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hfojvt

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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: South - Carolina and Dakota
Home country: Oz
Current location: Kansas
Member since: Mon Nov 15, 2004, 03:30 AM
Number of posts: 34,787

Journal Archives

actually it has not

and I do not believe there were significantly more deductions in the past. I am pretty sure there are still significant deductions that are still with us, as the current stats I looked at showed.

In 1993, the standard deduction was $3,700. The inflation calculator tells me that is $5,964 in 2013 dollars. Not all that much different from the $6,100 the standard deduction was in 2013. http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=171

It was $2,300 in 1984 which is $5,156 in 2013 dollars, but the 1984 number was rather low. It was $2,300 in 1979 which is $7,380 in 2013 dollars. Making $6,100 actually 17% lower than it was in what I call the "good old days" (before Reagan ruined the country). The real value was closer to $7,000 in most of the 1970s (although it went up and down - in 1977 it was boosted to $8,457 in 2013 dollars!!!!)

Here's the inflation calculator.
http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl?cost1=2200&year1=1977&year2=2013

some people might have wanted

a Democratic President who did not embrace Reaganomic talking points.

So on a list of Obama's accomplishments are a few things that Republicans would applaud.

What do Republicans always push? Tax cuts, tax cuts and more tax cuts. Tax cuts, Republicans say, are always good. And tax increases are bad.

And Obama embraces that message, and so, apparently, do his supporters. From his list of accomplishments:

"Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act , he cut taxes for 95% of America’s working families. http://bit.ly/eSEI4F

Under Obama, tax rates for average working families are the lowest they’ve been since 1950. http://bit.ly/f74pD8

He extended and fully funded the patch for the Alternative Minimum Tax for 10 years. http://bit.ly/eFeSdP"

Take the first one as an example. According to CTJ, the stimulus cut taxes for 98% of working Americans. http://ctj.org/pdf/truthaboutobamataxcuts.pdf

However, they don't bother to mention that the richest 10% got 34% of those tax cuts. The richest 20% got 51% of them.

On the other hand, the poorest 40% only got 23% of them.

So, uhm, yeah, it's so great that Obama cut taxes in a way that benefits the top 20% far more than it helps the bottom 40%. That's definitely what I was hoping he would do when I voted for him twice.

No, actually, it wasn't.

For some reason, I was hoping for better than that.

House seats that can be flipped

Going by results in the last Presidential election, handily compiled by a Kossack http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/11/19/1163009/-Daily-Kos-Elections-presidential-results-by-congressional-district-for-the-2012-2008-elections#

+% of Obama win, (-% of Romney win) in various Congressional districts

A - seats we ought to capture - total of 3

CA-21 +12
CA-31 +16
NJ-2 +8

B - seats with a numbers in our favor - total of 15

CA-10 +3
CO-6 +6
FL-13 +1
FL-27 +6
IA-3 +4
IL-13 +0.3
MN-2 +0.1
MN-3 +0.8
NJ-3 +5
NV-3 +0.8
NY-2 +4
NY-11 +4
NY-19 +6
VA-2 +1.5
WA-8 +1.6

C - Seats with a decent shot (that Romney barely won) - total of 10

CA-25 -2
FL-25 -2
NY-22 -0.4
NY-23 -1.2
OH-10 -2
PA-7 -2
PA-8 -0.1
VA-4 -1
VA-10 -1
WA-3 -2

28 seats where Republican incumbents should be vulnerable anyway. There are seats where Democratic incumbents are vulnerable as well. Perhaps those are worth noting, because we need to fight to hold them as well as fighting to win others

D - seats that are long shots, but perhaps doable - total of 41 (15 of them where Romney's margin was less than 5%)

CA-39 -4
CA-49 -6
CO-3 -6
FL-2 -5
FL-7 -5
FL-10 -7
FL-12 -9
FL-15 -7
FL-16 -9
IA-4 -8
IL-6 -8
IL-16 -8
KS-3 -10
MI-1 -9
MI-3 -7
MI-4 -8
MI-7 -3
MI-8 -3
MI-11 -5
NE-2 -7
NJ-4 -9
NJ-5 -3
NJ-7 -7
NJ-11 -5
NM-2 -7
NV-2 -8
OH-1 -6
OH-5 -9
OH-14 -3
OH-15 -5
OH-16 -8
PA-6 -3
PA-11 -9.5
PA-15 -3
PA-16 -6
VA-1 -8
VA-5 -7
WI-1 -4
WI-6 -7
WI-7 -3
WI-8 -4

The Republican Recession and the Democratic Recovery (updated again)

So I made the mistake of watching Michelle Bachmann.

She continues to push trickle down economics and to ask "where are the jobs?"

Well the first question needs to be, where did the jobs go?

The answer to that is that they went away in Bush's last year in office. Basically Bush trickled them down his leg. This is perhaps my 4th update and the BLS keeps changing their numbers. So, if you are keeping score, the numbers will not be exactly the same as the last update http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021566043

Why the numbers from 2008 should change between 2010 and 2014 is a mystery to me, but presumably the latest numbers are more accurate than the earlier numbers. These are the job gains (or losses) by quarter.

First, the Republican recession, a very severe one

2008
1st (150,000)
2nd (570,000)
3rd (945,000)
4th (1,952,000)

total (with Bush as President) (3,637,000)

2009
1st (2,319,000) note - Obama was sworn in as President and the stimulus passed in the middle of this quarter
2nd (1,528,000)

total (in Obama's first five months in office (3,847,000) Clearly NOT the result of Obama policies.

Then the Democratic recovery (starting by slowing the freefall)


3rd (794,000)
4th (411,000)

total of the last half year (1,205,000)

That the economy was no longer losing 1,000,000+ jobs every quarter is a very positive thing. The economy was in free fall and the stimulus was like a parachute. When you open a parachute, you keep falling, but at a much slower rate so that the landing does not kill you. But things kept getting better for the economy.

2010
1st +101,000
2nd +620,000
3rd (166,000)
4th +467,000

total 2010 + 1,022,000

2011
1st + 470,000
2nd + 628,000
3rd + 435,000
4th + 570,000

total 2011 + 2,103,000

2012
1st +787,000
2nd +324,000
3rd +456,000
4th +626,000

total 2012 +2,193,000

2013
1st +622,000 (-15,000)
2nd +547,000 (-22,000)
3rd +502,000 (+27,000)
the next is mostly provisional (estimates)
4th +575,000 (-15,000)

total 2013 +2,246,000

The numbers in parentheses there are the number of JOBS that governments CUT. Showing that Republican austerity policies are STILL a drag on the economy.

So 7.5 million jobs in the last four years. As Governments have CUT 766,000 jobs since May 2009. The private sector then has added 8.3 million jobs.

If our economic policies were more sane, we would have worked to KEEP those 700,000 government jobs. When somebody gets a job for the government, whether as a postal carrier, teacher, firefighter, garbage collector, food inspector, or whatever, even a janitor like me, they not only provide services to the public, but their paycheck allows them to spend money in the private sector. Which creates, or supports, even more jobs.

But if those jobs are cut, that is another drag on the recovery.

Of course, it is true that 7.5 million new jobs still does NOT equal the 8.7 million jobs that Bush (and Bachman's) policies trickled away in 2008 and 2009. Bachman kept saying "In the last seven years" as if Bush was not President seven years ago (to our great misfortune).

We are slowly recovering from a Republican jobs catastrophe. We'd be recovering even better if not for the catastrophe of November 2010 which gave us a Republican Congress.

I will say this again, every three months, until November. And if you are still reading this, thanks for staying with me.

I've always hated the term "middle class"

because I see the way it is used.

The accursed payroll tax cut was called - by Democratic politicians - a "middle class tax cut". Yet the distribution was like this

12.1% of the payroll tax cut goes to those in the bottom 40%
26.7% of the payroll tax cut goes to those in the top 10%

27.1% goes to those in the bottom 60%
46.4% goes to those in the top 20%


Of course, most politicians, and even many DUers say that much of the TOP 20% is part of the "middle class". And then again, many of those same people will insist that most of the top 20% is also part of the "working class". They say "somebody who has a job making $25,000 a year is working class" and also "somebody who has a job making $250,000 a year is working class". As if those two people are in the same class.

Now I am not saying that somebody in the top 20% can't be on the same SIDE as somebody in the bottom 80%, but they really need then to fight for the bottom 80% and NOT for the bottom 99%. Otherwise, the results of the fight will look like this (taking away the top 1%)

12.1% of the payroll tax cut goes to those in the bottom 40%
23.7% of the payroll tax cut goes to those in the top 9%

27.1% goes to those in the bottom 60%
43.4% goes to those in the top 19%

Still very unequal in THEIR favor.

THE Database

of income inequality, for those few who might be interested

http://topincomes.g-mond.parisschoolofeconomics.eu/#Database:

As a public service, your humble janitor has compiled and tabled some numbers, for some groups, every five years (both to eliminate the ups and downs of single years AND to avoid a mind-numbing endless row of numbers.

Cleans things up a bit. That's the janitor way.


Share of income going to various groups.



year *** 90-95th *** top 4% *** top 1% *** top 5% *** top 10%
___________________________________________________

1960 *** 10.9 *** 12.54 *** 10.03 *** 22.57 *** 33.47
1965 *** 10.9 *** 12.98 *** 10.89 *** 23.87 *** 34.77
1970 *** 10.96 *** 12.64 *** 9.03 *** 21.67 *** 32.63
1975 *** 11.45 *** 13.11 *** 8.87 *** 21.98 *** 33.43
1980 *** 11.47 *** 13.15 *** 10.02 *** 23.17 *** 34.64
1985 *** 11.44 *** 13.45 *** 12.67 *** 26.12 *** 37.56
1990 *** 11.57 *** 14.08 *** 14.33 *** 28.41 *** 39.98
1995 *** 11.89 *** 14.99 *** 15.23 *** 30.22 *** 42.11
2000 *** 11.00 *** 15.08 *** 21.52 *** 36.6 *** 47.6
2005 *** 11.18 *** 15.24 *** 21.92 *** 37.16 *** 48.34
2010 *** 12.19 *** 15.99 *** 19.86 *** 35.85 *** 48.04
_________________________________________
gain *** 1.29 *** 3.45 *** 9.83 *** 13.28 *** 14.57


Source of the numbers appears to be the research of Pikkety and Saez.

Just think though, once the economy really gets going, we will probably soon reach the point where the top 10% gets over 50% of the income.

I can hardly wait.

Just note how relatively flat those percentages were in the good old days - before Ronald Reagan.

edit - dang it all elad, the formatting trick that Make7 told me on DU2 isn't working. I have to use my old asterisk technique, and do it with an invisible cursor. Grabs microphone. "clean up on aisle 7, clean up on aisle 7"

Welcome to the Grand Illusion

Yes, I welcome Styx fans.

Well, it seems we sort of have another Super-Committee working to find a "grand bargain" to solve our very serious debt problem. Omigosh, did you hear? The debt limit had to be raised - again. We have to do something.

Yet, we the people are being asked to accept a "grand compromise" between Republicans and Democrats.

However, the Republican position going in to negotiations is - the Ryan budget. This budget promises to balance the budget in ten years. But they start on the revenue side with a brand new idea for Republicans - tax cuts, and in another huge break with precedence, they are tax cuts where the rich get most - if not all of the benefits.

The Ryan budget DOES call for increases in tax revenue, but they do not say how that will happen in combination with the tax rate CUTS which they do specify. They say they will close loopholes and eliminate deductions (maybe that darned standard deduction that all those working people take to avoid paying their fair share). They cannot specify the loopholes because then people would be able to do the math and show their plan simply WILL NOT WORK. It is apparently a faith-based plan requiring Jesus to return and instead of turning water into wine, he will turn tax cuts into increases in revenue. Praise the Lord.

So, we start this Grand Illusion with one side having a position based on some combination of fantasy and lies. And some parts of the media will blame Democrats who do not "compromise" with such dishonest brokers.

Are Democrats saying very much about this basic problem in this 'negotiation"?

But what about the dishonesty of the Democrats? Not to raise the spectre of a dreaded false equivalency, but Democratic Politicians do not seem very honest to me either - most of them anyway.

First of all, by acting like a "grand bargain" is even possible or would somehow be beneficial. Second, by being half-hearted about revenue increases. Obama has proposed the Buffett rule, for one, which would raise a mere $50 billion or so over the next decade.

One thing they clearly can't talk about is their own Ryan-like deception. The fact that many of them already voted in favor of almost $6 trillion in tax cuts over the next decade.

Yes, I said almost $6 trillion - a number you have probably never heard. I had been using the number $3.7 trillion http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022130101

but it turns out I was wrong, or mis-led.

See, that $3.7 trillion number does not include the AMT patch, which was also made PERMANENT as part of the ATRA-(zine) legislation which was passed with Democratic votes and signed by Obama. The cost of THAT was kept hidden because, as Congress always does it (why?) it was already included in the baseline and thus the $1.9 trillion which it will cost over the next decade was not included in the cost calculations.

Isn't it wonderful how our politicians can sweep facts right under the rug?

So the real total (until I discover even MORE tax breaks swept under the rug) is $5.6 trillion - almost $6 trillion.

Now, because I am kind of obsessive about it, let's look at how the $5.6 trillion in tax cuts which DEMOCRATS passed are distributed. I already did this for the $3.7 trillion. Who gets the $1.9 trillion from the AMT patch?

The media will tell you it is the middle class. CTJ (Citizens for Tax Justice) disputes that. http://www.ctj.org/pdf/amtpatchisnotstimulus.pdf

Because that chart is for the Senate proposal from 2009, I cannot be sure those numbers hold for the ATRA's AMT patch, but they are the only numbers I had and since the AMT patch is pretty standard, they should be close.

They show that only 2.5% of the benefits of the patch go to the top 1%. Which is pretty good. But an astounding 43% go to the top 5% and an even more astounding 92.6% of the benefits go to the richest 20%.

So the AMT patch provides tax cuts to the top 5% of $817 billion over the next decade. Combined with the $1.3 trillion in tax cuts from ATRA gives them $2.1 trillion in PERMANENT tax cuts - to the richest 5%.

Well it sure will be nice if the Buffett rule gets $.05 trillion of that back.

But that is something that Democrats are not going to talk about - those $2.1 trillion in tax cuts for the richest 5% that they just voted FOR. Nor will they mention the $4.15 trillion in tax cuts for the richest 20% that they just voted for.

That's the Democratic Party's lie. That they will not bother to mention something like "hey, if we are concerned about the debt, how about undoing the $2.1 trillion in tax cuts we just gave to the richest 5% of Americans"

Of course, if they tried to talk about it, the richest 5% would probably fire them and buy another Congressperson, and as for the media? Well, they are largely owned by the richest 5% too.

But I have this Grand Illusion that I can help to make those two numbers part of the public discussion.
$2,1 trillion in tax cuts for the richest 5%
$4.1 trillion in tax cuts for the richest 20%

Remember them, use them, email them to your Congressperson and your local newspaper. Show me a "grand bargain" that reduces the deficit by more than $4 trillion.

I would bet that most of the Germans are really mixed

I always claimed German myself, because my last name is German, or sometimes Jewish.

But my dad would be half German and half Swiss. And then his father would be half German and half English, and his mother would be half Swiss and half German. And his German grandfather would be half German and half Scot.

And then my mom would be half Irish and half German. And her father would be half Irish and half English. And her mother all German. And her paternal grandfather all Irish and paternal grandmother half English and half Irish.

So for dad (without going further back and finding some Irish and some French huegenot) 3/8 German, 1/4 English, 1/4 Swiss (German speaking), 1/8 Scot

and for mom 1/2 German, 3/8 Irish, 1/8 English

Thus for me 7/16 German, 3/16 English, 3/16 Irish, 1/8 Swiss, 1/16 Scot. Mostly German, but not all.

isn't there a point to this?

Start with the trouble in River City. First you have somebody, Professor Harold Hill, telling a crowd of people "I am upset about this pool table, and you should be too." However, in the musical it is made clear that Harold Hill, who is not a Professor, nor even named Harold Hill, is NOT really upset about pool tables. His purpose is "get the people riled up, so I can sell them band instruments."

In a similar way, there are certainly some people who write, blog, tweet, appear on TV, etc. who have one or more agendas when they write.

Certainly I have an agenda when I write, several agendas
1. To advocate for the bottom 60% in America
2. to refute spin which favors the top 20%
3. to look at the big picture
4. to argue against hate, greed, selfishness, and cruelty and in favor of love, sharing, understanding, reason, and kindness

Now any pundit out there may claim some sort of ideals for themself that they are trying to promote, but they may also be trying to promote themselves - that is, read my articles, buy my books, look at my website, and so on. One primary objective - make me money, give me power and influence.

But it still seems like a fair question when somebody writes "I am upset at Obama, and you should be too" or "I am upset about NSA spying and you should be too" to want to know "what is their motive?" and "what is their agenda?" Or you could find yourself paying a lot of money for a band instrument you did not really want for a band that does not really exist.

article does NOT live up to its title

"Here's why ..."

So I read through the whole article and they never say why.

Is it because we do not feel as cohesive as past generations who pulled together to fight "common threats" like Nazis and Communists?

Is it because of television and automobiles and shopping malls and population growth?

Television gives us a different type of society (and also probably teaches different messages). In pre-television society, people went to large PUBLIC events for entertainment - concerts, lectures, shows, even movies. Now with things like television, cable television, DVD players people can avoid the public and get their entertainment at home. Then too, the entertainment was probably higher quality. The public lecture about substantive issues, versus a TV show/movie with explosions and sex and fist fights.

Automobiles have more and more replaced PUBLIC transportation. Pre 1945, many people were probably still walking and taking trains. When you walk to a local store, you pass by neighbors on a regular basis. When you get in your car and drive to the big grocery store or wal-mart or strip mall, you are isolated from neighbors in a metal box. At the store, you are surrounded mostly by strangers who have also come from miles away. Even if you have a friendly interaction that person remains a stranger who you will not likely see again for many months if you even remember them, versus seeing the same people maybe multiple times a week at the local store.

Maybe population growth is less of a factor, but as cities become bigger, it seems to me one of the primary characteristics of the big city is that people are strangers in them. Again, perhaps because of the automobile. You do not work in your neighborhood with your neighbors. Everyone gets in a metal box and drives for half an hour to work with strangers and then drives home. True, if you stay at a job for a time, then people do not remain strangers, (and more job mobility is another factor here). But it is hard to have the interactions or connections outside of work if you live far apart. If I am driving 20 minutes from the east and my work-buddy is driving 25 minutes from the south, then to ever do anything outside of work requires a fair amount of effort.

Cell phones seem to add to this. With a cell phone you do not have to interact with the public - with the people who happen to be occupying the space near to you. Instead you can be on the phone, or texting with somebody who matters, some part of your little circle of family/friends.

Many of these things were discussed in the great book "The Poverty of Affluence" by Paul Wachtel, which unfortunately was never mass marketed.
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