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hfojvt's Journal
hfojvt's Journal
December 9, 2016

the funny thing about this

in a really sad way

Is that Trump and company will NOT save as much by abolishing the estate tax as they saved when Obama and the Democrats gutted the estate tax in 2012.

That link says that the estate tax brings in $8.5 billion a year.

It used to, before Obama got elected, bring in $70 billion a year. http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=439x30476

So, tax cut from Trump that we are supposed to wail and gnash out teeth about - $8.5 billion per year

Tax cut from our hero Obama (and voted FOR by such progressive stalwarts as Bernie Sanders and Tammy Baldwin) - $61.5 billion per year.

Of course, the estate tax used to be even higher before Bill Clinton's tax cuts of 1997, cut more than $10 billion a year from the estate tax. http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=2665533

October 22, 2014

The Republican recession and the Democratic recovery (updated again)

Republican politicians continue to push policies which have clearly failed. Trickle down is popular with the voters, because it promises them free money, but it does not deliver the prosperity.

The American economy is still climbing out of a very deep recession. One which began under the Presidency of George W. Bush.

Here are job gains, or losses, for recent history, by quarter-year.

First, the severe Republican recession

1st (151,000)
2nd (568,000)
3rd (921,000)
4th (1,936,000) !!

total (3,576,000) while Bush was still President

1st (2,330,000) !!
2nd (1,510,000)

total (3,840,000) Obama's first five months in office, clearly too soon to be blamed on any of his policies, although the stimulus was passed in February (and Republicans are STILL running ads claiming that it did NOT work)

3rd (770,000)
4th (487,000)

total (1,257,000)

I still call that a success, for the economy to NOT be losing over 1 million jobs per quarter. The free fall was stopped, although the economy kept falling in the second half of the year, it was at a slowing pace.

Then the recovery started, while the media constantly complained "we are not recovering fast enough".

1st +124,000
2nd +695,000
3rd (160,000)
4th +449,000

total +1,108,000

1st +450,000
2nd +641,000
3rd +449,000
4th +543,000

total +2,083,000

1st +829,000
2nd +294,000
3rd +471,000
4th +642,000

total +2,236,000

1st +618,000
2nd + 400,000
3rd +515,000
4th +595,000

total +2,128,000

1st +569,000
2nd +800,000
3rd +671,000 (mostly provisional)

total (so far, and provisional) +2.04 million

The private sector, since December 2007 has gained a net of 620,000 jobs. The total economy has only gained 113,000. Meaning there has been a loss of 507,000 government jobs. (Since I wrote that, Government has now started adding jobs too + 55,000 in the last two quarters.)

Without those cuts, we'd have a gain of over 1 million jobs. After the loss of 7.4 million that happened at the end of Bush's term. Since 2010, the economy is PLUS 9.58 million jobs.

I probably should include a link


April 16, 2014

How many 4th cousins do you have?

How many 4th cousins do you have? Probably nobody in the world can answer that question.

I have met and contacted a number of 4th cousins, or their grandparents. So it makes me think of the fact that we all have a number of 4th cousins floating around and we have no idea who or where they are.

A 4th cousin is somebody who has the same great-great-great grandparents as you do. Which is the first difficulty. Most people cannot name their great-great-great grandparents, certainly not all of them. Even I, who have done thirty years of family history research can only name 17 of my 32 triple great grandparents. One of the reasons I contact 4th cousins is to try to inform them of their ancestry that my research has uncovered. When I was a kid, my grandparents could usually only name their own grandparents. From that original list of 31 ancestors, I have found another 748 ancestors in my family tree (quite often thanks to the work of others that I tie into), 559 on my dad's side, and 189 on my mom's side.

But, if you could know, how many descendants would those 16 couples have? I decided to count what I have found out. In my all-paternal line my triple great-grandparents had 13 kids, 72 grandkids, 221 great-grandkids (just try remembering all those birthdays), 376 g-g-grandkids, and 521 g-g-g-grandkids. To get 4th cousins, I then need to subtract the descendants of my own great-great grandparents (because those people would be 3rd cousins or less). There are 41 of those, leaving 480 (!!) fourth cousins from that line!

For my other lines though, I had much lower numbers, including zero from one line and one from another. In the zero line, that couple had 5 children (one of which was my ancestor) 19 grandchildren (9 of them from my ancestor) but then the 19 great-grandchildren that I knew of were from my own branch of the family. The others stayed in Switzerland and I only had Swiss records to 1870.

So last weekend I did a flurry of research to see if I could find more 4th cousins. And I did. I found 54 more people in my Hart line, 32 more in my Gasser line, 18 more in my Diehl line, and so on. Then, ironically enough, even though I wasn't looking, I found 22 more people in my paternal line.

So, my total that I know of now from 9 of 16 lines, is 717, an average of 102 per line if you figure that two of my lines are very incomplete (with 0 and 1 fourth cousin). Considering the incompleteness of my data, 150 per line is a reasonable estimate for a LOW guess. I mean, ten years ago I had 393 known descendants in my paternal line, and today I have 521. Finding another 128 in other lines would bring my average to 230. So, I think 150 is a bare minimum. Taking that number for 16 lines would mean a person has, in general, at least 2,400 fourth cousins.

Of course, relationships don't stop with 4th cousins. People have 5th cousins, 6th cousins, and so on. The further you go, the more diluted the relationship. Still, I have had some encounters. Volunteering in a youth center in 1990, one of the first kids I met was Kevin. It turned out later, that he was a 4th cousin once removed. Teaching class in that same town, one of my students was a 5th cousin. That connection I knew about and told her on the first day of class. Another person that I knew since 7th grade turns out to be an 8th cousin on my mom's side. Even more of a twist was my discovery that one of my sister's boyfriends from junior high is an 8th cousin.

Sometimes in family history you find connections that you do not want to find. I mean, it is cool to be distantly related to FDR, Humphrey Bogart, Thomas Edison, Frederick Law Olmstead, Sinclair Lewis, Norman Rockwell, Ben Affleck, Cole Porter, John Forbes Nash, Tom Seaver, Anthony Perkins, Story Musgrave, and Sam Shepard, et. al. It is not so cool, depending on your politics, to be distantly related to Sarah Palin and George W. Bush.

Still, we all have that mix of famous and infamous in our family trees, because, of course, the whole human race is interconnected and distantly related. If one could know their 8th cousins, those would descend from 512 couples. I can only name 65 of those 512 in my own ancestry. The number of descendants is astounding to me. In one family I know well, the Loomis family, I have records of 8 children, 88 grandchildren, then 407- 1,472- 4,058 - 9,169 - 16,032!! And that is not a complete count.

But not every family was that successful at producing descendants. But with 16,000 after seven generations, seems like you could figure a low average of 5,000 after nine generations. Which would give most people at least 2.5 million 8th cousins.

Say hi to the family.

March 23, 2014

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.

March 10, 2014

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.

February 13, 2014

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

January 28, 2014

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

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

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

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.

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

total 2010 + 1,022,000

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

total 2011 + 2,103,000

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

total 2012 +2,193,000

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.

November 24, 2013

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.

October 28, 2013

THE Database

of income inequality, for those few who might be interested


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"
October 23, 2013

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.

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Hometown: South - Carolina and Dakota
Home country: Oz
Current location: Kansas
Member since: Mon Nov 15, 2004, 04:30 AM
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