9:43 am, April 20, 2014

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  • Stick To Your Guns, Mr. President
    harveyinnyc
    It's high time to let wealthier Americans pay their fair share. The middle class and government workers have taken their hits, and they've been painful. If a significant & truly balanced agreement cannot be reached, I fully support letting sequestration go through. It'll be painful for a couple years, but economic growth will most definitely resume. And please, stop calling it the "fiscal cliff." It's not a cliff; the term "cliff" is intended to scare people. When a person falls off a cliff, they perish. A far more accurate phrase would be the "fiscal slope" or "fiscal reconciliation." There are even benefits to letting it proceed, since we'd finally be addressing our runaway debt. The financial markets would reward the kind of proactive spending cuts that sequestration represents!
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • There are better alternatives
    Jeremiah
    The President needs to consider more promising approaches that would avoid the dampening effect that raising tax rates, regardless of who is being targeted, would have on the nascent, very slow-building recovery. As a recent Wall Street Journal editorial pointed out in commenting on a new study by the left-leaning Tax Policy Center, capping all itemized deductions at $50,000 per year per filer would provide a yield of $749 billion in additional revenue over the next decade, and which would in any event impact more greatly those with higher incomes. Indeed, the Tax Policy Center's analysis indicated that the top 20 percent of income earners would pay more than 96 percent of the higher taxes resulting from this $50,000 proposed cap on deductions. They added that lowering the deductions cap even further to $25,000 would generate an additional $1.286  trillion over the next decade, while an even lower $17,000 cap would raise an additional $1.747  trillion over this same period. Thus, closing of many of the current tax code's loopholes, seen in the code's myriad deductions provisions, would dwarf the $823 billion the President is seeking through his proposed tax rate rise. The point is that the President's egalitarian instincts seem to be having the effect of placing idelogical blinders on his ability to envision more effective ways of generating new tax revenue than his class envy-based proposed increase in tax rates. While the hoary "soak the rich" mantra has resonating emotional appeal to much of his base, he needs to exert true leadership and consider a wider range of options that would deal with our horrendous fiscal debacle. At the same time, judicious spending cuts must accompany any changes in the tax code's provisions - regardless as to whether these are on deductions or tax rates (or both) - if we are to get any control over our current addiction to ever-increasing spending, which has reached the 23 percent of GDP level, by far the highest in decades.
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  • not enough
    Jerry A.
    Jeremiah, Capping or eliminating deductions is not enough. We need to raise taxes to cover the spending in place as well as pay for the profiligate spending and built-up debt that has already happened under previous administrations. Besides, cutting deductions will not impact nor raise enough from the people who can most afford to pay. This is not based upon "class envy" but on economics. Tax rates are too low (hence the debt) and raising them will not harm the economy per the Congressional Research Service report from 14SEP2012. The wealthiest have bribed Congress to cut their taxes to disproportionately low levels, which is harming the economy by concentrating wealth instead of allowing it to circulate. We have the wealth and income inequality of a Third World country. The U.S. was much better off under 1950's tax rates (top = 90%) when business flourished rather than the current 15% (capital gains mainly go to the already wealthy).
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Reply to not enough
    Jeremiah
    I'm not ruling out any options; I'm only pointing out that the President needs to show some flexibility in considering all potentially worthy avenues. His "soak the rich" rhetoric was understandable during the campaign as a tried and true, cynical tactic to energize his base - in the way of all politicians from time immemorial - but the campaign is over and it's now time to put aside the bombast and get serious. The cited estimates from the Tax Policy Center have raised no serious disclaimers (probably because the organization itself leans liberal, and has no partisan axe to grind in focusing on reform of the tax code's deductions) other than from interest groups, such as the realtors, who are gearing up to protect their favored deductions, and certainly the amounts to be gained from new revenue resulting from significantly tightening up on allowable deductions (as was last done in 1985, with very successful results) are not shabby, and combined with necessary spending cuts (I disagree with your contention that we need "to cover the spending in place.") will move us in the direction we need to go. IRS' own figures refute the claim that the wealthy are significantly gaming the system, as you imply. 49 percent of US households now effectively pay no income tax at all (an unhealthy and indeed dangerous phenomenon), while over 40 percent of the income tax "take" comes from the top 4 percent of taxpayers in terms of gross income. It's time to recognize that we already have a highly progressive income tax system in place. Your comparison to the 1950s is disingenuous. That was a time when the USA was virtually alone atop the international economic ladder, as Europe and Japan were still in the recovery stage from the devastation of WW II, and we had no effective competition on the international economic front. We are now in a very different, globalized world, and the very concept of a capital gains tax is highly questionable, given its highly negative impact on capital formation. As I said in my first post above, spending at the rate of 23 percent of GDP is nonsustainable, and the real key to remedying "what ails us" is to focus the greatest effort on spending cuts rather than levying on the nation's productive capacity by raising taxs to finance this spending binge. The President should consider the current dysfunctional fiscal turmoil in Europe in particular as a warning; we are certainly moving in that direction at present under his current policies.
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  • The heavy lifting is already done
    harveyinnyc
    Jeremiah, a lot of folks are spinning their wheels over "WHAT TO DO!" Relax, the heavy lifting is already done! In another month, sequester will have gone through, the AMT fix will be expired, tax rates will have gone up, AND the 2% FICA cut will also have expired. For the first time is a very long time, we will be addressing this nation's runaway debt. To get to that point, all we have to do is...NOTHING. I stand to pay higher taxes just like everyone else, but I am o.k. with that. It's the responsible thing to do. Once the dust has settled in 2013, Congress can start discussing additional ways to reform spending & entitlements for the long haul, while leaving all the new revenue streams in place.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }