Economics

No Healthy Deals

Why are Washington's debt dealmakers ignoring fundamental entitlement reform?

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Earlier this year, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) left the so-called Gang of Six, an independent team of senators who took it upon themselves to negotiate a proposed debt deal apart from the administration and congressional leadership. But this week, to coincide with the release of the $3.7 trillion deficit reduction plan, the gang wooed Coburn back. According to an anonymous source quoted in Politico, the senator, known for his keen interest in entitlement reform, only rejoined after "ferocious" negotiations over cuts to federal health spending. Coburn reportedly held out until the other members agreed to $116 billion in additional cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

He should've held out longer. The health care policy tweaks that elbowed their way into the final G6 plan won't restrain the growth of federal health spending enough to make a long-term difference.

Nor is the G6 plan the only debt proposal that fails on this front. None of the debt-deal plans now making headlines call for the substantial health entitlement overhaul necessary to pare back the biggest single driver of the federal debt. Taxpayer-financed health spending is the primary cause of both the growth of government and its mounting debt.

The G6 plan is being billed as a framework, but it's not a very sturdy one. Rather than dismantle the unlimited spending commitment offered by Medicare and Medicaid, the G6 plan calls for Congress to find $200 billion in cuts between the two programs. But it doesn't say where those cuts will come from or how they'll be implemented. Instead, it proposes a number and assumes the cuts will come through—about as pure an example of a magic asterisk as you're likely to see in any Washington budget plan.

Meanwhile, the plan also calls for Congress to come up with an additional $300 billion to "fix" Medicare's physician payment system by permanently getting rid of the program's long-scheduled, long-delayed reimbursement cuts. By most reckonings, this isn't really new spending; Congress has "temporarily" overridden the reimbursement cuts 13 times since 2003, with the temporary measures mostly serving to hide the cost of a long-term fix. But it still means officially adding the full cost of the overrides to the budget.

Regardless, it's not clear that any such cuts would pass a Democratic House, which has voiced strong opposition to anything that looks like benefit cuts to entitlements. President Obama has signaled his willingness to consider some forms of entitlement cuts as part of a deal, and even acknowledged that Medicare "will run out of money, and we will not be able to sustain that program, no matter how much taxes go up." But the cuts he favors would eat into provider payments—and, like Medicare's long-scheduled reimbursement cuts, would be hard to implement. Even a rumored deal to trade a tax hike for a repeal of ObamaCare's health insurance mandate wouldn't fundamentally overhaul the system; at best, it would somewhat weaken last year's law without addressing the two older health entitlements. 

Cut, cap, and balance, a plan favored by House Republicans, is more radical in some ways, but also carefully sidesteps entitlements, including Medicare. The bill proposes requiring Congress to keep total federal spending under a predetermined cap. Legislators would only be allowed to spend a certain percentage of America's total economic output in any given year. But there's a loophole: Those spending limits would not apply to entitlements like Medicare or Social Security, among other big-ticket federal spending items.

Exempting Medicare and Social Security from a plan designed to control the federal debt is like a casino junkie trying to pay off his salary-sized credit card bill by giving up diner food after his nights at the tables. It doesn't address the root of the problem. In 2009, using government data, the Concord Coalition projected that in less than 40 years, spending on the three big entitlements—Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security—could wolf down a full year of federal revenue all by itself, leaving nothing left for other functions. These already-fat entitlements are threatening to selfishly consume America's fiscal future.

Health entitlements, in particular, are the primary cause of the government's decades of bloat. According to Christopher Conover, a research scholar at Duke University's Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research, health spending accounted for the entire increase in government's size in relation to the rest of the government between 1966 and 2007.

Want to pare down the size of government? Cut back its health care spending. Want to muffle the exploding federal debt? Same thing. But judging from the supposed debt deals on display this week, few members of any political party have much interest in doing either.

Peter Suderman is an associate editor at Reason magazine.

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  1. Why are Washington’s debt dealmakers ignoring fundamental entitlement reform?

    I’ll bite.

  2. Nobody who wants to slash entitlements has any interest in the country’s fiscal health–at least not more than his interest in getting rid of the welfare state.

    Making life more difficult and expensive for the working poor, elderly, and disabled will not help the government’s budget problems. They didn’t cause them either.

    1. Nobody who wants to slash entitlements has any interest in the country’s fiscal health

      Also, no one who wants to lose weight has any interest in eating less.

    2. I’ve gone ahead and looked at the budget share of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The results indicate that you are wrong.

      Condolences.

      1. Only if revenues are off the table–the insane, nonsensical framing of people insisting on draconian cuts to safety net programs. Somehow putting millions of elderly people into poverty is a solution to federal budget problems, but taxing the rich a little more is too steep a price.

        1. What the hell do you mean by “revenues off the table”? The feds need to take in more revenue? Ok, how? Tax hikes? It’s pretty well established that revenue rarely exceeds 19% of GDP even under outlandish tax rates. There’s a cap to how much money can be taken in. And federal spending on the Big 3 will outgrow this. So how are you going to conjure the additional $?

          1. Also, taxing the rich “a little more” doesn’t help. Even confiscating the entire fortunes of everyone in the U.S. with a net worth > $1M won’t pay for these programs. Do a little research before spouting these platitudes.

            1. Finally, let’s not pretend that cutting entitlements will “put millions of elderly people into poverty”. Fact of the matter is that the elderly are the wealthiest demographic in the country. They have higher standards of living than younger demographics. So I don’t feel too sorry for the old folk. And even if I did, I don’t buy that the solutions are going to hurt them. The SS and Medicare crises are solved by increasing the age of eligibility a few years (I believe 3 does it) and tying it in the future to life expectancy. Hardly sounds draconian. Lay off the hyperbole, Tony.

              1. Before Medicare, 26% of the elderly were in poverty. Now it’s less than 10%. It is not hyperbole to say that ending these programs would put lots of people into poverty.

                And I hardly think the $4 trillion the Bush tax cuts will cost over 10 years is meaningless since letting them expire will put exactly 0 people into poverty. I’m fine debating what needs to be done to deal with the budget, but let’s at least talk in terms of the effects to real people.

                1. Nothing based on coercion can or ever has succeeded.

                  1. Nothing based on coercion can or ever has succeeded.

                    Except daily human existence on all levels. I take it you don’t think too highly of property rights.

                    1. Private property bought in a voluntary exchange. Sorry, don’t see the coercion there.

                2. How do tax cuts COST anything, exactly?

                  1. The same way a pay cut at your job would cost you. But by all means let’s ignore the real-world effects of policy on real people by appealing to petty semantic bullshit.

                    1. They don’t cost anything if you’re printing your own money. If deficit spending is so great, why does the government need to have any income at all? Why not just create the entire budget from thin air?

                    2. Are you inferring that the Bush tax cuts caused government employees’ salaries to go down?

                3. yes but only $700 billion of that was from raising taxes on the rich. Therefore one can only assume that you HATE THE POOR AND MIDDLE CLASS

                4. Tony there will always be poor people. Get over it!

                  And if they are old and broke I would bet 90% were young and broke, middle aged and broke…..see a trend here?

                  No i forgot you won’t look unless it is for the “better of all human kind.”

                  Stealing one mans liberty to give to another does not make it ok. No matter what the “Social Justice” people say.

                  Tell you what Tony, since you have no problem with “rich” people giving “more” in taxes….Right up 100%. I will call you out and say YOU go first.

                  Then we will see how long you like it.

                  1. That’s a lot of assumptions there. All I want is sane tax and economic policy. You appear to want the status quo, as if it’s the best possible world.

                    1. NO Fail yet again Tony!

                      Flat tax 15% People and Corporations no loop holes….end of game.

                      Government needs more income they need to HELP the economy not shackle it.

                    2. “You appear to want the status quo”

                      Double wrong!

                      I want every one paying the same percent so we all have some skin in the game.

                      Everything you spout about just penalizes success. After a while the “Rich” will be sick of running on your treadmill and they will stop. Then who you going to steal…oh sorry TAX ?

                      The Middle Class ….who the once rich are now part of….sure there are tons of people in that “class”….will it end there?

                      Probably not ….

                    3. I’m sure the rich appreciate your threatening their going Galt on their behalf, but if they want to act like crybabies for being required to pay what they owe to their civilization, I’m sure there are some entrepreneurial people out there willing to take their place.

                    4. What do the people that don’t pay any taxes at all owe go their civilization?

                    5. There are no people who pay no taxes.

                    6. You’re kidding, right?

                      Oh, nemmind. I forgot Rule #17 –

                      Never argue with a “Talking Point.”

                    7. “I’m sure the rich appreciate your threatening their going Galt on their behalf, but if they want to act like crybabies for being required to pay what they owe to their civilization, I’m sure there are some entrepreneurial people out there willing to take their place.”

                      Tony you are ether a mental midget or you trully believe the Liberal Progressive garbage that was “injected” into your head.

                      You have no concept of human nature! If the rewards of hard work and inovation are removed through paying “their fair share”…..wich in your mind is more than double what other people pay just because they are “rich”…..trust me people will stop producing. It has nothing to to with the fictional character Galt. It is human nature plan and simple.

                      Like I said FLAT tax 15% top to bottom NOTHING back except medical bills.

                      If you need the Government to “guide” you through life please feel free to get your socialist ass out of the home of the free, Your need to be a baby will not trump MY freedom.

                5. “Before Medicare, 26% of the elderly were in poverty. Now it’s less than 10%. It is not hyperbole to say that ending these programs would put lots of people into poverty.”

                  Two words: Means Test.

                  1. It actually means the old broke people have died of old age.

          2. It’s the magic of intentions.

            If you raise taxes with the intention of raising revenue, then the results don’t matter. It’s the intentions that matter.

            Raising taxes on the rich will not cause the rich to shuffle their assets around to avoid paying more taxes because that is not the intention. The intention is for them to pay more taxes and that is what will happen.

            Even if it doesn’t happen it will happen because that is the magic of intentions.

            1. I understand the motive. I just find myself banging my head against my desk when I read this shit.

              1. Your problem is that you see the world as it is, not as you want it to be.
                In the real world when you take money out of the economy, siphon some off the top, then put it back into the economy, you have a net loss.

                You need to live in an imaginary world where if you take money out of the economy, siphon some off the top, then add it back in, it magically multiplies and you get a net gain.

                Imagination rocks!

            2. It is my intention that Tony should stop telling us that free-spending politicians are good for us. (Please be right, sarcasmic).

            3. Sigh… always a lame excuse. If it’s not bullshit voodoo economics, it’s extortion. Look, if the rich can too easily find ways to avoid paying taxes, then government is simply not strong enough, law enforcement being its essential priority. You’re just making my case for me with this crap.

              1. “Look, if the rich can too easily find ways to avoid paying taxes, then government is simply not strong enough,”

                Epic Fail!

                No the problem is the TAX CODE!

                Flat 15% tax nothing back except medial costs to individuals, or R & D to companies $1 to $1 trillion.
                End the IRS as we know it make tax cheats serve hard time and get this country MOVING again.

                1. Stop speaking logically, people are afraid of these kinds of ideas. Think of the children!

        2. Re: Tony,

          Only if revenues are off the table[…]

          Revenues are not something one can control. I have shown you this many times and yet you still believe that trying to extort more money from people will NOT change people’s behavior.

          […]the insane, nonsensical framing of people insisting on draconian cuts to safety net programs.

          They’re not “safety net” programs, they are and have been always politically-motivated handouts. People make their own “safety net” through savings and insurance.

          1. People are forced to pay into SS and Medicare. I don’t give a shit what you call them….the government owes them big time!

        3. How in hell is Social Security a “safety net” when nearly every American over 65 receives it?

          1. because rich retirees need a safety net in case their monocle factory burns to the ground!

            1. Monocle factory!! That shit is funny! I’m stealing it from you…

          2. Yes, exactly!! They always bitch and moan about the rich paying their fair share!! But God forbid we ever stop paying filthy rich seniors their social security checks!! The class warfare can only be taken so far. To claim the rich need to pay more in taxes, but that rich retirees are entitled to their “safety net” is rank hypocracy.

            1. My aunt spent her entire social security last year on veterinary bills for the cat.

              1. So it was a safety net for her cat.

              2. My aunt spent her entire social security last year on veterinary bills for the cat animal companion.

                FTFY

              3. That was her choice, and I bet the cat was happy for it!

                But if she now says she is broke and needs a “raise” in SS then she needs to examine her priorities.

            2. You stupid fucks don’t seem to understand Social Security is money workers….you know people who work…paid in. If the government spent it on something else….oh well tough shit. It is money people paid in for their senior years! It is not welfare.

              1. I call spoof.

              2. It IS welfare, in it’s essence. If you want it to be gold plated welfare you “means test” it. Anytime the term “means testing” is used, a de facto welfare system is being described.

        4. You really are a dick Tony. The elderly comprise the wealthiest demographic in this country.

          At what rate would we have to tax the rich to cover the unfunded liabilities of SS and MC?

        5. Tony, you know most of the rich and the elderly are the same group, right?

          1. Well I’m not talking about the rich elderly am I? The rich are a small proportion of the population–and I think they will be just fine regardless.

            1. Since, as you say, the rich are a small proportion of the population, the notion that raising tax rates on them by a few percent will even begin to eliminate our unfathomably massive budget gap is just plain stupid.

              1. It won’t solve all the problem, but it can help, at the cost of no pain to anyone.

            2. “and I think they will be just fine regardless”

              So since you think that it must be true?

              Nice logic.

            3. “and I think they will be just fine regardless”

              So since you think that it must be true?

              Nice logic.

            4. “The rich are a small proportion of the population–and I think they will be just fine regardless.”

              Uh-huh.

          2. You do know they worked for it….don’t you???

            1. That does not matter in “Tony Land”

              He wants equal out come not equal rights.

    3. YES they did in fact CAUSE THEM. They spent the last 60 years using up the excess funds from SS to pay for pork projects all across america.
      They got their Cowboy Poetry Museum and now they are wondering where the money will come from to pay for their retirement.
      Income taxes and the national debt are the only places they can get the money. Income taxes takes the money from their children and grandchildren. National Debt takes the money from their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
      Dont it make you proud to be an American?

      1. Cowboy Poetry is a national treasure that needs to be preserved for future generations, just like Social Security.

        1. Actually, as it stands, Cowboy Poetry was a way for Nevada to screw over a few other states, whose poets are at least as good, and possibly better, but got nothing. Arts funding is usually just crony handouts.

          1. “Arts funding is just crony handouts.”

            There, FIFY

        2. Then spend private money on cowboy poetry.

        3. Ok now I know you’re a troll, a lingering-troll.

      2. “YES they did in fact CAUSE THEM. They spent the last 60 years using up the excess funds from SS to pay for pork projects all across america.”
        That is correct. And if the government spent the SS money for something else they better damn well come up with replacement money!
        Sell federal land!

    4. Re: Tony,

      Nobody who wants to slash entitlements has any interest in the country’s fiscal health[…]

      Do you balance your checkbook by adding imaginary money?

      Making life more difficult and expensive for the working poor, [the] elderly[ and] [the] disabled will not help the government’s budget problems.

      Yes it will. Spending LESS will ALWAYS solve a budgetary problem. What other people do or choose to do is not relevant for this financial fact.

      1. But not giving is the same as taking, and not taking is the same as giving.

        If you take less from the rich that is the same as giving them money.

        And if you give less money to the poor and elderly that is the same as taking money away from them.

        Non action is action.

        Not doing is doing.

        It’s totally zen, Dude.

        1. This is the major beef I have with Liberal (progressivism) today. Many of the goals they have I share, cleaner enviroment, better education, reduced poverty, but the methods they advocate are unconscionable, and short sighted in achieving their long term goals. Sure the money you take from Mr. Moneybaggs at gun point will go to the needy, well after the government parasites and cronys take their cut, but that money will be given grudgingly and Mr Moneybaggs will take every opportunity to pay as little as possible. If instead they simply used persuasion to convince Mr Moneybagss to donate his money to help those they wish to help they would recieve far more, and given joyfully, than they could ever legally steal through government force.

          1. Persuasion is hard. I mean, it’s like difficult and stuff.

            Why go through the effort of persuasion when you can point a gun at their head and take what you want?

            It’s so much easier, and the end justifies the means.

      2. Depriving your kid of the pony she wants will not help balance the family budget!

        1. Depriving your kid of a pony is the same as taking a pony away.

          Not giving is taking.

          1. If the neighbor’s kid has a pony, and you DON’T steal it, you are actually spending.

            1. Close, but no.

              You not giving is theft.

              The government not taking is a gift.

              Only government is allowed to take.
              When you take it is still theft.

              So if the government doesn’t take the neighbor’s kid’s pony, then it is a gift from the government.

              1. I was referring to the sort of “spending in the penal code” that we need to rectify.

                If failing to tax something is “spending in the tax code”, then surely, failing to steal something must be “spending in the penal code”, no?

                1. All property and income belongs to the government, except that which the government doles out.

                  Income is the property of the government.
                  Entitlements are the property of the recipient.

                  Cutting taxes is spending.
                  Cutting entitlements is theft.

                  Property belongs not to the person who earns it, but to the person to which it is owed.

                  1. Emmanuel Goldstein David Koch is the enemy of the people!

      3. You can balance an imbalanced budget by taking in more revenue. Why is that not ever an option? Your ridiculous GOP-parroting talking points are just not convincing. Just say what you want, in terms of effects to real people, and lay off the bullshit. Yes we can tax more. We have done it. Tax rates are the lowest they’ve been in modern American history. If you’re concerned about the budget but refuse to address that fact, then you just aren’t being honest. And I think you all know that, so the question is who exactly are you trying to convince?

        1. Rates were a good deal lower from 1988-1992.

          What, are you 5 years old or something, that 1992 seems like it was the time of Julius Caesar?

          1. Okay technically top marginal income tax rates have been lower–so they’ve been lower than today about 10% of the time since 1960. Of course effective tax rates for the top tier are the lowest in that time. So tax rates are at or near the lowest they’ve been in 50 years. That suggests they can be hiked with minimal damage, considering our economy boomed during periods when they were much, much higher.

            1. Okay, take the flip side of that. Government expenditures, as a raw total, are the highest they’ve ever been, and as a percentage of GDP, the highest they’ve been since WWII. You can balance an imbalanced budget by taking in more revenue spending less. Why is that not ever an option?

              1. It is if you care about balancing the budget. Who is totally against spending cuts? Nobody in Washington, certainly not me. The Pentagon has a big fat target on it as far as I’m concerned.

                But the spending cuts we’d have to enact in order to balance the budget would immediately throw millions of people into poverty. If we can offset that with tax hikes on the wealthy, why the hell wouldn’t we? Isn’t less pain better than more pain? Not if you’re an ideologue who cares more about his ideology than people, I gather.

                Anyway I’m all for not raising taxes and not cutting spending, since among all the problems this country is facing right now, near the bottom of the list is our budget deficit, which won’t come close to being solved until the jobs crisis is solved first anyway.

                Of course the politicians whose talking points you guys spout know this perfectly well. They’re trying to enact an ideological agenda by lying about what’s important. I can’t tell if you guys are lying too or if you just buy into their bullshit 100%. I mean it seems unlikely that so many people could maintain the cognitive dissonance required for your belief system (tax hikes are bad in a down economy, but spending cuts are OK? WTF?).

                1. Politicians are full of shit. I don’t know their talking points.

                  But you are also full of shit, and spout talking points that are blatantly false. You can’t write enough of your bullshit to make your statement about tax rates correct. It was wrong.

        2. Re: Tony,

          You can balance an imbalanced budget by taking in more revenue.

          Sure, that’s what my wife said: You can pay for my credit cards by having another job.

          The trick is in FINDING this other job…

          Again, you’re being either naive or totally oblivious to the fact that people’s BEHAVIOR change when their property is taken by force. This “increased income” canard has been TRIED in many states, only resulting in LESS revenue, not more.

          Your ridiculous GOP-parroting talking points are just not convincing.

          Tony, it does not matter how many times you resot to bad-mouthing and obfuscation by calling the act of pointing out economic reality a “GOP talking point.”

          You’re like that teenager girl who, when told she cannot have more allowance because of tough times, retorts with: “No, it is because you don’t love me anymore!”

          Yeah, sure, that’s why.

          Tax rates are the lowest they’ve been in modern American history.

          This is false. They’re certainly not the highest, but they’re not the lowest.

          If you’re concerned about the budget but refuse to address that fact, then you just aren’t being honest.

          Oh, I am being honest. What I am not being is delusional. What Congress has total control of is SPENDING, just like anybody else that faces a budget. YOUR OWN ACTIONS ARE UNDER YOUR CONTROL. Instead, income depends on SOMEBODY ELSE’S actions, like: Your employer, or the taxpayer.

          1. The trick is in FINDING this other job…

            That’s not a trick for the government–it has the power to raise taxes. It’s one of its most basic jobs.

            people’s BEHAVIOR change when their property is taken by force. This “increased income” canard has been TRIED in many states, only resulting in LESS revenue, not more.

            Now you’re just flat-out lying. Even George W. Bush’s own economists admit that his tax cuts reduced revenue relative to where it would have been without them. Tax hikes tend to raise revenue, tax cuts tend to reduce it, and I promise you the data confirms this, even though it’s a totally complicated point, you know, more money meaning more money and all.

            1. Re: Tony,

              That’s not a trick for the government–it has the power to raise taxes.

              Tony, you try too hard to look the fool. Raising rates and OBTAINING MORE REVENUE are entirely two different things.

              You still ignore the effect that extorting more money from people has in people’s behavior.

              Now you’re just flat-out lying.

              Oh? Am I?
              http://www.stogieguys.com/2011…..ike-n.html

              http://online.wsj.com/article/…..oveLEFTTop

              Even George W. Bush’s own economists admit that his tax cuts reduced revenue relative to where it would have been without them.

              You mean the same economists that saw the downturn coming? THOSE economists?

              Tax hikes tend to raise revenue,

              I already proved above that it is not true. You’re simply committing a ceteris paribus fallacy.

              1. You still ignore the effect that extorting more money from people has in people’s behavior.

                Not noticeably at any change in rates that are on the horizon. This is just an excuse, and a lame one. One thing I think we can both agree that the data confirm–lowering tax rates on the rich doesn’t increase employment.

                Your examples are the definition of confirmation bias. Were we talking about Oregon or cigar taxes? I have a link too and it’s actually relevant.

                1. Re: Tony,

                  Not noticeably at any change in rates that are on the horizon.

                  What are you talking about?

                  One thing I think we can both agree that the data confirm–lowering tax rates on the rich doesn’t increase employment.

                  Who is talking about that??? Are you shifting the focus again?

                  Your examples are the definition of confirmation bias. Were we talking about Oregon or cigar taxes?

                  We’re talking about REVENUE and tax rates. The laws of economics are the same regardless of the state or what is being taxed.

                  I have a link too and it’s actually relevant.

                  Really? You should read more carefully what you link to. The lower revenue after the tax rate cut of 2001 was to be expected because the country was in recession after the 9/11 attacks. But the same article shows how revenue went up by 2006 WITHOUT INCREASES IN TAXES, explaining why:

                  “Government receipts rose 20.9 percent between 2001 and 2006, and they were up 35 percent between 2003 and 2006.

                  A Treasury Department analysis found that the tax cuts prompted the creation of jobs and increased the gross domestic product. If McCain had said the tax cuts contributed to economic growth, he would have been correct.”

                  Read carefully, Tony: The FactCheck post starts by arguing that it is not true that tax cuts leads to more revenue. However, in the same article, it conceded it lead to higher economic growth and, thus, a higher revenue. Then they SPIN this fact by saying “Well, revenue always increases each year”

                  Yeah, right. In the same graph, Federal Income STAGNATED in 2001. The US was in a recession.

                  If at that moment in 2001 GWB had raised taxes, he would have sent the economy in a DEPRESSION, just like it happened in 1930 under Hoover (and as it happened under GHWB when he broke his promised and raised taxes – the country went into a severe recession, which cost GHBW his job.)

                  And look again at the little graph that “fact” check was so kind to place: Revenues during the Clinton years were LOWER from 1998-2001 than from 2003-2006, despite the LOWER RATES in 2003-2006.

                  CARE TO EXPLAIN?

                  1. Aw, look, Tony didn’t respond. What a surprise.

                  2. It says that there is no dispute among economists that revenue was lower than it would have been without the tax cuts, even despite any growth they may have caused. The cuts were still in place in 2008 so any growth was obviously consumed by larger factors–the differences in rates we’re talking about just don’t have that big of an effect on economic performance relative to other factors. What they do effect largely are revenues, since that’s what taxes are.

                2. What am I, chopped liver?

          2. “Again, you’re being either naive or totally oblivious to the fact that people’s BEHAVIOR change when their property is taken by force. This “increased income” canard has been TRIED in many states, only resulting in LESS revenue, not more.”

            Correct take a look at Massachusetts They up’ed the sales tax and lost sales to New Hampshire …and tax revenue is down across the board.

            But since that does not “fit” in tony land lets ignore it.

    5. Trollin trollin trollin keep those comments rollin

      1. Rawhiiiide!

    6. I know you don’t realize this, but I will repeat myself. Even if you confiscated every red cent of wealth and money from the richest, you would STILL have to raise taxes on the middle class and poor.

      Why do you hate the middle class and poor Tony?

      1. Because they didn’t contribute enough money to his savior’s campaign.

      2. That’s why we should wait to deal with the budget deficit until there is a more secure middle class that can afford a tax hike again. This is your obsession. I just think it’s rather horrific to say on the one hand that debt is more important than employment right now, then say we have to solve the problem you claim is important by putting millions of people into poverty, all the while making the lamest of excuses for not taxing the wealthy or corporations a cent more.

        1. I’m sorry, what is my obsession Tony? Cause your obsession seems to be sucking team blue’s cock and bitching about rich people. Here’s a news flash: those people you are worried about being plunged into poverty are already in poverty. If they aren’t, why the fuck are they receiving entitlements. Asshole.

          1. “Here’s a news flash: those people you are worried about being plunged into poverty are already in poverty. If they aren’t, why the fuck are they receiving entitlements. Asshole.”

            Word!

    7. “Making life more difficult and expensive for the working poor, elderly, and disabled will not help the government’s budget problems. They didn’t cause them either.”

      Yes they did, by not getting a good education and high paying job, which translates into increased tax revenues. Instead, they are a drain on the system.

      I wonder if they enjoy camping?

      1. Silly Pip, you know “the poor” and “the needy” are a frozen class. They cannot – shall not – have any aspirations to stop being “the poor” and “the needy”.

      2. We could just shoot all the poor old people. It’s like you guys don’t have parents and grandparents or something… no safety net means everyone pays more in a much more unpredictable way. I’ve got my own retirement to worry about, why should I be 100% on the hook for my parents’ ability to survive as well when a few dollars in taxes can pay for a universal safety net that will diminish this as a major source of strain in life?

        1. “I’ve got my own retirement to worry about, why should I be 100% on the hook for my parents’ ability to survive as well when a few dollars in taxes can pay for a universal safety net that will diminish this as a major source of strain in life?”

          Wow, you really are a selfish prick, aren’t you?

          1. Why should he help his parents when there’s rich people to do it for him?

            1. Maybe my parents are assholes and I don’t want to put myself into poverty keeping them from starving to death, but that doesn’t mean I want them to starve to death either. They paid taxes their whole lives with the assumption that they’d have a safety net if they needed it. And I know there are millions of families much worse off than mine. Only a small-minded short-sighted idiot would think abolishing this safety net would benefit anyone, anywhere.

              1. “Maybe my parents are assholes and I don’t want to put myself into poverty keeping them from starving to death…”

                They’ll ‘starve to death’!?

              2. They paid taxes their whole lives with the assumption that they’d have a safety net if they needed it.

                In other words, they believed the lies that politicians told them.

                Put another way, they were fucking morons.

                No soup for them. They can wither to dust and blow away in the wind, for all I care.

                1. I know you guys are all eugenicists at heart. The penalty for not being talented participants in capitalism is death! Because capitalism is mandated by the constitution, or something.

                  1. You don’t know shit, Tony.

                    Quit your amateur fucking mind-reading shit. You’re no telepath.

                  2. No. Death is the penalty for abject, indefensible stupidity, i.e., believing politicians’ lies.

                    And private control of the means of production is mandated by the Constitution, you dumbass. Notice the various safeguards against government confiscation of private property?

              3. “hey paid taxes their whole lives with the assumption that they’d have a safety net if they needed it”

                And there in lies the problem, THEY were robbed and now WE get to pay for it under your “Ideal Plan”

                Sounds fair……Looser

              4. If your parents are assholes but you don’t want to put YOURSELF into poverty, fuck you for wanting to put me into poverty to take care of them. They are your problem seeing as how they are YOUR parents.

                1. No tax policy I support, ever, would ever put anyone into poverty. The problem is most of us have parents, and a lot of us don’t have parents who can support themselves in retirement without a safety net. It’s just an insurance program. It’s not evil.

                  1. But we’ll still have poor people, no matter what gets done.

                    How can you live with yourself, Tony?

                    1. Much better than I could if I used that as an excuse to make things as unfair and draconian as possible.

                    2. That’s the kind of shit we expect from you, Tony. You never disappoint.

                  2. IOW you don’t know shit about what insurance is, do you?

              5. “Maybe my parents are assholes and I don’t want to put myself into poverty keeping them from starving to death, but that doesn’t mean I want them to starve to death either.”

                So… you think other people have more of an obligation to support your asshole parents than you do? How exactly does that make sense?

                “They paid taxes their whole lives with the assumption that they’d have a safety net if they needed it.”

                That assumption was faulty. They were actually paying for other peoples’ retirements. Their expectations are unrealistic and unsustainable.

        2. Now you get it!
          Anyone who doesn’t want to initiate violence against someone for committing the crime of accumulating wealth is motivated by hatred of the poor.
          You understand!
          It’s all hatred!
          A belief in property rights has nothing to do with it, nor does a belief that the initiation of violence is wrong.
          Nope. It’s all about hating the poor!
          Fuck the poor!
          Yeah!
          Hating is fun!

          1. I don’t care what you feel about the poor or anything else. The question is what will the effects of your policies be?

            1. Hate!
              Hate!
              Kill the poor!
              Yeah!

              1. Erp bad link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgpa7wEAz7I maybe that will Kill the Poor!

            2. Effects? We don’t need no stinkin effects! It’s all intentions!

    8. BUT I WANT OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY!!!

      I HATE YOU ALL SOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!! I CAN’T WAIT TO MOVE OUT AND GET MY OWN COMMENT THREAD!!!!!!

      1. BUT I WANT OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY!!!

        I HATE YOU ALL SOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!! I CAN’T WAIT TO MOVE OUT AND GET MY OWN COMMENT THREAD!!!!!!

    9. Making life more difficult and expensive for the working poor, elderly, and disabled will not help the government’s budget problems. They didn’t cause them either.

      The people who voted themselves promises on the backs of future generations don’t a dime’s-worth of sympathy from me.

      1. You mean people who voted themselves unnecessary tax breaks that weren’t offset? Or those who refuse to do anything about energy policy at the expense of the livelihoods of future generations? Medicare and SS protect the young too–I gather libertarian types just take their parents out to pasture at the appropriate time, but normal people want their elderly relatives not to be in poverty or drag them down into poverty with them.

        1. “I gather libertarian types just take their parents out to pasture at the appropriate time…”

          Yes, b/c that’s the only alternative to MC and SS.

        2. Yeah, policies based on coercion have worked all through history – USSR, East Germany, Cuba, North Korea, Spain, Greece, Ireland, California, the list goes on. On the way to your socialist utopia the U.S. will go bankrupt, and will have only libertarianism to turn to. Congratulations.

          1. Just because there’s never been a libertarian society in history doesn’t mean it’s superior by default. If you can’t tell the difference between North Korea and California, then you are not contributing anything.

            1. There’s a difference, but it’s one of degree, not one of kind.

              1. But your society is a different kind? How? Magic? Property rights by the honor code?

                1. Because mine doesn’t permit slavery in any degree. Yours does.

                  1. No it doesn’t.

            2. “Just because there’s never been a libertarian society in history doesn’t mean it’s superior by default.”

              That’s true tony, but there have ‘libertarian leaning’ policies that have been tried and work much better than our system.

              I’m not a fan of any govt. run retirement system, but the Chileans have one that works quite well. What do you think the difference is tony?

              1. We were almost pure libertarian for our first 100 years. No draft, no central bank, no income tax, no drug war, gold and silver coin were lawful currency, no alphabet soup of gov’t agencies taking away our freedom, and yet, people from all over the world risked their lives to get here. Go figure.

                1. An “almost pure” libertarian society built on involuntary labor. Sign me up!

                  1. The “Slave card” has no value pall. It happened but this country did not become what it is because of it.

                    When you grow up and learn how to use your brain, may be then you will understand.

        3. You mean people who voted themselves unnecessary tax breaks…

          PAUSE.

          What’s an “unnecessary” tax break?

    10. Welfare will never be “gotten rid of”, so stop with your fucking scare-tactic bullshit.

    11. “Making life more difficult and expensive for the working poor, elderly, and disabled will not help the government’s budget problems. They didn’t cause them either.”

      BS. Please provide proof of your assinine claim.

  3. Man posing as officer pulls over undercover police vehicle

    A security guard who apparently wanted to play police officer pulled over the wrong person Tuesday, according to Dalton police. James Dale Smith, 58, an employee of J.J.K. Security in Chattanooga, turned on his strobe light and tried to stop a car on Shugart Road shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday.

    What Smith didn’t know was the car was an undercover vehicle and the driver a Dalton Police Department detective.

    On Wednesday, Smith was charged with impersonating a law enforcement officer and impersonating a public officer or employee.

    The real cop did not shoot the fake cop.
    No dogs were killed.

    http://www.timesfreepress.com/…..police-ve/

    1. Not posting on the Canton cop thread?

      Oh well, to incif you go.

      1. Why incif, rob? It’s hilarious. I think this is one of the most amusing anonypussy renditions yet. It’s so dumb that it almost becomes genius satire.

        1. This one is particular is fantastic and, I’m guessing, a spoof.

          Have we sunk so low that we’re actually celebrating a cop for not killing someone who posed no threat to anyone? YES!

    2. Suck a dick, asswipe.

      Miami Police Shot Protester, then laugh about it

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G63FEamhpA0

      SF Police Shoot Man 5 Times for Not Paying Bus Fare

      http://www.infowars.com/sf-pol…..-bus-fare/

      1. Disrespecting mass transit is treason, and punishable by death.

    3. L.A. Police shoot man 81 times and kill their own Police Dog

      (and nothing else happened)

      http://www.noob.us/miscellaneo…..-81-times/

    4. I Should Blast You in the Mouth Right Now

    5. Too late, no matter how soon
      I should drop you with my glock .40 like a fucking goon,
      In High School I was sodomized with a broom
      and nothing else happened

      Never suspended without pay
      Life is ours, you do what we say
      I harrass minorities and the gays
      and nothing else happened

      Power I seek, and I find in this
      Every day we beat up people just because we’re pissed
      I use a nightstick because I have a weak fist
      and nothing else happened

      never cared for what they do
      never cared for what they know
      but I know

      Everything you do is illegal, no matter how legit
      I’ll shoot your dog for being a little barking shit,
      And we have all the evidence we need if we need to plant it,
      and nothing else happened

      never cared for what they do
      never cared for what they know
      but I know

      Never suspended without pay
      Life is ours, you’ll do what we say
      If you piss me off, you’ll get the gunspray

      Power I seek and I exercise on you
      Every day for us, something new
      Moustache smells of donuts and mountain dew
      and nothing else happened

      never cared for what they say
      never cared, you’re all just gay
      never cared for civil liberties
      never cared for what they know
      and I know

      So right, no matter how wrong
      compensating for my little dong
      Why do you think I beat up black guys all day looong.
      No, nothing else happened

    6. LAPD arrests wrong guy in the Dodger Stadium attack. Now after locking the guy up for three months and leaking his name to the media making him the most hated man in Southern California if not the country, they admit he is innocent. Woops. That is some find police work there.

      http://espn.go.com/los-angeles…..ow-beating

    7. It’s funny that Smith is in trouble for an action that didn’t endanger anyone while the cop gets off for driving too fast (which we can safely assume he was doing), an action that actually could endanger people.

  4. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are totally solvent and everything is okay as long as we make the rich pay their fair share of taxes. Tony told me so.

    1. Tony makes moral people cry.

  5. In 2009, using government data, the Concord Coalition projected that in less than 40 years, spending on the three big entitlements?Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security?could wolf down a full year of federal revenue all by itself, leaving nothing left for other functions. These already-fat entitlements are threatening to selfishly consume America’s fiscal future.

    I bet that the assumptions (a continuously growing economy, good replacement rate of productive people, enough workers to still sustain the entitlements) were quite sanguine themselves, thus giving me quite a frightening picture of just how soonER the big entitlements will scarf down the whole yearly revenue.

  6. Why are Washington’s debt dealmakers ignoring fundamental entitlement reform?

    Peter =

    This falls under The “Why-Do-Dogs-Lick-Their-Balls?”-Law of Nature.

    Answer = Because *they can*

  7. “Entitlement reform” could mean spending more on entitlements, right?

    Let me be clear; I bet if people who are getting handouts get smaller handouts, they won’t vote for me. I also bet that if I raise taxes on rich people I will still get big donations from NewsCorp and other rich people.

    Rich people are my bitches.

    http://uk.ibtimes.com/articles…..ations.htm

    http://www.theatlanticwire.com…..ign/40057/

  8. Okay, I’m getting tired of the photo of the two assholes who are giggling while the country’s economy tumbles.

    Suderman, change it!

  9. You have to remember when anyone in Washington talks about “entitlement reform” they are not talking about reducing the size of government. What they are is worried that entitlemetns are going to eat up so much of the budget that the bureaucracy might have to be cut. That is what scares them. They could give a shit less about the people who depend on entitlements. When some faux thought douchebag like David Brooks rubs his chin and looks thoughtful and concerned and said “we have to do something about entitlemetns” he is really saying “my God some of my friends in Washington might lose their jobs”. Sadly we are never getting libertopia. If they are going to spend it anyway, I would rather see it be spent on entitlements as the lesser of two evils.

    1. The parasite will not die until it kills the host.

      1. There are other ways of killing parasites.

        1. Perhaps “removing” would be a better word than “killing”, but the point remains the same.

          1. Unless there is an incentive to repeal bad legislation and regulation, as opposed to creating more in response to “unintended” consequences, the logical conclusion of exponentially accumulating legislation is a complete loss of liberty.
            Unfortunately people do not seek power for the purpose of destroying their power, so such an incentive can not exist.
            A Heinleinian bicameral legislature where one house writes legislation and the other repeals it sounds nice, but I’m sure the lawyers would ruin it as they have ruined ours.
            So no matter what we’re fucked.

            1. We have to get pissed off enough to value limiting government power more than getting a check, I guess.

              1. Those who rob Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

                There are more Pauls than Peters.

                It’s gonna get a lot worse before it gets really really bad.
                Because the lessons of the Enlightenment are forgotten. The last two hundred years of this country were an aberration. Nothing like this ever existed in history.

                Liberty that is.

                And once it’s gone it’s gone. It ain’t coming back.

                The system will break down and what will replace it will be worse.
                Then as the wealth that was accumulated during the brief Period of Liberty is used up, we will return to the default state of humanity which is suffering under the yoke of our masters.

                1. And once it’s gone it’s gone. It ain’t coming back.

                  I’ll be back.

                2. Sadly, this is what will actually happen.

          2. No, “killing” is the better word.

    2. It amazes me the extremes you will go in order to see you libertopia.

      Does your libertopia just not include the poor, needy, elderly and disabled? Or do they just all quietly huddle and die in a place where the privileged can not seem them?

      For most of the last half century, the rich paid higher taxes, and they hardly starved or, shudder, had to live a middle class life. But, we must, MUST, bring a little more to the rich by screwing over people who never had the opportunity they did. After all, people could just choose not to get old or sick.

      1. I am glad to help the disabled. I am glad to keep Social Security and Medicare and Medicaide. But to do that we are going to have to cut everything else. So which is more important to you tony, the public employees or the people who benefit from entitlements? You can’t have both. But you could save one or the other.

        And I think most people would be willing to pay taxes at their current rates if the taxes actually went to entitlements. But they don’t. People like you would fuck the poor and the less fortuneate and the tax payers to keep the giant government that you worship and love more than anything else.

        1. We are going to have to cut everything else? I’m glad to finally hear a conservative is willing to cut the military, but even I admit that one is necessary. Or perhaps leaving our country defenseless is a suitable price to pay to make our country a ‘libertopia.’

          This also means cutting roads, as they are put of “everything else.” You cherish your cars and the alleged freedom they bring, but now you are willing to dispense of roads so as to avoid raising taxes a little on the rich.

          Saying that wanting to have a functioning government is intending to fuck the poor is ridiculous. They would get fucked plenty in libertopia.

          1. ROADS!!!!11!112111213119!

            1. Well, no, actually I’m more of a fan of trains. But the hysteria surrounding high speed rail in this country, that it will bring us ever closer to socialism, has pretty much insured that they will never happen in this country.

              John cherishes his cars so much, but has just said he wants to cut all government functions except entitlements.

              I used to believe that a Mad Max-style dystopia was just a stereotype of what libertards wanted, but am starting to believe it is in fact not a joke.

              1. High speed rail will never be economically viable.
                It will always require taxes in order to function.

                I know that that doesn’t bother you because taxes give you wood, but others of us don’t see the wisdom in being forced to subsidize something because you think it is neat.

              2. Too bad you weren’t alive back when they had trains, before they were taxed out of existence.

              3. Route 40, the “National Road”, was built before the income tax. Go fuck yourself.

          2. “…taxes a little on the rich…”

            Sigh.. As indicated above government revenues are pretty well fixed as a portion of GDP. So, in order to get more revenue the GDP needs to increase and increasing the GDP is something that the public sector has proven to be incapable of.

            1. While it’s amusing watching you guys debate a spoofer, I refuse to take credit for its inferior prose.

              1. Inferior prose, same tired talking points.

                1. Who can tell the difference?

        2. I’m reminded that our taxes paid for the gay cock length study. And there are zillions more like it.

          1. Sometimes I think people should just not attempt to understand the world. Go do menial labor somewhere and stop trying to think.

            The study you’re referring to, predictably distorted by right-wing radio demagogues, was about the efficacy of condoms in the gay population, and not a dime of federal money went to it. Learn something before you speak.

            1. “Sometimes I think people should just not attempt to understand the world. Go do menial labor somewhere and stop trying to think.”

              I like this idea.

            2. It was still money wasted, Tony.

              We KNOW how condoms work. They’ve been around for decades.

              1. But no government money was spent on this study, so wtf do you care? Furthermore, studies on the efficacy of condoms in preventing disease is something the government has every right to fund, even though it didn’t in this case.

                But by all means, get angry about something just because Limbaugh told you to.

                1. I don’t listen to Limbaugh OR his doppelganger, Ed Schultz.

                  It’s STILL a waste of money.

                  I’m not angry about it, by the way, but thanks for making the assumption.

                  1. Thank you for your opinion. I think baseball stadiums are a waste of money. Government sometimes pays for that, unlike this study.

                    1. I’m not in favor of baseball stadiums being built with government money either, Tony.

                      I just think studying condoms has been, um, done to death.

                    2. Isn’t the world lucky to have FIFY to tell it when the science is complete on any particular subject.

                    3. Never said anything of the sort. Condoms aren’t rocket science… they either work, or they don’t.

                      Nice try at insinuating homophobia on my part, though.

                    4. Don’t be touchy, I never hinted anything like that. It turns out that bigger dicks mean more condom breaks. Common sense maybe but it is helpful to have data on these things. Or does the market cure STDs too?

          2. Why did they need a government funded study when Tony would have done it for free?

      2. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Stephen DeDalus Joyce’s alter ego? His literary sockpuppet as it were.

        1. I called for subtle clues to be incorporated into sockpuppet comments at the Troll Summit in Costa Rica this past May.

      3. Does your libertopia just not include the poor, needy, elderly and disabled? Or do they just all quietly huddle and die in a place where the privileged can not seem them?

        Poor Tony, you will never be worthy of the monocle. We do not want the poor and elderly to die in an unseen huddle. We wish to watch them writh in pain and die cold and starving. In fact, we generally prefer to have wagers on who will die first. Epi always bets on the weakest children, ProL always bets on the most feeble elderly chap. Its all so much more fun when there’s money on the line.

        1. Never go against a libertarian when cash is on the line!

        2. I can’t wait to apply for the job of stacking the poor and elderly behind the hospital like cord wood.
          I’m good at stacking things.
          I stack them nice and tall and neat.
          I’d be really really good at stacking bodies.

          1. You must’ve scored high on the systemizing quotient the other day. Can you make the bodies tesselate just right, all while organizing them by ethnicity, sex, and age group?

            1. Scored 74. That’s pretty high.
              It’s the 11 on the EQ I’m most proud of. It confirms that I’m a heartless bastard. I could stack bodies all day without caring that they’re all someone’s child or parent. Fuck ’em.

        3. Children?!? I always bet on the weakest women. Hare dare you slander me like this!

      4. Not holding a gun to someone’s head is extreme.

      5. You’re starting to become a parody of yourself Tony.

        Repeated posts moaning “Entitlement reform means you hate the poor and elderly and want to kill them!” like a hysterial drama queen.

        You know, sensible people who care about the poor have realized that benkrupting the country isn’t going to do them any good in the long run.

        And your preferred solution of just taxing the rich more does nothing to resolve the long-term problem. The open-ended commitment provided by Medicare and Medicaid is causing medical costs to spiral upwards expoentially. That exponential growth has to be stopped or it will break us no matter how much we tax the rich. Nevermind that you can only squeeze so much coin out of the economy before you send it into the crapper.

        1. There is plenty of “coin” in our economy. It’s just been terribly misallocated. Specifically because of a portfolio of bullshit pseudo-economics, weakened barriers between moneyed interests and government, and a right-wing propaganda machine telling everyone it’s good for them, the country’s wealth is hugely disproportionately concentrated in the hands of a few. Now, it doesn’t matter whether it’s 40% of national wealth in the hands of the top 1% or 90%–you guys will never, ever change your prescription for what ails us, and that money will always be assumed to be earned and thus should stay where it is.

          I don’t want to just give the vast population of underpaid or poor people in this country handouts–I want a society that rewards the right things, rather than rewarding merely having lots of money already, or having the means to buy politicians off.

          Yes, Medicare’s costs are rising, but the underlying problem isn’t Medicare! If anything a single-payer healthcare system for the elderly reduces costs relative to the private sector. The underlying problem is rising healthcare costs. You don’t have an idea for how to address that, and neither does anyone else who wants to destroy the welfare state. In fact you want to keep healthcare services entirely within the realm of profit-centric enterprises, which may have no incentive to reduce costs, but might have every incentive to restrict access.

          1. You get dumber by the minute.

          2. I’ll become rich by charging $100 for a loaf of bread.

            1. Because bypass surgery is analogous to a loaf of bread.

              1. I’m glad we agree.

          3. And why do you suppose that healthcare providers have no incentive to reduce costs? Could it be that a third party pays for everything, so consumers don’t give a shit? I swear, you assholes never learn. You won’t be happy until every sector of the economy is built on a giant bubble, will you?

          4. Increasing income tax rates will have no effect on wealth distribution, because wealth is not income, and interest is not taxed at the same rate.

            If you want to propose treating investment income as regular income, that might be worth considering.

            You don’t see how promosing people that you’ll pay for all their health care without any reasonable limit is going to result in rising healthcare costs? Really? Are you that stupid?

            1. Yes, yes he is.

      6. “For most of the last half century, the rich paid higher taxes, and they hardly starved or, shudder, had to live a middle class life. But, we must, MUST, bring a little more to the rich by screwing over people who never had the opportunity they did”

        And see for the last half century the “Rich” people got connected with the “elite leaders” and they got tax loop holes added to the code.

        Flat tax ….No holes…..Tony’s problem solved.

        Make it fair from top to bottom, then we can be all equal just like you want Tony

  10. Why are Washington’s debt dealmakers ignoring fundamental entitlement reform?

    On the Dems side they get this:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/comm…..urity-cuts

    Only a lot more of it. On the GOP side, they get to be called every nasty term and name you can think of, and that’s by CNN anchors. It takes a lot of intestinal fortitude to go into a situation where you know it’s the right thing, but you will be despised by those who you deal with daily.

    The crazy ass tea party is giving the GOP a hint of a spine, but on the Dems side there is no hope. It may take it getting far, far worse before they understand just how out of money we are.

  11. The Republicans should simply try encouraging their constituents (individuals and businesses) to only pay as much in taxes as they want to. I think they could get enough people on board to swamp the IRS’ ability to fight back. Unfortunately, Republicans are idiots.

    1. Republicans are idiots.

      Yet somehow totally correct on economic policy.

      1. Correctness on economic policy (which I never claimed they had) is a necessary but insufficient condition for not being an idiot.

      2. Re: Tony,

        That’s not a trick for the government–it has the power to raise taxes.

        Tony, you try too hard to look the fool. Raising rates and OBTAINING MORE REVENUE are entirely two different things.

        You still ignore the effect that extorting more money from people has in people’s behavior.

        Now you’re just flat-out lying.

        Oh? Am I?
        http://www.stogieguys.com/2011…..ike-n.html

        http://online.wsj.com/article/…..oveLEFTTop

        Even George W. Bush’s own economists admit that his tax cuts reduced revenue relative to where it would have been without them.

        You mean the same economists that saw the downturn coming? THOSE economists?

        Tax hikes tend to raise revenue,

        I already proved above that it is not true. You’re simply committing a ceteris paribus fallacy.

      3. Like you Krugmanites are economic geniuses…

      4. I have never seen anyone so proud of their own stupidity. Congrats!

  12. Here is a simple minimalist proposal that might help reduce entitlement spending and might get past the Senate.

    Add sliding income-dependent deductibles to Medicare and Medicaid, starting at $1,000 per year and rising to $10,000 per year depending on income level. Maybe leave the medicaid ones down in the $1,000-$2,000 range. Since Medicaid is being expanded, the higher income levels now included in the program can afford the higher deductibles.
    Medicare patients on the higher end of the spectrum can use their social security checks to pay for the deductible, since they’re already earning more non-SS income as well.

    This would effecitvely add a layer of means-testing to the program and might put downward pressure on medical costs by forcing consumers to shop around for smaller things.

  13. Schumer’s No Cuts Politics
    Senate Democrats gets a free pass to hide under Sen. Chuck Schumer’s brand of attack politics while pretending to favor spending cuts and debt reduction and to oppose tax increases.

  14. Re: Stephen,

    There is plenty of “coin” in our economy. It’s just been terribly misallocated.

    “Coin” is not wealth.

    Specifically because of a portfolio of bullshit pseudo-economics, weakened barriers between moneyed interests and government, and a right-wing propaganda machine telling everyone it’s good for them, the country’s wealth is hugely disproportionately concentrated in the hands of a few.

    Not to mention the left-wing bullshit that placed a lot of people in homes they could not afford and the productive on the dole.

    Please, do go on.

    I don’t want to just give the vast population of underpaid or poor people in this country handouts

    “Underpaid”

    Thus has spoken the economics illiterate.

    1. How come whatever working class or poor people are getting, the assumption is that it’s probably too much, but when income and wealth of the top 1% has increased exponentially, it’s all assumed to have been earned? Why can’t you keep your stories straight?

      1. Re: Tony,

        How come whatever working class or poor people are getting, the assumption is that it’s probably too much,

        I don’t know – ask somebody that made such assumption.

        I am, however, laughing out loud at YOUR assumption that they are UNDERpaid. That’s your subjective judgment, certainly not the people that receive the wages THEY AGREED TO.

        but when income and wealth of the top 1% has increased exponentially, it’s all assumed to have been earned?

        If you can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they stole it, you can argue it was not earned.

        Why can’t you keep your stories straight?

        Why can’t you make better strawmans?

        1. The richest 400 people in this country own more assets than the bottom 60% of the country. Do you suppose that was all earned? Or are welfare queens not just of the poor variety?

          1. So… encourage your elected officials to find a way to confiscate all that wealth… which won’t do jack shit to fix anything, but at least you’ll feel better – and there might be enough money to run the government for, oh, a few hours.

            1. I can’t be sure, was that another pathetic excuse for maintaining the status quo as long as it benefits the rich?

              1. There’s that wealth-envy you claim not to possess, Tony.

                Again, you never fail to disappoint.

                But do tell us how we can fix ALL our problems with a 3% tax hike on evil wealthy people, when the fact that confiscating *all* accumulated wealth won’t even put a door ding in the side of the car.

                1. A fallacy wrapped inside a talking point… $4 trillion over 10 years is what the Bush cuts represent. That’s not nothing.

      2. How come whatever working class or poor people are getting, the assumption is that it’s probably too much, but when income and wealth of the top 1% has increased exponentially, it’s all assumed to have been earned?

        Have you not be present for the many and various discussions about rent-seeking?

        1. So if you acknowledge that it’s not just poor people who have rigged the game in their favor. With them making it fair is easy–take away their handouts. How do you fix the unfairness on the other end of the spectrum? I claim that a fair distribution of wealth according to principles of government not giving out favors would require drastic slashes of wealth at the top. Would you be OK with this, or will you invent lame excuse after lame excuse to keep the wealth at the top exactly where it is?

          1. You cannot distribute wealth “fairly” Tony. The idea from each according to their ability to each according to their need has proven disastrous in every scenario where it has been implemented.

            You want to bitch about rich people having too much money and earning it through rent-seeking? Call or write your congressman and senator and tell them that if they misallocate your tax dollars you will vote them out. But stop obfuscating the fact that the government (both sides of the aisle) are culpable in said rent-seeking.

            1. I don’t think there is any such thing as a natural or 100% fair distribution of wealth. Markets will move wealth in whatever directions they’re set up to reward, and that is a function of policy as much as anything. I say we decide what markets should reward according to a priority of human well-being, and put aside the magical thinking that the market is the best judge all by itself.

    2. The impact of the tax cuts on economic growth is a matter of debate among economists. We’re not voicing a view on whether the tax cuts should have been enacted; that, too, is a separate discussion. But it is clear they did not “increase revenues.”

      Factcheck.org

      I know, I know, they’re in on the conspiracy.

      1. Re: Tony,

        I alread showed you in another reply that the “fact” check folks are being a bit dishonest. Just look at the chart THEY provided, where you can see revenues in 2003-2006 were MUCH HIGHER than in the “happy days” of Clinton (1997-2000), and that with LOWER RATES.

        “Fact” check points out to the lower revenue in 2002 compared to 2000, but the country was already in a recession due to the 9/11 attacks.

        1. Yes revenues were higher in a growing economy, that’s what happens, as you note. But because that growth was concurrent with the tax cuts doesn’t mean the tax cuts caused the growth or the revenue–all evidence suggests revenue would have been even higher in the absence of the tax cuts. Which is, you know, arithmetic.

  15. Why are Washington’s debt dealmakers ignoring fundamental entitlement reform?

    Because they lost their testicular fortitude right after getting into office.

  16. Health care is a stupid place to cut. Bring our troops home; leave them employed here, pumping their salaries back into OUR economy. Sell or destroy deployed equipment that is impractical to transport home in place. Park the navy on our coasts, preferably mostly docked. There’s your savings.

    Cutting health care won’t fly. Get over it.

  17. It wasn’t a talking point… it was fact.

    That $4 trillion you mentioned, Tony… we’d still be TEN trillion in the red ink, even if government *could* confiscate all wealth and not destroy things in the process.

    But, hey, keep pushing for that three-cents-on-the-dollar tax hike.

  18. Why are debt dealmakers ignoring fundamental military spending reform?

    More importantly, is REASON doing the same thing?

  19. [Libertarians] are perhaps the worst political group today, because they can do the most harm to capitalism, by making it disreputable.

    Please don’t tell me they’re pursuing my goals. I have not asked for, nor do I accept, the help of intellectual cranks.

    Libertarians are a monstrous, disgusting bunch of people

  20. How about:

    1. All persons residing in the U.S. shall come together in “tax units”. Members need not be related, need not reside together, and a tax unit may consist of as few as one person.
    2. Each year congress shall set a “minimum wage” and a “tax rate”.
    3. The following shall not be subject to taxation:
    ? An amount equal to a year’s earnings (2000 hours) at the minimum wage, for each adult (age 20-65), decreasing 10% per year to 50% at age 15, and increasing 10% per year to 150% at age 70.
    ? All payments for necessary health care including medical care, pharmaceuticals prescribed by a health care professional, vision and hearing aids, and fees for health-enhancing entities such as gyms. Health care insurance premiums may be deducted but not health care expense paid for by such insurance.
    ? All educational expenses including day care for children or legally incompetent persons, the portion of state and local taxes used for education, and tuition, fees and educational materials for private school education, including that portion of parochial school tuition and other expenses going for non-sectarian education.
    ? All income saved into an account for investments; withdrawals from this account for the benefit of any member of the tax unit shall be reported as income.
    4. The “tax rate” shall be applied to any income greater than the deductions listed above, regardless of amount.
    5. Any municipality having greater than 100,000 inhabitants or any state may impose on their citizens a surtax which shall be applied the same as the Federal tax.
    6. Tax units whose deductions exceed income, shall be paid a sum equal to the tax rate multiplied by the shortfall in income.
    7. There shall be no federal tax on corporations or other business entities.
    8. The Office of Management and Budget shall compute revenues to be expected using the newly set tax rate and minimum wage, applied to the previous year’s reported incomes. No expenses in excess of that amount may be made without approval by 75% of each house of Congress. This tax shall be the only source of revenue for the federal government.

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