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Liar in Chief

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In the past I’ve cringed a little when critics called our president the “liar in chief,” if only out of respect for the office, but there comes a point where the spin and deception coming out of his flaks and showing up on his teleprompter go beyond what I can excuse.

This week, while speaking in economically ravaged Wisconsin, President Obama had the gall to boast about the fact that unemployment in Wisconsin has apparently dropped by 1 tenth of a percent in the last month from 7.9% to 7.8%. I guess it sounded good to an audience of paid union cheerleaders, but it’s a classic example of the maxim that “there are lies, damned lies and statistics.”

In our ongoing recession in which there has been no recovery, despite the president’s continued laughable claims to the contrary, we have learned that the official unemployment figures mask a reality in which, even with endless extensions of unemployment payments, more and more people have just given up on finding decent jobs, have taken temporary work, gone off the books, or taken jobs far below their skills and pay level. Many of them have just stopped looking for work entirely and are living hand-to-mouth with one income in a former two income household or getting by on the kindness of relatives.

Wisconsin provides a perfect example of this. Sure, the official unemployment figure is down by .1% in a month. It’s even down by 1.1% over the past year. But the actual figures tell a different story. In fact, 3200 fewer people have jobs in Wisconsin than did last month and 38,000 fewer have jobs than did at the same time next year. That’s not more people working as the president claims, that’s more people walking the streets or sitting home watching TV in despair drinking a beer they can barely afford. Maybe some were lucky and packed up to look for jobs in another state, but they aren’t working in Wisconsin.

Perhaps President Obama should have focused on another figure which is up in Wisconsin — the suicide rate. Reports of calls to suicide hotlines and the number of actual suicides in Wisconsin are at record levels, exceeding the rates in neighboring states and more than 15% higher than the national average. Experts suggest that the increase may be directly linked to the desperate economic conditions in the state.

Perhaps President Obama should have stirred up his supporters at his Wisconsin speech by mentioning that they were more likely to lose their jobs and take their own lives than ever before as a result of his economic mismanagement.

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About Dave Nalle

  • Ruvy

    Dave, there is an easy way to tell if a politician is lying – his lips are moving.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Dave,

    LOL! We thought of YOU during the speech on Labor Day!

    It must have been killing you to see the president of the United States SUPPORTING the American labor force, instead of UNION- BUSTING from the Oval Office as his predecessors did. GO UNION!

    and…Where is a link? How do you get away with the slander of the American worker? I thought only celebs and politicians were fair game.

    You say we need the freedom to create our own jobs out of one side of your mouth while the other slams the very people who risk their lives in-order to keep the middle class alive!

    I’ve got an extra serving tray around here, Dave, I’ll send it to you.

    JD Go Union!

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The national unemployment rate went from 9.5% to 9.6% in August because there were more people looking, so Dave’s facile reasoning for calling the president a liar is shaky.

    In a population as large as the US, those numbers are often fluctuating. A more important fact is that the private sector has added jobs for eight months in a row now. And manufacturing activity has increased for 13 months in a row.

    What we have is a modest, slow recovery — too modest and too slow to satisfy anyone.

    But to leap to the conclusion that this “proves” current policies are failing is just political rhetoric, a caricature, and, yes, a lie. If the policies were failing, companies would still be shedding jobs, and manufacturing activity would be going down.

    And repeatedly disparaging extended unemployment benefits, in a recession as deep as the one we’re slowly pulling out of, is not only crass and cold, it ignores one very important fact:

    That unemployment checks are nearly always 100% spent, not saved, and immediately. They are strongly stimulative, especially for retailers.

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, your comment doesn’t make any sense.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    A more important fact is that the private sector has added jobs for eight months in a row now. And manufacturing activity has increased for 13 months in a row.

    Do you have a source for this? BEA statistics don’t agree on manufacturing. They show almost all sectors down for the last 12 months except for investment. As for private sector jobs, the BLS shows them down substantially over the period you indicate, with the only signficant growth being in federal government jobs and healthcare. And the federal jobs took a huge hit in August as they started letting census workers go. All told we’ve lost 300,000 jobs in the last three months, negating much of the weak job growth we had this Spring, which barely made a dent in last year’s 4.8 million jobs lost.

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Jeannie, your comment doesn’t make any sense.

    I know. I don’t think she read the article.

    Dave

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    From USA Today, last week:

    The unemployment rate ticked up to 9.6% from 9.5% as 550,000 people, including discouraged workers who had been on the sidelines, entered the labor pool.

    Private employers added 67,000 jobs, more than the 40,000 expected by economists, with gains in construction, health care and professional and business services. The loss of 54,000 jobs overall was more modest than the 105,000 economists anticipated.

    Equally heartening: Job losses for June and July were revised downward by 123,000 and private-sector job increases for that period were revised upward by 66,000.

    Stocks surged after the report.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    “Manufacturing activity” is not exactly the same as adding jobs, but it is [modestly] good news. The figures come from the monthly survey by ISM, basically purchasing managers at companies nationwide:

    Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in August for the 13th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 16th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business.

    [sample individual responses:]

    – “Still experiencing intermittent delays in electronic components due to capacity and raw materials.” (Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components)
    – “International sales are especially strong. Domestic business is solid.” (Chemical Products)
    – “Orders and business still strong.” (Primary Metals)
    – “Order rate has slowed some. Supplier capacity in general seems to be improved.” (Machinery)

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Exports are also up. Perhaps that’s where the manufactured goods are going. However, productivity is down, so how they are producing more goods with fewer workers being less productive is certainly mysterious.

    Dave

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Google “eight consecutive months private sector jobs” and you’ll see several articles from the last week. The census jobs being added and subtracted during that period make separating private jobs out more useful. It’s actually “9 of the last 10 months,” every month from Nov ’09 to Aug ’10 except December.

    We still need to add a lot more: 200,000 to 300,000 a month to make a significant dent in unemployment. But considering that we were losing half a million jobs a month, or more, in late ’08 and early ’09, things are at least much improved.

    And keep in mind that these are net numbers. 4 million jobs a month are filled in the US, but nearly as many were lost in recent months. At least the balance has been mildly positive lately.

  • Capt. Williard

    “we have learned that the official unemployment figures mask a reality”

    “We”? Speak for yourself, kemosabe. That’s old news. If you think this is new to Obama, you’re fooling yourself. Did you trust former politicians claims about employment numbers?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Yes, I read it, Dave and why can’t you and Baronius understand the comment?

    I was mentioning how much I admired the President for supporting Union workers, unlike, Bush SR. who scolded the American Teachers Union in public. There are many other incidents…

    What you don’t want to admit is that the unions are why YOU make a living wage today, even without being in one.

    JD

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    My entire comment came from this:it sounded good to an audience of paid union cheerleaders,

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    GO UNION!

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    You also took the Presidents words out of context, Dave.

    If you recall, he was comparing them to what they would have been without any stimulus money.

    If we are waiting for the GOP to take over and save this economy, we are all going to wait a long time. The private sector could have created jobs years ago, they are just biding their time. Jobs now would make the Obama Presidency look good; they are soo preoccupied with smearing him, that the rest of us can all go to hell!

    JD :(

  • http://loftypremise.blogspot.com/ Tommy Mack

    Last Friday the US Bureau of Labor Statistics released its Employment Situation Summary, should anyone care to look.

    Dave’s point is interesting. Have you considered what things would look like in a McCain/Palin administration? There are a couple of world class liars – McCain claiming Arizona border violence is up even though FBI statistics say ‘no they are not.” And who can forget the Palin “Death panels.”

    Imagine what they could do with real statistics.

    Tommy

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    OM G, Have you considered what things would look like in a McCain/Palin administration?

    I did and got really ill, we no longer had insurance, college credit, edible food and clean water(anywhere). The Draft was reinstated and Social Security wasn’t even privatized for growth, it was just taken outright. They still hated *fereners*, but they were allowed to stay, if they became maids and servants with the rest of us. There weren’t any unions to help form, individual-worker’s bargaining-power so, child labor came out in the open(instead of hiding it and it’s profit’s offshore(like they do now).

    JD My picture describes a type of America that we actually had not so long ago…

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Anyone that’s scared by the GOP’s insistence that we aren’t safe from terrorists, should consider the fact that we aren’t safe from the GOP.

    This is who you should fear.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    I confess that we who administer the Section 8 program may be partly responsible for the uptick in the unemployment rate. When our clients report to us that they’ve lost their jobs, we make them prove it by filing for unemployment, even if they know they’re not eligible (they got fired, they resigned for no good reason, they haven’t worked enough etc).

    And I’m still waiting for Dave to make good on his claim that the decrease in Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is entirely – not largely, mind you, but entirely – because people are giving up looking for work.

  • http://bradenpace.wordpress.com Braden

    Great article, Dave. I chuckled in hearty agreement as I read it.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Tommy’s link got messed up, so here you go, fellow policy wonks:

    Bureau of Labor Statistics

    Bureau of Economic Analysis

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    For those who haven’t seen the president’s stunning and fiery speech today in Ohio:

    Obama’s Ohio Speech

    I hope this knocks Braden’s chuckles down a notch. John Boehner deserves every bit of the negative attention he gets in the speech.

  • Zedd

    What is more disturbing is how these so called patriotic types don’t want the country to do well. They just want power not even for themselves…for wealthy people. CONFOUNDING!!

    Dave big business is doing okay. How about a positive piece on that. Not a spin or a really off the wall retelling of that reality to prove that what is working is actually not.

    You are no patriot or libertarian or anything. You just want to be right, at any cost.

    People like you are the problem in this country. If you are serious about starting a movement you will start a movement to eradicate bandwagoning issue-less bobble heads.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    There are a lot of contradictory numbers floating around out there. Dave and others may bitch about Obama cherry picking those that support his agenda, but then, the Rs cherry pick their own #s to paint their picture. Who is telling us true? Anybody’s guess.

    But, the preponderance of data has generally supported the notion that the economy is slowly – painfully slowly – recovering.

    It’s just like losing weight. We fatsos didn’t gain 75 pounds overnite, and we won’t lose it overnite. The economy didn’t go into the dumpers in an instant, nor will it recover with the snap of John Boehner’s well bronzed thumb and over-used middle finger.

    Not everything that Obama has done regarding the economy has worked, but neither has it all failed. Gains have been made. Two steps forward, one step back, as they say.

    I believe there is some legitimacy to the notion that cons are so loathsome of Obama, that some are, in fact, actually holding back their own business recovery just to defeat the Dems in Nov and Obama in 2012. They would rather sit on their cash, withhold expansion, withhold hiring, just to get their licks at a president they hate.

    Could be.

    B

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Can anyone justify borrowing 700,000,000,000,000 to give to the top 2%, leaving the rest of us to pick-up the tab?

    Don’t say they will trickle it down on our heads; that’s what they’ve been doing for the last forty years…

    JD

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    I would rename this article liar on BC…

  • Baronius

    Baritone, the economy did fall apart in an instant, or rather in a two-week stretch in September 2008. My fear is that we still haven’t addressed the credit crisis which pulled the economy down, and we won’t grow much until we do.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Baronius,

    Credit is a big problem? Does this mean you’re against our borrowing 700 billion dollars to give the top 2% each a hundred thousand dollar tax credit?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    So, you must be for a permanent tax cut for the middle class, enabling them to pour it back into the economy. If people can’t spend we aren’t growing.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    No, Bar, it didn’t. The boil over came rather abruptly as is often the case, but the pot had been stewing for years.

    B

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Had the Reps not stonewalled in the Senate on the Wall St. regulation bill, forcing a typically far more watered down version of the original bill, more of the credit concerns would have been addressed. But alas, no.

    B

  • John Wilson

    23- Zedd, is exactly right: business is fat and doesn’t need subsidies, and neither do the rich. They don’t seem to be doing well with their riches.

    “What is more disturbing is how these so called patriotic types don’t want the country to do well. They just want power not even for themselves…for wealthy people. CONFOUNDING!!

    Dave big business is doing okay.”

    Indeed. Business is about 40% over capacity, record profits rolling in, banks sitting on $2trillion that they refuse to invest, businesses sitting on (record) savings of about $1.3trillion, why should the poor taxpayer invest in business or rich people?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Jeannie, what are you talking about with you $700 billion for the Rich theory? Obama gave that money to the unions and his business backers.

    And yes it was borrowed, but it was borrowed against tax revenues which are overwhelmingly paid by that top 2% of the population.

    You need to get your head straight. The propaganda is not good for your mind.

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Dave big business is doing okay. How about a positive piece on that. Not a spin or a really off the wall retelling of that reality to prove that what is working is actually not.

    Some big businesses are doing well. Others are offshoring. Obama pumped up selected businesses with cash from the bailouts. But look around you. Small businesses and entrepreneurs are shutting down and boarding up.

    The horrible hypocrisy of Obama’s promises of tax cuts for the “middle class” as he allows the devastation of small businesses which make up almost 60% of our economy and over 70% of our employment, is sickening.

    Now he plans to massively raise taxes on the entrepreneurial class and further oppress them with healthcare mandates and draconian environmental regulations.

    That anyone can defend what this administration is doing to our country is beyond belief.

    Dave

  • Zedd

    Can anyone justify a tax break for billionaires?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Obviously, Dave has not listened to the speech that he wrote about.

    We’ll talk when I return! :D

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Dave Nale,

    These are the Bush era tax cuts for the top 2% that Obama is referring to in his speech:
    Wed. Sep. 8 2010 3:51 PM ET U.S. President Barack Obama defended his opposition to extending Tax Breaks for the country’s richest citizens Wednesday, using a Speech in Ohio to directly attack Republican lawmakers for wanting to “cut more taxes for Millionaires and Cut more rules for corporations.” Obama said the United States can’t afford the US$700 Billion Price Tag associated with keeping taxes lower for the nation’s wealthiest people

    Can you understand my comments about 700 billion in tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans now?

    You know, A person is not required to know rocket-science in-order to have an opinion in this section. This isn’t Sci/Tech, it’s politics. I think you play your “I don’t know what Jeannie is talking about!” as a ploy to dodge my questions and minimize my relevance to the conversations here. These are not good traits to display in your position, are they?

    JD

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Thanks, Zedd

    700 billion over the next 10 yrs for the top 2%, leaving us to foot the bill? NO, NO, NO.

    :O

  • Mark

    Zedd asks, Can anyone justify a tax break for billionaires?

    Billionaires are desperately looking for investment opportunities with something approaching historic ROIs. ‘Well directed’ tax breaks might provide justification for putting their loot back in play.

    …isn’t that the operate theory?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Mark, #39,

    That’s the standard BS line that’s been fed to the American people since, Reaganomics, reared it’s ugly head.

    End the bush era tax cuts now,and give the middle class a permanent tax break. They, are the ones who will fuse it into the system rather than hoard it

    JD

  • Mark

    The so-called middle class has no significant capital, tax break or no. Ownership of ‘our’ resources is pooled at the top. The folks in the top brackets are the ones who need to be dealt with — hopefully in a positive fashion.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Mark, #41

    How Ellette… *so-called* middle class. Why don’t you shed that smoking-jacket and join the real America. The one that gave you your I’m assuming you’re honest and not pretending to be wealthy, status.

  • Clavos

    End the bush era tax cuts now,and give the middle class a permanent tax break.

    WTF???

    Haven’t you said repeatedly on these threads that we all should be patriotic and pay the taxes?

    Which is it, Jeannie?

  • Mark

    The real America? Real capitalist investment in the future and tech advance takes place under the SEC rules governing (504, 505, and) 506d’s. The promise of capitalism is that enough resources can be gathered together and focused on particular tasks to accomplish great things.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    What are you doing in the threads? Aren’t You busy? ;D wink!

    I’ll answer this later! byeeee

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The $700 billion Jeannie refers to is the 10-year cost of continuing the Bush tax cuts for those making $250,000 or more.

    Dave refers to this group as “the entrepreneurial class,” but only about 3% of small business owners are in the top tax bracket. The marginal income tax rates of those 3% are not the largest impediments to hiring and investing — so why all the bluster and blather?

    And the administration, in the stimulus bill, the health bill, and in several other proposals so far blocked [by the GOP], has extended multiple tax incentives to small businesses. Dave dismisses these as meaningless tokens, without bothering to examine them.

    It is Dave’s rhetoric, full of half-truths, distortions, and outright lies, that does damage. He should be ashamed, and should own up to his dishonesty.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Dave,

    Paying taxes is hurting small businesses? What makes you say that, Dave? Please explain the scenario by which that happens.

    I have a small business. We don’t pay any income taxes–ever. We never have a profit. If I ever did have to pay a tax (and I wouldn’t, because it is always better for a closely held business to take any profit out as salary and pay the personal tax rate instead of the business rate), I would imagine I would be quite pleased at making so very much money that I couldn’t figure some way to get it out of the business and treat it as personal income. That has never happened, even in our heyday.

    Small business do not generally pay taxes unless they are ipso facto doing very well.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    The presumptions by which you defend your argument are flawed.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    It isn’t so much an argument as political propaganda. Dave wants a Republican Congress, and eventually a Republican “Liberty” [gag me] Congress.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “The promise of capitalism”? “Great things”?

    I see, Mark, that you’re adopting a tonque in cheek technique.

  • Mark

    shhh

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/realist Realist

    “Don’t say they will trickle it down on our heads; that’s what they’ve been doing for the last forty years…”

    This comment would make Ronald Reagan the ultimate Liar-in-Chief! I heartily agree.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The tax argument is over extending tax cuts already in place. If those millionaires aren’t investing now, why should we think they would start next year?

  • Mark

    handyguy, the front page of the WSJ on the 7th had the big headline:

    Obama to Push Tax Break
    Businesses Would be Allowed to Write Off New Investment in Plants, Equipment

    I’m told that this has some big money doing back flips.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    The tax argument is over extending tax cuts already in place. If those millionaires aren’t investing now, why should we think they would start next year?

    That is one of those brilliant insights that is so obvious as to be invisible. Good job, handy.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I would say that Mark was being facetious, playing into Handy’s hand.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Mark, the Obama tax break, if the GOP doesn’t stonewall it in this pre-election period, would be temporary, an attempt to jostle businesses into investing, thus adding a bit of movement to the sluggish economy.

    I’m OK with helping ‘big money’ if it can be done without hurting the rest of us, and if it results in economic growth.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Getting businesses to spend money and getting individuals to spend money [both of which help the economy] are two very different things.

    If Mark was indeed being facetious, perhaps he was conflating the two?

  • Mark

    handy, I was only pointing out that not all of the argument is about ‘extending tax cuts already in place’.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Right. So now we have to bribe businesses to spend money. The almighty America is at the mercy of a handful of capitalists.

    I’d say, organize the laid-off skilled workers, provide them with the wherewithal and sufficient capital to re-start manufacturing industries states-side, and for the same or less money we’d be doing something worthwhile. That would be the stimulus worth talking about.

    Of course, since it smacks of a “socialist solution,” its implementation has no chance in hell.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Perhaps your “simple” plan has so little chance because it would be a wee bit more complicated [or nearly impossible?] to execute than you make it sound.

    If a temporary bribe is what it takes and it works, why get all pissy about it? Liberal governments and conservative governments, all over the world, for decades, have used tax policies as incentives for individuals and for companies.

    And there is no doubt more than one argument going on about taxes, but the one getting the most column inches, and the most comments on this thread, is about extending the Bush tax cuts for high-earning individuals. Extend them and you add considerably to the deficit; end them and those well-to-do people will still be well-to-do.

    Any additional tax breaks for companies are mostly hypothetical at the moment. It is worth making that distinction.

    If you condemn any idea that benefits any company as morally suspect, you could lose a lot of good ideas.

  • John Wilson

    Bribing business to invest in capital is unproductive because the US is already over-capacity. the banks have $2trillion lying fallow and businesses have $1.3trillion fallow. Any more money to business will also lie fallow, and thus accomplish nothing except burden taxpayers.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The proposal is for all size businesses, John; not every business is equally overcapitalized or over capacity.

    And the companies don’t receive their “bribe” unless they invest in equipment or R&D [i.e., buy something from someone else] resulting in economic activity. The motionless, or very slow, wheel, has to be greased and cajoled a little.

    Don’t battle the tunnel-vision pigheadedness of the right with a mirror-image progressive stubbornness.

  • http://heloise8.wordpress.com/ Heloise

    Do they count the minions who have moved to Texas or elsewhere? Half of Jersey has moved here already. I bet that tips the scales on the employment scale. Most of the people leaving are either under employed or not employed.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Clavos, #43

    End the bush era tax cuts now, and give the middle class a permanent tax break.

    Cutting taxes is the corner stone of the GOP/Conservative party’s philosophy, yes?

    Then why would there be any objection to the middle class getting in on the act?

    The middle is over-taxed in all other areas of their lives. In addition, out of necessity they will probably fuse it back into the economy immediately.

    Moreover, let’s admit it, the top 2% can afford to pay more…

    Haven’t you said repeatedly on these threads that we all should be patriotic and pay the taxes?

    Yes.

    :D nite

  • Clavos

    Then why would there be any objection to the middle class getting in on the act?

    From me there isn’t. You miss my point, Jeannie.

    I was questioning your apparent contradiction vis a vis everyone should pay their taxes, nothing more.

    For the record, since many of your past posts indicate you think I am against paying taxes, I’m not against taxation per se, I AM against taxation that is punitive and/or discriminatory, such as the cureent widespread attitude to tax the rich because they are rich, when thay are already paying the bulk of the income taxes paid, while a substantial portion of lower income families not only pay no taxes, but actually receive payments from the government instead.

    And by the above, I am NOT advocating more taxation of the lower income cohort, only saying that, if the government isn’t generating enough revenue from taxes as they are, then it needs to spend less, which is consistent with my oft-stated belief that we need to stop the accelerating growth of government we are experiencing and start shrinking it instead.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    I AM against taxation that is punitive and/or discriminatory, such as the current widespread attitude to tax the rich because they are rich, when they are already paying the bulk of the income taxes

    Q:

    What percent of taxes does the top 1 percent pay and what percent of the income do they make?

    A:

    The top 1 percent of all households got 18 percent of all personal income and paid nearly 28 percent of all federal taxes in 2005, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The top 1 percent now pay a significantly larger share of taxes than before President Bush’s tax cuts, and also have a larger share of income.

    Maybe we should be questioning the end of this statement?

    Notice the word share.

    p.s. Grammar Nazi, there were only two misspellings and they were both yours.

    JD

  • Clavos

    Um, Jeannie, notice they are already paying a greater share of total taxes than their share of total income.

    That’s my whole point.

  • John Wilson

    No businessman will buy equipment if markets are shrinking and he has nowhere to sell his goods. No businessman will hire someone unless he sees market demand.

    Our problem is NOT capital. We have plenty of capital money available, in cash, for any needed industrial expansion.

    Our problem is DEMAND: a reduced workforce, reduced real wages and fear have driven consumers from the markets. Without demand businessmen withdraw.

    It is foolish to push money toward capital in these circumstances. We need to fund DEMAND, which means pushing money at the least of our citizens and workers.

    With todays modern busiess environment with JIT inventorying, leaseback arrangements, and plenty of office and factory footage available, business will move quickly to respond to markets.

    The massive advertising campaigns post-WW2 were successful in converting our economy to a consumer economy. Producers respond to market needs, instead of the previous model where consumers bought what producers saw fit to make. One could say that the turning point was when Henry Ford only offered black cars and GM offered colored cars and came to dominate the business.

    Now, the consumer determines where the market goes and when and how much.

    So-called “supply side” economics only works as a minor correction to the dominant “demand side” economics.

  • John Wilson

    66-Clavos says:

    “I AM against taxation that is punitive and/or discriminatory, such as the cureent widespread attitude to tax the rich because they are rich,…”

    Only rightists think that tax is punishment, which it is not, taxes are to raise money.

    If tax were a punishment it would appear to be a poor punishment since everyone still seems to want to become rich, and many DO it.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Yes, Clavos, notice I placed it in bold?

    If you have time, listen and then we’ll talk about why the top are paying slightly higher taxes that are still lower than they ought to be.

    JD

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    John says, it is foolish to push money toward capital in these circumstances. We need to fund DEMAND, which means pushing money at the least of our citizens and workers.

    sounds like a good plan to me.

  • Clavos

    Only rightists think that tax is punishment, which it is not, taxes are to raise money.

    I agree in principle, the concept of taxation is as you say, a means of raising money, necessary because governments are parasitical and cannot make money in the same way a business which fills a demand can.

    However, historically, governments (and other ruling classes, such as monarchs) have used taxes for punitive purposes, and there are punitive taxes in this country today, including cigarette taxes and liquor taxes. Punitive taxes are also being proposed for fast food and other products nanny staters and other elitists deem inappropriate for the common people as a means of controlling the behavior of the masses.

    The popular contemporary cry to “tax the rich,” born of envy, is another example of punitive taxes. The only reason these taxes are not yet discouraging people from attempting to become rich is because they are not yet high enough. When they become onerous enough, they will inevitably lead to capital flight and other means of evasion.

  • Clavos

    Sorry, Jeannie, but as a follower of Von Mises and the Austrian School, I have no respect whatever for Krugman’s Keynesian bullshit. His and his colleagues’ advice to Obama has greatly exacerbated the mess initiated by Bush and gotten us into the pickle we are in today.

    The Keynesians have grossly increased the national debt with little positive effect, and now they want to throw good money after bad.

  • John Wilson

    “The popular contemporary cry to “tax the rich,” born of envy,…”

    Actually, it’s because that’s where the money is. It does no good to tax the poor because they have no money, although Feudalistic societies tried (and failed) at that.

  • John Wilson

    I think Clavos has no idea of the theories and policies of any of these people: “… a follower of Von Mises and the Austrian School, I have no respect whatever for Krugman’s Keynesian ….”

  • Clavos

    I think Clavos has no idea of the theories and policies of any of these people

    Dang, wilson, ya coulda kept it to yourself!

  • zingzing

    “governments are parasitical and cannot make money in the same way a business which fills a demand can.”

    well, they do create wars, which make a lot of money for some people. and prisons, which is quite a large industry. the tax industry… intelligence… loads of tech… government makes a shitload of money and is behind a lot of the industry in america. not that i like wars, prisons, tax professionals or people spying on me, but without the government, many industries plain would not exist. i dunno if it’s enough to make up for what they spend, but it’s not like the existence of government in america is just a black hole into which money pours and is never seen again. it’s the moving around of money that creates the economy, and if it’s the government shuffling that money, well… then… i guess it’s good for something.

  • Mark

    Clavos, the premiss of your school is that value is intuitively and empirically subjective. If the value of money varies from person to person and particularly from a rich man to a poor man as evidenced in their spending patterns, what sense does it make to compare their their tax burdens in terms of fairness? Purchasing power, perhaps, but fairness?

  • Mark

    Perhaps we could come up with a value conversion similar to our currency conversion system — so that everyone can know what their fair share is.

  • Mark

    (erp – his or her fair share)

  • Clavos

    All true, zing, but the government isn’t making the money, it’s spending it. Government is a client, a consumer, it doesn’t get paid, it pays — and with our money.

    Government is a parasite in the society — it takes, from the citizens.

  • zingzing

    you gotta spend money to make money? that money certainly does come out of our pockets, but it goes to those industries, who pay taxes and who pay people who pay taxes, and some of that money the gov’t spends comes back in as taxes. if those people weren’t making money, they wouldn’t be spending it. and when they spend it, they pay taxes, and the people who take in that money pay taxes. and then they go spend. and it continues over and over again.

    you’re thinking about this in only one way, clavos. how does the government make money? it takes in taxes. how does the government get those taxes? people spend or make money. without industries whose biggest client is the government, a lot less people are making money. and we’re also not able to run the state/nation.

    without government, do you think we’d even have a society? societies need laws. unfortunately, only governments can make and enforce those laws. i know you’re a misanthrope. what do you think would happen if it was truly left up to the individual? chaos. or we’d be taken over by another government that would have even less connection to the people.

    the way you’re thinking about it is certainly appealing and sexy, but it’s simplistic and utterly unrealistic. society and government have a symbiotic relationship. maybe you think it tilts too far toward the government side, but the government does perform a very necessary service. (which includes spending our money.)

  • zingzing

    look at somalia. their government’s budget for 2009 was $11 million. you can’t run a nation without money.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Clavos,

    This is your problem:

    As a follower of Von Mises and the Austrian School, I have no respect whatever for Krugman’s Keynesian bullshit.

    Oh yes, those your-all-on-your-own theories born out of greed.

    Krugman’s advice was correct but the stimulus, after being plundered and diverted by the GOP, was too small.

    JD- You’re following the wrong people.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Are these comments #s 78, 83 and 84 yours, zing? Alan Kurtz, is impersonating you on another thread, so I want to make sure it’s really you before commenting on them.

    JD

  • Clavos

    @#85:

    Jeannie, you might want to read the economists in question…

  • zingzing

    jeannie, those are me. (note that when alan impersonates me, he does a poor job of it, fouls it all up by capitalizing everything. he’s no method actor. he must embrace the lazy.)

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Clavos,

    I have many good comments that have gone unnoticed. Go look them up…

    :D

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    zing,

    your capitalist-free comments?

    jd

  • zingzing

    is that a pun?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    yes.

  • zingzing

    jesus.

  • Clavos

    zing, while it’s true that much of the money we pay in taxes does get injected back into the economy in a variety of ways, nonetheless, a subsatantial portion goes to sustain that huge, unproductive (in the literal sense that it produces nothing, in contrast to a Ford or Boeing or even a service industry, such as aviation), which is the basis for my describing government as parasitical.

    And zing, you know that I know a society cannot function properly without any government at all, and you know I don’t advocate total eradication of this one, so c’mon, man, stop with the strawmen, K?

    My beef is with the overwhelming size and enormous drain on the economy (for far too little benefit) which characterize the government.

    But you knew that.

  • zingzing

    unfortunately, nearly every government in history runs at a loss. but quantifying the benefits of government is a fool’s game. yes, our government could streamline itself. you’ll find no one to disagree with you there. but even parasites can perform needed services.

    (did you know your body contains 10 times as many bacteria cells compared to human cells? you’re made out of parasites. you couldn’t exist without them.)

    to denounce gov’t as a parasite is to deny the very nature of gov’t. it’s like yelling at a spider for eating flies and being creepy. the gov’t takes our money and does things with it, but that’s why they’re there. that’s why we have a gov’t.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    yes!the gov’t takes our money and does things with it, but that’s why they’re there. that’s why we have a gov’t.

    and,

    there’s too many of us to downsize it to nothing.

    :)

  • Clavos

    there’s too many of us to downsize it to nothing.

    Good thing nobody’s advocating doing so…

  • Clavos

    yes, our government could streamline itself. you’ll find no one to disagree with you there. but even parasites can perform needed services.

    Aye, there’s the rub: defining “needed services.”

    I’d wager my list is shorter than yours.

  • Mark

    Well, almost nobody.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    You’re all advocating the downsize of government.

    The GOP would have no trouble dismantling all we have accomplished and replacing it with *their* people…same crap different day.

    In the end, it wont be smaller it will just be different.

  • zingzing

    clavos: “I’d wager my list is shorter than yours.”

    actually, i’d wager that our “needs” are pretty much the same. i work, i have insurance, i have no trouble keeping up with rent and bills, and i would guess you’re in a similar boat. (ha?) except you’re much closer to (and might possibly) benefit from some of the programs i might consider “needed” for other people (like you, maybe), if only because of age. if you don’t want your share, maybe you’d consider sending it to me?

    i’d be equally willing to bet that my list of “who” might possibly need some of these services is longer than yours. for all i know, yours might be limited to you. mine has a few (million) more people on it.

  • Clavos

    You’re right about my age, but wrong about my needs, zing. From childhood, my parents taught me to save and not depend on anyone else. I did.

    Believe it or not, I didn’t even sign up for Medicare when I became eligible, because I had very good health insurance, which I was paying for, and didn’t need Medicare (I thought), until the insurance company refused to pay a claim on the grounds that since I was of Medicare age, I should present the claim to them first. I called, worked my way up the ladder to the VP of customer service, by which time I was really pissed, and was told that it was policy endorsed and supported by Medicare that I had to have Medicare. I checked with several other insurance companies, same story — was even told by one that it was a Medicare requirement (unverified).

    That’s not only wrong on several levels, it’s just stupid. if I can pay for myself , why should the taxpayers have to?

  • zingzing

    i said “maybe,” clavos. so maybe you don’t need them now, but you never know what may happen in the future. hard times are always a possibility, and they come quick when they come.

    what about social security? are you going to deny that as well? why would you? you put money into it all these years. take it. it’s your money. (my offer still stands if you want to send it my way.)

    i think that if medicare is required because of your age, that’s just dumb. but i also think that the insurance you’re paying is perfectly willing to screw you out of everything you pay them. that’s not good. don’t let them screw you. (that said, there really isn’t much you can do if they won’t pay up, is there?) they’ll let you pay them when you’re healthy, but as soon as anything happens, it’s not their problem. that’s insurance in america today.

    i was pretty clear that i thought your needs were very similar to mine. i don’t particularly need the gov’t for anything. neither do you. but there are other people on this earth, and they might not be as secure as you and i.

    (well, i do need the gov’t for transportation. even if the bastards are raising the rates again.)

  • Clavos

    I took the laughable SS, zing.

    But you’re wrong, laughable as the pittance is, within a few years I will have been paid back all I put into it and will then be, de facto, on the dole — assuming SS lasts that long, by no means a given.

    But again, I provided for myself — I won’t be hurt if SS is disappears altogether.

    You, on the other hand, had better start saving for your old age if you haven’t already, ’cause you’re gonna get even less than I do — maybe nothin’, young as you are.

  • zingzing

    i know it, clavos. baby boomers are the ss of the ss, killing off whatever is left. i’ve got a nice 401-k going, seemingly ok through all the nasty so far.

    that said, my mother is a gerontologist specializing in the baby boom generation (for which she barely qualifies), and she says that ss isn’t nearly as bad off as all that. i don’t trust her.

    but you took it, and although it may be meaningless to you, for others it is the difference between life and starvation. and for others, it’s the difference between subsistence and an ok end to life. don’t laugh at it. it’s enough for some.

  • Clavos

    don’t laugh at it. it’s enough for some.

    Hard to believe, since my understanding is it tops out at about $2K a month — and only the best paid workers get that much…

  • zingzing

    yeah, maybe hard for you to believe. but a lot of people can live on much less than that. come on. $2k a month? it’s poverty level, but it’s something.

    i’ve seen you say some rather unbelievable shit before, but holy hell, clavos. you must be living in a miami dream world. there are parts of this country where 2k is plenty fine.

    my last apartment in charlotte, nc (6 or 7 years ago) cost me $325 a month, and it was all mine. with 2k, i could live great. just fine. no problems. it may seem a pittance to you, but to someone else, it’s plenty. i certainly could have lived off it then. (and no, rent prices haven’t gone up that much since then… it’s charlotte.)

    you may be used to much more, but a shitload of people subsist on less than your “pittance.” see, this is why republicans exist. they don’t belong to reality. they think their own existence is the only way people live. but it’s just not true.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I actually know a lot of people that would kill for a “mere” $2K a month.

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    #108 — True dat. I’m one of them.

    -Glen

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    But again, I provided for myself — I won’t be hurt if SS is disappears altogether.

    I find it unbelievable that anyone could say this with a straight face. ?

    But more than this statement, Clavos, please let me remind you that social security is workers-insurance. Understand? People have paid premiums into this insurance program. Social Security benefits are the individual policies paying out. Social security is a legally-binding contract with the American worker.

    That’s why these GOP/Tea extremists aren’t going anywhere.

    JD

  • Clavos

    All of you:

    $2K a month is the TOP SS payout. One has to have earned a working income in the high five figures or higher for a lot of years to receive that amount.

    Most SS recipients receive less than $1K a month (I know retirees who were gainfully employed their entire lives who receive $900-950), which is what I meant by a pittance. Today’s worker at the lower end of the pay scales will never be able to retire on just a SS income, even if the program survives.

  • Clavos

    And yes, in some parts of the country, even $2K is insufficient. A 600 sq. Ft. apt.in a mediocre neighborhood in this city goes for $700-800. Since the person likely to rent in that kind of neighborhood is unlikely to have been a high wage earner, their SS payout might not even pay their rent.

    Pittance.

  • Clavos

    I find it unbelievable that anyone could say this with a straight face. ?

    Believe it.

  • John Wilson

    With $2000/month one can survive quite well in many areas. Even on $1000/month. But it would be better if the USA had true UHC.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Bravo! John Wilson,UHC is not completely forgotten.

    Believe this.

  • Clavos

    Puhleeze!

    $1000 a month is below poverty level. if your rent is $800, that leaves you $200/month for everything else.

    Dog food for dinner, anyone?

    Once again:

    Those receiving $2K earned five figures or better for many years. Unless they were complete dolts during those years (professional athletes and Hollywood types), the $2K is likely gravy on top of their annuities, etc.

    But those receiving $1000 or less probably don’t have much in the way of savings — they need every dime, and there aren’t that many dimes in $1000.

  • zingzing

    clavos, most people don’t live in super-expensive cities. $800 rent (per person) is pretty outrageous. (i actually pay more, but i’m stupid like that.)

    in the city where i went to college, a friend of mine rents an entire house (with a wrap-around porch), 3 bed, 2 bath for a grand total of $650. after she gave one of the rooms to a couple and the other to a ex-boyfriend, she pays a total of $100 rent. now that’s not usual. but $400 rent is pretty normal in that city, which isn’t some small hoebunk town. it’s one of the 20 largest cities in america (and it’s doubled in size in the last two decades). you live in an expensive city. you have money. your experience is not all there is.

    but anyway… you say “they need every dime.” that’s true. they need it. they survive off it. and what do you say? are there no prisons? are there no workhouses?

    shameful, clavos. sure, it’s not much money. but don’t scoff at it. it means a lot to some people. but not you.

  • Clavos

    it means a lot to some people

    But not enough to most.

    Listen to yourself: $650 a month for rent. Assuming $1000 SS income (higher than many), that leaves $350 for everything else -peverything!! — food, clothing, transportation, medicines (at least copays), utilities (air conditioning, necessary in the South, is upwards of $150 a month for a small (600 sq. ft. apt.), etc. Sure, they can have roommates, but why should they have to?

    Don’t take my word for it, poll some retirees who didn’t have high-paying jobs. It’s no fable that lots of ‘em eat pet food and go without needed medicine because their SS income is too meager for all their needs.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    It may surprise you, Clavos, but I kind of agree with you. I have always thought of Social Security as a tiny [for many, not even necessary] addition to private retirement income. It seems inevitable that it will eventually become another kind of welfare, provided only to the poor — exactly the opposite of the intention when it [and Medicare] were created.

    And don’t get me started about public pensions. Retiring at 50 or 55 and getting paid forever? No wonder states are going broke.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    handyguy,

    Helping the individual is a hand-out, welfare, or just plain charity?

    Well the top 2% will really appreciate their public welfare checks now in the form of permanent tax cuts, wont they?

    JD- Maybe you are a RINO?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Jeannie, I’m not sure what you mean. But my point is that Social Security seems likely to become a payment primarily for poor people. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but it’s not how the program was originally designed.

    Welfare is not a dirty word. And I support ending the Bush tax cuts for upper incomes.

    But I don’t expect other liberals to sign off on a “loyalty checklist” of positions on issues, and I don’t intend to do that either. My opinions are my own, not borrowed from the Democratic Party.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Social Security is insurance, it’s supplementary income for those that paid into the system, are unable to work, or retired.

    All of this mere pittance crap is just the elites talking.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    The people that are asleep at the wheel right now, are my main concern. The *Tea Party* is dangerous to all that we have accomplished in this country.

    I can’t help but think that if they weren’t being thrust on us right now, most undecideds would know better than go anywhere near the conservative agenda.

    History shows, we vote against ourselves on a regular basis if we can be fooled. Don’t let the Teas fool you.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    This is what hapens when people become complacent:

    Social Security seems likely to become a payment primarily for poor people.

    Wake up! We are all poor and getting poorer. most of us, anyway.

  • John Wilson

    SS is an annuity and a tontine combined. The Unfunded Liability of SS is far less that that of any private insurance you can buy, just ask your insurance agent what the unfunded liability of his plan is. Private insurance companies are highly leveraged and even in these relatively benign times face perils such as Katrina and BP with insecurity. They are poorly regulated by state agencies which are easy to control.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    tontine-an annuity scheme in which subscribers share a common fund with the benefit of survivorship, the survivors’ shares being increased as the subscribers die, until the whole goes to the last survivor.

  • zingzing

    “Listen to yourself: $650 a month for rent.”

    go read again. that’s not what i said.

    “Don’t take my word for it, poll some retirees who didn’t have high-paying jobs. It’s no fable that lots of ‘em eat pet food and go without needed medicine because their SS income is too meager for all their needs.”

    so… what do you suggest? more money? or just cutting them off completely?

    “Sure, they can have roommates, but why should they have to?”

    the horror…

  • John Wilson

    Catfood and dogfood are poor choices if you are on a constrained budget. If you insist on eating meat one can get fresh meat at low prices from most butchers. Cheese and potatoes are alternate sources for protein, etc.

  • Paul Roy

    Hey Dave, us Federal Government employees are doing just fine. Plenty of job opportunities in this booming job sector. Thanks Obama!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Hm. Let me see here – we’re GAINING jobs in America each and every month, but just not enough yet to match the increase in number of people entering the workplace (@150,000/month).

    How’s that compare to the 700,000/month job LOSSES that we had in the months prior to Obama taking over?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Glenn,

    This is an excellent comment! How much you want to bet, they ALL ignore?

    I have two nickles left…

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Well, I have been saying the same thing in multiple comments. Things are getting better, just not very quickly.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    By the way, I found a very interesting article on TaxVox, the blog of the Tax Policy Center [nonpartisan].

    They report that 36 million Americans report small business income on their individual tax returns. But only 900,000, less than 3%, are in the top two tax brackets affected by Obama’s proposal for the Bush tax cuts.

    Yet those 900,000 people report a total of $400 billion in business income.

    They include a lot of doctors, lawyers, investors [including in real estate], not what everyone has in mind when they talk about “small business owners” creating jobs.

    And for business owners with smart accountants, higher tax rates actually allow them to shelter more income from taxes.

    So it’s not a completely black-and-white issue.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Sorry I snapped at you, Handyguy, it’s just that I came along after all of this Social Security demonizing and it even looked like YOU were starting to believe the lie: SS is a useless program that doesn’t pay out enough so let’s chuck it!

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Handyguy is right,

    This is why we must end the Bush era tax cuts:

    for business owners with smart accountants, higher tax rates actually allow them to shelter more income from taxes.

    It’s not black and white but it is clear.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Handyguy is right,

    This is why we must end the Bush era tax cuts:

    for business owners with smart accountants, higher tax rates actually allow them to shelter more income from taxes.

    It’s not black and white but it is clear.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna
  • Clavos

    All of this mere pittance crap is just the elites talking

    Tell that to the impoverished elderly here in Florida who only have a $600-700 SS check and are forced to eat dog food because they can’t afford anything else.

  • Clavos

    so… what do you suggest? more money? or just cutting them off completely?

    1. Means testing. Anyone with more than a specified net worth isn’t eligible.

    2. Those with a net worth below a specified floor get enough to live on, adjusted for the cost of living where they live.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Oh my god, income redistribution and class warfare, you heard it here first. =)

  • meenas17

    “Lose their jobs and take their lives”-A cynical view with a stinging sarcasm and pungent sadism