Living in Alternative Debt Universes—Krugman v. Samuelson

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Guess which one represents Krugman?

Who's to blame for the phony debt deal on Capitol Hill last week? In op/eds today Americans are treated to alternative narratives for the recent debacle. First comes Paul Krugman at the New York Times who asserts

…let's not have the usual declarations that both sides are at fault. Our problems are almost entirely one-sided — specifically, they're caused by the rise of an extremist right that is prepared to create repeated crises rather than give an inch on its demands. …

The real question facing America, even in purely fiscal terms, isn't whether we'll trim a trillion here or a trillion there from deficits. It is whether the extremists now blocking any kind of responsible policy can be defeated and marginalized.

Over at the Washington Post, Robert Samuelson argues

The conventional wisdom holds that Republicans, hostage to the Tea Party, prevented a larger and more "balanced" deal by their rejection of any tax increases — ever. Not so. It's true that Republicans were unbending on taxes and, at times, reckless in their rhetoric. It's also true that, even with sizable spending cuts, tax increases will ultimately be needed to balance the budget. But it's not true that only the right blocked a more comprehensive agreement.

Although Obama said he was willing to trim "entitlements" — presumably, Social Security and Medicare — he never laid out specific proposals or sought public support for them. There was more talk than action. Even if Obama had been more aggressive, he probably wouldn't have carried most liberals, who adamantly oppose cuts. They regard Social Security and Medicare as sacrosanct. Not a penny is to be trimmed from benefits.

This is an extreme, even fanatical stance.

In other news, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down more than 300 points right now. 

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  1. [::reaches hand into unicorn’s ass; yanks out fistful of greenbacks and multi-colored sparkles::]

    “Ta-da! MAGIC — !!!”

    1. unicorn’s ass? You’re being too kind.

      1. I say I’m a fucking unicorn. Deal with it.

  2. It’s also true that, even with sizable spending cuts, tax increases will ultimately be needed to balance the budget.

    Umm, no its not. The budget can be balanced with cuts alone.

    Meaningful tax increases, by (a) slowing the rate of economic growth and (b) performing their usual political role of greenlighting more spending, might well even be counterproductive.

    1. Whether increased tax rates can even bring in more revenue depends on well the current level of economic growth can loss of available capital.

      1. Sorry, long morning.

        “Whether increased tax rates can even bring in more revenue depends on how well the current level of economic growth can handle the loss of available capital.”

      2. We’re nowhere near the peak of the Laffer curve.

        1. That is true, just different side than you think.

          1. Ugh, we’ve been through this before. You didn’t have any links showing reputable economists backing up your number before, I’m not sure if you’ve found any in the mean time.

            A Laffer curve peak below 50% is completely implausible. From what I’ve seen the estimates tend to be around 70% or so, though obviously it would be very difficult to determine precisely.

            1. Ive seen reputable economists suggest its 20-30%.

            2. 5 seconds on wikipedia immediately shows a number of estimates well under 50%.

              A 1996 study by Y. Hsing of the United States economy between 1959 and 1991 placed the revenue-maximizing tax rate (the point at which another marginal tax rate increase would decrease tax revenue) between 32.67% and 35.21%.

        2. The one part of the Bush tax cuts that if rescinded might actually raise a significant amount of money was the creation of the 10% bracket out of the bottom end of the 15% bracket.

          Guess which part of the Bush tax cuts Obama wanted to keep?

        3. One thing that often gets lost in Laffer Curve analysis is looking at only the tax that changed.

          For example, if a Federal income tax cut lowers Fed income tax receipts by $5B, but state income tax goes up $1B and local income tax goes up $1B and sales tax goes up $2B and property tax goes up $1B and excise tax goes up $500M, then the cut increased tax revenue.

          But every analysis Ive seen only likes at federal revenue for federal cuts.

          Federal tax cuts fill the states’ coffers.

    2. Umm, no its not. The budget can be balanced with cuts alone.

      Not in a politically viable way.

      The stimulus was chock full of tax cuts. Ending the stimulus means ending these cuts. Personally, I have no issue if the “Bush Tax Cuts” were also left to expire. Some tax code stability would be nice for a change.

      But going back to Clinton era taxation, which was not onerous by any reasonable definition, will not solve the problem.

      Look, spending is the problem. Clearly. But politically, I’m willing to give on the tax reset (i.e. removal of all the temporary BS). But if, and only if, there are substantial spending cuts (30%+).

      Otherwise, screw ’em.

      1. Are you willing to give if Obamacare phases in as planned? Because that alone is a pretty large tax increase. Unless they are willing to repeal that — and they’re not — then no one is talking about the Clinton rates. They’re talking about the Clinton rates + Obamacare.

        Not to mention that cities/counties/states are running out of money and are jacking up taxes like crazy. My county property taxes went up 23% this year, and I see no end in sight.

        I waver on whether I’d agree to some federal rate increase in return for major spending cuts. The question is, what’s the rate? I might go for the Clinton rates if they got rid of Obamacare. But they won’t.

      2. ^This.

        The Clinton era tax rates were not significantly above what they currently are. Moreover, ending all of the Bush tax cuts would prove that the Bush tax cuts did not cause this insane level of deficits. The fiscal cost of all 10 years of Bush tax cuts is not even equal to a single year’s budget deficit.

    3. Spending cuts aren’t painless either. If we lopped off $1.5T of federal spending plus a bit more to finance the Social Security deficit that would seriously fuck the economy in the short term.

      Unfortunately, a good long term policy is inevitably going to bring about some serious pain in the short term, but we should try to mitigate it as much as possible. Spending cuts should constitute the lion’s share of deficit obliteration but allowing taxes on the wealthy to return to their normal levels should be part of it too.

      1. Bullshit. We added almost a trillion to the budget in the past three years. We can surely cut that much at a minimum, since it got us nothing worthwhile.

        1. Bullshit. We added almost a trillion to the budget in the past three years. We can surely cut that much at a minimum, since it got us nothing worthwhile.

          The problem is that all that deficit spending has distorted the GDP picture. We’ve been running deficits at 12% of GDP to get a 1-2% return.

          Pulling back the spending right now will inevitably result in GDP going negative for the foreseeable future. That’s ultimately what has Congress shitting its pants and why no spending was actually cut in the debt ceiling raise/spending plan.

          The problem for the Keyenesians is that you can’t run deficits greater than your rate of production forever–the math inevitably takes over and renders the system unable to support any more deficit spending.

          It’s the Ogre’s Choice–die fast or die slow.


      2. If we lopped off $1.5T of federal spending plus a bit more to finance the Social Security deficit that would seriously fuck the economy in the short term.
        ~ Tulpa

        That would not fuck the economy. Money is mere medium of exchange. In the end, wealth must trade for wealth.

        Because the U.S. government first doesn’t manufacture wealth, all borrowing and spending does is to inject checking account credits, many of which get turned into money, and in either case reduce buying power of extant money in circulation owing to money accretion effects. When Fed Res central bankers issue checking account credits and buy U.S. government paper (notes, bills, bonds), so called quantitative easing, the problem accelerates.

        Did you want to talk about all things money, credit, central banking, government borrowing, and economy or were you merely making chit chat?

    4. I also get tired of hearing this. While there may not be political will to cut spending enough to dig us out of this hole, it isn’t impossible, by any means.

      Both of your points are right on target. After the end of the Cold War, the “Peace benefit” was immediately spent on social programs.

      1. It’s not mathematically impossible, yes. But an inherently political feat that is politically impossible is impossible.

        1. I was responding (slowly) to RC.

          I think the political possibility for cuts alone is debatable. If the DOW were to drop several thousand points in a few weeks the political reality could change.

      2. You can increase tax rates all you want, of course. What you can’t increase is the total revenue taken in. Which, right now, is close to its historic average (albeit a little below).

        That means, of course, that even after you bring receipts up to their defacto ceiling, you are still going to have to have spending cuts on a scale that are now considered “politically impossible.”

        1. What you can’t increase is the total revenue taken in.

          You mean revenue relative to GDP, not in absolute terms, and even that isn’t proven, it’s just a conjecture based on past revenue fractions.

          1. You mean revenue relative to GDP, not in absolute terms,

            True enough.

            even that isn’t proven, it’s just a conjecture based on past revenue fractions.

            Over a very long period of time, under many variations (all within our current basic framework of progressive income tax/payroll taxes). Its a cap I’m pretty confident we won’t exceed, unless we are talking about completely junking our current approach to taxation and trying a new one.

            1. There is no such cap. You’re parroting a fundamentally dishonest argument based on a chart that is passed around in “How to Mislead with Statistics 101.” Every time taxes have been raised, revenue has increased.

    5. The budget can be balanced with cuts alone, but the notion that even a substantial tax hike would be more damaging to growth than cutting the livelihoods of millions of people is absurd.

      Why is it so hard for you people to acknowledge that revenues can be part of the solution if the problem is debt? Doesn’t requiring this debate to be on absolutist antigovernment terms risk rendering your point of view completely irrelevant?

      1. Like others already have said a million times over. You can tax the top 50% as much as you want, that is still not going to fix the growing debt. The problems is the growth of spending, no amount of tax will solve it.

        Check out your favourite European economies, I am not even mentioning the pathological Greek or Spanish economy. Even your sacred Sweden and France are facing massive debt burdens, that despite their high tax rates. You see a pattern yet, it is not the tax rate it is the spending rate.

        1. I think even Tony’s willing to concede that point now. That doesn’t mean that Revenues shouldn’t be part of the discussion.

          What they shouldn’t be is the focus of the discussion.

          1. Exactly right.

        2. The budget problems in all of those countries, and ours, is due to the global economic downturn. Solving that and the lost revenues and increased spending from high levels of unemployment would seem to be priority no. 1, even if it takes short term spending increases.

          As far as so-called entitlement spending in the US, the underlying problem is healthcare costs, and those won’t go away simply by slashing government spending on healthcare access programs. Of course, even the most modest attempt at fixing the healthcare cost problem is attacked as evil socialism.

          You’re not looking at the underlying reasons for the growth of spending. It’s not a wild-eyed socialist binge. It’s the recession and healthcare costs (and much-too-high military spending).

          Nobody said taxes will solve the whole problem, but they can help to the tune of trillions of dollars, and the good thing is it won’t represent any pain, unlike gutting social spending. Just please don’t pretend you care about doing this as painlessly as possible or that taking taxes off the table is the result of a reasonable non-ideological assessment. I know better and I think most everyone else does too. You seem simply incapable of separating a discussion of fiscal responsibility from your default dogmatic position on government’s role.

          1. Nobody said taxes will solve the whole problem, but they can help to the tune of trillions of dollars, and the good thing is it won’t represent any pain

            Having less of your own money to spend, on whatever essentials you deem most vital, is no hardship whatsoever! You have our solemn oath on that!

            *giggle*

          2. “Nobody said taxes will solve the whole problem”

            Bullshit. Liberals say that all the time.

            You DO watch MSNBC, don’t you?

          3. It won’t involve any pain, says the guy who I suppose won’t have his taxes increased by a penny under the Democrat plan. Here in the working world, it hurts when the government takes the money I earn. You might refuse to believe that, but its true. Taxes are far and away my single largest expense. Nothing else is even close.

            Of course, if taxes don’t hurt, then why is Obama insisting that the Clinton rates be restored only for the “rich” earning over $250k? Is it that the taxes hurt if you’re “subsisting” on a mere $185k?

            By the way, Tony, would you support substantial cuts in entitlements as a pre-condition to any tax hike? Or is it that you want taxes raised and the sacred cow of welfare checks left untouched?

            1. I want tax and spending policy changes to solve the problem by inflicting the least amount of pain possible. That means given a choice between raising x amount of dollars in taxes on rich people vs. cutting x amount of dollars in spending on poor people is a no-brainer. I happen to think that protecting the old, infirm, and poor from dying of poverty is a worthy goal of any civilization, and I know that there’s plenty of wealth in this country to cover that basic function of society. It’s just about what you prioritize.

              1. Maybe there is. There certainly isn’t enough wealth to sustain the programs we have now, which are a “safety net” + 1,000, with massive middle and upper class welfare. That’s what we have, and it is falling apart.

                1. Going back to the 39% tax bracket won’t fix shit, Tony.

              2. I want tax and spending policy changes to solve the problem by inflicting the least amount of pain possible.

                It can’t happen.

                That means given a choice between raising x amount of dollars in taxes on rich people vs. cutting x amount of dollars in spending on poor people is a no-brainer.

                A false dilemma.

                I happen to think that protecting the old, infirm, and poor from dying of poverty is a worthy goal of any civilization, and I know that there’s plenty of wealth in this country to cover that basic function of society. It’s just about what you prioritize.

                The system can no longer sustain the type of “basic functions” that you think constitute civilization.

                http://www.oftwominds.com/blog…..e6-11.html

                And poverty doesn’t kill people–biology does.

          4. The budget problems in all of those countries, and ours, is due to the global economic downturn.

            A half-truth, at best.

            The downturn brought on the inevitable reckoning, but it was inevitable, because Western states had all been growing faster than their economies for decades. That is definitionally unsustainable.

            1. The thing that has caused this, again, is not a socialist conspiracy, but the fact that technology has made lifespans longer. So what exactly are you offering? Reducing lifespans?

              1. err….that’s what those panel thingies in the …you know….affordable health care bill….you know the one Pelosi said was going save all that money!

              2. Re: sockpuppet,

                The thing that has caused this, again, is not a socialist conspiracy, but the fact that technology has made lifespans longer.

                Now the sockpuppet blames technology… Will wonders never cease?

          5. The budget problems in all of those countries, and ours, is due to the global economic downturn. Solving that and the lost revenues and increased spending from high levels of unemployment would seem to be priority no. 1, even if it takes short term spending increases.

            The global economic downturn cannot be “solved.” This isn’t something that a committee of Top. Men. can engineer out of existence.

            The party’s over.

        3. Please don’t feed the sock puppet – it can be boring.

          1. Like this:

            M: An argument isn’t just contradiction.
            O: Well! it CAN be!
            M: No it can’t!
            M: An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
            O: No it isn’t!
            M: Yes it is! ’tisn’t just contradiction.
            O: Look, if I *argue* with you, I must take up a contrary position!
            M: Yes but it isn’t just saying ‘no it isn’t’.
            O: Yes it is!
            M: No it isn’t!
            O: Yes it is!
            M: No it isn’t!
            O: Yes it is!
            M: No it ISN’T! Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.
            O: It is NOT!
            M: It is!
            O: Not at all!
            M: It is!
            M: (exasperated) Oh, this is futile!! (pause)
            O: No it isn’t!
            M: Yes it is!

      2. What is “revenue”?

      3. Yes! Yes! You can absolutely trust us when we tell you that any tax increases this time will totally go towards paying down the deficit, and nothing else! We really really really really really MEAN IT, this time!!!

      4. “Why is it so hard for you people to acknowledge that revenues can be part of the solution if the problem is debt?”

        When the debt per year has been jacked by over a trillion in the last couple years, don’t come to me asking for more taxes. it’s absurd.

      5. “Why is it so hard for you people to acknowledge that revenues can be part of the solution if the problem is debt?”

        Because it’s not “revenues”. It’s theft. As long as you refuse to understand this, you will also be incapable of understanding why we can’t regard it as “part of the solution”.
        In this particular case, for you to think that theft, as part of the solution to problems caused by theft and more theft, is something for us to agree with, is to expect us to put our brains in reverse, where yours are.

        What you are essentially proposing is that a neighbor who has been stealing our credit card, has been maxing it out and putting us in debt, and is now asking us to agree to a plan to get rid of our debt by giving him more money, when his theft of our credit card has caused our debt in the first place.

        We should not be giving this neighbor more money to fix OUR problems which HE caused, we should be having him thrown in fucking JAIL.

        When will you learn that what makes us libertarians is not just some belligerent wordplay just to annoy statists. We make no difference between theft by crook and theft by uniformed bureaucrat (but i repeat myself). So stop being a moron and expecting us to make a deal with the devil.

        “Doesn’t requiring this debate to be on absolutist antigovernment terms risk rendering your point of view completely irrelevant?”

        Doesn’t being in massive debt and getting your rating downgraded render your pro-big government point of view completely irrelevant? You expect us to care what your opinion about us is, when you’re the one running around thinking he’s Napoleon?

        You caused the mess, want us to “fix” the problem by giving you more rope to hang us with, and if we don’t want to we are making our point of view “irrelevant”?

        I say, let reality sort you lot out. You can try to evade sensible arguments until the cows come home, but reality will eventually catch up to you.

        1. Because it’s not “revenues”. It’s theft.

          See there you go conflating two separate issues. If taxation is illegitimate taking, then the only truly moral system available is anarchy. Most people think the trade-off of having civilization is worth the pain of being taxed, especially if they sit and think about it for two seconds.

          But if you’re going to stick with this dogma, then why do you think you have anything useful to say on the fiscal issues of the real world? What you are admitting to in clear English is that you care less about solving fiscal problems than about enacting your utopia.

          1. Re: Sockpuppet,

            If taxation is illegitimate taking, then the only truly moral system available is anarchy.

            Taxation IS theft, regardless of the moral status of anarchy.

            Most people think the trade-off of having civilization is worth the pain of being taxed,

            Civilization is not a phenomenon nor the result of taxation, you dolt.

            1. Theft according to what? Certainly not legitimate law anywhere in the world. Based on laws you pulled from your ass?

              Show me a civilization without taxes.

              1. Re: sockpuppet,

                Theft according to what? Certainly not legitimate law anywhere in the world. Based on laws you pulled from your ass?

                The sockpuppet has delighted us with yet another fallacy: That of equivocation.

                Laws do not define ethics or concepts, you sockpuppet. It’s the other way around, which is why one has BAD laws and GOOD laws, not BAD ethics and GOOD ethics as defined by law.

                Show me a civilization without taxes.

                Sure: The Ancient Greeks

                1. You don’t have to show him a civilisation without taxes, OM. It’s an irrelevant question.

          2. See, let’s say someone came to you with a problem. Say, overpopulation. And you say ‘hmm, maybe we could educate people in the proper use of birth control so they had less children’ or ‘maybe we should make more efficient use of the resources we have’. And then they say ‘well, if you’re not even willing to consider killing some people as part of the solution, you have nothing serious to say about about solving this problem.’
            That’s you, that is.

      6. Why is it so hard for YOU to acknowledge that cutting back spending to 2004 levels would not result in the blood of innocents flooding the streets?

        1. Yeah if we could wish the recession away we could cut spending back to 2004 levels. Otherwise you’re calling for a large amount of hardship on those already being punished the most in this economy.

          1. Yeah if we could wish the recession away we could cut spending back to 2004 levels.

            So you’re saying we need another housing bubble?

          2. Yeah if we could wish the recession away we could cut spending back to 2004 levels. Otherwise you’re calling for a large amount of hardship on those already being punished the most in this economy.

            and yet, in 2004 those people were not suffering from that kind of hardship.

            Imagine that.

        2. Because then He gets less money.

          I mean… seriously. For Obama’s sake.

      7. The budget can be balanced with cuts alone, but the notion that even a substantial tax hike would be more damaging to growth than cutting the livelihoods of millions of people is absurd.

        Whose livelihoods would be cut by cutting federal spending?

        If spending were reduced to $8000 per capita, which is larger than per capita levels in 2004, there would be a surplus without having to raise any tax rates a single hundredth of a percentage point. And yet, people who relied on federal spending in 2004 somehow got by on less than $8000 per capita.

      8. Why is it so hard for you people to acknowledge that revenues can be part of the solution if the problem is debt?

        Because there’s no evidence that the additional revenue won’t simply lead to even more spending.

    6. No, Samuelson’s right in the politically viable/possible sense.

      There is no way that Democrats/liberals will allow significant cuts in entitlements without some tax increases.

      They just won’t. Or can’t.

      It is interesting to contrast the language used by Krugman vs. that used by Samuelson. For Krugman, those who disagree with him are radicals and extremists and their arguments are not worthy of discussion.

      Samuelson simply and clearly lays out the case as he sees it. No inflammatory language, no bomb throwing, no temper tantrums.

      Krugman needs to grow up, he really does.

      1. Krugman needs to grow up, he really does.

        Why? This childish behavior and fallacious belief that people will let themselves be yoked forever seems to be working out real well for him! Free rent….lots of face time on the Sunday morning shows….and fabulous, fabulous prizes! What’s not to like from his perspective?!

      2. There is no way that Democrats/liberals will allow significant cuts in entitlements without some tax increases.

        _____________________

        And they won’t allow the significant cuts with the tax increases, either. What evidence is there to the contrary? None that I have evener seen. In the debt ceiling debate the Congressional democrats made clear that there were to be no entitlement cuts, period. That was their negotiating position.

        For the left to give in on entitlements would be lose their fundamental electoral argument: vote for us and we will give you money. They will not do it. Hell, this is the crowd that just days ago refused to cut $17 million in “essential” air service funding.

        The only possible political solution is at least one more election in which the left gets routed. The economic solution is that the whole house of cars collapses in the bond market. I am betting on the bond market.

    7. Is it even possible to trim the deficit, at current spending levels, with a tax increase? I don’t think there is close to being enough revenue among the citizenry to even approach the current deficit. And a jobs killer like a 50% corporate tax is too insane for even the lefties to contemplate – we will have to see a cut in defense and entitlements – no other way to get there.

    8. I actually believe that taxes should be raised… to a top rate of 27%. I mean, I hate the complex nature of the tax code, so if we eliminate most deductions, then we could go with the Domenici-Rivlin rates, with the top one at 27% and the next and only one at 15%. Revenue goes up, effective tax on a lot of rich people (who sure as hell claim every deduction/credit they get) goes up, green jobs bullshit goes out…

      As part of plan that reforms entitlements, why not reform taxes? Two birds, one stone, and the insane amount of manhours the U.S. devotes to tax compliance is funneled into more productive sectors of the economy, fueling economic activity.

  3. It is absolutely incredible to label people who want to decrease debt as being extremist or irresponsible.

    These people are simply little brats crying because the party is over.

    1. Starving, skeletal children keeling over dead in the streets! Grandmothers being used as live mulch in the Koch family vineyards! Little baby ducks and kittens… forced to wear stiletto heels and fishnets, and sexually service a priapic Karl Rove! Arrgle blarrghh *growf* AAAAAIIIIIEEEEEEEEEE — !!!

      1. Soylent green!!

      2. “Priapic Karl Rove.”

        Now there’s a phrase you don’t see too often.

        At least on those parts of the internets I travel.

        1. You should get out more. Just remember, when you stare into the abyss, it stares back.

      3. stop describing my paradise, it makes work difficult.

  4. There’s nothing more infuriating than the narrative that the downgrade is a result of the debt debate. S&P had already warned the US that a downgrade was likely without $4 trillion in deficit reductions, but because we were so worried about a possible “default”, we had to rush through a phony debt deal that did nothing close to what S&P wanted.

    And Krugman acts fucking surprised that we were downgraded?!

  5. The real question facing America, even in purely fiscal terms, isn’t whether we’ll trim a trillion here or a trillion there from deficits. It is whether the extremists now blocking any kind of responsible policy can be defeated and marginalized.

    For once, Krug and I agree on something. Not sure that we’re talking about the same extremists, though.

    1. It is whether the extremists now blocking any kind of responsible policy can be defeated and marginalized.

      Krugman must have gotten a two for one sale on weasel words.

    2. I don’t actually waste my time reading Krugabe. Has he ever (since his NYT stint) released a “responsible policy” that didn’t involve running the printing presses 24/7?

  6. I just hope they didn’t sneak in the purchase of some new printing presses in the budget deal.

    I fear that will be the ultimate solution Obama implements, in an effort to retaliate against “fat cats.”

  7. The ultimate insult to Krugnuts is using not a picture of the Three Stooges but a picture from a movie about the Three Stooges to portray him. I suppose you could’ve done one better and gotten a picture of Joe Besser, but still well done, Ron.

    1. I thought you were refering to Joe “Mama” Besser, the Spinal Tap drummer.

      1. There was nothing left of him but a globule, more of a stain really.

  8. It is whether the extremists now blocking any kind of responsible policy can be defeated and marginalized.

    Quite true, though not quite in the way that Krugman means.

    1. The one benefit of being on Warty’s ignore list? Having him look dumb when he repeats my comment nearly verbatim.

      1. Why would anyone ignore you? You make good points on a few things, and when you are wrong you are often spectacularly wrong and go FULL RETARD to defend yourself. Entertainment, thy name is Tulpa.

        1. Hey — wadda you guys think about red light cameras?

      2. Warty doesn’t have you on any ignore list, you ignorant slut.

        1. I did for a while, but I decided his annoyingness value is not high enough for that.

  9. The real question facing America, even in purely fiscal terms, isn’t whether we’ll trim a trillion here or a trillion there from deficits. It is whether the extremists now blocking any kind of responsible policy can be defeated and marginalized.

    Tony? Is that really you?

  10. Okay. Fine. WE actually typed out the silly fucking thing, when no one was looking, and signed Krugman’s name to it. Happy, now…?

  11. LttE in today’s WaPo. I’m shocked they published it:

    80, I am a “poster boy” for what is wrong with Medicare and Social Security. I worked full time from 1950 until 1993, when I retired. I paid the maximum amount annually required by law. My payment from Social Security in 1993 was $1,170 per month, and it now exceeds $1,500. I paid $47,377 into the fund and have so far received more than $288,000 from it.

    As for Medicare I paid $14,350 into the fund from 1966 to 1993. I have been very healthy but had cancer several years ago and a craniotomy five years ago. The costs of those exceeded $1 million. Even minor surgery would far exceed what I paid to the fund.

    Please tell me how such a system can be sustained. Both programs need to be overhauled now. No one should believe that he has paid for and earned the right to such payments.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..story.html

    1. I used to get Rule 48 emails almost daily in ’08.

    2. An explanation for stock market illiterates like me:

      Dow Jones’ Kristina Peterson explained it pretty well in a story earlier this month. She writes that basically it means the designated market makers “will not have to disseminate price indications before the bell, making it easier and faster to open stocks. The rule was approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Dec. 6, 2007 and has been used rarely since then.”

  12. Living in Alternative Debt Universes — Krugman v. Samuelson

    One has to remember that Krugman is NOT a Keynesian – he’s really a Marxist.

    Paulson may be a straight Keynesian but that does not make him a straight socialist. Instead, Krugman’s entire economics rest on the advocacy for total or almost government control of the economy and a confiscatory tax policy, i.e. Marxism.

    1. This applies to most of the democrats today. They never advocate for cutting spending during a strong economy.

      Also, they pushed the payroll tax cut, which puts the lie to their claim to be so concerned about revenue.

      They don’t really care about maximizing revenue, they care about engaging in class warfare.

    2. Why do you think Krugman is a Marxist?

  13. It’s also true that, even with sizable spending cuts, tax increases will ultimately be needed to balance the budget.

    Can someone explain to me how this is even remotely true?

    I can balance the budgets with current revenue in 5 minutes. So, what the fuck?

    1. It’s not mathematically impossible, yes. But an inherently political feat that is politically impossible is impossible.

      1. It isnt politically impossible, no matter how many times you repeat it.

        Andy J pulled it off and then some.

        1. He also pulled off defying SCOTUS and forcibly moving an entire ethnic group nearly a thousand miles from their homes.

          Political realities have changed a bit in the past 175 years.

          1. I never said he wasnt a genocidal fuck.

            He also ended the fed (in the form of the 2nd Bank of the USA).

            I dont think political realities are that different, as it turns out.

            1. The point of bringing up the Trail of Tears wasn’t just to illustrate what a scumbag Jackson was, but also to illustrate that the ToT was politically feasible just like closing BOUSA2 back then.

              Obama (or any prez) couldn’t get away with the Trail of Tears today, so why do you think he could balance the budget with cuts alone.

              1. My point was that just like Andy J ran on an “end the Fed” plank, there is a current “end the fed” movement. It may be 20 years from succeeding, but that doesnt make it “impossible”.

              2. Debate point: Is the WoD more destructive of a race thatn th ToT?

                The fact that this can be legitimately debated, IMO, suggests, once again, that things are more similar than you suggest.

                1. No way on the ToT vs. WoD question. The WoD is pretty bad but it’s not destroying the Afro-American community to the extent that ToT did to the Cherokees et al.

                  What’s keeping AAs down is a combination of residual racism from whites and others, stupid and destructive govt policy, and that community’s own toxic culture. Of course there are complex relationships between these things so it ain’t an easy problem to fix.

                  1. What’s keeping AAs down is a combination of residual racism from whites and others, stupid and destructive govt policy, and that community’s own toxic culture. Of course there are complex relationships between these things so it ain’t an easy problem to fix.

                    They are like what the Irish were in 19th century America.

        2. Andy J pulled it off and then some.

          Andy J was able to pull it off thanks in large part to the sale of “public lands.”

          There’s no way in hell Obama would get away with that today. The Gaia lobby would crucify him.

    2. covered in post 1. Sigh, should have read first.

    3. Pragmatism. It’s simply not politically viable to make the cuts without some give on the revenue side.

      The ultimate issue remains the lack of backbone to make real cuts. But any credible plan that doesn’t include something on the revenue side will never get through Congress and the WH.

      1. Here is my tax compromise: I wont push for the repeal of Amendment 16 until we have paid off 90% of the debt.

        1. And since you hold zero political capital, no one cares what you’re willing to compromise.

          This is where winning elections comes in handy.

          1. I have SOME political capital.

            Whatever one vote is worth. Which is nothing in Presidential races, but has value in House races.

            1. There hasn’t been a House race decided by one vote in a long, long time.

              1. I agree, but even with a single digit vote difference, my vote has SOME capital. The fact that a house race might not get decided by the courts if a 1 vote difference, for one thing.

      2. I dunno, the tea party could just hold the country hostage again until Obama caves and they get what they want. Tulpa is right in the sense that if these lawmakers actually cared about what the people want, cuts without tax hikes would be a non-starter. Since, you know, outside of rabid antigovernment utopianism, gutting Medicare so the Olsen Twins can keep their tax cuts seems a tiny bit unfair. But the will of the people doesn’t seem to matter to the rabid antigovernment utopians who’ve been sent to DC.

        1. “gutting Medicare”

          This is why it’s so hard to take you seriously. Medicare, Medicaid + Obamacare, and SS are not fiscally sound. They are nowhere close. “gutting Medicare” implies that you’re in complete denial about their fiscal state.

          And the scary thing is that the mess were in today is not even due to entitlements. The entitlement mess really cranks up in a few years.

          Look, the current 1.5T deficits are caused by Team America, unprecedented spending, and tax cuts. Roll back all three and we’re still looking at structural deficits forever. So yes, rolling back is a good start, but it’s not the endgame.

          Lawmakers care what the people want. What the people want is lollipops and rainbows. That’s why the lawmakers get re-elected. Guess what people, we’re broke. Time to suck it up.

          1. What’s an even bigger uncomfortable truth is that cutting back on public health insurance programs means healthcare spending is simply transferred from government to individuals. If the underlying costs aren’t addressed (and you guys got nothing on that front), we haven’t really solved anything. Do you care about the cost of living in this society to individuals, or do you just care about government not doing things? You can’t make healthcare costs go away by taking away Medicare.

            SS shouldn’t even be part of the discussion–it really only requires minor tweaks. Anyone talking about SS (which reaches crisis levels only after several decades of the status quo) is not being honest. And let’s remember what Obamacare was: an attempt to “bend the cost curve” on healthcare. That is, it’s the ONLY attempt at addressing the underlying problem this country has made in decades. So it would seem that opponents of healthcare reform (of any sort) are the ones asking for lollipops and rainbows, except for some bizarre reason that utopia takes the form of more people dying from lack of healthcare access.

            1. that utopia takes the form of more people dying from lack of healthcare access.

              Daily Kos|8.8.11 @ 10:48AM|, upthread. Predictable as the sunrise.

              I solemnly swear to use these powers only for good.

            2. If the underlying costs aren’t addressed (and you guys got nothing on that front)

              False. Health care costs are a function of a lack of market oversight due to third-party payer issues and regulatory burden. Eliminate the employer deduction for health care and rollback the regulatory mandates related to coverage and you’ll see costs drop significantly.

              Anyone talking about SS (which reaches crisis levels only after several decades of the status quo) is not being honest.

              You’re simply being blind. SS starts running a deficit again 2014. Blindly following the status quo without adjusting for demographic realities is what got us here.

              And means testing SS is not a minor tweak. It’s a radical shift in perception. I support it, but don’t give me this minor tweaks BS. It’s a major tweak. Minor tweaks such as retirement age changes and benefit changes aren’t going to cut it.

              Oh, and don’t bother getting into a Trust Fund debate on this thread. You’re wrong. And you’ve been proven wrong by the debt ceiling debate. If the trust fund was viable, don’t you think it would have been brought up? No. What’s been brought up is the fact that 40% of our debt is inter-agency. Hardly anyone was familiar with the 40% figure until this debate. Now it should be clear to everyone what cooking the books has done to our economic health.

              And the worst thing is that the stimulus cut SS revenue, making the situation even worse. And whose bright idea was that, Tony?

              1. Please don’t feed the sockpuppet – the danger is boredom.

              2. I agree that we have to adjust for demographic realities. We are an aging population. We simply need to decide whether we want to maintain the safety net with higher taxes to pay for it, or leave granny to the whims of private insurance.

                The utopian position is that somehow we, as a society, can keep old, poor, and disabled people at a minimum standard of living without paying for it.

                1. we have to adjust for demographic realities.

                  Shyeah. Tell us about it.

                2. “The utopian position is that somehow we, as a society, can keep old, poor, and disabled people at a minimum standard of living without paying for it.”

                  The utopian progressive vision is that we can do the above, and include in the middle class, and have near unlimited access to medical care, while paying very little and controlling costs.

                  The sustainable vision is that we can provide a minimal social safety net for the truly poor/disabled (regardless of age) while letting the rest fend for themselves in the marketplace.

                  1. Except that we have a world of evidence that a private market for health insurance is the least cost-effective system available.

                    Understand that I’m charitably assuming that you guys don’t see Logan’s Run as a good model for society.

                    1. The socialist model for health care doesn’t have a pristine record, especially when cancer survival rates are dismal (see Japan), and animals can have procedures done more quickly than humans (see Canada).

                    2. “Except that we have a world of evidence that a private market for health insurance is the least cost-effective system available.”

                      BS. All of that evidence is corrupted by the third-party payer system and the regulatory state.

                    3. If all the evidence is corrupted, then what you’re saying is you have no evidence and we’re supposed to take it on faith that your system is cheaper?

                    4. Yup.

                      Faith, of course, backed up by market principles that are displayed in every other industry.

                      But yes, Faith, in regards to post-WWII health care in the US.

                      (Why is post WWII, or more substantially, post 1970, so important? Technology. Technology changed the cost equation dramatically. And with no incentive system in place to control costs, new Technology drove costs into the stratosphere.)

                    5. Of course market principles don’t apply to healthcare in the same way they apply to other industries. Name another industry whose product is necessary for you to live, you don’t get to choose when to consume it, and it could easily bankrupt you if you’re unlucky–a fate you’re forced to choose over the alternative. The only industries I can think that are remotely comparable are ones that are already nationalized (such as national defense).

                      You’re right about technology. We do need to disincentivize unnecessary expenditures on high-tech procedures. But, of course, any such efforts will be attacked as evil socialism.

                    6. Re: Sockpuppet,

                      Of course market principles don’t apply to healthcare in the same way they apply to other industries.

                      The king of the non sequiturs now delights us with his ability to create Special Pleading fallacies.

                    7. I justified the exemption right there in my post when I said “Name another industry whose product is necessary for you to live, you don’t get to choose when to consume it, and it could easily bankrupt you if you’re unlucky–a fate you’re forced to choose over the alternative.”

                      You’ve demonstrated many, many times that you don’t grasp the freshman logic terms you wield as a substitute for an argument, so why not save yourself the embarrassment and stop doing it?

                    8. Re: Sockpuppet,

                      I justified the exemption right there in my post when I said “Name another industry whose product is necessary for you to live[…]”

                      The king of the non sequitur and the special pleading now delights us with another fallacy, that of shifting the burden of proof.

                      Fuck off, sockpuppet! Even if I answered, you would just ignore it like always, so why bother?

                    9. Name another industry whose product is necessary for you to live, you don’t get to choose when to consume it, and it could easily bankrupt you if you’re unlucky

                      I simply disagree with your premise. Most health care is not of a life or death nature.

                      However, there is a fundamental principle that likely you and I do not share. It’s that ability to pay should have a role in determining health choices, even life or death.

                      Catastrophic insurance handles a lot of those issues. Heck, I’d even support mandatory catastrophic at the state (not Federal) level. IIRC, that’s what some other countries like Switzerland do. Put in a low income assistance plan.

                      But MA is a bad example. They didn’t go the catastrophic route. They went with much heavier minimums. Those minimums matter.

                    10. It’s that ability to pay should have a role in determining health choices, even life or death.

                      I’m glad you admit to this–it’s like pulling teeth getting people here to admit to the consequences of their beliefs.

                      Let me tell you why I think this is morally unjustifiable. (As far as specific schemes to lower healthcare cost burdens, I’ll leave up to experts.)

                      I don’t think it’s justifiable to require of any person that he be able to succeed at a particular endeavor before he is allowed access to basic necessities of life. We shouldn’t require people to be Olympic athletes before they’re allowed a basic standard of living, and we shouldn’t require that they be good at succeeding in a market economy either. Within the rules of the game of a market economy, sure skill and hard work should be rewarded. But it’s not written anywhere that we all have to play this game, and that there is no alternative to playing it.

                      Furthermore, without some basic safety net in place, you’re diminishing the moral justification for the market economy. You’re saying, essentially, that if you’re lucky enough to have a rich daddy you deserve every bit of that leg up in the market, and unlucky people not only deserve not to succeed based on luck alone, but they deserve to die in poverty. I thought civilization was about mitigating the risks of nature, not placing them on a pedestal. If you’re going to justify the results of a market economy as the product of a moral system of reward-for-work, then you have to at least acknowledge that there are disparities in people’s ability to access that marketplace. Because Darwinian competition alone has nothing to do with any moral system.

                    11. Re: sockpuppet,

                      I don’t think it’s justifiable to require of any person that he be able to succeed at a particular endeavor before he is allowed access to basic necessities of life.

                      The sockpuppet has come up with yet another fallacy – an appeal to pity.

                      “Allowing access,” an euphemism for buying. The sockpuppet is arguing for giving away free stuff.

                    12. then you have to at least acknowledge that there are disparities in people’s ability to access that marketplace

                      Ultimately, people are individually responsible for overcoming these disparities. If the individual is not held ultimately responsible, then that means that they believe it is right to hold me responsible via force. I can’t see the justness of such a philosophy.

                      My social safety net willingness typically ends at those who are physically incapable of participation. But that should be a relatively high bar as well. I have no sympathy for the crutch of socio-economic status at birth. Sure, this status may make things harder. But not impossible. Far from impossible. Simply harder.

                      In any event, as I stated above, I’ll also concede a state-level mandate for catastrophic insurance, which mitigates a vast majority of your moral concerns. It does not fit into my vision of libertopia, but it does fit into the world we live in.

                    13. I don’t think it’s justifiable to require of any person that he be able to succeed at a particular endeavor before he is allowed access to basic necessities of life.

                      A sandwich is a basic necessity of life. A million dollars worth of medical treatment? Not so much. I’ll even give you a simple test for determining what’s a necessity and what’s not. If every person must have it in order to live, it’s a basic necessity of life. If not every person needs it, it’s not a basic necessity. See how easy that was?

                    14. A sandwich is a basic necessity of life. A million dollars worth of medical treatment? Not so much. I’ll even give you a simple test for determining what’s a necessity and what’s not. If every person must have it in order to live, it’s a basic necessity of life. If not every person needs it, it’s not a basic necessity. See how easy that was?

                      Very good point.

        2. “I dunno, the tea party could just hold the country hostage again until Obama caves and they get what they want.”

          Let’s hope for at least this much since even the Tea Party was holding out for practically nothing.

        3. The “will of the people”, so who voted for those people sent to DC, the illuminati ? Are you going to declare them the “enemy of the people” next ?

          The only utopian is you, thinking that a society can function by rewarding people for doing nothing and that it will lead to prosperity and endless growth.

          1. I don’t want to reward people for doing nothing, that’s why I want to rescind the Bush tax cuts.

            I seem to recall the 2010 elections being largely about people scared of cuts to Medicare. Explain the details of the Ryan plan to even tea partiers and see how popular it is. The GOP gains power proportionally to how much they can confuse people about facts. It’s one of their signature tactics.

            1. Cut the Blue Team rah rah crap Tony. You know that POLITICIANS “gain power proportionally to how much they can confuse people about facts”. It’s not a one party issue.

              Again, another reason why it’s hard to take you seriously.

              1. Well I’m not gonna lie about my beliefs to satisfy the sophomoric obsession with false equivalence that passes for intellectual rigor around here. I maintain that this stance is the more partisan one: by placing all politicians on the hook equally, it tends to let Republicans off the hook. They are, as a simple fact, more responsible for debt, more responsible for the recession, and more responsible for the breakdown of governing. That is the ONLY reason I’m partisan at all… because there is a real difference. It’s highly unlikely that parties that are opposed on nearly every issue could be equally at fault for the consequences of political choices government has made. Republicans lie more than Democrats. It’s simply a fact. The scary part is this new crop of Republicans are people who actually believe their own lies, I think.

                1. If ALL politicians are on the hook… they’re all on the hook.

                  You just don’t want your Team catching any heat whatsoever for their mismanagement.

                2. You know, if there was a real difference, then maybe the “responsible” party would have actually bothered to pass a budget, any budget, while they held Congress.

                  They didn’t. They are fraudulent. And their Keynesian BS took a fucked up GOP system and made it AA+ worthy.

                  Did we win in Libya yet?

            2. A tax cut is not a reward, they worked for the money, not you and not the people who did nothing who will in the end get the tax money.

              So yes, you want to reward losers by taking other peoples money and giving it to them.

              Spare me the “the government owns the money anyway” argument, you support a society that rewards the unproductive, taking money from people who made the money is not a “reward” no matter how many dumb semantic word games you want to play.

              1. you want to reward losers

                I don’t want to reward anyone. I’m not interested in making the tax code a product of a moral purity test, like you guys. And I’m even less inclined to judge people’s moral worth as solely a function of their net worth.

                This is your definition of fairness: we fight two wars by sending the children of poor people off to die, but we ask rich people, who aren’t the ones sacrificing their children, not to help pay for the wars by one single dime? That is just about the most radically unfair expression of oligarchy I can think of.

                1. Tony|8.8.11 @ 11:24AM|#

                  I don’t want to reward people for doing nothing, that’s why I want to rescind the Bush tax cuts.

                  Tony|8.8.11 @ 11:43AM|#

                  I’m not interested in making the tax code a product of a moral purity test, like you guys.

                2. we fight two wars by sending the children of poor people off to die, but we ask rich people, who aren’t the ones sacrificing their children, not to help pay for the wars by one single dime?

                  Quit fighting the fucking wars, dipshit. That solves both problems, don’t it?

                3. This is your definition of fairness: we fight two wars by sending the children of poor people off to die,

                  3.5 wars now. And your guy started 1.5 of them and continued the other two, so quit yer cryin.

            3. I don’t want to reward people for doing nothing, that’s why I want to rescind the Bush tax cuts.

              The king of the non sequiturs delights us once again with one of his most recent musings.

              You can’t tax someone’s wealth if he does nothing. He had to do something first that generated value and wealth BEFORE he can be taxed. Sockpuppets have no brain.

              1. What if he inherited the wealth?

                1. It is still his money you thieving scoundrel.

                  1. Based on what moral justification? Remember, it’s your productivity-based morality that you’re using to justify your arguments. So that extends inter-generationally? How far back? Shall we reinstate the British caste system we threw off because of silly notions about equality and upward mobility?

                    1. You’re just wrong. We don’t justify property through productivity based arguments. We justify the original seizure of property by labour. What property means is something you have to right to control – if you want your property to pass to your child, it should. It doesn’t matter if the child worked for it – the property owner wanted them to have it. Whether or not you think them worthy is irrelevant.

                2. Re: sockpuppet,

                  What if he inherited the wealth?

                  “What if he won the lottery?”
                  “What if he found a bag full of money?”
                  “What if he married to an old, rich lady?”

                  What if you just stopped using punctual happenings to derive sweeping generalizations, sockpuppet?

                  1. So… when someone dies, the IRS should descend like vultures and pick the bones clean, right?

                    What happens to the bones, Tony? You want those, too?

        4. *yawn*

          Did Tony say something?

        5. Living in a Republic is a bitch, isn’t it?

          But in the meanwhile, stop exaggerating. If the Tea Party was holding the Obama administration hostage, they would actually be cutting spending, instead of merely temporarily stalling the left’s wet dreams about grabbing into people’s wallets even more than they are currently already doing.

          If your idol was half the man he claimed to be when he was still running, America would not be throwing money down the well called the Middle East right now.
          If only you libs had an ounce of integrity on anti-war and civil rights issues, you would have already saved America shitloads of cash. Why not abolish the fucking TSA, Homeland Security and bring all the troops home?

          But instead, you are a bunch of drunken, retarded Santa Clauses who spend lots of money but deliver shit.

          1. I don’t expect that you spend a lot of time reading Lefty opinion sources or attending anti-war rallies. You can be forgiven for not knowing about those since the media never seems to cover them, especially if Sarah Palin farts during the same news cycle. If antigovernment conservatives had an ounce of consistency to their political views we could have a broad consensus on ‘defense’ spending.

            1. The anti war rallies ended as soon as your hero came along. So unless you are openly claiming that the wars have stopped (when they actually have increased), the anti war rallies were nothing but anti Bush rallies, not a principled stand against foreign wars.

              1. No they didn’t. Besides, the wars are overwhelmingly unpopular, so the protesters have gotten their way with public opinion. That the wars haven’t ended is par for the course as far as liberals getting what they want out of government.

                1. How they did not get their way ? The wars are still happening.

                  1. We’re also meddling in Libya.

                    Fuckin’ Obama hasn’t done jack shit to get us OUT of the nation-building business.

                2. I love the idea that liberals don’t get what they want from government. Have you paid any attention to the last century?

          2. a bunch of drunken, retarded Santa Clauses who spend lots of money but deliver shit.

            Now, that simply isn’t true.

            We’re conquering Libya for you. So there.

            1. YAY, TEAM! *WOOT!*

              1. We’re just happy that you’re happy.

    4. Re: robc,

      Can someone explain to me how this [that tax increases will ultimately be needed to balance the budget] is even remotely true?

      There’s no economical or financial evidence for this – NONE, ZILCH.

      There is a political reason for saying that only “tax increases” will solve the budget deficit, but that has NOTHING to do with any economic or financial impediment.

  14. Samuelson’s way off when he calls Social Security and Medicare benefits to the rich “handouts.”

    They paid into them just like everyone else, why shouldn’t they get benefits?

    1. No, he’s exactly right. Social Security and Medicare are tax schemes. Maybe if we start talking about them as such, rather than buying the government’s fairy tale about paying into the system now and taking out when you’re old, more people would realize it. So I think the term “handouts” is entirely applicable.

      1. Right.

        We can turn SS into a crappy IRA if we wanted to, but then there would be inheritability and etc.

        There is no “paying in and getting out” if your heirs dont get a big check if you die at age 58.

    2. They paid into them just like everyone else, why shouldn’t they get benefits?

      They paid into nothing, except mythical lock boxes, Treasury IOUs and current retirees’ benefits.

      If you want to pay into something, open a savings account.

  15. I admit that my blood has been boiling over as of late but I’m rather ambivalent about what to feel about El Presidente and El Congresso in these soon to be United Banana Republics of America:

    -My GERMAN blood is demanding LOTS and LOTS of firing squads!
    -My ENGLISH blood says I should dump STARBUCKS into Boston Harbor!
    -My FRENCH blood is torn between fleeing to CANADA and building a shitload of GUILLOTINES!
    -My SCOTTISH blood wants to get drunk and reenact HIGHLANDER!
    -My IRISH blood can’t get decide between going to the PUB or making CARBOMBS!
    -My RWANDAN blood is whispering that I should take to the bush and go GUERRILLA!
    -My HUNGARIAN blood is screaming that ATTILA had the right idea on CRUMBLING EMPIRES!

    Too many dead people in my head; I’m not sure if it’s the various angry ghosts of my peasant ancestors or if I need to go back to the VA Hospital for my PTSD again!

    1. Now that I read this, I just realized that my ancestors pretty much fornicated with anything that stood still long enough!

      Centuries from now, the USA’s true legacy will probably be that we fucked anything that washed ashore!

      1. You know, sometimes I wish I did a little more with my life instead of hanging out in front of places selling weed and shit. Like, maybe be an animal doctor. Why not me? I like seals and shit. Or maybe an astronaut. Yeah. Like, be the first motherfucker to see a new galaxy, or find a new alien lifeform… and fuck it. And people’d be like, “There he goes. Homeboy fucked a Martian once.”

      2. Centuries from now? I’m pretty sure we already have that reputation. Didn’t our hybrid vigor defeat the purity of the Japanese and Germans?

        1. I doubt it. Do you think that if they plonked the Japanese or German population on America and given America the Japanese or German land, they would have still won ?

          1. Tongue very much in cheek. Everyone who has ever played Axis and Allies knows how lucky the Americans are to have Fortress America.

  16. “A trillion here, a trillion there; pretty soon you’re talking about real money.”

  17. It is whether the extremists now blocking any kind of responsible policy can be defeated and marginalized.

    In the Newspeak Dictionary, consensus is defined as “submission”.

    1. A politician comes to me and says he wants to take 10 units of my wealth, I so no, then he says ok lets compromise I will only take 5 units. If I still so no, then I am a terrorist.

  18. The problem is that the Democrats right now want to trade very real tax increases for fantasy spending cuts that will never happen. Going along with that would be fiscal and political suicide for Republicans.

    There would be plenty of support for closing loopholes and raising tax rates somewhat with voters on the right, IF they had any faith that spending would actually be cut. Real cuts, not the bullshit accounting used by Washington to keep government on an ever expanding path.

    1. Re: Fatty Blogger,

      The problem is that the Democrats right now want to trade very real tax increases for fantasy spending cuts that will never happen. Going along with that would be fiscal and political suicide for Republicans.

      Ronald Reagan went to his grave still waiting for the “$3.00 in cuts” per $1.00 in tax increases he accepted from the Dems.

  19. The left believes in a mythical level of taxation that will bring in 22 to 25% of GDP, even when 90% top tax rates failed to achieve those levels of tax receipts.

    No amount of increase in taxes has ever been sufficient to fund the spending level desired by the left.

    The socialist economic model is not viable because the tax receipts to fund it will never be there.

  20. So let me get this straight.

    Jack up spending by about a trillion per year. Then, a few years down the road, say we can’t cut this spending, but we need to raise taxes some and cut some of this spending.

    Well, fuck that.

    Here’s my compromise. Nothing. Not one red fucking penny. You want to keep spending and tank the country, I’ll walk off the cliff right along with you. But if you think I’m paying more in taxes b/c some fucking bureaucrats can’t stand to cut from their pet projects, well, I’ll go down with the ship. But I’m not going to get up and go to fucking work every goddamn day like some fucking sucker, so some assholes in DC can steal my work at the point of a gun.

    1. My spouse and I seriously discussed moving to Canuckistan this weekend. That’s how fucked up things are in this country today, ’cause I never thought I’d look North as an image of fiscal responsibility.

      Of course it helps when there’s no Team Canada – World Police.

    2. But I’m not going to get up and go to fucking work every goddamn day like some fucking sucker, so some assholes in DC can steal my work at the point of a gun.

      Really, this is what those shitheads just can’t grasp. The real threat to their scheme isn’t armed insurrection; it’s the people finally just turning their backs and saying “fuck it…I’m not busting my ass for these shitheads any more”.

      1. And not only in terms of taxes……how do they think people feel when they see six figure salaried bus drivers and life guards, and teachers being paid to stand around and not teach, etc.? Every fucking day of more government bullshit makes me feel like a complete fucking idiot for taking out loans, going to school, and working fucking 60-80 hours a goddamn week.

        If they think people aren’t going to throw their hands up in the air and say “fuck it,” well, they’re going to get a rude awakening. And this being America, people’s hands aren’t going to be empty when they throw them up into the air, but they’ll be holding firearms.

        1. And this being America, people’s hands aren’t going to be empty when they throw them up into the air, but they’ll be holding firearms.

          And this, I suspect, is where the statists will be in for a really big shock. They like to laughingly brag that the military could easily slaughter “a bunch of rednecks with hunting rifles” but they need to think about it a little more.

          It was only a few years ago that the military was having trouble getting enough recruits to sustain itself. Only the economic downturn “solved” this. How enthusiastically, I wonder, would such soldiers obey an order to lay waste to one of their own cities?

          Sure, some sick fucks would probably be willing. But it only takes a few dissenters in the wrong places to thoroughly hose an army.

          1. I think this is part of the reason the Oath Keepers are so reviled by leftists.

            “What do you mean they won’t follow our orders to defeat our ‘enemies’? That’s treason!”

          2. You’d need a lot of cognitive dissonance to be an antigovernment dogmatist while willingly submitting yourself to an autocratic government agency.

            Just as with Tim McVeigh, antigovernment terrorists will be best dealt with by law enforcement.

            When the tea party revolutionaries are rotting in jail I’m sure they’ll have a lot of time to think about how just a few short years ago they were calling anyone who dared criticize the president a traitor.

            1. “When the tea party revolutionaries are rotting in jail…”

              Ya know this is a common theme in my sexual fantasy life……I have a very rich fantasy life!

      2. So were the people who actually made the US the successful and prosperous country it became at 70% upper tax rates just that much less whiny and entitled than you guys?

        1. So you’re saying that the US only became prosperous once those rates started? Is that right?

          Oh, by the way, good luck selling to America the notion that if they work hard and don’t want to give up what they work for, that they are somehow “whiny.”

          You fucking pussy.

          1. I’m saying the greatest periods of economic prosperity this country has seen were concurrent with what would now be considered unthinkably draconian upper tax rates. It’s incontrovertible proof that economic prosperity and low tax rates on the rich have little to nothing to do with each other.

            I’m saying these wonderful producers you’re worshiping are both less productive and more entitled than their forebears.

            You’re the ones who want to take away guaranteed retirement income from people who work their whole lives so that these unproductive, whiny rich people can keep a tax cut nobody can justify with any argument outside lame “taxes=theft” dogmatism.

            1. WE are the people who have worked our whole lives. We just have an understanding that the jobs we work don’t come out of thin air or a government printing press.

              1. Apparently they are the charity handouts of rich people with low taxes. And I always assumed it had something to do with supply and demand.

                1. It has nothing to do with either. It has to do with people–both rich and those desiring to be rich–trying to improve their own lives. They understand that the best–and moral–way to do this is to provide the goods and services that people want.

                  1. Yet all of your policy prescriptions are essentially tailor-made to make upward mobility as hard as possible and to reward existing entrenched economic power.

            2. Correlation is causation!

              You’re really a dumb fuck Tony.

              I’m sure that the western productive world being thoroughly destroyed by world war, and remaining parts of the world entrenched by unproductive communism, really had no effect on the US during this time. I’m also quite sure that those high top marginal rates didn’t result in getting more revenue in for the government than lower rates as a % of GDP. But why should all this concern you? You don’t deal in facts. You only care about your fucking religion, which is the government.

              “Whiny rich people.” So now I’m reach? I guess in your world, anyone that pays taxes is a “rich person.” You truly are fucking sick in the head if you believe even half of this bullshit you spew.

              1. I may be sick in the head but what do you call it when you’re not rich yet defend policies suited only to enriching the already rich and creating barriers to everyone else? Pathetic and slavish come to mind.

                1. “Policies suited only to enriching the already rich”….you mean like handing over billions to failing banks and car companies? Policies like those that idiots like you defend and yet turn and and rail against “corporations” b/c if “we don’t do something than we’ll have another great depression!!!”

                2. I may be sick in the head but what do you call it when you’re not rich yet defend policies suited only to enriching the already rich and creating barriers to everyone else? Pathetic and slavish come to mind.

                  What barriers, exactly, Tony? Did you join Krugman on his two-for-one weasel word shopping spree?

          2. Don’t feed the sockpuppet. You will incur in the danger of boredom.

  21. There’s a lot of vague talk about “more stimulus” and “more revenue” but I wonder: are there any actual numbers for how much of each? And if so what are the numbers based on?

    I suspect they really want carte blanche on both fronts.

  22. The real threat to their scheme isn’t armed insurrection; it’s the people finally just turning their backs and saying “fuck it…I’m not busting my ass for these shitheads any more”.

    There’s a (most likely apocryphal) story/quote floating around from sixties England:

    The man from Inland Revenue shows up at the Stately Home to ask Lord Such-and-such why he isn’t collecting the rents on his estate (in order to remit ninety seven per cent to the Crown). The Lord merely asks, “Why bother?”

  23. So Krugman is telling the truth and Samuelson is a lying sack of shit, is that your point, Ron? I agree totally.

    1. Re: Alan Vanneman,

      So Krugman is telling the truth and Samuelson is a lying sack of shit, is that your point, Ron? I agree totally.

      Do you post here to make a fool of yourself as part of your penance, Alan?

  24. I’m saying the greatest periods of economic prosperity this country has seen were concurrent with what would now be considered unthinkably draconian upper tax rates.

    Those periods also occurred prior to the establishment of the EPA, OSHA, EEOC, and the Dept of Education.

    Fucking causation- how does it work?

    1. We create a middle class, in part, by having high taxes on the wealthy to pay for economy-boosting infrastructure, education, and research, then those newly empowered people demand that industries not be allowed to pollute their environment for free, abuse them in the workplace, or prevent upward mobility?

      While the very idea of distributing money downward (but not upward) is horrific to you guys, the real root problem is the concentration of wealth at the top. You can acknowledge this without giving up any of your precepts, you know. That wealth is just sitting there making money on itself and not doing anything productive, and there is a resulting decrease in consumer demand overall, leading to contractions that won’t benefit anyone, even the rich. That’s how causation works.

      Or are you claiming that the costs of the programs you listed are relevant in the slightest way to federal budget problems?

      1. We create a middle class, in part, by having high taxes on the wealthy

        By implication, we must be grateful to those wealthy that create the resources which are then given up through taxation and distributed to the rest of us so we may live; only because the wealthy produce enough may the rest of us live.

        1. In all of human history, substantial wealth has most always been the product of luck and/or force. What sustains a market economy–and what justifies wealth–is a healthy middle class. If a market economy isn’t delivering prosperity broadly but is instead merely handsomely rewarding those who already have most of the wealth, then I fail to see what it’s good for.

          A strong middle class created the prosperity that this country is now squandering by giving it all to the top. And you guys are giving your full-throated support to this scheme.

          1. Tony you know nothing about history, because according to your beliefs, the industrial revolution should have started in old China. And the richest country in the world should be the USSR.

            1. Please don’t feed the sockpuppet!

              I mean, really: “In all of human history, substantial wealth has most always been the product of luck and/or force.”

              This guy is still dwelling in the 18th Century – what the fuck can you expect???

              1. You act like we could never revert to the old ways. We have Gilded Age levels of wealth inequality now, but you want to pretend like it’s all the product of a fair market, even though for other purposes you’ll claim the market is fundamentally corrupted.

                1. Wealth inequality is a sign of advancement. Before civilization everyone had the same wealth (not very much), the more society divides into specialised work, the more wealth is created, the more inequality, which is a good thing. Anyone who advocates for equality is advocating for poverty and savagery, i.e. you !

                  I never claimed the market is fundamentally corrupted, government is fundamentally corrupted. All governments can try do is distort the market signals, but in time the market will correct itself, like it is doing now, because rewarding losers is not the path to prosperity. I know in your twisted world the wealthy are unproductive and the poor are productive, but in the end the market overrides your twisted world view.

                2. Re: sockpuppet,

                  You act like we could never revert to the old ways.

                  *slaps forehead*

                  We have Gilded Age levels of wealth inequality now,

                  Adn you want wealth equality? Is that it? Instead of having the bar set HIGH, you want it LOW for everybody? North Korea style?

                  […]even though for other purposes you’ll claim the market is fundamentally corrupted.

                  What? Fuck you!

                  1. No I don’t want to be North Korea, but if thinking that lets you evade arguments, knock yourself out, captain of the fallacy police.

                    1. Re: sockpuppet,

                      No I don’t want to be North Korea, but if thinking that lets you evade arguments,

                      The jackass talking about ears…

                      The greatest EVADER of arguments now feels outraged! A sight to behold.

                      Fuck off, SOCKPUPPET!

                3. You act like we could never revert to the old ways. We have Gilded Age levels of wealth inequality now, but you want to pretend like it’s all the product of a fair market, even though for other purposes you’ll claim the market is fundamentally corrupted.

                  Henry Ford and Sam Walton did not make their fortunes by collecting tributes from peasants and herders.

          2. substantial wealth has most always been the product of luck

            If wealth accumulation is random, I would presume that the wealthy should emerge from the conditions commonly found among the poor (one parent households, lack of education, teenage pregnancies) in proportionate numbers; but this isn’t the case. Perhaps it is not luck, and individuals can actions to increase their wealth.

            If a market economy isn’t delivering prosperity broadly but is instead merely handsomely rewarding those who already have most of the wealth, then I fail to see what it’s good for.

            This is where the definition of middle class comes into play. The middle class life my father lived growing up would be considering almost poverty today. Today’s middle class is only perceived to be struggling because they now purchase items their predecessors never dreamed of: a college education, a luxury car (honestly count the number of BMWs and Lexuses (Lexi?) in your average middle class neighborhood), cell phones, cable, etc.

            It’s very easy to complain about the high cost of health care lying in the pool of your five bedroom home. Priorites anyone?

            1. If wealth accumulation is random, I would presume that the wealthy should emerge from the conditions commonly found among the poor (one parent households, lack of education, teenage pregnancies) in proportionate numbers; but this isn’t the case. Perhaps it is not luck, and individuals can actions to increase their wealth.

              Do what now? I didn’t say random, I said luck-based. Having the right parents is a huge aspect of this.

              And while measures of economic security are in some ways relative to current standards, it’s simply not the case that people all have it better than the 50s because of new gadgets. A single income used to be able to sustain a household with modern conveniences and plenty of leisure time. Since the Reagan revolution, productivity (meaning more work hours for less pay) has been steadily increasing in the middle class. Now it’s hard to have economic security even with two average incomes.

              You can’t just ignore all those people who don’t have 5 bedrooms and a Lexus. Talking like that makes you look very silly.

              1. Re: sockpuppet,

                Do what now? I didn’t say random, I said luck-based.

                *slaps forehead several times*

                Oh, PLEASE STOP FEEDING THE SOCKPUPPET!!

              2. Pure crap, nobody would want to live with a 1950’s standard of living. Especially you.

              3. I didn’t say random, I said luck-based. Having the right parents is a huge aspect of this.

                Parents do have significant influence on their children, mostly due to the value system they instill in their children, but this, however, is not BECAUSE they are rich.

                To put it simply, people with good values to tend to do the correct things that lead to wealth, not the opposite way around.

                You can’t just ignore all those people who don’t have 5 bedrooms and a Lexus.

                This is the crux of my argument. There are plenty of people who DON’T have any of those, live fine on a single income that sustain[s] a household with modern conveniences and plenty of leisure time, and yet are considered struggling because they lack those items.

                1. And he claims to *not* practice wealth-envy.

          3. In all of human history, substantial wealth has most always been the product of luck and/or force.

            Leaving aside, of course, the way most fortunes are accumulated since the overthrow of the aristocracy and the establishment of capitalism.

            That’s it, though, Trollny. No more treats for you.

            1. But everything you believe is in the service of using capitalism to support aristocracy.

              1. Re: sockpuppet,

                But everything you believe is in the service of using capitalism to support [the] aristocracy.

                Are you guys finally convinced that you should NOT feed the sockpuppet? Or are you still willing to inflict yourselves with such “gems” as the above?

                1. Hey, I said it was my last one.

                  I can quit anytime. Honest.

      2. We create a middle class, in part, by having high taxes on the wealthy to pay for economy-boosting infrastructure, education, and research,

        This assumes that the wealthy, and not the (upper) middle class, have ever paid a significant part of the state’s revenues.

        I kind of doubt it. The state feeds off of the middle class much more than the middle class feeds off of the state; put another way, the rise of a prosperous and taxable middle class is a prerequisite for the rise of a massive entitlement state.

        Fucking causation arrow. Which way does it point?

        1. According to Tony, first social democracy was introduced and then the industrial revolution happened.

        2. Tony’s still under the impression that a strong private sector is unnecessary to maintain a strong public sector.

          Given that idea is being refuted in real time right before his eyes, the idea that he’s sick in the head becomes even more plausible.

      3. Who is this “we” you speak of? Like some government policy invented the middle class? It was Trade Guilds, Property Rights, the Industrial Revolution, the various Revolutionary Wars that broke us apart from the Aristocracy, etc, etc.

        How well off was the “middle-class” in the USSR? They had a planned economy and look how well the ended.

      4. While the very idea of distributing money downward (but not upward) is horrific to you guys, the real root problem is the concentration of wealth at the top. You can acknowledge this without giving up any of your precepts, you know. That wealth is just sitting there making money on itself and not doing anything productive, and there is a resulting decrease in consumer demand overall, leading to contractions that won’t benefit anyone, even the rich. That’s how causation works.

        The top is the government.

        If the government takes in less tax revenue, the concentration of wealth at the top decreases.

      5. That wealth is just sitting there making money on itself and not doing anything productive

        See, this just proves Tony’s a sockpuppet, since no one this retarded is able to operate a keyboard.

      6. We create a middle class, in part, by having high taxes on the wealthy to pay for economy-boosting infrastructure, education, and research,

        The middle class was around, and in substantial numbers, long before the 1930s, Tony.

      7. That wealth is just sitting there making money on itself and not doing anything productive

        Citation needed.

        1. [::points to own ass::]

  25. We create a middle class, in part, by having high taxes on the wealthy to pay for economy-boosting infrastructure, education, and research

    FIVE YEAR PLAN

  26. The middle class life my father lived growing up would be considering almost poverty today.

    No kidding. Same here.

    One of the most valuable lessons my father taught me was to not worry about impressing or keeping up with the Joneses.

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