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Friday, July 08, 2011

Tax cuts don't work

Dakinikat has compiled an excellent piece on the likelihood that Social Security will be gutted as Obama and Republicans spar over the debt ceiling. Her piece includes the graph seen to your left.

My questions are simple: Why was it politically possible for Ronald Reagan to increase taxes so massively? Why is doing so impossible now? What has changed?
Today, tea party conservatives would be begging Sen. Jim DeMint to primary the Gipper.
Polls indicate that the majority of the American people would support tax increases to keep Social Security and Medicare solvent. Why, then, is that course of action impossible? If the will of the people no longer matters, do we still live in a democracy?

If the debt ceiling is not raised and economic Ragnarok ensues, we must all do everything in our power to insure that the Republicans bear the brunt of the blame. And I say that as someone who thinks that Obama has been one incredibly shitty president. Somehow the message has to get through: This country must raise taxes. We need a jobs program. We need to decrease unemployment and to increase demand.

Americans are in these straits because Bush waged wars without raising revenue to pay for those wars. If the public understands that military action inevitably carries a hefty price tag, this country will embark on fewer reckless adventures. The piper will always need payment.

Much of our current debt would disappear if Congress would rescind Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy. Taxes on the rich were much higher in previous decades, when the country was more prosperous. If we raised taxes to the level they were at throughout most of the Reagan era, our debt would be manageable.

Tax cuts have been tried. They did not work.

When the Wall Street collapse hit in 2008, Bush responded with tax cuts, having few other ideologically permissible weapons in his arsenal. The economy continued to suffer massive job losses.

Obama's stimulus package primarily consisted of tax cuts (a fact which most Americans do not know); those tax cuts did not help.

Obama made a deal to keep the Bush tax cuts in place. Result: unemployment rose.

Last December, he signed legislation giving more tax cuts to businesses, on the theory that those cuts would accelerate hiring. Did you feel a rush of acceleration?

The lesson of recent history is clear: Tax cuts don't work. Tax cuts don't work. Tax cuts don't freakin' work.

Libertarian refuse to accept the lessons of lived experience; they have their beloved theory, and for them, theory is enough. Libertarians are magicians who keep reaching into the top hat, absolutely confident that -- one of these days -- they will find a rabbit in there.
Unrelated to your post but I need your and your reader's help. Supposedly Milton Friedman, your favorite economist, was testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1995. Friedman asks Ted Kennedy why he thinks socialism will work when it hasn't worked in 6000 years. Ted replies because before they didn't have him to run it. The only source for this quote is a book by a Marc Nuttle who was supposedly there. My bullshit quote detector is flashing red. Surely there would be other witnesses, C-Span video, Congressional Record testimony, something to document this I think phony quote.
That's fascinating -- I never heard of this quote before, yet now I discover that it is ALL OVER the right side of the web.

And the only source seems to be the Nuttle book.

Kennedy would never have said anything like that (except maybe if he were laughing), even if he thought that way, which he didn't.
Hey, you want to see an even crazier anti-Kennedy smear?
"Why was it politically possible for Ronald Reagan to increase taxes so massively? Why is doing so impossible now? What has changed?"

These are the reasons RR got away with raising taxes for the middle class:
1. He cut taxes for the rich and people heard about how RR had cut taxes. The tax increases for the middle class were not as noticeable because when the taxes were increased, the economy was recovering from the double dip recessions. People out of jobs were happy to have one and were grateful to RR.
2. Democrats owned congress and they helped RR with both policies, cutting the tax for the rich and soaking the middle class. The Democratic Party was not about to blame RR when the party in control of congress had participated in the crime.

Took a walk over to the "Daily Kooks" to see how they were reacting to their "Sainted Savior's" destruction of everything they claim to hold dear and guess what?????

Come on...Wait for it....wait for it........


Not a damn peep! These friggin brain dead O'Bots are still holding to the fantasy that OBama is somehow bluffing or that he's playing some sort of gotcha with the Rethugs!!!!!

My God!!! These people are so full of shit! If there was ever a case for sterilization....Daily Kooks are it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Obama trolls have been out with the oh-so-recognizable chant--they too are concerned, disturbed, but . . . think of how worse things would be with the crazy, insane, destructive Repugs.

Problem is it's hard to tell the difference anymore. Is there a difference or just some weird theater going on? I choose the latter though a Bachmann or Perry presidency might make me change my mind, quickly.

The Libertarians are as wedded to their theories as any other bunch of ideologues: it hasn't worked because it hasn't been fully implemented or done the right way or. or, or . . . So, it doesn't surprise me that they're trying to flip it and distract with the Kennedy faux statement. Nor does it surprise me that the dedicated Obamacrats are silent to the dismal unemployment numbers and Obies' desire to gut so-called entitlements.

This was always and continues to be a cult movement and now they're invested and don't want to lose the advantage. Lord knows, they'll never admit they were wrong.

Plouffe came out and basically said unemployment won't matter in the 2012 election. Whistling past the grave yard? He's walking the comment back now, claims he was "misunderstood."

No, we understand.
I'll be writing a post about the Marc Nuttle quotation concerning Milton Friedman and Ted Kennedy. So far, it appears to be spurious.

Nuttle, it turns out, is an interesting fellow. He's constantly decrying "socialism" in American life. But he's perfectly happy to act as an adviser to companies run by what used to be called "Red" China.
Perfectly happy indeed Joe!

As my Dad used to say..."They talk out of both sides of their mouths!"
According to the person who brought this quote to my attention Nuttle gives this citation:

congressional record:daily digest,january 20,1995,d63-d68

This document can be found here:

It shows that Friedman did testify about the Balanced Budget Amendment but I have not been able to find a transcript.
I would rather see us cut the law enforcement industrial complex budget first, and then raise taxes.

In all the discussions of what to cut the policy state budgets - cameras, tanks, jails, guns, armed code compliance officers etc.- never discussed.

It's the real third rail of American politics.
Gary, I contacted Friedman biographer Lanny Ebenstein (himself a libertarian). He considers the quotation spurious.

If Kennedy did say something of that sort, it was a joke.
So far I have been unable to find the Congressional Record containing Friedman's testimony. It may be available on the web. I found one for a nearby date.
CIA files document the agency’s connections to institutions and individuals figuring prominently in the lives of Barack Obama and his mother, father, grandmother, and stepfather.

President Obama’s own work in 1983 for Business International Corporation, a CIA front that conducted seminars with the world’s most powerful leaders and used journalists as agents abroad, dovetails with CIA espionage activities conducted by his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham in 1960s post-coup Indonesia on behalf of a number of CIA front operations, including the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Ford Foundation.

Dunham met and married Lolo Soetoro, Obama’s stepfather, at the East-West Center in 1965. Soetoro was recalled to Indonesia in 1965 to serve as a senior army officer and assist General Suharto and the CIA in the bloody overthrow of President Sukarno.

So, no wonder the boy wonder shills for Wall Street....

"Like step-dad (and mom), our Barry's a TOM!!!!!!"
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