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josie's avatar

Doesn't Hauser's law make the constant appeal to class envy seem sort of silly at best, and sinister at worst?

Asked by josie (22932 points ) July 24th, 2011

Hauser’s law states that, since WWII, US tax revenue as a percentage of GDP has always been pretty close to 19.5%, whatever the marginal rates were at the time.

So it seems that the when the President insists that budgetary reforms must include taxing the wealthy, he is only tapping into the class envy that many Democrats have carefully cultivated within their constituency.

It is unlikely that raising rich people’s taxes will make a dent in the current deficit and long term debt. It will simply distract non-wealty tax payers from looking at the real problem, which is that political Elite in Washington arrogantly believe that the US Treasury is one big campaign fund for their re election. It is entirely likely that raising their taxes will cause the “rich” to become even more creative at figuring out ways to hide their money someplace other than the US economy. Or absent that, they will simply raise the price on the stuff they make or sell.

And revenues will still be about 19.5%. Except that the economy will not grow as fast. Fewer jobs, less consumer spending, etc. Finally, lower revenues anyway.

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80 Answers

jaytkay's avatar

While the overall percentage has remained the same, the burden has increased on the middle class. To pay for the huge tax cuts for the wealthy. There’s your class warfare.

marinelife's avatar

It is where the 19.5% comes from that would change. It would be a good change.

Zaku's avatar

Wow, that’s an amazing example of believing in an economic pattern mislabeled as a “law”, to try to prove something that makes no sense.

Looking at a trend relating past GDP to past tax revenue, and calling it a “law” is obviously a “law” that will not hold if the tax rates are changed.

The wealthy people and corporations are currently paying little or no taxes due to loopholes that only they can exploit. They have a significant amount of income that could be taxed if the loopholes were removed.

Jaxk's avatar

Actually you are right. Here is a graph that shows revenue as a percentage of GDP from 1945 through today. Remember that the top rate during that period have been as high as 94% and as low as 28%. The revenue has been amazingly consistent throughout.

Also I should note, that for the past 30 years the burden of taxes has moved from the lower income earners to the higher incomes. The ideological arguments don’t hold up in the face of real data.

dabbler's avatar

So many incorrect things in the question, ... Is this question a troll just to see if people know anything ?

“only tapping into the class envy that many Democrats have carefully cultivated within their constituency” That’s true only if you completely ignore that the rich have relentlessly, and with great resources, campaigned to get you to feel sorry for them for paying any taxes at all. They are apparently successful. They repeatedly get a much better deal than everyone else.

“unlikely that raising rich people’s taxes will make a dent in the current deficit”
It has sure made a HUGE dent in the deficit since they have been getting all of the HUGE (notice the coincidence?) tax breaks granted them since the Reagan era forward.
What sort of thinking imagines it would not make a difference to roll rates back to those levels?

“they will simply raise the price on the stuff they make or sell”
The wealthy don’t make or sell a damn thing. To what are you referring?

“Fewer jobs, less consumer spending, etc. Finally, lower revenues”
Again completely contrary to the past few decades of facts. While the rich have enjoyed federal spending on tax breaks, esp since Bush jr., joblessness has exploded. Consumer spending has only flourished while folks went nuts mortgaging their homes.

There has been a constant class pressure on all but the top bracket for decades. The only envy people have for the top bracket is to have a survivable lifestyle.

Jaxk's avatar

@dabbler

Good liberal rant and as usual no data. You are right however that the deficit is no coincidence. Obama raised spending by 30% and we incurred huge deficits. That’s not coincidence, it’s what happens when you spend like a drunken sailor.

dabbler's avatar

Same ole @Jaxk starting with your usual “good rant”.
[ whoever’s working on the nuisance algorithm of the @Jaxk AI program – you know, the main( ) section – do something new for a change would you? ]
There are facts in there if you’d bother to read them.
As usual you got nothin’ but a juvenile dismissive attitude.

zenvelo's avatar

There seems to be correlation but not causation demonstrated. But if you tell me tax revenue of x will result in GDP of approximately 5 x, then my thought is raising taxes to increase revenue will mean a five fold increase in GDP. Sounds like a way to get out of the recession!

Interesting conjecture demonstrating that government investment helps grow the economy.

Extending this to some class warfare theory where the rich feel picked on by the middle class is a bit of a reach. Perhaps the middle class just want the rich to pay their fare share as they did in the ‘90s.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@josie I couldn’t have said it any better myself. : ))

dabbler's avatar

@zenvelo “middle class just want the rich to pay their fare share as they did in the ‘90s.” Well stated, I’d say.
The middle class didn’t start this “class war” and fighting back is not “class envy”.

ratboy's avatar

”... they will simply raise the price on the stuff they make or sell.” Hedge fund managers and the like make or sell nothing save for “instruments” that give theft the aura of respectability.

ratboy's avatar

The political Elite in Washington are products that have been purchased by the wealthy; if you don’t like the edifice, blame the architect rather than the construction workers.

funkdaddy's avatar

@Jaxk – Your chart shows two things that I did not know but may not illustrate the points you were hoping to.

1) “Amazingly consistent” in this case fluctuates by more than 65% (from 23.85% to 14.41%), which is like saying making $50,000 a year is the same as making $83,000 a year. I don’t see that as consistent.

Even if we throw out the high (1945) and the low (2011) we’re still talking about a more than a 40% fluctuation.

2) Income is as low as it’s ever been while spending is higher. 3 of 4 lowest years in the range are the last three years. All under 15%, which is well below the 19.5% cited.

Maybe it’s time for a correction like in any free market?

Maybe a balanced approach is more reasonable? A bit of taxing, a bit of saving?

cletrans2col's avatar

Raise taxes on all, or raise taxes on none.

dabbler's avatar

@funkdaddy You have to expect that from the @Jaxk AI program. After the buffer overflow when it sees more than two sentences in a paragraph it posts something about “rant”. Then it goes and gets half-factual marginally-related “information” and throws that against the wall to see if it sticks.

wundayatta's avatar

@josie You make so many wildly erroneous assertions in your question without providing a shred of explanation, much less evidence, that this question is more like flame bait than a real question. Let’s just say that your world view is so far away from mine that I’d have to go up in a spaceship and travel to your planet if we were even to have anything remotely close to a discussion. However, if you promise to stay on your planet, I promise not to try to visit you! ;-)

Jaxk's avatar

@funkdaddy

The extremes are fairly easy to classify. The aftermath of WWII and major recessions. But even if you want to ignore the major consistency and dwell on the anomalies, compare that to the fluctuation in tax rates which varied from 94% to 28%. That’s a fluctuation of over 335%. So yes, considering the fluctuation in the rates, Even the anomalies seem amazingly consistent.

And keep in mind that the tax rates haven’t changed during this recession. It’s hard to say they are the reason for the lower revenue. It is the unemployment and the fact that the highest incomes pay the bulk of the tax (top 1% pay 40% of the tax) and during a recession thier salaries drop the most. Lower revenue is not just expected but guaranteed. If you look at the share of tax revenue The top 5% are paying 40% of the taxes. During a recession the top 5% actually earn less. If you look at the cutoff points for the different income levels between 2007 and 2008 the top 1% and the top 5% both decrease while the rest still increased albeit small. When 60% of the tax revenue comes from this small group (top 5%) a drop in earnings will have a significant impact on revenues. And it did. You will see the same phenomenon between 2000 and 2001. It is also significant to note that through the bush years the top 5% went from paying 53% of the taxes to paying 58% of the taxes.

All this results in a couple of points. Huge swings in the tax rates (28%-94%) result in little or no impact on revenues. While small swings in the earnings of the top 5%, result in huge swings in revenues. It is the direct result of having a small tax base. If only 5% of the population pay the bulk of the taxes, revenues are directly affected by their earnings. The broader the tax base, the less fluctuation you will see in a recession.

zenvelo's avatar

@jaxk The top tax rate has not swung, it declined until the late 80s, and since then has fluctuated in a narrow range between 1989 and 2002. There has not been a 335% fluctuation.

ETpro's avatar

No, because progressive taxation is not only intended to raise sufficient revenues to do what government truly needs to do, it helps prevent the continuous concentration of wealth in the hands of a very small elite. Wealth disparity in the US hit a high just before the great depression. It remained much lower and steady until the Reagan revolution of the 1980s and it has been steadily growing since then. It is now just a bit worse than it had gotten in 1929, Currently, the richest 400 tax filers in the US own more of the financial wealth of the USA than the bottom 50% of the population. The appeals to Hauser’s law are aimed at diverting any discussion of growing income and wealth inequity into a discussion instead of the futility of resisting the deliberate use of government and tax policy to enrich the wealthy. It allows the ruling class that wants ever more to carry out class warfare while accusing anyone who complains of being the actual class warrior.

Jaxk's avatar

@zenvelo

Actually there has. In 1946 the top rate declined from 94% to 91%. It held at that level until 1964 when Kennedy reduced the rate to 77%. Teh fluctuations you see in revenue between those dates were all at the same tax rate. In 1965 the rate was reduced again to 70% and surprisingly the revenue went up. From 1965 until 1982 the rate stayed at 70%. So the fluctuation you see in revenue between thos dates is all at the same tax rate. Then in 1982 the rate was dropped again to 50%. which stayed until 1987 when it dropped to 38% and in 1988 the big drop to 28%. So between 1945 and 1988 the rate stayed pretty close to 18% with random spikes that had little relevance to rate changes. Then in 1991 Bush 1 raised the rate to 31% and clinton raised it again in 1993 to 39.5%. The 11% rise in rates between’91 &‘93 seems to have little impact on revenue but the Dotcom boom in the second haly of the 90s had a noticeable impact.

Tax rates remained at 39.5 % until 2001made very minor change ,1% and again in 2002 ,15, then in 2003 it droppoed to 35% where it has remained. The drop in revenue between 2000 and 2003 can not be acounted for by the insignificant change that were made. Nor can the drop in revenue between 2008 and 2009 since there was not change in taxes. You can find all the tax rates “here’:http://www.taxfoundation.org/publications/show/151.html But there is no way to correlate the tax changes to the dips or spikes in revenues.

zenvelo's avatar

@Jaxk I wasn’t referring to the fluctuation in revenue as a % of GDP, I was talking about the tax rate.

But you have demonstrated that tax rate does not correlate to revenue as a % of GDP. This whole thread is not about rates, but about the correlation between revenue and GDP. And again I say, if the revenue is a driver of GDP as this “law” implies, then raising tax rates to raise revenue will cause the economy to expand. Once it expands to raise revenue sufficiently, tax rates can be cut.

Fly's avatar

I would just like to point out a fatal flaw in your theory regarding the “class envy that many Democrats have carefully cultivated within their constituency”- said democrats in question hold office and are of the wealthy class themselves, and are therefore willing to increase the tax burden on themselves. Contrary to your theory, there is no conspiracy within the democratic party to needlessly tax republicans just because they can. Rather, they believe, within reason, I might add, that increasing the tax burden on all of the wealthy will increase GDP. Now please, by all means, continue BSing yourselves discussing.

Jaxk's avatar

@zenvelo

I’m sorry, I thought you had misstated that. Do you honestly believe that tax revenue is a driver of GDP?

zenvelo's avatar

@Jaxk That is what the OP’s economic “law” posits. But it does make sense that, as the Tea Party suggests, not having sufficient revenue and thus running a deficit is bad for the economy, then raising revenue to fund programs to grow the economy will increase GDP.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

Your numbers peaked my curiosity. I did a quick calculation based on the data in the Politifacts article. If the lower 50% of households hold $1.25 trillion in assets, that seems surprising. We know that the lower 50% pay no (or very little tax) and earn somewhere around $30,000 (my data was from 2005). We also know that the housing bust has put many people in the negative assets category and that the lower 50% would include all the poorest of the poor. Homeless, and negative assets would all be in this group. Nonetheless the total assets on average, per household totals over $20,000. I’m not saying that’s a lot but it is surprising to me that this group would have that high a number. Especially if you financial guy is right and that doesn’t include any cars or other non liquid assets.

Jaxk's avatar

@zenvelo

That’s not what the question posits nor is it Hauser’s law. I think you need to go back and read the question or read about Hauser’s law here. Hauser’s Law in fact says just the opposite, revenues follow GDP and remain at or about 19.5% of GDP regardless of tax rates.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk I just accepted that PilitiFact had checked the numbers. But let’s say you are right, and the bottom 50% don’t have that much. Would you feelwould you feel things were much fairer if you are right, and the richest 400 hold more than 60%, or 70% of the rest of us? Just how much do the richest 400 need before things are fair for all the tax scofflaws at the bottom who are only hit by payroll withholding taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, auto licensing fees, city and state taxes, and so forth?

ETpro's avatar

Here’s an exercise that will show how silly Hauser’s Law is. Take a clean sheet of paper. Put it in front of you in landscape mode. The very top of the sheet will arbitrarily represent 100% and the bottom of it is 0%. Now draw a jagged line across the sheet—any jigs and jags you want—something rather like the variations in revenue over time in the lower chart here

Note that this is a right wing chart. The Dot Com bubble is prominently featured, but the real-estate bubble, which massively dwarfed it, isn’t even mentioned. But all we are interested in here is what sort of jagged line to draw. So draw whatever your heart desires. Now take a ruler and slide it up the page from the bottom, keeping it parallel with the sheet of paper. When about ½ of your jagged line is above the ruler and ½ is beneath it, draw a dotted line straight across the page using your ruler. Whatever percentage level your dotted line is on is the Hauser’s Law for the curve you drew. But every time you draw a different curve, it will have a different Hauser’s Law. The “Law” is nothing scientific. It is political slight of hand and nothing more.

Take a look at the percent of GDP taxes collected by various nations around the world. Click the double diamond over the “Tax as % of GDP” column to sort by that metric. It should be beyond clear from this list that the idea that 19.5% of GDP is a magic law of taxation is utter nonsense. The UAE has the lowest rate, at 1.4%. Kimbat is highest at 69.7%. 19.5% just happens to be what the US average taxation comes to over a specific period of time. Move your time base, and Hauser’s Law falls apart in the USA too.

Real tax revenue as a percent of GDP is driven by a huge set of complex variables. Back in WWII when we had the astronomical top marginal rate of 94%, it only applies to a small handful of US taxpayers, because very few made over $250,000 a year in 1944. For those that don’t know, top marginal rates only apply to dollars earned above the point where the margin kicks in. Starting January 1st, you and Bill gates will both get taxed exactly the same on the first $8,025 you earn ($16,050 if filing jointly). Gates just hits that bracket a lot sooner in the year than you and I do.

Swings in GDP due to boom and bust have a huge impact on how much revenue is collected. Also, loopholes have a heavy impact. The US Income Tax code is bewilderingly complex. “According to the US Government Printing Office, it’s 13,458 pages in total. The full text of Title 26 of the United States Code (the part written by Congress—available for an additional $179) is a mere 3,387 printed pages, bringing the adjusted gross page count to 16,845.” Source.

zenvelo's avatar

@Jaxk This “law” observes a correlation but does not posit which causes which. The writer of the article expresses an opinion but not a law of causality. If two occurrences happen in the same time frame, which is the cause and which is the reaction, or are they correlated?

If Hauser’s law stated tax revenue in Year 1 resulted in 5 x GDP in Year 2, I would be swayed. But it does not, so there is really no use of the “law”.

funkdaddy's avatar

Since spending has been brought up several times, thought I’d add this.

A new chart

Take from it what you like.

Full article from NYT

CaptainHarley's avatar

“New York Times?” [ raises one eyebrow ]

funkdaddy's avatar

@CaptainHarley – Perhaps this one from the Congressional Budget Office, who provided the numbers to the NYT?

Federal Budget Math: We Can’t Repeat the Past which says that Hauser doesn’t even have the right number for the last 40 years?

It also says

Revenues have averaged about 18 percent of GDP, with substantial variation around that level but no trend.

And accompanying numbers.

I also think everyone should look at Page 6, which shows tax rates have gone down but there hasn’t been the corresponding increase in production that Hauser and others claim to offset the rates on total revenue. Laws behave in predictable ways, this is not predictable.

And this quote which speaks to the current issues with the deficit and debt

Fiscal policy cannot be put on a sustainable path just by eliminating waste and inefficiency; instead, changes will need to significantly affect popular programs, people’s tax payments, or both.

Which could be seen as opinion, except for the fact that it’s this groups entire purpose is the provide the best and most objective information to policymakers.

CBO assists the House and Senate Budget Committees, and the Congress more generally, by preparing reports and analyses. In accordance with the CBO’s mandate to provide objective and impartial analysis, CBO’s reports contain no policy recommendations.

I don’t care about Hauser, Obama, or Boehner. I do care about misinformation and the apparently widespread belief that lower taxes somehow create revenue all the way down. Taxes that are too high are stifling, yes, taxes that are too low don’t provide adequate resources. There’s a sweet spot, and policy naturally swings towards it, right now we’re way off and there needs to be a correction but people are too focused on rooting for one team or the other to see it.

Jaxk's avatar

@funkdaddy

There is a flaw in the assumptions here. I believe that all economists would agree that spending and/or taxes will have an impact on growth. We may disagree on which will have the most impact but I doubt that any legitimate economist would say that neither one will impact growth. Democrats would have us believe that spending will have the most impact while Republicans would have us believe that taxes have the most impact.

Whichever way you go, the baseline will be impacted by the spending and taxing variable. CBO is given a growth assumption and they vary the tax or spending against that predetermined baseline. It just doesn’t hold water when the baseline is dependent on the very things you’re changing.

And as a side note, the revenues in did rebound back to the average after the tax cuts in 2003. Economic activity did pick up to return us to the average.

funkdaddy's avatar

@Jaxk – tax rates for all but the lowest quintile also took a bump in 2003 (page 6 in the above references report)... which would lead me further to believe that a tax increase would increase revenue immediately.

CaptainHarley's avatar

That’s right. Tax the middle class out of existence. We don’t need them, the lazy bums. What did the middle class ever do for me, huh?

funkdaddy's avatar

@CaptainHarley – none of the plans proposed in Washington will raise taxes on the middle class.

The only additional revenue (read: raise in taxes) would be from removing tax cuts for the top 2% of individuals and businesses.

The only reason anyone is against that is that there is a theory that taxing those people will cause them to cut jobs.

So, if I own a small business (I do) and I made $400,000 last year (I didn’t) and taxes are raised 4% on that (I made up a number), I’m going to fire someone due to my angst about the extra $16,000 I paid to the government that built the infrastructure my business utilizes every day?

I don’t think that’s solid.

General disclaimer, this is how I understand it, not presented as irrefutable fact

Jaxk's avatar

@funkdaddy

The tax rates for all categories went down in 2003. That bump was from the growth of the economy. It would seem a rate hike would have the opposite effect.

funkdaddy's avatar

@Jaxk – From page 6 of the report above…

Average Federal Tax Rates by Quintile

The Y axis is a percentage of total individual income, the X is time. I don’t see how an uptick could be caused by revenue growth since it’s tied to a percentage rather than a dollar amount.

Jaxk's avatar

@funkdaddy Your example is not quite what we’re arguing. It has nothing to do with angst nut rather what you might invest. If you have the money, you may need to repave your parking lot (I do). The less retained money you have the less likely you are to do it. The loss of these normal growth investments will result in fewer jobs. Or you may choose to repair that broke as freezer instead of replacing it (I did). Or you may choose to not replace the guy that quit (I did).

Most small business will use a portion of the profit for thier personal income and plow the rest back into the business. The part that gets reduced is the part that would be plowed back into the business. Generally capital investments.

Jaxk's avatar

@funkdaddy

I didn’t say revenue growth. The economy began expanding again. Unemployment began to decline. As unemployment declines the tax base expands and tax revenue increases. The expanding economy brought down unemployment and that increased revenues even with a lower rate.

Jaxk's avatar

Sorry I should have said ‘Revenue as a percent of GDP’.

cletrans2col's avatar

The Demon Cunt Pelosi even said that raising the rates on the “rich” will only bring in $700B; that does not sound like it will come close to lowering the debt. It’s a political ploy that’s tried and true by the Democrat Party that will always score points.

Republicans have a point: we have a spending problem, not a revenue problem. But the Democrat Party has a point (ewwwwwwww): with a deficit this big, we do need revenue. So I say leave the tax rates alone and end all subsidies for everyone, repeal Medicare PArt D, and use that money toward the debt. We voted the morons in who did this, so we all have to pay. I’m tired of this class warfare bullshit.

ETpro's avatar

@cletrans2col There’s no need for the offensive language. But that aside, the logic or rejecting a policy because it will only contribute $700 billion toward balancing the deficit it utterly wrong headed. It doesn’t take to many piles of $700 billion before you’re talking about real money. That is a spin the far-right uses in being water carriers for their oligarch sponsors. Cuts in spending far less than that amount are on the table, because they only impact the poor, the middle class, the infrastructure, the education of our young.

cletrans2col's avatar

@ETpro two things:

1. Pelosi is a demon cunt. I’m stating fact.
2. Raise taxes on all, or raise taxes on none.

ETpro's avatar

@cletrans2col Argument by assertion is not a logical proof, it’s a logical fallacy. So far as I am concerned, you are telling me much more about yourself than about Minority Leader Pelosi. And what you have told me, I do not like.

Raising taxes on the poor and the middle class will hurt them, and hurt the recovery. The rich have gotten all the breaks for 30 years now. An average college grad who goes into a cood paying mid-level job will earn about $2.4 million in a lifetime. The top hedge fund manager makes $2.4 million an hour. Yet he pays taxes around 11% less than the middle class guy. It’s time the rich, who have gotten so many breaks, carry their fair share.

dabbler's avatar

@cletrans2col “Raise taxes on all, or raise taxes on none”
What was your position when taxes were repeatedly cut mostly for the richest over the past three decades?
If your point is fairness then you’d be all for an immediate return to the pre-Reagan rates, or at least pre-Bush rates.

As far as your other ‘point’, @ETpro well notes “you are telling… much more about yourself than about Minority Leader Pelosi”.

Jaxk's avatar

@dabbler

I don’t think you realize what you’re saying. Pre Reagan Tax Rates? Do you realize that the tax rate for $50,000 income bracket was 49%? Or is it simply that you’ve bought into all the propaganda that life was great before Reagan? So really would you rather be paying the 49% rate it was before Reagan or the 15% rate your paying to day. Or maybe your making $90,000 in which case you be paying 59% instead of the 25% your paying today.

Get real. You don’t want to go back to those tax rates, you just want to complain about the rich. That some how if they didn’t make so much your life would be better. It wouldn’t.

cletrans2col's avatar

@ETpro @dabbler What exactly am I telling you?

dabbler's avatar

@Jaxk You have no idea what I want or what I realize.
You clearly have no idea what real is.

Yes, really those are the tax rates I’m talking about. And yes, I would pay more taxes. And yes, I prefer ‘tax and spend’ to the Grover Norquist style of ‘spend and let the future figure out how to pay for it’ that has prevailed for the past few decades, any day.

dabbler's avatar

We know we were running a nice surplus going into Bush Jrs term. The pre-Bush tax rates would be just fine if the pre-Reagan rates are too scary. The highest-income classes did quite well back then and would do so still.

@cletrans2col As far as “end all subsidies for everyone”... You realize who benefits from nearly all subsidy dollars?
Your anti class-warfare suggestion to level things out is just fine with me. The same people will be paying more taxes, perhaps even more fairly.

Anyone who is against class warfare, and has any awareness of the way things have gone for the past forty years will want the high-incomes types to cough up a much larger amount in line with the benefits they accrue from living in a civilized society that facilitates them making so much money.

CaptainHarley's avatar

“Surplus?” OMG! The US Government hasn’t run a surplus in so long that no one would know what to do!

dabbler's avatar

@CaptainHarley So sadly true. Even the last time surplus happened they didn’t know what to do. The surplus was dismantled promptly and spent on big tax breaks for people who didn’t need ‘em.

Jaxk's avatar

@dabbler

I don’t mean to disrupt a good rant but do you realize that before the Reagan tax cuts (1980) the top 5% of income earners paid only 37% of all the income tax. Today the top 5% pay 60% of all income tax. In fact the top 1% now pays 37% of all income taxes. The tax burden has been dramatically shifted to the wealthy. A fact I’m sure you don’t want to know.

It may also surprise you to learn the when Clinton lowered the Capital gains rate from 28% to 20% in 1997, there was a spike in capital gains tax revenue. In fact the capital gains revenue nearly doubled over the next 3 years. Likewise, when Bush lowered the capital gains rate in 2003 to 15% and capital gains tax revenue went up by 154% by 2005.

Now I know you don’t want to know all this as it doesn’t support you preconceived notion of the democratic talking points. But numbers are numbers. Facts sometimes get in the way of a good rant. Nonetheless, if you want to know more you could read about it here. I suspect it will go unread.

dabbler's avatar

@Jaxk It’s too bad you just can’t grasp that a just-as-well-informed person disagrees with you. Besides letting yourself be intellectually lazy, I’m not sure what you get out of being dismissive (i.e. ‘rant’), it definitely doesn’t prove any point but that you are willing to be juvenile, again (twice in this thread alone).

I’ve seen all your facts and more.
The facts you put up are interesting. From the facts I have yours are typically incomplete or ignoring important context. From other folks’ responses, it’s clear a lot of other people have the same experience with your facts.

And usually the facts just mean something different to you than they do to me. And it’s a shame you can’t respect that someone could come to a different conclusion than you do from them. There’s real for you, get it yourself.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@dabbler

You are so wrong.

Jaxk's avatar

@dabbler

I have no problem if you want to argue your ideology. But if you misstate the facts you have to expect to be called on it. I should be offended by you calling me intellectually lazy, but since all of your posts are completely void of any background or supporting information, I merely find it amusing.

ETpro's avatar

@cletrans2col As to your own assertions, if you are unable to go back and read your own posts, I fail to see what value my repeating them for you would have.

@Jaxk I don’t think @dabbler is off track in his analysis. Your oft repeated story of the grim tax load on the rich fails to mention that since 1980 real wages from the bottom 60% of Americans has slipped significantly. It ignores that CEO pay has, over that time, skyrocketed. The bottom 60% now all earn so little they are not subject to much if any income tax. You know this, because I have pointed it out again and again. But still you use this 60% number to make it sound like today’s millionaires are the true victims of society and the janitors of the world are getting off easy. Try walking a mile in their shoes and see which you’d rather be, rich or poor in Amercia today.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

I have no problem with the argument that the top earners have gained significantly. I do however have a problem suggesting that thier share of the tax burden has been shifted to the middle or lower income earners. It hasn’t. Your use of the term victims is a nice cutsey way of deflecting facts but it doesn’t change them.

So now we want to talk about incomes. As usual, you like to play with the end points and draw conclusions the will make your point. So let’s take a look at what median incomes have done since 1975. You’ll notice that they dropped significantly during the recession in 1980, grew even more significantly during the Reagan years. Fell again during the Bush 1 years (another recession) and gew significantly again during Clinton. Then fell again during the 2000 recession and gew back less quickly to where they started. And of course the the 2008 recession they dropped like a rock. So what you seem to want to do (again) is measure from a peak to a trough to minimize the gains. Let’s stop playing these games. The incomes have not slipped and the trend is fairly obvious. We are in a recession, I think we all know that. Trying to manipulate the numbers to say we been going down since the 80s is blantantly false and an obvious manipulation.

As for walking in their shoes, I’ve been there. I certainly don’t need anyone to tell me what it’s like. As for whether you’d like to be rich or poor, you’ve got to be kidding. There’s not even a point in that statement. But I will say if your going to be poor, be poor in America. It’s a hell of a lot better than being poor in virtually any other country.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Jaxk

Hear! Hear! GA!

dabbler's avatar

@CaptainHarley “You are so wrong.” Thanks for your opinion. Likewise I am very sure.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
dabbler's avatar

@CaptainHarley ^^ At least it’s good for that, I’ll agree. Next circus, please.

ETpro's avatar

@cletrans2col Your comment is vulgur, inappropriate and a personal attack instead of a rebuttal of something said. I don’t play the school-yard insult game. I’ve better uses for my time.

@Jaxk No the tax burden hasn’t shifted to the middle class and poor. It hasn’t shifted to anybody. We are all taxed less than we were under Clinton. Declining wages in the bottom 60% and off-shoring of quality jobs to be rplaced by low paying service sector jobs shifted burden over the past 30 years. With the Ryan Budget and such plans, the GOP is preparing to take middle class annihilation up a massive notch. The cuts they want all fall on the backs of the middle calss and poor. They will defund investment in education and infrastructure. These cuts will produce a massive upswing in unemployment. And they will worsen life for all but the top income brackets, whe actually got more tax breaks under the Ryan plan.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

I can’t help but wonder if you’re watching the same debate I am. First of all no one is proposing any budget cuts. I wish they were but they’re not. The only cuts are in the growth of government not in any existing spending. We are projecting an increase in the debt of $9 trillion over the next 10 years. The $1 trillion dollar cut doesn’t trim any existing spending but only lowers the increases. So that the $9 trillion in new debt turns into $8 trillion in new debt.

Even in you hysterical view, how does that become a cut to any programs let alone defunding. You have to forgive me but I’m not Democrat so I don’t understand how giving 10% less of an increase but still a substantial increase becomes a cut.

cletrans2col's avatar

@ETpro It’s appropriate for Pelosi.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Jaxk

YES! YES! YES! [ balloons, confetti, fireworks, marching bands, etc ]

Jaxk's avatar

@CaptainHarley

I love a parade.

josie's avatar

@Jaxk
I am anxiously waiting for the response to your comment.

I like @ETpro so I don’t want it to get personal.

But, I too am always baffled by how some people think they can get away with using the word “cut” when what they are actually talking about is an increase that is not quite as much as they petulantly expected.

It is tough to get a quick sound bite that explains the distinction, and so the idea is hard to get across on TV.

But not here

So, I wonder if you will get a response.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Jaxk

As do I ( obviously )! : D

Jaxk's avatar

I find it interesting that if we held the budget flat. That is, we continued spending at $3.7 Trillion/yr, that would be considered a $9 Trillion cut. Political speak is so deceiving.

funkdaddy's avatar

As I understand it the money is already budgeted for certain things.

Taking that money away from those things could be seen as “cutting” spending on those items. Even though the money isn’t already spent. It isn’t misleading to refer to those as cuts.

To put it another way, if you cancel your cable tomorrow, have you “cut” it, “defunded” it, or what? The bill is going to come automatically until you take action to stop it.

A closer example would be if you had your bills planned out for the next 6 months, and instead of niceties like cable, imagine you’re funding your aging mother’s care. Mom’s not getting any healthier and the next 6 months will probably be more expensive than the last.

Then mom falls and breaks her hip, she needs assistance to get around, her care costs are going to double. What do you cut to balance it out?

Her costs increased, your overall budget will increase, items still will need to be cut.

As far as people leaving the conversation, can you blame them? The noise ratio is getting awful high down here at the bottom with quite a few folks trying to make it personal.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@funkdaddy

How the hell COULD you make it any other way than “personal?” Of course, it’s personal!

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk Sorry I was busy and unable to respond for a time. I take your point that the discussions currently underway are aimed at reigning in growth of future debt, not current cuts. There are some modest cuts (real cuts) we could afford to make in spending right now, but heavey cuts to truly balance the budget overnight would collapse the fragile economy. I think both parties know that, and neither wants to actually do it and live with the backlash of the pain it would cause. A good deal of our current massive deficit ius due to the economy still being so weak. Anything that pushes it back into real recession or even depression will not help bring down deficits, as it will further depress revenue.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

I need to know what you consider modest and what you consider heavy. Because frankly all of the spending cuts proposed by either party I don’t think even reach the level of modest, let along heavy.

The GAO report issued earlier this year identified over $100 billion annually in just waste and duplication. Hell there’s a $trillion (10 years) without cutting a single government service or program. We tend to look at the big categories and claim there’s not enough in ‘Discretionary Spending’ to make the difference. But things like waste, duplication, fraud, and abuse cut across all spending. There are a lot of government agencies I think could be cut and actually improve our system but while we’re haggling about those, this sort of cutting would seem to be the low hanging fruit.

Take the $100 billion add those that you think would be modest cuts, and let me know what number you come up with. Then take that and do a little trimming to the spending growth over the next 10 years and we should be able to hit a number well above the $4 trillion demanded by Moody’s and S&P to save our credit rating. I can’t believe this is all that tough.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk Nobody has come out with the final plan. I’d agree that the short term cuts talked about so far are modest, as they should be. Neither the Obama nor the Ryan budgets balanced at 2012. I believe Ryan’s plan added something like $6 trillion while Obama’s added $7. I don’t think either of those will fly. We have to have the budget back in balance and some surplus by 2020.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

I’m still not sure who you’re arguing against. The most agressive plan I’ve heard of to date is the ‘penny plan’ and doesn’t balance the budget for 7 years. If you think someone is demanding a balanced budgte this year, I’d be interested in knowing who that is. Even the hated Tea Parties, are only looking for a path to a balanced budget.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

I’m still not sure who you’re arguing against. The most aggressive plan I’ve heard of to date is the ‘penny plan’ and doesn’t balance the budget for 7 years. If you think someone is demanding a balanced budget this year, I’d be interested in knowing who that is. Even the hated Tea Parties, are only looking for a path to a balanced budget.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk I said what I said. All of it seems to make perfect sense, and I don’t see me claiming that everyone or even anyone in specific has proposed to actually cut $1.6 trillion in spending for this year. I will let my statements stand, because I don’t see how that rant factors into what I actually said.

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