Sorry, didnt think I had to get into the dirt. I will agree that
few if any were paying the 70% rate. But, it would take huge deductions to get
to the "Effective" rates we have today.Even with Reagans 50%
top tax rate.I dont care how good your accountant is.But hey,
Convince me. Show me the deductions available under Reagan that don't
exist today.I seriously doubt that the effective rate under Reagan
was lower than today. And it darn sure was not noticeably lower.
@JoeBlow "Regardless of how you slice it..."Actually,
"how you slice it" turns out to be very important. What matters is the
percentage of income the taxpayer actually ends up paying -- his effective tax
rate. You have completely dodged this question. We have fewer loopholes
available today than in Reagan's day.You also completely
ignored my question about revenue collections, so I'll supply the answer.
Historically, higher tax rates have not caused revenues to increase. As it turns
out, people handle their affairs differently under higher tax rates, finding
creative ways to preserve as much of their income as possible. Revenue
collections stay fairly constant as a percentage of GDP.Higher tax
rates won't solve the problem. Please look at history.
"Are you talking about marginal rates, or effective rates? "Regardless of how you slice it, the lowest personal tax rates under Reagan
were higher than they are today.Reagans lowest tax rate was in 1988
ant it was 28%. That was for one year. In his other years, the tax rates were
higher, with the top tax rate being 70%.However, under Reagan, the
28% top rate kicked in at $17,850 for individuals and $30,000 ($55K in
today's Dollars) for married couples.Today - the 28% tax rate
kicks in at $146000 Today's highest tax rate is 39.6% but only
for incomes over $450K.So, Yes, tax rates are lower today than in
Reagan's days. Much, Much lower than most of Reagan's tax rates.
And the country did well under Reagan.Tax rates are lower today than
under Clinton. And the country did well then also.I am not
suggesting that higher tax rates cause the country to do well, but history has
shown that today's tax rates are not an economy killer.
Bob presents the problem but offers only one solution. He pretends that there is
no such thing as raising revenue through taxes or closing loopholes. This
solution is not mentioned in his editorial at all. His comments point to his
vision of the world where the wealthy have no responsibility to improve the
society in which they live. The root of the problem is not the size of the
budget but the failure of those who earn the most to pay their share to reduce
the deficit. During the Republican administration of Dwight Eisenhower, the top
income bracket of earners over $400K was reduced from 92% to 91%. It is probably
not a coincidence but if you were to tax all income over $400K at 91% today, the
budget deficit of $1.090 trillion would be eliminated almost to the penny. The
debt was rung up by our Republican “friend” G.W. Bush. He played a
game of accounting smoke and mirrors by cutting taxes and regulations basically
gutting programs that are necessary to maintain a healthy economy resulting in
the need for an expensive clean up job that ballooned the total debt.
@JoeBlow "Tell me how the country did so well at times when tax rates were
much higher."Are you talking about marginal rates, or effective
rates? At most of the times in our history which fit your description (high
marginal rates coinciding with relative prosperity), there were also plenty of
loopholes which allowed high earners to shelter their money. Effective rates
were equal to or lower than today's rates, if you had a good tax planner --
and most of them did.But we were talking about revenue collections,
weren't we? I'll ask you this: how did government revenues fare during
the times to which you refer? Did they go up, as you seem to expect? Take a look
at the history and get back to me. I think you'll be surprised.
A recent Businessweek article claimed that the deficit is only 4.2% of GDP, down
from over 10% in 2009. I can understand how two different analyses could yield
different values. But 4.2% vs. the 100% that this article claims? How can that
be? Somebody appears to be playing fast and loose with the truth, so many of us
don't believe that ANY of these figures can be trusted.
Is there the slightest chance that cuts in the corporate income tax and high end
personal income tax cuts have helped create deficits and debt. Remember
Bush's tax cuts while we were going to war.
Why is the tea party concerned with growth? They want to shut down credit and
shrink the economy.
"There is a point where a taxes becomes punitive, causing total revenues to
decrease. We've reached it. (People stop doing economic activities for
which they are punished.)"Well then.... Tell me how the country
did so well at times when tax rates were much higher.Yes, we are
spending too much. No doubt.But, our taxes have been much higher in
the past and the economy managed to thrive.
I cast a vote for first cutting foreign aid, which is a form of defense
spending. We try to curry favor wit quite a few regimes that are lost causes,
and with others that are merely milking us as long as they can. Then
we have what is known as entitlement spending. The first requirement for
any benefit should be citizenship, the second should be having actually paid
into the system prior to having applied for something from it. On a
completely unrelated note, this little snafu may well be an impetus to amend the
Constitution as it pertains to the workings of Congress. We live in an
electronic age. The era of using procedure and rules as a tool is as arcane
as a victrola in a disco. All votes should be on a roll call basis and
recorded, bills and issues should be kept separate, (that is, little amendments
that sneak unrelated gotcha's through), and these things should be
regulated, at least in part, by a Constitutional amendment. I think
it needs no more proof that the notion of accountability and responsibility
needs bolstering in the Congress.
The debt ceiling is certainly not our biggest problem. But it IS one of the
things that we must manage without blowing up the economy in the process. If you
think we have problems with the budget now, wait 'till you see what a
recession or worse does to this country's ability to pay it's
bills.Yes, definitely DO reduce government spending. But don't
blow up the Republic and use mechanisms like the sequester to accomplish this
goal. A big part of reducing the deficit is a strong economy. Just
the mediocre improvements over the past few years have done a lot to help. The
current budget fight may reduce spending, but the way it is being done runs
right over the edge of a cliff and into another recession at least.Crikey we need some adults in the room. Especially the room called the House
Here is an interesting question for all those that say Obama needs to stop
spending, please explain how he does that? Congress approves all spending, so
how is Obama spending too much? Congress just spent over a billion dollars on
nothing, absolutely nothing, yet you are not up in arms about that. Giving
backpay for government workers NOT WORKING.
The problem is collecting revenue not spending. We have at this point cut, cut,
cut. It is time for taxes to be raised on everyone. No one should be spared:
Rich/poor, religious/non-religious, Corporate/Non-Corporate. A government is
not like Kitchen Table economics. Spending is not the problem unless you are
willing to cut Defense by 25% minimum.
The real problem for America and Americans is the decision about just what kind
of world do we want to live in. Seems like all the options tried so far have
failed, Kings with their lords and ladies, Theocracy and other forms of
dictatorship, republics, democratic republics and even no government at all.
Democracy might work but it has never been tried beyond a few members. Strange
that democracy has such a terrible reputation when it has never been used.We and all the rest of the world are ruled by the whims of commercial
businessmen. And in every case where a government has failed from internal
problems, the internal problems were created by the corruption of greed of the
leaders of that government. The only solution for the ending of the
economic merry-go-round that has plagued civilization since the beginning is to
truly have government for the people, by the people.
Fact:"For the first time since the Korean War spending has gone down 2
yrs in a row."(Republican Rep. Dennis Ross)"..spending
almost always went up every year, at least until recently. It fell for one year
between 1964 and 1965, and then once again between 2009 and 2010.But
the only time it fell two years in a row was between 2011 and 2013."(politifact) Non-discretionary spending--(defense, SS, Medicare)
need to be addressed. Clinton raised the income cap on Medicare, the same needs
to be done for SS. We should also return to Clinton tax rates.
Ten years ago was the first time in our nations's history that we went to
war while cutting taxes at the same time. 911 (and war and tax cuts and
recession and all people's bad spending habits) bankrupted us
"the federal deficit as a percentage of the overall economy has surged from
26.2 percent in 1980, to 48.3 percent in 1992, to over 100 percent
today."If Bob Fuehr doesn't understand the difference
between the annual budget deficit and the national debt, he has no business
commenting.The annual deficit, as a percentage of GDP, was on a
steady and strong decline after WWII until the Reagan and Bush I
administrations, during which it took a precipitous rise, dropped under Clinton
and then rose dramatically again under Bush II. Under Dubya, the
annual deficit rose from $318 billion to $1.413 trillion. It has been coming
down steadily under Obama after FY2011 when the effects of the Bush great
recession began to be counteracted by stimulus spending.
@SG in SLC "Not even close."Consider the fact that the
Obamacare mandates are taxes. (If not, then Obamacare is unconstitutional.) No
one figures in the dollar amounts of these mandates when they calculate tax
burden, but this burden is carried by employers nevertheless, and it affects the
decisions they make about their own economic growth. It has caused employers to
cut back staff; it has caused employers to relegate their staff to part-time
positions; it has caused them to delay new hiring; it has induced them to put
new investments on hold; it has caused them to raise prices; it has even put
people out of business. All of this has a negative effect on tax revenues
collected.A lot of my friends were upset with John Roberts for
calling the mandates a tax, but that is exactly what they are. Now we need to
take the next step and figure in their costs, along with those of all other
government mandates and regulations. That is the total tax burden. And it's
large enough to stifle economic growth and -- along with it -- tax revenues.
Good article, good comments, conversation is needed, especially after we vote
the bums out. The grandstanding egomaniacs seemed to have lost sight of
governance responsibility. I work for an agency that generates revenues and
tied to jobs in the local communities. We have seen cuts in both 2012 and 2013
- we still return $24 for every $1 of Appropriation, yet struggle to recruit new
staff (private industry pays more, and now it is hard to say their is stability
with the Federal jobs).I believe we need to keep social safety nets, lift
the most at risk, and the poor, there will always be the needy - have agencies
look for more efficiencies, and given the tools/resources to succeed, and
accountable. Concentrating wealth doesn't seem to be the best
answer, but to find balance, avoid pitfalls like we saw with the collapse in
2008 of the housing/financial bubble, Americans should know better and demand
more from their Reps in Congress. I also don't believe we can support the
world largest Armed Forces, plus $1.3 Trillion for the new F35 stealth fighter
jet built with jobs in 45 states, surely money can be invested smarter at home.
Re: "Without government spending far beyond its means, our economy would be
a mess."Oh, well, then it's a good thing the government has
been spending like a drunken sailor all these years, so our economy isn't a
mess.But, wait, our economy IS a mess. So, how's that socialism
thing -- you know the one liberals as so fond of trotting out as a
"solution" whenever their manufactured crises break -- how does that
work, now?Oh, yeah, collapse the economy. Collapse the military.
Collapse the Nation. Then rebuild it as a workers' paradise, where
there's a dictatorship of the proletariat. And all our problems go away.Like they did in Soviet Russia and the Warsaw Pact. And China. And North
Korea. And Cuba. And . . . well, EVERY time it's been tried.Hmmmmm.
Avoiding default and getting our nation's fiscal house in order are equally
important issues. It should be obvious that protecting the full faith and
credit of the United States by avoiding default is the only truly honorable and
sane course of action.Getting our nation's fiscal house in
order will require extensive spending cuts, primarily in defense spending,
Social Security, and Medicare. To attempt to achieve this through draconian
cuts all at once would be economically devastating; instead, it will need to
happen through a series of reasonable strategic cuts that incrementally change
the debt trajectory.Getting our nation's fiscal house in order
will also require carefully crafting tax increases that will contribute to
incrementally changing the debt trajectory. T. Party said, "There is a
point where taxes become punitive, causing total revenues to decrease."
This is absolutely true. T. Party also said, "We've reached it."
Not even close. The "Laffer Curve" scenario to which T. Party is
referring is characterized by extreme tax rates that capture nearly all income
(70-75%+), and our current tax rates are at near historic lows.
This suggests that we have a system that is broken. It has been rigged to funnel
wealth to the top, where the so-called "job creators," those darlings of
the conservative policy makers, are not actually creating jobs. They are not
investing in American industry because there is insufficient demand. There is
insufficient demand because the working classes have been squeezed for so long
that they cannot buy the stuff corporate America produces (largely overseas).
To get this picture back in balance, we need to restore some
semblance of equality in terms of giving workers a fair share of the profits
they are creating. This would increase demand, which would spur investment by
those who have plenty to invest but aren't. And restoring tax rates to
pre-Reagan levels would assist in bringing our federal budget back into balance
without simply sucking millions out of the economy (which is the effect of
slashing spending). Spending can then be curbed wisely and gradually,
particularly by reducing our bloated military, reforming Social Security and
Medicare (primarily by means testing), and reducing the demands on the social
safety net (because workers earning more would need less help).
Another conservative who doesn't grasp the larger economic picture. Let me
spell it out. We have an economy that, over the past 30 years, has grown at
about 5.7 percent per year (actual dollars), but only at 2.7 percent when
adjusted for inflation. This growth has been largely dependent on government
borrowing. Without government spending far beyond its means, our economy would
be a mess. What the conservatives don't seem to understand is
that government spending does not happen in a vacuum. If you simply slash
government spending, which they all want to do in theory (but never in
practice), you take a big chunk of the economy away, and you get immediate
recession. So taming the deficit by only cutting spending is a recipe for
disaster.At the present, however, contrary to conservative rhetoric,
government revenue, as a percentage of GDP, is at its lowest level since 1950
(taxes are too low). Also, federal employment is about 1.8 percent of the
overall workforce, less than half of where it was in 1952. Corporate profits,
however, are at an all-time high. What does this suggest? See next comment.
Defense spending cuts and tax increases would be a start. However, our biggest
problem is probably climate change. But, I imagine we'll have better luck
with the tax increases than even getting climate change acknowledged.
Nonetheless, climate change isn't going to wipe out my savings by thursday,
so first things first; better get ready to get a bunch of money moved from my US
to my Canadian bank.
Health, Social Security, and Defense have been the traditional winners, but the
deck needs to be reshuffled to deal in support of Climate Change Mitigation and
Adaptation, otherwise we are totally fooling ourselves about importance of the
first three. We have already shot ourselves in the foot by not having taken on
this challenge at the beginning of the first Obama administration, and now years
later, we are in serious trouble!
There is a point where a taxes becomes punitive, causing total revenues to
decrease. We've reached it. (People stop doing economic activities for
which they are punished.)No, the problem is our spending. We will
never be able to control spending if we are unwilling to make cuts in the
largest budget categories. They are, in order:1) Health2)
Social Security3) DefenseThe problem is that whenever a leader
proposes cutting any of them, his political challengers attack on that point.
You get ads showing him throwing Granny off a cliff, etc.I've
been told never to state a problem without also proposing a solution. It is
this: the Constitution contains a list of items for which Congress is authorized
to tax and spend. We need to vote for people who will stick to the list, and we
need to vote against the people who don't.
Paul Samuelson's article today on the debt is excellent. It has sobering
thoughts for both Republicans and Democrats. Of course one of the primary
problems we have fiscally is most think like Democrats or Republicans not
Americans.Unlike the letter writer he shows many of the true causes
of slow economic growth. He talks about the deficit as a consequence of slow
growth and not the cause. He also talks about the unsustainability of a society
built on continual high economic growth that now fundamentally can't
sustain that growth. Arguments centered on tax cuts, and military
spending do nothing to solve the crisis facing us. Expectations need to be
adjusted on both sides and both sides need to realize that education and
technology are the drivers of modern growth both personally and nationally.Germany figured it out and is out stripping the rest of the world. BTW, this is the Presidents economic plan. However, Democrats
specifically need to figure out that an aging population has serious
consequences for a slower growing economy.
I find it interesting that when the deficit is half of the former projection,
then 'everyone is congratulating each other for a dramatic
improvement', whereas 'President Obama cannot continue to recklessly
spend money that he doesn’t have'. You can't have it both ways.
Either Obama is completely responsible for the level of the deficit or he is
not. There is no mention, for example, that the public sector workforce has
decreased by over 600,000 jobs during Obama's tenure and the same number of
public sector jobs were created during the same time period in the Bush
presidency. All this talk about smaller government and deficits by the
Republicans is just that. Talk.
"The federal debt is important to all of us because it is slowly sapping the
vitality and growth out of our economy. Since 1950, the U.S. economy has grown
by an average of 3 percent annually but future projections are just above 2
percent and that may not be attainable. At the same time, the federal deficit as
a percentage of the overall economy has surged from 26.2 percent in 1980, to
48.3 percent in 1992, to over 100 percent today."Correlation
does not equate to causation. For example, the end of WWII, the debt to GDP
ratio was even higher than today, yet the economy expanded at unprecedented
rates after that. Which is to say, the author is looking at simplistic
solutions for complex problems.Why are companies not investing in
American jobs? Why aren't banks making commercial loans despite sitting on
historical reserves? Maybe our leaders should go about answering those
questions instead of stoking public opinions toward policy dogma.
"President Obama cannot continue to recklessly spend money that he
doesn’t have." The President doesn't authorize spending. But
this article's author is correct, we must stop our delusional thinking that
there are enough fools out there that we can borrow forever. We have been
deeply sinfull (reckless borrowing), and we either control our spending or our
young will suffer the effects of our not controlling our spending.
Where is the talk on cutting military spending? It is one of, if not the main
one, cause of the debt and interest on the debt. Its never ever talked about by
so called conservatives, why not?
The writer of this article is right on the titular point: the debt ceiling is
not the problem. The actual problem lies in the spending already done. Congress
has always raised the debt ceiling and then spent more money. Now in it's
infinite wisdom, some in Congress are doing all they can to cut taxes. Any sane
person knows that when you have topped off your credit card, you have to pay it
off, not throw up your hands, quit your job and default on your debt. Congress needs to get on with business and work toward paying off the national
debt. The US government is paying over $220 billion a year in interest. Fully
one-third of the current deficit is going toward interest. Pay your bills, then
talk about cutting taxes. Any discussion about rducing spending should also
include increasing taxes until we are out of debt.
The US military budget is bigger than the next 12 largest defense budgets in the
world - combined.Tax cuts plus two unfunded foreign wars have added
many trillions of dollars to the debt.Start there.
Section. 7. All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of
Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on
other Bills. If the House wishes to cut the budget, the appropriate
time is to do so when the budget is prepared. They do not wish to do so becasue
that will mean they will have to make decisions about what to cut. Instead,
they want to do this insane brinkmanship to force across the board cuts that
will come with less political cost.IOW, the House is trying to game
the system. And the Democrats are finally tired of giving in to the game.
Bully for them. If you want to claim "party of responsibility", then
man up and do the responsible thing and take the consequences or plaudits,
whichever they be.
So you would support cuts in defense spending and higher taxes to make up the