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Mon Jan 4, 2016, 08:04 AM

Krugman: Elections Have Consequences

You have to be seriously geeky to get excited when the Internal Revenue Service releases a new batch of statistics. Well, I’m a big geek; like quite a few other people who work on policy issues, I was eagerly awaiting the I.R.S.’s tax tables for 2013, which were released last week.

And what these tables show is that elections really do have consequences.

You might think that this is obvious. But on the left, in particular, there are some people who, disappointed by the limits of what President Obama has accomplished, minimize the differences between the parties. Whoever the next president is, they assert — or at least, whoever it is if it’s not Bernie Sanders — things will remain pretty much the same, with the wealthy continuing to dominate the scene. And it’s true that if you were expecting Mr. Obama to preside over a complete transformation of America’s political and economic scene, what he’s actually achieved can seem like a big letdown.

But the truth is that Mr. Obama’s election in 2008 and re-election in 2012 had some real, quantifiable consequences. Which brings me to those I.R.S. tables.

more

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/04/opinion/elections-have-consequences.html?_r=0

42 replies, 5952 views

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Arrow 42 replies Author Time Post
Reply Krugman: Elections Have Consequences (Original post)
n2doc Jan 2016 OP
pnwmom Jan 2016 #1
brer cat Jan 2016 #2
NewJeffCT Jan 2016 #3
mahannah Jan 2016 #4
SammyWinstonJack Jan 2016 #6
mahannah Jan 2016 #7
mahannah Jan 2016 #8
Stellar Jan 2016 #9
Wounded Bear Jan 2016 #20
Stellar Jan 2016 #22
lark Jan 2016 #27
tblue37 Jan 2016 #25
JonLeibowitz Jan 2016 #35
Cary Jan 2016 #5
Scuba Jan 2016 #10
Nay Jan 2016 #40
pampango Jan 2016 #11
Cary Jan 2016 #13
Wounded Bear Jan 2016 #26
porkified Jan 2016 #12
DhhD Jan 2016 #16
bread_and_roses Jan 2016 #14
7962 Jan 2016 #18
liberal_at_heart Jan 2016 #29
fasttense Jan 2016 #15
tabasco Jan 2016 #30
DhhD Jan 2016 #31
7962 Jan 2016 #17
DhhD Jan 2016 #37
saidsimplesimon Jan 2016 #19
bvf Jan 2016 #21
MisterP Jan 2016 #23
pnwmom Jan 2016 #28
tblue37 Jan 2016 #24
DhhD Jan 2016 #33
tblue37 Jan 2016 #39
hedda_foil Jan 2016 #32
n2doc Jan 2016 #34
DhhD Jan 2016 #36
hedda_foil Jan 2016 #38
1StrongBlackMan Jan 2016 #41
question everything Jan 2016 #42

Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 08:06 AM

1. Thank you!

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 08:55 AM

2. Spread it far and wide

"Those higher rates on the 1 percent correspond to about $70 billion a year in revenue. This happens to be in the same ballpark as both food stamps and budget office estimates of this year’s net outlays on Obamacare."

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 09:10 AM

3. I've seen estimates of Republican candidate proposals

increasing the deficit by somewhere around $10 trillion - almost all the please the mythical "job creators"

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 09:18 AM

4. Krugman has missed yet another opportunity to support Sanders.

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Response to mahannah (Reply #4)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 09:22 AM

6. Yes he has.

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Response to SammyWinstonJack (Reply #6)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 09:33 AM

7. Sorry, I must have missed it. Any links?

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Response to mahannah (Reply #7)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 09:40 AM

8. I'm talking an actual endorsement for president.

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Response to mahannah (Reply #4)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 10:11 AM

9. But help me to understand how Krugman could bring up support of Bernie in this piece..

other than a mention, here.

Whoever the next president is, they assert — or at least, whoever it is if it’s not Bernie Sanders — things will remain pretty much the same, with the wealthy continuing to dominate the scene.


It appears to me that he's saying here that Bernie would be the only candidate that would have a positive effect on the economy.

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Response to Stellar (Reply #9)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 02:02 PM

20. I read it a little different...

I think he's saying Bernie would be best, but Hil would be better than any Repub. I actually agree with that.

Sure, Hil is R-Lite, but that's better than R-Steroids on the other side.

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Response to Wounded Bear (Reply #20)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 02:14 PM

22. LOL, OK...let me think on that. nt

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Response to Wounded Bear (Reply #20)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 03:42 PM

27. +1

Totally agree with both Dr. Krugman and your assessment.

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Response to Stellar (Reply #9)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 02:26 PM

25. No, he is saying that this is what SOME PEOPLE assert, not what he asserts. nt

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Response to tblue37 (Reply #25)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 06:18 PM

35. +1, exactly. He clearly disagrees. Indeed that is the entire point of the essay. n/t

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 09:20 AM

5. There is no one person who will save us

We must have more Democrats in Congress, and WE, THE PEOPLE must fight. There is too much at stake here.

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Response to Cary (Reply #5)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 10:16 AM

10. ^^This^^

 

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Response to Cary (Reply #5)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 10:53 PM

40. Maybe not, but someone has to be the leader. Or leaders. Amorphous

feelings out here among the people will not cut it.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 10:27 AM

11. "But on the left ... there are some people who ... minimize the differences between the parties.

But the truth is that Mr. Obama’s election in 2008 and re-election in 2012 had some real, quantifiable consequences. For one of the important consequences of the 2012 election was that Mr. Obama was able to go through with a significant rise in taxes on high incomes.

If Mitt Romney had won, we can be sure that Republicans would have found a way to prevent these tax hikes. And we can now see what happened because he didn’t. According to the new tables, the average income tax rate for 99 percent of Americans barely changed from 2012 to 2013, but the tax rate for the top 1 percent rose by more than four percentage points. The tax rise was even bigger for very high incomes: 6.5 percentage points for the top 0.01 percent.

Speaking of Obamacare, that’s another thing Republicans would surely have killed if 2012 had gone the other way. Instead, the program went into effect at the beginning of 2014. And the effect on health care has been huge: according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of uninsured Americans fell 17 million between 2012 and the first half of 2015, with further declines most likely ahead.

The bottom line is that presidential elections matter, a lot, even if the people on the ballot aren’t as fiery as you might like. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Obviously, Krugman is not a fan of the 'both parties are the same.'

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Response to pampango (Reply #11)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 10:32 AM

13. Who is?

I think it's a Rand Paul cultist thing.

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Response to Cary (Reply #13)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 02:33 PM

26. Certainly the faux-Repubs running around...

calling themselves "libertarians" seem to spout this crap. But I've seen more than a few far-left folks saying it, too.

I will agree that the main parts of the Dem party have drifted far too far to the right, especially since the Clinton administration, it has still been at least a drag on the headlong surge to the right by the Repubs.

I've long argued that the country, and especially the Dem party, need a solid lurch to the left, and fast.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 10:28 AM

12. Main issue?

 

That silver dollar the 1% throws in our little red kettle doesn't address any corruption issues that keep us from actually rebuilding the middle class.

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Response to porkified (Reply #12)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 10:47 AM

16. Good reply prorkified. The Sanders and Clinton tax plans will be out any day now.

Who will address corruption issues with their plan?

Why were persons responsible for the 2007-08 meltdown of the economy not punished by the Obama Administration? What happened with financial reform during his first two years in office with a Democratically controlled House and Senate? Those two years of omission of Democratic principles have left lots for Sanders to change but nothing for Clinton to change, starting in 2017.

Who are the donors to Sanders and Clinton? Did Citizens United enter the picture of Hillary's campaign?

Why is it necessary for the 1% to have kept the little red kettle during a Democratic administration? The thought of it continuing makes me unhappy. Sanders is promising a complete change.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 10:33 AM

14. And 400 people still have more wealth than the bottom 60%

400 people still have more wealth than the bottom 60% or so of the population

The banksters recovered from the meltdown, aided to the tune of billions of our money. The rest of us? Not so much:

wages have been basically stagnant or dropping for decades

uncounted people have dropped out of the labor force and are no longer even counted in the unemployment numbers

millions are still without health care or can't afford the co-pays demanded by the blood-sucking insurance vampires that the ACA enshrined in our system

our so-called "safety-net" remains a laughing stock

Young people are selling themselves into debt peonage to go to college.

Our jobs are still being outsourced.

The rich are still protected by tax "loopholes" while the middle and working class are over-taxed.

And I won't even go into the children blown to bits by the drone strikes etc. supported by our President.

Is Obama solely to blame for all this? No. Did he fight hard enough to change any of it? No. Has he been complicit in maintaining the status quo while throwing a few scraps and bones to the hoi polloi? Yes.

The point is, to Krugman I can only say, "so what?" Out here people are still suffering and dying. Their lives are blasted by debt, they work three jobs and still can't pay the rent, they can't take a vacation, they can't afford child-care, they are crushed by poverty and debt and hopelessness. Those #s mean nothing to them.

Cheering for those numbers mean pretending you are less dead if you die by a thousand cuts rather than one blow, or by a slow-boil pot instead of a plunge into a full on boil.

Pretending those numbers mean something to the millions suffering out here and should motivate the working class and poor to go out and vote is the height of bubble blindness.

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Response to bread_and_roses (Reply #14)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 11:03 AM

18. The college ripoff really needs to be addressed

 

Many years the cost of going to college goes up by more than medical costs. There is NO REASON for colleges to be charging the amount of money that most of them charge. And many with high fees dont even include a place to live, which is the highest expense for the rest of us
If we're going to get govt involved in everything, then THIS is s good place to start. Its gouging to a high degree.

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Response to bread_and_roses (Reply #14)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 05:30 PM

29. +1000000

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 10:42 AM

15. Obama could of had the uber class paying a small percentage more after the 1st 4 years if......

 

he had done NOTHING. He could have let the tax cuts simply expire. The lame duck congress would have suffered no consequences from the voters.

Instead he extended the bushes uber tax giveaways using the power of his lame duck congress. He could have had most of the 4% to 6% increase on the 1% 4 years sooner. But, you know baby-baby steps. I hope we elect Bernie so we can start to walk like adults.

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Response to fasttense (Reply #15)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 05:33 PM

30. Wow, I didn't know the President personally dictated tax rates.

 

Thanks for the civics lesson.



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Response to fasttense (Reply #15)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 05:57 PM

31. Third way works much better for Republicans than it does for Progressive Democrats.

Third way issues are stacking up one by one on this board. They can soon be listed. Another reason not to vote for the status quo.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 10:59 AM

17. But isnt "returning the rates to pre-Reagan" what Hillary has been saying?

 

So this article says it has already been done. And yet the debt continues to increase. if all this is true, then it just bolsters my point from long ago; there arent enough "rich" people to raise taxes on enough to where everything can be accomplished. Its going to have to come from the rest of us.
Bernie Sanders is the only one with the guts to actually admit this. Hillary would likely do it too, but she's lying about it now to suit her campaign
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/bernie-sanders-proposed-payroll-tax-hit/story?id=34546554

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Response to 7962 (Reply #17)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 06:41 PM

37. Yes, it has been coming undone and 2014 taxes were higher.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/2chambers/wp/2012/12/05/if-tax-cuts-expire-how-much-will-you-owe/

snip
After-tax income would drop sharpest at the income margins, according to the Tax Policy Center. The nation’s lowest earners would see about a $412 jump, on average (a 3.7 percent cut in after-tax income), while the top 1 percent of earners would need to shell out an additonal $120,000 (a 10.5 percent bite). Middle-class families making $40,000 to $65,000 annually would see taxes increase by about $2,000, leaving them with 4.4 percent less money to spend.
more at link

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 01:55 PM

19. President Obama had my support before he

was first nominated. While I do not support all his policies, he has not disappointed me.

That is why I now support Senator Sanders to continue the progressive progress.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 02:08 PM

21. Excellent Krugman piece. Thanks, n2doc. n/t

 

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 02:20 PM

23. "a complete transformation of America’s political and economic scene" like they explicitly promised?

I don't recall much caution from Krugman back in 2007-8 ...

and this fingerwagging is rather comedic given DWS's 2010-15 performance--but of course if there's Dem losses it has to be the voters' fault! after all, they didn't vote for them!

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Response to MisterP (Reply #23)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 05:28 PM

28. Who explicitly promised that? Link please. n/t

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 02:24 PM

24. This is currently the first comment on the article:

The Observer Mars
It seems the moral to the story is, the biggest consequence of your vote for president is to install one or the other party into the power of the Executive branch. All the uproar about the different candidates amounts to a lot of obfuscation.

If you like the results the Republicans get - war, low wages, degraded social services, amplified class division, economic immobility and recession - vote for the Republican.

Otherwise, vote for the Democrat.


I would like to add that although I am very much a Bernie supporter, I recoil in horror at Bernie supporters who insist that if Hillary ends up as the nominee, they will either not vote at all, or they vote only for downticket races and not for president, or they will write in Bernie's name.

I do believe that Bernie would push a more liberal agenda and would probably have much longer coattails than Hillary would. Nevertheless, the consequences of a Republican victory in the presidential race would be horrendous--possibly even more horrendous than what we got with the CheneyBush administration.

First of all, the next president is likely to replace 3 Supreme Court justices. That would affect is in major ways for the next 30-40 years! Because of the purists who could not bring themselves to vote for Gore, we ended up with Alito and Roberts. The conservative majority on the court led to Citizens United and to the rollback of key provisions in the Voting Rights Act, which is why the Republican-controlled states have been able to institute those draconian voter ID laws that disenfranchise so many of the people who would vote for Democrats. They also have enabled the rollback of women's reproductive rights. That stupid Hobby Lobby decision about birth control coverage in the ACA is very much a result of the RW majority on the court.

Even if the SCOTUS were the only thing at stake it would still be imperative to get a Democrat into the White House--but as Krugman's column makes quite clear, much more than that is at stake. For example, there is the federal bench. The GOP has blocked most of Obama's appointments, but eventually that has got to give. Especially if we manage to get more Dems into the senate, the next president might actually manage to fill some of those positions. Of course, if a Republican is president, those seats will be filled so fast with RWers heads will spin. It is better for them to stay empty than to allow them to be filled with RW judges who will deform our justice system for a generation!

Too much is at stake. Surely most of those who though there was no significant difference between Gore and CheneyBush must recognize now how wrong that notion was. Even those who knew it would get worse under CheneyBush but who believed that such a destructive administration would wake the voters up enough to cause a major swing in the opposite direction should realize that although that is true to some degree, the destruction has been so extreme that we will probably never undo most of the damage, even if we do manage to get Bernie into the WH. Besides, the SCOTUS appointments that got handed to CheneyBush because of that election will continue for a very long time to undermine any progress we make.

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Response to tblue37 (Reply #24)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 06:16 PM

33. Congressional Law overides Supreme Court decisions. Seems to me that voting down ticket

for Democrats is very important. Voting for Democrats down ticket is the political revolution that Bernie Sanders has been speaking about.

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Response to DhhD (Reply #33)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 09:00 PM

39. We need to vote all-ticket. We also need to educate Dem voters about the importance of

local and state election, and midterm elections. Too many Dem voters think it is enough to turn out and vote for president every four years.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 06:04 PM

32. Does anybody remember these great changes to the tax structure of.the 1%?

The only thing I recall is that some of the Bush tax reductions were allowed to sunset. I honestly have no recollection that these BIG changes were happening. Was there actual media coverage at the time to let taxpayers know that:

the available numbers are consistent with Congressional Budget Office projections of the effects of the 2013 tax increases — projections which said that the effective federal tax rate on the 1 percent would rise roughly back to its pre-Reagan level. No, really: for top incomes, Mr. Obama has effectively rolled back not just the Bush tax cuts but Ronald Reagan’s as well.

The point, of course, was not to punish the rich but to raise money for progressive priorities, and while the 2013 tax hike wasn’t gigantic, it was significant. Those higher rates on the 1 percent correspond to about $70 billion a year in revenue. This happens to be in the same ballpark as both food stamps and budget office estimates of this year’s net outlays on Obamacare. So we’re not talking about something trivial.


Rolled back to pre Regan levels. I'm pretty sure I'd remember that if it was actually reported decently.

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Response to hedda_foil (Reply #32)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 06:21 PM

36. The tax cuts were supposed to sunset after 10 years.

The Bush Tax Cuts After Ten Years
(State-by-state figures available at www.ctj.org/bushtaxcuts10yrs.php)

http://www.ctj.org/bushtaxcuts10yrs/us.pdf

The text is below. The link is much better.

Ten years ago, on June 7, 2001, President George W. Bush signed into law the first of several tax
cuts that drove the balanced budget he inherited from President Clinton deep into the red. Last
year, Congressional supporters of Bush’s policies pushed through an extension of these tax cuts
through the end of 2012.
Fiscally irresponsible: Many lawmakers want to extend the Bush tax cuts again into 2013 and
beyond, which would almost double the federal budget deficit.
Unfair: The table below shows that 47.2 percent of the benefits of this tax cut extension would
go to the richest five percent of the nation’s taxpayers.
Hypocritical: Many of the same lawmakers insist that the budget deficit forces them to cut or
eliminate public services like Medicare and Medicaid.
Not helping the economy: A few months after President Clinton left office, the unemployment
rate in America was 4.4 percent. A few months after President George W. Bush left office, the
unemployment rate was 8.9 percent.
We are still suffering from the policies and economy left behind by President Bush. The
Bush tax cuts are not good for America, and Congress should not repeat this mistake
again.
The table to the right
shows how another
extension of the Bush tax
cuts would affect
taxpayers in the U.S.
The richest one percent
of the nation’s taxpayers
would get an average tax
cut of $68,079 in 2013.
The bottom three fifths
of taxpayers would get
an average tax cut of
$487 in that year.
Citizens for
Tax Justice
Income Average Average Share of Avg Tax Cut as
Group Income Tax Cut Tax Cuts % of Income
Lowest 20% $ 13,972 $ –125 1.1% 0.9%
Second 20% 28,157 –516 4.7% 1.8%
Middle 20% 45,225 –819 7.5% 1.8%
Fourth 20% 74,252 –1,540 14.2% 2.1%
Next 15% 128,389 –3,656 25.2% 2.8%
Next 4% 275,151 –8,613 15.8% 3.1%
Top 1% 1,472,933 –68,079 31.3% 4.6%
ALL $ 76,142 $ –2,144 100.0% 2.8%
ADDENDUM:
Top 5% $ 514,786 $ –20,510 47.2% 4.0%
Bottom 60% $ 29,119 $ –487 13.4% 1.7%

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Response to DhhD (Reply #36)

Mon Jan 4, 2016, 06:43 PM

38. I happily acknowledge the positive changes.

I was even aware of them before they occurred. But that's not what I asked about, which was whether anyone recalls the media reporting these changes in the direct aftermath of the events.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Jan 6, 2016, 12:26 PM

41. And, another DU myth bites the dust ...

 

For one of the important consequences of the 2012 election was that Mr. Obama was able to go through with a significant rise in taxes on high incomes. Partly this was achieved by allowing the upper end of the Bush tax cuts to expire; there were also new taxes on high incomes passed along with the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare.

...

These numbers aren’t enough to give us a full picture of taxes at the top, which requires taking account of other taxes, especially taxes on corporate profits that indirectly affect the income of stockholders. But the available numbers are consistent with Congressional Budget Office projections of the effects of the 2013 tax increases — projections which said that the effective federal tax rate on the 1 percent would rise roughly back to its pre-Reagan level. No, really: for top incomes, Mr. Obama has effectively rolled back not just the Bush tax cuts but Ronald Reagan’s as well.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Thu Jan 7, 2016, 10:32 PM

42. And I wish that Democratic candidates expressed it

In 2014, when we lost the Senate, Elizabeth Warren was the only one to travel and to talk about that.

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