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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Obama: "Tax the rich -- this time I really mean it"

Come on, Mr. President. You told us you were going to do that three years ago. People making more than $250,000 a year of income should pay more, you said. Joe the Plumber called you out on it. Remember?

And we elected you, and gave you the Congress, and provided you every opportunity to do what you promised. But you didn't. You sold us out.

Forgive us if we call b.s. on you this time. We won't get fooled again.

Give our love to Ron Wyden (R-N.Y.) when you see him.

Comments (39)

"Give our love to Ron Wyden (R-N.Y.) when you see him."

Is Obama visiting New York?

[Not] Joe the [not a] Plumber. Ah, that takes me back.

Anyone know what ever became of Joe the Plumber?.........Anyone?

I think he's running for president.

"Joe" showed up in WI last month supporting the GOVERNOR.

Well, Obama kicked off his re-election campaign last week, right? Well, he's just being green and recycling pieces of the 2008 stump speech.

Wait, if we're being green, we shouldn't call it a stump speech - that connotes the idea of cutting down trees which isn't green at all. Instead, we'll call it our "natural sapling nursery" speech.

I think he's running for president.

Someone asked "Joe" if he was going to go into politics.

He said, "You know, I talked to God about that and he was, like, 'No.'"

I've always approved of the demonization of Joe. He asked an unscripted question.

If just anyone went around violating the Obama narrative with offhand interrogatives, we might not have President Obama today.

Frankly, the civil servants who explored his taxes and other records and then provided the information to Democratic operatives were the undersung heros of that election.

I understand hitting the rich for more taxes, but eventually, he'll have to address spending cuts.

I'd sure hate to see stuff like streetcar money vanish, but he really needs a better plan than inching the SocSec qual age up to 93.

The whole talk about "must maintain what he called investment in programs that are necessary to compete globally" just sounds like more pork for Homer and his ilk. I'm hard pressed to see what govt investment has ever made us more competitive globally.

Steve: You're ignoring all the pork Obama is giving his pals at GE for wind tirbines and high speed train goodies. Not to mention the TARP bailout for GE Capital - which was never really a bank.

A lot of talk here and there about Obama's backtracking, but let's get real . . . very few on this blog and in this state would even consider a candidate with an R behind their name. Please pleasantly surprise me.

The "Rich" elected B/O: why would he jack up their taxes?

And I've voted for every Republican that's ever run in this state (that I could vote for), except Bob Packwood.

My feeling is we need to adopt more of the Simpson/Bowles recommendations. It had a lot of pain to spread which is what we need if we are truly going to address the expanding entitlements.

"A lot of talk here and there about Obama's backtracking, but let's get real . . . very few on this blog and in this state would even consider a candidate with an R behind their name."

The problem that the original post pointed out (and I think it puts too much blame on Obama alone, but that's another argument) is that Obama is behaving too much like a Republican. Electing more Republicans is the exact wrong solution to the problems of a shrinking middle class and increasing poverty.

Do you have any conception of what's in the Republican budget plan? It's a vicious attack on the poor and middle class and a blatant attempt to funnel even more wealth to the wealthiest segment of society.

The R budget plan is a joke. A hoax actually. The third rail is still the third rail, and with class consciousness on the rise in the US (arguably), its voltage is going to be even higher. Ryan and the Republicans' grandstanding on the budget issues is just another facet of the right-wing overreach that will result in the incumbent staying in the White House without any problems.
Big Finance and Big Industry want someone they can deal with, not some reckless, overheated Tea Party nihilist. And Obama is certainly that.
The Republicans will surely be forced to nominate an "electable" candidate that will have their extremist base sitting out 2012 in droves.

None of which will make it any more likely that the elite will allow the "budget debate" to ever include ideas about their contribution to the revenue side of things, I'm sad to foresee. Enough people in the streets might change that, though, so let's thank a few of our new and especially witless Republican governors for their latest choice bonehead moves, shall we not?

The only scenario worse than what Obama is NOT doing would be to have to hear President McCain and Vice President Palin shrilling
their spew.

I am certainly not happy with President Obama, having voted for a Democrat for President just one time. But there really wasn't a choice, was there?

"The R budget plan is a joke."

Give me the D's budget plan then. Obama just spouted a bunch of platitudes today. The biggest expenditures are still the 3rd rail stuff including defense and at least Ryan addressed those.

"But there really wasn't a choice, was there?"

I'd say many people are figuring out that was NOT the case at all.

Despite the lack of enthusiam for the McPalin ticket.

Allan Simpson explained thing quite clearly.
We are now borrowing 40 cents for every dollar we spend.
That is nuts and it has to stop.
Everyone will have to feel the pain and pay up and cut back.
There will have to be means testing for SS and Medicare. The wealthy will have to pay a higher percentage in taxes, corporations will have to pay up too, there will be fewer entitilment programs, and the pentagon will have to do with less as wel, if we the USA are to survive.
Will the politicians buck up and do what is needed? That remains to be seen. I have my doubts. No one wants to fess up to failure.

Alan Simpson, right. The snoopy poopy enima man guy. Genius.

The doomsday scenario is absurd. Tax burdens in the US are third-world low. Fix that, and unemployment, and implement health care reform. There is no need to further marginalized the old and the poor.

As explained on CNBC this evening, the people Obama describes as "Wealthy" are those whose spending is now supporting our recovery in retail and his threat to reduce "the Cost of Medicine" will kill the Golden Bio-pharmaceutical Goose that many in the US see as our only hope for a manufacturing future.

But then, we can always give more borrowed money to the public universities that are doing Biopharma research and their discoveries are free as the cost of development is near zero.

See how it works when we comrades pay it forward.

"Tax burdens in the US are third-world low. Fix that"

Nice throw-away line, you have some evidence comparing our taxload to those of countries that are eoomically growing faster than us?

"unemployment, and implement health care reform."

Pray tell, show me the govt intiative in this country that's done that. We puled a Krugman by giving banks $1T+ and an average guy still can't get a loan so that was a wasted govt initiative.

"... very few on this blog and in this state would even consider a candidate with an R behind their name."
Ha. There are Obama and Wyden, for starters. Both are Republicans, elected here.
What is desperately needed and would not ever be considered here (soon enough) is a good smart Socialist, a real Democrat.

"I'm hard pressed to see what govt investment has ever made us more competitive globally."

See this:


The Friends Committee on National Legislation argues that the job loss from decreased military spending argument is weak: “It is true that discontinuing weapons systems will cause job loss in the short term, but unnecessary weapons manufacturing should not be considered a jobs program (that would be like spending billions of dollars digging holes), and research shows that these jobs can be successfully transferred to other sectors.” In other words, this [military madness] is unnecessary and wasted labor (as well as wasted capital and wasted resources).

Furthermore, rather than creating/sustaining jobs, some research suggests that increased military spending leads to job losses.

We the USA are the BIGGEST seller of deathmaking in the world, OUT selling the competition in all the rest of the world combined. We USGovt invested in death more than anyone anywhere else and, y'know what?, it. all. gets. paid. back.

"... ignoring all the pork Obama is giving his pals at GE for ..." GE-Hitachi nuclear power plants, more and more.

The Real National Security Budget, By CHRISTOPHER HELLMAN, Counterpunch.com, March 1, 2011

Welcome to the world of the real U.S. national security budget. Normally, in media accounts, you hear about the Pentagon budget and the war-fighting supplementary funds passed by Congress for our conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. That already gets you into a startling price range -- close to $700 billion for 2012 -- but that's barely more than half of it. If Americans were ever presented with the real bill for the total U.S. national security budget, it would actually add up to more than $1.2 trillion a year.

Take that in for a moment. It's true; you won't find that figure in your daily newspaper or on your nightly newscast, but it's no misprint. It may even be an underestimate. In any case, it's the real thing when it comes to your tax dollars. The simplest way to grasp just how Americans could pay such a staggering amount annually for "security" is to go through what we know about the U.S. national security budget, step by step, and add it all up.

So, here we go. Buckle your seat belt: it's going to be a bumpy ride.


Add it all together and the grand total for the known national security budget of the United States is:

$1,219.2 billion. (That's more than $1.2 trillion.)

but but but Total discretionary spending this year -- Total Income Tax receipts, is only $1.1 trillion. How can Congress spend any more money than that?

Abolish the 'Pentagon'. Especially abolish the CIA.
Fund everything else -- twice Obama's budgeted numbers -- even then everyone gets a fifty-percent tax rebate, or tax cut.

There. are. NO. 'enemies' the Defense Dept defends us from. 'Enemies' is the Big Lie that the hoax Nine-Eleven Op was staged to convince you of ... mashed into the massmind by massmedia ... and, hey, it mostly worked, didn't it? show of hands:
who believes there were hijackers, Arab or otherwise, on those planes?
WMDs in Iraq?
Dubya truly got more votes in 2000?
in 2004?
we are all more safe and secure and protected now?
Obama is a Democrat?
... s u c k e r s
What are you gonna believe, 'reality' TV? or your lying eyes?

Henry Paulson - after the biggest scam in the history of the world by Wall Street - has decided to share his opinion on why this country and others are in such bad shape:

“I think as you look around the world, there are a number of Western democracies where the voters want benefits, but they don’t want to pay for them."

What a guy. Oh, be sure to read Matt Taibbi's latest in Rolling Stone: "The Real Housewives of Wall Street Why is the Federal Reserve forking over $220 million in bailout money to the wives of two Morgan Stanley bigwigs?"

This covers that other budget - the money forked over to the big shots from the Federal Reserve.

Make sure your blood pressure medicine is nearby.

Unfortunately, it is looking like a set up again, not much of a choice. Unless the people put an enormous amount of effort into changing the game plan and system, it doesn't look good for the majority of Americans.

Richard:"A lot of talk here and there about Obama's backtracking, but let's get real . . . very few on this blog and in this state would even consider a candidate with an R behind their name."

Not necessarily true.

When D's like Wyden who seem like R's and then we have the Blue Dogs, what really is the diff anymore? Oh, other than we are told the R's are worse, so we have to vote for a questionable D who also betrays us?

In my view, D and R no longer exist as they did years ago and they have changed into what? Much of what we have is D and R Kabuki theater.

The same names are cropping up, even here locally. In my view, things will not get better with the same types of people making decisions for us especially when some are mostly just adept at campaigning and more interested in getting elected than standing up for the public and important issues.

Care full now. You people are starting to sound an awful lot like the tea-party people.

To get back to the original post: I've never really understood all the cries to "tax the rich!" What's the goal, exactly? To get a little more money to transfer to people who didn't earn it and don't deserve it? To focus it on helping the folks in society who really need help? To punish them for having earned (or just fallen into) a better life then we could ever hope to have?

It's an extremely odd impulse, but one driven, I'm sure, as much by human nature as any rational thinking.

John F...see Bill's and Tenskey's posts above.
SS and Medicare take up as much of the budget as defense.
The Tea Baggers all chorus,"hands off" on those programs which is nuts! As for security, IMO this country needs to stop spending time money and effort patting down small children in airports and concentrate on other more effective forms of protection, as Israel has done and is doing.

The scoring on the soak the rich tax falls in the range of $70 billion to $100 billion a year, which is proabably high side since to tax wealth is to destroy a portion of it. It's a pittance compared to what is required in total. When deficits are running $1.5 trillion a year, enormous cost cutting is required. Time for people to wake up when we have a last short window of opportunity, before we get saddled with spiralling out of control debt service caused by rising interest rates applied to $20 trillion of debt. We are moving into the late innings of this game.

Walter Williams wrote:
This year, Congress will spend $3.7 trillion dollars. That turns out to be about $10 billion per day. Can we prey upon the rich to cough up the money? According to IRS statistics, roughly 2 percent of U.S. households have an income of $250,000 and above. By the way, $250,000 per year hardly qualifies one as being rich. It's not even yacht and Lear jet money. All told, households earning $250,000 and above account for 25 percent, or $1.97 trillion, of the nearly $8 trillion of total household income. If Congress imposed a 100 percent tax, taking all earnings above $250,000 per year, it would yield the princely sum of $1.4 trillion. That would keep the government running for 141 days, but there's a problem because there are 224 more days left in the year.

How about corporate profits to fill the gap? Fortune 500 companies earn nearly $400 billion in profits. Since leftists think profits are little less than theft and greed, Congress might confiscate these ill-gotten gains so that they can be returned to their rightful owners. Taking corporate profits would keep the government running for another 40 days, but that along with confiscating all income above $250,000 would only get us to the end of June. Congress must search elsewhere.

According to Forbes 400, America has 400 billionaires with a combined net worth of $1.3 trillion. Congress could confiscate their stocks and bonds, and force them to sell their businesses, yachts, airplanes, mansions and jewelry. The problem is that after fleecing the rich of their income and net worth, and the Fortune 500 corporations of their profits, it would only get us to mid-August. The fact of the matter is there are not enough rich people to come anywhere close to satisfying Congress' voracious spending appetite. They're going to have to go after the non-rich.

Federal tax collections have been between 15 and 20 percent of the nation's Gross Domestic Product every year since 1960. However, between 1960 and today, the top marginal tax rate has varied between 91 percent and 35 percent. That means whether taxes are high or low, people make adjustments in their economic behavior so as to keep the government tax take at 15 to 20 percent of the GDP. Differences in tax rates have a far greater impact on economic growth than federal revenues.

Nobody is talking about taxing wealth. The discussion is about taxing incomes. As for the size of the deficit, have a look at the economy as a whole. It is down, thanks to a burst housing bubble. Much of the deficit results from lower tax rece ipts. Cut federal spending now and the economy goes down some more, throwing more people out of their jobs with two results: tax revenues decline and social welfare payments increase. Even GWB knew enough to use fiscal stimulus to support the private sector economy.

"Cut federal spending now and the economy goes down some more"

Good, glad to hear you've bought into the justification for streetcars as a good way to spend money.

It's a truism to say the deficit is larger because tax revenues are down. However, look at OR, revenues have been growing at a rate > 13% every biennium (I can show the numbers if you want on all-funds), even the latest biennium. Yet all of a sudden we have a $5B hole - Mainly because of lower tax receipts.

That's the problem with politicians spending will grow to fill available money, they have no discipline.

If Obama says for each $2 of reduced spending we raise taxes $1, I'd be all for that. However, just saying raising taxes will fill the hole is simplistic.

John Fairplay,
One sentence jumped out as you pondered why anyone would want to tax the rich:

"To get a little more money to transfer to people who didn't earn it and don't deserve it?"

You really should find out what has been going on at the upper levels of society. It's fascinating. One key phrase is "privatize profits and socialize losses." Look into the Federal Reserve. Find out who really owns them, and what they're really doing.

Your sentence should read, "To get a lot of money back from people who didn't earn it and don't deserve it."

Do some crime scene investigation, because what's happened on Wall Street was a crime scene.

I agree with you for MANY SPECIFIC players but those are mainly people with incomes in excess of $10,000,000, not $250,000. AND, those grifters are probably a minority of the people earning at that level (even on Wall St). Just because corruption is rampant does not mean that a blanket penalty should be imposed. Use Obama's "scalpel" instead of a machete.

John F,
What about the idea that there has been a huge transfer of wealth from future generations to those who've benefited from the stock market manipulations? This is not a small group. They may think they earned it by wisely investing, but if the stock market only performed as it has because of criminal activity, doesn't it make the gains ill-gotten?
I saw a Times article that said 800 bankers went to jail after the Savings and Loan scandal, but none have with this crisis even though there was massive fraud. How's investing with these bankers, different from investing in a criminal enterprise? Because they haven't been prosecuted? Anyone who looks at this, should know there was massive fraud in the subprime/derivatives balloon. Almost everybody with the smarts to invest wisely knows, but even that isn't the point. I don't think it's enough not to know. Ask Bernie Madeoff's clients.

John F & Bill McD,
Matt Taibbi's latest Rolling Stone revelation provides a glimpse of unexpected, very curious Fed subsidies to the very wealthy:

"Once the money started flowing from the Federal Reserve, the executives began moaning to their buddies at the Fed, claiming that they were suddenly afraid of investing in anything — student loans, car notes, you name it — unless their profits were guaranteed by the state. 'You ever watch soccer, where the guy rolls six times to get a yellow card?' says William Black, a former federal bank regulator who teaches economics and law at the University of Missouri. 'That's what this is. If you have power and connections, they will give you a freebie deal — if you're good at whining.'

This is where TALF fits into the bailout picture. Created just after Barack Obama's election in November 2008, the program's ostensible justification was to spur more consumer lending, which had dried up in the midst of the financial crisis. But instead of lending directly to car buyers and credit-card holders and students — that would have been socialism! — the Fed handed out a trillion dollars to banks and hedge funds, almost interest-free. In other words, the government lent taxpayer money to the same assholes who caused the crisis, so that they could then lend that money back out on the market virtually risk-free, at an enormous profit.

Notice that TALF preceded Obama; it was part of Henry Merritt "Hank" Paulson, Jr.'s, program of government of the few, for the few, at the expense of the many. Notice, also, on this inauspicious day in Portland pro sports history, Prof. Black's soccer analogy.

I'd also recommend the Los Angeles Time article today entitled,"Senate panel concludes Goldman Sachs profited from financial crisis" with the paragraph, "The subcommittee has estimated that in 2007 Goldman's bets against the mortgage markets more than balanced out the bank's mortgage losses and led to a $1.2-billion profit in the mortgage department alone that year."

That means they were betting against the securities they were selling - my understanding is that is a form of securities fraud. This is besides the fraud of knowing these securities were not deserving of the triple-A rating. Betting against the swaps just proves they knew.

Of course, by then Henry Paulson had joined President George W. Bush's cabinet where he would spend the remainder of that dark term, helping to save the people who basically destroyed the economic health of America.

I can take that part. I've processed it. I can even understand why the "Justice Department" would want some showy baseball trials right now to pretend that people are accountable, even though these obvious financial cases are basically lying there and hurt society a hell of a lot more. I mean the economic security of the United States is a lot more important than the size of Barry Bond's nut sack.

What I'm still processing is the next phase: Where the Henry Paulsons of the world lecture us about wanting too much from the federal government, after they vacuumed up trillions. As far as the Timbers, I'm over that too. Yes, it is slightly ironic that this is the day where the latest gift of the taxpayers to the Paulson family occurs in Portland even as the LA Times article indicates that Goldman Sachs did more than help cause the potential economic downfall of America - they profited on it. Go Timbers.

Was that Joe the Dummer? Another tax dodge and bankrupt wrapping himself in the mantle of the Fox News created Tea Party? But honestly when all of the dust clears and someone writes a good history of 2008-2010 the question will be how a President and a Congress, given a mandate to create a healthcare system, undo 8 years of mismanagement, repeal fat cat tax cuts and give us back our civil rights squandered that mandate by worrying incessantly about the Right and their media allies. Cringing and cowering every time some shill started yelling at a town hall meeting, running away from the very actions that saved us, in 2008, from total financial collapse and generally acting weak and spineless. As Yeats said "when the best lack all conviction and the worst are full of passionate intensity" you get the second coming or a Tea Party.

Sporadic 'Fairplay' comments show up in here right before Lars Larson promo's that particular thread. What a curious connection! deserving more research.

"... find out what has been going on .... Look into the Federal Reserve. Find out who really owns them, and what they're really doing." Larson over $250,000 has tax reduction this year instead of paying more as scheduled now, after his Bush tax breaks ran out in December ... but Obama extended Larson's tax reduction two! more! years!

'They' already know the robbery going on because 'they' liars are the robbers, and are telling everyone under 'their' spell in broadcast range to not look. Hence the cartoon drawing of Larson as a dark-whiskered fat-jowl Money Hog oinking in the article 9 Things the Rich Don't Want You to Know About Taxes on the cover of Willamette Week. We know it caricatures Larson since the Money Hog is smoking a big fat cigar.

Today Larson hated the thought Randi Rhodes ever earns as much hoggy-fat money as he has, because "Rhodes does not have any listeners." But Rhodes interviewed David Cay Johnston, author of W.Week's '9 Ways the Rich Want You Stupid ...' article and on-air with Rhodes, Johnston told everyone. So let's compare who has more listeners: The number of people who know it's a cartoon of Larson on the cover of Willamette Week, or the number of people who didn't recognize Larson because he censored that news?

I wrote a promotion jingle for Larson's shill today at the OSU Young Republican Redshirts raffling off an automatic military weapon for one 'lucky' ticket holder -- to the tune of 'My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean':
Give away the gun to a commie,
Give away the gun to a lib,
Give away the gun to a Mexican,
Soon crime widows will know what you did
'Talk Bully Lies Right in Corvallis'

Speaking of Corvallis, I was there last night for the first weekly meeting of a 'Book Club' formed to discuss The Web of Debt, by Ellen Hodgson Brown, and to plan Oregon action following the map in the book. Lobby Salem to advocate enacting an Oregon State Bank.

This book is causing more and more local 'book club' meetings. Last night's midnight meeting reminded me of Thomas Paine's 'Common Sense' pamphlet which sparked local committees in all 13 Colonies drafting 'Constitutional letters' and then working out agreement themselves for the US Constitution. Citizens' entangling web of debt is the result of rich Money Hogs practicing to deceive law-enforced Justice from arresting bank-robber capitalizing crimes ... so it's likely soon the Fed.Reserve gets removed or nationalized in the 'book club meet-up' Movement going on writing today's 'Consti2tional letters'.

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