Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Orange Ding-A-Ling Blues

Over at Nihil Obstat, Rastamick offers his usual acerbic and on-point observations about the Republican rain dance in favor of continuing Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. President Obama favors ending the cuts for anyone making more than $250,000; Orange John Boehner naturally terms this a tax increase on the American people and cites the support of Mark Zandi, whom he calls the President's "favorite Republican economist."

Mark Zandi -- the economist cited by Boner as supporting the Republican position on the Bush tax cuts -- wrote this in the Washington Post on Aug 1:
The Bush tax cuts should be extended permanently for families with annual incomes of less than $250,000 and should be phased out slowly for those making more than that.

Raising taxes on anyone now, when the economic recovery is so fragile, would be a mistake. Our fiscal problems are daunting, and tax increases will probably need to be part of the eventual solution, but if the recovery were to unravel and a new recession were to begin -- a possibility that can't be dismissed, particularly if tax rates increase -- our problems would become overwhelming.

Allowing the tax cuts for high-income households to expire over, say, a three-year period would not harm the economy. No more than 3 percent of households would be affected, and these effects would be small; the increased rates are unlikely to change decisions about working and investing. Besides, the economy performed admirably during the 1990s when upper-income households paid these same higher tax rates.

None of this is to say that the tax code should be off-limits when deciding how to fix our fiscal problems. Everything must be on the table. Past experience with fiscal austerity at home and overseas strongly suggests that it is best for the economy's long-run performance to restrain government spending rather than raise taxes. But both must be part of our national debate.
In other words, what Boehner characterizes as unqualified support for the Republican position (I can already hear Orange John quoting in Breibartian style that "raising taxes on anyone now...would be a mistake.") is in truth a modification of the Administration's position.

Not only that, it's a position the R's could probably get if they negotiated in good faith. The delicious irony is that, should the Democrats succeed in eliminating the tax cut without a phaseout, its "victims" could take the position that Republican intransigence cost them money.


Roy said...

Yeah, they're awfully good at shooting themselves in the foot. Michael Steele as RNC chairman and the McCain/Palin ticket are prime examples of that!

Darlene said...

The problem, as I see it, is that most people won't get the irony of the orange man's statement or understand the stupidity of it.

I just took a short civics test followed by a chart that showed that the largest group of participants only got 4 questons right out of 11. And some didn't get that many right. Only 5% got all of them right (I will brag a bit and tell you that I was one of them) and it is really shocking when you realize that the questions were simple ones about things in the news. Example: Who is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court? You had 4 names to choose from. There wasn't a single question that anyone that reads the news should have difficulty answering. An educated electorate, NOT.

Anonymous said...

Republican intransigence costing people money ? I am shocked, round up the usual suspects... Oh yeah, that Company Store clip you posted with T. Ernie Ford was pure magic too, I dazzled and annoyed my kids with it on my iTouch for about an hour. I am amazed he didn't have the same kind of comeback/fascination thing people had with Roy Orbison.

Foxessa said...

This may be a bit facile, but the tax and wealth condition of the current U.S. is beginning to resemble that of France leading up to the Revolution.

France was extraordinarily wealthy, due very much to the wealth generation of their San Domingue colony. The wealthy, wealthier and even more wealthy kept increasing their wealth due to their shares in the Caribbean and other colonies around the globe. Also they were exempt from every kind of tax.

Whereas the non-wealthy classes, the poor and even more poor people were taxed for EVERYTHING from getting married to having windows and glass and fireplaces, for having a job, for having a dog.

In between, as well, the very wealthy were also tax gatherers, which they farmed out, i.e. out-sourced, and the outsourcers took their cut right off the top, so they had every incentive to find more things to tax for each individual, community and hamlet, village and town. In other words, infrastructure was also taxed, out of the pockets of the poor, which disincentivized the building of roads and bridges and other public usage venues.

People grew so angry, finally, that only years of Madame Guillotine assuaged them.

This is, as I said, rather glib, but I've certainly been thinking about the consequences we're suffering from no taxation of the wealthy, crumbling infrastructure and discouragement of education of the less privileged (as with the French then, via the Roman Church in its futile attempts to keep the principles of freemasonry and the enlightenment spreading from the upper classes to the poorer ones, the backbone of the Church), and fewer and fewer jobs and ever less investment in the country and its future.

Love, C.

K. said...

Roy: I'm afraid they're going to hit my foot while they're blazing away!

Darlene: I'm in a pessimistic mood right now, which why I think that the true majority response to the question is "Don't Care."

Rasta: Anytime I can help someone annoy their kids...

Foxessa: Point taken; comparing the dynamics isn't glib at all. But in the U.S., the reactionaries have pulled of the neat trick of pitting the less privileged against the underprivileged. Racism makes tricks like that easy, too.

You know more about this that I do, but the Directory chose not free the slaves in St. Domingue, correct? Liberte, egalite, and fraternite and the rights of man only went so far, apparently. The French Revolution, the most epochal liberating event in modern European history -- maybe in modern western history -- couldn't find room for people of color.