Norquist Triumphant


On Hardball this afternoon Matthews was talking about "cut-go" with Todd Harris and Steve McMahon, the Tweedledum and Tweedledummer of the Village and he ranted and raved about how both parties promise spending cuts to bring down the deficit but refuse to give any big specific items that would really make a difference. [. . .] After Harris babbled for a while about "entitlements" destroying the country, Matthews again said how frustrated he was that Republicans always refuse to say what they will cut [. . .] McMahon piped up at that and said:

[McMahon:]I'll give it to you right now. Democrats are going to come with a bill to take away the tax cuts for people making 250 thousand dollars a year. That's 700 billion dollars that we borrowed ...

Matthews: I hate to break it to you, but that's not a spending cut it's a tax increase. [. . .] Just remember the difference, it's a tax increase.

The problem is not the deficit sez the Beltway. The problem is government spending. This is what Obama's Deal has wrought. Grover Norquist has won. As Digby says:

The debate has officially shifted from "deficit reduction" to "cutting spending to reduce the deficit." This has to be one of the fastest internalization of GOP propaganda in history and that's saying something."

This victory for Norquist was achieved by the "most progressive President of ALL TIME!!!!!!!!"

Beltway Dems, bloggers and wonks have never understood how central tax policy is to progressive (and what used to be Democratic) values and objectives.

For progressives, and for the country, the first 2 years of the Obama Administration are a failure mostly because President Obama has handed Grover Norquist his triumph. No more taxes. Only spending reductions.


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    I think (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by lilburro on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 09:25:47 AM EST
    that the most vocal supporters of Obama on the left and Obama himself believe that in time his decisions will strength progressive/left views.  In 2016, the country will somehow be more progressive and accepting of progressive views because the health care act worked so well.  They think that people will look back and say, "man, we gave that Obama a raw deal, his ideas were actually brilliant, now I'm convinced."  So today, Obama and his most fervent supporters do not have to push a narrative, will take what they can get, etc.  Digby addresses this in her post previous to the one you quoted with the whole losing badly thing.

    The incoherent, inconsistent, and completely right wing deficit reduction debate goes to show how possibly foolish the Obama approach is.  There's always something to undermine Democratic success.  We have FDR getting out of the fracking Great Depression and that just "doesn't work" for some people.  We have Bill Clinton giving us a budget surplus but that is completely ignored in the media.  If you're not actively fighting right wing narratives in the present they consume you.  In the past two years that was far from a priority and here we are.

    We get conservative policies from Obama... (4.20 / 5) (#9)
    by lambert on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 11:16:23 AM EST
    ... because Obama's a conservative.

    There are no Obama supporters on the left.


    Thank you (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by sj on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 11:33:33 AM EST
    I wanted to respond to that belief as well, but it just made me feel impossibly sad and more than a little helpless.

    How anyone can think premature capitulation can strengthen anything,  much less "progressive/left views" is beyond me.

    As if progressive and left were the same thing, anyway.  Up is down, down is up.


    What? (5.00 / 6) (#12)
    by waldenpond on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 11:40:20 AM EST
    You don't think the left will support Obama come election time?  I couldn't disagree more.  OMG!!! The SC!!! Do you want Palin!!!!!  OMG!!!

    They will jump on the bandwagon.  I expect to see many people being banned at left sites for not s'ing tfu.

    Obama is more conservative than Bush on so many issues, but he is the lefts conservative and they have gone off the deep-end as much as the right and is about nothing more than a 'win' to many of them.


    What you are describing (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by sj on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 11:57:55 AM EST
    It took me more than a couple of election cycles but I finally resolved (to my own personal satisfaction) the difference between a "progressive" and a "liberal".

    My definition of progressive fits exactly with what you are describing.  And that's not truly left, that's the Versailles Left.  (Mentally I even picture them with the snuff boxes).

    What lambert is talking about (it seems to me) is the Liberal Left.  And in my teen-tiny little Liberal microcosm Obama has no supporters.  

    A relative who worked really hard for his election is at best going to hold her nose and vote him in 2012.  I told her that I have two years to find a presidential candidate that I would vote for.  I just got a long look from her rather than the scolding I would have gotten two years ago.  Actually that is scolding I would have gotten (and even given) my whole voting life.  Until now.


    That's My Only Option ?? (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 01:22:54 PM EST
    Get a grip, I can still vote D and not vote for Obama, it's called a primary and I am certain that Obama isn't going to sail through the next one.

    I am so tired of people stating that my only option is Obama or an Palin like character when in fact my options are numerous including staying home.

    If I had know how absolutely shameless Obama would be, I might have stayed home, because right now I feel like he took a hatchet to my party's principles and decided that the bullies are just too darn mean.  Instead to fighting for what is right, he's decided to break bread and let them do pretty much whatever they want.

    Name one campaign promise Obama has kept in it's entirety.

    And for the record, unlike my R counterparts, winning is not the only goal, I have no issues with staying home on principle even if it means handling the reins to a right wing clown.  Better an R cut programs I love than a D belly up letting them.


    Unfortunately, I agree (none / 0) (#28)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 01:40:20 PM EST
    that most Democrats will be told that they have no where else to go and they will not only pull the lever for Obama but will work diligently to persuade others to do the same using the old arguments.  

    I Agreed Somewhat (5.00 / 3) (#48)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 04:38:08 PM EST
    The biggest downfall and best feature of the D party is no unity.  Unlike R's we will not vote just to get our guy/gal in, some will granted, but unless he does something extraordinary before 2012 its going to take a warehouse full of NoDoz to get the D's out their promoting their defective product.

    Add in the massive amount of cash that will surely hit the R's coffers from AmerCorp and it's going to take a decent size miracle to keep Obama around.  I would prefer we start grooming another, because I honestly don't think the D party will have anything of semblance of the party I love.

    At least with Bush the enemy was crushing what I hold dear, it so much harder to swallow when it's one of our own.


    Exactly (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 12:08:48 PM EST
    Obama's conservative policies are not bugs, they are features.  

    Somebody please primary Obama (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by BobTinKY on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 12:06:01 PM EST
    They won't win but I believe the amount of money a legitimate, or even an Alan Grayson, would raise form disgruntled progressives would shock this White House.   Perhaps even shock them enough to begin acting like Democrats.

    i don't think (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by The Addams Family on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 12:18:39 PM EST
    it would make a bit of difference to this White House

    it might push Democratic Leaders to replace Obama but i doubt that too - they will go down w/the Good Ship Obama if that's the way things are headed in 2012

    but a primary challenge to Obama might help liberal Democrats (as opposed to the Cult of Obama & the neolib "progressive" cabal) coalesce usefully for 2016 & beyond


    maybe Bernie Sanders could run (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by The Addams Family on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 01:02:00 PM EST
    in the general

    at least he wouldn't have to sell himself & his principles out to avoid being called a "socialist"



    Bernie Sanders does not even have to run (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 01:36:33 PM EST
    You and everyone else that disagrees with the direction that Obama is taking this country has the option to write in his name for president in 2012.

    How does that work (none / 0) (#30)
    by sj on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 01:41:54 PM EST
    on electronic voting machines, again?

    Not sure (none / 0) (#32)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 02:02:35 PM EST
    I never use an electronic voting machine.

    Here's a descrption of how to write-in (none / 0) (#79)
    by DFLer on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 07:52:25 PM EST
    a vote on some popular electronic voting machines used in the US

    The money a liberal would raise (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by BobTinKY on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 03:08:25 PM EST
    in just a week will astound this White House.  Much of which might well have gone to Obama if he took care of those that gave him the job rather than those that seek to tear him down.

    Someone will run I am certain.  Obama leading the GOP raid on SS will be the straw that breaks some Democrat's back.


    The powers that be are already (none / 0) (#49)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 04:52:03 PM EST
    establishing an alternative if people get completely fed up with the current 2 parties. The "No label" party is just another corporate owned entity with a new name to con people into thinking that they will be getting something different than corporate centric Republican policies. People behind this so called new party might give you the first hint on the fact that it would pursue the same objectives as the current corporate owned parties.

    The driving forces of the new party are Mark McKinnon, a moderate Republican and former campaign adviser to John McCain and George Bush, and Nancy Jacobson, a Democratic fundraiser. Others giving their support include close advisers to Michael Bloomberg, the New York Mayor and independent, who has been invited to the inaugural event. It's not clear if he will attend. "There's nobody that gets rewarded for bipartisan behaviour," Mr McKinnon noted earlier this month. "In fact they get punished... American voters are so hungry for more voice, and more choice." link

    The guest list at Monday's confab said as much about the group as its slogan. Attendees were a mix of media commentators (David Brooks, Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski), recent political losers (former Delaware Rep. Mike Castle, former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist), politicians who aren't seeking re-election (New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh), and moderates who have special permission to buck their party (incoming West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman). In other words, a bunch of people with nothing at stake. link

    Unfortunately, people may well be conned into believing that voting for this party might result in something other than conservative corporate policies. IOW the same policies that we are getting now and in 2011.


    "No Label" party = (none / 0) (#71)
    by The Addams Family on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 07:32:26 PM EST
    upscale Tea Party = astroturf

    It occurs to me (none / 0) (#66)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 06:09:31 PM EST
    might well have gone to Obama if he took care of those that gave him the job

    That Obama let down the whole country not just his base.


    This NPR piece on possible William Daley (none / 0) (#25)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 01:11:07 PM EST
    appointment as chief of staff--not encouraging:  link

    Of course it isn't (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by sj on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 01:40:39 PM EST
    This struck me as particularly farcical:

    The signal that you'd be sending to the country is we're ready to win back over the center. The policy signal that you'd be sending to Congress is we're willing to work with you to advance a moderate bipartisan agenda

    Because up to now, the premature capitulation has been ... why?


    William Daley, third way advocate, (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 01:43:17 PM EST
    is truly representative of the Obama administration. If not him, maybe Obama can find a Republican to fill the slot (same difference, anyway.

    Howard Dean likes Daley (none / 0) (#52)
    by MKS on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 05:09:12 PM EST
    But doesn't like (none / 0) (#53)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 05:11:56 PM EST
    outgoing WH staff

    Speaking at the Christian Science Monitor breakfast series, the former Vermont governor said he expected President Barack Obama's sometimes-rocky relationship with his base to improve once the aides who accompanied him to office left his administration. The problem, Dean stressed, was not that the president's policies had failed an ideological litmus test, but that he had surrounded by insiders who were dismissive of progressives and failed to change the business of governance.

    "[M]ost of the people who were [causing the friction] are either out of the White House or going," Dean said. "So I guess I would say there is in process a huge senior staff shakeup going on at the White House. I think that is a very good thing and I think that will help."

    While Obama may differ with progressives on certain policy issues, Dean said, "The core issue is the contempt, which not just the progressives were treated by but lots of people were treated by, by senior advisers around the president who have been here for 20 years and thought they knew everything and we knew nothing. That is a fundamental flaw in any kind of administration. As they say, 'Don't let the door hit you in the you-know-what on the way out.'"

    Dean and I part ways on this also (5.00 / 3) (#59)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 05:28:08 PM EST
    The problem, Dean stressed, was not that the president's policies had failed an ideological litmus test, but that he had surrounded by insiders who were dismissive of progressives and failed to change the business of governance.

    For me the core issue is that I disagree with Obama on policies. Not only did he fail to change the business of governance, he failed to change the same policies that have failed in the past. He could make fun of me all he wants if he had passed sound policies. Bad policies combined with all the stroking in the world would not win me over. Bad policies combined with contempt - well we saw how well that played in 2010.      


    So -- Dean and I disagree on this subject (none / 0) (#58)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 05:17:03 PM EST
    Howard Dean has been known to be wrong before.

    I think Dean's rather (none / 0) (#61)
    by brodie on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 05:42:54 PM EST
    warm embrace of Daley needs to be discounted by the fact that there was considerable personal animus between Dean and Rahm over HD's heading the DNC and his 50-state strategy, and between Dean and Gibbs over the 2004 election and Gibby's involvement in the group that put out the awful hit commercial against Dean, where the face of Osama morphed into Howard.

    Given those two and their past with Dean, I think Howard would have warmly endorsed any Dem for CoS plausibly this side of Joe Lieberman or Ben Nelson, even if only by a slight margin.


    All politics is personal..... (none / 0) (#67)
    by MKS on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 06:23:43 PM EST
    If Nothing Else (none / 0) (#1)
    by The Maven on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 09:11:40 AM EST
    this capitulation by the Beltway media and the apparent acquiescence in it by the Obama Administration will be one of the most harmful legacies for the Democratic Party to overcome.

    It makes my head hurt every time I hear a Republican try to explain why tax cuts shouldn' be counted in the deficit-expansion equations by claiming, "but it's the people's money -- what right does the government have to it?"  And it seems that the media itself will never answer the question, leaving the assertion either unrebutted entirely or at best in the hands of a "liberal" academic for any response (in the latter case, the media has then even further muddled things by portraying this as a he said/she said issue).

    Having co-opted the framing for tax policy, the right-wing now has much greater leeway to misrepresent both their own real positions and those of Democrats by using prettified language designed to cause potential voters to stand against their own economic interests.  Will it hold up all the way to November 2012?  It certainly has a better chance with the media giving the Norquist rhetoric a free pass.

    What amazes me is the lack of discussion (none / 0) (#3)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 09:35:45 AM EST
    from the media on the Great Recession lowering tax revenues. also from the Tea Partiers.  Do they just not know that federal revenues vary from year to year based on taxes gathered?

    I must have forgotten to take my stupid pills. As lilburro points out, two data points on corrective measures that succeeded. I don't recall the first two years of the Reagan administration as a bed of roses after cutting the taxes... but I was just living and working then.

    Furthermore, those that insist on examining the JFK tax cuts only look at the cuts, not monetary policy, fiscal policy, spending, or even that the US was still backing currency with gold in 1960... even though we didnt have gold coinage.

    News analysis should me knowing some historical context, instead of "he said/he said" arguments.

    They were not that great (none / 0) (#4)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 10:11:00 AM EST

    I don't recall the first two years of the Reagan administration as a bed of roses after cutting the taxes... but I was just living and working then.

    However, the Reagan's tax rate cuts were not finally phased in until after those two years.  Tax revenues were never cut as tax revenues were higher in each year than any year prior to the Reagan administration.

    Don't confuse tax rates with tax revenues.  Sometimes raising rates increases revenue and sometimes it cuts revenue.  Likewise tax rate reductions sometimes produce more revenue and sometimes less revenue.


    The wealthy get a free ride (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Dadler on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 10:22:33 AM EST
    Everything else is nonsense. The only people asked to make genuine sacrifices for their nation are those who can least afford it. The richest in this nation, from their actions, seem not to give a sh*t about anything beyond their tiny dicks and fat wallets.  The country? Screw it.

    I repeat, the wealthy get a free ride.  But we'd rather keep the peons fighting with each other about who gets to eat peanut shells.

    Truly, truly pathetic.


    Last I saw (none / 0) (#6)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 10:50:41 AM EST

    The top 1% of income tax returns reported 19.6% of income and paid 41% of the income tax.  How is that a "free ride?"

    Not a PENNY of that money... (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by Dadler on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 11:03:55 AM EST
    ...caused them to miss a meal, or a payment, or to choose between pills or electricity.

    Come on, my friend, you cannot fail to understand the difference between cold percentage points and warm human bodies.  Jesus H., you can put Bill Gates in a room of homeless people and suddenly the average income in the room skyrockets.

    And you KNOW what sacrifice means. Or you are a very cold person.  Take a hundred grand from someone making a million a year and you impact their ability to live and be rich to ZERO degree. Take two grand from someone making twenty and it means something important is jettisoned.

    For taxes to impact the rich like they do the poor, the their burden to be fair and equal, the wealthy would have to pay more than twice what they do.  But, in practical effect, in the factual reality of life's necessities being impacted by taxes, the rich in this country, I repeat, get a free ride. A wildly free ride.

    And they, with notable and rare exceptions, do nothing but whine and complain about it the entire way.


    If the wealthy buy politicans a tax policy... (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Dadler on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 11:12:21 AM EST
    ...it's free speech, the the middle class, working class or, god forbid, the poor try to do the same it's socialism and evil and yap yap yap, whine whine whine, complain complain complain, bribe bribe bribe.

    Orwellian truth rules our realm: when push comes to shove, it's state welfare socialism for the wealthy, "free market" sink or swim for everyone else.  

    And the ruling class pays relatively little to make our "leaders" and "free American media" play like just the opposite.


    Socialism (none / 0) (#13)
    by MKS on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 11:52:44 AM EST
    I had never heard the Right toss out the term "socialism" dervisely until MCain and Joe the Plumber.

    When I first heard the term used that way in 2008, I laughed.  How weak.  How much of a pale ghost of taunts past.  Come on, it used to be "Commie, pinko, bleeding heart."

    Socialism conjures up Sweden.  That's a h*ll hole worthy of great fear?  But it does make conservatives quake in their boots--because the fear is not of the economic policies of Sweden but of its godlessness.


    if only they knew how to employ... (none / 0) (#18)
    by Dadler on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 12:11:34 PM EST
    ...the word "caliphate."  

    And those Swedes are frightening, aren't they? I always hated Saabs, they just looked commie to me, and who'd name a car after crying. So weak.


    Or the words Oligarchy (none / 0) (#22)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 12:54:41 PM EST
    or Super Rich, or Racism.  

    or the words denial (none / 0) (#39)
    by Dadler on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 03:22:04 PM EST
    and delusion and distraction.

    no no, there's is no class war in this country, put your heads back in the sand people.



    Maybe the Swedish birds are afraid (none / 0) (#33)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 02:03:53 PM EST
    of socialism?  link

    this is the third case on two continents... (none / 0) (#41)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 03:24:49 PM EST
    of large numbers of birds found dead since Jan. 1. First red-winged blackbirds in Arkansas and Louisiana, now birds in Sweden.

    eh (none / 0) (#42)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 03:41:30 PM EST
    They did this last year in the now canceled tv show, Flash Forward.

    We need originality, people!


    I missed the show. Do I have to wait six months (none / 0) (#43)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 04:23:57 PM EST
    for the rerun? ;-P

    Unfortunately (none / 0) (#47)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 04:34:16 PM EST
    They canceled it.  Too bad - I really liked it (but apparently I was of a very small minority).



    What about The Event? (none / 0) (#50)
    by MKS on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 04:54:39 PM EST
    Started out good....

    And then there there was the mummy show, The Walking Dead--which was oddly riveting--even tough I generally don't go for the modern vampire and mummy shows...


    I've watched (none / 0) (#51)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 05:02:12 PM EST
    2 episodes of The Event - the rest are still DVR'd.  It seems to be the kind of show where you really have to pay attention every episode, and I've been working lots of long hours and haven't wanted to focus that hard on a TV show for a couple of months.

    Lately, it's "give me a show where I know all the players and the back storylines, so I don't have to concentrate that hard."


    CSI Miami is for you, then (none / 0) (#54)
    by MKS on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 05:12:15 PM EST
    Just the colors alone are mezmerizing and soothing....Puts one to sleep.

    Every shot has this golden sunshine bathing everything.....


    Can't get into the CSI's (none / 0) (#57)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 05:15:30 PM EST
    way too graphic for my tastes.

    But I do love Burn Notice, so I get some of the Miami sunshine (and tolerate the girls in skimpy bikinis). And Hawaii Five-O - good banter, beautiful scenery, and occassionally McGarrett takes off his shirt and shows us his beautiful abs, pecs, and tatoos!  :)


    Burn notice I love. (none / 0) (#60)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 05:28:47 PM EST
    I like to think of myself as a handsomer, balding, Sam Axe. I have the shirts, I just need a rich divorcee or widow to sponge off of, and I'm Miami bound.

    Meh, Sam Axe was a SEAL... no inter-service rivalry here, but they 'ain't all that.'


    One sentence (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by sj on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 11:30:18 AM EST
    with three percent signs.  A great way to hide behind statistics and especially averages (as Dadler pointed out).

    And that's all it is.  Hiding human needs and the public good behind numbers that justify the continued selfishness of the selfish.  Those who use the most resources should darn well pay for those resources.  Those who benefit the most from a society should contribute the most to that society.


    Amen (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Dadler on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 12:07:53 PM EST
    From one very tired atheist.

    And what %age do they (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by observed on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 12:17:43 PM EST
    pay on their actual total earnings??? Nowhere near 40%

    What percent of SS do they fund? (5.00 / 4) (#40)
    by BobTinKY on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 03:23:37 PM EST
    I am guessing not much more than 1% given the flat rate, regressive income cap on the program.  Yet our politicians have raided this fund for the last 30 years to lower taxers primarily for the benefit of the top 1%.

    Didtribution of wealth (none / 0) (#34)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 02:13:22 PM EST

    Distribution of wealth and distribution of income are two different things. Since Obama and company define an income of $200K+ as "rich", there seems little reason to switch to wealth which is far harder to measure. For example, how could the author reliably count the amount of cash under the mattresses?

    The big thing that study misses is the people in those top X% are always coming and going.  This is closely associated with age.  Bill Gates is clearly in the top 1%.  Clearly not so years ago when Microsoft was peddling Microsoft Basic.

    The other thing that is odd about those stats is if the value of Microsoft should double, then that top 1% would control even more wealth due to Mr. Gates holdings and his 1% membership.  How that hurts anyone is a mystery to me.  It would certainly help many 401k and pension funds held by the other 99% of us.


    it hurts people (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by CST on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 02:44:13 PM EST
    when you start talking about cutting social security because you won't raise bill gates's taxes.

    Or you let your schools get worse and fire teachers.  Or you let infrastructure crumble.

    Bill Gates can afford to pay for a lot of stuff with his taxes that I can't pay for with mine because I don't make enough.

    And he benefits from it to, an educated worker base, an educated and employed consumer base who can afford to purchase microsoft products, clean water, etc...


    IIRC Bill Gates (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 03:08:35 PM EST
    supports raising taxes on the top 2%.

    I'll take the top 1%'s tax rate any day (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by BobTinKY on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 03:21:12 PM EST
    if I also get their after tax income.  And anyone in the top 1% who wants my "lower" applicable rate (which by the way is applied to that portion of their income which corresponds to my earnings) is welcome to it - I am happy to swap incomes with them.

    The fact is I already share with 100% of taxpayers, i.e., am subject to,  all the rates.  I just don't have enough income to have the top rate applied to me.  There is nothing inequitable about progressive brackets, they apply to all income earners equally.  I hope I someday have the "problem" of having enough income to move into the highest marginal tax bracket.  Those individuals who just split the Mega Millions are not having  a rate imposed on them in 2011 that they weren't already subject to, they just earn enough to have it now apply.

    It may be their money but it is their government as well.  And if government's main purpose is to  protect one's life and security, well we all got life but those with orders of magnitude more property to secure ought to be happy to pay for it.


    Over time, looking at families, (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 04:32:49 PM EST
    wealth isn't changing hands. It's concentrating. If John  Amir made 600 million (adjusted for inflation, let's say) in 1916, John Amir III or Johnna Amir-Doe may make 'earn' absolutely nothing from their labor, just from interest or stocks. the Amir family isn't destitute. It still sits in a position of multigenerational privilege.

    Or any on the folks that look to John amir as a scion might be able to, oh, take that unpaid internship for two years with a firm, attend a prestigious private school, or even journey around the world to see the sights without facing hardship. Little Jeffinalabama doesn't have that privilege. And yes, it's privilege, based on choosing proper parents, grandparents, etc., that creates the unfair advantage.

    As Barry Switzer, coach of Oklahoma and the Cowboys used to say, "Some people are born on third base and spend their life thinking they hit a triple."  Switzer was/is a New Deal Democrat.


    Yep (1.00 / 0) (#62)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 05:46:13 PM EST

    ... wealth isn't changing hands. It's concentrating.

    Good point.  They are sneaky too and like to hide the source of their wealth.  Here is Forbes list of the wealthiest Americans.

    Rank     Name
    1        Bill Gates
    2     Warren Buffett
    3     Larry Ellison
    4     Christy Walton
    5     Charles Koch
    5     David Koch
    7     Jim Walton
    8     Alice Walton
    9     S. Robson Walton
    10     Michael Bloomberg

    The Waltons were Rockefellers until they changed their names to hide the concentration of wealth.

    Bill Gates is Howard Hughs grandson.

    Warren Buffet changed his name from  DuPont.

    Larry Ellison inherited the Andrew Mellon fortune in 2010 paying no taxes due to old Andrew kicking the bucket in a zero tax year.

    The rest are all related to Andrew Carnegie.

    No doubt about it, once wealthy always wealthy.


    sigh. The top 10 list... (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 05:56:41 PM EST
    fine you're a FUkCIN GENIUS,  and of course you're right. Damn, Abdul, you should be president. or maybe God.

    I BOW TO THE GENIUS OF ABDUL, who is able to look up names quickly, and percentages of who pays what quickly. Post some more. I'm so impressed by your non answer answers.

    On second thought, don't. I don't want to read any more drivel. It's like teaching first-years again.

    "Geez, I never looked at it that way... you and Ayn Rand are right! Call in Mises, and you three use your lists and lack of investigation, and you go right ahead and run this economy. Straight into oblivion.


    Gates SR. was extremely (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by observed on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 06:00:12 PM EST
    wealthy (10s of millions) decades ago. In fact, Bill Gates DOES demonstrate concentration of wealth.

    Same with the Walton children. (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 06:04:20 PM EST
    But the top 10 says nothing about the families like, for instance, the VandenHeuvels-- I mention because of Democratic ties. YEah, they were broke hollanders before Katrina got her job.

    I get frustrated at times, and I'm not going to say any more.

    Hammer, meet head. OW. Well, let me try again...Hammer, meet head, but be nice. OW. I'd better sign off for the night. See y'all tomorrow.


    Perhaps (none / 0) (#68)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 07:18:06 PM EST

    Perhaps you missed the point.  There are no Rockefellers, Duponts, Hughs, Mellons, or the super wealthy of yesteryear on the top ten list.  If wealth concentrates, how is it that these new comers have replaced them?

    un-effing-believable (none / 0) (#69)
    by The Addams Family on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 07:30:22 PM EST
    If you're not looking at (none / 0) (#70)
    by observed on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 07:31:39 PM EST
    the aggregate wealth for the top x%(.1 or 1)---a number which has had a staggering increase since Reagan,you're wasting time. Also,as several people pointed out, income tax is a red he rring. P.S.: the Duponts are still filthy rich.

    Can you please explain (none / 0) (#72)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 07:18:36 AM EST

    Can you please explain why Mr. Gates wealth is a problem?  Also, why it would be a good thing for Microsoft stock to lose value, thereby reducing the wealth held by the top X%.

    I"m just correcting your facts. (none / 0) (#73)
    by observed on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 08:07:46 AM EST
    I have no interest in   debating you until you accept the fact of increased wealth concentration.

    Its quire obvious (none / 0) (#75)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 09:51:25 AM EST

    Its quite obvious that since Mr. Gates is the wealthiest person in the country that there has been a concentration of wealth to get him to that point.  There accepted.

    Now the question remains, so what?  How would we be better off is Mr. Gates holdings were worth less and thus reducing this fearsome concentration?


    you are missing half (none / 0) (#76)
    by CST on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 09:56:51 AM EST
    of the "distribution of wealth" argument.

    It's not that we want to burn up his money and make it go poof.  Society as a whole is better off if everyone else has a bigger piece of the pie.  Fewer people in poverty, more money to the middle class who spend to get the economy cranking (the rich can't do it alone), a better educated populace that will result in future innovation, etc... etc...


    Make up your mind. (none / 0) (#77)
    by observed on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 11:08:54 AM EST

    Perhaps you missed the point.  There are no Rockefellers, Duponts, Hughs, Mellons, or the super wealthy of yesteryear on the top ten list.  If wealth concentrates, how is it that these new comers have replaced them?

    Once you've  made up your mind, I'll answer your specific point about the top ten list by saying its irrelevant. The top stocks vary year by year, but no one would suggest that this says anything one way or another about the stock market as a whole.
    There are two issues. One is the income tax paid by the wealthy. Wisely, you have dropped this issue, because it makes you look stupid. The wealthy pay very low taxes on their income, all told.
    The second issue is concentration of wealth.
    You seem to now agree this occurs, whereas previously you denied it. Good job.
    Next, would you like to know the words to the Internationale?


    Wealth (none / 0) (#78)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 01:28:12 PM EST
    Is a two earner family of eight with a negative net worth and an income of $250,000 wealthy?

    Neither Obama nor the Dems in the house or senate ever proposed that income tax rates be based on wealth.  They proposed a tax rate based on income.

    BTW, although there has been some accumulation of wealth to make Billy Gates the richest American, wealth is much less concentrated today that when John D. Rockefeller was around.  

    According to some methods of wealth calculation, Rockefeller's net worth over the last decades of his life would easily place him as the wealthiest known person in recent history. As a percentage of the United States' GDP, no other American fortune -- including those of Bill Gates or Sam Walton -- would even come close.


    Here here! (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Dadler on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 04:33:52 PM EST
    And all those capital gains millionaires don't pay FICA on that money either. Sick.

    Just raise the cap on FICA and voila! (none / 0) (#56)
    by MKS on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 05:14:29 PM EST
    no more problems with Social Security viability in the latter half of this Century.

    Or, you could create a donut hole....keeping the cap in place until after you reach 250k in place....That way the taxes on the middle class are not raised.


    Actually not (none / 0) (#55)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 05:13:44 PM EST
    But you were asking us to compare the percentage of income taxes the wealthiest demographic pays with regards to what the rest of us do, by looking solely at the amount of income they declare for tax purposes, and without taking into consideration their total net worth.

    Actually not.  The stats i quoted made no mention of wealth at all.  The feds publish the stats on income taxes paid.  However, the feds do not correlate income to wealth.  Probably because they have no accurate way to measure wealth in all its liquid and illiquid forms.  For example, you don't know what your house is worth until someone makes an offer, neither do the feds.

    The problem remains, there appear to be plenty of anecdotes but no reliable statistics on the income of the top 1% of wealth holders.  Hardly surprising  since there is no reliable way to determine the value of most peoples wealth.


    When I read this at Hullabaloo (none / 0) (#74)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 09:21:44 AM EST
    I had to take a blog break.  I had a last straw moment.