Tax Hike Would Accomplish Nothing

President Barack Obama's obsession with ending Bush-era tax cuts makes no sense as either policy or politics.

Is there a "fairness" factory somewhere out in Middle America producing self-sustaining jobs? If not, President Barack Obama's obsession with ending Bush-era tax cuts makes no sense as either policy or politics.

To begin with, Obama -- and nearly all media coverage of the decade-old tax cuts -- continues to discuss the "cost" of tax cuts as if Washington had first dibs on your money. Is the president arguing that the base line of spending includes all wealth and that anything the Internal Revenue Service doesn't take is something we have to "pay" for? If not, then government spending is the only thing that really costs us. Sometimes the cost is worthwhile; mostly it isn't.

But the president says that doing away with the Bush tax cuts "isn't about taxing job creators; this is about helping job creators." But how would a tax hike on the rich do anything to propel economic growth? Are you cutting $50 checks for the rest of us? Would the tax increase have any impact in bringing down the deficit, or would it help alleviate the $15 trillion debt and put off our impending doom by a few minutes?

Or would it bring the opposite? Would revenue shrink, as it often does when you raise taxes? According to The Wall Street Journal, Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that in 2013, approximately 940,000 taxpayers will have enough business income to meet the tax threshold that Obama deems wealthy.

Moreover, if the $80 billion yearly "cost" (that is, if tax receipts don't drop after a tax hike) is such a drag on the economy, why doesn't the president match it with $80 billion in spending cuts? If the Bush tax cuts "cost" us so much, what is one to make of the president's proposed budget, which would add $6.4 trillion in deficits between 2013 and 2022, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office?

You may remember an astute observation from the president a couple of years back when he said, "The last thing you want to do is to raise taxes in the middle of a recession, because that would just ... take more demand out of the economy and put businesses in a further hole." So as policy, Obama's plan is at best irrelevant and at worst a job killer.

What does all this mean politically? Obama clearly believes that class warfare is a winner. But when Mitch McConnell asked the Senate to vote on Obama's tax hike plan this week, he was rebuffed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid mere days after the president claimed that his plan is a vital piece of the recovery.

In fact, if the House or Senate Republicans pushed forward a vote to extend all Bush-era tax cuts, it would likely put Democrats in an even tougher position. They would have to choose between extending a decade-old lower tax rate that everyone is accustomed to in defiance of the president and holding out to institute an effective rate hike in a terrible economy.

And do you remember when the Bush tax cuts only benefited the rich? This point was repeated ad infinitum for years by nearly every Democrat in nearly every interview. I can't remember a single Democratic candidate arguing that "the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans" are in any way beneficial for the middle class. Yet today the president is running around claiming he's generously extending something that for years we were told didn't really exist.

David Harsanyi is a columnist and senior reporter at Human Events. Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi.

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  • ||

    Tonybait

  • fish||

    Isn't that "TonyBate"?

  • Gladstone||

    Oh guy that Obama smirk is so annoying. Does that make me a KKKer?

  • The Hammer||

    Not if you vote for him.

  • Keith3D||

    It's a symbolic fight, just like when Republicans demand that the exponentially-growing budget be limited to exponential minus some meaningless adjustment.

    The annoying part is how they ignore the fact that Bush's tax cuts were across the board and made the tax code the most progressive it has ever been. But of course Obama would never repeal the cuts on the lower brackets, where close to half the population pays nothing. A compromise was made and now they want to undo only half of it and call that "fairness".

  • ||

    Just wait till Tony comes in to disagree with Harsanyi. He'll be all "We need to repeal the tax cuts cause they're the single greatest drag on the economy" or some such. Never acknowledging the fact that the majority of the "lost" revenue comes from the poor and middle class.

  • wareagle||

    they ignore the fact that Bush's tax cuts were across the board

    exactly, but buoyed by the knowledge that most Americans went to public schools, the left fixates on cuts in dollar amounts. A 10% rate cut for someone making 1 million is going to be larger, in dollar terms, than for someone making 50K.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    My complaint about Dumbya is not that he cut taxes but that he drastically increased spending at the same time.

    $1.8 trillion to $3.5 trillion is disgraceful.

  • ||

    Yep, it was pretty fucking retarded.

  • Generic Stranger||

    That may be the first sensible thing I've seen you say.

  • Killazontherun||

    You got snookered. Bushpig is still an asshole for the 2.9 trillion in spending, a far higher growth rate than under his predecessor, but Buttplug is trying to lay the blame for 700+ billion Obama signed into law at Bushpig's feet.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Bullshit. CBO Jan 2009 right on page 15.

    $3.54 trillion. Again - Jan 8, 2009 while Bush was still president.

    http://www.cbo.gov/sites/defau.....timony.pdf

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    page 16 rather,

    under "2009 outlays"

  • Drake||

    Which team took over Congress in 2007? I despise Bush for not vetoing all the horseshit they sent his way.

  • Generic Stranger||

    You got snookered.

    Well, I did say "may".

  • #||

    and 2009 was also not a normal budget year due to the crisis. Obama and congress instantly jacked up 2009 spending the second they were in office (stimulus, discretionary spending boost, SChip expansion, food stamp expansion, gutting welfare reform, etc). The 2009 budget year can not be placed all at the feet of Bush - that was a two man tag team effort.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Well, shrike, if it was wrong for Bush to increase spending, then it's wrong for Obama to increase it as well.

    Considering Obama extended the Bush tax cuts, y'know.

  • Drake||

    And Senator Obama voted in favor of much of that Bush spending, when he bothered to show up.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    How racist of you to say that, Drake.

  • ||

    Completely false. A tax hike would truly accomplish something. More thievery by The Alliance.

  • Drake||

    It would stomp a lot of small business out of existence - we got that going for us.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Or stomp them into the shadow economy, I suppose. Maybe bitcoin came at exactly the right time.

  • Nicholas Card||

    The whole concept of tax cuts "costing" us anything just sickens me. However, until we stop allowing this verbal kind of subtle wealth theft from occurring, we'll never fix our tax problem. Only when people start realizes that tax money is their money will we see anything different.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Tax cuts are very expensive. How will you pay for those tax cuts? We can't afford those tax cuts!

  • Bean Counter||

    What chaps me is the fact that no-one: Red, Blue or Mauve ever talks about the part of the tax code that really IS a cost - Earned Income Credit and Child Tax Credit. Especially with the EIC, you're not letting people keep some of what they earned. A large percentage of the people getting EIC don't have anything withheld and yet they get "refunds" in the thousands (I can't count the number of times some never married mother of 5 kids by 5 different men got angry because she was 'only' getting 5 or 6 K 'back') These programs carry a real cost, but even libertarians seem afraid to kick that dog.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    I think the standard reply to this is:

    Why to you hate the children?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    This is why I'm not qualified to make the standard reply :(

  • Bean Counter||

    Because they whine and cry and don't give me their damned candy!

  • Registration At Last!||

    It offsets the 16th-amendment based SS and Medicare payroll taxes. It's anything but a "negative" income tax.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Daily Kos is but a click away, RAL.

  • sasob||

    Not to hijack the thread, but to hijack the thread - guess which former Hit n Run regular finally got hitched? Everyone's - or nearly everyone's - favorite redhead, Jennifer!

    (My apologies if someone posted this earlier today.)

  • mitch||

    Please tell me she is marrying joe.

    (My apologies if someone has already made this obvious joke.)

  • BigT||

    I can't remember a single Democratic candidate arguing that "the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans" are in any way beneficial for the middle class. Yet today the president is running around claiming he's generously extending something that for years we were told didn't really exist.

    Class warfare sells to the idiots the Dems are wooing. When is a tax not a tax? When it suits their purposes to view it in this way.

  • ||

    Sometimes the cost is worthwhile; mostly it isn't.

    The cost is only "worthwhile" in the wildly improbable event that you experience having complete strangers steal your money under the threat of throwing you in a cage, and then those strangers inexplicably know enough about you, and care so deeply about you, that they spend that stolen money on you specifically and no one else, and also for the top marginal use you would have for that money if you spent it yourself.

    That is: never worthwhile.

  • hk||

    Agreed completely, the central planners never know best.

  • Registration At Last!||

    I think that the GOP could make a deal with Obama for spending cuts in exchange for the below-$250K tax policy if they wanted to.

    They don't want to. They really, really don't want to.

    The tax cuts that would go to the $250K+ payers exclusively are more important to the GOP than all the lower-bracket tax cuts and any plausible spending cuts COMBINED.

    The way the GOP sees it, if they have to sink the ship to drown the captain, so be it. No deals. "No" even to ordinary governance. It is, to paraphrase Clausewitz, civil war by other means.

  • wareagle||

    maybe they just don't like POTUS' continue harping about the mean nasty rich, demeaning his own countrymen as though their money is really his. At this point, there are no tax cuts, per se; they are the current tax rates.

  • Registration At Last!||

    Nota Bene: Obama is in the $250K+ category. I don't think anything he has said carries even a remote implication that he and the other people above $250K are "mean" or "nasty." It's simply that the top bracket is, to paraphrase Sutton, "where the money is."

  • ||

    Saying it's time for certain people to pay their fair share implies that they aren't paying their fair share. Most people translate that to "the mean ol rich are hoarding all their money instead of paying taxes". Which is patently untrue.

    But as far as my recollection goes, no he's never actually said they were mean or nasty.

  • Registration At Last!||

    Yeah, and maybe when Romney says to the crowd at an NAACP meeting that they want "free stuff," that is a dog-whistle for stereotypes about black people. But is that how he meant it? Is that fair? Should what you say be interpreted according to how the stupidest or most bigoted person will take it?

    Maybe there should be a presumption that a politician means what he says, and nothing more, until there is very strong evidence otherwise.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "...when Romney says to the crowd at an NAACP meeting that they want 'free stuff,'"

    You'd have a point if that was what he said.

  • Registration At Last!||

    It is what he said. If you have some better quote, pony up. Or else shut up.

  • ||

    Actually he didn't say that to the NAACP so no, you're wrong.

    From the Reason article earlier today: The Romney campaign shrugged it off, and, when asked about the boos, Romney reportedly told a group of donors later that evening that "if they want more stuff from government tell them to go vote for the other guy — more free stuff."

  • Registration At Last!||

    It's all the more damning -- referring to the NAACP attendees as "they" wanting "free stuff" for press reporters. It could very easily be understood as a racial dog-whistle to the Republican base demographic -- old/white/male/Southern -- but why automatically assume the worst?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "It could very easily be understood as a racial dog-whistle"

    Again... do you not know how to use the word "racism" properly? Or ANY of its derivative forms?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    You understand how the word "if" works don't you? Your paraphrase is a retarded misquote and I'm not going to pony up jack shit, because you know it's wrong.

  • Registration At Last!||

    Desi did your work for you, and it doesn't matter, because the point is exactly the same.

    You can attribute class warfare or racial dogwhistling to everything that the guy on the other side of the aisle says in a speech or to reporters, but you don't have to, and you probably shouldn't unless there is very good reason to assume the absolute worst.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    the only dog whistle is the sound of air rushing between your fucking ears

  • Registration At Last!||

    Pull my finger.

  • ||

    Or maybe we should just stop paying attention to what politicians say entirely.

  • blackjack||

    Did he seriously assert that we should presume that politicians mean what they say?

  • Registration At Last!||

    Yes, which is NOT the same thing as assuming that they will keep their promises.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "You cannot possibly talk about jobs for black people at the level he's coming from. He's talking about entrepreneurship, savings accounts — black people can barely find a way to get back and forth from work."

    Charlotte Stoker Manning of the NAACP, who apparently can't put on lipstick unless given a how-to guide from the government.

  • T o n y||

    What makes current tax rates sacrosanct? Because Bush was just such a good decision maker?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    What makes the tax rates *you* want "sacrosanct", Tony?

  • KPres||

    They're not sacrosanct. They're too high.

  • KPres||

    "Saying it's time for certain people to pay their fair share implies that they aren't paying their fair share."

    I read a survey somewhere that asked people if the rich should pay higher taxes. Some significant majority said yes.

    Then they asked what the tax rate should be. Something like 75% said "25% or less". Only 10 or 15% said over 30%. The current effective tax rate on top earners is 29%.

  • Mike M.||

    It's simply that the top bracket is, to paraphrase Sutton, "where the money is."

    Well, you're wrong about that. There aren't nearly as many billionaires in America as you seem to think there are. But by all means hold onto that fantasy.

  • Registration At Last!||

    It's the easy money -- the money he can take without crushing demand.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Except that's not true. The actual bulk of even the Bush tax cuts (roughly 2/3) is for middle class taxpayers.

  • Registration At Last!||

    ditto supra -- the $250K+ is what Obama can take without suppressing demand.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Well, pretty much unless you think people making over $250K are all like Uncle Scrooge McDuck, storing every last farthing they make as little gold dubloons in a big vault that they swim around in, you're dead wrong. You do a number on capital formation first and then put the kibosh on the entire upper end of consumer demand.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    The over 250K crowd narrowly voted for Obama in 2008 and will again. They don't listen to AM radio and the "class warfare" bullshit spewing from the right-wing liars like PigBoy and Hannity.

  • ||

    Like a broken record player

  • Mr. FIFY||

    But do they listen to Ed Schultz, shrike?

    It's obvious YOU do.

    BTW, fuck Limbaugh.

  • KPres||

    God damn you are a pile of shit. Something like 65% of the over 250K crowd supports the Bush tax cuts.

  • ||

    most of the GOP isn't in favor of tax hikes in exchange for illusory spending cuts that won't happen. Bush Sr. tried that in the 90s and got fired.

    Oh, and it's hard to have lower-bracket tax cuts when the lower brackets pay 0%.

  • Registration At Last!||

    Here's why you're triple-wrong:

    1)If you can't trade tax rates for spending cuts, then you can't trade anything for spending cuts, and you can't close the deficit. Heck, you probably can't get spending cuts by any means, except a fiscal meltdown. That doomer crap is not within legitimate parameters of policy discussion.

    (2) Bush-the-First was an executive bargaining with a Democrats' Congress. The legislative branch has ultimate control over the budget, apart from the veto power. To the extent there was a broken deal between Bush the Democrats (which is bullshit anyway, and I call you out for a legit citation) it's because Congress had the budget power.

    Obama is in the opposite situation: he is the president, and it's the Republicans who control Congress. If the GOP can't enforce a budget bargain while they CONTROL CONGRESS then they have no business being in politics. Or even breathing other people's oxygen.

    (3) There are brackets between the "zero bracket" and the top bracket. Even at the "zero bracket," you can cut taxes by raising the zero-bracket higher up the income scale. That would cut taxes for everybody who pays taxes. It would cut taxes for Bill Gates, Alec Baldwin, and Paris Hilton. Cuts at $250K+ go to the top earners EXCLUSIVELY, and put no money back in lower-earning taxpayers' pockets.

    You do understand how marginal rates work, right?

  • ||

    The GOP only controls the House, they don't control Congress as a whole.

    And the vast majority of the tax cuts help middle and lower income families, somewhere to the tune of $3.8T (as opposed to $780B from the rich) iirc. So are you saying we should raise taxes on everyone to help balance the budget?

  • Registration At Last!||

    I double down on that. If the GOP can't enforce a budgetary bargain while controlling the House of Representatives, it should pack up and move to Baffin Island en masse.

    $780B is a fine and dandy compromise for increasing revenue without decreasing demand. So I'm saying what I said, and I'm not saying what you say.

  • ||

    Of course that $780B was estimated over the next 10 years. So what does an estimated $78B a year buy us?

    Aliens could come down from space to take over the House and still not get a budget signed into law if the Senate refuses to hear it.

  • Registration At Last!||

    To increase spending you have to PASS a budget, not refuse to SIGN a budget. It's like rolling dice in a war game: defender wins ties.

  • ||

    You do realize that the house has passed a budget for the last 3 years and the senate has refused to take it up, right?

  • Registration At Last!||

    Which means anybody in control of the House should be able to hold the line on spending increases.

  • Keith3D||

    "I think that the GOP could make a deal with Obama for spending cuts in exchange for the below-$250K tax policy if they wanted to."

    So you don't argue the claim that tax hikes will accomplish nothing, but you exempt Obama from being an adult and blame Republicans.

    A better suggestion would be trade tax cuts in Republican priorities like defense in exchange for cuts in Democratic priorities like entitlements. The problem of course in entitlements are way bigger and growing way faster.

  • ||

    Yes, but cuts to defense to take us back to, say, 2002 spending levels have no consequences. But cuts to entitlements to take us back to, say, 2007 are ZOMG SUPER SCARY AND WHY DO YOU HATE TEH CHILDREN AND WANT THE ELDERLY TO EAT CAT FOODZ?!?!?!?!?!?!

  • Registration At Last!||

    Republicans wouldn't go for that deal, either.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Obama clearly believes that class warfare is a winner.

    The tax hikes aren't about revenue. They are yet another volley in that class war. Show the voters that they need to you on their side, fighting for equality against the wealthy oppressors or whatever.

  • ||

    Exactly. He may have fucked the people who believed in him, but now he's going to tell them that he's going to go after rich people, and since that's what they care about most of all, having been fucked will be forgotten.

    God damn they're sheep.

  • Registration At Last!||

    The exact opposite of what you say is the truth. Obama is ready to go back to Clinton-era rates on himself and other high-income earners because that is where the revenue can be had without impairing demand. (Romney will be largely untouched because so much of his income is capital gains.)

  • ||

    And Gabe proves my point perfectly. Thank you, Gabe. As a sheep, you probably don't get what I'm talking about, but that doesn't matter. FoE does.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Being wealthy themselves, the Obama Administration knows that people with money can always find a way to keep it from the taxman, usually by squirreling it away. There is very little revenue gain to be had with this scheme.

    Juice has a good video below. Obama's answer on capital gains is ludicrous and he should have been embarrassed to even conceive it. Fairness? It was just explained to him that more public revenue was gained from lower rates.

  • Registration At Last!||

    Cap-gains revenue spikes associated with cap-gains tax cuts are one-time affairs. It's akin to the spike in retail sales you get with a "sales tax holiday" like they have in Massachusetts.

    The capital gains differential is a whole different issue from marginal rates. The orthodox answer is that cap gains should not be treated any differently than other income, as there should not be distorting taxation differences on different kinds of economic undertakings.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    They should do away with the capital gains tax, I agree.

  • Registration At Last!||

    Only if they got rid of the income tax, too, which they won't. Otherwise the marginal rates should be the same.

  • Keith3D||

    There will always be distorting differences due to the existence of other countries with different capital gains rates. Not to mention tax-free options like govt bonds.
    Further, much if not most of what we classify as capital gains is actually just inflation. The govt drains the value of people's savings, then when they use safe investments to keep the value even, the govt takes another cut.

  • Registration At Last!||

    Marginal rates can be, and are, adjusted for inflation.

  • Keith3D||

    That isn't what I'm referring to.

    Cash loses its value due to inflation. If instead of cash you put your money in gold or land, which hold their value, you will be taxed on the difference when you convert them back to cash. For that matter stocks automatically get a few percent gain due to inflation, so the first few percent (at least) of all stock gains is actually just the dollar losing value relative to the stock.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Obama is ready to go back to Clinton-era rates on himself

    While he draws his pay from taxes. La-di-da. What a valiant and noble sacrifice of OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY.

    and other high-income earners because that is where the revenue can be had without impairing demand.

    The TOP MEN can put your resources to better use than you can, nevermind that you've actually gone through the time and trouble to earn it. You are merely a source of revenue, an apple tree to be picked, a lake to be fished, the rightness or wrongness of taking from you need not ever be determined if you are bountiful enough.

  • Registration At Last!||

    Obama is not funding a pay raise for himself with his tax policy. His government salary will stay the same (currently $400K), but he will pay a higher marginal rate on it, and on his other (non-capital-gains) income.

    The money has to come from somewhere. The current economic problem is not a lack of investment. It's a lack of demand. It makes practical sense to target whatever taxes are going to be imposed away from demand spending. It's nothing personal. It's just common sense.

  • Bill||

    Why do you keep telling us what the effect of a national policy will be on two individuals (Obama and Romney). Are you fucking retarded?

  • Registration At Last!||

    Anonymous Coward started it. I just responded. Grief him, not me.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Obama is not funding a pay raise for himself with his tax policy.

    I never said he was, guy.

    government salary will stay the same (currently $400K), but he will pay a higher marginal rate on it, and on his other (non-capital-gains) income.

    A salary paid for with tax money. So he will pay a "higher marginal rate" on money already taken from someone else. What a heroic, selfless guy our President Barry is!

    The money has to come from somewhere.

    Because government couldn't possibly cut any spending anywhere at anytime for any reason.

    The current economic problem is not a lack of investment. It's a lack of demand.

    Which President Barry will correct by spend-vesting on things that no one is demanding. Genius!

    It makes practical sense to target whatever taxes are going to be imposed away from demand spending. It's nothing personal. It's just common sense.

    I think you've gone and confused the word 'common' with the prefix 'non-'. Don't worry, it's a common mistake.

  • Registration At Last!||

    You are trying to change the subject and move the goal posts. The question is whether Obama should extend the tax cuts on the $250K+ rate, and, contra Harsanyi, there is no strong reason he should, politically, economically or morally.

    You want to flake out and start a harangue about the whole system on first principles, which is not appropriate to the discussion at hand.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    You are trying to change the subject and move the goal posts.

    Ouch, what a quick and cutting response! I bleed.

    The question is whether Obama should extend the tax cuts

    Raise taxes, you mean.

    on the $250K+ rate, and, contra Harsanyi, there is no strong reason he should, politically, economically or morally.

    Wow, that's as sound an argument as I've ever heard. Do you make these pronouncements ex cathedra, or do you prefer a soap-box?

    You want to flake out and start a harangue about the whole system on first principles, which is not appropriate to the discussion at hand.

    Actually my point is on topic concerning the one you raised which is:

    The exact opposite of what you say is the truth. Obama is ready to go back to Clinton-era rates on himself

    And again, that Barry is very courageous when it comes to other people's money, seeing as how he's a public servant and that's where his pay comes from.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "Obama is ready to go back to Clinton-era rates"

    To paraphrase Tony:

    What is sacrosanct about the Clinton-era tax rates?

  • Gilbert Martin||

    If Obama want's to go back to the Clinton era tax rates, he can go back to every other aspect of federal government existence from that era as well. The exact same level of federal spending - on an absolute dollar basis. The exact same level of regulation - in every aspect of existence. No Obamacare, no EPA trying to regulate greenhouse gasses, no NLRB telling Boeing where to build factories, etc.

    Of course it's usefull to remember that neither Clinton's tax rates or anything else he did ever had anything whatsoever to do with the economic expansion of that era. It started before he ever took office and it ended before he left office. He has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with creating or sustaining it.

  • Registration At Last!||

    Presidents don't deserve credit for the economy. But they get it, good and bad.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    No president's don't deserve credit for the economcy - but neither does any other aspect of government either.

    There has never been so much as one single action ever undertaken by any entity of any government that has ever existed on this earth in the entire span of human history that created a good economy or saved any nation from bad one.

  • Juice||

  • CampingInYourPark||

    I don't know why we let people get away with calling this something other than what it is. Congress cut the tax rate. Bush signed the law If it goes up it's a frickin tax hike not "repealing the Bush tax cuts". Do we peg someone's name to the tax rate when they go up? Will this be called the Obama tax hike? Hell no

  • ||

    We should TOTALLY call it that.

  • Registration At Last!||

    Bush put the ten-year expiration into the law. It is what it is, friendo. Ten years is ten years, not infinity.

  • ||

    And the Dems extended it and Obama signed it in December of 10 so it's not just Bush's.

  • Registration At Last!||

    They extended it temporarily. And 'temporary' is not 'permanent.'

    If I'm going to teach metaphysics to morons, I really should be collecting a professor's salary here.

  • ||

    If it sunsets, that's not Obama bravely repealing the cuts on top earners.

    And an extension is an extension so they still own part of whatever "problems" the cuts have created.

  • Registration At Last!||

    So what's the point? You want to call it "The Obama Temporary Extension of the Bush Tax Cuts" instead of just "The Bush Tax Cuts"? It doesn't change the politics one bit. Obama is the guy who wants to sunset the reduction in the $250K+ bracket. Romney wants to keep it. What's changed?

  • ||

    If you want to use that phraseology, shouldn't the proper technical term be "The Obama Temporary Extension of the Bush Temporary Tax Rate Reduction"?

    You're right though: it doesn't change anything. Obama is still a moron pitching political horseshit to brainless sycophants like t-shirts out of a pneumatic launcher at a ballgame. Looks like he got your size just right.

  • Registration At Last!||

    Obama is pitching a way to raise some revenue, and it makes sense by its own terms. It's not a comprehensive or perfect reform of all fiscal policy, but it is okay so far as it goes.

    Flakking with the "moron" and "horseshit" epithets doesn't add anything to your argument. All it shows is that you are flat out of steam.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "Obama is pitching... and I am catching.

    Very descriptive of your role, RAL. "Cum-dumpster for the left" works, too.

  • Registration At Last!||

    Ah, the knee-jerk homophobia. And the "fusionist" circle is complete. All is good; all is well.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I'm no homophobe, you stupid cunt. I don't care if people are gay, or not, as I do not base my life around such trivialities.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Obama is pitching a way to raise some revenue

    Yep,

    Obama's tax increase will reduce the deficit by almost 5%.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Five percent?? That's almost a hundred!!!

    /leftist maths

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Obama is pitching a way to raise some revenue

    He could always refuse to take a salary and encourage Congress to follow his example. Shared sacrifice and all that.

    It's not a comprehensive or perfect reform of all fiscal policy, but it is okay so far as it goes.

    You're right. It's not comprehensive or perfect. It's not even good. The feds busily digging America into a hole and Barry's solution is to get a bigger shovel and keep digging.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    How long have you hated brown people, AC?

  • Anonymous Coward||

    For about as long as I have hated humanity. Why should I hate brown people any more or less than I hate white people, black people, red people, or yellow people? It would be racist of me to NOT hate brown people.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    You do know, I was being snarky.

    That, and I'm hoping one of our resident leftists will accuse both of us of racism, even though they can't be bothered to look it up in a dictionary.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    So was I (somewhat). And prior to Gambol-pocalypse, I thought Reason had a better class of statist bootlickers.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Max is long-gone, and Chad must have been eaten by a pack of Earth Liberation Front hunter-gatherers.

    You're right... it's pretty fuckin' sad these days.

  • ant1sthenes||

    But then what will we call the PPACA?

  • Bean Counter||

    We'll call it "Our Dear Leader's Brave Adjustment to Increase Fairness and Punish the Criminal Despoilers of Our Fair Land". We'll have some 5th grade teacher turn it into a song she can make the kiddies sing and dance to right after they finish "MMMM Barak Hussein Obama" Then she can take them out to protest cuts to education that only increase spending by 10%.

  • Bill||

    Those are referred to as severe AUSTERITY cuts. Get it right.

  • Registration At Last!||

    I mean, really, you do, RIGHT???

  • ||

    In the absence of any supporting evidence, we'll just assume that you actually had some point. The real irony though is that you lecture us on tax literacy by citing a source that erroneously claims that small business owners pay no payroll tax on their pass-through income, conveniently forgetting the self employment tax that covers both the employer and employee portion. Thanks teach!

  • Registration At Last!||

    You are confusing self-employment with business ownership. They are not the same thing.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    God, you're a stupid cunt, RAL.

  • blackjack||

    Never ceases to amaze me when someone desperately defends the government taking money from people to cover their spending binges, and I live in California!

  • T o n y||

    The problem with you people is you can't square your moral obsession about how taxation is evil with arithmetic. We can talk about how taxation is evil, or we can talk about strategies to close the budget gap. You are never going to close the budget gap, at least not in a politically feasible way, without raising some tax rates. Recent cuts and the sustaining of cuts are a huge reason the budget is so far in the red. If you just take the position that tax rates should never ever go up, then what use are you? You're a dogmatist; you are as useless in meaningful debate about fiscal policy as a jehovah's witness discussing gay rights.

  • Drake||

    Taxation at a reasonable rate isn't evil.

    Now all the unconstitutional waste and corruption they use my tax dollars for - that is evil and I have no desire to further contribute to it.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Tax rates cannot be moral OR immoral, Tony. They are not people.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Oh, and I'd like the link to where I supposedly wished you "death by AIDS", and I'd also like to know why you see yourself as above critique due to your sexual orientation.

    Also, do you care if straight people die of AIDS, or do they deserve it due to their sin of being filthy breeders?

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Tony w/spaces swoops in with the hardcore question-begging to shed light into the darkest corners of the libertarian psyche.

    Tony w/spaces, you are the worst sockpuppet, ever. And perhaps just as bad, you are waste of bandwidth.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    But he has a right to be here! It's in the Constitution, that ratty old piece of paper written by rich white owners of brown people!

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Also, you can't wish him death by AIDS, even if you never have wished him death by AIDS, because he's gay. There's a law about it somewhere, probably.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Tony w/spaces is the poster-child for the failures of democracy. He gives false hope to all idiots who believe their idiocy deserves to be heard. VH1 and Bravo simply can't keep them all corralled between seasons of Love Hip-Hop the Real Housewives. The only solution is pack Tony w/spaces on a rickety boat to Vladivostok and make him Russia's problem.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    North Korea could use him... he'd make several decent meals before the meat ran out.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    A decent meal? Tony w/spaces is all empty calories, like cotton candy. No substantive value, dietary or otherwise.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Now you'll make him cry and want to claw your eyes out.

  • Keith3D||

    "You are never going to close the budget gap, at least not in a politically feasible way, without raising some tax rates."

    By "politically feasible", you are referring to voters and elected officials who are being obstinate and demanding govt pay for things despite "arithmetic" which demonstrates the govt can't afford it? Why don't you criticize them rather than calling the rest of us obstinate for opposing what they are doing?

  • ant1sthenes||

    "We can talk about how taxation is evil, or we can talk about strategies to close the budget gap."

    I don't give a shit about your budget gap, princess. You were always going to run out of money to squander on buying political support eventually. I do care about the portion of my own personal budget gap that is the result of Washington's cupidity.

  • Whahappan?||

    Actually, as you well know since you frequent Reason, Reason, as well as others have repeatedly shown that we can close the budget gap in roughly 10 years simply by holding spending constant, or even increasing it by 1 or 2%.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "The problem with you people is you can't square your moral obsession about how taxation is evil with arithmetic"

    Who said taxes were evil?

    Taxes that are levied on a user fee basis to fund the legitimate Constitutional functions of goverment are OK.

    Taxes that are used merely to redistribute wealth from one group of private citizens to another group are not OK.

  • T o n y||

    All taxes result in redistribution. That's the entire point of taxes. You're telling me the constitution is so magical that it absolves some redistribution from its inherent evilness?

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "All taxes result in redistribution"

    Nope.

    User fee are, by definition, NOT redistribution. They are a fee for service - just as it works in the private sector.

    "That's the entire point of taxes"

    Nope again.

    It is merely LIBERAL's objective to use taxes as a means for deliberate redistribution.

  • blackjack||

    NO, the problem is you can't conceive of actual spending cuts. Why does the government have to grow constantly? Veto every increase or new spending bill, and the deficit will disappear shortly. The biggest driver of revenue is the state of the economy. Just stop hassling us and we'll make plenty of money for the government to leech off. Raising taxes will boost mainly the tax preparation industry and the underground economy, at the expense of the entire economy and revenues.

  • ||

    You may remember an astute observation from the president a couple of years back when he said, "The last thing you want to do is to raise taxes in the middle of a recession, because that http://www.ceinturesfr.com/cei.....-c-11.html would just ... take more demand out of the economy and put businesses in a further hole." So as policy, Obama's plan is at best irrelevant and at worst a job killer.

  • brushtom||

    keep up the good work,polarized sunglasses looking forward to reading your new material.
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  • Rasilio||

    Uh david, you are missing the REAL reason why allowing the Bush tax cuts wouldn't accomplish anything.

    Go back and look at the year by year tax reciepts and GDP numbers from 1995 - 2007 and see if there are any measurable changes in either number that correlate with the tax cut.

    There isn't. None whatsoever.

    There simply is no evidence that the Bush tax cuts had any impact on the economy or tax revenues AT ALL. Obviously it did have some impacts in changing individual situations and behaviors but in the aggregate if there was any impact it was clearly obscured and or counteracted by other factors present in the economy at that time and there is every reason to believe that the same would hold true if they are allowed in whole or part to expire today

  • Nike air max womens||

    They would have to choose between extending a decade-old lower tax rate that everyone is accustomed to in defiance of the president and holding out to institute an effective rate hike in a terrible economy.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    I'm still wondering what the definition of "fair share" is, and how it is calculated.

    If I wait for Obama and the various posters who have his ballprints on their chins, I will go to my grave not knowing the answers to that.

  • J Freeman||

    It means more. Every single time it is used. Just like when I have game night with 3 of my friends, we make the rich kid pay for the pizzas. 75% of us agreed that was his fair share.

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