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7 Reasons Why I’ll Be Very Disappointed If Obama Doesn’t Reverse the Bush Tax Cuts on the Wealthy

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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 05:25 PM
Original message
7 Reasons Why I’ll Be Very Disappointed If Obama Doesn’t Reverse the Bush Tax Cuts on the Wealthy
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 06:24 PM by Time for change
When I first heard that President-Elect Obama was “considering” rescinding his campaign pledge to reverse the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy, I hoped that he wasn’t really serious about that. But the more I hear about it, the more I have come to believe that he does indeed intend to rescind that campaign pledge.

But why announce that he’s “considering” it, rather than wait until he makes a decision on the matter, and then announce it? My best guess is that he announced his decision to “consider” the matter as a trial balloon, to see what the response will be. If the response is negative enough, loud enough, and well-reasoned enough, perhaps he will reconsider the idea in a light more consistent with the principles upon which he ran his campaign.

That being said, here are 7 reasons why I am very disappointed that he’s even considering the issue, and will be a lot more disappointed if he actually reneges on his campaign promise:


# 1 – We need the money

I don’t know exactly how much money is involved in this, but I know that it’s a hell of a lot. An analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimated that the Bush tax cuts cost our nation approximately $400 billion a year, not including debt service. Think Progress cites a cost of $3.5 trillion over ten years, based on Congressional Budget Office figures. And the Economic Policy Institute places the figure at $5 trillion over ten years. According to any of these estimates, if the Bush tax cuts run for an additional two years, between the time that President Obama is inaugurated and the time that they are set to expire in 2011, it will cost our nation somewhere between $700 billion and $1 trillion in revenues. The vast majority of those tax cuts are for the wealthy – the group for which Obama promised to reverse them if he was elected President.

Obama’s campaign website contained numerous very impressive and much needed plans for strengthening our country, which tens of millions of voters compared favorably with McCain’s plans. These included investments in education, investments in alternative energy development, making health care affordable for all Americans, protecting social security, strengthening our cities, and alleviating poverty. In addition, Obama pledged to work to reduce our massive national debt, which now stands at more than $10 trillion.

All of these things will cost a great deal of money. When asked during the presidential campaign how he would pay for all his programs and provide tax relief for the working and middle class without adding substantially to our national debt, reversing the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy was always a major part of his response.

How will all these things be paid for if Obama doesn’t follow through with his pledge to reverse the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy?


# 2 – Extreme income and wealth inequality is bad for the economy

Income and wealth inequality have risen substantially since the “Reagan Revolution” beginning in the early ‘80s, and the rise has been even steeper during the Bush administration. As of 2006, the Economic Policy Institute estimated that more than a third of the wealth in the United States was held by the top 1% of households, while less than a fifth was held by the lower 90%. That means that the average top 1% household held almost 200 times as much wealth as the average lower 90% household.

What does this mean for our economy? Well, there was one other time in U.S. history when income inequality was almost as bad as it is now. That was the late 1920s, just prior to the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression. An article by Gabriel Thompson in The Nation contains a graph titled “Plutocracy Reborn – Re-creating the Gap that Gave us the Great Depression”. The article contains a chart that portrays the situation graphically, plotting over time the income ratio between the top 0.01% of U.S. families and the bottom 90%.



The ratio rose from about 250 at the start of the 1920s to a peak of about 900 by 1929. The ratio then plunged, and by the start of WW II it had declined to about 200, where it remained with some relatively minor ups and downs until the beginning of Ronald Reagan’s Presidency. It then began another precipitous climb, with a sharp decline beginning during the last year of Clinton’s Presidency, but then another sharp increase beginning at about the time that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy first went into effect, so that by the end of 2006 we’ve exceeded even the peak ratio of 1929 that preceded the Great Depression.

Why is extreme income inequality so bad for the economy? I have a rather simple-minded way of looking at it: When income and wealth inequality are extreme, it is almost as if the wealthy are living in a different economic universe than the vast majority of other people. They think nothing of spending vast sums of money that the rest of us will never see in a lifetime of work. Under such conditions, those who produce things – the housing industry, for example – have much more incentive to put all their efforts into producing things for the rich than for other people. Consequently, most other people tend to get priced out of the market.

Here’s a more sophisticate explanation, from FDR’s Chairman of the Federal Reserve, explaining the relationship between wealth inequality and the onset of the Great Depression:

As mass production has to be accompanied by mass consumption, mass consumption, in turn, implies a distribution of wealth to provide men with buying power equal to the amount of goods and services offered by the nation's economic machinery. Instead of achieving that kind of distribution, a giant suction pump had by 1929-30 drawn into a few hands an increasing portion of currently produced wealth…. By taking purchasing power out of the hands of mass consumers, the savers denied to themselves the kind of effective demand for their products that would justify a reinvestment of their capital accumulations in new plants. In consequence, as in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When their credit ran out the game was stopped.


# 3 – Extreme income inequality is bad for democracy

The reason why extreme income inequality is bad for democracy shouldn’t be difficult to understand. Extreme wealth allows a small number of people to exert a very disproportionate influence on our elections and legislative process.

There are now about 35,000 lobbyists in the United States. Corporations pay those lobbyists about $2 billion in salaries and spend another $8 billion to “influence” legislators to help to enact favorable legislation. In many if not most cases, the legislation in question, while benefiting the corporation, will do so at the expense of most everyone else.

Thus there has developed in the United States an unholy and symbiotic alliance between government and corporate power, whereby our government acts in behalf of corporate interests rather than in behalf of our interests, in return for the bribes that keep them in power.

Bill Moyers explains the situation in a straight forward manner. He made the following comments during a speaking tour titled “Saving Democracy”, in California in February 2006, and reprinted in his book, “Moyers on Democracy”:

This is a profound transformation in a country whose DNA contains the inherent promise of an equal opportunity at life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and whose collective memory resonates with the hallowed idea of government of the people, by the people, and for the people. The great progressive struggles in our history have been waged to make sure ordinary citizens, and not just the rich, share in the benefits of a free society. Yet as the public today supports such broad social goals as affordable medical coverage for all, decent wages for working people, safe working conditions, a secure retirement, and clean air and water, there is no government to deliver on those aspirations. Instead, our elections are bought out from under us… So powerfully has wealth shaped our political agenda that we cannot say America is working for all of America. In the words of Louis Brandeis, one of the greatest of our Supreme Court justices: “You can have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few or democracy, but you can’t have both.” Money is choking democracy to death.

Since the Telecommunications Act of 1996, increasing control over the news media has provided another powerful tool for a very small group of wealthy telecommunications owners and executives to exert highly disproportional control over the political process, by virtue of the slanted news they provide to the U.S. electorate. The utter failure of our corporate controlled news media to tell the American people the truth about the Bush administration lies that propelled us into an unnecessary and illegal war against Iraq is just one example of this.

Thus it is that we have a vicious cycle of increasing income inequality and declining democracy in our country. Extreme income inequality allows the rich to exert extraordinary influence over the legislative process and the news that we receive, which tilts our nation’s laws even further in their favor, which provides them with ever more money and opportunity to maintain control over our government.


# 4 – Extreme income inequality is unfair

Conservatives defend economic inequality by arguing that it is fair to reward those who work the hardest, are the most productive, and who take the most risks. They say that these are the people who create wealth for everyone, so they ought to be rewarded for their hard work, productivity, and risk taking, which benefits everyone by making the whole economic pie bigger.

I most certainly agree that people ought to be rewarded for hard work and creating things that are of use for society. But where is the evidence that the rich (say, the top 1%) work 200 times harder, produce 200 times as much, or take 200 times as much risk as 90% of the rest of us? I’ve never seen such evidence, and it is inconceivable to me that it exists.


# 5 – There is no good reason to postpone reversing the Bush tax cuts on the rich

The primary reason that Obama gives for allowing the Bush tax cuts for the rich to stand is that we are in a recession – the implication being that high taxes on the rich are bad for the economy during a recession. This message has been loudly proclaimed by our corporate news media as well. But there is no evidence for that claim. Again, let’s go back to the Great Depression of the 1930s to look at the evidence on this issue:

The top marginal tax rate stood at a meager 25% when FDR was inaugurated in 1933, during the height of the Great Depression. FDR progressively raised the top marginal tax rate, as can be seen in this graph, to 63% in 1932, to 79% in 1936, to 88% in 1942, and to 94% in 1944.

Did that destroy our economy? Let’s just say that when FDR was elected in a landslide victory in 1932, the most important campaign issue by far was the economy. It was obvious that his prospects for reelection would largely depend on what happened with the economy. Following FDR’s huge tax increases on the rich, he won re-election in 1936 by a popular vote margin of 61% -36% and an electoral vote margin of 523-8, in 1940 by respective margins of 55%-45%, and 449-82, and again in 1944 by 53%-46% and 432-99.

The top marginal tax rate remained at 70% or more for several decades after FDR’s death – a period that Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman describes as “the greatest sustained economic boom in U.S. history”. Then, in 1981 came the “Reagan Revolution”, large tax cuts for the rich, and increasing income inequality which accelerated to unprecedented levels during the Bush II administration.

It is also important to understand that we have seen a very strong inverse relationship in our country between top marginal tax rates and income inequality, as seen in this graph.


# 6 – Republicans will use this to their political advantage and to confuse us

With all of Obama’s talk of bipartisanship, some might think that right wingers would be appreciative of his efforts. But others would not be surprised to learn that they are preparing to use his possible about-face on this issue as an opportunity to pummel him and advance their disreputable ideology. Here is one example:

Apparently it turns out raising taxes is bad for the economy. Who knew? Of course as we know, Obama doesn't see tax policy as impacting wealth creation, for him it's all about wealth redistribution and 'fairness'. Still, even with that kind of mindset it's funny how the facts of life are slapping The One in the face so soon after the election. It's almost as if a lot of what he said was just crap to get dumb people to vote for him.

In other words, the implication is that it was obvious to Obama all along that he couldn’t increase taxes on the wealthy during a recession, but he persisted with his promise to do so in order to win the election. This will be a twofer for them: They can simultaneously bash Obama and resurrect the phony talking point that taxing the rich during a recession is bad for the economy.


# 7 – I will consider this a breach of promise

Obama’s promise to reverse the Bush tax cuts on the rich was a major part of his Presidential campaign. Here is a typical statement he made on this issue:

The Bush tax cuts – people didn't need them, and they weren't even asking for them, and they ought to be relaxed so we can pay for universal health care and other initiatives.… We have to stop pretending that all cuts are equivalent or that all tax increases are the same…. At a time when ordinary families are feeling hit from all sides, the impulse to keep their taxes as low as possible is honorable. What is less honorable is the willingness of the rich to ride this anti-tax sentiment for their own purposes.

I and many others repeatedly used this as a selling point to convince moderates to vote for Obama. We considered his stance on this issue not only to be well-founded and necessary, but courageous as well. It exposed him to accusations of class-warfare and socialism, which Democrats in recent decades have been intent on avoiding. Yet he withstood the onslaught with exceptional skill and courage, and he won a landslide election victory.

The excuses that he now gives for considering allowing the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy to stand until they expire in 2011 do not wash – on two accounts. First of all, we were already in a recession during the 2008 campaign, and it seemed quite clear that things were getting worse. Not that much has changed between the Presidential election campaign and Obama’s reconsideration of his Bush tax cut reversal pledge.

Secondly, it seems inconceivable to me that Obama or his economic advisors actually believe, in the absence of any supportive evidence, that tax cuts for the wealthy during a recession are bad for the economy. Yet they seem perfectly willing to accept the right wing talking points to that effect. That is very disappointing to me.


Final thoughts

Why would Obama do this? His campaign pledge to reverse the Bush tax cuts on the rich was wildly successful, beyond all expectations. He received unprecedented amounts of campaign contributions from small donors, proving that he didn’t have to rely on the big moneyed interests in order to run a successful campaign. What is going on here?

Progressives in our country have seen ferocious resistance to their policies, and they have lived through a lot of disappointments. The attempted coup against FDR was unsuccessful, and it was followed by several decades of liberal domestic progress.

But there was the coup of November 1963, the assassinations of RFK and MLK, and the October Surprise of 1980 which facilitated the election of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Then there was the stolen election of 2000, the bizarre 9/11 attacks, the untimely fatal “accident” of Paul Wellstone in 2002, and the stolen election of 2004. And there has been much more.

All of these events have led many of us to feel that there are so many dark things going on in our country that we don’t know about, and that are controlled by forces that we have only the vaguest understanding of. Many of us wonder how much strength, skill and courage a U.S. President would need to resist these forces.

But enough of my paranoia! Barack Obama was elected President, and presumably he was aware of all these things before he made the decision to run. Now it is up to us to let him know how we feel about his reconsideration of his campaign pledge. That is probably the only thing that might lead him to reconsider his original pledge in a favorable light.

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leftstreet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 05:34 PM
Response to Original message
1. Some excellent links
K&R
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HughBeaumont Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 05:37 PM
Response to Original message
2. And I cannot kick and recommend this enough!!!
Do Tax Cuts Lead to Economic Growth?

It's Funny How the Term "Suck it Up" only Applies to the Middle, Working and Poor Classes

Frightening Workplace Statistics from the Book "The Big Squeeze"

If Obama's plan is ever going to get off the ground, the wealthy of this country need to start playing ball and start realizing the days of Bewsh and Reagan are OVER. Friedman economics has failed and no amount of trying it over and over again is ever going to make this crapcake the success it portends to be.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 12:09 AM
Response to Reply #2
19. I see that we're thinking along the same lines
That's an excellent point about corporations having less incentive to hire workers when their taxes are low. I never thought of that. One more reason to repeal the Bush tax cuts. :toast:
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HughBeaumont Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 07:25 AM
Response to Reply #19
26. Factoring in the last two months, it gets way . . . WAY worse.
Job creation under the Bewsh/Reaganomic/Friedman model of lower taxation for the rich and corporations, resulting in massive debt and wealth inequality: 38 thousand jobs A MONTH. You need at least 150,000 to break even. With that break-even guide, the BEWSH administration is now down 10.5 MILLION jobs in 8 years. 10.5 MILLION, a number that doesn't even count the uncounted; that is, the number of people in the workforce who have decided to give up searching because it's fruitless.

Repeal the Bewsh tax cuts NOW. Emergency situations demand emergency responses.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 04:11 PM
Response to Reply #26
71. And this easing of taxes on corps/elites has been going on for decades --
With citizens suffering for it --
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 05:41 PM
Response to Original message
3. What time for change said
All excuses--whether offered by Obama or by the DLC advocates on this board--are bogus and/or self-serving.

The Democratic Party shouldn't be the Party of the Yuppie and the Trust Fund Baby and the Paper Entrepreneur, no matter what the DLC thinks.
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lefthandedskyhook Donating Member (340 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 07:32 AM
Response to Reply #3
27. Have to disagree
As much as I share your loathing of the DLC and unbridled corporate greed in general, I can accept this rationale for a TEMPORARY reprieve:

The most vital economic priority for Obama when he takes office is to get the economy moving again. The enormous mess created by corporate influence in our political system has destroyed confidence. Reversing those tax cuts before the economy gets moving again will further undermine confidence and engender resentment among the investment class. This would almost certainly SLOW the recovery or destroy it altogether. So I believe he is simply offering the carrot before using the stick, and looking at the effect of these actions on the stock market it appears to be beginning to work already.

The thing to watch for as soon as Obama becomes president is a bona fide "bottom up" economic stimulus package. This is the engine that can truly heal the relentless supply side economic damage done to our economy from 1981 to the present. Once that stimulus gets a foothold I will EXPECT those tax cuts to be reversed so that we can return to fiscal sanity.

As I understand it, Franklin Roosevelt felt his way forward much more slowly than this and the economy took much longer to recover than it probably will under this plan. Obama has the benefit of hindsight after all and I believe that he is using it. I really don't think that he has sold out, but that's still no reason for us to become complacent.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 07:44 AM
Response to Reply #27
28. Why do you think that taxing the rich would destroy confidence?
That seems like a typical RW talking point to me. I don't see how it can be true.

Do you think that the success of our economy depends mainly on placating the rich? Our whole history argues against that idea.
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lefthandedskyhook Donating Member (340 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 08:04 AM
Response to Reply #28
30. I don't like it either
As far as I'm concerned everyone who got rich at the expense of those who actually work for a living can dry up and blow away. This has nothing to do with sentiment. It is simply my understanding of economic realities. I could be wrong and would be happy to discuss it, but that's the impression I get from reading Krugman, Reich, Galbraith and others.

Here's a good article: http://robertreich.blogspot.com/2008/11/rebirth-of-keyn...
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 11:04 AM
Response to Reply #30
41. Thank you for the link. I respect Robert Reich
But I don't see his article as calling for a postponement of the promised reversal of the Bush tax cuts.

His main point is that we need to spend lots of money -- he mentions $600 billion -- on a stimulus package. Reversal of the Bush tax cuts for the rich will go a long way towards paying for that, so that we don't have to add to our national debt too much in order to do it.

He does say that there are those who don't like the idea. We already know that, and we've known it for a long time. But so what?
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lefthandedskyhook Donating Member (340 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 11:21 AM
Response to Reply #41
44. No, he doesn't call for postponement there
I am speculating as to the reason for the trial balloon. I think there's a good deal of strategic psychology in Obama's actions so far, and I'm convinced that he will not break his bold promise to reverse those tax cuts, but will possibly delay it for the reasons stated above.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #44
46. I don't doubt that strategic psychology is involved in this, as you say
But I also think that there is a very thin line between delaying his promise for two years -- half of his first (and possibly only) term -- and breaking his promise. Delaying this for two years will cost hundreds of billions of dollars -- money that our government could use on much more important things.
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lefthandedskyhook Donating Member (340 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 11:53 AM
Response to Reply #46
47. I agree about the fine line
The man is walking on the edge of a knife, not an enviable position.

About "using the money elsewhere": That idea scared the crap out of me too, but Reich and the others are saying that there are more important things than the size of the debt right now, and its also significant that we borrowed a much higher percentage of our GDP to vault our economy out of the great depression than is being proposed today even if we should delay the repeal of the tax cuts until they expire.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 01:00 PM
Response to Reply #47
52. The article you linked to
Edited on Sat Dec-06-08 01:00 PM by Time for change
suggests at least $600 billion be put into an economic stimulus package. I don't see anything there about delaying the repeal of the Bush tax cuts. I don't see any reason why repeal of the Bush tax cuts are inconsistent with an economic stimulus package. In fact, repeal of the tax cuts would help pay for the stimulus package. I don't believe that any significant number of competent economists would consider tax cuts for the rich to be a legitimate part of an economic stimulus package. That idea has pretty well been debunked. Here's one example of the debunking:

Norton Garfinkle shows, in his book, “The American Dream Vs. the Gospel of Wealth: The Fight for a Productive Middle-Class Economy”, that even when the traditional indicators of economic growth are considered, still there is no negative relationship between top marginal tax rate and measures of economic growth. A key paragraph in Garfinkle’s argument is this:

A review of the literature shows empirical evidence supporting the supply-side claim (that marginal tax rate cuts help the economy) to be sparse to nonexistent. Surprisingly enough, a pair of studies by the leading supply-side theorist, Martin Feldstein, and Douglas Elmendorf found virtually no net growth benefit from the Reagan supply-side marginal rate cuts of 1981… Feldstein and Elmendorf explicitly ruled out that supply-side tax incentives were a factor in the recovery… In other words, found no empirical evidence to support a direct relationship between marginal tax rate cuts and growth in employment or GDP.

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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 03:54 PM
Response to Reply #52
69. And, since when do we have any tax cuts during time of wars --???
Leave alone such huge cuts doing harm to nation -- states -- citizens.

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lefthandedskyhook Donating Member (340 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-07-08 07:50 AM
Response to Reply #52
102. Garfinkle is correct
Supply side economics are used as a massive deception. I have wholeheartedly agreed with that position since before voting against Reagan in 1980. I think all your research is good. Our disagreement is not about whether or not we should shift focus, but just how we should go about it.

Yesterday at work I listened to the latest podcast of PBS Now. Robert Kuttner, author of the new book "Obama's Challenge" was a guest. He spoke at some length about how to implement the economic recovery and specifically stated that the Bush tax cuts need to be left alone until the economy picks up. He did not go into great detail, but he might in the book. This guy is co-founder of the magazine "The American Prospect" and is not a supply sider at all, but a real progressive.

I'm sure we'll all learn more about this in the coming weeks, months, and years.
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JuniperLea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 11:02 AM
Response to Reply #27
40. I have to cry loudly... bullshit...
These tax cuts have never done anything positive for the economy, and they never will. No one is asking them to pay 90% like in the last depression, only their fair share.
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lefthandedskyhook Donating Member (340 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 11:35 AM
Response to Reply #40
45. Just trying to look below the surface
I am thoroughly convinced of the efficacy of Keynesian economics and the delusional harms of supply side deception. That's why it has to be temporary if it happens at all. Hell, I want some payback just as much as anyone, I've worked my ass off for 32 years as a carpenter under the thumb of these bastards. They took my Union job, retirement, vacation pay, and medical coverage. Now they've brought the economy to its knees yet again.
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Shiver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 02:38 PM
Response to Reply #27
60. That's not to mention the political ramifications.
First of all, reversing the tax cuts is going to be a big political battle. Obama has - forgive the term - earned a fair amount of capital by winning the election at the margin he did. This capital needs to be used to get the stimulus package through, and hopefully have some left over for health care, Iraq, whatever else. I can't be wasted on something that would just expire on it's own in 2010.

Second, repealing the Bush tax cuts will be raising taxes, and will give the Repubs ammunition for both 2010 and 2012; anyone who's up for re-election in 2010, and who voted to reverse the cuts, would be in danger of losing their seat. I can already see the beginning narrative in 2012 - "And what was the first thing President Obama did in office? Raise taxes..." - and people will not look too deeply into it. They'll see 'raise taxes' and nothing else, especially if times are still tough. Same ad can be used against anyone who votes for the repeal, during the midterms.

And all of that is merely the tip of the iceberg. Allowing them to expire, or waiting some time before repealing them, carries much less potential damage. I do not want to risk handing Congress back to the Republicans just because we wanted to get even.

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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #60
63. This has nothing to do with "getting even"
Did I mention that once in my OP?

With respect to "raising taxes": If Obama provides tax relief to 95% of our population, while increasing taxes on 2.5%, thereby providing the funds for the tax relief to the other 95%, as well as for the much needed social programs that he campaigned on, how seriously will people take the claim that he "raised taxes"? They won't have to look very deep into it. 95% of Americans will know that they personally have received a cut in taxes. How is the charge of "raising taxes" going to have any credibility under those circumstances?
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Shiver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 04:31 PM
Response to Reply #63
74. I didn't say that you mentioned it
I should have clarified, that in other posts on other threads on this matter, the prevailing attitude of some people seems to be a need for economic revenge. I was merely pointing out that there are political concerns that one must factor in as well as economic.

Most people are low-information voters; they don't do the research we do. They go by the ads on TV and the radio, the mailers that get sent to their homes. Many think the blatantly untrue emails have credibility. Repeat a lie often enough, and people will believe it - and going down to the pure semantics of it, it IS raising taxes. Raising them back to what they were before the cuts counts as raising them, and thus, the lie has more credibility due to the grain of truth.

I'm not saying it's a definite, just another factor to consider and weigh in with the others. The Repubs aren't gonna let the tax cuts be rolled back easily, and we should waste the political capital on something that will expire in a year anyway.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 05:19 PM
Response to Reply #74
81. I was just reading David Sirota's book, "Uprising" today
The meeting he spoke of dealt with issues very similar to what we're discussing here. He describes a meeting between the Working Families Party (WFP) of New York and the New York Democratic Senate leader, Malcolm Smith. What this portrays is that taxing the rich is not a stand alone issue. It is intimately connected with everything else that progressives want to accomplish:

"Will you work with us to oppose irresponsible cuts in health care?" asks a guy from WPF. "What drives these cuts is refusal to adequately tax the very richest people in New York". He tells Smith about the WFP's proposal that would annually tax New Yorkers one day's pay for every $500,000 they make in a year... The plan would raise $11 billion -- money the WPF would like to plow into social programs and into property tax relief for working- and middle-class New Yorkers.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 04:07 PM
Response to Reply #60
70. No -- it would be REPEALING taxes while nation is in crisis --
Edited on Sat Dec-06-08 04:12 PM by defendandprotect
Obama has been elected based on a progressive agenda which would help

the nation -- that's where we should go ASAP --

Did Bush FEAR what Democrats would say --??

The public who voted for Obama understands more than you are giving

them credit for --

And let me add that IMO the voters who were failing to come out to vote

any longer also understand very well Capitalist/corp control of government --

What we all understabd is Capitalistic fascism destroying "people's"

government/democracy.

And THIS is a rather shocking thing to say ....

I do not want to risk handing Congress back to the Republicans

just because we wanted to get even.


You really think this is Democrats looking to "get even" ...????!!!




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lefthandedskyhook Donating Member (340 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-07-08 07:53 AM
Response to Reply #60
103. Those ara very good points
The 2010 results will be especially vital. Anywhere the republican media machine can get an opening, it will try to sink its rabid teeth in.
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Shiver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-07-08 08:30 AM
Response to Reply #103
104. Exactly right
We need to retain control of Congress after the midterms - two years is not enough time to do all that needs doing. Two terms isn't enough time, but it's the most we have (unless, through some series of insane and improbable events, the Twenty-Second Amendment is repealed).
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lefthandedskyhook Donating Member (340 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-07-08 08:37 AM
Response to Reply #104
106. If all goes well...
we will have more than two terms for repair. Obama's success has the potential to lay the groundwork for long term healing.
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clear eye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 03:36 PM
Response to Reply #27
65. Which stock markets have you been watching? n/t
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clear eye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 03:38 PM
Response to Reply #27
66. sorry, duplicate
Edited on Sat Dec-06-08 03:40 PM by clear eye
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 03:50 PM
Response to Reply #27
68. There is no "investment class" in Capitalism ...
Edited on Sat Dec-06-08 04:11 PM by defendandprotect
Capitalists have to be FORCED thru regulation to invest and especially to

long term investment --

It was the overturning of those New Deal regulations which should have made

you aware of that nature of Capitalism -- i.e., that unregulated Capitalism is

merely organized crime.

Keep in mind the floating oil that kept prices high and speculation up over the

Bush years.

Keep in mind that we still have derivatives coming down with TRILLIONS crashing --

No -- Capitalism is not about "investment" -- nor is it about competition --

it's about killing the competition --!!!

We need to re-regulate Capitalism out of business and move on to Democratic

Socialism.




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Usrename Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 06:07 PM
Response to Reply #68
86. You have it exactly right.
Almost ALL of the empirical evidence says that higher taxes promote more investment.

The whole trickle-down nonsense should be completely discredited by now. Most businesses will reinvest in themselves rather than pay out high taxes to the government. This is the way it has always been, and as far as I can tell, always will be.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 10:12 PM
Response to Reply #86
95. Too many at DU still don't get it --
:)
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marshall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-07-08 07:39 AM
Response to Reply #27
101. This is nothing new
Promises are made in campaigns that in the cold light of day are not entirely practical. And once the candidate becomes the official elect he or she is privy to much more information than they had before. It is only logical that they will change their approach to some things.
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lefthandedskyhook Donating Member (340 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-07-08 09:23 AM
Response to Reply #101
111. That's right
What we must each decide for ourselves is whether or not those adjustments are acceptable on a case by case basis.
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 05:45 PM
Response to Original message
4. Great info and links and I agree. It's time for them to pay up and shut up!


:kick: & recommended

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balantz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 06:38 PM
Response to Original message
5. Who do these Dems think they work for?
Do they work for us, or do they work for the corporate-elite?

Hmmmm... :eyes:
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otohara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #5
42. They Don't Even Listen to Us
countless times we've called, e-mailed, protested - and what do they do?
The exact opposite.
Iraq, Gonzalez, Patriot Act, Alito...on and on.

Hopefully this will change under Obama Admin. But for the last eight years, we haven't existed.
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tom_paine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 06:01 PM
Response to Reply #42
85. Exactly. They regard us (with a few excpetions) almost as contemptuously as the Bushies do..
I don't even think there is much of a rational argument against that which doesn't include sneering contempt or namecalling from the disgusting Nancy Pelosi Wing of the Democratic Party.

Nancy herself, a model of the New Imperial Grotesque anti-American, pro-Bushie (they often are indistinguishable from Bushes in their words, as we all have seen repeatedly) DLCer, let the truth slip once (as astonishing as on the rare occasions when Bushies do it) when she contremptuously suggested that the Democratic Protestors outside her house should have been swept off the streets for vagrancy instead of protected by the First Amendment.

Tell me exactly HOW Nancy Pelosi and her odious, yet 80% majority, wing of the Democratic Congressional Delegation, differs in her contemptuous view of us? Honestly, I see very little difference, though of course she HAS TO PRETEND there is.

Not a very good job of pretending, though.

I am also hopeful this will change under Obama, and though I am VERY concerned about the recent events...ALL of 'em, I am trying to give him a chance and he hasn't even taken office yet.

But I cannot help but think this is EXACTLY how I felt in January/February 2007, when Nancy Pelosi was showing us that she really doesn't have many disagreements it the Bushies at all, other than those she has to PRETEND to have to maintain her limo and power and make sure her granchildren are farting through silk while ors are outside playing Mad Max.

Perhaps Nancy chose the Democrats when she was young and idealistic. Oh, how difficult it is to imagine an idealistic Nancy Pelosi....one has to have IDEALS before one can be idealistic.

There can be few worse fates for our nation (McBush/Crazy stealing the election would be one of them) than if Obama reveals himself to be a Nancy Pelosi Democrat.

Not only will we be fucked, but if Obama IS a Nancy Pelosi Democrat, it is 100% certain that the next Evil Bushie will simply start over right from where they left off, as if Obama had never even served.

Just as they did with Bill Clinton, who clearly in hindsight feared the Bushies and did everything he could to give them what they wanted in almost everything but the economy. He buried Iran-Contra and Iraqgate investigation "for the good of the country". Funny thing is, wealth inequality exploded wildly under Clinton, too, so maybe he was giving the Bushies mostly what they wanted there, even as they were trying to destroy him with their desire to Impeach him for ANYTHING, for even starying off their reservation even as slightly as he did.

So I ask you, why is that a constant pattern? Bushies rob us and brutalize us, and have done so for many many decades, and then the Democrats get into power and, at least since Kennedy got his head ventilated by a "lone gunman",



let up on the open theft and brutality, but essentially leave all other Bushie criminalities alone and seem to enable Bushie Goals (as Clinton did for national wealth inequality and many others) even when they are supposedly trying to revese them.

I am trying, trying so very hard not to give into this kind of cynicism, and I do want to give Obama a chance because FDR did not campiagn on the New Deal, and the man has not even served a day in office.

But I am growing concerned that Obama will be another Clinton. And while Big Dog was in general a fine President, he was very Bushie, too. Witness the 1996 Telecom Act,as one example among many.

Clinton was fine for his time, regardless of my issues, but NOW, another "Clinton Presidency" would be a disaster, considering the First Clinton Presidency achieved so many Bushie Goals (and that is a very sad fact) for them even as they tried to destroy him.

If this country "achieves" any more Bushie Goals, there simply won't BE a country before long.

Of course, maybe that is a Bushie Goal, too. They can't play Nazi-Bushie freely as they would like in the ashes of our country until they burn it down, metaphorically-speaking.

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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 10:13 PM
Response to Reply #42
96. Agree --
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emulatorloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 06:51 PM
Response to Original message
6. I thought the debate was always whether to A) Repeal them or B) let them expire
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 06:51 PM by emulatorloo
It is my recollection that Obama always said it would be one or the other. Etther option gets rid of the tax cuts.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 07:04 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. I'm pretty sure he never mentioned the possibility of letting them expire during the campaign
With all of controversy stirred up over his reconsideration of this matter, you're the first person I've seen suggest that he mentioned letting them expire as an option, during the Presidential campaign.

Letting them expire means keeping them for another two years, which means an additional several hundred billion dollars in lost revenue. One quarter (or one half) of his presidency will be over by then. And besides that, if he's so quick to change his mind on this issue, many of us are skeptical that he won't change his mind again after two years, and decide to continue them.

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HughBeaumont Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:19 PM
Response to Reply #10
17. One of his advisors on CNBC brought up the "expiration" idea.
So I think to let them expire is his plan.

Good politically, not so good economically. This money is very much needed to get his infrastructure investments underway . . . what with Paulson and his flunky CashNCarry handing out the phantom green to any corporate suit with a tin cup and a learjet.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 05:22 PM
Response to Reply #17
82. Do you know when he brought it up?
Especially, was it before or after the campaign?
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HughBeaumont Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 06:57 PM
Response to Reply #82
88. Before, and it was someone on his economic team.
It was on a CNBC interview .. . some big guy with glasses . . . the name escapes me right now.
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live love laugh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 09:39 AM
Response to Reply #10
35. "...many of us are skeptical that he won't change his mind again after two years..." Who is "MANY"?
Are you representing some group as spokesperson?
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f the letter Donating Member (402 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #35
57. i am one.
Talk about backdrifting.. it's a big deal. That's a huge amount of money that is needed now, not in two years time. Who knows what he will have to say about it by then? i think he should be held accountable to that promise.
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live love laugh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 03:00 PM
Response to Reply #57
62. I am sure that you do. nt
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f the letter Donating Member (402 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-07-08 06:07 PM
Response to Reply #62
114. i am not sure what you mean. eom
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 04:21 PM
Response to Reply #57
72. Me, too --
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 02:27 PM
Response to Reply #35
58. I've read many DUers express that opinion
No, I don't represent any of them.
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gogoplata Donating Member (226 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 06:53 PM
Response to Original message
7. Why do you hate Obama?
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 07:25 PM
Response to Reply #7
13. I hope you're not serious about that question -- I don't think you are
But just in case, here are a coupld of posts that show that I don't hate him:

http://journals.democraticunderground.com/Time%20for%20...

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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gogoplata Donating Member (226 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 07:27 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. No, I wasn't serious. Just a little sarcasm.
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appal_jack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 06:53 PM
Response to Original message
8. k&r (n/t)
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stray cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 06:54 PM
Response to Original message
9. They will let them expire and that works for me - I would hate a repub pres in 2012
because the dems get blamed for the economy because they raised taxes. Whether true or not 50% of American's might believe it.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 07:56 PM
Response to Reply #9
15. Yeah, that might explain some of this
But consider three things:

1. He used the tax cut reversal promise big time during the campaign, and he won the election in a landslide, despite all the attacks against the idea. Obviously this is something that the American people feel is needed.

2. If he doesn't do this, the economy is likely to be worse than if he does. That isn't going to help him win re-election.

3. What if FDR had taken that approach: Don't rock the boat, the right wing might blame me if I try something and it doesn't work out.
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live love laugh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 09:36 AM
Response to Reply #15
33. "If he doesn't repeal the cuts the economy is likely to be worse"...
Edited on Sat Dec-06-08 10:01 AM by live love laugh
The economy is likely be worse no matter what he does.

The economy didn't immediately improve under FDR either. This will take time.

Obama is inheriting unprecedented governmental devastation. He has yet to even fully assess the scope of the problems he is taking on. Each initiative requires the use of his limited resources to lobby, study, write and present legislation to undo the corruption wrought by BushCo. The impact of not repealing cuts on the small percentage who get them will not make a huge dent in a near trillion dollar deficit economy that, say, a pullout plan for Iraq will make.

Going after "the rich" because people have problems with them is not the best use of Obama's resources.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 10:50 AM
Response to Reply #33
37. Will not make a huge dent in the economy?
The sources I gave in the OP say that the Bush tax cuts decrease our revenues by anywhere from $350 billion to $500 billion a year. The vast majority of that goes to the rich. You don't think that's a huge dent?

Those who will be affected make up a small percentage of the population, but a very large percentage of wealth in this country (1% of U.S. families have more wealth than the bottom 90%), and the Bush tax cuts that they now receive make up a very large portion of the total of the Bush tax cuts and a good portion of our economy.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 05:41 PM
Response to Reply #33
84. I don't have a problem with the rich
My point in posting this was to state my opinion that the rich need to be taxed at a reasonable rate in order for our economy to function well. This same debate occurred during the election of 2000. Even then Bush was using the poor state of our economy to justify his tax cuts for the rich. We see how well they helped our economy. Now it's time to reverse them.
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f the letter Donating Member (402 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-07-08 06:08 PM
Response to Reply #33
115. Going after the rich?
Trying to bring their tax rate back up in the direction of where it should be is not going after the rich.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 10:20 PM
Response to Reply #9
97. You don't think an insufficiently responded to period of crisis . . .
Edited on Sat Dec-06-08 10:20 PM by defendandprotect
might more quickly cause an ousting of Dems ...???

I think Obama is going to need whopping sums if he's keeping TWO wars on hold --

and bailing out all of Capitalism's crimes ...

Plus trillions yet in derivatives supposedly crashing soon --

You'd think our "Patriot" Capitalists would be happy to help out their country

in a time of crisis --

Aren't we happy to bail out their corruption with $8.8 trillion ...???






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indepat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 07:15 PM
Response to Original message
11. The tax cuts initiated by the Gipper through his voodoo economics and continued by GHWB and
junior probably account for a goodly portion of the increase in national debt from about $1 trillion to about $10 trillion. The good news is that a goodly portion of that increase in national debt now reposes in the wealth of a relative few, for the 'pukes job #1 has always been to concentrate wealth among a relatively few, most of whom will be patrons. :D
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 04:25 PM
Response to Reply #11
73. We need to go backwards quickly to return to progressive taxation --
and have Capitalism/corps pay their way --

That's long overdue --

And -- shouldn't they want to help their country --???

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 07:23 PM
Response to Original message
12. Thank you for saying this for me and all the rest of America!
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KillCapitalism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 08:03 PM
Response to Original message
16. K&R
Yes, Obama should not get a free pass if he doesn't reverse the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy.
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rhett o rick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 10:10 PM
Response to Original message
18. What a shame that he is going back on his word so soon. I had such hope for change. nm
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 02:17 AM
Response to Reply #18
21. In any case, O is a certain improvement over Bush. But, but
I am disappointed in his choices - there will be no Universal Single Payer Health Care with such an individual as Daschle aboard, and Geithner, Summers and Runin make my skin crawl.

Please be a stateman and not a corporately owned policician, Mr Obama. It's not too late.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 04:38 PM
Response to Reply #21
75. Agree ,,, and how bad is Daschle on health care -- ????
I'm behind re what Daschle may have done or not done --??
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Maraya1969 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 01:36 AM
Response to Original message
20. Better yet give me ONE GOOD REASON why the tax cuts should stay.
The only reason I can think of is to make the super rich happy. That is not a Democratic ideal.

I am going to get sick if Obama lets these tax breaks for the billionaires stay. And I'd like a GOOD explanation if he does.
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JuniperLea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 11:09 AM
Response to Reply #20
43. I can't imagine what that explanation might be...
Those tax breaks have never, ever helped our economy.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #20
76. Yes -- we need to return to progressive taxation --
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DUlover2909 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 02:21 AM
Response to Original message
22. How about instead of repealing or letting the Paris Hilton tax cuts expire,
maybe Obama can actually increase their taxes to 50%. 40% could be used for existing budget outlays and 10% could go directly to the national debt. The rich are the ONLY PEOPLE THAT CAN AFFORD IT! Tough times call for tough measures. Meanwhile, let's slash the living hell out of the defense budget. That would save us a ridiculous amount of money. I read a while back about $250 million worth of spare parts for some defunct aircraft were going to be paid for even though the parts are scheduled to be put in a landfill. What about the 28 new marine helicopters costing $440 million each that were ordered and scheduled to be used for presidential transportation? 28 Marine 1's? At $440 million each? That's fucking insanity.
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midnight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 04:13 AM
Response to Original message
23. k&r (n/t)
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hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 04:22 AM
Response to Original message
24. those are solid reasons, but to add to point six
Logically if it is bad to raise taxes during a recession, then it is also bad to raise taxes during good times too because you will cause a recession by doing so. This just buys into the Reaganomics talking point 'tax increases (even if only on the rich) are bad for the economy.'

He already started on that Reaganomics road by jumping on the tax cut bandwagon, running on a promise to cut taxes for 95% of working people.
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