Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

Stepping Up the Lies About Taxes

April 18th, 2012 2 comments
Under the category “The Power to Destroy,” WND is aping Drudge and the rest of the conservative media and rehashing the same fake claim:

41 percent of those filing returns are non-payers

Americans making over $50,000 paid most of the federal taxes that were paid in the U.S. in 2010.

According to statistics compiled from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by the Tax Foundation, those people making above $50,000 had an effective tax rate of 14.1 percent, and carried 93.3 percent of the total tax burden.

In contrast, Americans making less than $50,000 had an effective tax rate of 3.5 percent and their total share of the tax burden was just 6.7 percent.

Egads. This report is full of bullcrap–and it’s getting even more egregious than before.

Drudge was slightly more specific, noting that there were 85 million federal taxpayers. “U.S.” taxes is even more misleading. They are both, however, dead wrong: payroll taxes are “federal” taxes, and all taxes paid to the U.S. and state government are technically “U.S. taxes.” At least previously, they noted that the numbers applied to income tax, though it was de-emphasized; apparently, even that was too honest for them, so now they are making a far more fraudulent claim.

Plus, payroll taxes cap out at about $110,000–meaning someone making a million dollars a year pays no payroll tax on almost 90% of their income, while the “deadbeats” who pay “no” taxes actually pay this tax on 100% of every dollar they earn.

Therefore, a person who made $30,000 in 2010 had to pay a flat 6.2% tax, while Mitt Romney, who made $42 million that year, shelled out a total of… well, almost nothing probably for payroll tax, as the vast bulk of his earnings were not even subject to this tax. Mitt Romney paid nearly 0% (about 6/1000ths of 1%) while a hardworking stiff making minimum wage paid 6.2%! (Actually, 7.65% if you include Medicare taxes–also capped!)

But even if Romney’s $42 million were completely subject to the payroll tax, he’d have paid no more than a grand total of $6,621.60, or roughly 1.6/100th of 1%–because of the cap.

Which is why they dishonestly omit any mention of the payroll tax in the conservative media.

But that’s not all–then there are federal taxes on alcohol, tobacco, tires, gasoline, diesel fuel (adds to shipping and retail costs), coal (adds to your electric bill), firearms, and even telephone service. Most people pay most of those to some degree.

And, all of the above will take a far bigger chunk, percentage-wise, from lower-income earners than it will from higher earners.

Nor is that the end to the dishonesty of the numbers being quoted–books could be written about how much the demarkations, counting tricks, omissions, and number-juggling are being used to create completely false impressions.

Not to mention that all of this ignores state and local taxes, all of which again hit the low wage earners more, especially as wealthy people can move to or even just claim residence in states with the lowest rates.

Suffice it to say that people of low income are being bombarded not just with a far higher tax rate, but with a propaganda barrage designed to make them comfortable with raising their own tax rates even further while giving yet another tax cut to rich people. Or, alternatively, changing to a completely new tax structure which would be even more regressive.

And with far too many people, it’s working.

Categories: Economics Tags:

A “Tepid” Recovery

March 20th, 2012 10 comments

That’s Romney’s new line. Apparently he can’t pretend that a recovery isn’t happening–it is, however slowly, with job growth doing well enough and likely to continue until election day. Romney would lose if he said the economy was bad and yet people kept on getting hired. And it’s possible that his polling indicated that people still remember that Bush got us into all this, every effort of conservatives to blame Obama notwithstanding. If he tried to claim that Obama was the guy who caused the recession, a few simple charts would dispel that claim pretty fast, and again Romney would look the fool.

So now the strategy is to say that, OK, Obama may not have caused the recession, and OK, he may be overseeing a recovery–but it’s not a good enough recovery!

One problem: Republicans are more to blame for that than Obama. Obama may not have proposed the perfect stimulus, but he proposed something a lot better than what Republicans shaved it down to. And while Obama caved to Republicans far too quickly and often, that only belies the point that Republicans were driving us in the opposite direction. And when you think back over the past three years, you see Obama proposing various job and economic initiatives, while Republicans offered nothing. Their only “jobs” proposal was to do away with laws preventing corporations from polluting us half to death. If that’s too hard to express, then all Obama has to do is play the video of Republicans saying that their chief priority was to make Obama fail.

Romney is also trying to argue that “bureaucrats are insinuating themselves into every corner of the economy,” and regulators “are multiplying like the proverbial rabbits.” He also said that “this economy’s struggling because our government is too big, too intrusive, too invasive of our economic freedoms.” Which sounds nice and all, but is rather abstract–and Obama can react by showing that he has cut government jobs (more than a half million), even more than Reagan did. Kind of hard to argue Obama is for big government when he’s pushing to merge agencies and shrink government. And if Romney wants to argue that even with fewer government jobs, Obama is being too regulatory, All Obama has to do is point out that less regulation is a big part of what has caused a lot of the pain we’ve been suffering over the past several years.

Which leaves Romney with little else to say except, “I would have done a better job.” At which point, all Obama has to do is hold up Romney’s editorial about letting Detroit go bankrupt, and he doesn’t even have to hint at Bain Capital, people will remember–oh yeah, Romney’s the guy who likes to fire people. Really, Romney would be reduced to saying that Republicans in Congress won’t be so destructively obstructionist under a Republican president, which is a bit too much like a bully saying that if you pay him protection money, his boys will stop beating you up.

After that, all Romney has left is lies. A strategy he’s probably best at, and has really never left.

Categories: Economics, Election 2012 Tags:

Gingrich Promises to Crash the Global Economy and Sink the World into Depression

March 14th, 2012 3 comments

How is that? Simple.

Gingrich claims he can bring the price of gas down to $2.50 a gallon.

Experts say that this is only possible if oil prices drop from $126 a barrel to $50 a barrel.

The experts also say that “Only a depression would bring oil prices down that much.”

Gingrich claims that he can achieve this through drilling, but the experts retort that it just ain’t so–no amount of drilling in the U.S. can move the oil markets that much.

So, either Gingrich is lying, or he’s planning to crash the world economy. Frankly, I think he’s lying, and would unintentionally crash the world economy. But that’s just me.

Debunking the Right-Wing Economic Talk-Down

March 10th, 2012 1 comment

The jobs report is out, and it’s great news: solid growth for the third straight month in a row. Krugman:

OK, definitely a better jobs report than we have become used to. And terrific news for Obama; another six months of news like this and he’ll be in very good shape for reelection.

Krugman goes on to warn that we’ll need a lot more of this–31 months at this level or better to get to “full employment”–but still, the current news is good. A look at recent economic news shows this up:


The job growth is, at least currently, getting better month-by-month; the trend since a year ago is for more jobs created every month, and if it continues, we’ll be seeing better and better job reports as time goes on.

Fox News, of course, was first out of the gate to paint all this as bad news. Amongst all the good news, they point to the unemployment rate standing still for a single month, and claim that “unemployment is not likely to fall much further and may rise again.”

There’s a reason why they are always pointing out unemployment in particular: talking points. The Republican strategy to deflect good economic news and to try to push the economy’s head underwater–which they have been trying to do since Obama took office–currently is focused on touting unemployment, primarily because it’s the easiest thing to make look bad. They start by ignoring the fact that unemployment rocketed from 4.8% to 8.2% (a 3.4% gain) in Bush’s last year in office, and instead make huge noises about how Obama unforgivably drove the unemployment rate up from 8.2% to 10%–despite that being a far lesser increase (1.8%) than under Bush. Forget the past, they argue; it’s no longer relevant.

They therefore come to the specious conclusion that Obama was responsible for unemployment going to 10%. It is completely false because, as I have pointed out several times before, the unemployment rate is a lagging indicator, meaning that it shows what happened three quarters–nine months–earlier. Meaning that the unemployment rate reflecting what Obama started doing the moment he walked into the Oval Office was not in January 2009, but in October 2009–meaning that the real rate when Obama started was 10%–at its peak.

That, of course, means that Bush drove it up from 4.8 to 10%–more than doubling unemployment–and that Obama, far from driving it up, stopped it cold and drove it back down to 8.3%, a decrease of almost two percent. That is the actual assessment of what happened.

Now, keep that in mind when you look at the above charts. Then consider Fox’s claim that a one-month stall means it will never go down again and may in fact rise–and let’s see if we can debunk that. If unemployment is a lagging indicator, that means we should look back nine months to see what was happening, and… whoa, look at that. About nine months ago, job growth stalled. Whaddaya know.

To test this, I got the job and unemployment data, and combined them into one chart. It came out thus:

Screen Shot 2012-03-10 At 12.32.17 Pm

Doesn’t seem to line up, does it? But then, it hasn’t been adjusted to reflect reality–remember the nine-month lag? Look what happens when we move the unemployment data back nine months:

Screen Shot 2012-03-10 At 12.31.55 Pm

Well, look at that–the rate falls when jobs are added, and the rate rises when jobs are lost. The current stall reflects the fact that new jobs stalled nine months ago.

Who’da thunk?

How does this work over the long run, though? Fairly well, as it turns out:

Screen Shot 2012-03-10 At 1.21.56 Pm

The bad news for Obama is that, for the next 4-6 months, unemployment will not be so hot–it may drop a point or two over the next 4-6 months (numbers might show a drop in June or July more than other months), but may not really start to change again until just before the election–which is the good news for Obama. The rate should start dropping regularly come September, when we see the numbers for August.

Based on nothing but a guess, I would say that the unemployment rate will probably be between 7.6% and 7.8% come November. The last three months, all good gainers, will show up in the unemployment rate in the three months leading up to election day. Not stellar, certainly the recovery is slow, but definitely pointing to a recovery. If Obama gets re-elected, then he’ll almost certainly surf the recovery back up, to the outrage of the right wing–who will find a way to claim it was all to their own credit. If Democrats are able to hang on to the Senate and get back the House, it’ll be a disaster for the Republicans, who will be in the back seat when the recovery starts gaining steam.

So, let’s see how I do against Fox News. Who do you think will be better at predicting the economic future–a major news network claiming expertise, or a nobody like me with zero Econ training?

Categories: Economics Tags:

Making the Worst of Good News

February 4th, 2012 1 comment

The economy continues to improve, as unemployment dropped to 8.3% and the number of new jobs created was the highest in almost a year. This is very good news for Obama, as a bad economy would help Republicans defeat him in the elections later this year–a goal they have clearly been shooting for.

So it should come as no surprise who is all alone trying to find the cloud in the silver lining:

Screen Shot 2012-02-04 At 1.14.45 Am

Good to see conservatives cheering America on.

Update: They’re still at it this morning (evening in the U.S.):

Screen Shot 2012-02-04 At 10.11.58 Am-1

I can only imagine that the right-wing core watching Fox has the impression that things are worse than before. Not that the news says that we’re free and clear, or that there’s no down side to it, only that it is hardly as negative as Fox is desperately trying to paint it.

While expression of the down side of the unemployment news is warranted–and all other news sites are including it–highlighting it consistently and downplaying the better aspects is, well, Foxlike.

And if we’re pointing out lesser-known facts about the unemployment rate, another point deserves to be made regarding the oft-noted “fact” that the rate is still “above” where it was when Obama took office (it was putatively at 8.2%). This is superficially accurate, but in truth, since the unemployment rate is a lagging indicator, the “real” rate when Obama took office was between 9.5% and 10.1%–meaning that Obama has not only taken us from losing 750,000 jobs a month to gaining 250,000, a net gain of 1 million jobs per month, but has also lowered the unemployment rate, whatever its accuracy, by between 1.2% and 1.8%. They won’t mention that on Fox, though.

Categories: Economics, Right-Wing Slime Tags:

Tax the Rich

January 24th, 2012 4 comments

Romney serves as an excellent example of the problem with today’s wealth-favoring tax structure: Romney paid a paltry 14% tax on $42.6 million of income over the past two years.

Aside from campaigning, how much actual work did he do? Probably little to none–in short, he just sat there as his assets made him more rich. What would he have done if his tax rate were 30% or even 40%? Quit investing and instead make no money? What a crock.

But wait, Republicans will say–the job creators need that money to create more jobs!!

OK, fine: exactly how many jobs did Romney create in 2010 and 2011? Directly, none. Not a single one. Indirectly? Not a single job more than if the money had been collected by the government and put towards, say, infrastructure or education. Had the income been taxed, in fact, the likelihood is that a lot more jobs would have been created–and that money would have been directed far more accurately at the American economy.

The value of enriching Romney is dependent upon Romney’s particular investments. Was the capital used to create jobs, or in the kind of destructive capitalism Romney himself used to engage in? Did he invest in American companies, possibly companies that maximized American profits?

Or did the money go to create more jobs in China than in the U.S.? Considering what American businesses are doing now, if Romney’s hoard actually did create jobs, they were far more likely overseas.

If it’s American “job creators” we’re supporting here, then how about a tax credit for actually creating jobs in America, and not just profiteering in a way that could potentially create jobs, probably more in other countries, as a by-product of getting even more filthy rich?

The whole “job creators” mantra is just as much a fictional piece of crap as everything else the right wing claims these days.

Tax the rich at 40% or even higher, pour the money back into infrastructure, education, and research, and the country stands a chance of coming back with a roar.

If you instead vote Republican and let the rich get off virtually tax free, you’ll get exactly what you deserve for being such a gullible rube: poverty.

Categories: Economics, Election 2012 Tags:

Bill O’Reilly Ready to Abandon Staff Over Pittance

November 17th, 2011 6 comments

I was working on this before a family emergency drew me away and then I got loaded up with work upon my return. Soon after I made my post on how stupid it is to assume that raising taxes on the rich will cause them to up and quit, Bill O’Reilly fabricated another deep cesspool of Randian BS:

If you tax achievement, some of the achievers are gonna pack it in. Again, let’s take me. My corporations employ scores of people. They depend on me to do what I do, so they can make a nice salary. if Barack Obama begins taxing me more than 50%, which is very possible, I don’t know how much longer I’m gonna do this. I like my job, but there comes a point when taxation becomes oppressive.

First, O’Reilly is lying outright. Well, that’s obvious, and he’s lying about more than one thing. But right off the bat, it is not even remotely possible that Obama would raise the top marginal tax rate to 50%. He is suggesting 39.6%, a mere 4.6% increase; just that will be a battle royale against a dead-set GOP relentlessly opposed to wealthy people paying as much as the middle class. Raising it another 10% above and beyond that would be virtually impossible, and suggesting it is “very” possible is a flat-out lie. O’Reilly knows this damn well, and clearly has no problem making a patently false claim from the outset.

Now, even Obama’s 39.6% is just his opening bid–we all know too well that Obama usually moves towards Republican numbers from there, so what is “very possible” is that he’ll settle for something less than that, or just as likely get nothing. But let’s assume Obama stands firm and we get a tax hike exactly as he proposes.

O’Reilly makes at least $20 million a year, and his net worth is estimated to be at least $50 million. Now, let’s keep it simple and presume that he pays the top marginal rate on every dollar (he doesn’t) and has no deductions, shelters, or other ways to lessen his payment (you can bet your ass he’s got lots of those). This would mean that at 35%, O’Reilly takes home $13 million. Under the increased rates Obama would be lucky to get passed, O’Reilly would take home $12,080,000.

So, a man who is sitting on a fortune of more than $50 million and takes home $12 million a year is going to lay off “scores”–that’s at least 40 people, probably more–sending them to the unemployment lines and possibly derailing their careers, not to mention stop doing what he clearly loves to do, simply because he is unable to receive 4% less of $20 million when he has such a massive fortune already?

Keep in mind, of course, that O’Reilly is not claiming that he is tired of doing his job and thinking of retiring anyway, and this just is the last straw. No, he is acting as if he’s perfectly happy to work now–but would be so put off by a minor tax hike that he would kick “scores” of people he employs out on the street because his embarrassingly gigantic income dropped by such a small amount that he would have to look carefully at balance sheets to notice that anything had happened.

What kind of pathetic psychopathic prick would do that?

Of course, we’re assuming that O’Reilly’s screed is honest on its face. And that is never a good assumption.

Categories: Economics, Right-Wing Lies Tags:

Republicans and Economics: Reputation for Expertise, Track Record for Cluelessness

October 23rd, 2011 8 comments

A few weeks ago, I posted a stump speech I felt Obama should be making. In it, I pointed out that while Obama is trying to push a modest jobs plan, Republicans are blocking it. I also claimed that Republicans have no jobs plan of their own. They would deny this, of course; they have pitched a plan that they call a “jobs” plan. The plan: erase even more regulations so corporations can pollute. The idea is, if we stop holding back industries from making our air unbreathable, our water undrinkable, and our soil packed with toxic wastes, they will be free to create more jobs. That is logic along the lines of letting criminals serving time for assault & battery out of prison so that we can hire more doctors and nurses.

Paul Krugman (hat tip to Ken) meets this proposal with scorn from the economic side, debunking the idea that it will create loads of new jobs. Pay close attention to the last sentence in the excerpt:

Mr. Perry has put out a specific number — 1.2 million jobs — that appears to be based on a study released by the American Petroleum Institute, a trade association, claiming favorable employment effects from removing restrictions on oil and gas extraction. The same study lies behind the claims of Senate Republicans.

But does this oil-industry-backed study actually make a serious case for weaker environmental protection as a job-creation strategy? No.

Part of the problem is that the study relies heavily on an assumed “multiplier” effect, in which every new job in energy leads indirectly to the creation of 2.5 jobs elsewhere. Republicans, you may recall, were scornful of claims that government aid that helps avoid layoffs of schoolteachers also indirectly helps save jobs in the private sector. But I guess the laws of economics change when it’s an oil company rather than a school district doing the hiring.

This is really what is at the heart of Republican thinking, especially when it comes to economics: “facts” are things we make up to benefit ourselves.

When people listen to conservatives speaking about economics, they tend to give them credence, in part because they sound so confident giving all of these “facts,” but also because conservatives have a long-standing reputation for fiscal responsibility and know-how.

The truth, however, is that they play fast and look with the facts, and when they want to argue their own points or lambaste the opposition, they tend to do so in reckless disregard for even the most fundamental economic principles.

For example, one claim they have been making for a few decades now is that during the Reagan years, taxes were cut and revenues doubled. I heard this just last week, coming from a conservative on Bill Maher’s show. This claim is not just wrong, it is actually fraught with distortion. It tries to proves the claim that cutting taxes increases revenues, but ignores that fact that while some taxes were cut during that period, other taxes were raised, arguably for a net tax increase.

However, the big lie in the assertion is that Reagan doubled revenue, based on the fact that government revenues went from $517 billion in 1980 to $1,031 billion in 1990. First, this calculation includes Carter’s last year in office as well as Bush 41’s first two years. To be accurate, we must actually run from Reagan’s first year in office–1981, by the end of which Reagan’s economic policies were just beginning to kick in (his first tax cut did not take effect until 1982)–as a baseline, and then take the last year in office as a reading of actual increases. That gives us a rise from $599 billion to $909 billion, an increase just a shade over 50%. So, right there, we see the claim half-shattered.

But that’s not even the main point–remember, I am positing the idea that conservatives abandon the most obvious economic facts and principles to distort reality. What was the fundamental economic idea they ignored here?

Inflation. In order for any judgment to be made on revenue, inflation absolutely must be factored out–otherwise Jimmy Carter would come across looking like a magician. So, when you look at the numbers honestly and factor out inflation–using 1987 constant dollars–how did Reagan fare? Well, he went from $767 billion in 1981 to $877 billion in 1989. A net increase of 14%. Add to that the fact that the U.S. population grew by 7% during that time, and we see the net increase which could be attributed to tax policy brought down to a mere 7%.

So, instead of Reagan cutting taxes and doubling revenue, we have him raising taxes overall and increasing revenue by 7%.

Conservatives, however, would prefer to credit Reagan for things that happened when he was not president, and conveniently forget fundamental economic factors such as inflation and population growth.

Nor is the conservative habit of playing fast and loose with economics limited to Reagan. A more current example is their claim that Obama is responsible for the unemployment rate hitting 10%. Sure enough, unemployment hit 10.1% in October 2009, fully 9 months after Obama took office. So, hard to refute that one, right? Pretty sound fact conservatives have to nail Obama with, right?

Of course, no. First of all, when Bush took office in 2001, the unemployment rate was 4.2%; this rate rose to 6.3% by June of 2003, a fact which, one can be sure, conservatives would quickly attribute to the recession they claim Clinton saddled Bush with. It was another two and a half years–five years after Bush took office–before the rate fell below 5% again.

Jump forward to early 2008, a full year before Obama took office. The unemployment rate was at 4.8%, near to where it had been hovering for the previous three years. Then, in mid-year, the effects of the sub-prime crisis, the beginning of Bush’s Great Recession, started to show; the unemployment rate rose until, in February 2009, when Obama was in office, it hit 8.2%. (Unless you want to credit Obama with numbers that represent a month 2/3rds presided over by Bush, in which case it was 7.8%.)

So, right off the bat, we have Bush overseeing a rise in the rate from 4.8% to 8.2%–a 3.4% jump, or a 70% increase. Conservatives conveniently pretend this never happened–that the rate rose under Bush at all, or that the trend began with him. While they would eagerly attribute two years of rises in the Bush unemployment rate to Clinton, they would not dream of crediting Bush with any of the rate’s rise in Obama’s first nine months.

But still, the rate rose from 8.2% to 10.1% under Obama, right? That’s a 1.9% rise, or about 23%–so, still we can criticize Obama, right? OK, let’s blame Bush for the rate’s rise once he started office. See? I can be reasonable when it helps my argument. Can’t we then blame Obama for the 1.9% spike up to 10.1%?

Here, again, is where conservatives conveniently forget Economics 101. The unemployment rate, you see, is what you can call a “lagging” indicator–in other words, it does not immediately reflect changes in the economy. It takes 2-3 quarters to do so. For example, consistent job losses did not begin until January of 2008–but it took until May or June for these figures to have an effect on the unemployment rate.

Which means that at least the first six months of the unemployment rate under Obama is actually a direct reading on the last six months of the Bush administration. That would mean Bush was directly responsible for taking the unemployment rate not just up to 8.2%, but up to at least 9.5%–a total rise of 4.7%, roughly double the rate. Obama, then, is only responsible for the rate going from 9.5% to 10.1%–a mere 6% next to Bush’s staggering 98%.

And that is only if you blame Obama for the unemployment rate increases that started the moment he sat down at his desk, which is unrealistic, as he had to slow the plummet before he could turn it around. It is completely fair to claim–I would even say it is a solid fact–that Bush was completely responsible for the rise in the unemployment rate. Considering also that job losses did not begin to slow until just after Obama’s stimulus and therefore can easily be attributed directly to that act, it would be just as fair and factual to attribute the subsequent lowering of the rate to 9.1% to Obama.

So, instead of Obama causing the unemployment rate to shoot up to 10%, Bush is fully responsible, while Obama stopped the increase and actually brought it down a bit. Conservatives deny this simply by ignoring Bush’s existence and then conveniently forgetting the fundamental economic fact that the unemployment rate is a lagging indicator.

Not that any of this is a surprise. Whatever financial & economic clout, aptitude, or reputation conservatives might have had, it has now been thoroughly trashed. Yes, there are undoubtedly conservatives with good economic smarts around–but they seem to be in hiding.

In fact, the Republican party seems to be going completely around the bend; instead of just claiming that tax cuts for the rich will create jobs, now they are clamoring for significant tax hikes on the poor and the middle class in addition to tax cuts for the rich–and are arguing that in order to create jobs, all we have to do is open the flood gates on pollution. And, oh yeah, they want to dismantle health care.

If the American people–the 99%–vote Republicans into office next year, they will get exactly what they deserve: a trashed economy, higher taxes for them, even more tax cuts for the rich, and air, water and soil so polluted they’ll start getting sicker faster–just as Republicans shatter the last remnants of public health care.

In other words, they will not only be idiots–they will be suicidal idiots.

Seriously, could the Republican Party be more openly hostile to the American people? They’re like a mugger who just stole your money and knifed you in the gut, then told the you that it was all the fault of the cop who tried to stop him but failed–so vote for the mugger!

Out of the Woods

October 5th, 2011 2 comments

Below is the text of a campaign speech I think Obama should be giving. Not that he’s been perfect on jobs, but I think the points need to be made.

Republicans complain all the time about my job record. You want to know about jobs? Let me tell you, I was on jobs from day one. When I came in to office, I was handed an economy that was losing about three quarters of a million jobs every month–and it was getting worse, fast. The first thing I did was to push for the Stimulus Act, and I got it passed in record time. And you know what? A year later, we had positive job growth. We were gaining more jobs than we were losing. We weren’t out of the woods yet, but we were miles ahead of where we had been.

Now, where were the Republicans on this? Well, they were against it. They fought against the stimulus. They didn’t like the fact that it promised to create jobs with government investment. No, they said, we insist that it have more tax breaks for rich people! Because that’s worked so well in the past! So they watered it down, made it less effective. If they had had their way, it never would have passed at all, and instead of halting the decline into recession and depression, we would have sunk even deeper.

That’s what you’ll get if you put Republicans back in power. No will to save the economy.

Next, the auto industry was in trouble. Now, the auto industry is incredibly important to the United States. A lot of great jobs in that industry. But it was dying. I pushed to assist the industry. And you know what? We saved it. And we saved a lot of jobs, and created more. All three American companies are profitable, and they are growing.

Now, where were the Republicans on this? Well, they were against it. They fought against the bailout. You know what they said? “Let it die,” they said. “Let it go bankrupt,” they said, so that they could crush the unions and lower wages and reduce benefits. They even complained that I had taken over the industry–because I was trying to limit huge bonuses for rich corporate bosses who failed in their jobs–and that the industry had become my own private kingdom. [chuckles] Yeah, right. You know what? They were wrong, on the whole thing. They would have killed jobs and made what was left worse.

That’s what you’ll get if you put Republicans back in power. Neglect of American industry and an inability to keep good jobs at home.

The fact is, I’ve been working to save and create jobs ever since I got into office. And you know what Republicans have done? They have fought my efforts. They have fought hard to kill every jobs proposal I put through.

Why did they do this? Because they knew that if I was able to turn the economy around, that would hurt them in the next election. They even said it! They admitted it! Their number one job was to make me fail. Their words!

Even though our efforts have worked–and any claim the stimulus failed is a lie–even though the work we’ve been doing has created jobs, even though the economy has improved dramatically over where it was when I came into office, Republicans still fight any real effort to create jobs. The economy could have been a lot better today if they had only let me do my job instead of fighting every attempt I make to help you get a job.

Now, their objections would be easier to take if they were trying to save jobs as hard as I was, and were passing alternative plans, other than just more tax cuts for the wealthy. So, how many jobs plans have they passed?

None. Not one. Not one single blessed one.

But you might say, hey, but what about plans like the one they announced earlier this year?

Well, that wasn’t actually a jobs plan. That was a bill to deregulate industry which they called a jobs plan to make it sound good. It was mostly a plan to allow companies to pollute more and to take away worker protections. Does that sound like a job creator to you? Sure doesn’t to me. But that wasn’t all-they also wanted to slash taxes for rich people. They weren’t even targeted tax cuts. Republicans will claim that every tax cut they propose for wealthy people is a “jobs plan” too. Just calling it that doesn’t make it so.

When Republicans took control of the House in 2010, they had a chance to show they were serious. They had the perfect chance to start working hard to save and create jobs.

Did they make it their first order of business to create jobs? No! They wanted to spend their first day reading the Constitution. Now, I love the Constitution. I used to teach it, in fact. I love a good reading as much as anyone else. But there’s a time for grandstanding, and there’s a time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. They grandstanded. And you know what? They actually did a bad job of it. You’d think that just reading the Constitution out loud would be easy, but they couldn’t even get that right.

After the reading, what was their first order of business? They tried to kill the Affordable Care Act, falsely claiming that it would kill jobs–it hasn’t, and it’s not going to, of course. But then, they tried to push spending cuts that actually would kill jobs. Then they focused on abortion. But nothing to create jobs.

Now, there was a bill to create jobs on the first day of the new Republican House. In fact, there were two. Both were proposed by Democrats. And both were killed in committee by the Republicans. They proposed nothing as an alternative.

No, instead of trying to create jobs for you, when Republicans took over the House, they tried to get more tax cuts for rich people–saying that these rich people would, in turn, create middle class jobs for Americans. How many of you believe that’s gonna happen? We’ve had those cuts in place for ten years now; how is that working out for you? How many here believe that giving a multi-billionaire an extra billion will make him create more jobs? Didn’t work before. It’s not gonna work now.

No, Republicans have been silent on jobs, except when they try to stop me from saving yours.

So now, I’m trying to push for jobs again. I have a new plan. After saving millions of jobs, I am trying to create jobs, again. I have put forth my proposal, one that is very specific and realistic. Economists call it a bold and constructive plan.

And where are the Republicans on this? They’re against it. Why? Not because it’s new spending–it’s completely paid for. No, they hate it because part of the plan is to make rich people pay at least the same amount of tax as you do, instead of less. They hate that, and they want to kill your chance of getting a job if it means a billionaire has to pay his fair share.

Is that the leadership you want? Tax cuts for the rich for breakfast, more tax cuts for the rich for lunch, yet more upper-class tax cuts for dinner, and abolish capital gains taxes and estate taxes for dessert? You want that? Because that’s what they’re offering.

Is that the leadership you want? Propose no new jobs programs? Kill the auto industry? Crush the unions? Hold the economy hostage? Downgrade our credit rating? Send our best jobs overseas?

Because that’s what they have been fighting for. That’s what they have been doing.

Instead, do you want people who will try to protect your jobs, and create more? Then give Congress back to the Democrats. We have not only promised to fight for your jobs, we’ve actually been doing it. All we want is a clear road out of the woods, and we’ll lead you out. All we want is a chance to do what needs to be done without Republicans blocking the path, without them filibustering every bill, without them trying to tack yet another tax cut for the rich onto every single act.

Give us the clear road. Elect the people who will fight for you.

Categories: Economics, Election 2012 Tags:

Krugman and the Social Contract

September 24th, 2011 5 comments

Krugman puts well what we all know is true:

Detailed estimates from the Congressional Budget Office — which only go up to 2005, but the basic picture surely hasn’t changed — show that between 1979 and 2005 the inflation-adjusted income of families in the middle of the income distribution rose 21 percent. That’s growth, but it’s slow, especially compared with the 100 percent rise in median income over a generation after World War II.

Meanwhile, over the same period, the income of the very rich, the top 100th of 1 percent of the income distribution, rose by 480 percent. No, that isn’t a misprint. In 2005 dollars, the average annual income of that group rose from $4.2 million to $24.3 million.

So do the wealthy look to you like the victims of class warfare?

Krugman makes the point that conservatives and libertarians so studiously ignore: that we do not live in a vacuum, that we all benefit from the society we live in, and therefore have a responsibility to support it through taxes. He quotes Elizabeth Warren, who said, “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody.”

Read the full article. Hat tip to Ken.

Categories: Economics, Right-Wing Lies Tags:

To Spite One’s Face

September 22nd, 2011 2 comments

It’s about time that we started publicly tearing down the asinine idea that raising taxes on wealthy people will be a drag on the economy, based on the idea that people who are taxed more will be less productive. Frankly, that’s a steaming, heaping pile of nonsense.

The basic premise behind it is that the more you tax people, the less they will be willing to work. For example, if someone makes ten million dollars a year, and you raise his tax rate from (let’s imagine that anyone really pays the marginal rate) 35% to 45%, meaning that (again, fantasizing that there are no breaks or shelters and that every dollar of income is taxed that much) his take-home drops from $6.5 million to $5.5 million, then this hypothetical person, seeing a million dollars vanish, will feel less like working. His productivity will fall, and as a result, the government will take in less in taxes overall, and the economy will slow from all the people like him making similar decisions, and no one will want to pick up the slack.

This is about the stupidest thing I have ever heard, right up there with the Laffer curve. Yes, if you raise his total tax burden to an absolute 95% (no loopholes, breaks, or shelters) if he makes $10 million, and lower it to 10% if he makes half a million, then yes, probably you’ll find people who will draw down and go for the lesser amount. But only with such extremes, and only in such stark terms, without room to maneuver. However, those extremes do not and will not exist. The top marginal rate of 35% kicks in at just under $380,000, and the 33% rate at just under $175,000 (for someone filing as single). The savings in terms of total percent are gradual until you get to the bottom of the 25% bracket at just under $35,000. What this means is that there are no huge savings for a wealthy person in lowering their income, and will not be unless the tax brackets are very poorly designed indeed.

If a wealthy person now facing a 35% marginal rate sees that rate raised by 10%, or even 20% or 30% more, they are not going to scale back the amount they work and try to earn. Not unless they have some bizarre, neurotic impulse to shoot themselves in the foot out of resentment over being, in their opinion, taxed too much. Many will feel over-taxed, but few if any will see that as reason enough to stop trying to make money. Quite the contrary, in fact–it is far more likely that such a person would actually increase their efforts, as most such people aim at achieving specific levels of wealth, achievement, or overall success, and not at just slightly more advantageous relative rates of take-home pay. This would make no sense in the real world. A CEO who declared he’d scale back his work hours and not perform as well for the company because his top marginal rate rose from 35% to 40% would probably be fired, and rightly so.

A Randian thinker, however, might suggest that “productive” people (because people who do back-breaking labor at minimum wage are not the productive ones, I suppose) would go on strike in protest to such horrific tax rates. This, of course, is stupid piled on stupid. If there are two scabs waiting to pick up the work of every menial laborer, then there are a hundred hungry businessmen with no sense of class solidarity whatsoever who are just salivating to get the chance to fill in the void that would be left by a businessman idiotic enough to throw in the towel. If there are people in Southeast Asia willing to do the same factory work as Americans for a tenth of the pay, then there are a hundred times more eager entrepreneurs who would give anything to take home 55% of several million dollars per year.

This stream of replacements wanting to make money off of a business venture would not dry up even in the extreme 95%-absolute-rate fantasy. Think about it: there are people who work 80 hours a week scrubbing floors for minimum wage. Do you think such a person would back away from a chance to bring home half a million dollars out of an income of $10 million, working the same hours but in a business suit in a nice, clean office? And don’t tell me that you won’t find hungry, creative, productive people in large supply; productive people are clobbered every day in business by simple competition; lessen that competition and they will emerge.

No, no businessman will call it quits because of higher tax rates unless they had achieved their goal and sated their desire for wealth already, and if such rare people were to retire, there would be no end to other people–creative, productive people–who would immediately pick up the slack.

Looks Like I Picked the Wrong Day to Quit Blogging

August 6th, 2011 15 comments

The U.S.’s credit rating has been downgraded, with S&P citing political infighting and poor debt handling. Most significantly, this would not have happened if the Republicans had not taken the U.S. economy hostage, taking us intentionally to the very brink in a manner that assured it would end like this.

Once again, let us not forget who brought us here. Ten years ago, we were in surplus territory. Despite claims by Tea Partiers and conservatives in general that this is all the fault of Obama and the Dems, it was the Bush tax cuts, the two massive wars, the general mismanagement and the Great Recession which brought us to this point. And as weak as Obama and the Dems have been, it has been the Republicans who have been the primary force which continues to take us in the wrong direction.

They will undoubtedly react by becoming even more recalcitrant and hostile. The idiots.

Not that the downgrade is fully reasonable. But it has happened, and conservatives brought us here.

If the American people react to this by electing any more Republicans into office, they are the worst idiots imaginable. Seriously.

And no, I am not returning to blogging full-time. I noted that I would return occasionally when the mood hit me–it simply happened that a story like this broke the day after I said I’d be stopping. Figures.

The Magic Coin Solution

July 31st, 2011 30 comments

I love this. A Yale law professor has pointed out an obscure law that allows the president to mint as much money as he likes, so long as it is in the form of platinum coins. Obama, therefore, could, if he so wanted, order the minting of two $1 trillion coins, deposit them in the Federal Reserve, and use them to pay debts. Ironically, it would not even cause inflation, though it could cause a loss in investor confidence and prompt foreign governments to devalue the dollar.

Balkin’s post takes the form of an imaginary discussion between Obama, Biden, Reid, and Geithner. It’s fun to read.

However, Obama probably won’t do it. I have a feeling that he will absolutely try for a compromise first, even if it’s a cave; but if Republicans are so stupid or inept that a default would be imminent, I have the feeling that Obama would probably invoke the Fourteenth Amendment sooner than make the coins or “sell” federal land. He would likely do it as a backstop measure to temporarily set back the default until a deal can be reached. This seems likely to me because Obama appears to be almost unreasonably intent on making deals rather than doing the smart thing or the right thing unilaterally.

Still, it’s nice to imagine the platinum coin move. It reminds me of the fictional move in that one episode of The West Wing where Josh figures out that the president can side-step a Republican strip-mining amendment to an essential banking bill by using the Antiquities Act to declare the site a national park. (In actuality, that act allows him to create national monuments, not parks, but the effect would be the same.)

Categories: Economics Tags:

Last-Minute Tactic?

July 29th, 2011 2 comments

Today, Boehner delayed the debt-ceiling/budget vote, likely because he can’t get enough GOP votes to pass it.

There seem to be three possibilities: (1) he doesn’t get the votes, makes a deal with the Dems even less to his liking but all Dems will agree and enough Republicans will go along to pass it; (2) he sways enough Republicans to get the votes; or, (3) he waits until the last second before the ceiling will expire, then pushes through a thoroughly Republican plan that Obama will have to either accept or else the national economy will be crushed.

Why do I suspect that (3) is most likely? Certainly, (1) seems impossible.

I hope I am wrong. But then, right now, I am at the stage where all of the plans look stupid–with Democrats suggesting deep cuts with no Bush tax repeal for the wealthy, I am seeing even the best-case scenario being one where this passes and I have to wait for the media to realize that this was another of Obama’s things where it looked like he caved but actually got more of what he wanted than the other side did. Frankly, I don’t see it, though.

Where Spending Really Came From

July 27th, 2011 2 comments

Via the NY Times, from the CBO:


Bush wasted more on his two wars alone than Obama’s net spending increases combined.

His tax cuts, mostly for the rich, squandered even more than that.

Not to mention that this chart does not even show the fiscal impact of the economic states each president oversaw; Bush’s recession has cost us a great deal more than is shown here; he doubled unemployment just before Obama came into office, and presided over the loss of millions of jobs. Obama at least halted the plummet, limited half by his own unwillingness to do what was needed and half by Republicans kicking, screaming, and dragging the country away from any solid recovery effort.

Yes, Bush was in office for eight years, and Obama is running at the two-and-a-half year mark. However, it is also worth nothing that Obama was forced to make most of his new spending because of the disastrous economy Bush burdened him with–otherwise Obama would have only increased spending by a few hundred billion.

Even so, were Obama to continue to spend as he has (and there is no indication that he will), he would still not spend as much as Bush did over an 8-year period.

Now, the debt did explode–but under Bush. It’s like the night shift guy set the building on fire at 7:30 a.m. and handed the building over to the morning shift guy at eight, and then tried to make everyone believe the other guy started the fire.

Not that any of this is a surprise, but unless it gets pointed out every once in a while, the lie that is so often repeated will go unchallenged and everyone will “know” that Obama got us into this mess, and thus buy more into the myth that tax cuts and land wars in Asia did not do the most damage.

Categories: Economics, Right-Wing Lies Tags:

New Recession Feared

June 3rd, 2011 1 comment

The economy is taking a beating lately, as fears rise that another recession is coming.

Do you think it may have anything to do with the fact that the party in control of passing the budget is repeatedly threatening to wreck the economy unless they are allowed to severely depress it? Or that this party, for the past two and a half years, has been fighting tooth and nail to beat back all attempts by the administration to stimulate the economy, instead insisting on measures that are guaranteed to (a) not create new jobs and (b) wildly inflate the deficit?

Nah. Couldn’t possibly be that.

Categories: Economics, Right-Wing Extremism Tags:

Where the Deficit Comes From

May 12th, 2011 Comments off

Here’s an expressive chart showing the reasons the deficit is too high:


From the source:

The events and policies that pushed deficits to these high levels in the near term were, for the most part, not of President Obama’s making. If not for the Bush tax cuts, the deficit-financed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the effects of the worst recession since the Great Depression (including the cost of policymakers’ actions to combat it), we would not be facing these huge deficits in the near term.

In short, take away Bush’s two wars, his tax cuts mostly for the wealthy, the bad economy he generated, and therefore the need for stimulus to keep it from becoming a depression, and we’d practically have a balanced budget.

In the meantime, Republicans are adamant that we continue with the Bush tax cuts–the one element which, over time, will balloon the deficit more than anything else. And when the deficit falls somewhat over the next several years, Republicans will inevitably claim all the credit, and demand they get everything they want in the name of cutting the deficit more–which would in turn explode the deficit again, which they would then blame on Obama and/or the Democrats. And so on and so forth.

Categories: Economics Tags:

Here’s a Wad of Money with No Strings. I Expect You to Create Jobs, but Whatever.

April 25th, 2011 2 comments

The current argument by right-wingers is that we need to give more and more tax breaks to wealthy people and corporations because they will take that money and create new jobs. This has long been the argument for sweeping tax cuts for the upper class, but I have never understood why people give this claim any credence, beyond the simple reason that they don’t apply any thought to it whatsoever.

I mean, think about it–we’re talking about essentially giving rich people loads of money with no strings attached. They don’t have to create jobs. All there is is the theory that some of the money could be put toward job creation, if the wealthy people in question felt so inclined. Doesn’t seem like a really wise plan. This reminds me of the deal made with telecom carriers, allowing them to hike prices in the hopes that they would apply this money to creating high-speed Internet nationwide–but the deal did not require them to do it. Guess what? They took the money, and didn’t use it to create high-speed connections. Not to sound flippant, but that is exactly what I would expect, given the conditions of the deal.

Only an idiot would give someone else money unconditionally and expect that person would spend it exactly as the giver desired. Only a fool would be in the perfect position to set conditions and yet set none.

Instead, if tax cuts to create jobs is what you’re after, making it conditional is a no-brainer. Frankly, it sounds stupid to even have to suggest this, but here we are. The cuts would have to be carefully crafted so they could not be taken advantage of. For example, a simple “create jobs and get tax breaks” law could spur many businesses to fire loads of people before the break comes into effect, so they could hire people back to get the breaks. Or, businesses would hire people at the lowest possible salary for the shortest amount of time–so that would have to be factored in, etc. etc.

How about this: create a tax credit for any business that can show a net increase in hiring and payrolls in non-administrative positions over a span of, say, three years, with perhaps conditions where the benefits increase as the new jobs continue over the years. Reward hiring, punish firing and off-shoring. The amount of the tax break would depend upon the amount paid and the benefits included. You might even give greater benefits for certain jobs–for example, manufacturing jobs with good benefits. That way, the tax cuts go only to businesses that actually hire new people for good or better positions with much better salaries and benefits.

Of course, this is not what Republicans want, because creating jobs is not the actual reason for the tax cuts–it is, instead, only the excuse. And a rather lame one at that. Republicans might grudgingly agree to a job-generating plan if it were all they could get, but it is certainly not what they would propose or prefer to settle for.

Obama and/or the Democrats should probably set this as the compromise target, which means they should ask for something far more–like the Republicans calling for the end of Medicare, for example. Dems should say, raise the taxes on people making more than $250,000 to 40%, on millionaires to 45%, and billionaires to 50%, and close all the loopholes–something like that, which they know will never get through. Then settle for Clinton-era tax levels (or, hopefully, a bit better) with targeted breaks for job creation.

Not that that will happen. Dems will likely continue to ask for no more than the Clinton-era levels, and then either completely cave and extend the Bush tax cuts again, or settle for something very close to what the GOP wants.

Categories: Economics Tags:

Speaking of Lying…

April 21st, 2011 2 comments

Michele Bachmann (yes, I know) said this on a Sunday show this week:

If we taxed 100 percent of what everyone made who make $250,000 or more — everything they made — that would get us about six months worth of revenue. … We could take 100 percent of the profits of every Fortune 500 company and that would give us 40 days worth of revenue. We could also take 100 percent of everything that the billionaires in this country own, and that wouldn’t be enough to solve the problem.

This is hardly new–in fact, I quote Bachmann mainly because the line she is using, its truthfulness notwithstanding, is virtually a cliché. It might go back even farther, but I remember the exact same sentiment (though the starting figure was a million dollars back then) being used to argue against higher taxes for the wealthy back in the 80’s and 90’s.

However, when right-wingers are trying to argue against tax increases for the rich, they complain that the wealthy are paying far too much in taxes already–not as a percent of their total actual income or wealth (because that starts to get embarrassing), but as a percentage of the total taxes paid. This was used throughout the Bush years to justify his tax cuts going mostly to the wealthiest Americans. Ironically, Bachmann only recently used this other cliché just a week and a half ago:

Well, remember, again, already the top 1 percent of income earners pay about 40 percent of all taxes into the federal government. So if you want to talk about fairness, the top 1 percent are paying 40 percent of all of the income.

Got that? The richest people are paying the biggest share of the taxes already, but if you increased their taxes to 100%, you could only fund the U.S. government for six months.

Now, I may not be a math whiz, but something doesn’t compute. Obviously some games are being played here with the numbers. The marginal tax rate for personal and corporate income is 35%, meaning that nobody should ever be paying more than a third of their income in federal taxes. The top 1% earn $410,000 and up, so people earning $250,000 and more are without doubt more than that top 1%, meaning that the $250,000+ group are supposedly paying more than 40% of the taxes. And Bachmann says that the $250,000+ group could only supply half of the country’s revenue even if we confiscated all of their money.

Answer me this: how can you be shouldering more than 40% of the taxes, but if you triple your tax rate, you’re only paying 50%?

Like I said, clearly she’s playing games–just like right-wingers always are, lying with numbers to get what they want. And, like I said, this is nothing new–I have been hearing variations on these claims for decades. When you want to raise taxes on the wealthy, they don’t have enough money to matter; but when they want to cut taxes for the wealthy, they pay the lion’s share already.

Part of this number-twisting is exposed here (the top 1% pay a total of 28.1% of federal revenues), despite the fact that the same top 1% possess about 40% of the nation’s wealth. It is reported that they also earn about 20% of the total income, but I do not know how much of that is hidden, sheltered, or otherwise not counted due to what tax laws allow.

However, even assuming that the top 1% earn about 20% of the income, that they shoulder about 28% of the burden does not sound incredibly oppressive.

Now, the right wing (and Bachmann in particular) love to whine about how 47% of the people pay no taxes at all–which, of course, is a lie, because most of them do pay non-income taxes–in fact, only 10% pay no federal taxes at all, and almost everybody pays taxes of some kind, especially sales taxes.

What the right-wingers neglect to mention why so many people don’t pay any federal income taxes: it’s because most of them don’t make enough money to get by in the first place.

However, Bachmann and the wingnuts will go on and on about how people in the middle class might actually get tax credits when they pay no taxes, but will blithely ignore corporations like GE getting billions in tax credits while paying 0% on massive profits.

No, this is about scapegoating, creating a villain they can use to help their patrons. They want people to believe that (1) the 47% is the liberal half of the country, and (2) they make lots of money but leech off the honest, hard-working, conservative (“real”) Americans.

Of course, if Bachmann were earning the average income of that 47%, I betcha anything she would be whining about how high her taxes are. Now, instead, Bachmann is actually implying that we should be taxing the poor more:

Part of the problem, George, is that 47 percent of all Americans pay virtually no federal income tax, so we need to broaden the base.

“We need to broaden the base.” That can mean nothing other than raising taxes on the lower-middle class. At the same time when Republicans are clamoring for yet more massive tax cuts for the wealthy.


Lagging Behind

February 5th, 2011 2 comments

Good news, bad news–unemployment dropped rather sharply to 9.0%, following an identical 0.4% drop from 9.8% from November to December. Unfortunately, it’s not such great news. Only 36,000 jobs–an anemic number–were added in January, and while that’s still significantly better than the -740,000-job hole Bush left us with in January 2009, it’s not nearly enough.

Last month, Republicans laughably tried to take credit for the drop in unemployment after taking the reins of the House for only 19 days. Being consistently inconsistent, they are now claiming that a second similar drop is not enough. Make up your minds already.

Something is interesting about the news articles on this, and maybe one reason why people can’t see the Republican claims as being ridiculous lies. From the AP:

The unemployment rate dropped sharply last month to 9 percent, based on a government survey that found that more than a half-million people found work.

The Washington Post:

The jobless rate fell to 9 percent in January from 9.4 percent in December and 9.8 percent in November. In a promising sign, the improvement in January reflected the success of nearly 600,000 more people in finding work. By contrast, the rate fell in December in part because people had dropped out of the labor force, too discouraged perhaps to even look for work.

Funny how none of these articles mentions that the unemployment rate is a lagging indicator, which allowed me to predict the current changes in the unemployment rate last October. What we’re seeing now reflects the pop we saw about nine months ago when jobs went in the black for the first time in a few years. A few months later, the number of new jobs dipped, and though we haven’t gone negative on average, we’re more or less trading water–meaning that, in all likelihood, the unemployment rate fall will slow or stop soon (maybe the reason why Republicans stopped trying to take credit for it).

And while Obama has been trying to get us back on track with new stimulus spending, Republicans have countered with demands for cuts (except their massive increase in the form of the tax deal, mostly for wealthy people who don’t need them). A lot of those cuts–aside from the usual stabs at “liberal” spending like for PBS–are for infrastructure, job creation, education, scientific research–some of the best values in both short- and long-term investment. A great deal of what the Republicans are trying to cut represent lots of jobs–in short, they say we can create jobs by cutting jobs. Some of their proposals are painful–like the one-time sale of federal properties which are unused, with not a whisper of charging for public resources the government currently gives away to big business.

Even if they were actually serious and could really cut spending–doubtful–we would still be sinking further into this deep pit, and it probably would not have a positive effect on jobs–just like continuing the Bush tax cuts won’t have a positive effect.

The good news is, at least now they’re coming out with proposals, actual ideas–a significant change from before. The bad news is, they’re mostly the wrong ideas, ones that will likely hurt more than help, many of them simply having no effect at all.

Categories: Economics Tags: