Get Your Man Pants on Mr. President!

Apologies for channeling Sarah Palin. Just when I was thinking of starting a petition drive to fight the Bush Tax cuts for the wealthy I got this in my e-mail box:

Fight! Don’t Cave Campaign

Isn’t the new era of techno-activism fascinating? The tax cuts for the wealthy will add $7 trillion dollars to the deficit (that’s Trillion with a ‘T’) over the next 10 years. But the Republicans don’t care. They would rather refuse to give middle class Americans tax relief than to revert back to paying their fair share. As I stated previously, Republicans have no problem spending money we don’t have and then blaming Democrats as tax and spenders. This is blatent robbery and a real game of chicken. Sign the petition and tell President Obama not to flinch. We can do this.


About Mr. Universe

Mr. Universe is a musician/songwriter and an ex-patriot of the south. He currently lives and teaches at a University in the Pacific Northwest. He is a long distance hiker who has hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. He is also an author and woodworker. An outspoken political voice, he takes a decidedly liberal stance in politics.
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26 Responses to Get Your Man Pants on Mr. President!

  1. Gator says:

    Big boy britches. There’s a word ya’ don’t hear every day- britches/breeches.

  2. Bart DePalma says:

    Tax debates reveal the scary inner workings of the progressive mind.

    Declining to raise someone else’s taxes is not spending.

    Declining to raise someone else’s taxes does not cost the government a penny because the money does not belong to the government in the first instance.

    Declining to raise anyone’s taxes is not denying the middle class tax relief while the wealthy decline to “pay their fair share’ of taxes.

  3. dcpetterson says:

    @Bart

    The problem with your stance is that Bush’s old tax cuts are about to expire.

    So the question is not whether we raise taxes. The question is whether we create new tax cuts, and if so, for whom.

    Tax cuts without matching cuts to spending will cause deficits. Ten years of Bush’s unpaid-for tax cuts have caused immense damage to our economy. The question before us now is whether to repeat that mistake, in whole or in part.

    The tax cuts for the top couple of percent were particularly damaging. To repeat that error would, as Mr. U pointed out, cost America $7 trillion.

    You cannot be for both balancing the budget AND for giving $7 trillion in unpaid-for new tax cuts.

  4. robert verdi says:

    There is scant evidence that the economic dislocations caused by the use of CDO’s and swaps coupled with a housing bubble that culminated in TARP have any connection to Bush income tax policy.

  5. dcpetterson says:

    Robert

    There was more to the collapse than the factors you mentioned. Regardless, there were also other aspects to the economic catastrophe that was the Bush Administration. For example, the Bush tax cuts, coupled with two unnecessary wars, wars, turned a $300 billion annual surplus into a $400 billion annual deficit. (the wars accounted for about $100 billion of that annually — the tax cuts were most of the rest.) The Bush economic policies (which included the Bush tax cuts) led to eight years of stagnant wages and almost zero growth in the number of jobs.

    The Bush tax cuts were an economic disaster. We really should not repeat that error.

  6. Bart DePalma says:

    DC:

    You know better than that. The Bush tax rate reductions went into effect the summer of 2003. The resulting double digit increase in tax revenues was the highest since the 1980s. Unemployment dropped to around 5%.

    The CRA junk mortgage defaults started in the summer of 2006 and the foreclosures about six months later. The junk mortgage driven housing bubble burst in 2007 followed by unemployment and the market crash. None of this had to do with the 93 tax rate reductions.

  7. Bart DePalma says:

    I meant 03 tax rate reductions

  8. DCPetterson says:

    Bart, the Bush Administration saw flat wages and nearly flat employment for eight years, while wealth was being transferred from the middle class to the people in the highest 5%. The middle class (and the nation as a whole) went heavily into debt. The tax changes were a big part of that. (I won’t claim that the tax changes caused the whole catastrophe — unlike you, I won’t fall into the error of claiming there was a single cause to a complex event.)

    The boom period of the Clinton years saw much more reasonable taxes on the wealthy. A refusal to reinstate the Bush tax cuts would be a big step in returning our nation to fiscal responsibility and sanity.

    Creating seven trillion dollars in debt to give unmatched tax giveaways to the idle class does nothing to help our economy.

  9. DCPetterson says:

    And Bart, you can stop blaming the Community Reinvestment Act as being the cause of the Republican Great Recession. That right-wing fantasy is effectively dismantled here -> http://www.ffiec.gov/cra/pdf/2010-4903.pdf

  10. Bart DePalma says:

    DC:

    Pray tell, by what mechanism did the wealthy use the tax system to take money from the middle class?

    Do the wealthy get an EITC paid for by the middle class?

    Do the middle class pay more income taxes absolutely or pay higher income tax rates than the wealthy?

    Give it a rest.

    The United States has the most punitively progressive tax system in the developed world. The EU has a flatter tax code than we do and soaks their bottom half of earners as a far higher rate than we do. To get where the rest of the world is, we would have to raise taxes on the lower half of earners.

  11. dcpetterson says:

    Bart,
    . The Bush tax rate reductions went into effect the summer of 2003.

    And in FY’03 and FY’04 the national debt skyrocketed. As I said. Thank you for confirming my point.

    Pray tell, by what mechanism did the wealthy use the tax system to take money from the middle class?

    Please. People with incomes over $1,000,000 saw their tax payments reduced by over $100,000 on average. Meanwhile, the middle class was making ever-increasing loan payments, and their real standard of living remained flat or even declined. The income gap and net worth gap between the middle class and the top 5% increased to levels it had not seen since just before the Great Depression, largely as a result of flat incomes on the middle class, immense tax cuts and huge income increases for the wealthy, and cheap credit. Bush’s tax and fiscal policies went a long way toward re-creating precisely the conditions leading to the Depression. Hence, we saw the Great Recession.

    To get where the rest of the world is, we would have to raise taxes on the lower half of earners.

    And give them free healthcare, eight weeks of vacation per year, guaranteed full pensions at or before age 62, and guaranteed unemployment benefits. And we’d have to slash the salaries of the top earners (CEO’s and other corporate officers) to a fraction of what they are. And provide effective and cheap universal mass transit. If you want to compare economic systems and use Europe as a standard, then take into account all of it, not just tax rates.

    For someone who objects so strongly to Europe’s socialist systems, why are you comparing our tax rates to theirs?

  12. Bart DePalma says:

    DC:

    BD: The Bush tax rate reductions went into effect the summer of 2003.

    And in FY’03 and FY’04 the national debt skyrocketed. As I said. Thank you for confirming my point.

    When the deficit goes up after tax revenues have increased by a double digit percentage, that means spending is increasing even higher. As I noted, Bush was to the left of Clinton.

    BD: Pray tell, by what mechanism did the wealthy use the tax system to take money from the middle class?

    Please. People with incomes over $1,000,000 saw their tax payments reduced by over $100,000 on average.

    As a percentage of income, the marginal tax rates on the wealthy went down less than the middle class, who also enjoyed a reformation of the marriage penalty and other perks.

    Meanwhile, the middle class was making ever-increasing loan payments, and their real standard of living remained flat or even declined.

    This has nothing to do with the Bush tax reforms.

    Bush’s tax and fiscal policies went a long way toward re-creating precisely the conditions leading to the Depression. Hence, we saw the Great Recession.

    Your ignorance is staggering. Hoover raised income taxes on the wealthy and tariffs on imported goods, kicking off the Depression.

    BD: To get where the rest of the world is, we would have to raise taxes on the lower half of earners.

    And give them free healthcare, eight weeks of vacation per year, guaranteed full pensions at or before age 62, and guaranteed unemployment benefits…

    Free? What part of far higher taxes did you miss? In any case, this red herring has nothing to do with the undisputed fact our tax code is far more progressively punitive than the EU.

    For someone who objects so strongly to Europe’s socialist systems, why are you comparing our tax rates to theirs?

    As a point of contrast to demonstrate how progressively punitive our tax code is compared to even Euro socialists.

  13. shortchain says:

    Bart,

    When the increased spending under Bush went to war and to the pharmaceuticals, it is extremely disingenuous to call that “leftist”.

    IOW, BS!

  14. dcpetterson says:

    BDP:
    When the deficit goes up after tax revenues have increased by a double digit percentage, that means spending is increasing even higher. As I noted, Bush was to the left of Clinton.

    It has been pointed out to you before, you’re guilty of a very simplistic post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. You want to claim that rising tax revenues were a result of lowering tax rates. But you have furnished no mechanism by which this could happen. You also are ignoring all of the other possible factors that could increase revenues, such as booming tech advances, international trade, the strong economy left by Clinton, and so on. You did mention one of those other factors — increased government spending, which goosed the economy, thus increasing tax revenues.

    Indeed, all other things being equal, cutting tax rates reduces revenues. All other things being equal, increased government spending increases revenues by increasing economic activity. In short, you are precisely wrong about what caused revenues to increase, and what the debt to skyrocket.

    As a percentage of income, the marginal tax rates on the wealthy went down less than the middle class,

    So, you are claiming the people at the high end received less of a benefit from the Bush tax cuts than the middle class did? Very well. Allowing the tax cuts for those on the high end to expire would also, logically, harm them far less than allowing the tax cuts on the middle class to expire. Since we agree that the middle class deserves a tax cut, let’s pass that as a compromise, and argue about tax cuts for the wealthy separately.

    It’s nice that you put this as “a percentage of income,” rather than looking at the totality of the effect. The amount of dollars is an immense difference, because the difference in income is so vast. That is why re-creating these tax cuts for the wealthy now would be so damaging to the recovery and to the economy. We simply cannot afford $7 trillion in tax giveaways to the idle ruling class. it is insane to pretend to support both a balanced budget and this irrational and useless tax cut.

    Me: Meanwhile, the middle class was making ever-increasing loan payments, and their real standard of living remained flat or even declined.
    BDP: This has nothing to do with the Bush tax reforms.

    True. As I said, there were many factors involved. You had asked how wealth was being transferred from the middle class to the wealthy. Part of the mechanism was that an increasing percentage of the income of the middle class went to interest payments, and thus to banks and to wealthy investors. This was part of how wealth was transferred from the middle class to the wealthy — and this added income for the wealthy was now being taxed at a far lower rate than previously. Meanwhile, the middle class had less disposable income, since a higher percentage of it went to interest payments, offsetting the small (in real dollars) cut they’d gotten in their taxes.

    Hoover raised income taxes on the wealthy and tariffs on imported goods, kicking off the Depression.

    The income and wealth gap between the rich and everyone else had a much greater impact on causing the Great Depression. So did unregulated gambling by banks and investment firms. You want to attribute everything to tax rates, and that’s just either purposely disingenuous or stunningly ignorant.

    I won’t bother to respond to your points about European systems, because that will lead too far off-topic. Suffice to say, if you are going to compare tax rates, you must also compare benefits received, and compare the total cost of those benefits in the US as compared to European countries. Taxes is not the only issue to consider; much more important is, what is purchased by those taxes, and what would it cost otherwise?

  15. Mr. Universe says:

    You know, DC, you make a pretty goodchampion for being incapacitated.

  16. dcpetterson says:

    You should see me when I’m healthy.

  17. Bart DePalma says:

    DC:

    You want to claim that rising tax revenues were a result of lowering tax rates. But you have furnished no mechanism by which this could happen.

    Lower punishment of creating wealth, GDP grows, tax revenues grow faster.

    You also are ignoring all of the other possible factors that could increase revenues, such as booming tech advances, international trade, the strong economy left by Clinton, and so on.

    The economy crawled over the prior tow years and then went into a spring after the tax rate reforms in the summer of 2003. That is correlation.

    Nothing else of note happened to the US economy during the Summer of 2003. There is your causation by Holmesian process of elimination.

    BD: As a percentage of income, the marginal tax rates on the wealthy went down less than the middle class,

    It’s nice that you put this as “a percentage of income,” rather than looking at the totality of the effect.

    If we look at the absolute figures, the tax system royally screws the wealthy. What remotely equitable system forces 1% of the population to pay 28% of the tax burden?

    If we look at percentage of income, the tax system then “only” marginally screws the wealthy. For example, the top 1% earn 19% of the national income, but pay 28% of the taxes.

    http://citizen-pamphleteer.blogspot.com/2009/04/taxation-in-excess-of-representation.html

    We simply cannot afford $7 trillion in tax giveaways to the idle ruling class. it is insane to pretend to support both a balanced budget and this irrational and useless tax cut.

    Socialist claptrap.

    First, the wealthy generally work like dogs to make the big bucks. I specifically opted out of a big city law firm job making six figures and putting in 80 hours a week because there is more to life than working.

    Next, contrary to your perverse progressive world view, the money we earn belongs to us and not the government. If the government declines to raise my taxes, the government is not out a single red cent. If the present tax revenues do not pay for what the government wants to spend, it is spending too much.

  18. dcpetterson says:

    Lower punishment of creating wealth, GDP grows, tax revenues grow faster.

    Taxes are “punishment?” Please. Reactionary claptrap. You are invited to stop with the senseless rhetoric.

    Name me one investor who ever said, “I think I’ll forgo making another $100 million because it’ll be taxed at 39% instead of the 36% it was taxed at last year.” What nonsense. Do you really expect anyone to buy that argument?

    The economy crawled over the prior tow years and then went into a spring after the tax rate reforms in the summer of 2003. That is correlation.

    Correlation is not causation. Have you a dictionary?

    Yes, the economy slowed a bit from the Clinton boom for the first two years of Bush’s presidency. Normal business cycle. It then resumed afterward. Normal business cycle. Bush cut taxes (in the dead of night, by the way, using the same reconciliation mechanism that the Republicans claimed eight years later would destroy democracy). The debt skyrocketed after the Bush tax cuts.

    Nothing else of note happened to the US economy during the Summer of 2003. There is your causation by Holmesian process of elimination.

    “Nothing else of note?” Again, nonsense. We invaded Iraq. Government spending shot way up. The DOW, by the way, fell (if tax cuts are so good for the economy, why did that happen?) Airlines began to recover from the hit they took from being grounded after 9/11. Tech companies began a sustained boom.

    Your obsession with taxes seems to make you go blind. Maybe you should stop before it grows hair on your palms.

    If we look at the absolute figures, the tax system royally screws the wealthy. What remotely equitable system forces 1% of the population to pay 28% of the tax burden?

    Please.
    · Percentage of U.S. total income in 1976 that went to the top 1% of American households: 8.9.
    · Percentage in 2007: 23.5.
    · Only other year since 1913 that the top 1 percent’s share was that high: 1928.
    · Combined net worth of the Forbes 400 wealthiest Americans in 2007: $1.5 trillion.
    · Combined net worth of the poorest 50% of American households: $1.6 trillion.
    · U.S. minimum wage, per hour: $7.25.
    · Hourly pay of Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon, for an 80-hour week: $27,034.74.
    · Average hourly wage in 1972, adjusted for inflation: $20.06.
    · In 2008: $18.52.
    see http://extremeinequality.org/?page_id=8

    First, the wealthy generally work like dogs to make the big bucks.

    Yes, signing all those dividend checks is hard work.

    Next, contrary to your perverse progressive world view, the money we earn belongs to us and not the government. If the government declines to raise my taxes, the government is not out a single red cent. If the present tax revenues do not pay for what the government wants to spend, it is spending too much.

    You talk about “the government” as if it is something other than We the People. This is a democracy. We are the government. The government does what we want it to and what we tell it to. It’s not a question of what “the government wants to spend.” It is a question of what we, as a nation, feel it is important to do. Your false antagonism between “us” and “the government” is destructive and pernicious.

    In the particular situation we are discussing — what to do after the Bush tax cuts expire — no one is suggesting that anyone’s taxes be raised. So you are inventing a red herring for the purpose of derailing the discussion. Stop it.

    If we do nothing, the cuts expire. That is the status quo. The question is whether we are to reinstate the destructive tax cuts of the Bush Administration, and if so, should it be in whole or in part?

  19. dcpetterson says:

    BDP:
    If the government declines to raise my taxes, the government is not out a single red cent.

    Let me stress the silliness of this statement.

    If We the People decide to take certain actions as a nation, that will bear a certain price tag. If we then cut taxes on the wealthiest 1% simply because they demand it, that will blow a hole in the expected revenues available to pay for the functions our nation has decided to do.

    You are asking us to reduce the amount of money we have available, in order to make the wealthiest Americans richer, with no actual benefit to the nation. You are asking for an additional $7 trillion in national debt, for no national benefit. And your way of avoiding that additional debt is to make unspecified cuts in the things We the People have decided it is important to do.

    Your advocacy of the moneyed elites in favor of the People is rather at odds with the faux-populist class-warfare rhetoric of the Tea Party. Your desire to add trillions to our debt is rather at odds with your rhetoric about balancing the budget. Your noise about “declining to raise taxes” is at odds with reality, wherein “raising taxes” is not on the table. Have you anything rational to offer?

  20. robert verdi says:

    dcpeterson,
    as if that whole dotcom thing, Nasdaq and the Stock Market going through the roof dind’t artificially inflate revenues under Clinton. As for the “unnecessary wars”, on that we will not agree . Look, the tax cuts had very little to do with with meltdown caused by people who over leveraged institutions and then compounded the damage by basing their debts on CDO’s that were impossible to give a fair value to. Couple that with the hosing bubble created in no small part by Government intervention and you have the makings of the perfect storm that hit in 2008.

  21. Bart DePalma says:

    DC:

    One last clue. We the People have been demanding that government do less and take less for decades now. We have made our wishes very clear in a series of wave elections starting in 1980 and now culminating in a tsunami just two weeks back.

    The fact that our representatives ignored the wishes of their constituents and spent like Paris Hilton on coke is not a reason to raise taxes yet again.

  22. shiloh says:

    spent like Paris Hilton on coke

    Paris spent her own $$$

    solo estoy diciendo

    again Bartles, when a teabagger, like yourself, uses a bogus, hyperbolic, inane comparison it at least has to make some rational sense, eh.

    take care

  23. shortchain says:

    Now, the tidal wave is not merely a singular event but a long pattern? But, but, but, … what happened in 2006 and 2008? 1992? 1996? 1998? Were those the exceptions or the rule?

    Occam’s razor indicates that we should not accept, as an explanation, a hypothesis which requires us to bend our logic into pretzel shapes.

    Isn’t the most likely explanation for the electoral behavior that we have seen that the people who have to work for a living have grown more and more unhappy, and, as a result, have tended, on regular occasions, when things look bad, to throw the current bums out and install new ones?

    There is no need to invent some great social movement toward … anarchy, I guess. At least, not outside of Bart’s brain.

  24. dcpetterson says:

    @robert
    as if that whole dotcom thing, Nasdaq and the Stock Market going through the roof dind’t artificially inflate revenues under Clinton.

    Oh, it certainly did. Of course, Bart wants to credit all increase in revenues either to tax cuts or to Newt Gingrich. As you point out, it’s a far more complex affair than Bart’s simplistic arguments make it out to be.

    As for the “unnecessary wars”, on that we will not agree .

    Probably not. But my point wasn’t so much that they were unnecessary (though I am convinced they were) but that they contributed to the Bush budget deficits.

    Look, the tax cuts had very little to do with with meltdown

    “Little”, but not “nothing.” Anyway, Bart and I were discussing the advisability of creating new tax cuts, not so much the causes of the meltdown. We got onto the subject of the ways that the tax cuts contributed to the transfer of wealth to the top few percent, which is well-documented as occurring during the Bush years. The tax cuts certainly did contribute mightily to that.

    [the] meltdown caused by people who over leveraged institutions and then compounded the damage by basing their debts on CDO’s that were impossible to give a fair value to. Couple that with the hosing bubble created in no small part by Government intervention and you have the makings of the perfect storm that hit in 2008.

    I linked a document earlier exploding the myth of the economic collapse having been caused by “Government intervention” in the “housing bubble.” It’s definitely recommended reading.

  25. dcpetterson says:

    Bart, shortchain slapped you down pretty well. I can only add that We the People have been around a lot longer than your recent “gubmint iz bad” fad. We the People decided to fund Social Security and Medicare, and the military. These (along with interest payments on the Reagan and Bush deficits) account for about 80% of all Federal spending. So your bleating about We the People wanting “smaller gubmint” it utterly senseless. Go tell America that you intend to substantially gut these programs, and see how far it’ll get you.

    You and I know that you’re spreading nothing more than snakeoil, that it’s an advertising gimmick. You can fool some of the people some of the time, but one election (in which the People were unhappy about the economy) does not a sea change make.

  26. Michael Weiss says:

    @robert_verdi,

    as if that whole dotcom thing, Nasdaq and the Stock Market going through the roof dind’t artificially inflate revenues under Clinton.

    Not sure what you mean by “artificially,” but yes that had a lot to do with the sudden increase in revenues.

    the tax cuts had very little to do with with meltdown

    I agree. But they had a lot to do with the decrease in revenues. The meltdown compounded the problem, but it’s not like revenues didn’t drop until 2008. They dropped immediately after the tax cut took effect.

    Couple that with the hosing bubble created in no small part by Government intervention and you have the makings of the perfect storm that hit in 2008.

    Here’s where we differ. I’ve looked over the numbers, and far more came from the CDOs than from anything I could find done by the government. In fact, I’d argue that it was a lack of government intervention, in ensuring that there were sufficient regulations in place for people who were buying into CDOs to know the real risk, that supported the frothy market and led to the sudden collapse.

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