Advertisement

Opinion

Opinion

Buffett rule won’t close federal deficit

April 14, 2012

Advertisement

— Here we go again.

At the beginning of his presidency, Barack Obama argued that the country’s spiraling debt was largely the result of exploding health care costs. That was true. He then said the cure for these exploding costs would be his health care reform. That was not true.

It was obvious at the time that it could never be true. If government gives health insurance to 33 million uninsured, that costs. Costs a lot. There’s no free lunch.

Now we know. The Congressional Budget Office’s latest estimate is that Obamacare will add $1.76 trillion in federal expenditures through 2022. And, as one of the Medicare trustees has just made clear, if you don’t double count the $575 billion set aside for the Medicare trust fund, Obamacare adds to the already crushing national debt.

Three years later, we are back to smoke and mirrors. This time it’s not health care but the Buffett Rule, which would impose a minimum 30 percent effective tax rate on millionaires. Here is how Obama introduced it last September:

“Warren Buffett’s secretary shouldn’t pay a (higher) tax rate than Warren Buffett. ... And that basic principle of fairness, if applied to our tax code, could raise enough money” to “stabilize our debt and deficits for the next decade. ... This is not politics; this is math.”

OK. Let’s do the math. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates this new tax would yield between $4 billion and $5 billion a year. If we collect the Buffett tax for the next 250 years — a span longer than the life of this republic — it would not cover the Obama deficit for 2011 alone.

As an approach to our mountain of debt, the Buffett Rule is a farce. And yet Obama repeated the ridiculous claim again this week. “It will help us close our deficit.” Does he really think we’re that stupid?

Hence the fallback: The Buffett Rule is a first step in tax reform. On the contrary. It’s a substitute for tax reform, an evasion of tax reform. In three years, Obama hasn’t touched tax (or, for that matter, entitlement) reform, and clearly has no intention to. The Buffett Rule is nothing but a form of redistributionism that has vanishingly little to do with debt reduction and everything to do with re-election.

As such, it’s clever. It deftly channels the sentiment underlying Occupy Wall Street (original version, before its slovenly, whiny, aggressive weirdness made it politically toxic). It perfectly pits the 99 percent against the 1 percent. Indeed, it is OWS translated into legislation, something the actual occupiers never had the wit to come up with.

Clever politics, but in terms of economics, it’s worse than useless. It’s counterproductive. The reason Buffett and Mitt Romney pay roughly 15 percent in taxes is that their income is principally capital gains. The Buffett Rule is, in fact, a disguised tax hike on capital gains. But Obama prefers to present it as just an alternative minimum tax because 50 years of economic history show that raising the capital gains tax backfires: It reduces federal revenues, while lowering the tax raises revenues.

No matter. Obama had famously said in 2008 that even if that’s the case, he’d still raise the capital gains tax — for the sake of fairness.

For Obama, fairness is the supreme social value. And fairness is what he is running on — although he is not prepared to come clean on its price. Or even acknowledge that there is a price. Instead, Obama throws in a free economic lunch for all. “This is not just about fairness,” he insisted on Wednesday. “This is also about growth.”

Growth? The United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. Now, in the middle of a historically weak recovery, Obama wants to raise our capital gains tax to the fourth highest. No better way to discourage investment — and the jobs and growth that come with it.

Three years ago, Obama promised universal health care that saves money. Today, he offers a capital gains tax hike that spurs economic growth. This is free-lunch egalitarianism.

The Buffett Rule redistributes deck chairs on the Titanic, ostensibly to make more available for those in steerage. Nice idea, but the iceberg cometh. The enterprise is an exercise in misdirection — a distraction not just from Obama’s dismal record on growth and unemployment but, more importantly, from his dereliction of duty in failing to this day to address the utterly predictable and devastating debt crisis ahead.

— Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.

Comments

Flap Doodle 2 years ago

The deficit would be reduced if the fat cats in the current regime would pay up their back taxes. http://news.investors.com/article/599002/201201260818/obama-white-house-staff-back-taxes.htm?Ntt=obama

0

08Champs 2 years ago

Of course it won't SOLVE the problem. Neither will world peace, but I still want it.

0

bobberboy 2 years ago

What do you mean it won't close the deficit ? Well then go ahead and let the rich continue to get by without paying their fair share !

0

gudpoynt 2 years ago

Just to clarify, Krauthammer doesn't get it right when he says "the Buffett Rule would impose a minimum 30 percent effective tax rate on millionaires."

Actually, the Buffet Rule would impose a minimum 30 percent effective tax rate on those whose annual income is $1 million or more.

But if you have $1 million in the bank and you make $300K annually, then technically you are a millionaire, but the Buffet rule would not apply to you.

0

gudpoynt 2 years ago

Oh look! There's a dollar bill on the ground. I should pick it up and put it in my pocket. After all, I have a lot of huge bills I have to pay.

But wait! One single dollar is only a tiny fraction of those huge bills! Surely picking up that dollar won't amount to a hill of beans as far as being able to pay them off more quickly.

Boy howdy, so glad I'm good at the maths. Otherwise, I would have wasted time picking up that silly dollar.

0

tbaker 2 years ago

What would you call someone who insists tax increases can solve our country's fiscal problems when every rational measure clearly shows we are way past the point where raising already high taxes would do any good? Someone who's mind has been shut off and has thus atrophied down to a size incapable of admitting spending must be dramtically cut; the size and scope of government must be dramtically reduced? Would this be arguing with a fool?

0

its_just_math 2 years ago

I did some 'rough math', which you guys always love, and I guesstimated that households like ours just contributed close to a trillion to the federal coffer. That's just our income bracket. Imagine the millionaires/billionaires and their contribution? It must dwarf the preceding figure. And remember, of about 145 million taxpayers, 80% get a refund although they've still paid probably about 15-20% in, and app. 50% pay zero taxes. If you want to complain about inequity, I'll join in with ya'.

0

rockchalk1977 2 years ago

In honor of tax day, lets take a look at how Obama and our federal government wastes taxpayer dollars.

A group of federal employees from the GSA were encouraged to go "over the top" on a five-day conference in Las Vegas. They blew over $822,000 in part on commemorative coins, $44 breakfasts, shrimp dinners, mind reader, a clown (Joe Biden) and matching vests. Employees stayed in luxury suites, threw semi-private parties catered by room service and spent $75,000 to build 24 bicycles. At one "networking reception," the 300 attendees were treated to beef Wellington, cheese displays and 1,000 sushi rolls priced at $7 each. The conference violated federal contracting regulations and far exceeded the government's meal per diem of $71 a day. The GSA official, who is not named, allegedly paid the lower $93 government rate for an additional night’s stay at the hotel, which costs $1,000 a night. But he then charged federal taxpayers for the full $1,000, and pocketed the difference. The two Congressmen also say 50 GSA officials got bonuses amounting to $500 to $1,000 each for arranging this conference, now dubbed the "Vegas Vacation,". GSA workers also received “awards” that included free Ipods, gift cards, and DVD players. And the two Congressmen have documents that confirm GSA officials blew at least $1,000 for shuttle buses to the Vegas strip when there was no work function.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0412/75238.html

Feel better about writing those checks today suckers?

0

verity 2 years ago

Who are those people who are not paying any federal income tax?

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/taxes-paying-fair-share-040140770.html

By Andrea Coombes | MarketWatch – Mon, Apr 16, 2012 12:01 AM EDT

In fact, 1,470 millionaires were among those who paid no federal income tax in 2009, according to IRS data. . . .

Meanwhile, 46% of taxpayers won’t owe any federal income tax for 2011, according to the Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution.

But those taxpayers will pay a hefty portion of their income to levies at the federal, state and local level. Those include payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare; state and local sales taxes on groceries, clothing and other purchases; and federal and state excise taxes on things such as gas, cigarettes, alcohol and airline tickets.

Those taxes can hit different income groups in different ways. For instance, the payroll tax for Medicare is paid by all workers, but the Social Security tax isn’t levied on income over $110,100 (in 2012). So people with bigger six-figure salaries pay a lower portion of their income to Social Security taxes than those earning less. . . .

Then there are state and local taxes to add in. People in the lowest 20% of income earners paid about 17% of their income to federal, state and local taxes in 2011, versus about a 30% effective rate for the top earners, according to an estimate from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. But the share of total taxes paid roughly matches the share of total income for each of the income groups. . . .

Sales taxes can have an outsize effect on lower-income people. “After they buy basic necessities, they typically won’t have a lot of money left over to save or invest,” Wamhoff said. A wealthier family is “more likely to have a portion of their income that they can put to savings or investments that will never be subject to sales taxes.”. . .

Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, said 23% of U.S. taxpayers don’t make enough money to owe that tax once they take their personal exemption and standard deduction. Another 23% qualify for tax breaks that bring their bill to zero or provide a refund.

0

Lateralis 2 years ago

"It all is moot at the end of the day. This government won't last without massive spending cuts. No tax increase could possibly cover the debt and unfunded liabilities. And the government is not willing to make massive spending cuts.

Default, hyper-inflation, complete economic crash, take your pick, but this will not end well." - L1

Absolutely 110% correct. This is the point that most Americans don’t get, you can’t tax your way out of debt. The debt is too high. Cuts will and must come. Any addition to the debt such as Obamacare will continue to contribute to the destruction of our dollar. It’s a shame that you can’t wrap up economics in a 30 min sitcom that actually interests the general public. They don’t understand and don’t want to know. BUT the undeniable fact is…..we can’t afford it and no matter how much you tax the rich it won’t fix the problem. The people that want Obamacare have no answers as how to pay for it. They don’t care…all they know is they want it, it’s a right, and to hell with the price tag. You could confiscate the entire wealth of the Forbes 400 and it wouldn’t even scratch the debt. When the debt has eclipsed the GDP…..you got problems. How we continue to get trillion dollar lines of credit increases with a 100% debt to income ratio is beyond me.

0

tbaker 2 years ago

Congress won't even cut the rate of spending increases, let alone cut actual spending. L1 is right. The only way out of this is a very large devaluation of the currency so the debts the US owes can be paid-off with much cheaper money. The US dollar will not be the world reserve currency when this is done, commodities once traded in dollars will cost much more, and all dollar denominated assets will be worth much less, like your IRAs and 401Ks.

0

jafs 2 years ago

Well, the $1/$10 ratio of tax increases to spending cuts sounded like a real possibility that might work - it's too bad the Republicans wouldn't go for it.

Probably has something to do with that Norquist pledge, I'd think.

0

Liberty_One 2 years ago

It all is moot at the end of the day. This government won't last without massive spending cuts. No tax increase could possibly cover the debt and unfunded liabilities. And the government is not willing to make massive spending cuts.

Default, hyper-inflation, complete economic crash, take your pick, but this will not end well.

0

Flap Doodle 2 years ago

"We all must pay more and take less..." Good luck selling that to the professional welfare class.

0

Paul R Getto 2 years ago

Good points. The rule has little to do with the budget gap and a lot to do with symbolism. We all must pay more and take less to get out of the hole we dug with our greed and denial. The President needs to get over this narrow idea and recommend a middle class tax increase along with higher rates for those blessed with huge incomes.

0

tbaker 2 years ago

Jafs - when you say additional taxation it is part of the solution, you have to consider it is a drop in the ocean. We differ on this point becuase people who share your sentiment simply do not grasp the scope of the problem. Government spending has reached such an insane level additional taxation is no longer a viable option. Consider the numbers I explained in the post above. Take 100% of the income earned by the people filing in the top bracket and it doesn't even begin to address the problem.

Know that every time The President utters this “Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary” nonsense he knows that statement to be untrue. He knows he’s lying.

Warren Buffett pays exactly the same income tax rate on the same taxable earned income that his secretary pays. His secretary pays exactly the same rate on her capital gains income that Warren Buffet pays. Why are capital gains taxed at a rate lower that earned income? To encourage investment. When the capital gains tax rates go up people with money to invest -- and that’s where capital gains come from -- simply send that money somewhere else. Maybe overseas, or maybe into tax-free municipal bonds. History has shown ... without fail ... every single time you raise capital gains tax rates the amount of money the government earns in capital gains taxes goes down.

The top 60 percent of taxpayers paid 100 percent of all income taxes. The bottom 40 percent collectively pay no income taxes. From 2000 to 2004, the share of all individual income taxes paid by the bottom 40 percent dropped from zero percent to -4 percent, meaning that the average family in those quintiles received a subsidy from the IRS. By contrast, the share paid by the top quintile of households (by income) increased from 81 percent to 85 percent.

The spending is ruining our country. Raising more taxes is no longer a way to fix it.

0

tbaker 2 years ago

Fair share? More taxes? Really? The US government spends one billion dollars every two and half hours. The US has the highest effective tax rate in the world. Nearly half of the population doesn't pay any income taxes.

Consider: The tax year of 2008 was the last to date that the IRS has done this kind of analysis. In 2008 the highest marginal tax rate of 35% applied to all AGI above $357,700.00. In that year the total amount of AGI subject to the highest rate was $622.8 Billion. The government collected in taxes $218.0 Billion (35%).

In 2012 the annual budget deficit is about $1.6 trillion. Lets say congress raises the highest marginal rate, how much more would Washington D.C. receive, assuming no change in behavior and a general eagerness to pay more?

If the highest rate of 35% were raised by a factor of 20% to 42%, then the additional tax revenue would be $43.5 Billion, not much of a dent in $1.6 trillion. So, let's raise the rate by a factor of 50% to 52.5%; the additional revenue would be $108.9 Billion. Still nowhere near enough, so let's just tax it at a rate of 100%, bringing in an additional $404.8 Billion.

Even if the federal government confiscated 100% of all the "income" earned by the evil rich, the country would still be $1.26 trillion in the hole for the year.

Mr. Obama cannot run on his record. Wealth envy is a lot easier a campaign platform to run on than facts and figures and the painful truth.

Do the math 'copter. Raising taxes doesn't even begin to address the problem.

0

pace 2 years ago

What is really funky, Charles Krauthammer is somehow claiming that anyone said the Buffet rule was THE fix for the deficit. What a crack pot column.

0

Lane Signal 2 years ago

I don't think of the Buffet rule primarily as a means to lower the deficit. It is primarily an issue of fairness. The really rich should not be exempt from paying their fair share in taxes. I'll agree that we need some austerity measures to address the deficit but I also think we need to raise taxes. We may need to raise taxes across the board, but we should start with the super rich. This is not redistribution of wealth. The wealthy are doing pretty well with that on their own. We should not stop with the rich, we need to close tax loopholes for corporations as well. If we get rid of those loopholes, force the super rich to pay the same rate as the upper middle class and roll back the Bush era tax cuts (that were designed to expire anyway), we could get a lot closer to control of the deficit. I'll agree that the Buffet rule does not by itself cure all our economic woes, but that's a pretty weak argument against putting it in place.

0

its_just_math 2 years ago

Anyone who still truly believes Obama has one iota of credibility left has alot of gall to call the others "partisan". They called those who opposes Obama's policy and agenda racists from day one. I knew this would be the case; if you are against Obama and his "fundamental transformation" and "change" and "new direction", you're simply just a racist in their twisted view. The true racists are the ones who have blind devotion to him simply because he's not one of the "good ol' white boy club" .........no matter what he does, they'll back him.

0

tbaker 2 years ago

The country currently spends more borrowed money in one day than the Buffret rule would raise in a year, and this assumes some pretty rosey predictions about the effect it will have on the job-creators. It is laughable economic policy. It's nothing more than a political stunt designed to get the dumb masses to ignore Mr. Obama's pathetic record. He can't run his campaign on his accomplishments becuase his policies have made things worse, so he has to find something that the focus groups say will resonate with at least a part of the electorate. He is wasting his time becuase this idea only appeals to the people who would vote for him anyway.

0

BiPolarWookie_w_PhD 2 years ago

Maybe if Americans stopped eating substances that are known to cause disease and would get of their lazy bums and excersise a little, maybe healthcare costs would decrease. One could also sequence everyones genome and determine disease risks and pay accordingly. Like in a car insurance policy, higher risks like speeding tickets and DUI etc, constitutes higher insurance costs. Higher disease risks or unhelathy living would raise your premiums.

0

Gregory Newman 2 years ago

You are all right and wrong? The fact is that NAFTA/GATT has done us in. So now we are pointing the finger at each other. The Fact is Reagan re-initiated racism when he went down to Philadelphia Ms. in his first speech. Plus he raised taxes 11 times and the right plays oblivion whenever one says something against them and they pride themselves on that.

GW Bush started class warfare when he said I've got to give the people their money back, its not the governments money its the people's money. Then it was a split of $300 and $45,000.

To me Obama was trying to revenge for his momma against the insurance companies. Which should have been put on the back burner. Another fact there is a segment in society that hate Blacks just on the basis of their skin color and nothing to do with character. Folks loves to bring up Farrakhan well White people made him. You shouldn't have started it.

For the most case senario Blacks don't hate whites we are too broke to pay attention so we live among you and around you because we understand the norm and the same goes for other whites. But if a Black brings up Hannity, Limbaugh, Colter, Savage and etc. they go into a rage as if its fair. Those that agree with them are the ones that are full of anxiety and then blame Blacks and Liberals for their degredation. Yet they will not look in the mirror of their heart where lies the real issue of their fear and uncertainty

That comes from that deep belief of white male privilege. That will not work anymore immigration and all women is bringing things to an even keal. The logical thing to do is to repel NAFTA/GATT but that will not work because Wall Street has signed contracts with foreign Nations in the EU, China and India. Then we have that H-1B visa that keeps foreignors coming and then that debilitating EB-5 visa that Romney will push.

That will usher Chinese Nationals in the Nation living and working in Foreign Trade Zones. Obama is a buffer to hold it off but he has to deal with redneck Mitch McConnell who's whole purpose is to hurt Obama based on race.

Here is his quote. “that he feels his “single most important” job is to defeat President Obama in 2012:” We need to be honest with the public. This election is about them, not us. And we need to treat this election as the first step in retaking the government." Nobody can tell me about code words "this election is about them, not us." Folks the fact is that the NWO is in full affect this is bigger than Obama or Romney.

A President will never be savior or Lord. Jesus the Christ has that on lock down and he does not operate in any government or a political group or any religious denomination. He operates in individuals in spirit and in truth and they are to operate in “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?”

0

Steven Gaudreau 2 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

0

camper 2 years ago

I also believe that a public option would have been a better approach than the law that was passed. This would have increased coverage and increased the number of those paying into the system. This alone would have done much to relieve the budgetary pressure on Medicare and Medicaid.

0

camper 2 years ago

What Krauthammer does not mention is the budget defecit impact if the Affordable Care act were invalidated. According to an April GAO report:

"If the legislation were thrown out, though, the forecast becomes considerably more gloomy. The report does not go into detail about the consequences of an invalidated law — but as TPM reports, it clearly implies that "if key cost-control measures in the law, and other automatic cuts to Medicare spending baked into current law, are ignored, or overridden by Congress, the implications for the national debt are vast."

Rising Governmental health care costs are a function of the rising trend of people falling out of employer provided and private insurance. This is what is putting pressure on Medicare and Medicaid.....not "Obamacare".

0

Richard Heckler 2 years ago

"The truth is that corporations wield enormous power in Congress and in state legislatures. It is hard to tell where government ends and corporate America begins: the transition is seamless and overlapping.” Justice James C. Nelson

0

Richard Heckler 2 years ago

If the LJW is going to publish a person like Charles Krauthammer the LJW should at least publish a person of substance such as Paul Krugman at the same time.

The Gullible Center By PAUL KRUGMAN Published: April 8, 2012

So, can we talk about the Paul Ryan phenomenon?

And yes, I mean the phenomenon, not the man. Mr. Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee and the principal author of the last two Congressional Republican budget proposals, isn’t especially interesting. He’s a garden-variety modern G.O.P. extremist, an Ayn Rand devotee who believes that the answer to all problems is to cut taxes on the rich and slash benefits for the poor and middle class.

No, what’s interesting is the cult that has grown up around Mr. Ryan — and in particular the way self-proclaimed centrists elevated him into an icon of fiscal responsibility, and even now can’t seem to let go of their fantasy.

The Ryan cult was very much on display last week, after President Obama said the obvious: the latest Republican budget proposal, a proposal that Mitt Romney has avidly embraced, is a “Trojan horse” — that is, it is essentially a fraud. “Disguised as deficit reduction plans, it is really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country.”

The reaction from many commentators was a howl of outrage. The president was being rude; he was being partisan; he was being a big meanie. Yet what he said about the Ryan proposal was completely accurate.

Actually, there are many problems with that proposal. But you can get the gist if you understand two numbers: $4.6 trillion and 14 million.

Of these, $4.6 trillion is the revenue cost over the next decade of the tax cuts embodied in the plan, as estimated by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. These cuts — which are, by the way, cuts over and above those involved in making the Bush tax cuts permanent — would disproportionately benefit the wealthy, with the average member of the top 1 percent receiving a tax break of $238,000 a year.

Mr. Ryan insists that despite these tax cuts his proposal is “revenue neutral,” that he would make up for the lost revenue by closing loopholes. But he has refused to specify a single loophole he would close. And if we assess the proposal without his secret (and probably nonexistent) plan to raise revenue, it turns out to involve running bigger deficits than we would run under the Obama administration’s proposals.

Meanwhile, 14 million is a minimum estimate of the number of Americans who would lose health insurance under Mr. Ryan’s proposed cuts in Medicaid; estimates by the Urban Institute actually put the number at between 14 million and 27 million.

Con't http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/09/opinion/krugman-the-gullible-center.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

0

machiavelli 2 years ago

Making a dent in the federal deficit will require two actions:

1) Raise taxes, dramatically, for all income levels 2) Cut spending, dramatically, for all government programs

0

its_just_math 2 years ago

I want each and every LJW leftist to cast their vote for Obama........there's fewer and fewer of you superstars. Let's make this race exciting! Don't give up-----never, ever, ever give up.

I mailed $65k to feds and $15k to ks today.....gettin' my drink on and bbq'ing a yard bird.

You guys are terrific!

0

jayhawklawrence 2 years ago

Charles Krauthammer is a liar, plain and simple but the kinds of lies he tells are very popular and he gets paid handsomely for his brand of fiction.

Here is a link to a good article which gives a history of taxes in the US.

"Today's income tax rates are strikingly low relative to the rates of the past century, especially for rich people. For most of the century, including some boom times, top-bracket income tax rates were much higher than they are today."

For more info: http://www.businessinsider.com/history-of-tax-rates

Today's Republican Party and the so called Christian Right who support them are not on the right side of history. Neither were the religious and political leaders at the time of Jesus.

The Buffet rule is about doing the right thing rather than following the example of Cayman Islands Romney and the rest of his gang. It is about changing the culture of greed and getting millions of Americans to pull their head out of the sand.

0

usnsnp 2 years ago

And if you check the Ryan plan it continues to add to the defisit in a big way, but it gives the top 1% a whole lot of more money.

0

usnsnp 2 years ago

Let see: Republicans want to defund some of the following, NPR, AMTRACK, ART FUNDING , PLANNED PARENTHOOD, ETC. they say every little will help, so the Buffett rule will not clear up the debt, but in Republicans own words, every little bit will help. A second thing to look at is how many people that you personnaly know will be affected by this rule.

0

weiser 2 years ago

As long as Pelosi can use my money, spending millions of dollars flying on a government jet, and commuting to California and back...I'm good! ...Stock the bar!

0

its_just_math 2 years ago

We just need Romney to be on his game and unseat The Class Warrior in Chief. I also hope for a senatorial flip. Then we can reverse the damage of O/P/R and move forward.

0

Fossick 2 years ago

Simple solution: eliminate the corporate income tax and treat all capital gains as regular income to be taxed at the marginal rate.

The argument for a lower tax on dividends is quite valid: the corporation has already paid a 35% tax on the profit that is used to pay the dividend. That means that Mr. Buffet, while he pays a low personal rate, is paying that rate on money that has already been taxed once. So the argument, being as complex as the tax code, is unfortunately reduced to slogans that are as understood as they are effective, which is to say, not at all. Eliminate the corporate tax and you eliminate any argument for treating dividends differently than wages.

One huge argument you'll get from the GOP is the need to "reward" long-term investors by taxing 1-yr capital gains at a rate below short term. The present stock market is a game and ought to be treated as such - earnings from stock capital gains ought to be treated like earnings from the lottery. If you don't agree, spend a day reading the financial press and give yourself a noogie every time you read the word "play" in relation to investing in markets.

Free bonus: natural gas hit a fourth decade low in a row in Friday. There are some really nice, NYSE-listed, Kansas-based natural gas trusts one can buy at record lows. Capital gains, ftw.

0

Flap Doodle 2 years ago

Speaking of the Mope and taxes: "How sincere was the president when he complained that the current system is so unfair that he, a rich guy, gets to “keep hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional income” while other parents struggle to send their kids to college? Suffice it to say that he wasn’t sufficiently bothered to resist helping himself to a loophole in the tax code that decreased his taxable income in 2011 by nearly $50,000. The Washington Free Beacon reports; President Obama and his wife, Michele, gave a total of $48,000 in tax-free gifts to their daughters, according to tax records made public on Friday. The president and his wife separately gave each daughter a $12,000 gift under a section of the federal tax code that exempts such donations from federal taxes. As if to underscore the irony of the disconnect between his words and actions, the president has been using this shelter—likely to fund his daughters’ college educations—since 2007. As the Free Beacon notes, there is nothing illegal about the president’s decreasing his tax indebtedness, but isn’t this the sort of behavior he has been militating against for the past three years? Isn’t this an example of a rich fat cat refusing to pony up his “fair share”?" http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2012/04/14/hypocrisy-alert-obama-used-tax-loopholes-in-2011-to-lower-his-tax-bill-2/

0

its_just_math 2 years ago

Two words:

Cloward-Piven

"The two were critical of the public welfare system, and their strategy called for overloading that system to force a different set of policies to address poverty. They stated that many Americans who were eligible for welfare were not receiving benefits, and that a welfare enrollment drive would strain local budgets, precipitating a crisis at the state and local levels that would be a wake-up call for the federal government, particularly the Democratic Party, thus forcing it to implement a national solution to poverty. Cloward and Piven wrote that “the ultimate objective of this strategy [would be] to wipe out poverty by establishing a guaranteed annual income...”

0

Richard Payton 2 years ago

Quantitative easing is being spoken in Wall Street and DC as a round 3 possible solution. Looking at the production price index instead of the consumer price index to better determine possible inflation a word that is feared for many reasons. I often wonder if China's data is as skewed as the United States data? My 12% that I and my employer pay into social security appears spent already. Now, I'm wondering if my generation will ever get to retire. Just thinking the Unites States has one of the top retirement ages in the world and we don't have health care either. We have spent so much could a flat tax or national sales tax close the deficit?

0

rockchalk1977 2 years ago

Obama made $789,674 last year and paid $162,074 in taxes, a tax rate of 20.5 percent, far below the 30 percent minimum he is pushing for in the Buffett Rule. Obama paid a lower tax rate than his secretary, who made less than $100,000. White House aides would not reveal Anita Breckenridge’s tax rate, but said it was higher than the Obamas' rate.

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Obama-income-tax-rate/2012/04/13/id/435858?s=al&promo_code=EA7E-1

Hypocrites!

0

pace 2 years ago

I don't see the argument convincing me the wealthiest should not pay a fair share of taxes. I hear it won't be a miracle cure, The wealthiest paying their fair share will help more than the middle class carrying the rich mans water. The argument that billionaires should get out of their tax bill is insulting. Where is the banner, Asking billionaires to pay fair tax won't cure cancer. It is a cancer to exclude the wealthiest from being responsible. Why should they be exempt from taxes? The "job creators" doesn't fly that wide or high. It is a lie.

0

sciencegeek 2 years ago

Oh, PUH-LEEEZE! Because it doesn't solve the entire problem, it isn't worth doing? Give me a break!

And BTW--the administrative costs of Medicare have been known to be much less than those of private insurers, on the order of 11% versus 26%. Medicare doesn't have to produce enough profit to pay shareholders, overpaid CEOs, lobbyists and members of Congress. What's so hard to understand?

0

Armstrong 2 years ago

I have to hand it to Obama, stupid, trivial garbage like this is a great distraction from his horrid record ( the one he can't run on you know economy, unemployment, failed stimulus X 2, foreign policy, .... ). This goes back to the age old tradition of ' If facts don't work baffel 'em with B S "

0

its_just_math 2 years ago

"There’s no free lunch."

Umm, catch up, Charles. There is "free lunch". And now, it's sushi or steak or lobster. The Anointed One's apparent sole goal was to give well-off/wealthy whites a nice screwing and give it those whom he deems needs it (or 'wants' it is a better term).

The majority of this forum's contributors can't get enough of The Anointed One's hand outs.

"Gimme, gimme, gimme......where's mine ...Republicans are evil---Kochs are evil...now give me some more?!"

0

Richard Heckler 2 years ago

Conservatives and liberals may disagree about the constitutionality of the individual mandate requiring all uninsured Americans to buy health insurance from private companies or pay a penalty to the IRS.

But there is no debate about whether single-payer Medicare For All would be constitutional. No one — not even the most hard core, right-wing libertarians — disputes that the federal government has the constitutional authority to tax all Americans to pay for Medicare-style health insurance for all, as it pays for Medicare for everyone over 65.

http://www.healthcare-now.org/conservatives-and-liberals-agree-medicare-for-all-would-be-constitutional/

0

its_just_math 2 years ago

Paul Krugman? Kidding, right?

0

BornAgainAmerican 2 years ago

"The Buffett Rule redistributes deck chairs on the Titanic, ostensibly to make more available for those in steerage. Nice idea, but the iceberg cometh. The enterprise is an exercise in misdirection — a distraction not just from Obama’s dismal record on growth and unemployment but, more importantly, from his dereliction of duty in failing to this day to address the utterly predictable and devastating debt crisis ahead."

The Annointed One cares naught for the fact that he is driving this country over a financial cliff. As Mr. Krauthammer points out, Obama lies about the financial ramifications of his health care program, Buffet Rule and other financial matters . He has no intention of addressing our debt delimma. He would rather let Republicans offer real solutions and then attack their proposals for political advantage. Wealth re-distribution and European-style Socialism top his agenda. Does the end justify the means? We cannot allow this President to continue to spend this country into oblivion.

NOBama, 2012...One and Done!!!

0

Richard Heckler 2 years ago

How much is the sick U.S. health care system costing you? http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2008/0508harrison.html

By Joel A. Harrison

Paying through the Taxman

The U.S. health insurance system is typically characterized as a largely private-sector system, so it may come as a surprise that more than 60% of the $2 trillion annual U.S. health care bill is paid through taxes, according to a 2002 analysis published in Health Affairs by Harvard Medical School associate professors Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein.

Tax dollars pay for Medicare and Medicaid, for the Veterans Administration and the Indian Health Service. Tax dollars pay for health coverage for federal, state, and municipal government employees and their families, as well as for many employees of private companies working on government contracts.

Less visible but no less important, the tax deduction for employer-paid health insurance, along with other health care-related tax deductions, also represents a form of government spending on health care.

It makes little difference whether the government gives taxpayers (or their employers) a deduction for their health care spending, on the one hand, or collects their taxes then pays for their health care, either directly or via a voucher, on the other.

Moreover, tax dollars also pay for critical elements of the health care system apart from direct care—Medicare funds much of the expensive equipment hospitals use, for instance, along with all medical residencies.

All told, then, tax dollars already pay for at least $1.2 trillion in annual U.S. health care expenses. Since federal, state, and local governments collected approximately $3.5 trillion in taxes of all kinds—income, sales, property, corporate—in 2006, that means that more than one third of the aggregate tax revenues collected in the United States that year went to pay for health care.

Recognizing these hidden costs that U.S. households pay for health care today makes it far easier to see how a universal single-payer system—with all of its obvious advantages—can cost most Americans less than the one we have today.

Medicare must exist in the fragmented world that is American health care—but no matter how creative the opponents of single-payer get, there is no way they can show convincingly how the administrative costs of a single-payer system could come close to the current level.

0

Richard Heckler 2 years ago

Paul Krugman - Economist

April 10, 2012, 1:25 pm Another Bogus Attack on Health Reform

Oh, boy. It turns out that the WaPo featured on its front page a report by Charles Blahous of the (yes, Koch-funded) Mercatus Center — although the Post describes him as a Medicare trustee, giving the impression that this is somehow an official document — claiming that the Affordable Care Act will actually increase the deficit. Jonathan Chait does the honors:

You may wonder what methods Blahous used to obtain a more accurate measure of the bill’s cost. The answer is that he relies on a simple conceptual trick. Medicare Part A has a trust fund. By law, the trust fund can’t spend more than it takes in. So Blahous assumes that, when the trust fund reaches its expiration, it would automatically cut benefits.

The assumption is important because it forms the baseline against which he measures Obama’s health-care law. He’s assuming that Medicare’s deficits will automatically go away. Therefore, the roughly $500 billion in Medicare savings that Obama used to help cover the uninsured is money that Blahous assumes the government wouldn’t have spent anyway. Without the health-care law, in other words, we would have had Medicare cuts but no new spending on the uninsured. Now we have the Medicare cuts and new spending on the uninsured. Therefore, the new spending in the law counts toward increasing the deficit, but the spending cuts don’t count toward reducing it.

So saving Medicare money isn’t a deficit reduction, because Medicare is going to run out of money and cut benefits anyway. Right?

OK, this is crazy. Nobody, and I mean nobody, tries to assess legislation against a baseline that assumes that Medicare will just cut off millions of seniors when the current trust fund is exhausted. And in general, you almost always want to assess legislation against “current policy”, not “current law”; there are lots of things that legally are supposed to happen, but that everyone knows won’t, because new legislation will be passed to maintain popular tax cuts, sustain popular programs, and so on.

To take the really big example: on current law, the whole of the Bush tax cuts will expire at the end of this year. If that’s your baseline, then plans like the Ryan budget, which not only maintains those tax cuts but adds another $4.6 trillion to the pot, are wildly deficit-increasing — in fact, the Ryan plan would be a huge budget-buster even if hell freezes over and his secret loophole-closers turn out to be real. Somehow, though, I suspect we won’t get a front-page WaPo story about that insight.

So this is basically a sick joke that doesn’t pass the laugh test. Unfortunately, it seems that some news organizations don’t have mandatory laugh-testing.

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/

0

Flap Doodle 2 years ago

In former Soviet Union, little children can only copy/paste once a year because decadent American planet-killer is using waaaaay more than fair share of copy/paste. (from a source)

0

imastinker 2 years ago

I wonder what this will do to the stock market - everyone selling to lock in gains at the lower rate.

0

Liberty_One 2 years ago

Obama counts on people being stupid. Just look at how many actually believe that there will be any difference at all between a Romney and Obama presidency. Just like I said in 2008, nothing will change under Obama from Bush, and nothing really has. The GOP and the Dems are invested in fooling people into thinking that there's actually a difference between the two.

There isn't.

0

FalseHopeNoChange 2 years ago

I fweel better cuz The Flexible Obama uses "buffy rules" to "slay" the rich people. He hates "Rich" people just like Nixon used to "hate" people.

I bet Flex's "enemy list" is longer than "tricky Dick's" enemy list.

Tricky's "Hate list" http://www.inthe00s.com/archive/inthe00spolitics/smf/1199330292.shtml

Flex's "Hate list"

http://spectator.org/archives/2009/02/18/obamas-enemies-list

0

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years ago

Gawd, Chuck, this is nothing but spin and half (at best) truths.

But one truth he leaves out-- if Romney is elected, the rich will get even richer, working/middle class folks will get poorer and the deficit will still continue to grow. And the scenario is only slightly better under a second Obama administration.

0

cato_the_elder 2 years ago

"As an approach to our mountain of debt, the Buffett Rule is a farce. And yet Obama repeated the ridiculous claim again this week. “It will help us close our deficit.” Does he really think we’re that stupid?"

Given the number of uninformed, deluded people who voted for him the first time, I have no doubt that he does.

0

handley 2 years ago

It is not about closing the debt it is about the wealthy paying their fair share. That will raise confidence for the middle class.

0

sammorgane 2 years ago

I know how he feels if I lose my job my insurance is gone too. But people should know about "Penny Health" and also if you dont have means of paying for treatment the hospital will file the form and get reimbursed by medicaid.

0

its_just_math 2 years ago

'Buffett rule won’t close federal deficit'

No, but it's a symbolic gesture that will appease the Fleabaggers, a core consituency of The Anointed One, not unlike his hollow rhetoric to women. Ah yes, The Anointed One: working for you ( purely for political reasons).

0

Richard Heckler 2 years ago

In the end big debt and super duper bailouts were the results which does not seem to bother Republicans, as long as they are in power.

Repub Entitlements: In fact, by the time the second Bush left office, the national debt had grown to $12.1 trillion:

  • ENTITLEMENT - Over half of that amount had been created by Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy.

  • ENTITLEMENT - Another 30% of the national debt had been created by the tax cuts for the wealthy under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

• ENTITLEMENT - Fully 81% of the national debt was created by just these three Republican Presidents. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0111orr.html

Repub ENTITLEMENT - Starting in 2003, George W. Bush destroyed the world economy by encouraging U.S. banks to make loans to those who could not afford them, through schemes such as the "American Dream Downpayment Initiative".

Also through the destruction of oversight, such as lawsuits to prevent state securities laws from being enforced on Bush's watch.

Once Bush's policies led to their inevitable result of economic collapse, the United States found itself in a situation where it had to take on debt in order to restore the economy.

http://www.reaganbushdebt.org/CalculationDetails.aspx

0

Richard Heckler 2 years ago

Healthcare Reform Report Card

Let's Compare: Single-Payer (HR 676 and S 703) Expanded Medicare for All Vs. Proposed Healthcare “Private insurance with Public Option” http://www.healthcare-now.org/docs/spreport.pdf

http://www.pnhp.org/facts/single-payer-resources Physicians for a National Health Program

0

Richard Heckler 2 years ago

Let's get practical!

Smart National Health Insurance for All will not only improve our quality of life but also our wallets. Yes we would have more expendable cash for birthdays,Christmas, vacations and investments.

Smart National Health Insurance for All cannot be cancelled

National Health Insurance does not remove competition from the actual health care industry. It will be alive and well. Profits will be based on customer service and clinic performance based on the clients experience. This is my perception of competition.

Shouldn't taxpayers have the choice of National health Insurance For All? Absolutely!

National Health Insurance would cover every person for all necessary medical care including: long term care such that cancer demands prescription drugs wellness hospital surgical outpatient services primary and preventive care emergency services dental mental health home health physical therapy rehabilitation (including for substance abuse) vision care hearing services including hearing aids chiropractic durable medical equipment palliative care * long term care.

National Health Insurance ends deductibles and co-payments. National Health Insurance would save hundreds of billions annually by eliminating the high overhead and profits of the private health insurance industry and HMOs.

National Health Insurance for All http://www.healthcare-now.org/

Doctors for Single Payer http://www.pnhp.org/

0

Richard Heckler 2 years ago

Obamacare is the result of narrow minded repub thinking. Of course improving the existing scam, aka medical insurance industry, opened doors for the industry to further gouge those who can still afford some sort of medical insurance...... leaving many under insured I would assume. And did nothing for the 50-70 million who cannot afford medical insurance.

What could have happened without the new narrow minded repub party of say 33 years? Can we say a practical approach that would very good for business people and consumers alike?

Repubs have nothing better to offer. All they and their parrots have is nonsense rhetoric without substance to back up anything they spit out.

Listening to politicians on this issue is a dangerous route to accept. Listening to CEO's and lobbyists from the insurance industry is equally as dangerous as this is the source for statements coming from politicians.

Did you know the health care industry has 6 high dollar lobbyists per elected official? Do you know who is paying for these high dollar lobbyists? YOU ARE!

This is something to never forget. It is the private medical insurance industry that cancels YOUR medical insurance AFTER taking YOUR MONEY for years.

0

Flap Doodle 2 years ago

The Buffet Rule is another piece of theater that the current regime is hoping will distract American voters from their fail-arama.

0

Richard Heckler 2 years ago

Voting can work

The voting process can work. Replace 90% of incumbents each voting cycle. Perhaps Occupy can get this off the ground.

I say replace all republicans with green party thinkers and 90% of democrats with new democrats each voting cycle.

Think this way..... maybe? Why do we americans vote in the right wing rich which are supported by too many of the rich to make decisions for the entire middle class and low income?

Too many of the right wing rich want to destroy the middle class so they have sent tens of millions of middle class jobs abroad with no job replacement in sight. Isn't their something wrong with this picture?

Ask yourself why do we voters tend to vote for the largest spending candidates? What good has this choice been for the USA and our local government?

Let's demand a new system and vote in Fair Vote America : http://www.fairvote.org/irv/ Demand a change on the next ballot.

Let's have public financing of campaigns. Citizens cannot afford special interest money campaigns for it is the citizens that get left out. Let citizens vote on this issue. http://www.publicampaign.org/

Bribery of elected officials and bribed officials = the most stinky of all bribery!

0

Abdu Omar 2 years ago

The problem, Chuck, is that the republicans do not offer an alternative health care plan, and they refuse to raise taxes on the wealthy. Where does that make sense? They want to take away the entitlements for the elderly, and have no plan for their medical care except to lower it. The elderly worked and paid for their care in a unique way and now there is nothing for them? We need to seriously look at our tax plan, make it equitable between the rich and poor, and not tamper with our seniors medical care. Everyone dies, but they shouldn't be left to suffer because one of our political parties don't care about them.

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.