Are you selling your soul for a few extra bucks?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 18, 2010 4:35 AM GMT
    Here is something I have been unable to wrap my mind around. Why do social progressives who are not absolutely wealthy favor Republican policies? True, Republican tax cuts may save them a few dollars. But the real savings flows to to the ultra-wealthy, and the country loses so many things that it needs. Many of those same people feel strongly about the Republicans' argument that taxes are a moral issue - a matter of principle. But how have they let that become so much more important than other moral issues, like making sure everyone has access to health care, and making sure people in need have a "safety net." And how can those people still deny, after so many years of Republican control, that leaving more money in private hands does not result in the types of long-term investments in our country that will lead it to success. People looking to make money are too short term. They want immediate profits and immediate increases in their stock prices. However, in the right hands, government can prioritize long-term investment in key areas (such as energy, infrastructure, and education) that will truly provide teh greatest chance of success. So, if you're looking at it through a moral lense, shouldn't helping the most vulnerable in our society win out over helping the most powerful? And if you're looking at it through a pragmatic lense, shouldn't you forget about saving so little in taxes so you can gain so much in long-term sustainability?
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    Sep 18, 2010 8:35 AM GMT
    Where do you draw the line on how much taxes the wealthy should pay? If you compare who pays significant taxes already, you will see that the top few percent of income earners pay a significant percentage of taxes and a very large percentage pay no taxes at all. The problem comes about if the Government tries to continually take more from the top earners to redistribute wealth, the incentive for the business owners and entrepreneurs to expand the economy is diminished. Even the countries in Europe that have had very progressive policies are moving back because of economic stagnation. Many of us believe the Democratic Party prefers to take our money to buy votes for themselves. There is a pattern of throwing money at projects inefficiently. I don't think many would not want to help those who really need help, but many of the programs tend to be band-aid measures. While there are necessary roles for the Government, the long term growth comes about from encouraging the private sector to continually expand.

    Consider this:
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/09/16/los-angeles-official-disappointed-city-used-stimulus-funds/

    L.A.: $111M in Stimulus Saved Just 55 Jobs
    By William Lajeunesse
    Published September 17, 2010
    FoxNews.com

    More than a year after Congress approved $800 billion in stimulus funds, the Los Angeles city controller has released a 40-page report on how the city spent its share, and the results are not living up to expectations. "I'm disappointed that we've only created or retained 55 jobs after receiving $111 million," said Wendy Greuel, the city's controller. "With our local unemployment rate over 12 percent we need to do a better job cutting red tape and putting Angelenos back to work."

    According to the audit, the Los Angeles Department of Public Works spent $70 million in stimulus funds -- in return, it created seven private sector jobs and saved seven workers from layoffs. Taxpayer cost per job: $1.5 million.

    The Los Angeles Department of Transportation created even fewer jobs per dollar, spending $40 million but netting just nine jobs. Taxpayer cost per job: $4.4 million.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Sep 18, 2010 10:12 AM GMT
    icon_cool.gif

    Fox News?
    Puh-Leeze!

    Where do you draw the line?
    Where the freakin' line was before Bush gave them the keys to the governmental treasury .... that's where

    Income Gaps Between Very Rich and Everyone Else More Than Tripled In Last Three Decades, New Data Show
    By Arloc Sherman and Chad Stone
    June 25, 2010

    http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3220

    images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQacNJ07FGBLzHCx-gIj4i
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 18, 2010 5:17 PM GMT
    [quote][cite]socalfitness said[/cite]Where do you draw the line on how much taxes the wealthy should pay? If you compare who pays significant taxes already, you will see that the top few percent of income earners pay a significant percentage of taxes and a very large percentage pay no taxes at all. The problem comes about if the Government tries to continually take more from the top earners to redistribute wealth, the incentive for the business owners and entrepreneurs to expand the economy is diminished. Even the countries in Europe that have had very progressive policies are moving back because of economic stagnation. Many of us believe the Democratic Party prefers to take our money to buy votes for themselves. There is a pattern of throwing money at projects inefficiently. I don't think many would not want to help those who really need help, but many of the programs tend to be band-aid measures. While there are necessary roles for the Government, the long term growth comes about from encouraging the private sector to continually expand."

    It is correct that the question is where to draw the line vis-à-vis the tax rate. I think that the line should be drawn at a point at which there is enough money to pay for what is needed. I am glad you agree that there should be a safety net for those in need. So, I think we agree that this is something that is “needed.” I think your argument is that, because there are examples of waste in government programs, or because some programs don’t work as efficiently as might be possible, therefore taxes should be lowered, perhaps government programs should not be funded, and perhaps the programs should be scrapped. But I think that the solution is to come up with better solutions – and not to remove those safety nets in the interim. An example of this occurring was when welfare was revamped during the Clinton administration.

    One example that you use is the waste or inefficiency which occurred in connection with the stimulus. I’m not sure that’s the best example upon which to rely. Things that happen in a rush are never planned out like they might be when there is more time to design and implement them. Without addressing at this point why we were in such an emergency situation, virtually all experts agreed that we were on the verge of a potential depression. No one offered a better solution to prevent that than the stimulus. One of the lessons of the Great Depression was that it is necessary for government to inject large amounts of money into the economy in certain situations. This was one such situation. I think the results are way better than many are acknowledging. Although unemployment recently went up because many of the government jobs created by the stimulus have now ended, private unemployment went down. In other words, the stimulus did exactly what it was supposed to do – it created government jobs to hold us over until private jobs could start to rebound.
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    Sep 18, 2010 6:44 PM GMT
    "...I think that the line should be drawn at a point at which there is enough money to pay for what is needed....In other words, the stimulus did exactly what it was supposed to do – it created government jobs to hold us over until private jobs could start to rebound."

    The challenge in knowing how much money should be drawn, presumably by increasing taxes, until all or some level of social needs are satisfied, is you may reduce incentive for private enterprise to expand, and reduce tax revenue. This would create the opposite effect that you seek, unless you increase the deficit.

    Regarding the stimulus creating government jobs until the private jobs could rebound, the private jobs are not rebounding because of the uncertainty of taxes, concern about the employer costs of health care, and general uncertainty given the perception that this administration has an anti-business bent.

    The example I cited is current, and while it may not be typical, the results of the stimulus for achieving its intent, creating jobs, has not been successful. Regarding the Government injecting money, Tony Blair in his new book agrees, but says the Government should get out of the way ASAP. He expressed the view that if the Government continues to disincentivize the private sector, the recovery from the recession becomes uncertain.

    The overall problems are not simple, and strong adherence to any one ideology without being open-minded is unfortunate.

    Aside from discussion on the issues, a point to the OP - I and many of the other guys on RJ who are conservative politically and economically have significantly cut back our participation in these political threads, and I suspected none of the other conservative guys would see your post and respond. We participate elsewhere because most of us are tired of the continual liberal versus conservative debates, same people, same points rehashed, generally pretty nasty. I noticed you just started participating in the forum, and while our political positions are different, I was struck your sincerity and civil tone. I did not want the responses to be only from the others who will likely be very partisan and toxic.
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    Sep 18, 2010 10:14 PM GMT
    Yes, that is always the argument: That raising taxes will squelch private investment, retard the economy, and ultimately reduce tax revenue. And, of course, at some point that would be true. However, I don’t believe that history demonstrates that raising the tax rate to pre-Bush levels (and only for those earning more than $250,000) approaches the level where that problem would occur. In fact, under the Clinton administration, taxes were higher and the economy grew at a higher-than-average rate. The deficit also went down. On the other hand, the trickle-down theory has never panned out.

    You also say that the private sector is not growing. That’s simply untrue: “The economy shed 131,000 jobs, as 143,000 temporary Census workers fell off federal payrolls. Private-sector employment grew by 71,000 in July after a downwardly revised 31,000 in June. Government employment, not counting Census workers, fell by 59,000.” Next, you argue that the economy is not rebounding because of the uncertainty of the future tax rate. Certainly, part of what is keeping the economy from rebounding in the short time is the lack of consumer confidence. But that lack of consumer confidence began while the Bush tax cuts were still in place (as they are now). It began because of a confluence of a variety of factors. One was the private-sector speculation in the real estate market, due in part to the lack of regulation of, among others, mortgage brokers, real estate agents, and the banking sector. There are also much deeper problems with our economy that the private sector is not equipped to fix. But, anyway, I think the uncertainty in the real estate market is a much bigger problem than the threat of raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

    I agree that health care costs (as well as other factors, like energy costs) are serious factors contributing to the problems with the economy. But it’s not just because businesses are worried about those costs. It is also because those types of costs do the same thing you are worried slightly higher taxes would do – they reduce the amount of money that is left in private hands and that may be invested in things that are needed and which may be spent on other goods and services. Spreading the costs of insurance premiums and switching to alternative energy sources (the latter of which Republicans always dismissed as radical) are two ways to help alleviate those problems.
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    Sep 19, 2010 12:47 AM GMT
    In my opinion, comparing the effect of higher tax rates during the Clinton administration and today would be misleading as the economy is especially fragile today. Regarding your specific comment about the current debate on the Bush tax rates - my comments were more general about the stagnating effects of high taxes on the private sector. I was not addressing the specific topic of the day of whether raising taxes on the upper income individuals including small businesses would have a negative effect on the economy. There are experts on both sides of the issue.

    On private sector growth, your point is correct. I should have stated the growth is nowhere sufficient to inspire confidence in the private sector to add sufficient jobs to bring the unemployment rate down to any significant extent. Also agree that the causes behind the lack of confidence are multiple. As far as the housing problems as a cause of the economic crisis, I completely agree that the lack of control over some of the business practices was a major factor. But you did not mention the role of Democrats encouraging the issuance of mortgages to those who could not afford them in the spirit of social justice. The Bush administration shares the blame in not fighting the Democrats in this area. There is another thread, a month old, that discusses the housing point in some detail, with the arguments you might expect. http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/1080001

    Lastly on alternate energy, I'm all in favor of it. I drive a hybrid during the week. This has not been aggressively pursued enough, going back maybe 20 years. I have not seen evidence that investing in alternate energy in a severe recession has or would make good economic sense, but maybe there are facts that I'm not aware of.