Do the numbers matter?

Is the aim to improve the economy or punish the wealthy?

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There are two frauds being perpetrated on an apparently willing public today in the discussion over raising taxes.

The first is the canard that the federal government is the same thing as the American economy – that to help the economy, we must feed the federal government more in taxes.

That’s just unalloyed lunacy. The government is not the economy. And it’s indisputable that the more the government takes out of the economy, the less money there is in it.

Just remember, when you hear someone touting higher taxes as a means of fixing the economy: The government and the economy are not the same thing.

The second ruse being foisted on you is that higher tax rates on the wealthy is about the math.

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer makes this point elsewhere on this page when he writes, “It has nothing to do with economics or real fiscal reform. This is entirely about politics. It’s Phase 2 of the 2012 campaign.”

His point: The president’s own deficit reduction commission cited $1.1 trillion a year in tax loopholes and deductions that could be used to bring in more revenue without raising tax rates. If the government succeeded in snaring but 1 out of 10 of those dollars, it would raise $1 trillion over 10 years.

In other words, Krauthammer argues, it is a political ploy and sheer economic fiction that the only way to raise such tax revenues is to increase rates.

It is clear from observing this president and listening to his own words that he is more focused on punishing the successful than on balancing the budget.

Exhibit A: He admitted in a primary debate in the 2008 election campaign that he’d like higher capital gains tax rates as a matter of fairness – even if they brought in fewer dollars, as has historically happened.

Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute think tank in Washington also seems to suggest the president’s tax-hike proposal for the rich is more about politics than economics.

“Obama’s main goal in the fiscal cliff negotiations is to impose a class-warfare tax hike,” he was quoted Wednesday.

In short, the president’s position is less about the math than it is about trying to referee life’s haves and have-nots. What he said in the 2008 campaign to “Joe the plumber” about spreading the wealth around? He meant it.

This is not about numbers as much as it is about ideology. This president seems to believe it’s his job to make life fair – which, of course, presupposes knowing what is and isn’t fair. He’s more concerned with moving items around on a balance sheet to fit his world view than he is on making the columns balance.

Agree with him or disagree. But just understand what’s really at work. It’s not about the math.

To paraphrase James Carville’s old mantra, it’s the politics, stupid.

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burninater
9627
Points
burninater 12/08/12 - 03:15 am
7
13
Keep on with it. Keep on

Keep on with it. Keep on freaking out about the significance of a few rate points increase on income over $250,000. Keep on piling on about this being one of the most ethically significant of American political considerations.

With way larger fish to fry, such as virtually unanimous non-industry scientist agreement about anthropogenic global warming, keep on with the freakout for your wealth-worship icons. With Republicans blocking global initiatives for the disabled, keep on with the monomaniacal obsession about those poor abused 1%ers. With the legitimate-rape Republicans blocking domestic violence legislation, keep that focus on that righteous Right obsessed with their bling. With Mitch McConnell filibustering his own proposed debt ceiling legislation, keep on with the distractions from the absolute shamblistic ineptitude of your championed Party.

Keep on with it, as you clearly have zero sense of how damaging this obsessive wealth worship has become to your creed and your constituency.

allhans
23782
Points
allhans 12/08/12 - 07:38 am
14
4
Obama has plenty of money in

Obama has plenty of money in the coffers to hand out..no problem.
60 billions for Sandy damage ? What about the insurance companies..do they go free.

(The councilwoman in Detroit could use some of that money.)
:)

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 12/08/12 - 07:50 am
8
2
"And it’s indisputable that

"And it’s indisputable that the more the government takes out of the economy, the less money there is in it."

not with the inflationary practices put in place by the nixon administration, tended by the carter, reagan, b-daddy, clinton, and ramped up by bush jr® and obama administration!

We've been using a printing press since JFK got assassinated!

i love reading ACES crow about fiscal responsibility when Georgia voters shoot themselves point with various taxes, most predicated on the theory of unending economic growth

wonder how the less than stellar georgia revenues this past quarter is going to affect the tsplost timetable!

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 12/08/12 - 09:21 am
4
9
The most costly deductions

So the AC wants to use cuts in deductions to reduce the deficit. Which deductions are some of the most costly and would people be happy with cutting them? (Not necessarily in order):

1. Employer-provided health care benefits. .
Total taxes lost through 2014? $659 billion.
Either you or the company you work for would have to absorb the tax hike.

2. Mortgage interest tax break.
Total taxes lost through 2014? $484 billion .

3. Preferential tax treatment for capital gains and dividends.
Total taxes lost $403 billion through 2014.

4. Break in paying state and local taxes.
Total taxes lost through 2014 $237 billion.

5. Charitable contributions.
Total taxes lost $182 billion through 2012.

6. Tax exemption for religious institutions.
Total taxes lost $71 billion per year.

Finally, the personal tax exemption. In 2010, it was $3,650. There were 142,823,000 individual returns that year. That would mean a loss of $521 billion in 2010 alone (not counting spouses and dependents).

Which one of these would hit you if eliminated, and are you willing to go along with it? Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for.

edit: Sources-Fox News, Brookings Inst., Heritage Foundation, IRS,census,gov.

Riverman1
84972
Points
Riverman1 12/08/12 - 09:21 am
12
2
Sure it's a philosophical

Sure it's a philosophical point for President Obama that the wealthy should have more of their assets confiscated. He should realize we are a capitalist economic system and such attacks on those who excel hurt the system with all the negative fallout of decreased investing and jobs.

carcraft
26270
Points
carcraft 12/08/12 - 09:29 am
12
1
Ok, Lets go back to Clinton's

Ok, Lets go back to Clinton's tax rate. I think every one can pay more except the moocher class and we need more of those! Never should spending be cut! $1TRILLION in welfare just wasn't enough! We have examples of raising taxes on the wealthy! How did the tax on luxury boats of the wealthy work? Destroyed boat building in. NEW
New England resulting in Democrat John Kerry having his boat built in New Zealand! Then Kerry stashed in New Jersey to try to avoid Massachusetts taxes! The cofounder of face book has moved out of America to avoid taxes! Oh yes this is going to work well!

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 12/08/12 - 09:34 am
1
10
Real defense spending is

Real defense spending is $1.3-$1.4 trillion per year. 2011 revenue was $2.3 trillion. Of that revenue, $818.8 billion was from payroll taxes would should be dedicated to the social insurance plan they were intended. That leaves around $180 billion to operate the entire rest of the government.

carcraft
26270
Points
carcraft 12/08/12 - 09:38 am
10
1
Techfan, where does the one

Techfan, where does the one trillion in welfare fir in?

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 12/08/12 - 09:47 am
11
1
It is class warfare.
Unpublished

“Agree with him or disagree. But just understand what’s really at work. It’s not about the math.”
It is class warfare. The commie in the WH hates rich white men pure and simple.

seenitB4
88341
Points
seenitB4 12/08/12 - 09:51 am
12
0
Hah..Let us take all the $$ & divide it ...ohh boy..

Amazing how some think that would work & make everything hunkydory....NEVER has & never will....

When our parents estate was divided up....each child recieved the same amount of $$.....after 1 year or so guess what happened....the thrifty better off siblings had more & even prospered but the others lost or even resented the fact they had NOTHING to show with the money spent.......new fancy cars weren't new anymore---poor real estate dealings went south.... & money lost in bad investments..

Our world is the same way....same thing would happen on a global scale....THERE is a reason some are wealthy & some are not...

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 12/08/12 - 10:01 am
1
11
Look at Ike's tax rate.

Look at Ike's tax rate. Lowering the top tax rate did nothing but allow the top percent to see their incomes rise at an astounding rate at the expense of everyone else's. Since the Great Depression ended, the level of income growth had been roughly equal for all in the US. Since Reagan, the tax policies and corporate policies have been skewed to those at the top. After tax income in the US grew 62% from 1979-2007. The top 1%'s income grew 275%. Drop the bull (I know facts are hard for you to grasp and you have to fall back on the GOP platitudes) and look at the numbers. Class warfare is over. Those at the top have won.

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2011/10/25/income-growth-of-top-1-over-30...

http://www.advisorperspectives.com/dshort/updates/Household-Income-Distr...

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 12/08/12 - 10:02 am
3
14
The way the AC has gotten

The way the AC has gotten lately, I'd settle for accurate reporting.

ultrarnr
916
Points
ultrarnr 12/08/12 - 10:09 am
1
12
Heritage Foundation
Unpublished

The AC makes the Heritage Foundation look centrist. I read it to see what the far right propaganda it is spewing.

Riverman1
84972
Points
Riverman1 12/08/12 - 10:19 am
11
0
It's difficult to compare tax

It's difficult to compare tax rates under various presidents because of changes in deductions. Effective tax rates would be the key. As far as the poor getting poorer, I submit to you that it's the Indians on the Reservation principle. Pay some people a little bit in welfare or what have you and you destroy ambition. The ones who are not getting paid work harder.

RMSHEFF
16214
Points
RMSHEFF 12/08/12 - 10:22 am
11
1
Techfan believes

Techfan starts with the assumption that the money people earn belongs to the Federal Government and by the government's benevolence allow you to keep some portion. I would contend the opposite. A flat or fair tax would solve all these problems. Some think that to help the economy, we must feed the federal government more in taxes. This statement shows the extreme economic ignorance of many voters. If the government takes my money and spends it, this will stimulate economic growth. This idea is absurd . The best analogy I have heard to explain this to the economically ignorant (liberals) is as follows: If you take a 5 gallon bucket and walk up to a pond and dip the bucket in the pond to fill it, and then carry the bucket of water around to the other side of the pond and pour the water back in pond you have not changed the water level in the pond. Those that support federal stimulus believe this helps fill the pond.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 12/08/12 - 10:24 am
1
11
Strange, since worker

Strange, since worker productivity has risen consistently, but not their pay. Only those at the top. When one family is worth more than 40 percent of the population, something is wrong, and it's not with those at the bottom.

Conservative Man
5577
Points
Conservative Man 12/08/12 - 10:24 am
11
1
Do the numbers matter?....

.....really?.....this is a rhetorical question right?...

Anyone who thinks this disaster of a president cares about anything OTHER than punishing achievers in order to create a permanent underclass beholden to the left is delusional....

I'm sure the left believes that his confiscatory policies will actually grow the economy....mores the pity.

.....I "shrugged" on Nov. 7th...as did millions of other net tax contributors.....

....welcome to America 180...

Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 12/08/12 - 10:27 am
7
1
The Truth

Augusta Chronicle, do not pay attention to any criticism, especially our family from the "left side". Continue "putting it out there", that's your job! Hey, no one can can make everyone happy..........

RMSHEFF
16214
Points
RMSHEFF 12/08/12 - 10:31 am
10
1
MissFay

MissFay must be a liberal ! Definition: o·pin·ion - personal view: the view somebody takes about an issue, especially when it is based solely on personal judgment. There is a difference between news and opinion and it is Fay and the main stream media that have confused the two.

RMSHEFF
16214
Points
RMSHEFF 12/08/12 - 10:35 am
11
1
TechFan

When one family is worth more than 40 percent of the population.
What family would this be? Productivity is up mostly due to technological advances and overtime worked not that people are working harder.

InChristLove
22480
Points
InChristLove 12/08/12 - 10:39 am
9
1
(MissFay) "Opinion

(MissFay) "Opinion Page.....One sided views are all this newspaper is about..which is why we dropped our subscription a long time ago. Fair and balanced reporting? We think not."

If you are that dissatisfied and dropped your subscription a long time ago, why in the heck are you online reading and posting now? Must not fine the AC that distasteful.

I think SeenitB4 stated it best in her 8:51am post. Unless the money taken by the government is used wisely and spent responsibly, you can take all of the wealth money and still be in the same boat we are in now. It's not lack of money, it's that greed has taken over and the revenue isn't spent wisely.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 12/08/12 - 10:42 am
0
0
When you
Unpublished

allow the gubmint to tax an extra amount on the top two percent, how long before the gubmint adds extra taxes on the remaining ninety eight percent ( less themselves and their punk lackeys )?

dahreese
4727
Points
dahreese 12/08/12 - 10:49 am
2
7
Really?
Unpublished

AC says, "There are two frauds being perpetrated on an apparently willing public today in the discussion over raising taxes.

"The first is the canard that the federal government is the same thing as the American economy – that to help the economy, we must feed the federal government more in taxes."

Wonder who on the editorial board thought this one up?

"And it’s indisputable that the more the government takes out of the economy, the less money there is in it."

Saying that the government doesn't spend the money it takes in, it just sits on it?

Saying that if the government does spend it, still, it doesn't end back up in the economy?

When the government spends a dollar, it's not the same as an individual spending a dollar?

Really?

seenitB4
88341
Points
seenitB4 12/08/12 - 10:53 am
7
1
We are not to blame for have/have nots....

A nice read...culture matters....we see it in every country..

Lawrence Harrison, author of Who Prospers?, confesses that in 1962, when he first went to work for USAID, he thought that Latin America was poor because of American “neglect.” He also recalls that when President John Kennedy launched the Alliance for Progress in 1961 nearly everyone believed that Latin America would blossom as quickly and gratifyingly as Europe did under the Marshall Plan.

Mr. Harrison now believes that the reason poor countries stay poor is not because rich ones squeeze them but because they are hobbled by unhelpful mores and folkways, which he rather grandly calls “cultures.” In an era in which it is fashionable to pretend that all “cultures” are equally valid, it is a minor milestone to point out that the folkways of certain peoples are inferior to others.

Mr. Harrison’s analysis suffers from his unwillingness to violate certain taboos, but to speak of “culture” is an enormous improvement over blaming imperialism. Many of the foolish ideas that have influenced our immigration and foreign policies have grown out of the myth that overseas squalor is somehow all our fault. Mr. Harrison tries to avoid blaming anyone for anything, but a vital message gets through despite his scruples: We are not responsible for the failures of others.

allhans
23782
Points
allhans 12/08/12 - 11:21 am
9
1
I listen to liberals talk

I listen to liberals talk about old, rich white men and then I look at the old, rich, white VP Joe Biden..and I laugh.

dichotomy
33578
Points
dichotomy 12/08/12 - 11:56 am
7
1
Techfan....."Real defense

Techfan....."Real defense spending is $1.3-$1.4 trillion per year." "That leaves around $180 billion to operate the entire rest of the government."

Two points. At least we get SOMETHING for our defense spending. Sure it could be reduced but at least we get security.

But we are also spending $400 BILLION a year just to pay the INTEREST on our $16.4 TRILLION debt. NOT ONE DOLLAR TO PAY DOWN THE DEBT. In fact, Obama wants to ADD ANOTHER $5 TRILLION in DEBT over the next 4 years. Everyone admits that Obama's frothing ideologue issue of taxing the rich will do NOTHING, ZERO, to cut our deficit or debt. $400 BILLION a year in INTEREST which will be $500 BILLION a year by the end of Obama's second term and COULD BE $1 TRILLION a year in INTEREST if interest rates start to rise as they surely will.

CUT THE DAMNED SPENDING........NOW!!!!!!!! Dedicate ALL new revenue through ANY tax increase or closing of loopholes to PAYING DOWN THE DEBT.

soapy_725
43686
Points
soapy_725 12/08/12 - 12:11 pm
0
0
Politically Incorrect was first used in 1933
Unpublished

Not by Bill Maher, but we should not be surprised at its origin. The term was first used in an article of IZVESTIA (delivered messages). Remember the USSR state newspaper first printed in 1917. "Going against accepted speech or action". It went along with "anti social" as a means of silencing and imprisoning those who spoke out against government policy.

In the USA we made it a positive phrase. Politically Correct. "They will call bad good and good bad...."

Bizkit
32177
Points
Bizkit 12/08/12 - 01:02 pm
6
1
The article seems accurate.

The article seems accurate. Obama is an ideologue who doesn't care about numbers or the economy-just his sick perverse view of "fairness". He admits that he would support the higher capital gains taxes despite the data and logic to the contrary-because of "fairness" . Jeez come on. How egocentric and maniacal to pursue what is best to his ends instead of America. Put's himself first. Rather than divide America we all need to belly up and "do the patriotic thang" and ask All our taxes go up-as long as they do their part in Congress to cut spending. Anything less in unAmerican, defies equality under the law and is just another form of discrimination by class, but of course this from a man who has ordered the murder of an American citizen without due process. He could care less about law and order-just rule and order.
Sick

Bizkit
32177
Points
Bizkit 12/08/12 - 01:17 pm
6
1
Dividing people, demonizing

Dividing people, demonizing them, and dehumanizing them precipitates war and violence. People should be repulsed at any form of discrimination. Seems odd the president is so sympathetic about gay marriage and discrimination in that regard but loves discrimination by class and success. Their is some pathology there which is obvious from reading his life story and books.

nofanofobama
6856
Points
nofanofobama 12/08/12 - 01:48 pm
7
1
Lost in this debate is the

Lost in this debate is the responsibility of those receiving our tax dollars. We are not talking about programs paid into right now like social security but the actual programs that are purely benefits not earned. We act as if all these people receiving housing allowance, free medical, bet cards etc.. Etc.. Are pure as the wind driven snow. That they are trying with all their might to get a job , that they want to get jobs and be productive. We have all seen interviews with some of these people who literally declare they don't want to work. Drive thru certain neighborhoods young healthy men siting around , and b/4 you decry racism there are more poor whites on give away programs..I know of construction helpers who quit because you make more drawing unemployment. We have generational unemployment with children growing up to never witnes someone leaving for work. B/4 we give one more dime to the govt we must address our welfare programs and make sure every dime is spent wisely in every govt program. It all cases our federal govt under both parties is a miserable failure. They deserve not one more dime til govt and al its programs are reformed. Those who pay the bill should be treated with greater respect and a thank you instead of all this greed and coveting in class warfare.

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