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Friday, November 30, 2012

Breaking news: Taxes are lower now than under Carter

We thought everybody knew that.

Comments (28)

And Jimmy Carter was such a huge success wasn't he?
I also had a "nice" mortgage (if you could even get one) with an APR of 13.95%.
And I'm sure everyone would have enjoyed buying gasoline only every other day too.

Then again, Carter didn't leave the place in such a good shape either.

I'd be content to go back to Carter era tax rates if we would also go back to Carter era SPENDING levels. We don't have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem.

"We have a spending problem."

Good freakin luck on that - The problem has already been framed as not enough revenue.

Unless I missed any spending reductions proposed by either side.

We have a spending problem.

Best canard of the last four years. Sure we have a spending problem, the problem is we're spending too much on everyone but me. Ask any Tea Partier, they'll tell you the same.

FEDERAL Tax RATES might now be lower, but how about PRICES? TAX AMOUNTS are significantly higher and so are prices.

And the comment on interest rates reminds me. What will the federal budget look like when interest rates sky rocket? Oh, I forgot ... WE DON'T HAVE A BUDGET!

And interest rates will go higher... MUCH higher. But I doubt the Carter years mean much to someone that was 16 and smoking "choom" when Carter was elected.

Good breakdown here of the BS game-playing happening in DC and what should be done:

"The only true fix for the budget is to pull the monopoly protections on the medical industry and collapse costs by 2/3rds or more along with dealing with our defense budget and energy dependence. Anyone who says "that's impossible" and "that cost savings won't happen" on the medical side is welcome to argue with the Oklahoma Surgical Center which takes cash and in fact provides surgeries at about 1/5th the "normal" cost in hospitals that are part of the medical monopoly racket."

From the article...

More than 85 percent of households with earnings above $25,000 paid less in total taxes than comparable households in 1980.

Nice to see at last the acknowledgement that your tax increase equity arguements and plans are aimed squarely at the middle class, not merely at millionaires.

"The only true fix for the budget is to pull the monopoly protections on the medical industry and collapse costs by 2/3rds or more along with dealing with our defense budget and energy dependence."

One reason I'm having a hard time working up the proper level of angst regarding the fiscal cliff is that it includes cuts to the defense budget. That should be the first place we look for savings.

Hey Dave, where did you get 13.95%? My mortgage was 14.25%, with a prepayment penalty so I couldn't refinance for 5 years. Those terms were delayed reaction consequence of loose monetary policy. With Obama's Fed slavishly buying debt almost as fast as Geithner can issue it, the pressures building up in the monetary system will burst downstream with yet greater force than what happened in the Carter administration.

All but unremarked in the current tax debate is how the Reagan tax cuts profoundly changed our national culture. Reducing the top marginal rate from 70% to about half that made it exponentially easier for those whose gross incomes were already high to pile up wealth quickly, which in turn caused all kinds of socially detrimenal changes - fostering a preference for short-term profit-taking over reinvestment and long-term thinking throughout the business community, and giving rise to all manner of shady, destructive get-rich-quick schemes on Wall Street and in the real estate industry particularly, resulting in the trainwreck of 2008. It also encouraged far too many of our best and brightest college students to go into finance/insurance/real estate careers instead of vocations that actually improved the nation's overall quality of life. The result has been a return to Guilded Age inequality and its hyper-polarized politics. Even if the Carter-era rates were reinstated tomorrow (something I wholeheartedly support), it would take at least a generation - probably more - to undo all the collateral damage. In short, the Reagan mentality f-ed us up in some profound ways that we haven't seriously begun to come to terms with - as evidenced by many of the posts here.

Well said!

Oh, you guys are hopeless. Cut Defense to zero, zip, zilch, nada; we have no enemies, nobody wants to harm us, and the rest of the world is on it's own. Time for them to grow up.

Right. Get back us on this one in about a month.

That article is such a crock of sam adams:

NYT:What we found is that for most Americans, federal income taxes are down, and other taxes have risen. The analysis quantified these two trends, and found that for most people, the decrease in federal income taxes was greater than the increase in other taxes.
This, of course, is not true for everybody, particularly residents in high-tax states and low-income taxpayers, who are impacted more by the rise in local taxation.

To semi-cynic

Do you seriously think the rich were paying 70% of their income in taxes years ago? You're high bro.

There is so much waste, an unimaginable frenzy at the trough takes place solely at our expense. Stop lying to yourselves, the problem is spending but more specifically wonton wasteful spending. Demand accountability.

"Even if the Carter-era rates were reinstated tomorrow (something I wholeheartedly support), it would take at least a generation - probably more - to undo all the collateral damage. "

From the article:

"Leaving the tax code as it was in 1980, however, would not have solved the nation’s long-term fiscal problems. Increases in federal spending, driven primarily by the rising cost of health care, are projected to outstrip even the revenue-raising capacity of the 1980 tax code in the coming decades, necessitating some combination of spending cuts and tax increases."

That pesky "rising cost of health care" again. There's a "spending problem" right there. It was Obama's first priority when he started into his health care reform. It was the last priority going out, abandoned to the chosen political imperative to pass something. It's still the mastodon in the national living room.

Lacking profundity, heck worse: fully ignorant "as evidenced by many of the posts here." True that.

"... be content to go back to Carter era tax rates if we would also go back to Carter era SPENDING levels." Stupid. Maybe can't read -- the talking point memo said "Clinton yaddayadda," NOT "Carter dowahdo."
Right-Wing Media Defend Low Tax Rates For Wealthy By Absurdly Calling For Clinton-Era Spending Levels, JUSTIN BERRIER & ALBERT KLEINE, Media Matters Blog, November 29, 2012
Catch the key word in that, and it is 'old news' already, reported yesterday: ABSURD. If "Stupid" don't fit. Either way, just saying, the skulls-full-of-mush who slavishly listen to Right-Wing Media might appear more dignified socially if they don't recite in public what they believe the radio told them.

Go ahead, click thru the link to the Media Matters article. It is NOT a debate or rebuttal or counterpoint of the ABSURD claim to reverse spending to Carter (Clinton) levels, no. The article is an information packet, it's got pictures and graphs and everything ... everything the voice on the radio don't know and never knew.

It could help to define what "Right-Wing Media" is, for those who mean well for themselves to know what not to repeat that is Right-Wing (Reptile, uh, Republican) ignorance. Mostly, Right-Wing Media is: Everything said on all radio and TV channels. It used to be that there were certain 'good' or 'informative' channels, but those are gone. Today's media, in Portland, simply copies and says on KATU-2 and KOIN-6 and KGW-8 whatever fascist FOXNews said first.

In the past a person tuned into a broadcast channel to have the news delivered to them. Some people are still sitting there 'tuned in' and believing the news comes to them. Nope. Today a person has to initiate news gathering, each person must go get the news for himself or herself.
Radio and TV and cable TV, like newspapers, are all receding into the past, ancient, history, trying to sell the idea that they have news and information which you cannot get for yourself quicker, better explained, with context and backstory timeline.
Sit stupid if you like with the TV turned on, your attention tuned in, and dropping out of your purse a hundred bucks a month paying the freight for all 57 channels in the cable TV Basic Bundle including the 50 you never watch. And there, sitting & staring, expect further remove from the real world as long as your devotion in past practices of massmedia continues, and repeatedly hearing "we thought everybody knew that" maybe it occurs to you that "we" are talking about you. sitting. staring blank.

Or browse to MediaMatters.ORG . The great thing there is the TVWatchers Digest informing you of what TV says without you having to watch it all. Everybody you see on TV reads Media Matters. And the information is a laugh riot; for example, today's stupid:
Bill O'Reilly: Those Who Think Christianity Is A Religion Are "So Stupid It's Painful" -- "Christianity Is A Philosophy"
He said that. See? all the time and cableTV subscription expense you save to be 'in the know' ... AND your information is 'Value Added' in that you learn it is stupid to pay Bill O'Reilly (a piece of every cable payment) to hear him say that.

Now some information that massmedia (all of it Right-Wing, even NPR) obstructs reporting about the federal budget framework.
Revenue - - - Expenses (in 2010 Billion$)
_______ - - - ________
$1500 - - - -$1500 -- Social Security
1000 - - - - 1000 -- Medicare
1000 - - - - 1200 -- Pentagon (incl. CIA,NSA,DHS,TSA,fear promotion & TVads,ETC.)
0 (zero) - - 1000 -- everything else federal (State, Treaury, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Health & Human Services, Housing & Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, Education, Veterans Affairs, and a few miscellaneous miniscule staff)

Notice Social Security and Medicare are paycheck deductions which pay for themselves and break even; AND are separate from, and ARE NOT the Federal Income Tax paycheck deduction.

Congress has no power (authority) to 'spend' Social Security or Medicare monies. Those monies are separate (not-Income Tax) deductions, kept in separate (not-Income Tax) accounts, and spent dedicated to the separate purposes.

Congress is only allowed to spend the Fed.Income Tax (appropriations), at Congress's discretion, and that Revenue was about $1000 billion total (in 2010) of which Congress spent $1200 billion for Military Madness and another $1000 billion for everything else federal government governs.

Notice that Congress spent about $2200 billion of the $1000 billion Income Taxes collected. 'But,' you may say, 'it is impossible to spend $2200 when there is only $1000 collected.'

Today's federal budget is the same numbers proportionally, inflated a couple of years, and goes (in billion$) something like 2000 + 1000 + 1200 for the 3 'Revenues' in the first column, and about -2000(Soc.Sec.) -1000(Medic.) -1200(War O'Terror) -1000(Domestic Tranquility) as 4 lump payments in the second column. Massmedia falsely calls it a "$4.4 Trillion" budget plus (meaning: minus) a "$1.2 Trillion 'deficit'." The true consideration as far as Congress is concerned is that it's only a $1.2 Trillion budget (Income Taxes received) which Congress voted to overdraw by another $1.2 Trillion, thus 'deficit spending' a total of $2400 billion of the $1200 billion which taxpayers gave Congress to work with.

Maybe rich people should (they sure could) pay higher tax rates, and then Congress would have more money under its control to budget. I say raising rich-bracket taxes is the right thing to do justly on general principles. But I doubt it collects $1200 billion taxing the rich.

Notice Social Security and Medicare are separate accounts and have zero effect on making or unmaking the 'deficit.'
Notice that shrinking the USGovernment and Domestic Tranquility to zero, nothing -- eliminating ALL government programs; 'saving' $1000 billion -- does not balance the budget as long as Military Madness goes on 'deficit spending' $1200 billion (without a USGovernment, without a Congress) that is not there.
One plan that might raise enough tax revenue to pay down the federal debt is this: Tax advertising. Like a sales tax -- when a TVradio station sells time to an ad buyer, simply collect an additional 5% sales tax (on the purchase of that time).

[As a point of information, for the LarsLarson caller determined to eliminate Foreign Aid gift-money to Palestine in order to 'balance the budget,' see this: Foreign Aid to Palestine has been zero nada for many years. Total USGovt taxpayers Foreign Aid last year(?) was $10 billion -- $6 billion to Israel, $3 billion to Egypt, $1 billion unaccounted for. Larson said, "we give Aid to Pakistan" -- that's a lie.
Compare: NY wants $35 billion for Hurricane Sandy damage repair, NJ wants $24 billion.

Notice that The ONLY Solution for balanced budget is: Abolish the Pentagon. Abolish the CIA&Secrets UnderWorld. Abolish Homeland Security. Abolish TSA and about two dozen other multi-billions 'terrifying players' to be named later. Fire all those public employees -- remember, soldiers and sailors are Public Employees -- and tell them to get a job. Where they pay taxes. So we can recover from the UnBalanced Congress.

Since its 1948 inception, the Defense Department has defended Americans from exactly zero 'enemy' hostilities, and, in fact in deed, the Def.Dept. has caused and made EVERY hostile invasion attack on sovereign countries in the world that has happened, 1948-2012.
What's that? You say you believe VietNam attacked us? You believe Nicaragua/Chile/Honduras/Angola/Kuwait attacked us? Or, not that they attacked us exactly, but that we had to have BIG DEFENSE against the possibilities? however implausible?

And I ask: Do you also believe Nine-Eleven Op was not from Bush's Def.Dept. and instead was all by suicidal religious fanatic hijinx?
Do you also believe there is Santa Claus? who sees you when you're sleeping?
Do you also believe Jesus Christ is your Lord and Personal Savior who is coming back soon to destroy humankind? or the 'evil' (non-believer) part of humankind?
Don't be stupid. Take the initiative and get yourself some news information.

I agree Tenskwatawa, cutting federal spending is the only real answer.

If I didn't believe in Santa Claus, I sure wouldn't say so right before Christmas.

We spend tons of money without the burden of high taxation. People like it, why change it? Because of some sort of debt boogey man? We've been scared into things far too many times, we are desensitized.

The responsible thing would be to raise revenue to cover expenditures.

Do that, watch people flip out, and then you'll have the political will to make the necessary cuts.

Right now we have our cake and eat it too, no need for a change.

But in fact, most Americans in 2010 paid far less in total taxes — federal, state and local — than they would have paid 30 years ago.

Any time you see the word “most,” you should hear, “I have no figures to back up my claim in statistically significant way.”

Sure, tax burdens will go down when the economy is terrible, confidence is historically low, and "most" people are unemployed, underemployed, giving up, or hiding their income in the underground economy.

The less they earn, the less they pay. Especially with progressive rates. However "most" people aren't the tip of the spear, the top earners who pay much more than their portion of the population.

We're more reliant upon the high earners than ever. Oh yeah, and those are the people who create most of the jobs, too. Let's gouge them some more.

Bean: The Tea Party doesn't want Government largess for themselves, nor for anybody else. They just want to be left alone. Government must shrink, dramatically, permanently. There's nothing left to give away.

The Feds are borrowing fifty cents of every dollar they spend. Foreign entitites dont' want to buy our bonds any more. The Treasury is now borrowing from our own reserve bank. We are running deficits of $1 trillion a year, with no let-up in sight.

This is a spending problem, full stop.

If you want jobs for the people, get out of the way of the job creators. Capital follows confidence. Rich guys don't take risks during a confiscatory regulatory environment. Cut them loose, and they'll create jobs.

More government cannot create private jobs nor generate wealth. They can only soak it up, and discourage wealth-creating behavior. Look at how fully half of Britain's millionaires moved away after the tax rates went up to 50%.

And then as those people improve their lives and rise up through the brackets, everyone's tax burden will go up, and the NYT can write another story about how terrible it all is.

Pardon me, I got it wrong -- it's not one half, it's two thirds of British millionaires who took their drive, their wealth, and their earning power to lower-tax countries:

Capital is mobile, give it a reason to leave and it will. Those who aren't sitting on the sidelines, have divested and won't be back until things change, and not just a little.

So the Government should budget accordingly... messing with the tax structure will inevitably result in flat or reduced revenue, not the desired increase. Of course, the current plan is to tax more, and spend wayyy more.

For those of you who hate on the rich, just remember the people who offered you a job. They had the money to pay you, or else the confidence that they could make that money without getting ripped.

Downtown - Your points may have some validity but your math is just terrible.

Downtown - I just read your link. It doesn't say what you say it says. What gives man? You don't need to use bad math and miss-characterization to make a point.

In this instance your point about rich people driving job growth is refuted. The wealthy supposedly fled without any impact on the job numbers.

This is because the wealthy do not drive hiring. DEMAND does. Demand comes from the population at large having money (JOBS). It's a vicious circle really. That's why government involvement is generally needed when things tank so badly.

Also, as an FYI, I've never been given a job by a wealthy person. I've only been working for 20 years though, so maybe someday I'll get to be a butler or something. :-)

"the top earners who pay much more than their portion of the population."


Sure, I could be off-base and everything is going to be fine. There are plenty of smart people here, your ideas are welcome. Please tell us where the over $1 Trillion per year to cover deficits is going to come from. Also, $16 Trillion for existing debt. Thank you.

Flatten. The. Military. Madness.
More than a Trillion a year is wasted in it, and like the deaths in Iraq and Afghan, gone for NO REASON, NO WORTH.

STOP Military SPENDING. SAVE $1 Trillion+ per year.
Military Madness caused the debt hole. STOP DIGGING.


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Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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