Tuesday, October 21, 2008


RJ Eskow's nailing it even more than usual these days. Here's an entire post from his nightlight blog that I don't think he'll mind my quoting in full:


Sarah Palin says that the 'real America' is in small towns. Yet the people who lost their lives at the World Trade Center lived in the cities and suburbs. I know. I worked three blocks away from the WTC and know people who died there.

Not real Americans? The friends and colleagues I've been forced to picture dying in pitch black, crowded stairwells in some Boschean vision of hell? Or breaking a window and jumping from the 101st floor rather than continue to feel their skin grow hotter and hotter?

Not real Americans?

They're saying that Northern Virginia isn't the real America, either. It's not even the real South, they say.

Nothern Virginia. You know - where the Pentagon is."


John M. Lally said...

McCain has really run a nasty campaign. His advisors must have been homeschooled by moron parents.

JIm said...

Just silly guys. The question is Socialism vs. Capitalism. Raising taxes in a recessionary economy or lowering taxes, especially corporate taxes so the US may become more competitve in the global economy. At 35% we have the highest corporate tax rate. Of course corporations do not really pay it. The costs are passed on to consumers, who ultimately pay the high corporate taxes. Even the Democrats favorite possible new tax, the "Wind Fall Tax" on oil companies, is just passed on to consumers. Good old Jimma Carter tried that with disastorous effects on the economy,including high cost of collection and diminished revenues.
We should look to Ireland for a model for a low tax enviroment. At an 11% rate, their economy continues to outperform. If we were to follow their lead the giant sucking sound, would be of new jobs coming to the US.

RJ Eskow said...

Thanks, Lal. I really appreciate it.

John M. Lally said...

It's hard to believe that anyone would call Obama a socialist if he had been paying attention to his record. Obama's probably too conservative for the times. We're going to need another New Deal to get us out of the economic woes the Republicans have saddled us with. I don't think Obama is willing to go there.

JIm said...

jm lally

Obama told Joe the Plumber: "When you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."

Redistribution of wealth is a socialist not a capitalist concept. Raising taxes in a recession has been done before. A tax increase was teamed with a tariff hike in 1930 (can you say anti NAFTA). The Depression resulted.

Obama seems to want be a modern day Herbert Hoover. It just goes to show you that both Democrats and Republicans can be stupid and cause great damage.

John M. Lally said...

All tax policy involves spreading the wealth around.

If you are in favor of abolishing all forms of social welfare, I understand your position. However, that's an extreme position that would fundamentally change this country.

JIm said...

Jm Lally,
"All tax policy involves spreading the wealth around"

That is an incorrect statement. Spreading the wealth around, playing Robin Hood, is what the Democrats and Socialists advocate, as tax policy, in order to achieve "Fairness". History has proven that in most cases high taxes retard economic growth and job creation. Low taxes tend to increase economic activity and job growth. Again look at the Celtic Tiger, Ireland as an example of a low tax inviroment that has led to an economic and employment bonanza. Before lowering taxes, Ireland was known as the "Poor Man of Europe."

The actual purpose of tax policy is to raise enough money to fund running the govt. Conservatives and many Republicans believe the Federal Government should provide for the defense of the Nation and stay out of social engineering. Time and time again it has been proven, that when tax rates go down, tax receipts go up. This happened under JFK, Reagan, and G W Bush.

Lally said...

I hate to give Jim any more attention, but just in case there is anyone out there that believes any of his comments: Ireland did not go from being an incredibly poor country to a very successful one, econonmically, because they cut their tax rates. They became the Celtic Tiger as a result of the European Union "spreading the wealth around." The EU poured tons of money into Ireland to bring its infrastructure up to par with the rest of Europe, and that investment is what jump started the new propersous Ireland, as well as Ireland's tax based school system that created one of the best educated populaces in Europe—very attractive especially to golbalizing corporations that needed English speaking well educated workers who would work for less than American works, say, and were better educated than them as well. Whatever tax cut ensued was a result of Ireland's success, not the cause of it. They went from dirt country roads and little or no phone connections etc. etc. to highways that joined the East and West Coasts of the country by a three hours, brand new superhighway making it possible to commute to Dublin or Galway etc. from almost anywhere in the South, and to everyone having cell phones and cell phone plans much cheaper than ours and being hooked up to the web, while our infrastructure continues to fall apart due to taxes being spent on unnessecary wars and tax cuts for the wealthy. Etc. etc.

Lally said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JIm said...

Here is a little more in depth study of Ireland. It seems to disagree with your conclusions. The quotations refute your statements as to great benefit of the EU economic transfers.

June 23, 2006
How Ireland Became the Celtic Tiger
by Sean Dorgan

“Some external observers are inclined to ascribe a large part of Ireland’s success in the 1990s to EU economic transfers, but their role can be over¬stated. EU membership has been very positive for Ireland, providing market access, enhancing Ire¬land’s national status, and contributing to the bud¬get. While net receipts from the EU averaged 4 percent of GDP over an extended period, studies have shown that these contributions added about 0.5 percent per year to the growth rate, while the growth has averaged over 6.5 percent per year since 1987.[6] Comparable transfers were made to other poorer EU states, such as Greece, Portugal, and Spain, but none of these countries achieved similar growth.”

“Interestingly, the current low corporate tax rate is Ireland’s response to EEC/EU efforts to undo earlier beneficial tax advantages. In 1956, relief was offered on all profits on exports from Ireland. When this approach was questioned under EEC rules, Ireland introduced in 1980 a 10 percent tax rate on profits from manufacturing and a defined range of interna¬tional service activities. A further challenge from the EU regarding the differential nature of this low rate (non-qualifying profits were taxed at a rate as high as 50 percent) led to an announcement in 1997 that a maximum rate of 12.5 percent would apply to all corporate trading profits beginning in 2003.”

John M. Lally said...

Our tax policy is actually reverse Robbin Hood. We take from the middle classes and the working classes and give to the rich. While huge corporations can take advantage of tax loopholes to pay little or nothing, our tax dollars go to build the infrastructure they exploit to make money. We end up paying healthcare costs for workers who aren't covered by their employers, and taking care of older aged workers who have no company-sponsored retirement. Cities and states give huge tax breaks to companies on the handshake promise that they will bring more jobs to the community.

As for the effect of tax cuts, one only has to look at the ballooning debt under Reagan and GW Bush to see that the Republicans have no concept of fiscal responsibility.

JIm said...

jm lally,

Reagan was faced with a congress that was controlled by Democrats. They fought him on spending cuts. You are right about GW Bush. He refused to veto the Republican congressional spending, like farm bills etc., in his first term. He is, obviously, no fiscal conservative.

John M. Lally said...

Reagan proposed deficit budgets. In fact, the deficits would have been larger had Congress passed Reagan's budget request as written.


Yes, Reagan talked a good game. He created the strawman "Welfare Queen". He proposed to cut school lunches (of all things) proposing to classify ketchup as a vegetable. But he also wasted a lot of money.

JIm said...

jm lally,
The Democrats in congress insisted on increased domestic spending as a price for the Reagan programs. However the trade off for what we received seems pretty good.

"Sure, President Reagan would have preferred to minimize the deficits by eliminating wasteful spending. However, the only way to persuade a Democratic Congress to accept a defense buildup and pro-growth tax cuts was to agree to their domestic spending demands.

Ironically, the 1980s budget deficits made the 1990s surpluses possible. The budget was balanced by surging tax revenues from a booming, low-tax economy and defense savings brought on by the end of the Cold War.

To paraphrase a classic President Reagan line: Are you better off today(post Reagan) than you were in 1980?

Those who denounce the Reagan deficits should answer the following questions:

Would you bring back the Soviet empire?

Would you raise the top income-tax rate back to 70 percent?

Would you trade 2.8 million jobs?

Would you trade $15,000 of your annual income? In the two decades before the Reagan tax relief, the average household’s annual disposable income increased $13,000. In the 20 years following Reagan’s tax cuts, these incomes surged $28,000.

Would you trade the stock market boom?"


John M. Lally said...

There you go again. It's a myth that lowering taxes means increased tax revenues.

Q: Would you bring back the Soviet empire?
A: It looks like it may be coming back now. Besides, we took our eye off the ball. With the notable exception of Richard Lugar, (and to some extent, Barack Obama) we have abandoned our efforts on nuclear nonproliferation-- the main reason behind the Cold War in the first place. You can't tell me that SDI or any of Reagan's other wasteful spending had any impact on the demise of the Soviet Union.

Q. Would you raise the top income-tax rate back to 70 percent?
A. I don't know. I would make the top income levels pay a higher rate than the middle class, and a higher rate than the payroll taxes for lower income folks. I would also close loopholes and stop tax credits to wealthy corporations like big oil. I would adjust tax policy to meet projected expenditures-- just like we do at home. When individuals-- people-- are capable of making billions of dollars (billions with a "B") something is broken in our system. I would tax them heavily.

Q. Would you trade 2.8 million jobs?
A. We're losing jobs anyway. The reason we're losing jobs is because companies are going to places where the workers have a lower standard of living. There are plenty such places now. I don't believe that working class families should lower their standard of living any further than it already is just because some unamerican corporations threaten to move overseas. If they're looking for bargain basement labor, they've probably already found it.

Q. Would you trade $15,000 of your annual income? In the two decades before the Reagan tax relief, the average household’s annual disposable income increased $13,000. In the 20 years following Reagan’s tax cuts, these incomes surged $28,000

A. You're not using constant dollars (adjusting for inflation) are you?

Q. Would you trade the stock market boom?"

A. The Stock Market has been going through increasingly frequent cycles of boom and bust for the last three decades. The result is that retirees, who don't have time to wait out the cycle, are forced to liquidate their retirement investments at artificially low prices. The wealthy speculators who can wait out the cycle buy low. The so-called "booms" occur when the actual value of these securities are finally reflected in the prices of the securities. This cycle has become institutionalized in our financial system. Wall Street insiders have come to rely on retirement funds and individual investors to add value to these investments, only to force "stock market crashes" to get them back at lower prices.

JIm said...

jm lally,"There you go again. It's a myth that lowering taxes means increased tax revenues."


“Tax rate cuts result in higher revenues to the Government.
Revenues to the government rose, 1920’s tax cut, Kennedy tax cuts, Reagan tax cuts. and the Bush tax cuts. The rich pay more when the incentive to hide income are reduced.
Here are a few excerpts:
“Conversely, periods of higher tax rates are associated with sub par economic performance and stagnant tax revenues. In other words, when politicians attempt to “soak the rich,” the rest of us take a bath. Examining the three major United States episodes of tax rate reductions can prove useful lessons. “
The Kennedy tax cuts
President Hoover dramatically increased tax rates in the 1930s and President Roosevelt compounded the damage by pushing marginal tax rates to more than 90 percent. Recognizing that high tax rates were hindering the economy, President Kennedy proposed across-the-board tax rate reductions that reduced the top tax rate from more than 90 percent down to 70 percent. What happened? Tax revenues climbed from $94 billion in 1961 to $153 billion in 1968, an increase of 62 percent (33 percent after adjusting for inflation). “
The Reagan tax cuts
“The share of income taxes paid by the top 10 percent of earners jumped significantly, climbing from 48.0 percent in 1981 to 57.2 percent in 1988. The top 1 percent saw their share of the income tax bill climb even more dramatically, from 17.6 percent in 1981 to 27.5 percent in 1988.”