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Fri Dec 28, 2012, 09:15 AM

It Sure As Hell IS A Revenue Problem

When Congress talks about taking money away from the elderly and the sick and the disabled; when Congress talks about cutting essential services for the impoverished and the working poor; when Congress debates whether it can afford to pay for the losses from Hurricane Sandy: THAT IS A REVENUE PROBLEM - not a "spending problem. If we have a spending problem it is that we aren't spending enough, not nearly enough, on upgrading this nation's infra structure to remain economically competitive in the global economy, and THAT is a revenue problem.

Why do we have a revenue problem? Because corporate lobbyists write our tax codes and billionaires buy a Congressional team to play ball with them the way George Steinbrenner bought free agents for the Yankees. The rich have done fabulously well in America since Ronald Reagan became President, the rest of us of fared poorly.

Every last dollar that the wealthy manage to permanently keep from George W. Bush's temporary tax cuts is clawed from the flesh of those who must struggle to survive while the rich still thrive. There is no such thing as "austerity" for the top 2% in America - at worse they might face some pangs of delayed gratification, or be forced to get by with only owning one or two very comfortable homes.

Social Security was adequately funded, the surplus was dispersed as tax breaks for those who never needed them. The American people want Social security protected, not "strengthened" by shaving back benefits and pretending that less equals more. We know where the revenues we paid for went. The Democratic Party can't pretend not to know also, and it will pay a price if it tries to. If the elites that the Republican Party works for want to maintain the stable social fabric that provides for them so well, now is the time for them to reign in their attack dogs.

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Arrow 31 replies Author Time Post
Reply It Sure As Hell IS A Revenue Problem (Original post)
Tom Rinaldo Dec 2012 OP
1StrongBlackMan Dec 2012 #1
Tom Rinaldo Dec 2012 #2
plethoro Dec 2012 #3
Tom Rinaldo Dec 2012 #5
plethoro Dec 2012 #13
Samantha Dec 2012 #21
1StrongBlackMan Dec 2012 #6
plethoro Dec 2012 #14
Angry Dragon Dec 2012 #18
plethoro Dec 2012 #29
1StrongBlackMan Dec 2012 #4
Tom Rinaldo Dec 2012 #10
obxhead Dec 2012 #7
Tom Rinaldo Dec 2012 #11
socialindependocrat Dec 2012 #8
Tom Rinaldo Dec 2012 #12
n2doc Dec 2012 #9
Lefty Thinker Dec 2012 #15
Dustlawyer Dec 2012 #16
Left Turn Only Dec 2012 #17
Tom Rinaldo Dec 2012 #20
jmowreader Dec 2012 #24
ProfessionalLeftist Dec 2012 #19
mostlyconfused Dec 2012 #22
DallasNE Dec 2012 #25
mostlyconfused Dec 2012 #30
DallasNE Dec 2012 #31
Tom Rinaldo Dec 2012 #27
DallasNE Dec 2012 #23
freshwest Dec 2012 #26
unblock Dec 2012 #28

Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 09:50 AM

1. Congress is NOT ...

talking about taking money away from the elderly and the sick and the disabled ... the pundits are; but I completely agree with the rest of your OP.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 09:54 AM

2. Without resorting to speculation about the future; the Republican House is.

It is true that we do not yet know what final deals await us

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:01 AM

3. Tom, I want to ask you the same question I just asked RKP. Just a yes or

 

or no answer would be satisfactory.

My question is: If we go over the fiscal cliff (whatever that is), do you think the government (whoever that is now) will use this event to suspend Social Security payments under some kind of guise?

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Response to plethoro (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:06 AM

5. No, I don't. Maybe if the debt ceiling isn't raised something could happen to S.S. checks

If you are hinting that one side or the other or both would use scaring Seniors to score points in a budget showdown, the debt ceiling provides clearer opportunities to immediately mess with Social Security.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Reply #5)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:28 AM

13. Thanks...........nft

 

ddddddddd

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Reply #5)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:50 AM

21. I think you are correct because Social Security, Medicare and Veterans Benefits are exempted

from cuts resulting from sequestration.

Sam

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Response to plethoro (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:06 AM

6. Not ...

unless no deal is made before February and there is no raising of the debt limit.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #6)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:29 AM

14. Thanks........nft

 

ddddddd

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Response to plethoro (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:59 AM

18. NO

THe SS has nothing to do with the debt or deficit so the checks should flow. If they do not then someone is cheating ..........

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Response to Angry Dragon (Reply #18)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:09 PM

29. Thanks. It's your caveat that concerns me.......nft

 

dddddd

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:04 AM

4. The republican House is not congress ...

which includes Democrats in the House and the Democratic held Senate.

Not to be a stickler, but framing is important ... it killd the "they're both doing it" argument.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #4)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:12 AM

10. Not to be a stickler, but Pelosi already called Chained CPI "strengthening Social Security"

My own hunch only is that she felt it necessary to make that concession after taking a hard stance against raising the age for Medicare - and I suspect there was behind the scenes horse trading with the Administration involved. I doubt Pelosi really sees Chained CPI as strengthening Social Security, but she has to pick her fights carefully. There had already been one Congressional Democratic rebellious outbreak which resulted in Durbin announcing that Medicare had been taken off the table.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:09 AM

7. Mind if I send this to my Congressman?

I know it will fall on deaf ears as my Congressman is Eric "Fuck anyone not in the 2%" Cantor, but maybe he'll feel a slight pang of guilt.

But, I doubt it.

Excellent post, K&R

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Response to obxhead (Reply #7)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:13 AM

11. Absolutely. n/t

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:10 AM

8. You can't deny that we have spending problems

The more stupid things we stop spendin for the more revenue can go toward reducing the debt.

Agree. The wealthy also, have a cushion.
For the past 30 years the wealthy have taken more than teir share of the earnings.
They are earning more money with those investments.
We are not asking them to give that money back we are just asking them to
start to contribute more to the cost of running the country.

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Response to socialindependocrat (Reply #8)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:22 AM

12. Sure, but humans are rarely capable of absolute efficiency.

More often than not, in the name of going after the fat all kinds of important tissue also goes under the knife. It is far easier for an admininstrater to implement across the board cuts than to skillfully evaluate whether each and every dollar in a multi-million dollar budget is being spent most effectively.

Good budget cutting designed to increase efficiency rarely happens in a crisis - it is the result of long term planning and a careful review process. I'm all for that by the way, but outside of the sacred cow Pentagon, and special interest protected boondoggles obvious fat is not that common anymore.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:11 AM

9. Of course it is

Revenue (all types) collected by the federal Government have been around 18-22% of GDP for a long time. Until Bush II came along.



I think the 1%ers have gotten very adept at gaming the system in recent years. Time to change that.

And, I always ask- Why must SS and medicare be cut to raise taxes? I don't remember them being RAISED when taxes were cut.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:31 AM

15. Actually, I think we have a deficit problem...

as in "it's not big enough." When you look at the dollars flowing out of circulation to savings and net importing (trade deficit), it is obvious that our economy is bleeding dollars there. The appropriate response is for the government to run a larger deficit putting otherwise un/underemployed people to work to balance the accounting. Otherwise, the accounting gets balanced by unemployed people reducing their net importing (by purchasing less overall) and spending their savings or on credit (dissaving in economic parlance).

Taxing more does not, itself, solve this problem because it actually decreases the deficit. Just like spending cuts, tax increases will make the situation worse. It is possible to shift the burden to where it will be felt more lightly, but an overall increase in revenues at this point is counterproductive.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:35 AM

16. This is why we need COMPLETE CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM! We need OUR representative

government back! Just like the Repugs always do, they are guilty of what they accuse Democrats of doing, which in the instant case, is "class warfare!" If you really want to make their assholes pucker, talk about increasing revenue from the inheritance tax! Take away all of the loopholes. The 1% use corporations and Trusts to insulate their wealth, avoid taxes, and pass their wealth on. This will not happen since Democratic politicians are complicit in rigging the game! Until you realize that it is not really us Democrats vs. the evil Republicans, it is most politicians vs. us, we will continue to bitch and moan when Obama caves, or the Dems have no backbone on our issues! OUR WHOLE SYSTEM IS RIGGED! THEY SCARE US WITH THE MITT ROMNEY'S, AND BACK OFF TO A LESSOR EVIL AND WE TAKE IT!!!

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:48 AM

17. Cost of Running a Great Country

At least half the people in this country drive me over sanity's cliff. Few people seem to realize all the things that are needed by what the federal government does. The conservative drumbeat to cut the size of the federal government benefits only the wealthy because they don't need public services nearly as much as the common person. Controlling outbreaks of disease, protecting the food supply, tracking dangerous storms, maintaining and building infrastructure, and helping state governments are only a few of the necessary things that our federal government is doing for us every day. These things cost money, and the costs of everything keeps going up, so it is only logical that the costs of government have to keep going up with inflation; yet, conservatives have many Americans believing that we should cut taxes and spending -- a double whammy when it comes to providing the myriad things needed by the people. Do people realize how much their state and local taxes would have to go up if the federal government stopped helping with the costs of education, and that's just one thing; this is what Libertarians fail to mention to people when they talk about "freeing us" from the federal government. Imagine if state and local governments had to pay for all the things mentioned above along with Social Security, Medicare, and all the other things provided by the federal government and the people as a nation. Since the costs of what is needed to run a great country only keep rising along with everything else, then we need more revenue as time passes, not less. Unless we are going to create a whole new economic system that is not based on consumption and ever-increasing profits, this is a reality we all have to face.

The Bush tax cuts were never paid for and were put in place to necessitate the cutting of the social programs that the wealthy have hated ever since FDR. If we don't end ALL the Bush tax-cuts, deficit spending will only continue to rise. While Social Security is doing fine right now, it will not pay all the needed costs in the future with the graying of America, and we will never be able to control health costs as long as corporations control health care. In any event, as Tom has said, we need more revenue, not less, and we as a people have to pay for what we want.

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Response to Left Turn Only (Reply #17)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:26 AM

20. This should be it's own OP.

As to Social Security, here is something I would like to see talked about more. For many decades Social Security took in more than it spent. The surplus as I understand it, by law, was invested in T bills. The Federal government is now paying interest on those T Bills to Social Security, but at some point new payroll taxes plus that interest will fall short of the amount that Social Security must pay out each month.

Social Security was never designed, far as I can tell, to function by "living off" the interest from its savings. That interest was a natural by product caused by generating a surplus over decades and since there was a surplus piling up of course it could and should earn interest. Now we talk about the graying of America, but isn't that a moving demographic bump that will work it's way through our population over the next few decades? Mortality dictates that even the Boomers won't be around for ever. The non-white population tends to have slightly larger families and that population is growing as a percentage of Americans - in particular Latinos are. So won't Social Security at some pending point move out of the red on a monthly basis again?

I admit that I don't have the figures, but it seems likely to me that after generating Trillions of dollars in surpluses over decades, that Social Security has the money saved to supplement outgoing payments to aging boomers until they like all those before them cross that rainbow bridge. That of course assumes that the money that Social Security piled up for just such a contengency was made available to use when the need actually arises. The period of time it will be needed is not permanent, just like those surplus decades that went before was not permanent. Will mid 21st Century America still be "graying"?

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Reply #20)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:26 PM

24. Actually, Social Security was never designed to live off Social Security taxes

Your SS scenario: The Social Security Administration takes in $1 billion. They need $750 million of it to pay benefits and put the rest into bonds.

Teabaggers' scenario: Greedy Congressmen grab all the Social Security tax revenue and spend it, and the Federal Reserve prints money to give to senior citizens.

Reality: $1 billion in Social Security taxes come in. All of it is invested. When the bonds are repaid, any of the proceeds which are not needed for benefits are reinvested.

Any money manager and 95 percent of Republicans tell you to invest. When the government does it, they think it's a bad thing.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:24 AM

19. That's exactly what I said:

Here’s something to consider, which most Americans are aware of and I’m sure you are too Mr. President: Income tax rates for the wealthiest Americans is now lower than it has ever been (at least since the 1940s). And the effective U.S. corporate tax rate is also lower than it has been since at least the 1940s and probably lower than ever in our nation’s history.

Don’t look now Mr. President but in addition to that ocean of red ink George W. Bush plunged America into, it also appears that we have a REVENUE problem. And Social Security hasn’t had a damn thing to do with any of it.

What happens when the U.S. government is not bringing in enough revenue? One of two things: the difference gets added to the debt / deficit or taxpayers must pay more in taxes to increase revenue. Remember that stuff Bill Clinton called “arithmetic“? Well there it is. And remember that nice surplus President Clinton left in our budget? It was immediately squandered by George W. Bush and turned instead into a sea of red ink which you now want to cut Social Security to help pay for when Social Security isn’t even the problem!

In the past 10-15 years, that lost revenue from these historically low tax rates has simply been put on the nation’s credit card. That, or the middle class, poor and seniors have been asked to make up the difference. The former is irresponsible and the later is grossly unfair.

It is immoral and unconscionable to allow the wealthiest Americans to continue paying lower (or even no) taxes while the middle class makes up the difference in lost revenue by paying more — and then to subsequently tell those same middle class Americans you are going to cut their retirement savings accounts to help pay for those lower taxes for the wealthiest on top of it all. Talk about adding insult to injury.

It is also immoral, unconscionable and grossly unfair that the largest corporations in the U.S. enjoy bottomless government bailouts, endless government subsidies, and copious tax breaks, (many pay no taxes at all on their vast profits) while the middle class, poor, and our nation’s seniors are forced to make up the difference in lost revenue out of their shallow pockets instead — and then are further told that the benefits from the retirement program they paid into all their lives will be cut too.

After all we couldn’t bother Exxon-Mobil, the Koch Brothers or Goldman Sachs and its Mr. Blankfein to pay taxes on their enormous income and profits for once, could we (sarcasm)? Actually, we really should, but these entities own too many congresspeople and it seems the weaselly and unelected Mr. Grover Norquist somehow had too many congressmen’s family jewels in his personal vice-grip for that to happen.

Social Security is not an “entitlement” and it is not “welfare“. It is a retirement program that Americans paid into all their lives and it should not be looted or cut so that the wealthiest Americans can buy more mansions as Mr. Blankfein of Goldman Sachs recently has, all while Blankfein was telling seniors and the rest of Americans that they should “expect less” (so he can continue to have more for himself even after taxpayers bailed out Mr. Blankfein and his Wall St. friends when they crashed the economy in 2008).

Greed has no limits, does it? But it can, and in a civil, moral and for that matter sustainably functioning society, it damn well should!

http://www.sevenbowie.com/2012/12/a-letter-to-the-president-one-in-a-series/

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:16 PM

22. but to believe it is a revenue problem...

you kinda have to believe that changes in tax rates can address the problem. If the problem is that we are running a $1+ trillion annual deficit and have a $16 trillion national debt, then that is a problem that cannot be fixed on the revenue side. Obama and boehner are arguing about whether a 4% increase should apply at incomes above $250K or above $1 million. They are essentially arguing about whether to raise enough additional tax revenue to address 1% or 2% of the current deficit. Neither is being serious at all about raising enough revenue to address the problem.

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Response to mostlyconfused (Reply #22)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:41 PM

25. So Your Argument Is

That if you can't fix 100% of the problem you don't fix any of the problem or if you don't fix 100% of the problem with revenue you fix 100% of the problem with spending.

Frankly, the problem is complicated. If you do too much too fast you throw the country back into recession and that only makes the problem worse so whatever the remedy is it must be done over the long haul, meaning 10-20 years -- kind of like a home loan where you have a down payment then monthly payments over several years.

Not discussed either is that since many of the current budget problems happened when we engaged in two unfunded wars then why does not the unwinding of those two wars not provide considerable remedy for our current problems. Defense spending, in other words, needs to be a big part of the solution since it was such a big part of the problem yet Republicans insist on actually increasing defense spending without identifying who the enemy is nor why that spending would address that problem.

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Response to DallasNE (Reply #25)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:10 PM

30. No, not arguing that, just trying to have a realistic conversation

It's a revenue problem and a spending problem. I've not said that we should not raise rates. Among other things we reelected Obama to do just that. But here's a fact...you'd need to raise the top marginal rate to 100% and cut the defense budget to $0 to get close to addressing the annual deficit via those two items. You'd cause as many problems as you fix by doing either of those, and neither could be done year after year, so neither is a realistic solution, but it gives you an idea of the scope of the budget problem. A solution based on a 4% increase in the top marginal rate is not a serious solution at all, neither is any proposed solution that doesn't include serious cuts across many areas of government.

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Response to mostlyconfused (Reply #30)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 02:20 PM

31. But You Are The One Making That Argument Then

Attempting to put words in my mouth. And one again you just throw your hands in the air without saying what you would do. We are just talking about what the down payment is. Growing the economy is a big part of any fix so anything that slows the economy contributes to the problem. That is why it has to be handled as a down payment then spread out over a number of years. It is responsible and realistic.

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Response to mostlyconfused (Reply #22)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:56 PM

27. Starting Point: Those who defend permanetly giving tax cuts to the rich can't demand austerity...

...from the poor. There in no basis for a just resolution coming from that position. We have a revenue problem, it is painfully obvious. Perhaps we are incapable of raising all the revenue needed, but we are fully cabable of denying further tax cuts to those who do not need them. Then we need to look at military spending. The military exists to defend our lives and well being. For many, our lives and well being are at serious risk in part because so much money is spent on the military that is needed to stop suffering and death here at home. We are causing what we theoretically are spending to defend against, when the external threat is less dire than the internal one. What do guns defend when there is no butter?

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:21 PM

23. Of Course It Is A Revenue Problem

One area mentioned here is the need for more infrastructure. Historically infrastructure spending has been financed by fuel taxes. Indeed, when adjusted for inflation, gas taxes were their highest under Eisenhower. That should be expected since he signed into law the bill to construct the Interstate highway system. In fact, before LBJ created the unified budget there was the Highway Trust Fund that was funded by fuel taxes that paid for transportation related expenses. The gas tax was last increased in 1993 so no wonder our infrastructure is in such bad shape. And it is made worse because vehicles are getting more fuel efficient. It is long past time for the gas tax to be increased and that is how you pay for increased infrastructure spending. I know some won't like this because it doesn't soak the rich but so be it. Those that use it pay for it. (When I say gas tax I really mean fuel tax).

Here is a link regarding the history of gas taxes. http://www.freeby50.com/2011/03/history-of-federal-gasoline-tax-rate.html

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:47 PM

26. Excellent. Thanks.

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Response to Tom Rinaldo (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:57 PM

28. of course it's a revenue problem. that's why they keep denying it.

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