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Banner in Arcata on the 4th of July

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  1. July 9, 2011 at 12:56 am

    Some people are just finding this out.

  2. The Big Picture
    July 9, 2011 at 1:24 am

    Has Rex registered Dem yet?

  3. July 9, 2011 at 2:32 am

    Some people are just finding this out.

    I didn’t know about it until late this week.

  4. Ponder z
    July 9, 2011 at 5:32 am

    Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate “preemption” actions by global, national, and state governments.

    Obama’s cronies dont want YOU to have this right.

  5. Anonymous
    July 9, 2011 at 7:02 am

    I clicked on the website. Right from the git they put out false information (they lie) about the ruling. To me that taints everything from their on.

  6. Plain Jane
    July 9, 2011 at 7:22 am

    What did they lie about, 7:02? While SCOTUS didn’t state specifically that “corporations are persons entitled to buy our elections and own our govt,” that is the practical result of the Citizen’s United v Federal Election Commission. Haven’t you noticed?

  7. Anonymous
    July 9, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Corporations should not be treated like people. They should be broken down by who owns them. Corporations should not have to pay taxes when each owner will also have to pay taxes on that same income.

  8. Plain Jane
    July 9, 2011 at 7:35 am

    Should the plumber have to pay taxes on the money I pay him since I’ve already paid taxes on that money, 7:31?

  9. Mitch
    July 9, 2011 at 8:06 am


    Your 7:35 is an excellent argument against those who complain the estate tax is unfair. The argument that vast wealth given to a billionaire’s heirs should be taxed less than the salary given to the billionaire’s maids has always seemed glaringly weird. But then, the Republicans were able to sell the idea that the estate tax is a death tax, so it’s no surprise that glaringly weird arguments supported by glaringly vast propaganda machines have a good shot of becoming conventional wisdom.

    Unfortunately, your argument is not so good when used against 7:31.

    I think 7:31 is correct — an appropriate accounting system would simply divide corporate earnings by the number of shareholders and distribute the tax obligations on the earnings to every shareholder on a per share basis.

    Taxpayers should be human beings, not incorporated collections of human beings, and there should be no special discount tax categories like capital gains. No tax shelter of retained earnings. No tax abuse via offshore earnings. Just one annual accounting task — take a corporation’s profits, which must be calculated, audited, and reported annually anyway — and distribute the associated tax obligations to the owners, based on each owner’s fractional ownership.

    The first major advantage of a system like that would be that a struggling fast food worker who happened to have bought 10 shares of her employer’s stock would pay taxes on profits at their marginal rate, lower than the marginal rate that the CEO of their employer. Marginal tax rates don’t work on corporations — if you tax things at the corporate level, it’s equivalent to a flat tax on all owners.

    Then, if the people decide to vote special tax breaks to enable corporations to more easily gather capital, they can vote for those tax breaks. But let’s not hide them in things like capital gains rates.

  10. July 9, 2011 at 8:53 am


    I’d suggest thinking of it from the point of view of an heir. If an heir gets money from working, they pay income tax. If an heir gets money from winning the lottery, they pay income tax. If an heir gets money from someone’s will, they should pay income tax.

    The United States federal government does not tax the last of the three the way it taxes other income. Instead, it has an estate tax, collecting a portion of the estate. If inheritances were treated in the federal tax code the same as money from labor or gambling winnings, I might agree that the estate tax was not appropriate.

    The idea of thinking of the estate tax as a “death tax” on the person who died is brilliant propaganda. The dead person is dead. When thinking about the taxation system, it makes sense to think about taxes paid by the living. That means inheritances.

    Inheritances, like lottery winnings, are lucky money, not money earned by labor or even investment. If anything, a moral tax code would apply a higher rate to such income. It would certainly not let it escape taxation when people who labor pay taxes on their compensation.

  11. Plain Jane
    July 9, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Since the plumber has to pay taxes on the money I pay him I shouldn’t have to pay taxes on the same money? Who should pay the taxes on the hundreds of billions corporations are hoarding? Why should the shareholders pay a lower tax rate than the workers who create the product or buy it?

  12. Plain Jane
    July 9, 2011 at 9:48 am

    And who should pay the taxes on the billions the corporations spend to buy our government?

  13. retired guy
    July 9, 2011 at 9:54 am

    The Citizens United decision of the SC basically gave corporations the right to buy elections without disclosing what they give to whom. In other words, the SC is also in the pocket of the corporations and we are basically screwed unless we believe that’s a good way to go, which it certainly isn’t. I’m pretty sure HiFi thinks this development is good.

  14. July 9, 2011 at 10:19 am


    Are your questions at 9:47 addressed to me?

    I agree with you about the plumber. The argument that taxes on any particular dollar should only be paid once no matter how many times that dollar changes hands is pure propaganda, holding no weight whatsoever.

    As for retained earnings, corporations aren’t currently being charged taxes on the money they are already hoarding. Other than property taxes, which corporations already pay, I’ve never heard a proposal to tax corporate assets. Incidentally, wasn’t a big side effect of Proposition 13 the lowering of corporations’ property taxes?

    I agree with you that shareholders should not pay a lower tax rate on investment income than workers pay on their labor income. Offhand, I think taxation of investment income should be higher than taxation of labor income, or at least equal.

    Right now, labor is taxed much more highly than investment, especially when you consider that labor taxes include FICA, FUTA, and income tax, while investment taxes are limited to capital gains and income reported on individual tax returns, and capital gains tax rates are lower than regular income tax rates.

  15. July 9, 2011 at 10:53 am

    All I know is I pay more taxes in California than Exxon Mobil, which is taking billions in oil from California’s coast.
    Who cares what the sellouts to corporate dominance think?

  16. July 9, 2011 at 10:57 am


    If you would just think for a second, you’d realize that you are pretending a slogan is an argument.

    If you are paying more in taxes than the owners of Exxon Mobil (and you may well be), that’s scandalous.

    If you are paying more in taxes than “Exxon Mobil,” you are comparing apples and oranges, at the instigation of somewhat clever propagandists who fail to understand the uselessness of building support on a foundation of sand.

  17. Bolithio
    July 9, 2011 at 11:31 am

    While I absolutely think corporations need to pay up their fair share, I think the estate tax is unbalanced. Most people are not billionaires. At least once a year I conduct a timber inventory for estate purposes following a death. At least half of the families are, as they say in rural areas, land rich and cash poor. Following the assessment of their land and timber values, the descendants were forced to log or sell off the land their parents left them to pay the tax.

    Lucky them right?

  18. July 9, 2011 at 11:44 am

    There are other solutions, Bolithio. For example, the government could take a partial interest in the inherited land as payment of the estate tax, collecting its interest only if and when the land is sold. That would allow land to remain in a family; only when sold would the government collect the nation’s fair share. There is no reason that people inheriting, say, ten million dollars worth of land should not owe the government a portion of that money when the land is sold.

    This could have been done with the foreclosure crisis as well — rather than bailing out the banks, the government could have bailed out the homeowners, taking a one-third-interest in struggling mortgages, reducing the mortgage payments of struggling homeowners, then collecting only when the home is sold or the homeowner’s remaining mortgage was paid off.

  19. High Finance
    July 9, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Joe Smith made $100,000 last year and paid $20,000 in taxes.

    He dies before he gets to spend it and his daughter Suzy inherits the $80,000.

    She then has to pay the inheritance tax of over $38,000.

    The US government has now taken $58,000 of the original $100,000 earned. We haven’t even talked about how much of that $100,000 the state took !

    The inheritance tax IS a DEATH tax.

  20. July 9, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Suzy Smith’s $100,000 earning father, Joe, must have left an estate valued at more than $1 million in 2002 or $2 million in 2006-2008. The amount she receives over that million or two is partially taxed. Poor Suzy Smith! If she inherited $1,080,000 in 2002, there would have been tax on that excess $80,000. She may owe nearly $40,000 on her $1,080,000 — a confiscatory rate of nearly 4%!!

    Fortunately, W came to the rescue and raised the exclusion to $3.5 million in 2009 and repealed the tax entirely in 2010, so Suzy would not have been left penniless by the feds.

    Is there a federal inheritance tax, HiFi, or are you referring to a tax levied by some states?

    Year Exclusion Amount Max/Top tax rate
    2001 $675,000 55%
    2002 $1 million 50%
    2003 $1 million 49%
    2004 $1.5 million 48%
    2005 $1.5 million 47%
    2006 $2 million 46%
    2007 $2 million 45%
    2008 $2 million 45%
    2009 $3.5 million 45%
    2010 * Repealed * 35%
    2011 $5 million 35%

  21. High Finance
    July 9, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    So Mitch, highway robbery is OK if the numbers are higher ?

    Robin Hood would have nothing to fear from the sheriff today, he is the sheriff !

  22. July 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    No Hi Fi, I just thought I’d help you with your numbers, so they didn’t lie.

  23. The Big Picture
    July 9, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Well done Mitch…thanks for banishing the troll again. Clearly, he cannot allow facts to interfere with his dogma!

    “Robin Hood” indeed!

    61% of taxable corporations paid NOTHING in 2000! (“Take This Job and Ship It”, by former Senator Byron Dorgan ND).

    Reich-Wing silence on Corporate personhood is deafening. In what universe do they perceive a benefit?

  24. July 9, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    You forgot to mention the jackboots, HiFi, but other than that your opinion is in keeping with talk radio.

  25. grackle
    July 9, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Objection to inheritance tax has always seemed curious to me; the formulation as ‘death tax’ implies that one should control events on earth from beyond the grave, a macabre way of seeing things. Everything material is, in actuality, merely borrowed. When you’re gone, your hold on things should die with you.

    I’ve no objection to a modest amount passed on to heirs, but, if one wanted them to have the fruits of his/her labors, he or she has had ample opportunity to bestow those fruits while still alive. Reversion to the society at large upon death strikes me as a necessary corrective to the bizarre worship of possession.

  26. July 9, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    ….the bizarre worship of possession..

    I find it bizarre how many here are possessed with trying to take things from other people.

  27. July 9, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    And we’re all amazed at how Fred jumps to the defense of billionaires.

  28. Ed
    July 9, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    “I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong it’s reign by working on the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.” Abraham Lincoln

  29. Ed
    July 9, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Now that’s a Republican I could vote for.

  30. Anonymous
    July 9, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    With regard to Death/Estate taxes


    fine, without that heir exemption, you all in objection have no problem living poor and getting nothing (or, at least less) if ever your an heir.

    Let us all face it, there are a lot of people who are not wealthy, who would never be wealthy, but tell us why they should not be heirs 100% (since they obviously need the economic assistance). While were at it, obviously tax free material items like furniture and other “emotiuonal valueated stuff” is in the objectionists minds AS TAXABLE (yep, the same couch the grand kid sat in growing-up while visiting grandpaps and grand mammy…….not to mention the parents of the G-kids who probably have many items in the possession of the deceased G-Parent that will be TAXABLE in the objectionists mindsets……

    Now, since ya can’t just “give it to people before death” without tax schemes trying to pilfer some more, the government plays the “stalling game” to lock-up wealth in the hands of one income earner so that the government can try and tax it more and more and more and more, etc…..

    Many folks need to get a clue about taxes on income = a ponsai scheme.

    Non-Basic Consumption taxes only is the key, imo.

    J L

  31. Anonymous
    July 9, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Sounds like Joel is under employed?! Or just bitter.

  32. Not A Native
    July 9, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    You know, in light of Fred being a long term recipient of welfare, he’s a hypocrite, pure and simple. Fred’s all about taking as much as he can get for nothing while putting down the ‘competition’.

  33. July 9, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    That’s for sure. NAN: You’re a real expert.

  34. funnygirl
    July 9, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    If you are the normal working stiff and you have to pay taxes, you shoulf be grateful. You are making a living. If you pay a lot of taxes then you are doing well.
    The extremely wealthy get away with larceny. And then are arrogant about it, as though they earned that right. They bought that right.

  35. July 9, 2011 at 8:49 pm


    Just one, of many, many articles.

    No offense Mitch, but you’re getting tiresome.

    To quote Jerry…”Don’t dominate the rap, Jack…..”

  36. Walt
    July 9, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Y’all don’t know much about how Your Corporate Masters (LLC) game the system. In the CEO class, a substantial amount is set aside in their compensation SPECIFICALLY for tax consulting. . .in other words, if you’re making $10 mill/year, they set aside $30 to $40 thousand to pay an accounting firm to help them set up trusts to avoid “death taxes” altogether. So, just as 60% of corporations pay zero taxes by making “investments” that reduce their tax liability, the heirs and assigns of CEOs also pay nothing. Remember: only the little people PAY taxes.

  37. Thorstein Veblen
    July 9, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    Corporations are not evil. The problem with money as free speech is the sheer inequality of one entity having so much more speech than the rest of us. That said, the real issue with corporations is scale. There is no longer any power, other than the people, who can counteract the power of the corporations.

  38. Thorstein Veblen
    July 9, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Oh, I forgot about the estate tax.

    Without an inheritance tax, we continue toward greater income inequality, which I believe is contrary to the America ideal. The trick is to make the tax not so punative, so people still will accumulate wealth, while still protecting the little guy with the little estate. Seems reasonable, to tax those who have benefited the most from the system we maintain in this country. And helps the rest of us catch up a little bit.

    If a WalMart heir can’t make it on $65,000,000 v. $100,000,000, too bad. I believe they ought to contribute toward maintaining the system that set the stage for making that wealth in the first place, protects that wealth, and provides all of the other benefits of living in the USA.

    Otherwise, I say take that $100,000,000 and move to Kabul or Mogadishu or Haiti, and pay no taxes at all there.

    And by the way, I’m starting to get pretty annoyed at those who are trying to re-make this country in that image.

  39. Union prosperity
  40. The Big Picture
    July 10, 2011 at 12:21 am

    The Founders debated this issue at length.

    Unlimited accumulation of wealth is eventually indistinguishable from the tyranny of the crown.

    The few peasants that think their loyalty makes them beneficiaries of a corrupt system hasn’t changed in centuries! In support of their delusion, the Royals make sure enough rubes are elected to dubious roles of authority.

    Are “leadership qualities” really the first thing that comes to your mind when meeting Bohn, or any of the political victors like McKeller, Hunter-Meeks, Jager, Endert, Walfod, Jones, Madsen, Bass, Worthen, Newman, Brady, soooo many with the only qualification they share being the same development community largess…followed by another round of scandals, settlements, haphazard zone changes, phony investigations, fully funded Chamber, and sprawl, (except for Forster Gill because they’re “NOT ONE OF US”).

    Why pay taxes when you end up looting it from the public later…from Wall Street to Main Street?

  41. July 10, 2011 at 11:07 am



  42. High Finance
    July 10, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Fred, you & I both know that some small people have always wanted to take away wealth from people who have more than they do.

    It is called several names, class envy, wealth envy, greed, avarice, larceny, robbery and a lot of other descriptive words.

    I know someone on welfare that thinks anyone making more than $50,000 has too much money. He thinks the income tax should be 100% on everything over that amount. He also believes the inheritance tax should be 100% on anything over that amount as well. He also thinks his welfare is too low and should be raised.

    What is the difference between him & the posters above like PJ/Walt/Big Picture/Mouse ? They are all greedy and want to take away from those who worked hard for what they have.

    And corporations really do not pay tax. They simply either pass the higher cost on to the consumers by raising their prices or they give less to their owners, the stock holders. Or, even worse, they cut expenses and hire fewer employees.

    And BTW, something like 51% of the people in this country no longer pay any income taxes.

  43. The Big Picture
    July 10, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    And yet, the 61% of taxable U.S. corporations that pay NOTHING receive the full protection of 800 foreign military bases, a stable currency, and the U.S. justice system to enforce their contracts.

    I know a Wall Street banker who thinks $1 trillion looted form the U.S. Treasury isn’t going to be enough.

  44. retired guy
    July 10, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    HiFi-You someone on welfare? Sounds like this person has a few screws loose with his or her beliefs re: income and welfare. Anyway, if you think corporations pay their fair share of taxes, you also have a screw loose. Your stats ,as usual, are easy to refute. Just stop listening to “fair and balanced” Fox News and read or watch real fair and balanced news. I suppose you also agree with the Citizens United decision of the SC. Yeah, everything is just fine and the rich are being picked on. Give me a break.

  45. High Finance
    July 10, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Retired Guy, yes that family member has a few screws loose. But you all are saying the exact same damn thing. It is just a matter of degree.

    So, You claim that corporations don’t pay “their fair share” and my argument is “easy to refute” ?

    So refute it. Give us some facts and the reasons behind the facts.

  46. High Finance
    July 10, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    So I googled corporations and income taxes and came up with 85,000 places that accused Exxon of not paying taxes on billions of dollars of profits in 2007.

    Not true.

    In 2007 Exxon paid taxes of $30 billion dollars reported Mark Perry in a 2008 article. Over the previous three years “Exxon has paid an average of $27 billion annually in taxes”. This is an amount equal to the lowest 50% of all individual income tax payers combined.


    Other articles stated how some companies have been reported as having billions of dollars of profits but those profits are overseas and not in the US. Other corporations report huge profits but pay no taxes because other corporations owned by the same mother company had losses that netted out the profits.

    Interesting to note the left’s favorite bogeyman, Wal Mart, paid $7.1 billion dollars in income taxes in 2007. Of that amount $5.9 billion went to the US government.

    Another article mentioned how many US corporations have foreign based profits and they don’t have to pay US tax on those unless they bring the money in to the US. So the companies park those monies in the foreign countries. Imagine the good those profits would be if they could bring them here !

    In short, the subject is far more complicated than the simplistic rantings on left-wing blogs make it out to be.

  47. Plain Jane
    July 10, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Yeah, they could inflate another bubble with tax-free money, crash the economy and get more bail outs. The simplistic right wing rantings that tax cuts create jobs has been completely discredited over the last 10 years when we’ve have the lowest tax rates in modern history, horrific unemployment and job creation that doesn’t even keep up with population growth, but HiFi says, “Just trust them one more time….”

  48. The Big Picture
    July 10, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Another reasonable-sounding defense of one of the most highly public-subsidized industries on Earth…and the reason energy is often nationalized.

    ENRON pulled out all the stops when Governor Davis initiated his $25 billion suit against them. They were among Schwarzenegger’s largest contributors. Once elected, Arnold immediately settled the CA suit for pennies on the dollar.

    No, let’s focus on the taxes ENRON paid and call THAT robbery!

    Thanks for the laugh, coming from someone who already benefited from an era with 90% personal tax rates, 36% corporate tax rates, fully funded public schools, free public universities, job and affordable housing programs…and more.

    However, with U.S. public-subsidized access to $0.25 per hour child-labor…and a nation brainwashed to believe it’s “free-trade”, why would a nation invest in its human resources?

    Way to go traitor.

  49. July 10, 2011 at 4:57 pm


    Did you bother to check which countries Exxon Mobil was paying income taxes to?

    Here’s a left wing radical blog hosted by Forbes magazine:


  50. July 10, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Hi Fi,

    Here’s another radical left wing blog, CNN/Money:

    “Exxon paid the most taxes last year of any U.S. company, by far — but not a cent went to the IRS for income taxes. ”


    Honestly, I think the whole concept of “corporate taxes” is a bit bogus, but let’s at least keep our facts straight. Exxon Mobil pays lots of income tax, just not to the United States.

  51. Plain Jane
    July 10, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    Bill Maher: If you’re a working-class American who still votes Republican … you’re stupid


  52. Anonymous
    July 10, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Jane, maybe it’s been discredited in your view but in my business, lower taxes mean more employees, higher wages. Simple stuff.

  53. Thorstein Veblen
    July 10, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    What business is that? Where you do or don’t hire someone based on taxes, instead of whether you can make more money by hiring them? Simply dumb.

    Here’s a question: since the Bush tax cuts, how many more employees have you hired? How about since the Obama tax cuts?

    Unhappy with taxes here? Move to the tax utopia of Bangladesh.

    This is really starting to piss me off. By your reason, to compete with countries in which workers are paid essentially nothing, and with no environmental regulations, and no taxes, we have to pay our US workers essentially nothing and have no environmental regulations and have no taxes? What kind of country do you people want to live in?

    We have examples of those countries, please, move to them and leave the US to the rest of us.

  54. Plain Jane
    July 11, 2011 at 6:53 am

    Funny thing is, 8:36, is that didn’t happen. Taxes were cut to historically low levels, wages and employment dropped for the worker class and government coffers were drained. Now the owner class is telling us they need further tax cuts, lower wages and reduced regulations to even hire people at minimum wage AND the tax cuts that enriched them are now the excuse for cutting the social programs that more people desperately need because of lost jobs and lower wages. How stupid do you think the American people are?

  55. Anonymous
    July 11, 2011 at 6:59 am

    Being somewhat young, I can only submit to you my own experience and not about what you have read and believe. To call me the OWNER CLASS is your way of separating us further. Do you have some sort of bad attitude?

    I am telling you it is a struggle to pay taxes at my level, both income and payroll, and if I paid less taxes I would like to hire more employees and also to pay mine better.

  56. Plain Jane
    July 11, 2011 at 7:19 am

    Why would you hire more employees than you need to service your customers or fewer than you need, 6:59? Money in consumer’s pockets fuels the economy. Corporate profits increased by 23% last year while jobs and wages for workers declined. You have the lowest tax rates in modern history and still whine. If the workers (the vast majority of people, btw) had more money to spend, you and all other business owners would have more demand than your current staff can handle and only then would any of you hire more workers. Denial of that fact shows you are either an idiot or a liar.

  57. July 11, 2011 at 7:24 am


    PJ didn’t call you the owner class. She was pointing out what has happened over the past thirty to forty years. If you are “somewhat young,” it may be harder to see.

    Unless your business is bringing you an income of more than a million dollars annually, very few people want to raise your tax rate. You are being used as a pawn by people making hundreds of millions of dollars each year whose effective tax rate is 15%. Do you really think anyone’s contributions to society — especially in something like a hedge fund — is worth hundreds of millions of dollars each year when many Americans are without homes and many people worldwide cannot get enough to eat?

    Anonymous, do a little bit of research on your own. Don’t just listen to what you hear on the nightly news or talk radio, or from a small circle of friends. The United States has been transformed over the past thirty to forty years, and when you discover what has been done to your country and the lies that are being told to cover it up, you will probably be very angry.

  58. July 11, 2011 at 7:49 am

    Here, Anonymous.


    In case you’re interested, here’s an article defending the current tax loophole for hedge fund managers. It’s really useful reading, because it is complaining that someone on the “left” has miscalculated the amount of money that closing their tax loophole would bring the Treasury, and it would “only” be $17 billion.

    $17 billion (17,000 million dollars) would be enough to employ 200,000 to 300,000 construction workers, nurses or teachers. Instead, it is kept by a very small group of people whose contribution to society is moving money from place to place in order to transfer more of it to a small group of investors. And the right wing is defending that policy, and the media is convincing people that this is good policy.

    This is what we are fed, daily, by the media. If it doesn’t make you sick at heart, I don’t know what’s happened to your heart.


  59. Anonymous
    July 11, 2011 at 8:06 am

    I can’t disagree with your links and numbers. I maintain my opinion that doing business here in California does not seem to be encouraged. One of the problems I find is attitude of those who think I am rich because I am a small business owner. I think I do fall into your category of the level of tax rate that is helping the big guys. We can all help keep our local businesses alive by supporting them. I feel a lot of responsibility supporting several families and wish I could pay them more.

  60. July 11, 2011 at 8:35 am


    Running a small business ANYWHERE is very hard, and as someone who has run (very) small businesses from time to time, I know. It’s annoying that you have to file as much paperwork for one employee as a corporation employing tens of thousands. If you stop to think about it, that makes very little sense.

    You’ve been tricked into thinking that taxes are less important than wages or profits. They’re not — it’s taxes that maintain the infrastructure everything else depends upon.

    If we want to continue to trust that our food is untainted, we need health and safety inspectors, if we want people to be able to get to our businesses, we need roads. If we want employees that know how to read and count, we need schools. These things cost money.

    If we want not-to-be-invaded (or, really, if we want continued access to raw materials at lower-than-fair prices), we need a military larger than that of the entire rest of the world combined.

    If we want a society we can admire, we need to pay people to look after the mentally ill, and we need to provide subsistence to people who, for whatever reason, cannot fend for themselves.

    All of this is paid for through taxes.

    Taxes could be much, much lower if we agreed as a society to cut our military back so that it were only twice the size of the next largest military force. Federally, if you combine the military budget with the debt that’s been incurred as a result of the last twenty years worth of wars, and the cost of veteran’s benefits and veterans hospitals, you’ll find they make up the large majority of where income taxes go. (This is sometimes hidden by lumping social security in, although as you know, filling out your payroll tax forms, social security is paid for by payroll taxes, not income taxes.)

    Thing is, the military corporations were a few decades ahead of the financial corporations in figuring out how to buy the government. We go to war to keep Lockheed and Boeing investors and executives well paid, not to defend the country. President Eisenhower famously warned us this would happen.

  61. July 11, 2011 at 8:48 am

    One P.S.,

    Your taxes, and mine, could be much lower if the few thousand families (really, it’s just a few thousand) were paying at the same rates they paid prior to Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Reagan was made president specifically to lower those people’s tax rates; he was an excellent actor who made his reputation making G.E. seem warm and fuzzy. People knew he would be the perfect shill, given his grandfatherly television persona.

  62. Thorstein Veblen
    July 11, 2011 at 9:57 am

    “6:59; if I paid less taxes I would like to hire more employees and also to pay mine better.”

    OK, one last time. My point, and others, is simply that you ARE paying less taxes, through the Bush tax cuts, which were subsequently extended by Obama, then the additional Obama tax cuts which were included in the stimulus package, and then the Obama reduction in payroll taxes. All of these were directed specifically at you, 6:59, so that your taxes would be lower and you would hire more people.

    But now you are confirming that it didn’t work, prima facie evidence that cutting taxes doesn’t help much to create jobs. Whoda thunk?

    I agree, though, that its tougher to do business in California than in many other places. Detroit would probably welcome you, though, and has low property values too. I wonder why business isn’t flocking there?

  63. Migh Finances
    July 11, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    As you know, I do not respond to issues related to imperial economies…their failure rate so far is 100%. I need only to complete my lifetime with as many of the benefits I can extract from it.

    Same with the bailouts, and any interference to corporate access to public wealth. My portfolio depends upon it.

    Rather than confirm the obvious, I will respond to your credible facts with more of my vindictive satire.

    Please stand by.

  64. High Finance
    July 12, 2011 at 10:25 am

    “Much lower” Mitch ?

    I fear your math is much worse than fuzzy but I would be interested in hearing any facts you suppy to support your statement.

    How much extra would be collected from those few thousand families and how much less would it make your taxes ?

    You might also research the size of the military budget vs our annual deficit. You might be surprised.

  65. July 12, 2011 at 10:32 am

    How much is enough, Mitch? 100%? Illinois raised their income tax 67% and they’re still sinking in a sea of red.

    And, let’s say you give the legislators 100% – do you HONESTLY believe that they won’t spend 150%? They will, and they’ll be back the next year with the same headlines, the same cuts to services, the same wails.

  66. Plain Jane
    July 12, 2011 at 10:55 am

    How about just back to the Clinton rates, Rose? Your sort of hysteria only works at Tea Parties where everyone’s “off their head.”

  67. The Big Picture
    July 12, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    I have to agree with MiFi.

    Following an impressive list of facts our resident Reich-baggers offer ZERO credible sources to refute them, instead, responding with complaints about “fuzzy math”…repeating the demand for more facts, having not responded to any offered!

    This nation’s greatest period of prosperity followed 91% personal tax rates and 36% corporate tax rates that funded the infrastructure, job, housing and education programs which created the consumer demands and prosperity of America’s first middle class.

    You’d have to be either psychotic, or a greedy miscreant to have benefited from this tax-investment, and to condemn it for future generations.

    But history is full of such people.

    “Even after exploiting all possible deductions and credits , the typical high-income taxpayer paid a marginal federal tax of over 50%. but, contrary to what conservative commentators had predicted, the high tax rates did not reduce economic growth. To the contrary, they enabled the nation to expand middle class prosperity and fuel growth.” (Professor Robert Reich, former U.S. labor secretary, in “The Truth About the U.S. Economy”.).

  68. Mitch
    July 12, 2011 at 12:59 pm


    Here you go. Thanks for asking; I realize it’s truly difficult to believe what has happened. This is for the top 400 families only. If their average income tax bill were doubled to 35% (yes, sic), you’d be collecting another percent of GDP as taxes.

    That’s for the top 400 taxpayers. I was talking about a couple of thousand families, and I was talking about rates like those before Reagan. That would easily give the rest of the country a 10% tax cut, at least.


    “The last IRS report on the top 400 taxpayers showed that they made a little more than a penny of each dollar of total income in America, but paid income taxes at a 17.2 percent rate. Add in payroll taxes, and the figure still rounds to 17.2 percent. That rate is lower than the combined income and payroll tax burden on those making $50,000 to $75,000 (http://www.nytimes.com/packages/khtml/2005/06/05/national/20050605_HYPER_GRAPHIC.html).”

  69. Mitch
    July 12, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    And here, HiFi, here’s the breakdown on where income taxes go.

    “National defense” gets 26%, veterans’ benefits 4%, interest on the debt 7.4% (call that 6% for past wars). Total: 36% of income taxes. Look a bit more closely and you’ll find a variety of military and “defense” expenditures scattered in the other departments, bringing things up to the low-to-mid 40s. Then add in the “black budget” — the stuff we pay for intelligence which is never shown in budget documents, and you’re somewhere near half. But you’re right, I erred in saying it was the “large majority.” It’s more like half.


  70. Mitch
    July 12, 2011 at 1:28 pm


    To talk about “raising taxes” is deceptive, hiding the reality of who is being forced to pay what. Overall, despite our extremely high military budget, the U.S. is a low-tax country.

    Mostly, the reason we think we’re highly taxed is that the middle class pays a larger share of the tax burden in the United States than most other places.

    Here’s an excellent summary, comparing taxes as a percent of GDP for various countries:


  71. Plain Jane
    July 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    And most of the profit from that half of the budget ends up in the pockets of those few hundred people at the top via their ownership of the military – industrial complex, Mitch, as well as a large share of the interest on our debt.

  72. Mitch
    July 12, 2011 at 2:21 pm


    Here’s another link to the information about the top 400 tax returns:


    You’ve got to go to about three or four pages back from the end, but you’ll find the average tax rate figure, around 17%, 18% for 2007 and 2008.

    Let me correct my earlier statement — obviously if the top 400 taxpayers “only” get slightly more than 1% of total national income, increasing their taxes from 17% to 35% won’t bring in a whole additional percent of GDP, only about a fifth of a percent.

    But if, instead of restricting yourself to the top 400 (entry income: $135,000,000 per year) you go all Obama-wild and think about raising taxes on everyone making more than, say, $10 million per year… maybe even getting out the jackboots and having them pay the same percentage of their income that people making $50,000 to $100,000 per year have to pay, you’d be able to give 99.9% of taxpayers a very substantial tax reduction.

    Now I have nothing against anyone making $20 million a year. I just think that taking an extra few percent from their income is less likely to leave them on the soup line than taking an extra few percent from a minimum wage worker. Call me crazy.

    Of course, if these folks ever had to pay 35% of their income as income tax, the media would convince the Tea Party that communism had arrived on our shores.

  73. Walt
    July 12, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Mitch, you could “tax” them 100% and they STILL wouldn’t pay a dime into the treasury. The high-priced tax advisers they have can erase any real exposure to “tax”. The only solution (sadly, as far away as real health care reform) would be a flat tax where EVERYBODY pays, no exemptions.

  74. July 12, 2011 at 4:30 pm


    I think the flat tax is a terrible idea, though I understand where you are coming from.

    There’s already something called alternative minimum tax, which is why the top 400 pay 17% instead of zero. “All” you’d have to do is up the AMT floor once income exceeds $10MM annually.

    Unfortunately, as you imply, to accomplish that you’d first have to seize control of the media. Otherwise, any such proposal would be foxed to death (and not just on fox).

  75. tra
    July 12, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    And you could get rid of lots of the tax loopholes without ditching the idea of a progressive income tax. Flat tax vs. progressive tax system is a separate issue from lots of loopholes vs. few or no loopholes.

    In fact, if the rich ever did manage to convince the rest of us to go along with the flat tax idea, I’d be willing to bet that the day after the flat tax was enacted, they would begin their campaign for new loopholes allowing them to dodge even that level of taxation.

  76. High Finance
    July 13, 2011 at 10:26 am

    So what are all these myriad of “loopholes” you speak about getting rid of ?

  77. July 13, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Hi Fi,

    I suppose there are always new people discovering the Humboldt Herald. Do you really think that anyone who has been here for more than a day doesn’t know by now exactly what you’re about?

  78. High Finance
    July 13, 2011 at 10:37 am

    I am all about a balance to the liberal bias here.

  79. High Finance
    July 13, 2011 at 10:40 am

    I am all about trying to get you people thinking outside your little boxes, past your cliches’ and slogans.

    Trying to get you to think about alternatives to your bias and prejudices.

  80. tra
    July 13, 2011 at 11:02 am

    That’s fine, as long as it works both ways, HiFi.

  81. retired guy
    July 13, 2011 at 11:10 am

    HiFi— You’re trying to get “you people” to think about alternatives to “bias and prejudices”? Like you don’t suffer from those? Get off your f—ing high horse and seriously look around and see what’s happening in our country. The conservatives have basically two messages; 1) dump Obama, and 2) no taxes. Screw anything else. That’s quite a platform. Also look at the wonderful candidates they have running. What a freak show. Anyway, like I said, just simply look around and maybe you will see what’s really going on.

  82. July 13, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Everyone but HiFi,

    HiFi asked for facts. I presented facts from the IRS: the 400 top individual tax returns, for people making more than $100,000,000 per year, paid an average federal combined income and payroll tax of 17 to 18%. That’s a lower rate than is paid by most middle class people, and represents a sharp national sellout during the bush years.

    Here’s the link again: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/08intop400.pdf


    You’re a waste of time. I’m just a little bit slow and a little bit too optimistic.

  83. Anonymous
    July 13, 2011 at 11:54 am

    I make over 100K and pay a lot more than that.

  84. July 13, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    What is a “liberal” now (Barak Obama) was a “conservative” ( Ronald Reagan) when I was growing up in the 80’s.

    The “liberals” are Ralph Nader and his crowd, and no one takes them seriously, nor do they have any type of “control” of the media.

  85. July 13, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    1930 – 1980

    Historical marginal income tax rates for Married Filing Jointly at stated income levels.[3]
    Year $10,001 $20,001 $60,001 $100,001 $250,001
    1930 6% 10% 21% 25% 25%
    1932 10% 16% 36% 56% 58%
    1934 11% 19% 37% 56% 58%
    1936 11% 19% 39% 62% 68%
    1938 11% 19% 39% 62% 68%
    1940 14% 28% 51% 62% 68%
    1942 38% 55% 75% 85% 88%
    1944 41% 59% 81% 92% 94%
    1946 38% 56% 78% 89% 91%
    1948 38% 56% 78% 89% 91%
    1950 38% 56% 78% 89% 91%
    1952 42% 62% 80% 90% 92%
    1954 38% 56% 78% 89% 91%
    1956 26% 38% 62% 75% 89%
    1958 26% 38% 62% 75% 89%
    1960 26% 38% 62% 75% 89%
    1962 26% 38% 62% 75% 89%
    1964 23% 34% 56% 66% 76%
    1966 –
    1976 22% 32% 53% 62% 70%
    1980 18% 24% 54% 59% 70%

    How about we go back to the tax rate from 1980…

  86. The Big Picture
    July 13, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Twice in this string HiFi is offered a watershed of credible sources that resoundingly defend his opponent’s views.

    Twice, he responds with satire, complaints of “slogans” and “fuzzy math”, demanding new questions to hide the wasteland of credible sources in his own defense.

    He is about provocation and dogma. Calling his bluff merely wins you more satire, convolution, and scorn.

    Nevertheless, Mitch’s resources and efforts are keepers.

    Thank you.

  87. Mitch
    July 13, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    You’re welcome, “Big Picture.”

    The rate paid by those top 400 dropped precipitously during the last 20 years — from about 30% in 1995 to 18% in 2008.

    That means each of those top 400 taxpayers kept at least $12,000,000 which would otherwise have gone to the Treasury. Collectively, that’s at least five thousand million dollars. If you and 399 friends had five thousand million extra dollars a year, you’d be able to buy the government, too.

    The government collects 15% in payroll taxes (before income tax) from the first dollar a minimum wage worker gets paid, while the tax rate on those making more than $100,000,000 is 18%. (You only see half of that 15%, because the other half is the “employer contribution” — but if an employer sets aside $100 to pay you, the government still takes $15 before you see your check, and before you get your income tax deduction. The “employer contribution” is a shell game to make the tax more politically palatable.)

    It’s a national disgrace, and the people who try to mislead the nation about it are certainly not patriots.

  88. The Big Picture
    July 13, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Having witnessed the consequences of continued support for divestment’s from this nation’s human resources, while a corporate elite loots the U.S. Treasury….I’m not afraid to call-out these folks as TRAITORS!!!

  89. High Finance
    July 15, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Do you realize that $12 million dollars would pay LESS THAN ONE SECOND of Obama’s deficit ?

  90. July 15, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Net increase to national debt by president:

    Bill Clinton $1.5 Trillion Ronald Reagan $1.8 Trillion
    Barack Obama $1.7 Trillion G. H. W. Bush $1.5 Trillion
    G. W. Bush $6.1 Trillion

    Dems $3.2 Trillion Reps $9.4 Trllion

    Don’t let the facts get in your way, High Finance. Debt and stagflation are Repulbican diseases.

    have a peaceful day,

  91. High Finance
    July 15, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    You funny Bill.

    You are comparing just the first year of Obama vs EIGHT YEARS for Clinton, Reagan, GW and four years for GHW.

    Not honest.

  92. July 15, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    It is not honest to call it “Obama’s Deficit.” We have a Republican House dontcha know, the nations spending is THEIR responsibility.

    have a peaceful day,

  93. Tip
    July 15, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Is High calling High high?

  94. July 15, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    The U.S. hit the debt limit some weeks ago.

    The annual budget is now the Republicans responsibility. If they can balance THIS YEARS budget then they can avoid rasing the debt limit.

    If they can’t bring forth a balanced budget for THIS year, then obviously the debt limit must be raised. Or the US will default on its debts.

    I will save you some drama. The Republicans cannot bring forth a balanced budget for this year, so they need to STFU and raise the debt limit like good little boys and girls.

    Even if all safety net spending were cut out of the budget the spending on the wars would put us over. And God knows we can’t cancel the fricken wars.

    have a peaceful day,

  95. July 15, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    What’s your point, HiFi? Did Reagan, Clinton, or that imbecilic, drooling, frat-boy George W. Bush inherit wars and the biggest goddamned economic crisis since the Great Depression?

  96. tra
    July 15, 2011 at 10:18 pm


    It is not honest to call it “Obama’s Deficit.” We have a Republican House dontcha know, the nations spending is THEIR responsibility.

    Then it’s also not honest to to blame (or credit)Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, or Bush Jr. for “their” deficits. Democrats had a majority in Congress under Reagan, and if I’m recalling correctly, they did under George Bush Sr, also. Same with George Bush Jr. for his last two years. Meanwhile, Clinton had a Republican-majority Congress for much of his two terms.

    You can’t have it both ways — either all the Presidents get the blame (or credit) for the size of their deficits, or they all don’t. If you want to give the blame to Congress (or at least have Congress share the blame with the President) then if you want to be honest you have to do that with all the presidencies, not just Obama’s. (And, by the way, the Democrats had control of both houses of Congress for Obama’s first two years, and still have a majority in the Senate.)

    Just to be clear, I’m no a fan of the Republicans’ cut-taxes-on-the-wealthy-while-spending-like-drunken-sailors-and-then-demand-cuts-when-the-other-party’s-in-the-White-House fiscal policies.

  97. July 15, 2011 at 10:31 pm


    Just to be clear I am no Democrat, I voted for Nader.

    No I don’t want it both ways, I am responding to Hi Fi in the context of his post. He reference “Obama’s deficit” so I responded with facts in the Presidential context.

    Now if High Finance wants to bleat about the “Republican House’s deficit” then I will dig out those comparisons. No problem.

    have a peaceful day,

  98. tra
    July 15, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    Here’s my recollection of the overall economic and military-spending situations under the last four presidents, plus Obama’s presidency to date:

    Reagan inherited a pretty crappy economy, and a pretty expensive Cold War. During his two terms, the economy improved substantially (though most benefits went to the wealthy) but later went downhill toward the middle-to-end of his second term. He cut taxes, then raised taxes, ran large deficits and added a bunch to the debt. The Cold War sputtered out toward the end of his presidency (though he kept increasing military spending anyway).

    Bush Sr. inherited peace (or at least no major wars), a somewhat crappy economy, and a substantial deficit. The economy stayed somewhat crappy, though it was on the upswing at the end of his one term (too late to help him win re-election, however). He invaded Kuwait and partially invaded Iraq, but did not take the far-more-expensive step of overthrowing its government and occupying the country. Taxes were raised somewhat during his term, but he still ended his presidency with a substantial deficit.

    Clinton inherited peace (or at least no major wars); a so-so economy, and a hefty deficit. During his term, he did not start any major wars (though he did involve us in some minor ones), and the economy did very well (though most of the benefits continued to go to the wealthy). He raised taxes somewhat, and revenues surged due to the stong economy as well as due to his tax increases, and he ended his second term with a substantial budget surplus.

    Bush Jr. inherited peace (or at least no major wars), a pretty decent economic situation, and a budget surplus. Then came the 9/11 attacks and the war in Afghanistan. He failed to finish the job in Afghanistan and then started the war and occupation in Iraq. He waged both wars with massive deficit spending and financed his tax cuts for the rich with massive deficit spending and in the process erased the budget surplus, ran large deficits, and added a bunch to the debt. The economy crashed and burned toward the end of his presidency, and more deficit spending was used to try to stem the tide.

    Obama inherited two wars, one more or less winding down (Iraq), but still very expensive, and one heating up (Afghanistan) and very expensive, and he inherited a crashed economy, a shaky financial system, a massive debt and deficit, and a revenue stream depleted both by the crashed economy and the Bush tax cuts. He has responded with even more deficit spending and debt, attempting to keep the economy from crashing further, and hopefully to encourage an actual recovery. The economy has stabilized, but there hasn’t been much recovery, revenues haven’t increased because of that lack of a strong recovery, and because the Bush tax cuts remain in place — not surprisingly the deficits are still high, and the debt continues to balloon. More and more of the revenues have to be used to pay the interest on the debt, leaving less to cover government services, the wars, entitlements, infrastructure investments, leading to more borrowing to cover current spending on those things, leading to the need to use more of the still-weak revenue stream to cover interest on the debt, etc., etc…

    What happens next? Well, we’ll see…The only thing that is perfectly clear is that this nation’s finances are seriously fucked up, and that given the current political gridlock, they seem likely to stay that way for quite some time.

  99. July 16, 2011 at 7:14 am

    When HiFi wants to belittle a number without adding anything but rhetoric to the discussion, he’ll frame it in the context of a much larger number. Sure, HiFi, $12,000,000 will not solve the national debt. Of course, nobody has suggested that one taxpayers’ payment will.

    $12,000,000 may be a small fraction of the deficit, but absolutely everything is a small fraction of the deficit.

    The $12,000,000 is $12,000,000. When the effective tax rate on someone making $100,000,000 drops over a single decade from 30% ($30,000,000) to 18% ($18,000,000) that means one thing.

    It means that every year, $12,000,000 that society would have collected to fund 120 construction jobs or 12,000 $1,000 nutrition supplements for poor kids is left instead in the hands of ONE taxpayer who already kept more than $70,000,000.

    Repeat that process for the top 400 taxpayers and you begin to understand the situation. Four hundred families are keeping at least an extra $12,000,000 annually, each, thanks to the changes that have been legislated over the past decade or so.

    That’s five billion dollars a year, yet we’re being told that we need to cut back on programs serving the elderly. And what that means is we’re not being told the truth.

    Make people whose adjusted gross income is more than $100,000,000 pay the same 30% that they did in the early nineties, then return the tax rate to where it had been in the early 90s for everyone making more than $10,000,000 per year.

    THEN we can have a discussion about whether we’d rather cut benefits to the sick, elderly, and poor or, instead, reduce the size of the United States military to only twice the size of the next largest.

  100. July 16, 2011 at 7:19 am

    “He waged both wars with massive deficit spending and financed his tax cuts for the rich with massive deficit spending and in the process erased the budget surplus, ran large deficits, and added a bunch to the debt. The economy crashed and burned toward the end of his presidency, and more deficit spending was used to try to stem the tide.”

    The only smart thing W has ever done is keep out of sight after leaving office. That’s probably on orders from Republican strategists, who worry that the American public might remember what their man did to the country. Any party that could give America “the W team” should not be trusted for a generation or two.

  101. July 16, 2011 at 8:34 am

    If anyone wants an objective look at the country’s financial situation, this is an excellent resource:


  102. Anono
    July 16, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Don’t forget W’s partners in crime – the Congress.

  103. July 16, 2011 at 8:49 am

    I can’t help but add one more link:


    The staggering part is the right column — it should confirm to any honest observer what has happened to American democracy in the past 30 years. The share of total United States income going to those in the top 1% has more than doubled, from 9% to 19%.

    This is usually masked in the media by talk of benefits to people in the top ten or twenty percent. Yes, the share of income going to the top twenty percent has gone up, but ONLY because the top one percent is INSIDE that top twenty percent. Take the top 19% excluding that top 1%, and there’s no increase at all.

    And, unless you break the numbers down further, there’s no way of knowing whether all that increased share is really distributed across the top one percent, the top tenth of one percent, or the top hundredth of one percent.

    (I might as well just put in HiFi’s response here: HiFi’s manipulative version of this will be to tell us how much that top 1% pays in taxes, rather than admitting to the enormous reductions in their tax rates over this period.)

    America has been successfully transformed from democracy to plutocracy. Every winning candidate for office must keep the plutocrats happy, or they can bring formerly inconceivable amounts of money to the table to manipulate public opinion against the public’s own interest. That’s why we see what we see today.

  104. High Finance
    July 16, 2011 at 8:57 am

    I guess subtlety is wasted here Mitch.

    My point was, increasing taxes on the rich will not even begin to touch the deficit in a meaningful way. Without huge spending cuts things are only going to get worse.

    Bill says he is not a Demcorat but he had the audacity to compare one year of Obama’s deficit to eight years of Reagan/Clinton/GW deficits and 4 years of GHW’s deficits.

    Then Bill misrepresents the current situation AGAIN.
    Yes Bill, the Republicans are now in the majority but only in the House and only since January. The current budget was passed almost a year ago when the Democrats were in the White House and had large majorities in the House & Senate. I believe the current budget passed the House last year with every Republican voting no.

  105. Plain Jane
    July 16, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Huge spending cuts will put more people out of work, HiFi. It will also increase local and state taxes or put even more people out of work. This mess was caused by the tax cuts primarily and to keep doing the same thing expecting a different result (assuming you really do) is a definition of insanity.

  106. July 16, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Getting five billion dollars a year for the Treasury by restoring the tax rates of 30 years ago on the top 400 taxpayers would be an excellent start.

    It might make the other 99.99% of us feel a bit less shafted, and therefore more willing to sacrifice.

    Five billion here, five billion there, it adds up.

  107. Plain Jane
    July 16, 2011 at 9:11 am

    And would barely slow down their wealth accumulation, Mitch.

  108. July 16, 2011 at 9:19 am

    And the talk of Obama’s deficit really gets old fast.

    W inherited a surplus from President Clinton.

    President Obama inherited a wrecked economy and two wars from W. To hang the deficit on President Obama is a lie, pure and simple.

    The deficit is almost entirely the result of the W administration’s insistence on tax cuts for the wealthiest while fighting two wars.

    The sensible way to close it is to back those policies out, not to cut services to the people who are just scraping by.

    The media is complicit by pretending the tax cuts were broad, but they were highly focussed on a very small group at the very tippy top. But it’s the very tippy top that controls the media.

    Until people learn to stop listening to the propaganda, the situation will continue. When people finally stop listening to the propaganda, there will be serious violence, and the longer this goes on, the worse the violence will be. People at the tippy top would be smart to put some chips back on the table, if only out of self-interest.

  109. July 16, 2011 at 9:30 am

    High Finance,

    If you suspect that I am a secret Democrat then you are trippin’ hard bro.

    What I am saying is that what is going on in Washington DC right now over the debt ceiling is nothing but drama put on by a bunch of political posers. Most of them are Republicans.

    Take Paul Ryan’s budget for instance. It reaches a “balanced” budget ten years from now. Fraud. The Obamacrat plan is no better. If balancing the budget is so critical that we must risk default well then why not balance it right now?

    Answer: Neither Dems or Republicans have the political will to cut enough spending to balance the budget for real. They just have different reasons. Both parties love to spend money when they control the government. The largest “entitlement” in American history was passed under a Republican president with a Republican congress. I reference the Medicare part D mess.

    The “debt limit” is completely artificial, it is not in the Constitution.

    I agree with the Republicans that the current level of annual deficit and accumulated debt is unsustainable. This is true mathematically. As a nation we are now like an individual who is borrowing from one credit card to pay off another. At some point the cost of servicing the debt will overwhelm all other government expenditures. The question is how to fix it.

    The Republicans say that we need to cut taxes, and the added money in the pockets of entrepreneurs will grow the economy and eventually provide more revenue to government. The Democrats say that we need to increase spending in a time of economic stress and that will eventually grow the economy and provide more revenue to the government. Note that both solutions produce a larger deficit in the short run. In the long term, both parties are “betting on the come” as we used to say in the casino. The Happy Outcomes for both parties depend on future events that may or may not happen. Then there’s Murphy’s Law…..

    There is evidence that neither approach works anymore, even if they ever did.

    It is also true that if we balanced the budget this year that the economy would contract by 10 percent almost overnight. That would put the Dow at around 5,000 and unemployment over 20%,
    The rich and poor alike are dependent upon government expenditures.

    As a nation we face the same challenges that the typical junkie faces. We are addicted to debt.

    have a peaceful day,

  110. July 16, 2011 at 9:31 am

    “I guess subtlety is wasted here…”

    You flatter yourself, HiFi, but your expertise in finance evidently doesn’t serve you well when you set your mind to the economy.

  111. July 16, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Changing the subject slightly, just because this is so cool:


    This guy produced a 17″ flying sphere that can be used for search and rescue or surveillance. For $1,390.

    An American military contractor probably is already developing a nonworking version of this with a staff of hundreds on a cost plus contract for hundreds of millions of dollars. $1,390 would have been less than the contractor’s cost of wining, dining, and providing an “escort” for one key congresscrook for an evening. Multiply that folly over our entire economy, and you’ll understand why our system has collapsed under its own weight.

  112. Mitch
    July 16, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    I don’t know how Bernie Sanders got to the Senate, but I love Vermont:

  113. July 16, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    Hello Mitch,

    Thanks for the link, yes if the Bush tax cuts expire that will go a long ways towards solving the debt/deficit problem. If the Bush tax cuts had never gone through the mess would be a lot smaller, but the wars and the medicare part D would have cratered the budget anyway.

    When the government is spending 30% of what it spends on the credit card, it is obvious that your minimum payments (taxes) are going up in the future. It is inevitable. Politiicans of both parties have been kicking the debt can down the road for years.

    But taxes will go up. The Bush tax cuts will expire or there will be cuts in benefits (same as a tax increase to the recipients.) Or you will be taxed by the devaluation of your dollars. It will happen. It’s like gravity. If you rich folks think you will escape it you are mistaken. When the Dow sinks to 5,000 and your properties are worth half what they are now, just think of it as a tax. The debt will be paid one way or another.

    In late 2010, the lame duck Democrats could have simply sat on thier hands and let the Bush cuts expire. The Republicans could have done nothing. The Republicans would have returned in January unable to re-pass the Bush cuts (it would never pass the Senate or a veto by the Prez) and they would have faced the rage of hundreds of thousands of the unemployed. It didn’t happen. The Dems lost a golden opportunity to balance the books. Obama traded this two year extension of tax cuts for a one year extension of unemployment benefits. A bargain but a poor one in my opinion.

    have a peaceful day,

  114. The Big Picture
    July 18, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Bernie Sanders has once again woven together shocking facts disappeared from our so-called “liberal media”.

    If Sanders, Zinn, Nader, Chomsky, Goodman, and the like, been satirists, their prolific interviews might receive regular play in mainstream U.S. media, where reality is reported by comedians.

    U.S. citizens would be outraged if informed, and the other half of the U.S. electorate would begin to participate…THEN, elections would begin having very different impacts.

    Until then, parents will continue silently dressing their children in cloths made by the children of families that will never afford indoor plumbing. The U.S. corporate perpetrators return home to successfully lobby to diminish domestic social programs while paying nothing in taxes.

    Those supporting current policies, including additional big boxes and sprawl locally, are not “conservatives”, but radical-extremists.

  115. Thorstein Veblen
    July 18, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Two quick corrections.

    FIrst, why do we always think of Reagan as a tax cutter? He reduced income tax rates, but raised other taxes that affected mostly middle class taxpayers while leaving the wealthy unscathed.

    Second, the growth in the economy under his watch is incorrectly attributed to the income tax cuts. In fact, the economy simply responded to the $2trillion+/- of deficit spending over his tenure, in effect a ‘stimulus’ program, at a time when most of that spending stayed in the US instead of going to China. And back then, $2trillion was a lot of money.

  116. July 18, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    When you think about it $2 Trillion is still a lot of money even with inflation…..

    Yes Veblen, it is remarkable but all the “growth” in the economy under Reagan and then under Bush basically equalled the deficit spending under them. Take away the debt spending and real economic growth was zero (0).

    This is the easiest way to explain the fraud of Laffer – Waninski “supply side” voodoo economics.

    have a peaceful day

  117. High Finance
    July 19, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Thorstein, Thorstein, Thorstein.

    First, the total deficit under 8 years of Pres Reagan was only $1.672 Trillion not “$2trillion+/-“. And a large part of that was due to the S & L bailout that cost several hundred billion dollars.

    (Clinton’s deficit during his eight years added up to $1.709 Trillion, larger than Reagan’s)

    Second, if that deficit was the only reason for the vastly improving economy under Reagan, why is that Obama’s $2 trillion +/- deficit in just TWO years been such a resounding flop ?

  118. High Finance
    July 19, 2011 at 9:35 am

    The link to those deficits is;


    BTW, it lists GW’s deficit at $4.3 trillion in 8 years but it counts the $800 million TARP bailout. Bush’s true deficit is closer to $3.5 trillion because that $800 billion has been mostly paid back. I heard that when the money was paid back it was counted as income for the Obama administration thereby artifically reducing the true Obama deficits.

    As bad as Bush’s deficits were, the Obama has matched him in just TWO years !

  119. High Finance
    July 19, 2011 at 9:41 am

    More on Obama’s deficits;

    “In the first 19 months of the Obama administration, the federal debt held by the public increased by $2.5260 trillion, which is more than the cumulative total of the national debt held by the public that was amassed by ALL US presidents from George Washington through Ronald Reagan.”


  120. July 19, 2011 at 10:18 am
  121. Plain Jane
    July 19, 2011 at 10:20 am

    LMAO! HiFi posts a link which shows how much Republican administrations increased the debt with the arrow headed steeply up at the end of W’s administration and then blames Obama for the increasing debt, high unemployment and collapsing economy.

    I didn’t understand why the GOP chose McCain and even more why he chose Palin, but it’s obvious now. They didn’t want the White House because they wanted to blame everything they screwed up on Democrats.

    You’d think with all the financial failures from GOP deregulation and tax cuts they’d finally get a clue, but no such luck.

  122. Mitch
    July 19, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Thanks, PJ, you’re right. (I don’t bother to click on links from HiFi unless someone comments on them.)

  123. Thorstein Veblen
    July 19, 2011 at 11:30 am

    “Second, if that deficit was the only reason for the vastly improving economy under Reagan, why is that Obama’s $2 trillion +/- deficit in just TWO years been such a resounding flop ?”

    Good question. And turning your question around a bit, if tax cuts were the cause of economic growth during the Reagan years, why have they not worked at all since 2001? And why haven’t the Obama tax cuts and payroll tax cuts had much effect?

    Well, in fact the Obama stimulus package did work, just more for the Chinese economy than the US. Wars, the collapse of the housing market, further consolidation on Wall Street, and higher oil payments to foreign producers don’t help much either.

    Our world is quite different today than it was in 1980, which is a big reason why the old policy prescriptions, from right or left, aren’t likely to work very well absent a package of other structural reforms and changes in tax and trade policy.

  124. High Finance
    July 19, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Right Mitch, you would rather continue to be uninformed than look at anything that challanges your bias & prejudices.

    And PJ obviously rushed to flame rather than read my post where I commented on Bush’s deficits.

    But Mitch’s “do-nothing” link depends on two things. One that there is a 29% cut in medicare spending at a time when medicare costs are escalating. Two that we allow a tremendous tax increase in the middle of a struggling economy, an economy that is tipping toward a second dip recession already.

  125. Plain Jane
    July 19, 2011 at 11:59 am

    A small tax increase (which is all that letting the imprudent tax cuts expire is) on those who are doing enormously better than everyone else won’t have any negative effect on the economy and will probably be at least somewhat positive.

    When people have a choice between paying higher wages (and investing in their company) or paying higher taxes, they will generally opt to pay less in taxes. A tax rate which encourages good wages and capital improvements and discourages hoarding and inflation of bubbles works better than one which encourages wage cuts (you can keep more and pay lower taxes) and tanks the economy by starving consumption. This on top of record personal debt which people inflicted on themselves to bridge the gap between the cost of their accustomed lifestyle and lower wages, expecting that promised shower of money any day now from the fat cats above. Now we are told that even though 10 years of these tax cuts resulted in a crashed economy, fewer jobs, and ever greater accumulation of wealth at the top that if we just continue them, all will be fine. Just trust them one more time……they promise.

  126. Plain Jane
    July 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    To quote GW Bush, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, I can’t get fooled again.”

  127. Mitch
    July 19, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    No, HiFi, it’s really much simpler than that. I view my time as an investment, and you as a total write-off.

  128. High Finance
    July 20, 2011 at 8:48 am

    The value of your “investment” is about the same as junk bonds if all you do is listen to the choir. Don’t let your fear of opposing views run your life.

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