Government Spending

Reason Writers Around Town: Nick Gillespie in NY Post on "Pelosi's Tax Twist"

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Nick Gillespie prognosticates the fate of the "Bush tax cuts" in the pages of The New York Post:

So now House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is lobbying for what she calls "Obama middle-income tax cuts" as a way to goose the struggling economy. At the same time, she insists that past cuts for higher earners "only increased the deficit."

She says we can afford $3.2 trillion a year $320 billion a year in "Obama" cuts, but not $70 billion in "Bush" cuts.

Even in Washington, few topics are as heated—or confusing—as the wrangling over whether to extend the so-called Bush tax cuts….

But President Obama (now joined by Pelosi) insists that he only wants to kill the Bush cuts for individuals making more than $200,000 and households pulling in more than $250,000. The CBO figures that sticking it to just those top earners will bring in $700 billion over the next 10 years, or $70 billion a year on average.

Which means that Obama is leaving $3.2 trillion on the table even as he argues that we need every penny to pay for bailouts, health care, new stimulus spending extended unemployment benefits and so on….

Despite a 2010 deficit projected by the CBO to be about $1.34 trillion—and the lack of even the start of a budget for fiscal year 2011, which begins on Oct. 1—Obama is pushing what the Associated Press calls a $20 billion "pre-election shopping list" filled with goodies for public schools, the Post Office and other likely Democratic voters.

Given that sort of politically motivated free-spending, it's no wonder that 31 House Democrats, fearful of being seen as tax hikers right before a tough midterm election, are siding with Republicans pushing to extend all the Bush tax cuts, even the ones for top earners, for at least a year or two more.

This year's federal budget is around $3.6 trillion, which makes the $70 billion that will stick in the wealthiest Americans' pockets seem like loose change. Expect the "Bush tax cuts" to be extended for all.

And then, in a year or two, when federal spending is higher than ever, expect a heated—and confusing—discussion about how "the Obama middle-income tax cuts" and the Bush tax cuts for "the rich" created massive and unsustainable deficits.

But expect Nancy Pelosi, who might not be speaker anymore, to tell you that it was that $70 billion that really tipped the federal balance sheet.

Read the whole thing here.

Related at Reason: "Why is everyone picking on the Bush "tax cuts" rather than the Bush "spending increases?"

NEXT: Media Matters: These $2 Million Jobs Would Look Like A Bargain If They Could Just Spend the Money Faster

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  1. But President Obama (now joined by Pelosi) insists that he only wants to kill the Bush cuts for individuals making more than $200,000 and households pulling in more than $250,000. The CBO figures that sticking it to just those top earners will bring in $700 billion over the next 10 years, or $70 billion a year on average.

    “Households” as in married couples. That is a pretty heavy penalty for two people making over $200,000/yr each who decided to get properly married instead of just living together and sharing bills.

    1. Let me be clear, but off the record.

      If you get properly married, you get properly screwed.

      1. Admittedly, my wife and I are “fortunate” and run with people who are similarly in the upper tax brackets, but I know not one couple in our various social circles who wasn’t burned by income taxes the year they got married. You and your spouse can get married on December 31 – and have your respective paycheck withholdings set for the entire year at the proper level for a single person – and still have to write a hefty check in April when your tax bill is calculated with the marriage penalty retroactively included for the entire fucking year, including the 364 days that you were not, in fact, married.

        Somehow this seems unfair and egregiously mean spirited, but I guess you can probably say that about 99% of our fucked up income tax system at this point.

        1. If you decide to get married on Dec 31st, then you probably deserve to pay that as a stupid tax.

          Do you really want to add the complexity of trying to pro-rate income across two filing statuses during a tax year?

          As I said before, married filing separate should be identical to single. But so long as it isn’t, don’t try to make the system more complex in order to fix a problem of it already being unnecessarily complex.

          1. How about we get rid of the complexity of the progressive income tax which introduces these kinds of ways to be screwed in the first place?

            1. So you’re telling me that we should do exactly what I just said we should do? Thanks for the advice.

              1. I was saying that the whole problem exists because of the progressive income.

                There is no fair way to address the tax consequence differences between married households with one income, dual incomes and single people without getting rid of progressive tax income brackets.

                1. Actually removing the differences between married/separate and single would to that just perfectly as far as I’m concerned.

                  Other problems with progressive taxation aside, why do you find that solution insufficient?

                2. Well, you could assume that they split the money 50/50 and assess it in such a fashion, using the standard single-person brackets (for the sake of the mathematically challenged, the tax form would at the beginning have you divide your income by 2, then calculate the single person tax, then double that as the tax you pay).

                  You could go even further and assume that each dependent gets a half share.

                  Progressive taxation is much less of a problem than the massively politicized definition of “taxable income”.

                3. Divide the income of married households by two, tax each the same as single people. Or, alternatively, just tax everybody the same, regardless of whether they are married or not.

          2. Uhhh, that was a hypothetical example of the punitive nature of the whole system.

          3. Uhhh, that was a hypothetical example of the punitive nature of the whole system.

        2. I’m wondering what the 1% of the income tax system is that isn’t fucked up

          1. I suppose it does eventually get some money to some things that are legitimate state business.

    2. I never understood who “Married filing separately” should be different than “single.”

      1. Because then married people would be able to avoid marriage tax penalties by using that category.

    3. I guess split personalities can’t be too detail oriented, but as your own cut an’ paste says, the household is 250,000, individual is 200,000.

      1. I think it should have been two people each making $200,000 individually. Hence they are under the limit as individuals but once they marry they are making $400,000 as a couple and are no longer in the tax cut range.

    4. John T just wants his other personalities to count as his “household.”

      1. Your stupidity has no limit.

        1. You’re thinking of your mental problems John.

  2. Oh wow, OK that makes a lot of sense dude.

    http://www.privacy-web.cz.tc

  3. While I am 100% of the belief that we desperately need both lower taxes and lower spending, we need lower spending FIRST. Force the voters to pay the bill for the what they elected their Congrescritters to spend. It’s the only way spending will ever be cut, and it’s the only fair way to pay for things (no matter how much everyone loves passing the bill to our kids.)

    1. Don’t you understand? We have to spend money in order to save money, and we can’t afford to let the rich keep their own money, because then we will have to pay for our spending with someone else’s money.

    2. If we lower government spending in during this depression – the Galactic Economy will crash. The only thing that keeps us afloat is the salaries of teachers and park commisioners.

    3. Why would lower spending come first during a recession? Every adult with sense is willing to use debt during lean times (not that I’m equating the federal government as “using debt” or being like a “sane adult).

      1. Because lower spending -> less borrowing -> bond prices accross the bond market go down -> private access to loans become cheaper -> more rapid growth.

        The economic history of the 20th century stands in mute testimony to the destructive impact govt spending has on economies.

        1. If you correlated US government spending with most economic indicators from 1900-2000 you would hardly get a 1.000 tarran.

      2. Every adult with sense is willing to use debt during lean times

        There’s a difference between running up a debt to pay for groceries and refusing to give up your weekly trip to the titty bar. We could be running a trillion dollar surplus by just cutting things that we shouldn’t be doing in “good times” either.

  4. And what’s even more confusing is that this argument isn’t over whether to “cut” anyone’s taxes. The argument is over whether to keep people’s taxes at the same rate as they are now.

    Obama decrying the Bush tax “cuts” is a great way for him to obfuscate the truth that what he really wants to do is raise taxes on those people.

  5. Can someone explain to me how a couple earning $250,000 per year, especially in those certain very costly areas of the country where such people tend to be found due to the cost of living in those areas, became “rich people?” And if they are, in fact, “rich,” how does a family making, say, $249,500 qualify as “middle class?”

    1. Because Maobama and Pelosi think that number sounds good.

      1. Because the idiots who vote for Maobama and Pelosi think that number sounds like something out of a comic book that they’ll never come close to achieving themselves good.

        1. Because “rich people” is defined as “people making more than my congressional pay”.

          The current salary (2010) for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate is $174,000 per year.

          What congressmen would love to do is index those punitive tax brackets at $174K a year, but then people would start questioning that suspiciously exact number, so they round it off at $200K.

    2. There is no area in the country where I would not consider $250,000/yr (or $249,500) to be rich.

      This has absolutely nothing to do with whether their taxes should be raised or not, but it’s pretty annoying to hear rich people complain that they’re poor because they chose to live in a high cost area.

      1. High cost of living and high incomes are often related.

        1. I know that you think you have a point there, but you haven’t thought it all the way through.

      2. A quarter mill is not rich. Rich means private school, music lessons, 2 cars 5 years old or younger, … Much more than a quarter mill.

        1. If you can’t do all that on $250k, you can’t handle your finances properly.

          I know plenty of people that have that covered with barely over 100k, and I don’t exactly live in a low-cost area.

      3. My wife makes over $250K a year. We live in a middle class looking house. I drive a 1999 Camry. We don’t live large.

        I’m guessing you don’t actually make $250K a year, and thus, like most people, think that is a ridiculously large amount of money that would finance beachfront property, yachts, and Rolls-Royces, and so, hey, let’s stick it to those heartless rich bastards who are exploiting orphans and widows.

        1. 1) Good for you for living within/below your means.

          2) Your definition of “rich” may require the means to acquire mansions and yachts. It’s certainly subjective. But when you can buy a luxury car for cash on a few months’ after-tax salary, you’re rich as far as I’m concerned.

          3) Please provide even the flimsiest shred of evidence to prove that when I EXPLICITLY STATED that the cutoff for richness should have nothing to do with taxation, I was lying.

    3. I guess they determined that it’s the optimal number on the envy curve.

      1. Case in point, see Some Guy’s post above.

        1. He should change his handle from Some Guy to Envious Fuck.

        2. Can you elaborate on this. Are you saying that your definition of “rich” is interchangeable with a point at which you think their income taxes should be higher?

          Well if that’s your definition then fuck you, you envious fuck.

    4. Well, if we said a couple million like with the estate tax people would still bitch and conjure up farmers and such…

      I don’t really think of that as rich btw, though it is about 17 times the poverty line, but it’s the starting point so it includes people who I certainly think of as rich.

      Either way it effects about 0% of the people who are on this thread, that I could safely bet quite a bit on…

      1. The estate tax is on total wealth/assets, the income tax is on the level of yearly income. Of course the definition of what qualifies as “rich” under those schmes would have orders of magnitude differences.

        1. “The estate tax is on total wealth/assets, the income tax is on the level of yearly income.”

          Good point.

          1. The estate tax is punishment, period. Unless it’s levied against ALL estates, it’s just a way to get one last punch in the gut in before the corpse starts to decompose.

            1. I think it’s a way to raise revenue that tries to have the burden fall on those who can bear it and are less deserving (rich heirs).

              1. Let’s say you had to tax either income or gifts, which would you find the most just?

                1. Neither. Taxing purchases – minus the essentials like food, clothing, and shelter – is a much better way.

                  That, and no overspending.

                  1. Oh no, that’s weaselly. If you must choose between the two, which is better?

                    1. I choose neither, which is an option you did not present.

                      I wonder why you did that…

                    2. Maybe because my entire argument is not that the estate tax is a great thing in itself but that it is preferable to income tax?

                    3. A national sales tax would be much more fair, MNG. Punishing those who achieve is just a way to make people feel like they’ve accomplished something, getting in one last kick in the ribs before the dirt is tossed on the coffin.

                  2. “Taxing purchases – minus the essentials like food, clothing, and shelter – is a much better way.”

                    That caveat makes that sound fairly reasonable to me…

                    1. Good, good, MNG.

                      Except what I just described is, basically, the Fair Tax.

                      Still for it?

                    2. I don’t know much about it. Sounds reasonable as you describe it.

              2. So, why hasn’t the Kennedy estate been subjected to this, MNG?

                More importantly, why is it fair to tax someone all their lives, THEN tax ’em when they take the Big Dirt Nap?

                “Less deserving”. Using that logic, no one should be allowed to inherit anything.

                1. 1. I dunno, if that’s the case it’s messed up.
                  2. The tax falls on the heirs, dead people don’t pay taxes.
                  3. One can distinguish between less deserving and totally not deserving I think. Besides the estate tax is full of qualifications (like it only falls on some estates) that certainly “using that logic” doesn’t lead to the result you mention.

                  1. IOW, you’re for punishing the SURVIVORS of a dead relative or benefactor. Okay, I get it now.

                    So… why are you for that, MNG?

                    1. To the extent that there must be taxes I’d rather them fall on those who can best bear them or are less deserving. That is punishment?

                    2. If you are basing who gets taxed on the concept of who is “less deserving”, then that is, by definition, “punishment”.

                  2. “Besides the estate tax is full of qualifications (like it only falls on some estates) that certainly “using that logic” doesn’t lead to the result you mention.”

                    In other words it is a source of unequal treatment under law and therefore a prime source of political corruption by people seeking exemptions.

                    1. Everything is unequal treatment by that logic. For example, your chosen tax, a consumption tax, would treat those who buy more things differently. The constitutional question on unequal treatment is: is there a rational basis, the moral one is, is it fair?

                    2. You are equating deliberate carve out exemptions from a tax law with different outcomes from equal application based on freely chosen behavior by people? Really?

                      If a tax law requires a large number of exemptions to avoid bad economic effects, then the conclusion must be it is bad unjust tax.

                  3. Under the law the taxes are officially leveled against the estate, not the heirs. The dead do pay the tax.

              3. The estate tax did not come into being as a way to raise revenue. It’s entire justisfication is wealth resdistribution, and as such it is economically destructive.

                Furthermore it is not the government’s job to determine that a person is not deserving of inheriting an estate.

                1. “The estate tax did not come into being as a way to raise revenue. It’s entire justisfication is wealth resdistribution, and as such it is economically destructive.”

                  Citation please?

                  “Furthermore it is not the government’s job to determine that a person is not deserving of inheriting an estate.”

                  Perhaps not, but surely it’s a proper function to try to have taxes fall on those who can bear it more, thus protecting the general welfare.

                  1. How much, percentage-wise, does the estate tax contribute to the “general welfare”?

                    Gag, I hate that phrase.

                    Oh, and here’s something to ponder re: the Kennedys:

                    http://current.com/news/908282…..ations.htm

                    1. To the extent that a handful of wealthy heirs pay from gifts rather than many working people paying in income it is a good thing…

                    2. But the estate owner paid taxes all his/her/their own lives, MNG. Taking half of the estate when it passes from one owner to another, is unjust and only serves to fuel anti-wealth sentiments.

                    3. Yes, the estate owner paid taxes during their lives. But they are dead now. The question is whether to tax the heir, who has not paid taxes on the estate to that point.

                      Is it unjust? I would at least argue that it is less unjust than taxing earned income (or wealth for that matter).

                    4. The problem is the heirs are not the ones who are taxed. The estate itself is taxed before it is transferred to the heirs. So, despite the Left’s protestations, it is a tax on dying.

                      “The Revenue Act of 1916 (39 Stat. 756) created
                      a tax on the transfer of wealth from an estate to its
                      beneficiaries, and thus was levied on the estate, as
                      opposed to an inheritance tax that is levied directly
                      on beneficiaries. It applied to net estates, defined
                      as the total property owned by a decedent, the gross
                      estate, less deductions.”

                      “Under current estate tax law, a Federal estate tax
                      return must be filed for every deceased U.S. citizen
                      whose gross estate, valued on the date of death,
                      combined with adjusted taxable gifts made by the
                      decedent after December 31, 1976, and total specific
                      exemptions allowed for gifts made after September
                      8, 1976, equals or exceeds the amount shown in
                      Figure E.”
                      http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/ninetyestate.pdf

                    5. A rose is a rose MJ, the effect is felt on the heirs, not the dead.

                    6. Perhaps in practicality, but according to the law, the heirs do not pay any tax for their inheritance. The law does not claim the justification you give it.

                  2. “For the next hundred years, inheritance taxes appeared only in wartime, and were repealed at war’s end. This began to change in our own century. President Theodore Roosevelt made the inheritance tax a federal issue with his “muckraking” speech of 1906. He called for inheritance taxes on those fortunes “swollen beyond all healthy limits.” His justification was not to raise revenue but to appease the radicals and preserve “equality of opportunity.”

                    The estate tax grew in fits and starts, and today it is justified, not as a revenue raiser, but as a curb on the desires of families to pass on their property to heirs.”

                    http://mises.org/freemarket_detail.aspx?control=121

                    “This convoluted levy, which generated $25.7 billion in federal revenues in 2008, actually may be a net drain on the Treasury. A 2006 Congressional Joint Economic Committee study indicated that the death tax’s “high compliance costs and impact on capital accumulation may actually cause income tax revenue losses for the federal government.”
                    http://www.nationalreview.com/…..oy-murdock

                    If it does not produce net revenue, what exactly is the justification then?

                    1. Those are pretty dubious sources, and pretty bad ones at that (when measures are passed the legsislators talk a great deal about what they are hoping to accomplish, a good source would mine that information).

                    2. Playing your usual “Citation Please” bullshit games and pissing all over the sources because you don’t like them.

                      How about answering the question asked, not cowardly dodging it?

                    3. Sigh.

                      Take your first source. It itself just re-asserts what you have said. What is the proof that T.R. called for the estate tax for that reason? Since Presidents don’t enact laws by themselves, did the Congresscritters give the same reasons when they passed it? And just look at the last sentence: what is the evidence that he did this just to “appease the radicals and preserve “equality of opportunity.”” This source just repeats your assertion.

                      Your second source cites a single study (from a Congressional committee under a GOP Congress no less! that’s worse than the CBO dude) suggesting the tax “may” not raise revenue.

                      So yes, I piss on your sources because of their source, but also because the content is pretty terrible.

                      Feel better now?

                    4. No. I am quite familiar with your tactic when losing an agument of demanding “citations” and then changing the subject to attack the sources rather than addressing the substance.

                      You debate in bad faith, as usual.

                    5. legsislators talk a great deal about what they are hoping to accomplish, a good source would mine that information

                      A good source would go straight to the propaganda?

                  3. “The years immediately following the repeal of the
                    inheritance tax were witness to an unprecedented
                    number of mergers in the manufacturing sector of
                    the economy, fueled by the development of a new
                    form of corporate ownership, the holding company.
                    This resulted in the concentration of wealth in a
                    relatively small number of powerful companies and
                    in the hands of the businessmen who headed them.
                    Along with such wealth came great political power,
                    fueling fears over the rise of an American plutocracy
                    and sparking the growth of the progressive movement.
                    Progressives, including President Theodore
                    Roosevelt, advocated both an inheritance tax and a
                    graduated income tax as tools to address inequalities
                    in wealth.16 This thinking eventually led to the
                    passage of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution
                    and the enactment of the Federal income tax.”
                    http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/ninetyestate.pdf

                    Oddly enough, raising revenue is not among the reasons for either the estate tax or the income tax.

                    1. I’m doubting you at heart find the IRS to be a credible source…

                      But if you do, you should take a glance at this first:

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

                    2. So what’s the point of asking for citations then? You are just going to ignore them anyhow.

                    3. I explained why I thought your citations were unhelpful in reference to their content as well as expressing my doubt in their source.

                      I asked for citations because I doubted that the estate tax was initiated primarily for the reasons you gave. I still do for reasons I’ve covered. I also point out though that its original justification may not be the currently accepted one, so to some degree the point is moot.

                    4. Actually I was rather disgusted that and official IRS publication took the progressive ideologogical line at face value as a good thing.

                      The question was not what sources I would approve of, but one YOU would.

                  4. “The estate tax did not come into being as a way to raise revenue. It’s entire justisfication is wealth resdistribution, and as such it is economically destructive.”

                    Citation please?

                    I don’t have a citation, and my field of expertise is not taxation, but when I was attending a master’s seminar on the estate tax about 25 years ago, I recall the professor saying something about the stated reason for imposing the estate tax was to break up large estates to prevent the creation of a permanent upper class based on family wealth. Supposedly such families existed in Europe, and the ostensible reason behind the US tax was social engineering to prevent a similar outcome.

                    1. the stated reason for imposing the estate tax was to break up large estates to prevent the creation of a permanent upper class based on family wealth

                      We have a much better system now. Through welfare, various subsidies for the poor, the illegal immigration of tens of millions of people from the Third World, and a worship of “multiculturalism,” we can create a permanent lower class based on poverty. Much better.

              4. and are less deserving

                Because it’s your job (or some other smart person) to decide who “deserves” what.

                1. No, I guess that’s your job (I mean, you are the one arguing to change the tax burden off of one class onto another, just as I am).

                  1. I’ll concede that bit of sophistry. You caught me there.

                    Although I think the difference here is that I wouldn’t have an estate tax at all because the person who I think “deserves” the money is the one who earned it – however long ago that may have been – and, as a result, I will respect his wishes as to how his own estate is ultimately disposed of.

                    If he wants to donate it to the government, fine, but if he wants to (figuratively) give it to his fucking cat, that’s fine too and it’s not my place to judge.

                    1. You are judging, you are judging that the best distribution is via the choice of the giver, that the giftee deserves it.

      2. Being “rich” and having a high income in any particular have only a tenuous relationship. You can have a high income in a given year and be extremely asset poor. You can have a less than poverty level income in given year and be extremely wealthy overall. “High income” and “rich” are largely congruent sets, but targeting “high income” peole for tax pain is not really targeting the “rich” and you fooling yourself if you think it does.

        1. “”High income” and “rich” are largely congruent sets, but targeting “high income” peole for tax pain is not really targeting the “rich” and you fooling yourself if you think it does.”

          Another good point, but as you concede there is a great deal of overlap and nothing is perfect…

          1. What would be good if the government would stop engaging in class warfare and stop targeting the “rich” for punishment in first place. Then we would not have to argue over these arbitrary distinctions in first place.

            1. Liberals hate rich people. SOME liberals give rich liberals a pass, but some are so steeped in wealth-envy they’d go for a 100% tax on incomes over what they believe to be “too much” – and they pick arbitrary amounts of income and equate all above that arbitrary income to be Just As Evil.

              It’s a great way to get poor people to vote for more Democrats every two years, but it doesn’t solve anything.

            2. I think its not punishment, see my post above.

              1. When your rationale for a tax is claiming that the persons being afected do not deserve their money, you cannot seriously argue that the point is not punishment.

                1. I don’t say they do not deserve the gift, just that gifted income is less deserving than earned income.

                  Here’s one way to know that is true. If you earned a million dollars last year, you would feel pride. If you were given a million dollars last year, you’d feel lucky.

                  1. Bullshit, MNG. The proper determiner of deservedness is the owner of the thing being given, not a third party. I can give you a million dollars for services rendered or I can do it because I like you. Either way, you deserve it.

                    1. The classic libertarian argument is that the person who earned it – the Rockefeller or Vanderbilt or whoever – is the one who “deserves” the wealth, and because the wealth is his property to which he retains natural rights, the disposition of that wealth, even after his death and over multiple generations, is his own prerogative, even if we may not agree with that decision.

                      That said, there is certainly a tension between property rights and fairness – see Thomas Jefferson on the subject of inheritance. I just wish that if we have to have it, that the estate tax would be more transparently redistributive – i.e. fairly aimed at giving others “their shot” at prosperity – and less of a gaping suck into the maw of the general treasury like any other tax revenue.

                    2. What a goofy concept of desserts. I mean really, WTF?

                    3. See, everyone here has some view about who deserves what. Saying everyone deserves whatever has been voluntarily given to them by another is itself a view about what people deserve, not some kind of agnosticism on the issue.

                    4. Saying everyone deserves whatever has been voluntarily given to them by another is itself a view about what people deserve, not some kind of agnosticism on the issue.

                      No, it’s a recognition of property rights, the sanctity of labor, and, ultimately the ownership of the self.

                      For someone who hangs out here a lot, you sure haven’t learned anything.

                    5. Yes, your idea of who deserves what is based on your ideas of property rights and such. It’s still a judgment on who deserves what.

                      And I know your axioms, I just don’t accept them.

                    6. No, it’s a metajudgment. That is, the gift-giver is the one that determines who is worthy to receive the gift, we simply choose not to interfere in that judgment.

                    7. No, I am saying my opinion on whether or not someone is deserving of something that has been given to them is irrelevent to setting tax policy.

                      You are trying to codify your opinion into law.

                    8. You’re trying to codify your opinion as well, your opinion that tax policy should not interfere with bequests. If you have no opinion on this question then the estate tax should not rankle you.

                  2. Another problem for MNG is that contrary to fiction tropes, significant inheritances are rarely a bolt out of the blue and the heirs have made contributions to the estate. Especially if the estate is a family owned business.

                    1. They’ve made contributions, and likely they’ve got tremondous benefits too. And of course the tax doesn’t take everything, so they will also get a lot back.

                    2. Ignoring the basic injustice of the estate tax for the moment. The estate tax may leave some asstes to the heirs but destroy the estate as a working unit. That’s part of the practical awful effects.

                    3. “Ignoring the basic injustice of the estate tax for the moment.”

                      See, it is about what is fair or just for you too…

                2. I’d say that Peyton Manning deserves his money, whereas Stanley O’Neal didn’t.

      3. “Either way it effects about 0% of the people who are on this thread, that I could safely bet quite a bit on…”

        Yeah, your old saw that you should only care about the government trying to screw over a class of your fellow citizens if you belong to that class. Tyrabts are real appreciative of that kind of thinking.

        1. Workin’ on it!

      4. That whole argument is idiotic on its foundation, or lack thereof. It doesn’t matter which tax the state is extorting from which group of taxpayers. Let’s assume it’s the estate tax. Who in the fuck is going to make the case that gubmint is going to spend and invest money more productively than the collective recipients of inheritance? Besides the normal statist ra-tards!

      5. Either way it effects about 0% of the people who are on this thread, that I could safely bet quite a bit on…

        Well, it affects me, so unless there are hundreds of people posting on this thread, you’ve had a statistics fail.

        What these high marginal tax rates do, in part, is encourage spouses of high-earning people (hint: people like me) to drop out of the job market because then ALL of their income is subjected to the top marginal rates, resulting in combined fed/state/local taxation rates of about 2/3 of one’s income.

        So, raising marginal tax rates can result in LESS federal income tax due to people cutting back on hours or dropping out of the work force entirely.

    5. Because when you want to tax different levels of income unequally, you have to draw the lines somewhere. Yes, it is arbitrary, but it cannot be helped if you accept the logic of having a progressive income tax.

    6. It’s simple, Number 2… wealth envy = Obama’s economic policy. Period.

      A $200K/250K yearly income is, therefore, just as evil as someone making that much money a day.

    7. Exactly.

      I’ve said before that according to Obama I’m rich.

      I am not complaining, I make a nice living and have a nice house. I am able to send my kids to a private school.

      But to look at us, you don’t see wealth. I drive a 2001 Toyota and my wife drives a 97 Honda.

      We are not rich. We are doing OK and I do realize how good I have it compared to a lot of people but then again, I don’t have stock options, timeshares, cabins, boats and a lot of stuff I see others have that probably make less than I do.

    8. $250k/year, that is approximately the top 2% in household income, about 5 times the average household income.

      Yes, that qualifies as “rich”.

      1. Good Lord, even MNG understood what I was getting at. What is your problem?

      2. fine, I’m rich. It’s just a fucking word, an ambiguous word at that.

        The point is that Obama and the rest of the class warriors like to point out how I’m busy buying my third vacation house and spending my money on objects d’art. Tony recently made a post about how the government should have the money instead of the rich buying their fifth car. $250k a year is NOT that lifestyle. Not in California anyway. I have the ability to buy some shit and not be constantly stressed about making ends meet (as I have been in the past) but I’m not lighting cigars with $100 bills. And many in the say 250-500k class are small business owners working hard building something.

        It goes back to my basic belief, why should the producers support the non producers?

        1. True. Note how the media treated McCain’s multiple residences vs. any given liberal’s multiple residences.

        2. 250k in CA is approximately the same lifestyle as $150k elsewhere in the US.

          Your tax money, though, is not “supporting the non producers”. A lot of it is just being wasted.

  6. I can’t believe nobody here has commented on the hilarity of Pelosi trying to use the phrase “Obama Tax Cut.” As if 1.) Obama will be cutting anyone’s taxes, as opposed to not merely raising them; 2.) Obama has a goddamn thing to do with these tax cuts.

    1. The abuse of the language by politicians is getting completely out of control. Pelosi saying that keeping lower end tax cuts will help the economy is like a guy saying he is good to his wife because he does not beat her…much.

      1. I think they say this because the tax cuts passed under Bush were set to automatically expire, so a later renewal can’t be called a “Bush tax cut.”

        1. I was more getiing at that keeping tax rates on the middle and lower end at the previous year’s status quo is not a new tax cut. The ridiculousness of Pelosi trying to to link those rates to Obama is just gravy.

          1. I think one can refer to a renewal of a cut that was set to expire as a cut without mugging the English language.

            1. The same Pelosi who has mugged the English language by saying “it’s not a tax hike” if the high-end cuts are rescinded?

              THAT Pelosi?

              That stupid bitch Pelosi?

              Why does anyone believe Word One out of her pie-hole?

              1. Yes, there are two absurdities here. 1) Tax rates that stay the same = “tax cut.” 2) Tax rates that go up = “not a tax increase.”

                1. They were tax rates that were set to expire unless renewal is elected. The default was expiration, so renewal is reasonably understood as a cut.

                  1. When a store sells something for $20, but has a 25% off “sale” for 9 years, then ends the sale, they have raised the price by $5. The rest is semantics.

      2. George Orwell be spinnin’ in his muthafuckin’ grave right now:

        “I wish I weren’t dead. I could tell that stupid cunt Pelosi that 1984 was just a fucking novel, not an instruction manual.”

          1. That’s hate speech!

            1. +10 is hate speech?

              What about +11?

              1. genocide

  7. And then, in a year or two, when federal spending is higher than ever, expect a heated — and confusing — discussion about how “the Obama middle-income tax cuts” and the Bush tax cuts for “the rich” created massive and unsustainable deficits.

    They can try, but I think most voters have finally realized “it’s the spending, stupid.” Is it going to be easy to cut spending? No, because the pols will fight it, and people always have their pet projects they don’t want to see cut. I think voters are in the mood to cut some deals, though, and take cuts in their area of interest, as long as cuts are made in the other areas as well.

    1. I think most voters have finally realized “it’s the spending, stupid.”

      I’ll believe that when I see it.

  8. Everybodies money belongs to the government,Nancy and the Boma can’t cut taxes without pissing off their core voter base. That’s how they make a living.

  9. Related at Reason: “Why is everyone picking on the Bush “tax cuts” rather than the Bush “spending increases?”

    It ain’t a revenue problem, it’s a spending problem.

  10. “She says we can afford…$320 billion a year in “Obama” cuts, but not $70 billion in “Bush” cuts.”

    That’s the amazing thing, the expected revenues from rescinding the Bush tax cuts on the highest income bracket are paltry. It’s a drop in the bucket compared to the amount they have raised the budget. If you honestly believe raising taxes is the path to fiscal sanity, why not be for an across the board tax hike? The Democrats are doing this because they honestly believe that raising taxes on the “rich” is good thing in and of itself regardless of how much money it actually raises. Also, they think that pitting the electorate against one another by playing the class warfare card is good politics.

    1. The Democrats are doing this because they honestly believe that raising taxes on the “rich” is good thing in and of itself regardless of how much money it actually raises. Also, they think that pitting the electorate against one another by playing the class warfare card is good politics.

      This.

      Their base can call it a win simply by sticking it to the rich, so they will try and milk that for all of the broken promises their base is pissed about.

      These statist fucks live for class warfare, and see tax hikes for the “rich” as a win regardless of the effects.

      I really hate fucking progressives. Envious little fuckers.

    2. I think this:

      [The Democrats] think that pitting the electorate against one another by playing the class warfare card is good politics.

      more than this:

      The Democrats are doing this because they honestly believe that raising taxes on the “rich” is good thing in and of itself regardless of how much money it actually raises.

      I think Occam’s razor would suggest that most of what politicians do would be what they believe will win them votes. I expect that very little of it will likely have anything to do with what they actually think is a good (or a bad) thing – if they even think in those terms with regard to politics.

      1. I do believe that progressives have an ideological commitment to soaking high income earners and the wealthy that transcends mere political calculation. At some level, they really do believe what they say they believe about how the economy works, as insane as we may think it is.

        1. They’re not doing this for the good of the collective, MJ… they’re doing it because it will get them elected/re-elected. Forever.

          1. The problem with that is, in this year’s political climate I do not think that class warfare is a winning issue, though it appeals to their base.

            Also, I think you have to have a measure of respect for your political opponenents to take seriously what they say they believe. Progressives have been too consistent for too long on wanting to raise taxes on the “rich” not to think that that is what they really believe.

            1. IMO, it’s just a means to an end – some of the far-far lefties doubtless are True Believers that wealth = evil, no matter what, but the majority of those in power IMO just see tax hikes and more spending as a way to get or keep elected office.

  11. I have the answer.

  12. Rational people spend less in times of economic uncertainty, spend less when revenues are lower, and spend less when their debt/income ratio gets too high. Rational people, rational businesses, rational governments.

    It is complete bull to pretend like the major issue now and the major issue during the Bush years is anything other than runaway spending. The problem with our system is the lack of political consequences for buying votes in the short term, while screwing up the country in the medium and long term. It’s amazing that people let the government get away with this blatant nonsense.

    1. No shit. How can representatives’ constituents let them get away with this? We gotta stick togetha mothafuckas.

  13. Pay up, fucking Republican retards!

    1. For their next trick, they will make registered Republicans pay in gold.

  14. What was the reason that the original tax cuts were not permanently? Did the Republicans in 2001 guess that they would lose the 2008 presidential election, and as such, conveniently scheduled a wedge issue for the 2010 mid-term elections???

    1. That is possible. Also there was some gaming of the accounting as to how much the tax cuts were going to cost. Also, I belive there was some Democrats who voted for it because they were not permanent.

    2. IIRC, it was the only way they could get enough Democrat+RINO votes to pass it.

    3. They had to put an expiration date on it in order to avoid the Byrd rule, which allows a bill to be blocked if it significantly increases the federal deficit beyond 10 years. This is part of reconciliation, which allowed them to pass the bill without a supermajority (a la senate health care bill).

      1. Another reason to cheer for the death of Robert Byrd. Took him long enough to go toes-up, but FUCK did he do a lot of damage while he was alive.

        1. What exactly do you have against the Byrd rule?

          1. Tony
            Did you know Robert Byrd was in the KKK? It’s true!

            1. Tax cuts don’t increase the deficit unless there’s overspending, Tony.

              THAT is one reason to hate on Byrd. That piece of shit lived decades too long. Good riddance.

              1. Oh, and MNG… Byrd’s participation in the Klan was just one aspect of his lifetime of loathsomeness.

                But if you ask Bill Clinton, Byrd HAD to join the Klan in order to get elected and do “good works”.

                I hope there’s a hell, and Byrd is rotting in it. Same goes for any random dead right-winger. Pick one, they all deserve it.

              2. What is this constant engagement in utter dishonest bullshit you guys do…

                Tax cuts don’t increase the deficit unless there’s overspending? What the fuck does that even mean?

                With no change in spending, a tax cut increases the deficit, right? You just want to live in this nonsense world where all tax cuts are OK (and no tax increase should ever be tolerated) because there’s always something to be cut… yeah, theoretically, we cut could to zero, the prospect of which probably gives you wet dreams. But what’s with pretending that taxes can magically be cut forever and at the same time any budget imbalance is the fault of too much spending? Surely arithmetic still involves addition as well as subtraction….

                1. No overspending, no NEED to raise taxes, Tony.

                  Jesus, are you that fucking obtuse?

                  1. If by obtuse you mean I don’t think in slogans, then yes.

    4. What was the reason that the original tax cuts were not permanently? Did the Republicans in 2001 guess that they would lose the 2008 presidential election, and as such, conveniently scheduled a wedge issue for the 2010 mid-term elections???

      Because the Republicans did not have enough Senate votes in 2001 to ram through permanent tax cuts with no expiration dates, since it takes 60 votes to avoid a filibuster, and the Ds were playing defense and hoping in ten years to resume high taxes.

      1. Italics fail on the first paragraph above.

    1. Hey, these things take time.

  15. Hey, I guess this is the closest to an open thread we’re going to have, so check this breaking news out: what’s not to like in this link: football, unions and anti-trust!

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=5584667

    It’s a potentially brilliant move by the players…

    1. It’s all a Manning brothers conspiracy to take over the NFL! Damn you Peyton!

      1. Manning Bowl, tomorrow 8 ET.

        1. Will Eli ever escape his brother’s shadow? Do we actually care? Is the new Meadowlands nice? I don’t know!

        2. Last week, the Panthers basically lost to a girl. Losing to the Giants running game is respectable and teams should expect it more often than not, but to Eli Manning’s throwing arm? That is unacceptable.

  16. How about we remove the social engineering from taxes all together. I don’t care how you do it with flat tax or consumption tax or whatever you come up with, the goal should be revenue to run government not generating class equality.

    1. Generating class equality need not be the only justification behind a progressive tax system hmmm, as I’ve argued all along here the most common justification is that it makes sure the burden falls on those who can best bear it.

      Remember the story Jesus told about the poor widow’s penny being worth more to her than the rich guys C-note? That’s the idea, and it’s a pretty common, widely accepted one.

      1. So you see, it’s not about social engineering, it’s about inequality before the law.

        That’s much better.

        1. It’s about dueling ideas of what equality is. Some people think treating everyone alike is the only road to equality, others think we should treat like cases alike.

          1. Yes, the American vision of equality versus the European one, which has been the justification for several Terrors since the French Revolution. Keep the Jacobin values across the pond, thank you.

            1. Treating like cases alike does not = equality of outcomes, if that is what you are getting at.

          2. It’s not dueling ideas. You are deriving a definition of equality from some moral argument. I am quantifying it. The same treatment is equal treatment without question.

            1. “I am quantifying it.”

              WTF?

              “The same treatment is equal treatment without question.”

              You’re wrong, as our very discussion illustrates. Besides, I would argue that my definition is treating people the same, because I treat like cases alike while you do not. You just have a very higher level of generality to the criteria for what puts people in the same category.

      2. “show me teh coin usd 4 payin teh tax.” they brought him denarius,20 an he askd them, “whose image iz dis? An whose inscripshun?” “caesars,” they replid. Den he sed 2 them, “giv bak 2 caesar wut iz caesars”

        [frum hier.]

      3. So it’s “give ’till it hurts, or else we’ll hurt you.”

      4. So you create a free rider issue and class warfare from the get go. Imagine the outrage of everyone from those making 10k to those making 1 million if a 10% flat tax went to 15%.

        Seriously. Don’t feed me a line of bullshit. It’s social engineering no matter how you look at it.

        There are a lot of widely accepted ideas that are complete bullshit. Would you like to start a list with me?

  17. Somebody remind me why the GOP is more libertarian than the Dems.

    They keep trying to prove otherwise.

    1. I saw that headline on a news flash tape. Good God, even limited to just the terms of cynical politics, they have a talent for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

    2. * total facepalm *

      the GOP is more libertarian than the Ds, for economic issues. for other stuff, ugh.

      maybe that will help a few GOP candidates in Montana, but talk about a Pyrrhic “victory” in the 99.7% of congressional districts that aren’t in Montana.

      1. The GOP is libertarian on the issues libertarians are wrong about. They completely ignore the issues libertarians are right about.

        1. Tony delivers one of Tony’s non-sequiturs and I guess thinks that load of happy horse-shit means something.
          Hey, Tony! You’re a brain-dead ignoramus!

          1. Tony never ceases to amaze. He thinks if we don’t overspend, we still can’t have tax cuts. What a doof.

          2. Ron L sees Tony’s non-sequiters and raises him a bunch of ad hominems!

            Interesting how Ron L. shows up to defend the GOP’s honor…

  18. While I’m at it, what’s the difference between the Bush and Obama administrations regarding “transparency”?

    None whatsoever.

    1. Don’t forget Obama tidal shift regarding torture.

      While the Bush Administration said that torture was a necessary tool in gathering information about terrorist organizations, Obama really wants to do something about middle class taxes and wishes the Republicans would stop blockading.

    2. Change:
      Bush = 4 letters
      Obama = 5 letters
      There ya go…

  19. I think one can refer to a renewal of a cut that was set to expire as a cut without mugging the English language.

    Only if you further mug the language by characterizing “Orwellian IngSoc doublespeak” as “the English language”.

    Obama and Pelosi and Reid are trying to RAISE the current tax levels for some people, and (for the moment) leave the current tax levels of others at their current level, and trying to pass that off as a “tax cut”.

    If you’re capable of believing that doublespeak, then you’re one small step away from the scene in 1984 where, the day after the chocolate ration was cut, people are praising Big Brother for raising the chocolate ration, and doing the mental gymnastics to fervently believe that for as long as it is necessary to believe that, with tiny necessary lapses of non-belief allowed if you’re one of the workers changing the history records for just so long as you are changing those records, because dissent is death.

    * hands MNG his upgraded, doubleplusgood doublethink fail-to-decoder ring *

    1. prole
      Were the cuts set to expire sans action or not?

      1. A tax increase was scheduled. The scheduled tax increase may be canceled.

  20. This year’s federal budget is around $3.6 trillion, which makes the $70 billion that will stick in the wealthiest Americans’ pockets seem like loose change.

    I seem to recall Reason (rightly) complaining about war spending that was roughly the same amount per annum.

    As my creepy but wise Uncle Artie always said, watch the pennies and you won’t have to worry about the dollars.

  21. “How about we remove the social engineering from taxes all together.”

    What? Are you insane?

    1. What Team Blue said!

  22. Apparently

    theythink that

    putting hearts and butterflies on the new stamp will make most

    people not realize that the rest is Arabic and probably not

    something we want to support.

    New Stamp

    – the
    second one!!!

    USPS
    New

    44-Cent

    Stamp Celebrates
    a

    Muslim
    holiday.
    If
    there is

    only ONE thing you forward today… let
    it be

    this!

    President

    Obama has directed the United States Postal

    Service to REMEMBER and HONOR the EID
    MUSLIM

    holiday season with a new commemorative
    44-Cent

    First Class Holiday Postage

    Stamp.

    REMEMBER

    to adamantly & vocally BOYCOTT this stamp,

    when you are purchasing your stamps at the post

    office.

    All you have to say

    is “No
    thank

    you, I do not want that Muslim Stamp on my

    letters!”

    To

    use this stamp would be a slap in the face to

    all those AMERICANS who died at the hands of

    those whom this stamp

    honors.
    REMEMBER

    the MUSLIM bombing of Pan Am
    Flight

    103!

    REMEMBER the
    MUSLIM bombing of the

    World Trade
    Center in 1993!

    REMEMBER the

    MUSLIM bombing of the Marine Barracks in Lebanon

    !

    REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of

    theMilitary

    Barracks in Saudi Arabia
    !

    REMEMBER

    the MUSLIM bombing of
    the American
    Embassies in

    Africa
    !

    REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of

    the USS
    COLE!

    REMEMBER the MUSLIM

    attacks on 9/11/2001 !

    REMEMBER all

    the AMERICAN lives that were lost in those

    vicious MUSLIM
    attacks!

    Pass

    this along to everyPatriotic

    American that
    you know

    and get the word
    out!
    Honor
    the

    United States of America ! the commander, stop communist obama,REPOST THIS IF YOU AGREE .. THE END OF AMERICA

  23. OBAMA goes about his business by speaking the lie. II Thessalonians 2 says that he comes “with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.” Revelation 13:12 says, “and he spoke as a dragon?.” Revelation 17 tells us that he was a false prophet, a prophet being one whose calling it is to speak and to teach. The armies of the world may have guns and tanks and bombs to bring people into submission; but the power of speech and ideas is a mighty power. In his initial attempts to destroy the cause of God, OBAMA used a serpent to deceive the woman with crooked speech: “You will be like God.” Now he uses a “dragon” who speaks crafty, lying words. His speeches will be heard by millions who will hang on his persuasive rhetoric. The content as well as the form of his speech will attract. Like most false prophets, he will even be sincere and passionate. But he is a liar. He adds dashes of truth to the mix, so that his lie tastes like truth. He will use all the right catchwords, using the language of the church, even throwing in a Bible text or two. But he is the ultimate Liar, and will deceive many.
    OBAMA will use every tool available: school teachers, politicians, news broadcasters, artists, musicians, scientists and doctors, lawyers and businessmen. All will be pressed into the service of OBAMA to deceive men. But especially he will use those whose calling it is to persuade and to teach ?quot; men who claim to be preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
    THE COMMANDER,,, REPOST THIS IF YOU AGREE .. THE END OF AMERICA

  24. TO THE WEAK-KNEED REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRAT?..Wake up america!!!! This goverment is the most corrupt we have had in years. The good old boy network is very much in charge.Mr. obama and pelosi are the puppet masters.How many of their good friends benefited by the agreement ” what a farce. All of the u.sSenators voted for this. I am ashamed to say I voted for the these corupted self serving politicians.With good reason they picked an out of towner to be president.All u.s departments need an overhaul. We need to rid ourselves of the puppet masters and the dept heads that bow down to obama and pelosi.I am sick of the lip service I have been getting from these dummies over violations, their friends are getting away with.in the goverment . Barack Hussein Obama , threatens friends and bows to Mmslim.
    INPEACH OBAMA ,GOD OPEN YOUR EYES.///For us there are only two possiblities: either we remain american or we come under the thumb of the communist Mmslim Barack Hussein OBAMA. This latter must not occur.THE COMMANDER,.. THE END OF AMERICA

  25. TO THE WEAK-KNEED REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRAT?..Wake up america!!!! This goverment is the most corrupt we have had in years. The good old boy network is very much in charge.Mr. obama and pelosi are the puppet masters.How many of their good friends benefited by the agreement ” what a farce. All of the u.sSenators voted for this. I am ashamed to say I voted for the these corupted self serving politicians.With good reason they picked an out of towner to be president.All u.s departments need an overhaul. We need to rid ourselves of the puppet masters and the dept heads that bow down to obama and pelosi.I am sick of the lip service I have been getting from these dummies over violations, their friends are getting away with.in the goverment . Barack Hussein Obama , threatens friends and bows to Mmslim.
    INPEACH OBAMA ,GOD OPEN YOUR EYES.///For us there are only two possiblities: either we remain american or we come under the thumb of the communist Mmslim Barack Hussein OBAMA. This latter must not occur.THE COMMANDER.
    OBAMA goes about his business by speaking the lie. II Thessalonians 2 says that he comes “with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.” Revelation 13:12 says, “and he spoke as a dragon….” Revelation 17 tells us that he was a false prophet, a prophet being one whose calling it is to speak and to teach. The armies of the world may have guns and tanks and bombs to bring people into submission; but the power of speech and ideas is a mighty power. In his initial attempts to destroy the cause of God, the devil used a serpent to deceive the woman with crooked speech: “You will be like God.” Now he uses a “dragon” who speaks crafty, lying words. His speeches will be heard by millions who will hang on his persuasive rhetoric. The content as well as the form of his speech will attract. Like most false prophets, he will even be sincere and passionate. But he is a liar. He adds dashes of truth to the mix, so that his lie tastes like truth. He will use all the right catchwords, using the language of the church, even throwing in a Bible text or two. But he is the ultimate Liar, and will deceive many.
    OBAMA will use every tool available: school teachers, politicians, news broadcasters, artists, musicians, scientists and doctors, lawyers and businessmen. All will be pressed into the service of OBAMA to deceive men. But especially he will use those whose calling it is to persuade and to teach — men who claim to be preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
    THE COMMANDER,,, REPOST THIS IF YOU AGREE .. THE END OF AMERICAIf ,one asks what he should look for in the days to come, we say this: there will be political union all nations will be gathered together into one mighty empire. This is the first of obama. There will also be religious union, joining all the religions and religious empires of the world. The powerful ecumenical movement of today, led by the religions of Christianity, will in the end fully succeed, swallowing up all the other religions of the world. You may expect to see one man over it all. obama.

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