Pretty good article. There is one statement that i can't let go without
commenting on, though:"In 2007, the richest 1 percent of Americans
paid 28 percent of all federal taxes; the richest 10 percent (including the 1
percent) paid 55 percent."While I don't doubt its validity,
this is a bad metric to be using. Similar statements gets bandied about a lot as
a suggestion of a large inequality in taxation. However, it really doesn't give
the necessary information to make that case. We need to know how much of the
total wealth that 1% controls to know whether 28% is too large or not. By
definition, the richest 1% control far more than 1% of the wealth. As in most
societies, they control a large, disproportionate fraction. I don't know what
the number is, but if they controlled - say - 35% of the wealth, the
implications of that 28% number would be far different than that suggested by
the misleading metric above.
Wasn't Obama and Boehner working on a 4 trillion dollar plan that, as Obama put
it... would put everything on the table? Obama was offering entitlement spending
reductions in exchange for tax revenue.
You mean Cut Spending ANDRaise taxes?But, that would mean that both sides get some of what they want.What a novel concept.
The biggest is that people who pay to get elected should get retirement pay for
their 'service'. They can go back to the real world and do a real job after
doing 'public service'. No elected official should get retirement pay for their
time in office.
To Invisible Hand: William Niskannen, the head of the ultra-conservative Cato
foundation published a study a few years back. He analysed tax rates and federal
spending going back decades. His conclusion was that every time taxes are cut,
spending increases. Every time taxes go up, spending goes down. His
theory is that a tax cut is like putting government services on sale, so people
naturally want more. Tax increases make people pay the cost of those services,
so they settle for less.A more prosaic assessment may be that
Democrats will compromise on spending when Republicans compromise on taxes, and
vice versa. In either case, it supports your opinion, and I agree. My point has
always been that we need to pay for the government we use.
Invisible, that might not be a bad idea at all. And I'm one of those
Roland, your usual rhetoric is that Americans WANT all those government
services. My rebuttal is that of course they want all the services they can get
as long as they are not paying for them. But if people had to pay the full cost
of those services they would probably decide they could do without.The solution then is to make people pay for their services either through user
fees (toll roads, higher medicare premiums, higher unemployment insurance that
comes out of the employee's check, and so on) or higher taxes that are visible.
Rather than hiding war spending "off budget", let's levy a "war
tax" to pay for it. Rather than running deficits, make the post office send
everyone a bill at the end of the year to pay for any shortfall.My
guess is Americans really don't want all those government services after all.
Re: one old man - 8:39 a.m.Term limits, along with a complete overhaul of
campaign funding.Reply: Well said. I'm for term limits to. Here's
why. The "Kaleidoscope Wishes" along with these budget fairy tales of
RINO lifer conservatives fiction is, we can reduce deficits and cut taxes by
eliminating "wasteful spending." Here's a example. The Bush
administration has found yet another way to waste taxpayer money while providing
huge sums to private contractors. According to a survey of activities in 2007
by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, about a third of the
federal professional intelligence workforce now consists of contractors, mostly
in the K-Street Washington, DC area. About $80 billion annually is being
provided to private contractor businesses that could be avoided by hiring
government employees. This is incredible Bush administration fiscal insanity,
but totally consistent with how Republicans changed their views on the federal
government. As House leadership continues to slash federal funding for public
institutions such as NPR, Planned Parenthood, and the National Endowment for the
Arts, the GOP is more than happy to throw your well-earned money toward
reactionary political theater. Mr. Boehner, where are the jobs?.
To Twin Lights: Thank you.
Although I don't agree with some of the details, this is really a very sensible
and quite balanced editorial.But it ain't gonna happen as long as
big money buys our legislators.How about term limits and complete
overhaul of campaign funding? That would almost certainly start something that
just might help solve our mess.
Mr. Samuelson is overlooking the plan proposed by the Democrats on the Super
Committee which proposed around $400 billion in Medicare savings, with half
coming in benefit cuts and the other half in cuts to healthcare providers. However, the Republicans aren't willing to seriously look at revenue.
Amtrak ridership has been increasing. It is a major form of
transportation along the East Coast. I know people here in CA who would be
negatively impacted if Amtrak stopped operations or had to dramatically increase
their prices. Public transportation is a worthwhile investment.
Roland,I have read (and enjoyed) many of your posts. And yes, you
have been laying down a balanced approach to the problem for quite awhile.If you have any delusion, it is one I share. That the politicians on
both sides would stop drinking the party line Kool-Aid long enough to get us to
a real solution. One based on facts and what will benefit the people. Instead,
we get what amounts to little more than posturing and war cries for the next
election.Keep at it.
It almost sounds as if Mr. Smauelson has been reading my posts on this forum. It
is what I say almost every day here: we need higher taxes and less spending.
(don't worry, I'm not delusional enough to believe that his thoughts came from
me) I wish he would have spent a little more time on healthcare
costs, which are the primary driver of our long term deficit projections. If we
got our healthcare expenditures down to the level of, say, Germany, our long
term deficit picture would look quite manageable.