Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tax Reality

From the article:

This chart should be ingrained in the mind of anybody who cares about fiscal policy. The main things to note:

  • Federal taxes are the lowest in 60 years, which gives you a pretty good idea of why America’s long-term debt ratios are a big problem. If the taxes reverted to somewhere near their historical mean, the problem would be solved at a stroke.
  • Income taxes, in particular, both personal and corporate, are low and falling. That trend is not sustainable.
  • Employment taxes, by contrast—the regressive bit of the fiscal structure—are bearing a large and increasing share of the brunt. Any time that somebody starts complaining about how the poor don’t pay income tax, point them to this chart. Income taxes are just one part of the pie, and everybody with a job pays employment taxes.
  • There aren’t any wealth taxes, but the closest thing we’ve got—estate and gift taxes—have shrunk to zero, after contributing a non-negligible amount to the public fisc in earlier decades.

If you were structuring a tax code from scratch, it would look nothing like this. But the problem is that tax hikes seem to be politically impossible no matter which party is in power. And since any revamp of the tax code would involve tax hikes somewhere, I fear we’re fiscally doomed.

And yet, sadly, when it was time to point it out and stand firm, Obama caved. I don't think it'll help the country (yes, he said he did it to get some other "compromises") and I'm sure it won't help him. The facts -- even public opinion! -- were on his side. He could have made it as clear as Moosekiller Palin's unfamiliarity with a rifle that the R policies are unsustainable, that they favor the wealthy over the most basic needs of everyone else.

If it were really true that the compromise was the only way to get the other things he wanted, it'd be one thing; but it's hard to believe that a man who at one time had the rhetorical powers to convince people of the right thing couldn't have stood up to the bullying, called out the Rs, and drawn a line.

God knows they couldn't get any less helpful.

[Added: here's a contra-view, from a conservative who thinks Obama got the upper hand. I wish it were true.]

[Soon thereafter, there appear some very strong dissents to the "upper hand" proposition.]



    Hey Sid, I'm doin my Sunday New York Times Crossword, listening to NPR "All Liberal Things Considered", and sippin a blend of "Seattle's Best" and "Starbucks"...
    isn't Anesthesia Great?, the Surgeons already pissy, and we havent even finished the first case yet, she almost busted her ass on a slick spot on the floor, probably cause she's wearin clogs, (Side bar, did YOU ever wear Clogs in the OR?? I'm betting "No", and you don't seem like a "Crocs" man either)

    Whats a 10 letter word for "Ball-less US President"???
    Lets see, the first and seventh letters are "B", and the 9th letter's a "M"...


  2. Much as I hate to follow you off the subject: I tried clogs a long time ago. But I'm 6' 4" and clumsy. What I wear now is perfect fodder for you: eleven-letter word, the second an "i" and the tenth a "c."

  3. You wear "Dickmanface" too???

    my "word verification" is


    how the EFF do you do that??



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