Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

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Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby podbaydoor » Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:26 pm UTC

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/02/us/po ... f=politics
Senate Republicans Threaten Tax Dispute Blockade
Spoiler:
By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
WASHINGTON — Not even 24 hours after President Obama met with senior Republican Congressional leaders and expressed hopes for a “new dialogue,” renewed partisan fury engulfed the Senate on Wednesday, as Republicans threatened to block any legislation until a deal is reached to extend the expiring Bush-era tax cuts, potentially derailing the Democrats’ busy end-of-year agenda.

The blunt threat was made in a letter to the majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, and signed by all 42 Senate Republicans. And it was reiterated by the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, in a speech in which he accused Democratic leaders and Mr. Obama of ignoring the midterm election results.

The move put Democrats in a vise and sharply heightened tensions on Capitol Hill, where administration officials and senior lawmakers from both the House and Senate opened the first round of talks in hopes of reaching an accord on the expiring tax cuts. Officials reported no progress in those talks, and the Senate Republicans’ threat suggested they had little appetite for compromise.

If Congress does not act by the end of the year, the lower rates expire for everyone, an outcome neither side wants.

The Republican maneuver came just as Senate Democrats seemed within reach of the votes needed to authorize repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gay service members. The Republican blockade stalls debate on the military policy bill containing the repeal language, and it casts a long shadow over numerous bills awaiting action in Congress, including efforts to extend jobless benefits for millions of Americans about to lose them.

It also complicates the chances of ratification of the New Start arms treaty with Russia that is a major priority for the White House, and it could prevent Mr. Reid from fulfilling a major promise of his re-election campaign, to try again to pass a bill that would create a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children.

“For the past two years, Democrat leaders in Washington have spent virtually all their time ticking off items on the liberal wish list while they’ve had the chance,” Mr. McConnell said. “Here we are, just a few weeks left in the session, and they’re still at it. Last month, the American people issued their verdict on the Democrats’ priorities. Democrats have responded by doubling down.”

Mr. McConnell’s announcement of an all-out blockade came just a day after he applauded Senator Christopher R. Dodd, the retiring Connecticut Democrat, for a farewell address in which Mr. Dodd called for greater civility and cooperation among lawmakers. His announcement drew howls of anger from Democrats who said it was just the latest evidence of Republican obstructionism.

To emphasize their point, Democrats went to the floor and attempted to bring up numerous bills, including a measure to extend jobless benefits and a measure to promote clean energy. On behalf of his colleagues, Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, repeatedly voiced objections, blocking the bills and prompting a furious speech by Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri.

“If anybody’s been paying attention, they would understand that our friends across the aisle have been blocking everything, including motherhood and apple pie for the last year,” Ms. McCaskill said. She derided Mr. Barrasso for accusing the Democrats of engaging in theater. “Theater is having 42 senators say we will not participate unless you do what we want to do today,” she said. “That’s theater.”

Ms. McCaskill added, “What you are seeing on this side right now is a healthy dose of indignation on behalf of the American people that are hurting.”

Senate Republicans said they would even block a major food safety bill that the Senate adopted just on Tuesday but must be voted on again because of a parliamentary glitch. The food safety measure, which strengthens the Food and Drug Administration in an effort to prevent unsafe foods from reaching grocery stores and restaurant, was approved by a vote of 73 to 25, with 15 Republicans joining Democrats in support.

Under normal circumstances, the Senate might simply reapprove the bill by unanimous agreement, bypassing the need even for a formal roll call vote. But Republicans said they would block any effort to take up the bill again before the tax issue was resolved. And even then, they said, they will force Mr. Reid to spend the better part of a week cycling through procedural votes just to get the measure back on the floor.

If Republicans had any worry about being seen as uncooperative, they did not show it. Mr. Barrasso coolly objected to the Democrats’ efforts to bring up other bills, often saying he knew little about what the Democrats were trying to do.

“What I do know,” Mr. Barrasso said, “is 42 senators from this side of the aisle have signed a letter, a letter to say that what we ought to do and what we need to do is to find a way to fund the government and prevent a tax hike on every American come Jan. 1.”

Mr. Obama tried to put a positive spin on the day’s developments, saying he did not think Mr. McConnell’s threat broke the spirit of bipartisanship that the president expressed after his meeting with Republican Congressional leaders on Tuesday.

“Nobody wants to see taxes on middle-class families go up starting Jan. 1, and so there’s going to be some lingering politics that have to work themselves out in all the caucuses, Democrat and Republican,” Mr. Obama said. “But at the end of the day, I think that people of good will can come together.”

Mr. Obama and senior Democratic Congressional leaders want to let the tax cuts expire on annual income above $250,000 for couples and $200,000 for individuals, while continuing the lower rates on income below those amounts. The Democrats’ plan would add roughly $3 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years. The Republicans want to extend all of the lower rates, which would add about $4 trillion to the deficit over the next decade.

Democrats had hoped to put political pressure on Republicans by portraying them as fighting to maintain tax breaks even for millionaires and billionaires. But the Republicans pushed Democrats against a wall, making it clear that if they did not quickly agree to extend all of the lower rates, they risked accomplishing nothing else before the end of the year, when they lose their majority in the House.



Excerpt from the Republican's blockade letter, from NPR:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics ... debt-bills
The nation’s unemployment level, stuck near 10 percent, is unacceptable to Americans. Senate Republicans have been urging Congress to make private-sector job creation a priority all year. President Obama in his first speech after the November election said “we owe” it to the American people to “focus on those issues that affect their jobs.” He went on to say that Americans “want jobs to come back faster.” Our constituents have repeatedly asked us to focus on creating an environment for private-sector job growth; it is time that our constituents’ priorities become the Senate’s priorities.

For that reason, we write to inform you that we will not agree to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers. With little time left in this Congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities. While there are other items that might ultimately be worthy of the Senate's attention, we cannot agree to prioritize any matters above the critical issues of funding the government and preventing a job-killing tax hike.


Update on the situation, again from NPR:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics ... icken-crap
House OKs Middle-Class Tax Cuts Boehner Calls 'Chicken Crap'
Spoiler:
The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives steamrolled over Republican objections Thursday to pass a permanent extension of the Bush era middle-class tax cuts for taxpayers making up to $250,000.

The move is purely symbolic since it stands little to no chance of getting Senate approval. Senate Republicans have insisted that the tax cuts also be extended for those with income above $250,000.

But House Democrats and President Obama have so far rejected a permanent extension for the higher income taxpayers, saying it would cost about $700 billion over ten years.

With a smile, Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced the bill's passage by a 234-188 vote.

Earlier in the day, the next speaker, Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) called the Democratic maneuver "chicken crap." Actually, what he told reporters was:

I’m trying to catch my breath so I don’t refer to this maneuver that is going on today as chicken crap, all right. This is nonsense, all right? The election was one month ago. We are 23 months until the next election, and the political games have already started trying to set up the next election.

The move will allow House Democrats to boast that they kept their vow to extend the tax cuts to the middle class and deny them to wealthier taxpayers who, they argue, have received an unfair amount of the nation's income during the last decade.

The vote also comes against a backdrop of White House negotiations with congressional Republicans over extending the tax cuts, discussions which have reportedly gone nowhere fast.
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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby Bhelliom » Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:35 pm UTC

It boggles the mind how these asshats get into office.
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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby Xeio » Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:37 pm UTC

Come on, where is the democrats filibustering the tax reduction for the wealthy until filibustering is reformed! :P

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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby Obby » Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:38 pm UTC

This is honestly one of the few times where I physically could not finish reading an article due to the rage coursing through me. I made it through four or five sentences of the NY Times article and promptly felt the urge to go commit some violent act against McConnell rising sharply.

Though, I should say this about the last sentence I read FTA:

If Congress does not act by the end of the year, the lower rates expire for everyone, an outcome neither side wants.


This is favorable to me over renewing the tax cuts as the Republicans want.
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This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.

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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby Jessica » Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:46 pm UTC

I love how the threat is to keep doing what they are already doing.
"If you don't listen, we'll filibuster!"
"Uh... you've filibustered everything for 4 years..."
"Yeah, but... we'll do it... again?"

Really the Democrats just have to call their bluff. And if they do filibuster, go to the electorate and say "Look at who you elected - No tax cuts for anyone, because the richest 1% didn't get theirs."

It's really just stupid, the whole thing.
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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby Triangle_Man » Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:51 pm UTC

Sometimes, I secretly hope that the Republicans get into office on a majority and pass every single bill they want.

If those bills/policies turn out to help America in the long run, then that will be an excellent thing for the country and the people living in it. If they turn out to harm America in the long run, then maybe the political spectrum will start drifting back towards the center as people become more open to Left-Wing policies.

I know it's a bit sadistic of me, but if the Republicans are trying to get everything they want NO MATTER WHAT while ensuring that no democrat policies get through in any circumstance EVER, I say we grant them their wish...
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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby Jessica » Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:54 pm UTC

Triangle_Man wrote:If those bills/policies turn out to help America in the long run, then that will be an excellent thing for the country and the people living in it. If they turn out to harm America in the long run, then maybe the political spectrum will start drifting back towards the center as people become more open to Left-Wing policies.
You mean like what happened between 2000 and 2006?
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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby Triangle_Man » Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:59 pm UTC

Jessica wrote:
Triangle_Man wrote:If those bills/policies turn out to help America in the long run, then that will be an excellent thing for the country and the people living in it. If they turn out to harm America in the long run, then maybe the political spectrum will start drifting back towards the center as people become more open to Left-Wing policies.
You mean like what happened between 2000 and 2006?


I was a bit too young to remember that period very well, but yeah. The electorate sure has short term memories, don't they?

(Actually, can you elaborate on this?)

And, because I needed an excuse to do this, it's time for corrupt a wish, political edition.

Republican presidential candidate - I wish that I didn't have to deal with the opposition parties so that I could pass the bills I KNOW will help Americans.

Genie - Granted. However, without an opposition party to point out the flaws in those bills, your legislation is, quite frankly, crappy. Americans get really angry with you and, unlike with the Obama administration, actually overthrow your government in a violent revolution. Your country ends up becoming a Communist Dictatorship that still manages to perform better then your government, despite logic to the contrary.

RPC - ... :(
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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby podbaydoor » Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:34 pm UTC

Didn't we institute a Panel of Kindergarten Teachers authorized with the power to put anyone in timeout if they started having tantrums and behaving like 5-year-olds?
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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:40 pm UTC

podbaydoor wrote:Didn't we institute a Panel of Kindergarten Teachers authorized with the power to put anyone in timeout if they started having tantrums and behaving like 5-year-olds?

We lost that in Budget Reconciliation.

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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby JudeMorrigan » Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:44 pm UTC

For that reason, we write to inform you that we will not agree to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers.

Head. Desk. No inherent contradiction there. No-sirree-bob!
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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby Jessica » Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:59 pm UTC

Triangle_Man wrote:
Jessica wrote:
Triangle_Man wrote:If those bills/policies turn out to help America in the long run, then that will be an excellent thing for the country and the people living in it. If they turn out to harm America in the long run, then maybe the political spectrum will start drifting back towards the center as people become more open to Left-Wing policies.
You mean like what happened between 2000 and 2006?
I was a bit too young to remember that period very well, but yeah. The electorate sure has short term memories, don't they?

(Actually, can you elaborate on this?)
Not sure what needs to be elaborated on... the republicans were in the majority in congress and had a president from 2000 to 2006. They passed a lot of legislation and started 2 wars. Most people were pretty pissed about it.
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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby podbaydoor » Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:14 pm UTC

Jessica wrote:Really the Democrats just have to call their bluff. And if they do filibuster, go to the electorate and say "Look at who you elected - No tax cuts for anyone, because the richest 1% didn't get theirs."

The troubling thing I see is that this insane tactic of the Republicans might actually work with this president. It was discussed this morning on NPR again.

http://www.npr.org/2010/12/02/131733220 ... e-he-caves
Liberals: Obama Doesn't Compromise, He Caves
Spoiler:
President Obama's team is deep in negotiations with Congress over how to find common ground on the fate of the Bush-era tax cuts. And liberals are afraid that the White House may be too quick to cede ground to Republicans without securing concessions in return.

That concern is not unique to the tax-cut debate. People on the left have been concerned about Obama's negotiating style for some time now.

In contrast, Senate Republicans sent Majority Leader Harry Reid a letter Wednesday with what amounts to an ultimatum: "We will not agree to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has agreed to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers."

In other words, vote on tax cuts and spending bills now, or forget about everything else you want to get done during the lame-duck session. It's the kind of strong, unified negotiating posture Republicans have become known for in the past two years.

But to the dismay of liberal activists such as Justin Ruben, executive director of the group MoveOn, Obama has developed a different reputation.

"Looking right now at the tax cuts — the White House [is] signaling willingness to pre-emptively cave on what is effectively a tax bailout to millionaires," Ruben says. "I think it's profoundly upsetting to people."

Giving Without Getting?

Liberals see the president as a bad negotiator, willing to sell the farm for nothing.

For example, nine months ago he angered environmentalists with a surprise announcement that offshore oil and gas exploration would be expanded.

He seemed to be giving Republicans a bargaining chip without getting anything in return. Indeed, the energy bill that Obama wanted died in the Senate for lack of Republican support.

In the health care debate, the White House abandoned a public option without winning any Republican votes for the concession.

And earlier this week, Obama once again gave Republicans something they wanted, against the wishes of many liberal groups, when he proposed a two-year pay freeze for civilian federal workers.

At a White House briefing the day of that announcement, Jonathan Weisman of The Wall Street Journal asked spokesman Robert Gibbs about the president's negotiating style.

"Why does the president go out and make these proposals at a podium, instead of behind closed doors with your political adversaries in a negotiating position, where you might be able to get something in return?" Weisman asked. "What is the president getting in return by making this gesture?"

When he was pressed, Gibbs answered in a less flippant way. "The president makes a series of decisions that he thinks are in the best interests of the country — not as a bargaining chip or a bargaining tool, but because it was the right thing to do."

'A Messy Business'

This has always been part of Obama's narrative. His brand of politics rises above the fray.

"I don't really understand that fully," says Jeswald Salacuse, who teaches international negotiations at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. "Simply making the statement and expecting them to come along and say, 'Yeah, you did the right thing. We're going to do the right thing.' I really think that's naive and certainly not realistic. Policy is a matter to be negotiated. It's a messy business, there's lots of give and take, but at the end of the day, that's the way it's done."

Experts on negotiation say that when Obama publicly volunteers to concede something that Republicans want, a principle comes into play called "reactive devaluation."

Explains Mike Wheeler of Harvard Business School: "If I give you something that you haven't asked for or worked for, you tend to underappreciate it. It's quite different if you've got to pull it out of me."

Another way of looking at it is, if you feed the donkey all your carrots at the beginning of a trip, the donkey has no incentive to carry you. Although in this case, the better metaphor might be the elephant has no incentive to carry you.

A Disdain For Negotiating

Even some Republicans share this view of the president as a poor negotiator.

"It's sort of like telegraphing your passes in basketball. It's easy to steal a pass," says Jim Walsh, a former congressman from upstate New York, now with the lobbying firm K&L Gates.

He says this kind of politicking just is not in Obama's blood.

"He's never been in the leadership position in either body," Walsh says, "so he didn't have to do the negotiating, the horse-trading, that a Mitch McConnell would have grown up on, or a Harry Reid would have grown up on, or a John Boehner would have grown up on. The president has not had to do this."

In fact, this president has always expressed disdain for the negotiating games that make up the daily routine in Washington.

But it is a game that he is in, whether he wants to play it or not.


TL;DR
Liberals see the president as a bad negotiator, willing to sell the farm for nothing.

For example, nine months ago he angered environmentalists with a surprise announcement that offshore oil and gas exploration would be expanded.

He seemed to be giving Republicans a bargaining chip without getting anything in return. Indeed, the energy bill that Obama wanted died in the Senate for lack of Republican support.

This has always been part of Obama's narrative. His brand of politics rises above the fray.

"I don't really understand that fully," says Jeswald Salacuse, who teaches international negotiations at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. "Simply making the statement and expecting them to come along and say, 'Yeah, you did the right thing. We're going to do the right thing.' I really think that's naive and certainly not realistic. Policy is a matter to be negotiated. It's a messy business, there's lots of give and take, but at the end of the day, that's the way it's done."

Experts on negotiation say that when Obama publicly volunteers to concede something that Republicans want, a principle comes into play called "reactive devaluation."

Explains Mike Wheeler of Harvard Business School: "If I give you something that you haven't asked for or worked for, you tend to underappreciate it. It's quite different if you've got to pull it out of me."
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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby Silknor » Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:58 pm UTC

Really the Democrats just have to call their bluff. And if they do filibuster, go to the electorate and say "Look at who you elected - No tax cuts for anyone, because the richest 1% didn't get theirs."


Which doesn't cut both ways. At all. People will be mad at the Republicans for holding middle class tax cuts hostage to getting upper class tax cuts. And people will be mad at Democrats for holding middle class tax cuts hostage to not extending upper class tax cuts.

And the Democrats, since they hold the presidency, have a lot more to lose. Pissing off a bunch of people and causing short term economic damage probably won't do any favors to Obama's reelection bid.
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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby Jahoclave » Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:00 am UTC

podbaydoor wrote:Didn't we institute a Panel of Kindergarten Teachers authorized with the power to put anyone in timeout if they started having tantrums and behaving like 5-year-olds?

Yes, I put that guy from Arkansas in charge of it because, while I don't agree with him on everything, he did point out that the elected officials were acting like children.

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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby sje46 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:04 am UTC

Jessica wrote:
Triangle_Man wrote:
Jessica wrote:
Triangle_Man wrote:If those bills/policies turn out to help America in the long run, then that will be an excellent thing for the country and the people living in it. If they turn out to harm America in the long run, then maybe the political spectrum will start drifting back towards the center as people become more open to Left-Wing policies.
You mean like what happened between 2000 and 2006?
I was a bit too young to remember that period very well, but yeah. The electorate sure has short term memories, don't they?

(Actually, can you elaborate on this?)
Not sure what needs to be elaborated on... the republicans were in the majority in congress and had a president from 2000 to 2006. They passed a lot of legislation and started 2 wars. Most people were pretty pissed about it.

Bush was 2000-2008, by the way. A term is 4 years.

EDIT: 2001-2008, more accurately.
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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby Sandry » Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:15 am UTC

sje46 wrote:EDIT: 2001-2008, more accurately.

I think the point was that GOP majority was lost in congress after 2006, not that we got rid of Bush any earlier.
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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby frezik » Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Jessica wrote:Not sure what needs to be elaborated on... the republicans were in the majority in congress and had a president from 2000 to 2006. They passed a lot of legislation and started 2 wars. Most people were pretty pissed about it.


Democrats had the Senate for 2 of those years, although not the House.

Current Republicans will tell you the Tea Party created a different Republican party. A lot of them rage against "establishment" Republicans. As far as I can work out, "establishment" just means whomever the Tea Party hive mind doesn't like.
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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby 22/7 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:54 am UTC

I just love that they're threatening this during the lame duck. They've done this the whole time Obama's been in office and now that they're about to pick up a bunch of seats, they think the Dem's are suddenly going to grow a pair and stand up to you? I sadly have less faith in the Dems to get out of their own way than I do the Repubs to be complete asshats.
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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby Zanmanoodle » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:39 am UTC

Jessica wrote:Really the Democrats just have to call their bluff. And if they do filibuster, go to the electorate and say "Look at who you elected - No tax cuts for anyone, because the richest 1% didn't get theirs."

It's really just stupid, the whole thing.


Or the Republicans could go and say "Look at who you elected - No tax cuts for anyone, because we wanted to make sure the richest 1% didn't have too much.

It is stupid, though. Although to be perfectly honest, I despise the idea of a progressive tax system on so many levels, so I'd prefer a tax all around. (Actually, I'd prefer a flat rate tax [with the exception of those on the poverty line], but hell if that will ever happen.)

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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby mmmcannibalism » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:58 am UTC

It is stupid, though. Although to be perfectly honest, I despise the idea of a progressive tax system on so many levels, so I'd prefer a tax all around. (Actually, I'd prefer a flat rate tax [with the exception of those on the poverty line], but hell if that will ever happen.)


Doesn't that just mean you want a tax rate with a lower highest bracket?
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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby netcrusher88 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:12 am UTC

I think Democrats should call their bluff. I also don't think it's a bluff. Republicans will block funding for the military and shut down the federal government for political gain. They've done the latter before and at least some of them are prepared to do the former based only on bigotry - not even for political gain.

So I also think Democrats should learn to spin it so Republicans don't get to make political hay out of themselves fucking everything up. Good luck with that.
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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby Zanmanoodle » Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:33 am UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:
It is stupid, though. Although to be perfectly honest, I despise the idea of a progressive tax system on so many levels, so I'd prefer a tax all around. (Actually, I'd prefer a flat rate tax [with the exception of those on the poverty line], but hell if that will ever happen.)


Doesn't that just mean you want a tax rate with a lower highest bracket?


Well, I think it's called a "marginal flat tax" or something like that. You're description is technically true, although the highest bracket would basically start as soon as you have enough to feed, clothe, and educate your family. One good part about this is that most proposals allow little in the way of reductions, so the super-rich wouldn't be able to hire teams of tax lawyers to beat the system.

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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Dec 03, 2010 7:40 am UTC

Just have a flat tax with guaranteed minimum income; tax all income at 30%, replace Medicaid/Medicare/soc-sec/food-stamps with a monthly stipend of ~$1000. Make $40,000 a year, pay no net tax. Make $10,000, get a net of $9000 in gov subsidy. Make $500,000, pay $138,000.

Then the bureaucracies of Medicaid, Medicare, Soc-Sec, et al, can be directed elsewhere or scrapped altogether, saving the fed billions.

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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby Zamfir » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:05 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Just have a flat tax with guaranteed minimum income; tax all income at 30%, replace Medicaid/Medicare/soc-sec/food-stamps with a monthly stipend of ~$1000. Make $40,000 a year, pay no net tax. Make $10,000, get a net of $9000 in gov subsidy. Make $500,000, pay $138,000.

Then the bureaucracies of Medicaid, Medicare, Soc-Sec, et al, can be directed elsewhere or scrapped altogether, saving the fed billions.


Not sure if the math works out at 30%. Keep in mind that the number should be high enough to pay for current spending, but it would also have to pump around extra money (from people who both pay tax, and receive a stipend)
Last edited by Zamfir on Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:40 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby Zanmanoodle » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:12 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Just have a flat tax with guaranteed minimum income; tax all income at 30%, replace Medicaid/Medicare/soc-sec/food-stamps with a monthly stipend of ~$1000. Make $40,000 a year, pay no net tax. Make $10,000, get a net of $9000 in gov subsidy. Make $500,000, pay $138,000.

Then the bureaucracies of Medicaid, Medicare, Soc-Sec, et al, can be directed elsewhere or scrapped altogether, saving the fed billions.


Not sure if the math works out at 30%. Keep in mind that the number should be high enough to pay for current spending, but it would also have to pump around extra money (from people who both pay tax, and receive a stipend)


Or you could just cut spe-- ah, f**k if that will ever happen.

I think the cost of the stipend could be reduced if there was tighter control over how it was spent. Other cost-cutting areas are plentiful. For instance, the government shouldn't be paying for someone's healthcare if their lifestyle shows blatant disregard for personal health. If you have a genetic disorder, however, yeah the gov't should be there to help out.

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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby netcrusher88 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:19 am UTC

IIRC 30% is about right. CorruptUser is referring to something similar to FairTax, which is a 30% (calculated the traditional way) sales tax, though it's stated as 23% of total purchase price (your total bill is $100 whether the price is $100 and 23% is taken or the price is $77 and the tax is $23 - the former makes it less obvious). Unfortunately, implementing it as a sales tax exempts much of the spending and income of top brackets, thus making it regressive above upper middle class (though rebates do make it progressive up to that point), and implementing it as an income tax defeats the purpose.
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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:36 am UTC

As Medicare/Medicaid/Soc-Sec make up roughly 2/3 of the Federal budget, the stipend would consolidate most of government spending. The tax rate and stipend amount could be adjusted as needed, so long as it doesn't flip to the point where it's indistinguishable from pseudo-communism (i.e., 100% tax rate and stipend=average income).

The main reason for the Flat Tax with Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI), also know as the Negative Income Tax (NIT), is that a NIT would eliminate the welfare trap.

Edit; Ninjad by Netcrusher

However, the flat tax would be on incomes, not sales. It is progressive in the sense that your effective tax rate increases as you earn more money. The problem with the current tax system is that the effective tax rate for someone that is poor may be huge. If, for every extra dollar you earn, you lose 50 cents of welfare, your effective tax rate is 50%. Not even including taxes and other expenses for working.
Last edited by CorruptUser on Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:43 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby Zamfir » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:40 am UTC

let's say you pay $12000 to every person over 18, 230 million people. That's about 2.7 trillion/year for the US. Or already roughly the total current tax receipts of the federal government, including payroll taxes and corporate taxes. Add expenditure that is not replaced by the basic income, and the government will have to collect a lot more than it currently does.

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/cpstables/032009/rdcall/1_001.htm Are census data for 2008. The number we are interested in is a bit hidden: "Tally total income". We should probably use definition 1: Money income before taxes excluding capital gains but including government transfers. Definition 2 excludes government transfers and is lower (presumably because people are currently net payers into social security). Definiton 4 adds 0.4 trillion for wages in the form of healthcare, so we can tax 30% of that too.

That brings total household income (excluding capital gains) to 8.4 trillion a year. So 30% would just about pay for the basic income. If you want to replace current income taxes with this, you'll need more than 30%, or progressive taxation.

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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:47 am UTC

EDIT: Misread your post

You also forget that 2m people in prison won't receive a stipend.

But anyway, the numbers I gave were an example. They don't have to be 30% tax and $12000 a year stipend. Also, keep in mind that the current income tax rate in the US is well above 50%. The Federal Income Tax might only be 25% of income, but add in 6.2% Soc-Sec, the 6.2% matching Soc-Sec, workers compensation and Federal Unemployment Tax that your employer pays but you really pay in the form of lower income, Medicare and Medicaid taxes, and so forth. The minimum wage is really $12/hr, in terms of how much an employer has to pay for minimum wage labor. The fact that the government intervenes and takes nearly $5/hr before the employee even sees his/her paycheck and then has to pay additional taxes later on is obscene.

The reason the system is set up this way, is that if people actually saw the true costs of things like FUTA and Workers Comp, rather than only employers seeing them, they might be a bit more hesitant about said programs.

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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby Zamfir » Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:11 am UTC

No need to shout. As I said, total federal receipts, including all those you mention are less than would be needed to pay a 1000 dollar stipend. Whatever you do, you need to raise taxes a lot if you want to pay stipends from them.

Of course, you can change the amounts to make it work. But the plan sounds so great because of the figures. The moment you suggest to replace social security with 500 dollars stipends, the plan sounds a lot less attractive.

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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:59 pm UTC

Medicaid and Medicare are only 50% funded by the Fed. The rest is paid by the counties and the states. That means if 1.5T is paid by Fed, the States and Counties have to pay another 1.5T, masking the size of Medicare/caid spending.

And as I said before, income taxes are currently far, far above 30% for everyone.
Last edited by CorruptUser on Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:01 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby jesseewiak » Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:01 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:EDIT: Misread your post

You also forget that 2m people in prison won't receive a stipend.

But anyway, the numbers I gave were an example. They don't have to be 30% tax and $12000 a year stipend. Also, keep in mind that the current income tax rate in the US is well above 50%. The Federal Income Tax might only be 25% of income, but add in 6.2% Soc-Sec, the 6.2% matching Soc-Sec, workers compensation and Federal Unemployment Tax that your employer pays but you really pay in the form of lower income, Medicare and Medicaid taxes, and so forth. The minimum wage is really $12/hr, in terms of how much an employer has to pay for minimum wage labor. The fact that the government intervenes and takes nearly $5/hr before the employee even sees his/her paycheck and then has to pay additional taxes later on is obscene.

The reason the system is set up this way, is that if people actually saw the true costs of things like FUTA and Workers Comp, rather than only employers seeing them, they might be a bit more hesitant about said programs.


Yes, I'm sure if Social Security and Medicare were eliminated tomorrow, I'd get a 12% raise. Heh.

Also, saying $1000/month will able to replace Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and welfare is simply not living in reality.

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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:09 pm UTC

jesseewiak wrote:Also, saying $1000/month will able to replace Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and welfare is simply not living in reality.


The official poverty line in the US is $10830 for a single person. That's a bit less than $12000 a year, especially when you can find a minimum wage job that adds another $10000 a year after taxes, or get married and have $24000...

Again, sigh, the numbers were an example.

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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby Diadem » Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:14 pm UTC

Before responding to the rest of the article
podbaydoor wrote:The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives

Huh? What? I thought they lost the last election? Wikipedia says indeed the democrats control the house, and it also says the last elections were november 2nd, so it's not an old article. Were only part of the seats up for election or something, like with the senate? How can you lose elections and still control the house?
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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby JudeMorrigan » Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:17 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:Before responding to the rest of the article
podbaydoor wrote:The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives

Huh? What? I thought they lost the last election? Wikipedia says indeed the democrats control the house, and it also says the last elections were november 2nd, so it's not an old article. Were only part of the seats up for election or something, like with the senate? How can you lose elections and still control the house?


The new House doesn't get sworn in until January.

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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby Diadem » Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:28 pm UTC

JudeMorrigan wrote:
Diadem wrote:Before responding to the rest of the article
podbaydoor wrote:The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives

Huh? What? I thought they lost the last election? Wikipedia says indeed the democrats control the house, and it also says the last elections were november 2nd, so it's not an old article. Were only part of the seats up for election or something, like with the senate? How can you lose elections and still control the house?


The new House doesn't get sworn in until January.

I see. Ehm, why? Why would you delay swearing in of new representatives?

Also, in that case: Here in The Netherlands we don't have such a delay for swearing in the new parliament, but we do have to negotiate for a new coalition after each election, delaying the appointment of the cabinet. While the new cabinet is being formed, the old one remains in office. But since they no longer have a mandate from the people, it's customary that they refrain from treating any major legislation. Shouldn't the same apply for the US house of representatives, in this situation? The current house no longer has a mandate from the people. It is not ethical for it to pass any major legislation, unless the legislation is entirely uncontroversial.
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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby broken_escalator » Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:34 pm UTC

This is why its referred to as lame duck because they are on their way out the door, and the replacement is already known. Other elected officials are less inclined to cooperate with them.

The new session used to start a few months later, but in the 30s they moved it into where it is now iirc. Why we even have a gap I don't know.

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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby netcrusher88 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:40 pm UTC

US Election Day: first Tuesday in November (I think I got that right this time), it's mostly tradition but there were very good reasons for it.

Election results certified: generally late November. Until this happens, technically any statement that someone has won an election is an educated guess.

Congress sworn in and the next Congress convenes (we're on 112th as of next year): January 5th (used to be in March).

Should Congress convene for a legislative session in the interim (and they pretty much always do), that's known as a lame duck session. Exiting Senators and Representatives, particularly those who will not be returning for the next Congressional session, are known as lame duck congresspeople.

Representatives serve two-year terms and the entire House is up for reelection every two years. Only one third of the Senate is up for election at a time though, so it's plausibly possible to lose an election with respect to the Senate but still hold the Senate, though the numbers don't work like that right now.

Upshot is, yes, Democrats lost the House in the 2010 elections. But the 111th Congress is still in session.

Diadem wrote:I see. Ehm, why? Why would you delay swearing in of new representatives?

We don't as long as we used to. Time was it was necessary for news and people to travel. Now it's just tradition and frankly since it exists on each end of congresspersons' terms, it doesn't matter.

Also, in that case: Here in The Netherlands we don't have such a delay for swearing in the new parliament, but we do have to negotiate for a new coalition after each election, delaying the appointment of the cabinet. While the new cabinet is being formed, the old one remains in office

Though a parliamentary body, the US Congress is not a parliament. We don't have coalitions in the same way that parliaments do (we do have Caucuses that serve a similar purpose as far as negotiation, but each vote is a full roll call and each congressperson is free to cast their vote how they wish) and heads of departments and such (which I assume is also what Cabinet means there) are under the Executive branch, not Legislative. Which makes a lot of sense as long as the two are separate.

But since they no longer have a mandate from the people, it's customary that they refrain from treating any major legislation. Shouldn't the same apply for the US house of representatives, in this situation? The current house no longer has a mandate from the people. It is not ethical for it to pass any major legislation, unless the legislation is entirely uncontroversial.

A popular claim by people opposed to the legislation being brought up during a lame duck session, but that's crap - you're saying that for two months every other year there is no legislative power in the United States, and for two and a half every four years there is no President. Power is granted to elected officials for the duration of their term. In fact it's customary for Presidents to issue pardons on Inauguration Day, before their power is transferred to the incoming President.
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Re: Republicans threaten TAX CUTS...OR ELSE.

Postby jesseewiak » Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:40 pm UTC

broken_escalator wrote:This is why its referred to as lame duck because they are on their way out the door, and the replacement is already known. Other elected officials are less inclined to cooperate with them.

The new session used to start a few months later, but in the 30s they moved it into where it is now iirc. Why we even have a gap I don't know.


Because it used to take three days to cross Rhode Island, let along how long it took to get to Washington. :P


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