGY THAT MATTERS!!!"

  • crossofcrimson||

    "Feel free to argue that 10% of the country earned 90% of its wealth through hard work and perseverance, while the 90% just slacked off the whole time."

    Hello, Labor-Theory of Value. Where have you been hiding since the 19th century? In the misguided posts of left-leaning egalitarians on libertarian websites apparently.

  • paloma||

    And those 10%-90% figures come from where exactly?

  • paloma||

    And those 10%-90% figures come from where exactly?

  • ||

    This is akin to claiming that your business can't be bankrupt because your customers still have cash in the bank.

  • Restoras||

    A+

  • ||

    Right ... some people still have money. So we should seize it and use it to keep funding the welfare programs.

    In other words, lets suck every last drop of private capital out of the economy. And spend it on giving every voter a pony.

  • Bucky||

    actually, i think they want a flat screen...
    ponies you have to take care of and, well, you see how well they did with their own kids...

  • ||

    Of course, there is only a no disconnect

    Fucking English, how does it work?

  • The Gobbler||

    Significantly better than Tony's logic.

  • ||

    We are broke. We have a debt that is bigger than our country's GDP, and yet the tax and spenders can't seem to grasp that even raising taxes to 100% on all income (including Michael Moore's) wouldn't balance the budget.

    We need to cut the government and cut a lot. Cops and Firemen in Omaha retire in their 40's (and then get other jobs and get a full pension from the city for ever), Teachers in Omaha get 3 day weekends every month, two weeks off at Christmas, aweek off in the spring, every federal holiday off, and don't work in the summer. Basically, they have the best paid part time jobs in America. Same elsewhere.

    We just can't afford this anymore.

    Public unions have a nice little deal, they donate to the Dems, the Dems get a lot more money than their Repub opponents, buy ads and rig elections, and get elected. Once in office, the unions have a bought and paid for negotiating adversary who will sell the city down the drain to keep that union money coming. This is like a lawyer paying the judge in the trial she is working in.

    To those who are on the public treat, wean off soon, the milk is going to dry up soon.

  • ||

    My only critique of what you said is that unions have bought and paid for Republicans too.

  • ||

    Fair enough.

    The point is that these unions have been able to create a positive feedback loop that benefits them at our expense.

    They buy the mayor or governor, they negotiate with a politician that is basically their hired stooge, they get a big raise. As unions get a percentage of the wages, they get more money to buy more slimy politicians. All the money for this is of course, coming from you and I who live in the tax factory.

  • ||

    And you don't think that BIG BUSINESS are doing this 10 times as much!

  • Bucky||

    now you're on the right track
    no, favors for any group...

  • ||

    How about we stop trying to police the world and bring that money back home.

  • IceTrey||

    I hate to say it but Moore is right about this one. Wisconsin may have a budget shortfall but it's far from broke. This is the CAFR (comprehensive annual financial report) for 2010 for Wisconsin.

    ftp://doaftp04.doa.state.wi.us.....Linked.pdf

    It shows that Wisconsin has 123 billion dollars in liquid assets. It also shows that they have 67 billion dollars of the 77 billion they need for the next 30 years in their state pension fund. Their pension fund is the 4th best funded in the country. The same goes for the federal government. It has trillions in assets. The government being broke is the biggest scam since Social Security.

  • sevo||

    IceTrey|3.11.11 @ 12:02PM|#
    "I hate to say it but Moore is right about this one"

    I hate to say it, but everyone else in the world thinks you're full of it.
    "Report on Wisconsin’s budget deficit contains hidden costs
    $2.2 billion deficit balloons to $3.3 billion without assumed spending cuts"
    http://www.jsonline.com/news/s.....75069.html

    Oh, and:
    "The same goes for the federal government. It has trillions in assets."
    What color is the sun your planet revolves around?

  • IceTrey||

    That's the BUDGET deficit. The CAFR is what the state has in cumulative ASSETS. If you have $100,000 in the bank and you spend $5,000 more one month than you take does that mean you are broke? No. You still have $95,000 in the bank. As for the Feds you do realize they own one third of the land in the US? I'm not sure how much that is worth but it has to be a pretty penny. No telling what other assets they have squirreled away. Wake up. You are being scammed again.

  • sevo||

    IceTrey|3.11.11 @ 12:34PM|#
    "That's the BUDGET deficit. The CAFR is what the state has in cumulative ASSETS."
    You're kidding, right?
    You sell the desks to pay the people sitting at them?

    "If you have $100,000 in the bank and you spend $5,000 more one month than you take does that mean you are broke?"
    How about you spend $25,000 more *every* month? Hint: You're broke, but it'll take a couple of months before you have to hock you wedding ring.
    Again, what color is that sun?

  • IceTrey||

    Wow you're dense. The CAFR shows how much money Wisconsin had as of June 2010 AFTER they had paid off all of their debts. Just because the taxes this year don't cover how much they want to spend doesn't mean the state is broke. It just means they are bad at budgeting. If you own a house and two cars and you owe your bookie $10,000, when you sell one of your cars that doesn't make you broke. Right now Wisconsin has the money to cover 40 years of 3 billion dollar deficits. They ain't broke.

  • sevo||

    Let's make it simple:
    If you have to sell assets to cover daily expenses, you're broke.

  • IceTrey||

    Not until you run out of assets. What if I have 10 million in stock when I retire and I sell a little at a time to cover my expenses. If I live frugally I'd never go broke so your example is retarded.

  • Kristen||

    If I live frugally

    Please do tell how this is analogous to government in any way.

  • IceTrey||

    As long as the government has any assets in cash or convertible to cash it ain't broke.

  • sevo||

    IceTrey|3.11.11 @ 4:54PM|#
    "As long as the government has any assets in cash or convertible to cash it ain't broke."

    Right. So long as you have undies covering your butt, you ain't broke. I'll go for that, for you.

  • Apogee||

    As long as the government has any assets in cash or convertible to cash it ain't broke.

    But are these "assets" the property of the government separate from the people? IOW, is it ok for the government bureaucrats to sell off 'assets' that belong to the people of this country to fund their own programs and salaries, or should the size and scope of government be cut dramatically?

  • ||

    Are you really that stupid? Who would rather have the government keep unused buildings and land and cut head start programs, rather than sell the property and educate 100,000's children?

    I can believe that some of you honestly want to have a balanced budget and reduce the debt, but everyone should realize that it is only a bad thing to let a lot of poor kids grow-up without educational opportunities. This will help our economy grow. So argue that is it not worth the price, but do not argue that it is not admirable to do.

  • Bucky||

    admirable = results?
    it feels good therefore it is good?

  • ||

    Are you actually suggesting that giving poor kids educational opportunities is not good, or just that you think it won't work.

    I suppose no one ever gave anyone here an opportunity to do better.

  • Bucky||

    results. how about showing me how much better gub'mint runs education opportunities. please check your head before you get your heart involved...

  • sevo||

    IceTrey|3.11.11 @ 2:15PM|#
    "retarded."

    I'll say.

  • ||

    30 years ago, I was a young, dumb, college senior who was surrounded by people liberal enough to believe that having assets to pay for 30 years worth of an unlimited debt means "nothing to worry about." Amazing how times change.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    I hate to say it but Moore is right about this one.

    Actually, Moore's dead wrong because his entire focus, as is typical of most progressives, is on personal income, not assets. If he was making the argument that Wisconsin should sell off some of its assets to close the budget gap, your argument and the CAFR study would have some merit. But he's not--he's arguing that "the rich" have a bunch of $20 gold eagles and FRNs locked up in a vault that they swim around in every day like Scrooge McDuck, and that by breaking into these vaults and taking that money, Wisconsin could pay off its deficit. What he's arguing for is outright theft.

  • Eric Cartman||

    It was da j00s! Da j00s took all the money and put it in their j00 cave somewhere! Listen to me, people! Listen!

  • ||

    According to the CAFR:

    "The largest component of the
    State’s total net assets, $17.8 billion or approximately 152.6 percent, reflects its investment in capital assets (i.e., land,
    buildings, equipment, infrastructure, and others), less any related debt outstanding that was needed to acquire or construct the
    assets."

    So these are schools, courthouses, prisons, government offices, etc. Suppose Wisconson decides to sell those assets. Where do the children go to school? Where do the courts do business? What do you do with prisoners? Wouldn't Wisconson have to lease or rent those buildings back from whomever they sold them to? Or do you propose all those government functions should just cease? I suppose some of the Libertarians here would welcome that prospect. Selling assets is not a solution.

  • ||

    Hey -- I just had a thought. Maybe I can buy a Wisconson freeway overpass and charge a toll to everyone who crosses? Maybe this selling of assets thing isn't so bad after all...

  • ||

    My daughter is not a idiot. Weare not a family with money. She took the loans.To have a job that matters. Can you tell us waht you do and how much you make.I know DR.s and lawyers who have student. If you end up in the hospital i hope you get one of those idiots.Oh and yes most hospitals recieve federal money.Why count my grammer I can haddle see to type. You shouldnt judge. It makes you a idiot

  • Kristen||

    Most people here spend just as many hours undoing public school propaganda as people like your daughter do teaching it. And they don't get paid.

  • Almanian||

    Engrish secondlandgwaj. Me nderstand. Spellungs' hurd!

  • sarcasmic||

    To have a job that matters.

    As opposed to one that pays well.

  • ||

    So you admit that public school teachers do not get paid well?

  • ||

    Alright, Harold, I'm going to take your word for it that you have a disability that makes it hard to type. I apologize for busting your chops earlier.

  • Clouds||

    "a job that matters", apparently doesn't matter to any of us, so feel free to ply your emotional drivel elsewhere. And of course doctors will have student loans, they can typically pay them off in a short few years and they can borrow that money at a very low rate. Your daughter will be impoverished for the rest of her life, I hope you're happy with encouraging her for this choice.

  • ||

    And you must then admit that public school teachers do not get paid well.

  • ||

    I'd ask for your newsletter, but I've already read your bit on NATURE'S HARMONIOUS TIME CUBE.

  • Kristen||

    I work in a somewhat technical field (not high tech, but requires specialized technical skills). I make waaaaaaaay less cash than a WI public school teacher and have many fewer benefits. Where's my hero worship? Why aren't people bowing down to kiss the soles of my feet every day?

  • fish||

    Kristen I'd bow down to kiss the soles of your feet regardless of your occupation......I'm kind into "that".

  • ||

    If you think that teachers get paid so much, than why aren't you one? You must be really stupid, or just disingenuous!

  • Bucky||

    you really are silly...
    just because someone thinks teachers are making too much money, they should be one?

  • ||

    Well, what's stopping them? Its a free market. I know of many people who wanted to become a doctor because it paid well.

  • Bucky||

    envy is not what they are talking about...
    if private school teachers are getting paid x why are public school teachers getting paid x+++++++++++, especially because the taxpayers are footing the bill...
    got it...

  • IceTrey||

    40% of the 8th graders in Wisconsin can't read at an 8th grade level.

  • T||

    The idiot part is not in getting student loans, Harold. The idiot part is in getting student loans for an education degree. The student loan calculus depends on how much debt you acquire vs. the income potential of the degree. If you end up with 10K in loans for that ed degree, not so bad a deal. If you end up with 200K, you've screwed yourself beyond any possible point of recovery.

    I dunno. I've got an engineering degree, and they just aren't graduating enough of us.

  • ||

    But if you believe what they are saying about public school teacher's here, than that loan is small potatoes to that $100k salary/benefits.

  • Bucky||

    every teacher grad gets hired?

  • Tonio||

    That being a (public) schoolteacher is a job which "matters" is a lie agreed upon. Few people actually believe this, but tell their children this so they'll behave in school and not get suspended.

  • ||

    And your job selling stuff made in China REALLY matters, LOL

  • Bucky||

    must hate Wal Mart too...

  • ||

    Well I'm an Architectural Designer about to get my Master's. Because of the economy I had to take a pay cut last year so now I'm making about 42k. After 8 years with the firm I work at. So any teacher can suck my hairy sweaty nut sack for bitching about making nearly 100k after benies and being able to retire at 50 while I will work till they day I die.

  • ||

    About to get your Masters (after 8 years with a firm). I would be pretty pissed off in your shoes - I would perhaps even join a union to demand some benefits.

    Really, boo hoo, let me know how much your making when you have your Masters or your own firm.

  • Bucky||

    what is your degree? Sarcasm with a minor in Self Esteem

  • ||

    Like it matters to you

  • Bucky||

    did someone just break wind?
    oh hi, rysl

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    My daughter is not a idiot. Weare not a family with money. She took the loans.To have a job that matters.

    So what? Does that make her special? If she had done the math and a little research, she would have found that the cost of tuition has gone up at 4X the rate of inflation the last 30 years. That's worse than healthcare costs, by the way, and now she's in a position where she'll spend what should be her prime healthy years stressing out about paying off loans that can't be discharged in bankruptcy.

    And you know what? A college degree doesn't guarantee a "job that matters." Try asking a humanities major to wire their house or do their own plumbing and watch how little that degree means anything.

    I'm sorry your daughter bought into the educational complex's lie that her life would be worthless without a college degree, but that was her choice. It was also her choice to take out loans for a field that doesn't pay a whole lot right off the bat. Hopefully she'll have enough sense to live frugally and not drop her dough on a bunch of pointless iShit once her salary goes up to manageable levels in about 3-5 years (and isn't laid off in favor of higher-tenured teachers in the interim).

  • ||

    So you admit that the education field doesn't pay a whole lot. Sounds like these public unions are important to preserve.

  • Bucky||

    who gets fired first in a Union?

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    So you admit that the education field doesn't pay a whole lot. Sounds like these public unions are important to preserve.

    I said, "Right off the bat," if you had any reading comprehension skills. $40K a year plus $25-35K in benefits after 5 years or so is plenty for anyone to live on if you aren't a Spendopotamus.

    And as Bucky points out, it's always the 1st-2nd year teachers that get fired first, not the most ineffective. So much for those union protections.

  • ||

    Shorter Michael Moore:
    Some people still have money ... so let's steal it!

  • ||

    But he is saying it is not theirs to begin with. To test this theory, I plan to appear at every major bank at attempt to wothdraw funds from Mr. Moore's account. I can't see how he would have standing to complain.

  • ||

    He is saying "America" meaning the country, not the government. He specifically outlines the idea that it is because we are not taxing enough of the higher earners or not collecting from corporations. You can disagree with the idea, but you shouldn't base your argument on a misunderstanding of his whole premise. It's just lazy analysis and it does not reflect well on a source calling itself "Reason."

  • Tony||

    This. And it's almost noon, might as well start drinking.

  • Tony||

    And I wonder why my fat ass is sexually frustrated! *sigh*

  • sevo||

    bill|3.11.11 @ 12:42PM|#
    "He is saying "America" meaning the country, not the government. He specifically outlines the idea that it is because we are not taxing enough of the higher earners or not collecting from corporations."

    You may be right about conflation of country/governments (I'm not sure; Moore seems to find various meanings for words), but item #3 addresses your second point.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: bill,

    He is saying "America" meaning the country, not the government.


    We're still broke either way, you halfwit.

    He specifically outlines the idea that it is because we are not taxing enough of the higher earners or not collecting from corporations.


    "I am not choking you enough, which is why I am not experiencing the full sexual effect!"
    "I'm... dying!"
    "No, you're not! I can choke you more! You still have breath left!"

    Thus said the deviant.

    Same shit, bill. Same shit.

  • ||

    Go back to school so that you can reason.

  • Bucky||

    echo, echo , hello, hello...

  • ||

    Ok, fair.

    Lets take apart this liberal mythology once and for all (or at least till next week.)

    First, by raising taxes on the "rich", you create a definition problem. Defining "rich" depends on where you are. The COL in DC or LA is higher than in KC. So what is rich in KC may be middle class in DC. KC doesn't want to pay more tax than DC, so they revolt if you define them as rich and DC as not, DC revolts if you use a blanket definition for the whole country.

    At any point, you define "rich", there will be people who make a few bucks less of that amount. Since the goal of a healthy and productive economy is to encourage as many people as possible to lawfully get richer, there will be economic incentives for the group of people below the "rich line" to make more money. Some of these incentives will have serious economic impacts on the rest of us. However, once these near rich get more money, they suddenly find themselves paying astronomical tax rates and being worse off than they were before. They then stop taking on these extra work opportunities. The work stops, and those people who are dependent on the work happening in a timely manner, are in trouble. The employers of the near rich can't hire a guy for a three hour a week job, so the work just doesn't get done.

    Here is real example of how this bites us:

    We had a construction season severely delayed by monsoon like rains. It starts to dry out and the contractors are now 6-8 weeks behind. The lumber yard I worked for was crazy busy. We had OT every day of the week, and I, the poor college student jumped on it. I then noticed that all the full timers didn't. I got my paycheck, and due to all the OT, Uncle Sam bent me over as one of the "rich" that week. Next week, we had lots of OT, but everyone sat on their hands. Houses simply didn't get built. Lots of expensive craftsmen were put out of work all due to Uncle's need to bone my OT pay.

    The taxing of the rich never works as to define rich is not possible, and if you try, you create a step that is too far and negatively impact the economy.

  • Tony||

    Do you really think there are people who refuse to make more money because of taxes? Nobody is put into a lower bracket because of taxes. And nobody would turn down being rich in order to stay middle class with lower taxes.

  • ||

    If you get off at 4 and can then get the kids before daycare closes, and get home in time to enjoy your evening, that is worth something.

    If you work till 6, you get more money, but day care closes at 6 and you pay some of the extra money in late fees. When your paycheck comes and you realize that after taxes are withheld, you have have a tiny amount added to your net, you quickly realize that this extra work is not a benefit to you.

    So Tony, yes, there are a lot of people who are close to the next jump up in the step function that is our tax code. For them, there are real drawbacks to small gains in income. Unless you can get well past the income point where the taxes jump, you feel more tax than income. And most people in that boat are going to choose to avoid the tax and enjoy their free time.

  • crossofcrimson||

    Don't even try explaining marginal utility to him. His head will explode.

  • Britt||

    HA, more fringe economic bullshit from the wacko libertarians.

    Sarcasm aside, I grew up in a neighborhood full of white liberals. We're talking Volvo driving, Stuff White People Like types. One guy on the block ran a consulting business from his home. He had a babysitter that took the baby at noon and returned at 5, and in that time he'd work. Working 25 hours a week he made most of the money (wife worked) too. Needless to say was despised by all the public school teachers and bureaucrats that infested the area. Not only did he work in in jeans and a sweatshirt, but he worked fewer hours and made more money. Much gnashing and wailing could be heard at any neighborhood event about the injustice of it all. Personally I thought he had it made: short hours, nice pay, plenty of family time. Living the dream, through capitalism.

  • ||

    It's the difference between gross income and disposable income. It doesn't matter if my gross income is higher; it's my take-home income that counts. As BRM points out, if the higher tax means that you take home less, you'll probably try to avoid that.

  • Tony||

    But does that actually happen?

  • sevo||

    Tony|3.11.11 @ 5:18PM|#
    "But does that actually happen?"

    sevo|3.11.11 @ 4:36PM|#
    Personally, there have been Decembers where I did exactly that.

    Further, you know no one who's spouse decides it worth more to stay home since working the second job is a wash because of taxes?
    You need to get out more.

  • ||

    Yes, Tony, anyone who has a well paying career makes choices of time versus money every day. The highest marginal tax bracket for a Californian is 35% federal plus 9.3% state tax (plus 1% for a millionaire) plus social security taxes of 12.4%. (It's not savings: 2 court cases say that social security is not guaranteed or a insurance program) Total 57 or 58%. So, why should a doctor stay to work on your injury for 42 cents on the dollar or a business owner hire more people to make more money, when each would rather have time to spend with family, friends and writing blog posts. ;)

  • ||

    But, honestly, would going back to Clinton-era tax rates really make that much difference in people's work behavior? Maybe people would keep a little more money in the business to grow it. Their salaries may be less, but their business would grow, viola, more income without more work.

  • Bucky||

    thus, Obama's new finance czar speaks...

  • sevo||

    Tony|3.11.11 @ 2:00PM|#
    "Do you really think there are people who refuse to make more money because of taxes?"

    Who's your tax attorney, Ronald MacDonald?
    Personally, there have been Decembers where I did exactly that.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    I know PLENTY of government check receivers who refuse to do more work in order to not have a cut in their govt cheese, so go fuck yourself Tony.

  • ||

    Yes, but you are stupid

  • Bucky||

    that's not an argument, that's just abuse!

  • CJ||

    Do you really think there are people who refuse to make more money because of taxes?

    For the first half of last year I made about $14 an hour, when averaging the pay from my normal hours and overtime. Even for as little as I'm taxed, relatively, I still calculated things out and asked to have my hours reduced. One reason why is that the extra money left after taxes was too negligible to be worth the extra time lost.

    The other reason is that I really don't feel like contributing any more than I have to every day to fund the war on drugs, the war on terror, and other government evils. I kind of appreciate being able to look at myself in the mirror. Just a little bit, you know? It's about feeling like you're doing your best from your small corner of the world to live what you believe. Like when environmentalists optimize their energy use and feel good about themselves.

    Now, yeah, most people probably don't think about that angle. But even putting that aside, time vs. money is something that countless people weigh every day and it's no surprise that for many of them "time = money" is a lie and "time > money" is the truth.

    I don't know how you've never met any of these kinds of people who value time over money. I never seem to stop running into them, and that's saying something since I almost never go outside. For example, people with mild lifestyles who never go on spending binges. Health-conscious people who want to minimize workplace stress. Frugal people, the kind who buy old junk cars so they don't have to go into debt for new ones. Parents with small children who want to witness more of them growing up. Young people who believe they should live it up while they still have the energy to. Even lazy people who don't care about much except watching sports on TV. I don't have to "think" there are people who refuse to make more money because of taxes. They're all over my extended family, even if nothing else.

  • ||

    I'm afraid your math is wrong about wanting less hours, unless you are so far below any limits at all.

    But you are arguing something else though. You want to cut fund for the "wars" not just all social programs or unions.

  • Bucky||

    funding
    fify

  • ||

    When people feel they are taxed more while, some rich liberals thru their tax loopholes get away with paying practically nothing then, insults you by saying they do not pay enough taxes---that is just adding insult to injury. "You are only required to pay
    the taxes you owe and not a penny more." Read that and chew on it. You are a turnip if you do not do your best to reduce your taxes while, some rich hypocritical liberal tells you they do not pay enough yet, will not send a check to the Treasury nor get rid of their tax loopholes. Now, if we
    average joes just do enough to pay as little as possible LEGALLY then, these corrupt politicians and their liberal rich elite will see that people are on to their crap!

  • hmmm||

    Do any libertarians really argue that the benefits of tax cuts are that they give government more money? From my understanding, the whole point of reduced taxes is reduced government, period. It's more the republican ethos that reduced taxes would cover costs to for their pet projects (usually national defense and social security).

  • Old Mexican||

    Rre: hmmm,

    Do any libertarians really argue that the benefits of tax cuts are that they give government more money?


    There may be some "libertarians" that argue that. I argue that taxation is theft (the taking of property that does not belong to you, by threat of violence), so bureaucrats that lower tax rates are coming a bit closer to redeeming themselves in the eyes of the future firing squad.

  • Tony||

    Well the Republicans and their guru Grover Norquist have spelled this out in plain English. The goal is not to increase revenues. It's to force budget crises so that we have to cut programs (just the ones they don't like, of course). They're pretty much out in the open about their duplicity, which means that they know that it's a big fat lie that tax cuts increase revenues. If we need evidence, just look at the past 10 years.

  • sevo||

    Tony|3.11.11 @ 2:07PM|#
    "They're pretty much out in the open about their *honesty*,"

    FIFY

  • Ray Pew||

    Well the Republicans and their guru Grover Norquist have spelled this out in plain English. The goal is not to increase revenues. It's to force budget crises so that we have to cut programs (just the ones they don't like, of course). They're pretty much out in the open about their duplicity, which means that they know that it's a big fat lie that tax cuts increase revenues. If we need evidence, just look at the past 10 years.

    Agreed. The Laffer Curve has become a simplistic talking point for the Right. Also, the constant claim that tax cuts increases jobs is mindlessly tossed around as if it's axiomatic. Rothbard argued against Supply-Side economics years ago.

  • ||

    Tax cuts have a huge number of benefits that liar politicians and liberals will deny! That has been proven time and time again! Let me give you a couple. The capital gains taxes which apply to anyone who owns stock which has gone up in value. You DO NOT HAVE TO BE RICH to own stock by the way! Think for a moment what happens when the capital gains tax rate for example is 10% versus say 23%. It does not matter if you are rich or just an average joe. Both of you own substantial capital gains in your taxable account. However, the tax rate has been raised to 23% What are the chances that you or the rich guy will sell your stock so that, you will get taxed? And what are the chances that you will wait for the capital gains rate to be cut and taxes to go down before you sell? I am assuming of course, the stock you hold is in a very stable company like an oil stock for instance. This is pure common sense. When you reduce the capital gains tax, people sell their stocks locking their capital gains, a part of it goes to the Federal and State governments. Yet, you have liberals whining and crying about the rich getting tax cuts or business tax cuts and why no jobs are being created?
    Another is the sales tax, when they raise the sales tax, consumers will buy the items out of state where they may not be subjected to such tax or at a reduced sales tax. So, who really loses? When you reduce sales taxes then, people are more apt to buy something as the sales tax adds to the cost of buying that item. Again this is just plain common sense but, the liberal liar politicians and lackeys will have you believe that raising taxes is the way to go! Don't be like those dumdum liberals and use your head.

  • ||

    Taxes clearly have to be designed smartly so that people's behaviors are relatively not influenced by the tax or any point along the tax curve. Sales taxes are unfortunately veyr regressive since any salary a person makes and does not spend is essentially tax free or at least tax deferred. But none of these considerations negate the need to have at least some taxes. That was a major problem of the constitutional congress. So the question is when is the best time to raise taxes (not during a recession)? And when is the best time to borrow money (during a recession)?

  • Jay S||

    "Nationally, they make on average $14,000 a year more than private-school K-12 teachers, a gap that gets even when benefits are added to the total."

    It sounds like a word is missing after 'even' because I can't believe that private school teachers get $14,000 more in benefits than public school teachers.

  • sevo||

    "It sounds like a word is missing after 'even'...."

    Yep, it's missing:
    "greater"

  • mr doodle||

    Some of my thoughts:
    1. Just because a public sector teacher makes more than a private sector teacher doesn't necessarily mean public sector is overpaid, it could mean private sector is under paid.

    2. The cost of government has gone up but so has everything else. I'm not justifying that it should go up, I'm wondering why everyone bitches about the government but not healthcare, utilities, real estate, cell phone, etc.. Salaries are not moving and costs are going up (ALL COSTS). We have to find a way to control all of them or were are screwed.

    3. The government expenditure model isn't sustainable. Spend it or you lose it doesn't work. I think the government needs to be broken down and rebuilt. Eliminate redundancy. Give the taxpayers the ability to opt in or out of pet projects. Reward efficiency. Measure productivity.

    4. Everyone knows the top 5% control most of the wealth. In fact, according to several sources they are wealthier then they were before, and the middle class is sitting stagnant. There has to be a way to balance this. Republicans blame people on welfare but the people that work aren't getting ahead. Sure electricians, teachers and retail cashiers are easily replaceable but so are CEOs. Taking money away from the middle class (like in Wisconsin) hurts the economy because they spend all of their money. But taxing the rich doesn't hurt them. You do have to build a sustainable and efficient government before you can justify tax increases first though.

  • LibertyMark||

    1) There is no "fair" pay or cosmic "worth" (see above). The scarcity of the skills involved determines what people should be paid. The incestuous government/union relationship distorts this market mechanism.

    2)Healthcare, utilities, and real estate are all heavily regulated and distorted by massive government interference. Thus, of course their prices go up. Your other example is completly wrong. Cellphones have come down in price massively, one reason being that it is very lightly regulated.

    3)Make government better, make it more efficient, tweak around the edges, yada, yada, yada. This has never worked and it won't ever work. You need to change your philosophy of what you expect the government to do, which needs to be much less.

    4) This all just mush-brained soft liberalism. One concrete thing: it cannot possibly be true that it is anywhere near as easy to replace a CEO as it is a teacher. If that were so, CEOs would be making $70,000 a year.

  • ||

    To point #2: Everyone here bitches about the government because they are the ones with the guns.

    To point #4: The top 5% also pay an ass load of the taxes the government takes in. And a teacher in WI making 100k is not fucking middle class.

  • crossofcrimson||

    "1. Just because a public sector teacher makes more than a private sector teacher doesn't necessarily mean public sector is overpaid, it could mean private sector is under paid."

    Interestingly, the reason that private sector teachers are paid less could have a lot to do with the fact that public education is free (at the margin of course). Actually, to the extent that people pay what they do to send their children to private schools when public ones are ostensibly free should say quite a bit about the quality of public education.

    That being said, if we're putting aside how public services already offset their counterparts in the private sector, I think we can reliably say that it's probably not a good bet to place the amount that government pays for something as being more accurate than the actual market-price of the commodity...especially when that commodity is labor.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    1. Just because a public sector teacher makes more than a private sector teacher doesn't necessarily mean public sector is overpaid, it could mean private sector is under paid.

    If that were the case, they'd have a difficult time filling jobs, wouldn't they?

  • georgiagirl||

    I am a teacher in a public school. In my experience, private schools often hire teachers who were unable to find jobs in the public schools (so what does that say about the quality of those teachers?) The private schools usually have the cream of the crop students whose parents are paying for them to go to the school, so they are heavily invested in the students doing well. In the public schools, anyone who walks in the door must be educated. We can't turn them away, and the parents are often NOT interested in what they can do to help the students.

    Therefore, it is really hard to compare success rates between public and private schools.

    That being said, I support vouchers that would allow parents to choose schools. I'm an excellent teacher in an excellent school, so I am not worried.

  • mgd||

    You have a valid point that private school students tend to have parents that are more actively interested in their children's education, so it is difficult to compare the two.

    However, I would posit that the inability of potential teachers to find jobs in public schools says nothing about those individuals' quality. Public schools are not known for hiring or retaining based on teacher ability. When a prospective teacher cannot find a job in a public school, it's because many of the positions are taken up by mediocrities (or worse) with tenure.

    Further, I have also known excellent teachers who have finally found the bullshit in public schools intolerable and have voluntarily left to ply their trade in private schools--the pay cut was worth it to get sanity and parental involvement.

  • mr doodle||

    the middle class keeps the economy going. we spend a larger portion of our income, keeping the economy going. The rich do not. it's like the game of monopoly, you have redistribute the wealth or one person ends up with all the money and the game is over.

  • LibertyMark||

    Do you understand the difference between "spending" money on dishwashers and "investing" money in the dishwasher factory?

  • mr doodle||

    Yes. But you can still do both. It doesn't have to be one or the other. If we were to maximize efficiency and automate everything then what is going to happen to all of the lower and middle class people? We can only get so far in life selling cheeseburgers to one another.

  • Ray Pew||

    If we were to maximize efficiency and automate everything then what is going to happen to all of the lower and middle class people?

    Who can hypothesize the circumstances of such an implausible scenario? Increases in productivity allow for labor to divert to new ventures. And there is no reason to believe that man has exhausted all of his ideas.

  • ||

    No. Bad liberal! No brie for you. If you look at the nature of business, you need venture capital (yours or other people's) to develop your product, perfect it's manufacture, distribution, and sales processes. You can't sell stock in vapor. You can sell stock in a company with a proven product and financials.

    To get to the point where stock (and thus middle class people can invest) sales can happen, you first need the rich to fund these new innovations.

    When we have experienced a retreat from this functio by the rich, we have seen a decline in innovation, both globally and secularly.

    Do the ultimate liberal wet dream and "redistribute" wealth, and get ready to see it all over again.

    Also, if you do this, please take some time to figure out how to define who is rich without simultaneously defining who is almost rich and creating a step function in the income taxes. Something that even JFK knew was economically damaging.

    Really, your DNA will not unravel if you read a WSJ once in a while.

  • mr doodle||

    I agree there has to be a balance between investment and purchasing power for that product. But right now I think that balance is tilted the wrong way. If you have 100 investors and 1 customer can you have a sustainable business? No. If you have 100 customers and 1 investor can you have a sustainable business? Yes.

  • paloma||

    These numbers make no sense. If the 1 customer is, say, Bill Gates, yes, you could sustain the business. If you have 100 customers who have no money, or want to spend it on something else, then no, not sustainable.

  • ||

    Yes, that's why monarchies actually work better than this trickle-down nonsense you guys smoke. How about develop an environment that protects ability of the hundred customers to earn money and encourages them to invest when they can. You don't have to be extreme.

  • Smoove||

    "The economy doesn't grow because you spend money, you spend money because the economy grows."

  • mr doodle||

    If the middle class tightened their belts, decreased un-needed expenses (cell phones, cable, etc.), decreased their monthly expenses (rented vs. bought), and stopped contributing to retirement accounts and investment accounts, what would happen to the economy?

    what would be worse: middle class stop spending or the upper class top investing?

  • sevo||

    mr doodle|3.11.11 @ 3:47PM|#
    "what would be worse: middle class stop spending or the upper class top investing?"

    The first. Without production, there's nothing to buy.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    I've never had a job given to me by a middle class spender, but every job I ever had (except as a teacher at a university) was given to me by upper class investor.

    So you're saying we should get rid of those who create jobs for those that spend money, in lieu of those that spend money.

    Do you see how stupid you are?

  • ||

    First, how was your teaching job different? The university (your boss, who hired you) requires students (the middle class spenders) to be interested in your class if they are going to hire you.

    You are being stupid to think that a business can be successful in the long-term without demand from customers. That is, of course, they are conducting business fairly and honestly and not colluding with our elected officials, or defrauding their customers.

    On the other hand, if there are people who want a service that is not available, eventually someone provides it and starts a business. That's how it worked for all of civilization before BIG business decided who these "job creators" were. Mom-and-pop bookstores were a healthy example of this before Borders, Walmart, Target, and Amazon came around.

  • WTF||

    mr doodle|3.11.11 @ 2:10PM|#
    the middle classrich keeps the economy going. we spend a larger portion of our income,provide jobs keeping the economy going. The richpoor do not. it's like the game of monopoly, you have to redistribute the wealthcreate value with your properties or one personsomeone else who has ends up with all the money and the game is overwins.

  • sevo||

    mr doodle|3.11.11 @ 2:10PM|#
    "the middle class keeps the economy going. we spend a larger portion of our income, keeping the economy going. The rich do not."
    Bull.......................
    shit.

    "it's like the game of monopoly, you have redistribute the wealth or one person ends up with all the money and the game is over."
    Uh, some of us have graduated from high school and can discern the difference between reality and a board game. You should try it.

  • crossofcrimson||

    Yes...it's only middle-class consumption that keeps the economy going. You see, once consumers spend that dollar it goes to rich fat-cats (who may or may not be popular cartoon ducks with multiple nephews), and those fat-cats summarily roll the dollars up tightly and smoke them one buy one. MWAHAHAHA!

  • crossofcrimson||

    Argh! That should read "by" not "buy"

  • Ray Pew||

    the middle class keeps the economy going. we spend a larger portion of our income, keeping the economy going. The rich do not.

    This is pure nonsense. ALL individuals make the economy work; rich to poor. The spending of income does not support an economy anymore than just producing goods. Both occur.

    it's like the game of monopoly, you have redistribute the wealth or one person ends up with all the money and the game is over.

    How can one person, or even a few people, get ALL the money? Everyone else would have to become complete slaves and work for free, at which point, what does ALL the money even buy? Such arguments are reductio ad absurdums that have no basis in reality.

  • ||

    But this, unfortunately, is how many people in this country would like it to be. They would much rather have their own countrymen work for slave wages (after all, they probably are not fully, 100% human - perhaps 3/5ths) and turn America in to a 3rd world country.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    the middle class keeps the economy going. we spend a larger portion of our income, keeping the economy going. The rich do not.

    Which is beside the point (I wonder what income level you consider "rich," by the way, and what methodology you employed to determine that). Progressives point to the mid-20th century, when unions were at their peak and income was more evenly distributed, as the best time in America. What they fail to understand is that when corporations determined that the union model was too expensive for them to maintain, they moved their operations overseas or shut down completely. Unions were powerless to stop it. The airline and automobile industries are noted for their high-union workforces, and they have to get bailed out time after time after time by the federal government.

    How productive and strong has the textile industry in North Carolina been since Norma Rae inspired the workers there to unionize? Is it still a major contributor to the economy, or has it gone the way of most union-dominated industries in this country?

    There needs to be a fundamental paradigm shift by the left in what a sustainable economy is like--their 20th century model is gone and it is not coming back.

  • ||

    First, it has reduced influence of money in elections and with the people that are elected.

    Second, it needs to become more protectionist towards its own resources which includes its jobs. So called free-trade is not free, and every job exported overseas hurts our economy, that practice should be taxed appropriately.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    You are simplistic and clueless.

    Show me some math, chump.

  • ||

    Just me or does Moore look just like a clucking chicken?

  • ||

    To Ice Trey:

    I looked at the CAFR at the link you provided. Admittedly I did not read every page but on p. 22 the report says WI has $34.1bn in assets and $22.4bn in liabilities. Further, the report indicates that more than 152.6% of WI's net assets are restricted.

    where did you get your figures?

  • sevo||

    Ice Trey has no figures. Ice Trey cited a whacko site that more or less claims that so long as a government has assets (like roads and bridges), it isn't "broke".
    Ice Tray and reality aren't on speaking terms.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    That said, selling those assets to private holders would be a GREAT idea.

    Sell those bridges, roads, and schools to private companies to run. Private companies who can tell public unions to go fuck themselves.

  • sevo||

    mad libertarian guy|3.12.11 @ 12:13AM|#
    "That said, selling those assets to private holders would be a GREAT idea.
    Sell those bridges, roads, and schools to private companies to run. Private companies who can tell public unions to go fuck themselves."

    I couldn't agree more, but I'll bet those are 'unintended consequences' to our whacko friend's claim.

  • ||

    Michael Moore is a splendid example of the results of stuffing your face to get fit.

    -jcr

  • Chad||

    You are wrong on all three points Nick.

    First, we ain't broke. We are, or are among, the richest nation(s) on earth, depending on your measure. Our *governments* are broke because we charge an overall tax rate in the bottom 20% of the OECD.

    Second, "public employees" are not overpaid. Some are, some aren't, and good analyses are hard to come by. Your USA Today/BEA citation is completely weak sauce, as it only controls for generic job field and nothing else. If you think you can learn much from it, you don't understand statistics. In general, the evidence suggests that on balance public employees are overpaid, but certainly not all of them.

    Third, you repeat the idiotic "we can only collect 19-20% of GDP" myth, which is so stupidly easy to refute that I'll give you the *facepalm* of the day award for repeating it. There are many nations which prove your theory wrong, and have been doing so for decades. Our tax/GDP ratio has stayed fairly constant over the last half century as FICA taxes have ratcheted up while corporate and income taxes have ratcheted down by a similar amount. That's all there is to it, really.

  • ||

    I'll say it one more time,the workers in the private sector need to get on board and demand higher wages and benefits from their employers if they feel they are being short changed.Don't believe that the Waltons,the Kochs, and the Buffetts of the world are broke.We can all do this together.We are all workers.Demand a better life for your families.Moore was right.A sleeping Giant has awakened.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    I'll say it one more time,the workers in the private sector need to get on board and demand higher wages and benefits from their employers if they feel they are being short changed

    You must have been asleep the last 35+ years, Rip Van Winkle.

    Pull out your history book and tell me what happened when corporations felt that the union model was no longer sustainable. Better yet, I'll tell you--they shut down, or moved overseas.

    What were the unions able to do about it? NOTHING. Not a goddamn thing. They won several battles and lost the war.

    Tell me how the North Carolina textile industry is doing since "Norma Rae" unionized the factories. Is it still powerful and vibrant, providing incomes and commercial growth to the state? Or is it an irrelevancy by now?

    How are the unionized mill towns in the Northeast and Midwest doing these days?

    "Organize"--spare me. There's over 6 billion people in the world, most of whom are more than happy to work for the kind of wages most Americans would spit on. Do you honestly believe corporations would give a shit if everyone in the country demanded collective bargaining? They'd pick up and move on, and there wouldn't be a damn thing anyone could do about it.

    The private sector union model is dead--the numbers ought to be evidence enough of that for you. The public sector unions are next.

    You're a deluded fool who thought Marx was right. Reality is about to prove both of you wrong.

  • ||

    Everyone knows that big business could care shit about our country, but there still seams to be lots of fools like you that support them.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Plenty of dipshits like you, Ryan, are in complete denial of reality.

    And please stop pretending that you actually give a crap about "our country". Progressives have had a hard-on for eliminating the concept of national sovereignty worldwide for decades.

  • Dumbass||

    "We can all do this together"

    No we can't because we hate you and your "union solves everything" cheer leading. Hopefully this is a joke and I've been exposed to too many union tools to find it funny.

    I don't DEMAND a better life for myself or my family from anyone but myself, and I am certainly against creating a mob to bully someone who provides me an opportunity to support myself and my family.

    and for the love of god put some fucking spaces after your periods

  • ||

    Its a good thing you weren't trying to make a living 100 years ago, when such demands were needed.

  • sevo||

    rysl|3.16.11 @ 2:24AM|#
    "paste from union web site"

    What an ignoramus; most of us have read history instead of propaganda.

  • ||

    Ok, you are a union fan. Someone has to be, otherwise there would be no need for union halls.

    Unions made a serious strategic error back in the the sixties when they emphasized salary raises over sustainable employment for their members. This created a process of contract negotiations that bumped salaries into ranges that became fundable in only the best economic conditions. The outcome was layoffs and factory closings once conditions stopped being so rosey. This is why so many sectors of our manufacturing base are now in Right to Work states.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Higher wages (and the higher prices that come with them)? Where does your plan leave the self-employed, the retired?

  • ||

    Company towns,serfdom and slavery are the American Way.Down with unions!!!

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    At least we know you're not capable of making an argument outside of chanting mindless slogans.

  • Thomas O.||

    What I would like to know is... what happens when we're no longer able to cover the interest on the national debt (which I wouldn't be surprised if it was half the federal budget by now)? It'd probably be like trying to pay down a credit card by taking a cash advance on the same card.

  • Mike Laursen||

    We'll always be able to pay the interest. We can "print" money for that. The problem is when we go looking for folks to buy our debt securities and nobody wants to buy them.

  • ||

    IF the Big Hatchet came out in D.C. and the workforce of all bureaucracies and commissions were to be downsized by 75%, who in the bureaucratic chain-of-command would issue the order for the Pink Slips? I'm serious. How do bureaucrats get fired and who does the deed?

  • ||

    Japan is now in its THIRD lost decade. Its recession started in 1990.

  • ||

    Great writing!! If I can understand the point, then it really is that simple. Our current crop of politicians and policy makers are failing us at every turn. We as citizens of the greatest nation on the earth need to demand better. I really think Obama has decided that HIS healtcare plan will be his legacy, and all other concerns be dammed!! One man's ego is killing my childrens future. I knew from the beginning that I did not trust our president, but now, I just see him as a extremely dangerous megalomaniac. America needs to sever the serpent at the head. 2012 cannot come quickly enough!

  • ||

    The Kochtopus is on the attack again spewing the usual lies. For a libertarian rag, you sure don't have much faith in the markets. The inflation adjusted 10 year treasury is currently yielding 1%. We are not broke. Also, people leave the public sector for the private sector to get paid more. the suggestion that public sector employees are paid more lead me to believe you have never held a job and are a high school kid writing this rubbish from your parents basement.

  • sevo||

    joe grep|3.12.11 @ 9:10PM|#
    "...We are not broke..."

    Read that somewhere, did you, dipshit?

  • ||

    And your rubbish leads me to believe that you're reading blogs while on the clock for the government, all the while thinking of all that extra private sector cash you could be making if only you weren't such a selfless public servant. The only people who leave the public sector to make more in the private sector are 1) those rare few who couldn't take the stultifying effect of government work and become self-employed or 2) ex-politicians who become lobbyists or corporate board members, selling access to & influence on the levers of government. Neither group is large enough to be representative. Most government workers stay government workers forever because, their kvetching notwithstanding, they know they'd fare worse or have to work harder in the private sector.

  • Jack Reacher||

    No high school kid ever had a leather jacket half as cool as Gillespie's. And I've missed that flood of bus drivers, high school counselors, DMV clerks, and diversity czars rushing off to grab big paychecks in the private sector.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Please connect the dots in your argument. The ten year Treasury rate is an all-important indicator that we're solvent because ...

  • ||

    PS - WE CAN TAX OUR WAY OUT OF THIS! In 2000, income tax revenue was 1.3 trillion dollars with GDP of 9.8 trillion. In 2010, income tax revenue was 1.1 trillion dollars with GDP of 14.5 trillion. The economy is 47% larger yet income tax revenue is more than 10% lower. Spending in 2010 was 23.8% of GDP which is about the same as Reagan spent in 1983 (23.5% of GDP). We can certainly raise tax revenue of 23.8% of GDP to say otherwise is a lie. YOU LIE!

  • sevo||

    joe grep|3.12.11 @ 9:13PM|#
    "PS - WE CAN TAX OUR WAY OUT OF THIS!"

    Read that somewhere, did you, dipshit?

  • ||

    23.8% of GDP almost sounds reasonable until you remember that that's only federal spending. People (at least the productive ones) also pay state income taxes, city income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, gas taxes, phone taxes & various user fees. Raising federal tax revenue to 23.8% of GDP would require roughly a 75% increase in federal tax revenue. That's an extra roughly $5,300 from every man, woman and child in America. I doubt you'd want to extract another $21,000 from every family of four, though. You'd undoubtedly prefer to go after "millionaires & billionaires", as Obama says. Whenever libs say they want to tax billionaires, they always seem to start by taxing income around $150,000. Problem is, between state, federal, medicare tax & phase out of deductions, the current effective tax rate is already close to 50%. Any higher and you kill off all incentive to open or expand a business. The parasite (government) will kill the host. We can't have an entire society consisting of employees of the Department of Motor Vehicles.

  • ||

    You are ignorant and dishonest.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    And you can't do basic math to save your life.

    No wonder you love Tony's arguments so much.

  • mgd||

    And you can't do basic math to save your life.
    Ever notice that rysl's constant rejoinder to math arguments is a simple ad hominem? With the facts right there to dispute, why doesn't he dispute them?

  • ||

    See http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/total_spending

    2011 total government spending: $6.16 trillion. 2011 GDP: $15.079 trillion.

    Gov't spending is 40.85% of the economy. Total tax revenue is roughly 30% of GDP. I don't know if that makes us "broke". I suppose we could raise taxes by 1/3. Most people would probably think that government spending 41% of the total economy is too much.

  • ||

    This is easy to fix.

    Replace the 15.3% payroll tax which funds SS and MC with an 8.5% national sales tax (revenue neutral). This gives every person with a job a 15.3% raise and makes unemployed people 15.3% cheaper to hire.

    Now dedicate 6.5% of the new sales tax to SS, and stipulate that it must live within that revenue stream. End SS as an open ended entitlement.

    Take the remaining 2% and dedicate it to Medicare. So the same thing. Stipulate that it must live within that revenue stream. Two entitlements gone, one to go.

    Cancel Medicaid. Take the money the Federal government spends on it and make it part of the discretionary budget. Turn that money over to the States, and let them use it as they see fit to take care of their poorest citizens.

    We just fixed all three entitlement programs. We replaced a tax on employment with a tax on consumption. And we raised taxes on no one.

  • ||

    If we could just stipulate that SS & Medicare stay within their revenue streams, we'd have done it already. Unfortunately old people like their welfare and don't want to give it up. Besides, your plan does nothing about the current $1.6 trillion deficit.

  • ||

    Of course, everything is now 8.5% more expensive, so its only a 6.8% difference. And this scheme gives every person with a job a 6.8% raise OR makes unemployed people 6.8% cheaper to hire. You can really advocate for just one or the other, not both. As for the revenue stream, now everyone will have to hope and pray that the banks really don't crash the system, because the drop in consumption will devastate both. Or maybe thats what you want. Finally, what does moving medicare out of federal hands accomplish? Its still the same amount or money. Everyone can easily see that it would not be used properly in some states.

  • ||

    LOL, it wont work! Sounds good the issue here is everyone is blaming the Federal Government. But even in good times many states ran shady deals and made bad business decisions and they complain and ask for assistance from the same Federal Government they are complaining about! I think states need to be required to balance their budgets each you and you would see the Federal Government would have far more funds available!

  • sevo||

    Iska Waran|3.12.11 @ 10:39PM|#
    "Unfortunately old people like their welfare and don't want to give it up..."

    Hey, hey! Watch it there!
    As an old fart, I'd give it (them) up right now, if the government also stopped taxing for it and fired all those bureaucrats the same time I said "STOP!"

  • ||

    The public sector unions exercise a choke-hold over governmental tax monies, by forging an alliance with elected representives, resulting in a conspiracy against "We-the-People"

    Government ceases being our representive, turning instead into the enforcement arm of governmental unions, and the Statis structure; "back-dooring" us into a soft tyranny.

    Once firmly established the unions become meaningless and are discarded by a now all powerful State.

    There is more at stake here than just Balanced Budgets...

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  • ||

    After watching the astro turf protestors in Wi. I have to figure this country and our constitution are gone. Everyone in this country has an attitude of don't pop my baloon. The class warfare attitude brought about the democrats and the union leaders of this country aim to divide americans. We have to break this cycle or nothing will be accomplished.

  • ||

    Oh come on. We are not out of money and its a lie to say so. However, we can't just tax our way out of it and the public sector is overpaid IF we stay on the same course. However, there is an obvious fix for both the taxing and the overpayment. Inflate our way out of it. Hyperinflation will definitely solve the tax issue and if we keep public sector wages where they are without adjusting for inflation, of course problem solved.

    Then again, not sure anyone in their right mind thinks hyperinflation is a good idea. S***, we really are scr****!

  • ||

    You left out the other essential fact - we knew this was coming decades ago, and our political class could not (still can not) face it.

  • Dr Tom||

    The Federal and most state governments may be broke, but the nation is not broke. There is plenty of money is the hands of the upper middle class and rich persons in this country. The gap between the rich and the poor is greater than at any time since the Gilded Age of the 1880s. The gap began to enlarge when tje JFK administration started the lowering of the upper income tax rates, a trend that continuew until today. If we went back to the rates of the Eisenhower Administration the government could finally dig its way out.
    By the way, I count my self in the upper middle class, and I could easily pay more taxes and the rich could pay much more. And please don't call this Class Warfare. It's paying back to the people and to the country that we're so fortunate to be living in. Yes, I'm not afraid to say it - Paying taxes is patiotic.

  • ||

    Perhaps you missed this part of the article:

    "Between 2002 and 2007, for instance, state governments increased revenues by about 81 percent, or about four times faster than price inflation and population growth. Had the states kept their outlays constant while allowing for inflation and population growth, they would have been sitting on $2 trillion in reserves when the recession hit. Instead, they were broke heading into the recession and are in even worse position now. When governments get more money coming in, they don't pay off debt - they start new programs, increase existing ones, and kick fiscal responsibility down the road a bit more"

  • ||

    Much of this were due to the unfunded mandates from No Child Left Behind.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Maybe you should provide proof of your own claims first.

  • Mike Laursen||

    That sure sounds like Class Warfare you're advocating there, buddy.

  • sevo||

    Dr Tom|3.14.11 @ 7:14PM|#
    "...By the way, I count my self in the upper middle class, and I could easily pay more taxes..."

    Happy to hear you volunteered. You can pay my taxes any time you please.

  • ||

    This shows your patriotism

  • sevo||

    rysl|3.16.11 @ 2:53AM|#
    "This shows your patriotism"

    Uh, just in case you missed the memo, taxes /= "patriotism".

  • ||

    Woo-hoo! Cloward-Piven in 2012!

  • EconRob||

    What part of "taking all the money (not just income) of the wealthy does not cover one year of deficit" do you not understand.

    We are spending more than we have? Do you understand when your expenses exceed not only your income but your balance sheet you have spending problem?

  • TheTops||

    What a surprise that this right wing talking point is right next to the news on google. I wonder how much money it took to get it there? There is no such thing as a free market, it is a fantasy that you use to convince the middle class that it's ok to let corporations rule their lives because government is bad, when in fact government is supposed to be of the people and corporations subservient to us. If you really believe in this bullshit, I feel sorry for you. If you know that it is bullshit, please cut the crap.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    you use to convince the middle class that it's ok to let corporations rule their lives because government is bad, when in fact government is supposed to be of the people and corporations subservient to us.

    You seem to have a fetish for the master/slave paradigm of governance. Perhaps you should rethink this before condescending to lecture anyone about civics.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Google automatically selects the articles to spotlight based on how much attention they have been getting.

  • sevo||

    TheTops|3.14.11 @ 11:35PM|#
    "What a surprise that this right wing talking point is right next to the news on google."

    What a surprise a brain-dead asshole shows up to propose a conspiracy!

  • ||

    Nicely said

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  • ||

    As an educator both in public and private settings, your comparison to teachers pay in each setting is valid only in that they are both called teachers. There are qualification standards in place in the public sector and while there are qualified people in the private arena, administrators consider themselves lucky to be able to attract them. But more importantly, public schools have to take everybody and in large numbers, private schools select students and keep paying parents happy by keeping class sizes small. Try your hand at 30 kindergartners or for that matter 150-180 junior high students per day then pass judgment.

  • sevo||

    Gary Barr|3.15.11 @ 5:35AM|#
    "...There are qualification standards in place in the public sector..."

    Yes, that's called a 'protection racket' among those who can read.

    "Try your hand at 30 kindergartners or for that matter 150-180 junior high students per day then pass judgment."
    Try your hand at *earning* a living, then pass judgment.
    Sleazy claims of saint-hood for those who waste time in a class room is tired.

  • ||

    Good article, thanks. One statistic stumps me.....if tax revenues are sitting at 14.4% of GDP, doesn't that leave room for a 20% tax increase, to get the percentage to 18% or so of GDP?

  • Mike Laursen||

    Wow, this article just made it into the Google News "Spotlight" list! Good writin', Gillespie!

  • G2||

    I love this site! How many bananas does it cost to keep Tony coming around day after day? I've never seen anyone come for this kind of abuse and not get paid for it.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Ryan Littlefield seems to want to be the next one to step up to the plate. He's certainly got big, fat clown shoes to fill.

  • ||

    Duh... tax the rich, don't take the working class down with you!

  • ||

    You lose credibility when you cannot spell the president's name.

  • ||

    During Japan's "lost decade(s)" the unemployment rate has averaged 3%, all its citizens have had health care coverage and its currency has appreciated. We Americans can only dream of that ...

  • Learned||

    I am glad this author feels that the private school wages are acceptable to encouraging the brightest 1/3 of graduates to go into the teaching profession.

  • ||

    Yeah, right public sector is not overpaid! May of the workers that are working for the public sector are way over qualified for public sector jobs. In addition, no one wanted public sector jobs until private sector started firing everyone and laying off.

  • ||

    Apparently Mr. Gillespie, it is YOU that does not "get it". Mr. Moore explained quite clearly that it is the 400 richest persons within the US borders that have more than their share of the wealth, and the government is helping them steal from the poor under the guise of "we are broke". If we are, it is because these few have stolen all of the wealth.

  • mgd||

    Are you really stupid enough to believe what you just said?

    The total net worth of all of America's billionaires (of which there are about 400) is about $1.3 trillion. That's net worth, not income. So if you completely confiscated not just all their annual income, but every single asset, all they owned, and left them completely penniless, you might feel better and all smug about putting them some fucking social justice--but you wouldn't even have enough to cover this year's deficit, let alone next year's.

    And please give one single example of a rich person stealing from a poor person, or shut the fuck up.

  • sevo||

    realaverageamerican|3.16.11 @ 1:04PM|#
    "...it is the 400 richest persons within the US borders that have more than their share of the wealth,..."

    Only a shithead would presume to claim what someone's share of wealth is, right, shithead?

  • uuUU Betcha!||

    Long time libertarian...first time commenter.

    I agree with the main points of this article: we're broke, public-sector employees are paid too much, and we can't tax our way out of this.

    What I don't understand is, why aren't all of you aggressively hunting down Hank Paulson and his economic coup that swept away our countries wealth as illegally as it gets?

    Ron Paul gets it...why are y'all so far behind? The unions are hurting us, but what is KILLING US are the organized criminals at the Fed Reserve, in DC, and in the big financial institutions around the world.

    Wisconsin is a tasty distraction to keep you all focused on something besides the REAL PROBLEM.

  • GXE||

    And we spend way too much money on the military, lets cut some of that pork

  • ||

    Thank you u.s.a.! Some people want to be mean. Some want to be greedy. This is not disney. Notice that multibillionaires have money and a restaurant and a product. Owns one 1 store and a display area at a different store. Scientificly is that zero jobs are going to happen with that is that multibillionaires are allowed to be hoggish. In my small town there is industrial restaurants and dirty back street bar. And low budget businesses. So any fun besides christians church not mean mennonite. Be security for helpful caring businessman. Supposed to be cool music tablecloth tables chairs and slightly dim lights,products and cool mix music not evilistic. D and busters in ny and it is the Only? Secretly stop evil. How about shorts with double layer that will not show your peeni?Stop cellblock and us politicians from stoping christiansitty and caring blogs and phone calls. Annc lil sex toy for billionaire.Not fighter. Rev 12:9kjvz. col 3:11kjvz. gal 3:3kjvz.Righteoussness not self.anew genetics anew person!!

  • ||

    I see you limit the whole problem to 3 elements. You over simplify. How about the 15-30 million illegals with children that get SS, schools, medical, etc. Don't tell me they pay taxes when most are in the cash under ground economy. Or, when they do get a check, they claim 23 dependents and then disappear when questioned and rotate through jobs. I know, they pay tax on the phone bill, etc., but I pay those AND Fed. and State tax too. How about a war where we have no purpose? We can't even get cheap oil for fighting their war or even a dependable supply. The plan is to tax money from people with pensions where the vast majority are small pensions, $25,000. A few outrageous examples are given of 6 figures (judges, University administrators, etc.). That might be true, but those same people are NOT members of a union. Administration and management are never in unions, but are in the same retirement system. Most prudent people retire and expect to live within their income and too old to go back to work, if they could find a job. All based on promises from the state that encouraged retirement as late as 2007. Now tell grandpa that they will foreclose on his rocking chair. People that were interested in money, went to the private sector and laughed at public union people. But the private sector fell so far, there is now pension envy. Think back when you were looking for a career. Did teaching look that good?

  • DVDSoft||

    I agree with the main points of this article: we're broke, public-sector employees are paid too much, and we can't tax our way out of this.
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  • sophie||

    Film is a different medium than print. Rather than characters making speeches, Rand's philosophy ought to be shown via the characters doing something interesting.

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  • LifeStrategies||

    As Dan Hannan, Conservative MEP for South East England, says:

    "The Keynesian thinking that dominates our governments, central banks and universities flies in the face of common sense. Most of us can see that, when you're in debt, the answer is to spend less, not more. Most of us understand that you can't carry on consuming without producing anything, at least not in the long term. Most of us grasp that, when inflation devalues the coin in which we're paid, we've been ripped off. You need to be an economist or a politician not to see these things ... You don't see how governments can borrow their way out of debt? You're just revealing your ignorance! You've had to cut back on your own spending, and you think the public sector ought to do the same? You know nothing about economics! ... Still, I can't help asking: if they're so bloody clever, how did they get us into this mess?"

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