Who Actually Earns $400,000 Per Year?

by Emily Guy Birken · 9,056 comments


Aside from the major hiccup the economy faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy has been on a steady upward trajectory ever since years ago when we were talking about extending the Bush-era tax cuts. In case you don’t remember, we did end up keeping those cuts in place permanently for any individual making less than $400,000 per year, and for couples earning less than $450,000. Nowadays, those fortunate few who make more than that amount are paying a marginal rate of 35%.

But like I said, it’s been years since we passed the extension into law and I still don’t personally know anyone bringing home $400,000 per year. So who is actually paying that top tax rate these days? I decided to find out what kind of jobs command such high salaries:

how to earn a high salary

1. The President
Perhaps the most famous $400,000 per year job is the leader of the free world. The office of the president not only pays a $400,000 annual salary, but also provides the president with a $50,000 annual expense account, a $100,000 nontaxable travel account, and a $19,000 entertainment account.

There are some obvious downsides to this particular career, however. Besides being very difficult to get, the job is highly stressful, and advancement post-office can be considered somewhat iffy. And, of course, you can’t expect regular raises: the last salary increase for the commander-in-chief (from $200,000 to the current rate) was in 2001. Prior to that, the previous raise (from $100,000) occurred in 1969.

On the other hand, most presidents end up receiving so many requests for speaking engagements after they hold office that he or she will be set for life. They also get a pension equal to the salary of the head of an executive department (Executive Level I) would be paid. In 2020, that is $219,200.

2. Surgeons and specialists
Even a local general practitioner can expect to pull in over $100,000 per year, but the real money in medicine is reserved for those who specialize. Anesthesiologists, heart surgeons, and brain surgeons can all expect to make up to $400,000 per year at the height of their careers. Plastic surgeons can make up to twice that amount.

Most people are completely okay with that though. After all, these people do a very, very important job.

3. CEOs and Founders
The median salary of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a public company is over $700,000. These individuals are in charge of both short- and long-term profitability for their companies. CEOs generally have to know the industry inside and out (although there are certainly plenty of counter-examples), and need to have worked their way up over many years.

There are also plenty of CEOs from private companies who make quite a bit of money. The job can be stressful, but when you are the top dog, you reap the reward whenever your company does well.

4. Wall Street Bankers and Lawyers
If you work in either finance or finance law, the place to go for fat paychecks is Wall Street. According to an October 2012 report, “the average salary of financial industry employees in New York City rose to $362,950 in 2011.” While that still falls short of the mark required for the higher tax bracket, it’s important to remember that this figure represents the average (meaning some people are making more) and that there have almost certainly been raises in the past few years.

5. Mortgage Loan Officers
This may be surprising to you because not many people think of this group of individuals as ones who can earn the big bucks. However, there are some loan officers, riding the wave of historic low rates, who are raking in the dough right now. After all, their salary is directly tied to commissions they earn as a percentage of the total loan amount they get approved for their clients. They work hard, often seven days a week in many cases due to unprecedented loan volume these days, but they are definitely getting rewarded for their hard work.

6. Speakers in Public Events
Before the pandemic, the good speakers were booking speaking engagements left and right. Not only do they speak at conferences, but they also have opportunities to speak to employees in their offices as well. Some people even write books that tie into their brand. They travel all over the country (and some all over the world), so clients are plentiful.

The pandemic has slowed business to a trickle, but these people will bounce back because everything will eventually go back to normal.

7. YouTubers
Can you see why your son or daughter would want to be a YouTuber yet? The popular video creators not only make $400,000 a year, but they can have earnings in the millions every year. The vast majority of people who try to make it big fail to amass a following, but many dream of the life of recording themselves play video games and earning the big bucks all the time. What they don’t realize is that those who earn millions not only have talent, but they also work extremely hard. If not, then they have a team of people who are behind all the videos that get produced. An entertaining video takes hours and hours of editing, but most people just see someone talk, have fun, and collect cash.

The Top Percent of the Top Percent

These high-income earners are really rare. Consider the fact that most articles listing the highest paying jobs in America don’t even include any professions with median salaries of $400,000. Those individuals making $400,000 per year are in the top one percent of the top one percent — and often, they’re also public figures.

Thankfully, even though individuals in this bracket are few and far in between, the government estimates that raising the tax rate on this small group raise about $600 billion in new revenues a decade.

Not bad for a group that small.

What other professions that earn annual incomes of $400,000? 

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Stevendad says:

    Further down: one in = won and

  • Stevendad says:

    Here’s a story for you: 100 people jump in the water. Those who can’t swim grab those who can barely swim and then those who are so so and then the strong swimmers. All drown.

    • Stevendad says:

      To continue: one group recommend saving those who can’t swim by throwing them temporary life preservers. This is of course at the of the expense to all the others. The other group suggests those who can learn how to swim themselves be taught, only sparingly using preservers for those who will never learn. Then the next time they have to slam, which always comes around, they’ll be more prepared for it. I know, I know, another absolutist statement will follow. For example that the strong swimmers are evil and are throwing rocks to those who can’t swim. I think that’s how you would view this analogy.

    • Steven H says:

      This illustrates the view that the primary problem is in the weak swimmers and neglects the neer do wells who flooded the village in the first place.

      • James says:

        … I don’t even know why you try …

      • Stevendad says:

        The village is flooded by events, many due to excessive government intervention, usually well meaning but unrealistic (root cause of housing crisis), some due to excesses of businesses and greed (part of housing crisis, most of 1929 crash), wars (late 70s stagflation), etc, but they WILL always come. Some feel the village is best served by having the most swimmers.

        • 6Steven H says:

          We always need swimmers, but the blame still goes to those causing the flood. High income disparity is just bad. Its bad for the poor, its bad for the middle, its bad for economic growth, its bad for pricing of expensive services like medicine and education. Yes its influenced by globalization and automation. No it is not inevitable. No it is not due to moral or motivational weakness of 90% of Americans who are not profiting even at the rate of our mediocre economic advances. Sure people can work harder, learn more, be better. But that is not going to fix it. The swimmers can only do so much against the flood. We have to fight the floodwaters. Damm it. So to speak.

          • Peter says:

            Then why would we give more money to the people that started the flood and ask them to fix it? Seems like insanity to me.

          • Stevendad says:

            The floods are uncontrollable and will always occur periodically. The unforeseeable is… uhhh…
            unforeseeable.

  • Stevendad says:

    This quote is interesting: “The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.” — Aristotle

  • Stevendad says:

    Besides SH, you argue a tangent (who said the quote) rather than the quote itself. Whatever.

    • Steven H says:

      He quote is political mumbo jumbo with no basis in academics. What do I care about the uninformed opinions of Elmer T Peterson? Thats why people mis-attribute quotes to famous people … to give the words undeserved credibility.

      • Stevendad says:

        Here’s an interesting one from BC: 1) “The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits.” — Plutarch. It says basically the same thing. Plutarch go back far enough for you?

        • Stevendad says:

          Seems like this might be the Democratic platform! Before you freak out about all this, all I have posted this AM is more than a bit tongue in cheek. The serious idea behind it is many if not most politicians are more concerned about buying votes and peddling influence than doing the people’s work. Of course the 11% of Americans who have great faith in government could be right….and the 50% who have”not very much”or “none at all” could be wrong. And 1 in 5 approve of Congress. So your idea that the government should become larger and more influential flies in the face of most American’s views. And the “enlightened minority” that Dems (Progressives) consider themselves is AGAIN the ultimate in arrogance.

          • Steven H says:

            Call me an optimist, but I woud guess, that if you and I were to embed ourseves in Congress for a few weeks or months, talking to Congressmen and aides, we would each be surprised at how earnest and idealistic our representatives, and even those we disagree with. We would also be dismayed at the constant requirement, by party and practicality, to spend excesses of time fundraising and talking to lobbyists. We need to fix campaign finance, not just to gdt money out of politics, but to give time back to the politicians to do their job.

          • James says:

            Delusional optimist maybe 🙂

      • Stevendad says:

        Even if only Elmer said it, it doesn’t make it wrong. I think it’s more food for thought than some unshakable principle. Which is exactly how I presented it in the first place. Sorry about the article, I was being called for my plane and didn’t read all the way down. Pat yourself on the back SH. You won. One.

        • Stevendad says:

          I know one of the chief Daily Oklahoman editors. Let me track this down in a few weeks or months. Perhaps some proof can be found in their archives.

          • 6Steven H says:

            Wikiquote already did that. It tracked down the date, publication and page. Its in my post.

          • Stevendad says:

            No, I saw that. I wonder if the Oklahoman has a source that Elmer used. Now THAT is source data.

  • Stevendad says:

    No “reply” to DNC / foreign govt collusion post by SH so start back up here: from Right wing source CNN: https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.cnn.com/cnn/2017/07/12/politics/dnc-ukraine-trump-material/index.html
    So I supppse people being paid by DNC don’t count. Yeah right…

    • Steven H says:

      So a CNN article indicates accusations from the always impeccable Trump camp and denials from the accused. This is your smoking gun? And the Ukrainian source was supposedly going to reveal illegal activity of an American working in the Ukraine, not illegally hacked info from within the US. Not exactly an apples to apples comparison.

      • Stevendad says:

        No, it shows Clinton collided with Ukrainian government via their proxy to try to throw the election. Both sides stink in their verve to get elected.

        • Steven H says:

          Accusations only. Pales compared to piles of evidence against Trump.

          • James says:

            Right now everything are accusations and allegations. Love how you separate things politically. So blind.

          • Stevendad says:

            Only because Trump one in Clinton is no longer relevant.

          • Steven H says:

            The point is that any historian would point to Trump campaign actions re Russia as unprecedented and dangerous, while the unproved accusations against Hillary are mot even in the same ballpark. The collusion accusations against Hillary are just payback and tit for tat, but with less evidence and less relevance. As you say, Trump is Preside t and is an active threat to our country. Hillary is not. What was that phrase from Aristotle? About how you shouldn’t try to make unequal things equal? That applies here.

          • Peter says:

            They are all the same….accusations. You just like Hillary more than Trump. And both will be exonerated as they are being investigated “internally”. Won’t change what you believe about Trump if nothing is ever prosecuted. Waste of time debating.

          • 6Steven H says:

            No Peter. Trump has surpassed Nixonian levels of obstruction. Trump is actively and openly longing for an attorney general to fire the special prosecutor, which would be clear illegal obstruction. He fired Comey and now he is trying to get rid of Muller, ant attacking Session for recusing which was his ONLY option. This is way beyond partisanship. What Trump is doing in the open is so many levels beyond anything Hillary is being accused of, you would have to be blind to not see it. Democrats and Republicans alike are appalled. How can you not be?

          • Peter says:

            I am appalled. Who said I wasn’t….but for now it is all accusations. Been watching inept politic and government for 20+ years now so can’t say I’m surprised.

      • Stevendad says:

        That and hookers peed on Trump in bed. You sure know how to cherry pick.

        • 6Steven H says:

          That is not proved. And anyway, the accusation, I believe, is that Trump had hookers pee on the bed to soil the bed that Obama had once slept in. But this is not something I consider proven.

  • Stevendad says:

    For another never answered SH: if we cut regulation ($2T a year by most estimates) costs by 10% it adds 1% ($200B) to growth of economy. I know, I know 10% will lead to spoiling if the Earth for all time and poison the air. These will be your absolutist answers.

  • Steven H says:

    Giving crrdit where credit is due, lest anyone should falsely think I hate rich people.
    http://www.salon.com/2017/07/23/how-some-rich-people-are-trying-to-dismantle-inequality_partner/

    • Stevendad says:

      All true, even if it is from Salon. But if people would SWEAR, as 90+% can from today forward, they would also develop wealth. Again, the real income gap is from stocks / options / warrants / real estate than from wages. And Dodd Frank HARMED the middle class by decreasing lending. So I am told by all the bankers and mortgage people (5 or 6 in my sample size) I have asked about it. And the government competing with industry by borrowing $9.5T over the past 8 years further hurt the middle class. Now who was responsible for those programs?

      • Steven H says:

        People dont need more lending and debt. They need more income. Lending and debt, substituted for income, creates bubble economies and recessions. Look at 1929 and 2009. The problem was not a scarcity of debt and lending. It was too much debt and lending.

        • Peter says:

          Wrong. The problem was subprime lending and the subsequent repackaging of the loans. Readily available mortgages is an important thing for the middle class….Dodd Frank has definitely hurt the middle class.

        • Stevendad says:

          This is just wrong. Proper use and f debt for housing and business investment is key. Any source you might use is just wrong as well.

          • Stevendad says:

            Using a John Podesta founded organization as a source? Wow. No possible bias there. And of course you ignored that people can SWEAR and invest alongside the rich.

          • Steven H says:

            Really? You prejudge any source I use for any argument as wrong? Kind of kills the discussion, doesn’t it?

          • Steven H says:

            Just because an organization founded by John Podesta reported it, that doesn’t make it wrong. There are many voews on Dodx Frank, including reporting that small banks were struggling before it was ever enacted. The point is that it is NOT the clear universal detriment to the middle class as you portray it to be. It is imperfect but has many positives, maybe more than negatives.

  • Stevendad says:

    Re: Democracy failing due to self serving of voting public. I’m not sure we’re there, just a famous quote that’s a bit hard to attribute and seems apropos. I don’t think were there, but we can see it from where we are…. And I can’t recall anyone being decried and fought tooth and nail like Trump. So are those who dole out to their constituencies responsible? Just food for thought. It’s such a shame Gary Johnson looked so foolish at times. Had he polled 5% there might be a foundation for a 3rd party to grow on…

    • Stevendad says:

      Though to throw SH a bone, Trump sure supplies his political enemies lots of ammunition.

    • Steven H says:

      The take no prisoners hard line opposition tactics sgainst Presidential policy have been on the rise for 15 years. Newt Gingrich didnt wholly originate this approach but he advanced it and weaponized it in fighting against Bil Clinton. The tactic solidified against Obama where the Republican Congressional minority blocked and obstructed at every turn, earning their moniker of “the party of no”. They would have done the same and double with Hillary. Having sewed the seeds of hyper partisanship themselves, they not only helped to create the Frankenstein’s monster of the current Presidency, but they are now having to endure their own hardline legislative tactics exercised against them.

      • Stevendad says:

        The true opposition is both parties against the people. They have spent more time serving political ends than the needs of Americans. My cynical view is to get a cut of the money flowing from our wallets. AGAIN, seems the worst idea to keep giving them more money. See if you kind find the guy who originated “good money after bad”. (Emoji wink)

        • Peter says:

          Bingo….

        • Steven H says:

          And my cynical view is that businessmen seek to oppress the poor. Neither of our cynical views is 100 percent correct. There are honest idealistic businessmen and politicians. We need to provide the proper incentives. For businessmen we need to provide the threat of very high taxes on multimillion dollar hoards UNLESS the money is invested in ventures likely to challenge and benefit the economy. For politicians we need to fix the gerrymander mess and limit the power of rich to buy influence. People will follow high ideals. But sometimes they need a little help.

          • James says:

            Businessmen SEEK to oppress the poor? WOW! Do you mean CEOs of major companies or do you mean all businessmen in general – does the guy that runs your local dry cleaners’ seek to oppress the poor? Yikes.

          • Steven H says:

            Cynicism and sarcasm to make a point, James. Dont get your panties in a twist.

          • James says:

            Whatever….you said it! Don’t counter a valid point by Stevendad with a sarcastic remark you won’t even back up. Wasting everyone’s time….

          • Stevendad says:

            You sound like Vladimir Lenin here. How’d that work out? Oh yeah, a failed sate and 50+ million murdered or starved to death. Brilliant example!

    • Steven H says:

      And I’ll help you with the quote. It’s not that hard to find. (Hint: it wasn’t Ben Franklin or any founder.)
      From WikiQuote:
      A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.
      The earliest known attribution of this quote was December 9, 1951, in what appears to be an op-ed piece in The Daily Oklahoman under the byline Elmer T. Peterson, Elmer T. Peterson (9 December 1951). “This is the Hard Core of Freedom”. Daily Oklahoman: p. 12A.. The quote has not been found in [Alexander] Tytler’s work. It has also been [mis]attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville.
      ===
      Elmer T Peterson does not seem to be a person of any other historical significance.

      • Stevendad says:

        Yeah, I can read Wikipedia. Now read this:
        in the year 1787, Alexander Tyler (a Scottish history professor at The University of Edinborough) had this to say about “The Fall of The Athenian Republic” some 2,000 years prior: http://www.snopes.com/politics/ballot/athenian.asp I don’t think Wikipedia or Oklahoma existed in 1787

        • Steven H says:

          I am a little puzzled. The link you posted to snopes indicated that tbe quote you are pushing, supposedly attributed to the Scottish historian Tyler, was false. Why are you sending me quotes with links that prove they are false? I applaud you for using snopes and for proving my point for me, but am not sure that you realized that was what you just did.

        • Steven H says:

          In other words. The link YOU provided is further proof this quote was NOT from the 1700s. It was from an obscure op ed in Oklahoma in 1951.

          • Stevendad says:

            No, but few US legislators leave Congress / Senate (and the few years after) poorer than when they came and most much, much richer.

          • Stevendad says:

            I saw several other attributions. My point was and is that it is not altogether clear where it came from.

          • Steven H says:

            It is very clear. The earliest confirmed source was from Elmer T Peterson in Oklahoma op ed in 1951. Other attributions are bogus, by all investigations I have seen.

          • James says:

            Who cares where it came from – it is an interesting quote. YEEESH

          • Steven H says:

            Donald Trump is a poo poo head — George Washington.
            Well. Maybe he didnt say it, but its a good quote, no?
            How about:
            Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears. —
            Van Gogh
            The point about famous quotations is that they have credibility of the speaker to back them up. Random thoughts of average folks may be stated well, but the assertions carry less weight. I could say:
            The fall of capitalism and democracy will surely be near at hand when the nation’s leaders reject news and publications and careful speechcraft, and instead communicate primarily in short grade school phrases and sentences, abandoning the communication of ideas and information, and resorting instead to emotion and personal attack.

            Now if I were to attribute this to a famous or long dead person, it sounds more profound. As it truly exists, it is just my opinion. And a little darker than my true opinion, at that.

          • James says:

            Except for “Friends, countrymen, etc.” is from Shakespeare, you idiot. (Not by Van Gogh) Hardly the same thing. Just thought he was sharing an interesting thought – doesn’t matter who said it to me, I will agree or disagree with the thought regardless.

          • James says:

            “The fall of capitalism and democracy will surely be near at hand when the nation’s leaders reject news and publications and careful speechcraft, and instead communicate primarily in short grade school phrases and sentences, abandoning the communication of ideas and information, and resorting instead to emotion and personal attack”
            ==
            What a bunch of partisan BS.

          • 6Steven H says:

            Lordy James, are you so anal-retentive, you cant see an obvious JOKE? Van Gogh cut off his ear. “… countrmen, lend me your ears”. Get it? Of course it was Shakespeare. It’s a FAKE QUOTE attributed to Van Gogh as a joke. Like Elmer’s FAKE QUOTE from 1951 attributed to famous dead people to give it fake credibility. Its fine that you find it an interesting quote. Just don’t mistake it to be anything profound or meaningful. And ligjten up dude. You are WAY too snarky, angry and petulent. Go troll elsewhere where people like that sort of thing. Or be intelligent and thoughtful and stick around. Your choice.

          • James says:

            How come you can troll and be belligerent and unintelligent but I can’t. Doesn’t seem fair.

    • Steven H says:

      You are all tired, I’m sure, of my complicated analogies, so here is a simple visual. We all live on an 8 ft long 2 x4 suspended 12 inches above the water, on a pivot near the middle. (We are all quite tiny.) The board is tilted with just about 10% of the board underwater. The higher you are on the board, the richer you are. When you are underwater, you are in poverty. Got it? Now tilt the board so the rich get higher and richer. What else happens? More of the board goes underwater.
      ===
      I know you don’t like this analogy. You hate this analogy. You don’t believe it has any merit. It’s a “zero sum game”. It says that for some people to do better, others have to do worse.
      ===
      I don’t like it either. It’s too simple, too linear, and not mathematically precise. But it is a visual and it helps to make my point. While it is true that our world and our nation are not, technically a “zero sum game” because wealth and opportunity can be created, it is ALSO true, that the economy can be tilted, distorted, corrupted if you will, to allow the very richest to benefit to the detriment of the the very poorest, and because the not quite so rich benefit a little, they do not complain. And because the not quite so poor are not underwater, their complaints are not desperate. Because it is not true that for some people to do better, others HAVE to do worse. But it is true that some people CAN do better by MAKING other people do worse.
      ===
      We do live in a distribution system. Yes it is capitalism, with prices set at least partially by competition and market forces. But capitalism is just one of many distribution systems. It is just one that works pretty well … with adjustments. There is no sense in saying we don’t live in a distribution system. Every monetary system in society is a distribution system. The point is that pure capitalism, pure markets, always favor the rich. And over time, the richest and most powerful tilt the board and bend the system to their advantage, AND the advantage of the not quite as rich. Our nation of business is the mathematical integration of millions of little dictatorships where businesses compete in markets against each other but business owners dictate the terms of income distribution within their realm. Sure there is SOME labor competition in the market, but there is also complacency among workers and resistance to change and significant costs of changing jobs, homes, states, careers. And there is the additional resistance to markets by business owners who seek to control their income distributions in their domain rather than submit to labor market forces. All of this pushes wages lower at the low end and higher at the high end. All of this tilts the board.
      ===
      Some of the most universal resentments of the business owners or the high earners are against higher taxes and against higher minimum wage. Since the 1970’s, tax rates on the very wealthy have gone way down and then back up just a little more recently, but still lower than the 70’s. Incomes at the top have doubled or tripled or quadrupled. Real minimum wage has declined 33% since 1968. The share of all income in the lower 90% has also declined about 30%. Median and typical middle class wages have stagnated for decades as the benefits of increasing GDP and increasing national income are enjoyed primarily by the richest few percent and no one else. This is a distribution system that is broken. This is a distribution system tilting more and more in the wrong direction.
      ===
      So then what happens when more and more people go underwater. In a reasonably just and empathetic society, we throw them life preservers. Benefits. Food Stamps. Social Security. Medicaid and Medicare. And when too many people NEED these life preservers, what do the rich say? Well they say a whole lot of things, kind and unkind, because they are not of one mind. But what do MANY of them say? Do they say, wow there are too many people underwater or in life preservers, maybe the board is tilted too much too us, maybe we should push for kinder labor laws, higher wages, stronger unions, lower education and medical costs, and we could maybe pay higher taxes to help these folks out in the meantime with more and better life preservers until the board readjusts and rebalances. Or do they say, why don’t those buggers get out of the water, take away the life preservers, that’ll show em, they’re all dead weight, anyway.
      ===
      Much of the above is my same ol same ol, repackaged in a new story. I try to restate in ways that cannot be twisted and distorted. I hope this statement is better than previous. But I am also answering Stevendad’s assertion: “Democracy failing due to self serving of voting public.” What if it is just the opposite: Democracy failing due self-interest of controlling wealthy. All the voting public is trying to do is vote themselves some life preservers. But if we all do this right, we will tilt the board differently. And then we won’t need all those life preservers, because we won’t be pushing as many people underwater.

      • James says:

        Your analogies aren’t “complicated”. They just don’t correlate to how things actually work.

        • Steven H says:

          Incomes follow a mathematical curve. High income disparity produces inefficient excesses of capital at the top (even Peter agreed with this) and resultant scarcity of incomes in the middle and working class. Yep, thats pretty much how it works. Pretty obvious, really, and all backed up by research. The difficulty is fixing it. But first you have to recognize the problem. It is a distribution and inefficiency problem. Somehow, you have to increase the efficiencies of the system, in government, in health systems, in education systems and in the economic distribution. Taxation alone wont fix it. Education alone wont fix it. Moral preaching alone wont fix it. I swear it won’t. 😉 Increasing lending wont fix it. New political parties alone wont fix it, because the members of those parties are all gonna be the same people. Taxing the shadow economy, alone, wont fix it. We need national financial planning and a willingness to take our national wealth which is being wasted in the economic stratosphere and put it to work for the country.

          • Stevendad says:

            My solutions:
            Yes, SWEAR practiced across the board would help fix and move money from spending to investment as a country. The poor and middle class gain alongside the wealthy with saving. They can get homes more easily. They can avoid usurial loan rates, finance more of their education, etc, etc. Not all, but many. Wages go up with education (absolutely irrefutable). Wealth and income goes down for alcohol, drug and cigarette users (absolutely irrefutable). Those who work more make more money than those who don’t. (This is hard prove I’ll admit, but sometimes common sense rules). Younger age at birth of first child correlates extremely highly with poverty, reducing income 9% over year younger of mothers age. ( Miller AR (2011) The effects of motherhood timing on career path. Journal of Population Economics 24: 1071–1100.) [Ref list] These are the CAUSE NOT EFFECT of much of the poverty and income inequality in US. This is not moral preaching, but good advice. You are being rude to call it preaching. I’ll spare the real word I’d like to call you… So you’re saying these things won’t grow personal wealth more? Idiotic. Perhaps the dumbest thing you’ve ever said. And please tell me which one is not almost always (90%+) voluntary? Maybe a bit of self control could help a few people. Or we can continue to be enablers in the CODEPENDENT NATION Nirvana of Democratic Party. Control t “stupid Americans” (quote from Hillary) in this way. You can be really abrasive at times.
            Taxing shadow economy will help.
            Education will help.
            “Somehow, you have to increase the efficiencies of the system, in government, in health systems, in education systems and in the economic distribution. Taxation alone wont fix it.” Couldn’t agree more. As we say here even a blind hog finds an ear of corn once in a while. So your idea is to allow the bureaucracy to continue same spending or increase it. Budgeting Fed departments from zero, accountability (VA just woke up to this), changing incentivization in bureaucracy and elected officials. Gee, where have I heard all that before? Maybe I’ve penetrated your incredibly thick skull a bit.
            You’ve even stated inefficient distribution of WEALTH is the issue. So my proposal to tax WEALTH vs income makes more sense, huh? And not in some all at once tax at death that is largely avoided by the super wealthy.
            Your solutions:
            Raise income taxes.
            Raise income taxes.
            Raise income taxes.
            Raise income taxes.
            Like a mindless lemming Democrat thinks…

          • 6Steven H says:

            I have repeatedly said distribution of income AND wealth is an issue. I have repeatedly said raising taxes to pay the bills is FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE and necessary to avoid the economic disasters of Kansas, Illinois, and Venezuela. I have repeatedly given a dozen possible solutions that must be executed in some combination to address disparity. I have given partial endorsement to some ideas like wealth tax while expressing some skepticism because it is a complicated issue. The fact that your brain shuts down and stops hearing anything else I say once I mention raising taxes is your fault not mine.

          • James says:

            I have repeatedly said raising taxes to pay the bills is FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE and necessary to avoid the economic disasters of Kansas, Illinois, and Venezuela.

            Which is exactly what they did. And it led to total collapse in Venezuela and is about to go the same way in Illinois.

            Love the phrasing “paying our bills”. Maybe some of the bills need to be dropped!

      • Peter says:

        And Steven H….if only the politicians cared about these people. Don’t you see that they are controlled by the elite? They are the ones keeping these people down – not the small business owner making $500k-$1million a year. And your party is a gigantic part of this….the $1 billion they spent on running for office didn’t come from you or me – it came from the oligarchs that control the government from behind the scenes. And none of these people appear to genuinely be concerned with helping the struggling. They just want to control their votes.

        • Stevendad says:

          Ditto. One of my recurrent themes is BOTH parties are serving the wealthy to get wealthy themselves. Not always, but far too often.

          • Stevendad says:

            Interesting data from WaPo: Clinton’s campaign received 16 percent of its money in donations of $200 or less. Trump’s campaign received 26 percent of its funds from small donations. Clinton outraised and outspent about 50% and raised $1.18B from large donors to Trump’s $790M, 50% more large donations by the “People’s Party”. Also: Nearly 74% of the money he (Trump) raised in the election’s homestretch and immediate aftermath came from small donors, according to the report his campaign filed late Thursday with the Federal Election Commission. It covered activity from Oct. 20 through Nov. 28.
            So who is really a voice of the people? Who is being influenced by the rich and powerful? The rhetoric is with the Dems and the facts with Trump and to some extent Sanders. So how exactly is the Democratic Party for the middle class? And the working man is at least to some extent harmed by illegal immigrants. So ignore and harm a huge part of your base and suck up to the monied few = Trump.

      • Stevendad says:

        Just to reiterate a not so small point: we pay DOUBLE for health and education vs most of Europe. Is more money really the answer? Efficiency, accountability, self responsibility might help some as well.

        • James says:

          Good point. We just need more Democrats and less Republicans. And those Democrats need more money – mainly from the top 1% of our population. If we do that, then everything will be fine.

    • Peter says:

      Great point…..really was hoping Gary would get a push to 5%. Think if Bill Weld was the candidate it would have happened. Fortunately both parties are in such disarray that the opening should still be there. Of course, the big money that funds both parties is going to do everything in its formidable power to stop it.

      • Stevendad says:

        The Trump Russia mess is very damaging to BOTH parties, thus the opening may be getting wider. If the Libertarians can just find a good candidate for President and develop some party momentum….

  • Peter says:

    Since this thing is winding down a bit….I did have one epiphany that I thought kind of summarized my takeaway from a lot of this chatter. My main beef is that the problem we have with income inequality trends (which was the genesis of this discussion) lies in the tip-tip-top of the 1%. Even people like Piketty and Krugman state this. Someone like me making a million dollars a year has NO IDEA what kind of money lies in the hands of the top .01 of our population…..and a lot of that money held by the SUPER rich is not in motion or helping the economy.

    It is important to differentiate between someone like me and the SUPER rich. I have a great life – and quite a bit of money – but ZERO power. I have no influence on elections and nor do I desire to. All I can affect is the lifestyles of my family and my local community. Everything else I do is very minor. This is not true of the Koch & Soros type individuals. And as they get richer, they often use more of this money to rig the game to help themselves. They vote for policies and things that might help the nation but also help them personally (unnecessary wars, Obamacare, infrastructure spending, etc.). The beast feeds itself as we give more money to government which comes back to the same inner circle of people. Hillary and Obama’s relationships with Wall Street are a great example of this. Just like Piketty and Krugman say – we are moving towards an oligarchy. Two major political parties both controlled by giant money. Where is the motivation to help the people? Sure, some of these SUPER rich people are very altruistic. It isn’t fair to label them all as greedy self-serving people. But when $1 billion gets spent on a political campaign, you better believe that is largely coming from powerful people and corporations that expect that candidate to do what they say and support.

    That said, the attack always seems to move away from these sorts of people and more into the laps of someone like me. Sure, a seven figure income is a lot of money and much more than most people will ever see in their lifetime. But unlike the Soros/Kochs of the world, people like me are putting most of our money back into the economy. And we are certainly not using our funds to influence Presidential elections and Federal policy. Yet, the rhetoric being spun is that the taxes should go up for all people making over $250k , $400k, or whatever measure you want. This just hurts the economy and puts more money in the hands of the oligarchs we are trying to stop. And puts more hands in the inefficiencies of government.

    I think that’s where I get “offended” sometimes…..blaming people like me for our problems or lumping me in with a Soros is unfair. And most (I would even say ALL) of the people I see at my level are very altruistic and not at all concerned with trying to use their money to rig the system for more money for themselves. It still astounds me that we have so many brainwashed citizens who are convinced that Hillary/Trump or Dems/Repubs have their backs and are working to help their lots in life. Some like Obama I do believe START out with these intentions, but the big money political parties end up sucking them in, castrating them, and turning them into puppets or shills for what those big donors and corporations want.

    If we truly want change all the way to the bottom – we have to have MASSIVE campaign reform. We must either introduce a third party for the PEOPLE to compete with these mega-opoly parties OR we must reform campaign finance so much that the influence is limited. Until we do that – NOTHING will change. You will NEVER pass real reform. You will never get a health care plan that doesn’t line the pockets of the insurance companies. We will continue to fight wars for oil or other financial reasons. And Steven H will NEVER get that big tax increase on the truly wealthy that he desires.

    My fear is that in lieu of all of these, they will attack the American people. And since 50-60% of our public is already barely contributing to the system and has little money to add – the people they will attack will be the small business owners and high income people like me. And THAT will hurt the economy while not providing enough needed revenue and truly not solving the core problem.

    • Stevendad says:

      Much you say here is true. I’m in the crosshairs a few more years as well, though not where you’re are. (No envy, I congratulate you on your accomplishments) That’s why I’d like to see other taxes used (well documented) AND freeze budgets for a couple of years. It seems like EVERYONE BUT the Federal government had to tighten their belts over the past ten years. Zero budgeting would be a start. I loved many of Carly Fiorina’s ideas. She got caught up in abortion debate that is critical to a relatively small number of folks. Polling consistently shows economy, ISIS et al, healthcare, debt as the main issues.
      I have a feeling economy is about to explode, well over 3%. If the squabbling Congress can do it’s work with corporate tax reform and some sort of repatriation discount we could take off. This would salve many issues. If we could simultaneously rein in spending the results could be truly like the mid 90s.

      Peter, I’d appreciate a critique of my tax ideas (VAT, reduced corp tax to upper teens, tax wealth, small securities transaction tax, Dodd Frank safe harbors and inventory write offs for small biz, close carried interest loophole(not mine)). This with some modest deregulation and slowing of government growth) could lead to normal inflation (we’ve actually been deflating in many areas) and more normal growth. Of course, better education/ biz demand matching, healthcare reform would help as well. SH is so entrenched I can’t get any honest answers, perhaps you (or anyone else left out there) can.

      • Stevendad says:

        To clarify: carried interest IDEA is not mine…

      • Peter says:

        I think all the things you suggested are worth looking at. They are all “combination” strategies, meaning they are meant to aid Fed revenue (most are at least) and at the same time, grow the economy. None are particularly political. Might be interesting to explore some of these in more detail on here…..I could certainly learn a lot diving into each idea specifically.

        The only one I have a huge problem with is taxing wealth. That could cause some major complications for business owners and farmers in particular. Plus we would be giving the government yet another method of taxation. Believe that once we start a wealth tax – it will NEVER go away – and be used as another political talking point. Also – as we have discussed – there are enormous problems with enforcement and reporting as well.

        Philosophically too, you would be taking 40% of my income when I earn it, taxing it again as wealth, and then yet again taking half of what’s left when I die. YIKES.

        • Stevendad says:

          I’d think estate taxes should be eliminated at the same time. Wealth taxed in a slow, controlled way rather than in a fire sale at death of owner. Again, exclude real estate as it’s already taxed. Machinery probably needs to be excluded so farmers wouldn’t be affected much.

          • Peter says:

            Lot of business owners’ net worth is predominantly their business though…..estate taxes force disposition of the business or financial hardship on the people that inherit it. If you exclude businesses or real estate from it, then that creates another loophole that most could take advantage of.

  • Stevendad says:

    SH: this applies to Trump collusion as well:
    “Even if that was true (and I am not convinced it is), so friggin what?” It’s not illegal according to Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz. Hardly a right winger.

    • Steven H says:

      Here are just SOME of the incriminating FACTS known.
      ===
      First the Trump campaign says they had no contact with the Russians.
      Then they admit (when caught) that Flynn talked with the Russians but not about sanctions. Then they admit (when caught) Flynn talked about sanctions but they claimed it was only as an individual.
      Then Sessions said he had had no meetings with Russians until it was proved that he had.
      Then Manafort’s consulting firm was shown to have received $17 million from a Ukrainian political party with links to the Kremlin. Mr. Manafort performed work in the United States on behalf of a foreign power — Ukraine’s Party of Regions — without disclosing it at the time, as required by law.
      Then Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and son Donald Trump Jr. and Manafort are found to have attended a meeting with a Russian lawyer, a meeting that was left off of all security forms (specifically the SF-86).
      Timeline on the Trump Jr meeting:
      ==June 3, 2016: Donald Trump Jr. receives an email from entertainment publicist Rob Goldstone saying that Aras Agalrov was contacted by the crown prosecutor of Russia, who wanted to provide the Trump campaign with damaging information on Hillary Clinton. Goldstone said the information “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father. …This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump”
      ==June 7 – Trump Jr agrees to meeting “about this Hillary info” “with a Russia government attorney” (quotes from e-mails) and schedules it for the 9th. Supposedly Trump Sr has not been told, or at least Trump Jr. denies it. But mere hours later that day, Trump Sr. promises to deliver a “major speech” to reveal damaging information about Clinton “probably” June 13.
      ==June 9 – Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya meets with Trump Jr., along with Kushner and Manafort, in Trump Jr.’s office in Trump Tower. We don’t know what fully transpired at the meeting, but the lawyer supposedly provided no Hillary info.
      ==June 13 – Oddly, Trump Sr. has no information on Hillary to provide so he speaks on something else.
      ==June 15 – Democratic National Committee opposition research files are released by a hacker called Guccifer 2.0. The files are allegedly tied to Russian hackers.
      ===
      Fox News’ Krauthammer, previously supporting Trump and critical of the Russia investigation says:
      President Trump’s accusation that the Obama administration wrongly allowed Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya to enter the U.S. is a “red herring the size of a whale.” Krauthammer said the real “scandal” is that Trump Jr. – through an intermediary – arranged a meeting with a Russian government lawyer in order to get dirt on Clinton. He added that the email chain released earlier this week by Trump Jr. also confirms that the Kremlin was supporting the Trump campaign. He said it undermines the White House’s narrative that there wasn’t any collusion with Russia. “This was a bungled collusion. This was amateurish collusion. This was Keystone Cops collusion,” Krauthammer said. “But it doesn’t change the fact that it was attempted collusion and it undoes the White House story completely.”
      In earlier comments he said Krauthammer said he’s defended Trump Jr. and his father against accusations of collusion because there “wasn’t [any] ‘there’ there.”
      “[But] the denial of collusion is very weak right now because it looks as if Don Junior was receptive to receiving this information,” Krauthammer said.
      “It’s a hell of a defense to say your collusion wasn’t competent and it didn’t work out,” he said.

      • Steven H says:

        Meanwhile, as all of this additional evidence of actual attempts at collusion are revealed, we are supposed to believe we now have all the info, and that there is nothing more. Each new curtain unveils something more shocking and more incriminating than the last. And so now it even appears that Trump’s firing of Comey was meant to hide evidence and protect his family and closest associates.
        === You have mocked accusations of collusion. You have mocked accusations of obstruction of justice. Can there BE any plainer evidence of collusion or obstruction. This is textbook collusion. This is textbook obstruction. Can you imagine the GOP firestorm if Hillary had been elected and had been found, proved, indisputably, to do ANY of this?

        • Stevendad says:

          Ok. So Mike Pence is your man then… No crimes, but clearly lots of mistakes spread around. No smoking gun, lots of dumb decisions. Both sides have consistently stunk it up. Hillary or at least the DNC also definitely colluded as well. So as I’ve said both sides have lots of issues. Of course Don Jr was a private citizen and DNC were actually reps. Supports my main contention it all stinks to high heaven.

          • Stevendad says:

            It’s still legally “so friggin what?” BTW

          • Steven H says:

            No evidence of Hillary or DNC secret meetings or collusion with Russia. What are you talking about?Discussions are allowed. Secret meetings and information exchange with foreign power to undermine a sitting president or active election are not. Trump campaign and presidential actions are unprecedented, unacceptable, and very possibly illegal. They are certainly more concerning and more damaging to the country than anything Hillary did.

  • Stevendad says:

    “Only those who circumvent the system get taxed. ”
    You have not explained how this can be true. It sounds less credible than “You can keep your plan if you like it.” Except it’s not an “impossible promise”. Again, it’s done all over your exalted European Union.

  • Peter says:

    One other comment…. when you step outside of political walls and constraints, you find people are quite multidimensional. First, it is not “hard to imagine” an atheist seeing the usefulness of the tax exemption for religion. I certainly do. Churches often do tremendous work in the community – particularly in rural America. Churches often play a key role in feeding the hungry and helping those that need it the most – and religion serves an important purpose in many lives in our nation as well , offering hope and inspiration to millions. You see, Steven H, there are some that can see beyond their own personal construct to appreciate another’s point of view. It’s ridiculous to think that an atheist would be anti-church just because they don’t believe in God.

    Equally ridiculous is the continued assertion that I am somehow a Republican because I don’t agree with the Democratic Party Kool-Aid. I equally do not agree with the Republican Party Kool-Aid. EQUALLY. I am as angry about Sessions bringing back the mandatory minimum drug sentences as I am about anything Obama did.

    And EQUALLY insane is the thought that a successful rich person doesn’t have any sympathy or support of those that are not as rich. Or that we vote for whomever will cut our taxes or put more money in our pockets.

    Looking at people with such a one-dimensional view – or being one-dimensional yourself – is your achilles’ heel. For instance, you earlier accused me of thinking the Trump/Russia thing is a “nothing burger” (I do) but thinking Hillary is guilty both in the email scandal (I do) and Benghazi (I don’t). You just assumed that if I felt that way about the first two, I probably was on the Benghazi train too. Foolish. Simple minded. Then, you step into even more of a hole with BS like Pizzagate or Obama’s birthplace which I have NEVER even slightly supported.

    The sooner you realize how diverse people can be – the sooner you will become more diverse yourself. Then, maybe people will treat you with the respect you search for.

    • 7Steven H says:

      You claim to see people im a 3d light but consistently portray me as having a 1 dimensional perspective. In your last post you misrepresented and flat out lied about my positions and posts to fit your caricature strawman of Steven H. For example, even now you portray me as saying it is “hard to imagine” an atheist having sympathy with the tax exemption of religion when that is not what I said. I said I WOULD NOT EXPECT an atheist to see have that view but it is certainly within easy imagination. I have good friends who are in different religions and some who are atheists. I have no problem imagining and sympathizing with many views. Even yours.
      And while I have accepted that you have a mix of political constructs and beliefs that sepatate you from being a Republican, you are, despite your repeated prptestations, mostly aligned with principles of economic conservatism, and also have a political and emotional and somewhat irrational distrust of certain Democrats like Hillary. I can only imagine that if EVERY ONE you know or speak with regarding Hillary and email has the same unsympathetic view, that they must be almost universally Republican. And in your business line I can also reasonably presume that you hobnob with more than an average contingent of wealthy people and high earners. True? How many Hillary voters in the know have you discussed the email server with? What in side facts do they provide? What is your i side info which you have heretofore failed to disclose?
      ===
      I dont expect or portray every rich person to vote exclusively for their pocketbook. But you would be foolish to believe that it is is not a strong vote driver. Distrust of the “other” folks, rich vs poor, is a strong political force and always has been. Recognizing that principle is not insane. Ignoring it is.
      ===
      If you would do a better job of listening, remembering, and analyzing, considering alternate views, applying your own advice at not putting people in 1 dimensional caricatures, and were just a tad less egotistical in your approach, you would become much closer to the even handed debater that currently only exists in your imagination.

    • Peter says:

      A couple of quick things.

      My apologies on the religion thing – but I took “I would not expect an atheist to think” to mean the same as “I would find it hard to imagine”. Just paraphrased but can see your nitpicking with it. Same general point is valid though.

      Dislike or distrust of Hillary is not a partisan position. It is a personal one. I have no distrust of Bernie Sanders. Or Al Gore. Or a whole host of other Democrats. Just Hillary Clinton.

      Regarding Hillary, my circle is better defined as employees of the agencies we have been discussing. Hardly the elite rich class and well divided by political leanings. And there are no “facts” to share. Just that literally every employee of the Dept of State I have spoken to expressed serious concern and alarm at what Hillary did – just on a security level (not on a political one). I didn’t get into the lying or cover-up part – just in the question of what she had actually done was really that big of a deal. I have not found one person who said “it’s no big deal”. Obviously all uninformed Democrats think it is no big deal and all uninformed Republicans think it is.

      Here is the CORE of what I wish you could realize (and that which will make Stevendad, James, Peter N, Ken, me and countless others stop attacking you as so partisan)…. You say “if EVERY ONE you know or speak with regarding Hillary and email has the same unsympathetic view, that they must be almost universally Republican”. WRONG. Some Democrats can analyze Democratic politicians with an open mind. This is where you fail. The real reason that EVERY ONE I talked with had this view is because they actually work for the same organization and know what goes on internally with security measures, particularly cyber-security. That’s the common denominator, not some superceding political agenda.

      • Steven H says:

        “I would not expect an atheist to think…” was meant as “I certainly understand why an atheist might not think …”. It was an empathetic statement not an attack. I understand how, with the wrong assumed inflection: ” I would not EXPECT an ATHEIST to think …” it would be misinterpreted. But that is a problem with many posts here. You assume I mean one thing and twist my posts into an unintended or exaggerated meaning. I am one dimensional to you because you read my posts assuming I am. Again, believing is seeing. To be fair, I am sure I have misinterpreted some of your posts for the same cause.
        ===
        Similarly I have to object to the idea that I disrespect or ignore your expertise, or Ken’s or Stevendad’s. Regarding your work and your assistant position, if you go back to the original posts, I was quite polite and deferential and yet you still took offense. What I was attempting to point out (and what you certainly already know) is that, for ANY job, in ANY workplace, the solution prescribed by capitalism is to offer a higher wage when there are no takers at the offered wage. Of course in the real world there are alternate solutions to sell the position, but higher wage is certainly something to be considered. What you offered as reasoning NOT to offer a higher wage was your past experiences in starting at your career, your alignment of your observations with others in your industry, and an unfavorable critique of the current generation of potential employees. While all of that is relevant, you should also consider that what you are doing is indistinguishable from FIGHTING AGAINST the inevitability of market forces (competition for qualified labor) and ignoring current realities (longing for past conditions instead of accepting current conditions). That’s how it looks to the outside, and how it might even look to you if you were critiquing someone in another “industry” with a parallel predicament.
        ===
        As for Ken, he asserted that, based on his expertise, the standard method of comparing “insurance costs per policy” was the way to assess efficiency of Medicare vs private insurance. I then asked for his expert judgment in explaining how that was a just comparison method when comparing policies of private insurance for mostly healthy sub-65 year olds (and excluding those rejected for pre-existing conditions) vs Medicare which are for all citizens of age 65+. It is obvious to anyone that this is a grapes to watermelon comparison, unless he could offer some expert method to account for the disparity. Rather than answer the question, he left. I did not ignore his expertise. He simply ignored the challenge of a question. [Or he left out of embarrassment that his fake founders’ quotes were debunked. Hard to say for sure.]
        ===
        And as for your “inside information” on Hillary, I heard no information offered from you at all. What you offered were the opinions of some people you know, who work at the State Department. Now their actual detailed insights might be useful, and I do not doubt that they are irritated with Hillary about the server. So am I. It was a dumb decision. But if you are asserting (and I may be misunderstanding this so you can correct me) that everyone you talked to from State Department thought that Hillary was grossly or even criminally mishandling classified information, I have to offer my doubts. We are living in as divided a nation as we ever have had. Polls indicate 90% of Republicans trust Trump more than CNN and 90% of Democrats trust CNN more than Trump. Hillary won about 3 million more votes than Trump, but Trump won electoral votes, and neither candidate got more than 50% of the vote. We are a nation split. Additionally, you have completely neglected multiple layers of self-selection bias in your “inside information”. There is bias in who you happen to know at State, in which of those people you are comfortable discussing politics with, in which of that set are comfortable discussing politics with you, in what those people choose to reveal to you (limiting conversation for tact or discretion), and finally in which of those conversations you find that you remember and choose to respect. So I have no choice but to believe, if you are saying that everyone you talked to is of one mind about Hillary, that you are talking inadvertently, and due to these and other biases, to a political subgroup that excludes the other opinions.
        ===
        All of that highlights the absurdity of saying “Some Democrats can analyze Democratic politicians with an open mind. This is where you fail.” You only seem to believe analysis of Democrats like Hillary when they fit your preconceived biases. It does no good to only trust assessments that you agree with and wholly reject assessments that you don’t, as failed and closed-mind assessments. I offered mounds of detailed facts and points refuting the accusations most relevant to this past election, which were Benghazi (which I know you did not press), and the e-mail. I offered my knowledge of security procedures, backed up with articles that described the same information, and this was all backed up with investigative conclusion that deflected the many grossly inaccurate accusations put forth by the ‘lock her up’ crowd. You offered no facts to dispute my position. You offered (a) opinions of people you know, and (b) other accusations on other subjects (which are not relevant to the point at hand and which I have no time to chase down).
        ===
        This is the problem I have with the attacks on Hillary, or the ACA, or against Dems in general. So very very many of the attacks are based on outlandish accusations, denial of realities and facts, dishonest assessments and knowingly untrue statements from opposing leaders. One point is refuted, after much effort, just to have the next dozen lies thrown into the fray. I don’t think that Dems are perfect, nor that Republicans are evil. I will say that I think history, and the electorate, will not be kind to the party who has embraced Trump. I am betting he, and the current leadership of the GOP, will go down, way down, as a low and frightfully embarrassing mud-trough in our nation’s path through history.

    • Steven H says:

      “Then, you step into even more of a hole with BS like Pizzagate or Obama’s birthplace which I have NEVER even slightly supported.”
      My list of outlandish accusations against Dems was never meant to indicate they were things you or stevendad supported. I was attempting (maybe not very well) to make the point that all of these things we AGREE are outlandish, like pizzagate, have no support in reality and neither do the more outlandish accusations about e-mail (gross mishandling of classified data and distribution of marked top secret data, for instance), or Benghazi. Even many of the extremely absurdly stupid items on the list have enjoyed either complacent acceptance or outright advocacy by GOP leaders. Why should we take ANY of the accusations seriously when respect for facts and truth is held in such low esteem by the GOP, even way before Trump?

  • Stevendad says:

    It’s late. Gotta stop. And I think we are evolving from arguments that shed light into those that put off heat.

    • Peter says:

      We have been through this cycle before. Steven H brings a reasonable opinion to the discussion….then when we get deeper in the conversation and he finds himself at a place at odds with his Democratic Party playbook, he starts panicking and resorts to politics, ignoring comments, or attacking straw men. He has been backed in to a corner in a number of arguments.

      He is convinced without question that Trump and Russia have some nefarious deal and that most involved in it are lying. He is convinced that Benghazi and the email scandals of Hillary Clinton are no big deal and that most around these scandals are telling the truth or just making innocent mistakes. He believes that the Clinton camp is clean of similar Russian business dealings or other nefarious behavior. He believes Obama made “impossible promises” – which do not constitute lies. He believes strongly in higher taxes on the wealthy to give more to the poor, but knows nothing about Venezuela, Illinois, California or other examples where these strategies have been attempted. He believes that the media is largely attempting to tell the truth without political motivation. He attacks Scientology but not other religions – many of which he is seemingly unaware of.

      Where he really shows his ignorance (or political blinders, more likely) is in his assertions that he knows more about topics than people who are within certain industries. He chased Ken away with his “knowledge” of the insurance industry. He argues with Stevendad regarding the realities of health care. And more personally, he continually explains to me that if I “raised the wages of a mentorship program, that I would find more qualified candidates” without any idea how my industry works. He also continues to tell me that Hillary’s server was no big deal while I actually have FACTUAL evidence from the inside that this is not the case.

      But most importantly, he continues to believe that raising taxes on the wealthy is the primary path to helping those that are struggling. This is in spite of us running numbers showing how this might not work – or with studies that contradict this strategy.

      For years here I have thought that Steven H might have been an intelligent human being who was just brainwashed by political propaganda (I have some of these in my family as well). But this latest run of debates where he just drops out or panics into politics when challenged have brought me to a different conclusion.

      • James says:

        I’ll say it… he is an idiot. but I keep coming back on here just to check in and read it (like watching a reality show) It makes me laugh at his ignorance and stubbornness. A little scary sometimes though but I think we all know there are people like this on the left and the right that muck up any real debate. Kudos to you guys for continuing to try though. Think you might have finally backed him into about 15 corners he can’t escape though. The fun may sadly be ending hahahaha

        • Peter N says:

          I said Steven H is an idiot long ago. He could NEVER refute my posts.

          You guys are almost as bad for taking so long to figure Steven H is an idiot without a clue as to how things really work.

          In the end it is the survival of the fittest or most adaptable. That is how it is. The law of nature can only be over ruled by socialist for so long until they run out of money. There is NOTHING you guys can do or say that change this.

          Due to libtard mismanagement there will be a another recession and it will be severe. Trump will get blamed but actually it is Obummer’s run up of the national debt what will be at fault.

          It is kind of like the Illinois governor being elected and yet having no control. He will be blamed even though he had no control.

          Meanwhile the libtard source for information, CNN, is being discredited day by day.

          Steven H, are you aware that 60% of US families are now dead weight? They get more in government subsidies than they pay in taxes. These moochers are going to vote for whomever will give them more.

          The country is doomed.

          Refute that Steven H.
          I will retire soon and say good luck suckers. You can all suffer in the mess you have made.

          http://www.nationalgunforum.com/off-topic/7074-bar-room-economics-how-tax-system-works.html
          There are different versions of “bar room economics” but they all make the same point.

          I will take my ball and go home.

          • Stevendad says:

            A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.

          • Peter says:

            I’m not sure I see it that cynically….isn’t the election of Trump more of a statement against this idea?

          • Peter N says:

            “I’m not sure I see it that cynically….isn’t the election of Trump more of a statement against this idea?”
            Yes, but it is too late.
            I see too much erosion where the whole nation could fall apart with one good kick.
            As a person that is more libertarian than conservative I see too much regulation, taxation, erosion of rights, liberty and the value of the dollar which is a tax on wealth not income. Frankly I couldn’t give a rats ass for the way the country is now but I did vow to protect the US Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic. If I honored my oath I would be called a criminal now. That is how far things have eroded. Now I just exist here but I don’t like what I see.

            Have any of you see Watter’s world where Jesse Watters ask people basic questions and they are clueless yet they can vote.
            Ditto the comment about democracy fails when people can vote for free stuff for themselves. Well we are past the tipping point.

          • Steven H says:

            I reference award winning highly respected economists in defending my view of how the world works and you reference a gun lobby site post of a tired barroom economics story as your trump card? I think it is pretty plain which argument is the idiotic one. You have engineer training and you must be much smarter than your posts. Too bad you dont use those smarts in your politics.

      • Steven H says:

        You really dont listen to anything I say do you. You just keep reverting to the caricature of me you have in your head.
        1) You are at least as entrenched in your right wing presumptions of guilt of the left and innocence of the right as I am vice versa. Except I have presented more factual evidence supporting my position. Which you ignore.
        2) I am aware of, and have addressed California, Illinois, and Venezuela. Your analysis that gross economic mismanagement proves that raising taxes is never justified is simplistic and wrong.
        3) i’m pretty sure I have been member of and visitor at more church denominations than you have. Lack of knowledge of mormon magic underwear is not an important knowledge deficit IMO. The whole religion discussion is just opinion vs opinion anyway. I would not expect an atheist to see usefulness of tax exemption to religion, and I actually agree in imposing additional limits.
        4) I did not chase Ken away or disrespect his expertise. He refused to answer a legitimate insurance question that conflicted with his assertions. You ignored it also.
        5) you never explained why raising wages was not a legitimate approach to finding more qualified candidates.
        This, after all, is how capitalism works. I did not question your expertise. You just failed to answer questions.
        6) I have offered factual evidence from inside the world of government clearances, which I know very well. You have ignored MY expertise. If you have inside factual info, put it on the table. Just dont make vague references to what your rich Republican friends think.
        7) I have conceded that raising taxes is NOT the primary path to reducing income disparity, based on the article you posted. That article also points out that education, your silver bullet, is ALSO, not the primary path. We already came to this agreement but you choose to lie about my position.
        8) I thought you were an honest intelligent debater in this discussion. I am having to rethink that position.

      • Steven H says:

        So basically, peter, your post was about 80% lies and misrepresentation. Clean up your act.

        • Peter says:

          Almost none of this is true. More stupidity. Some of the more absurd positions include the notion that I get my opinions from my “rich Republican friends”. I almost never talk politics with my friends, but honestly I would say far more of them are Democrats than Republicans. Not that it matters to anyone but you. What I have heard regarding Hillary’s email scandal was from inside people who work for the same organization and are held to similar security rules. The scandal rocked their organization internally – their peers had been reprimanded, demoted or fired for minor transgressions – and yet the CEO of the company was committing more egregious violations. And “honest mistake” never flies in that community.

          I have discussed my industry in tremendous detail already. You have not addressed Venezuela or Illinois. Why did their plans go wrong? They have literally followed your playbook to a T….. Also to call “education” my “silver bullet” and draw equivalency to your fervor for taking back the excess income you think rich people have earned (or stolen from the poor) is absolutely delusional. Education is a part of the equation – which you and I agree on. In fact, the VERY same article I posted showed education had minimal effect as well. Again, you only hear what you want to hear.

          So tiresome. How many people need to tell you that you are a politically brainwashed fool before you start at least considering the possibility?

          • Peter says:

            MY silver bullet (if you care) is changing the political system to eliminate corporate America controlling our politics and broadening the scope between the two-headed like-minded dictatorship we live under now (Dems and Republicans). Both parties are full of dirty, self-serving people who make their careers off of the charade that is American politics. How anyone can support one of these parties so ferociously requires a tremendous amount of blindness, naivete, or just blissful ignorance. THEY (our two major political parties and the corporations that fund them) are the reason for problems like income disparity. And THEY don’t really have any motivation to fix these problems.

          • Peter says:

            And just to repeat since you missed this part…. We have been through this cycle before. Steven H brings a reasonable opinion to the discussion….then when we get deeper in the conversation and he finds himself at a place at odds with his Democratic Party playbook, he starts panicking and resorts to politics, ignoring comments, or attacking straw men. He has been backed in to a corner in a number of arguments.

          • 7Steven H says:

            “In fact, the VERY same article I posted showed education had minimal effect as well. Again, you only hear what you want to hear.”
            Which is exactly what I said we had agreed on. But years ago, you were, if I recall, one of the folks advocating education as a major solution because it advances mobility. So, as I already said, that solution and taxes have been discounted as solitary solutions to income disparity and you and I already agreed on that. But you chose to misrepresent my position because you either forgot or lied. I do still advocate for raising taxes TO PAY THE BILLS and not become another example of economic mismanagement such as those you disparage. But that is separate from the issue of high income disparity.
            ===
            I dont expect that you will recognize the complete fool you have made of yourself in the last couple of posts, but I will give you a while to think about it. As stevendad says, this conversation is generating more heat than light, and perhaps it should be set aside for a few days until we can revert to topics of substance instead of this sniping.

          • James says:

            How is peter making a fool of himself?

          • Peter says:

            He’s just saying that because I called him a fool. He is saying I’m misrepresenting his positions. The only part of my post that he could possibly say that about was my accusations that he did not know much about Venezuela/Illinois/Religion. He may know more than I am aware of and we can’t really prove that. But the rest….. absolutely accurate representations of his point of view. He just needs to own it. A word-for-word recap:

            1. He is convinced without question that Trump and Russia have some nefarious deal and that most involved in it are lying.
            2. He is convinced that Benghazi and the email scandals of Hillary Clinton are no big deal and that most around these scandals are telling the truth or just making innocent mistakes.
            3. He believes that the Clinton camp is clean of similar Russian business dealings or other nefarious behavior.
            4. He believes Obama made “impossible promises” – which do not constitute lies.
            5. He believes strongly in higher taxes on the wealthy to give more to the poor.
            6. He believes that the media is largely attempting to tell the truth without political motivation.
            7. But most importantly, he continues to believe that raising taxes on the wealthy is the primary path to helping those that are struggling.

            No lies there. And I maybe should have worded that he “refuses to explore the situations in Venezuela and Illinois and try and learn from those mistakes”, rather than that he doesn’t know anything about them (which he may).

            Simple knee jerk reaction to call me names when I called him one. But I’m not misrepresenting him at all. I’m curious which of these 7 statements he thinks is unfair?

          • Steven H says:

            5 and 7 are both wrong.
            I believe in raising taxes on wealthy as an act of economic responsibility to pay bills and finance needed infrastructure. I believe in education, corporate mentorship, raised minimum wage, single payer healthcare, strengthened labor policy and sensible trade policy, to help the poor and the middle class.
            ===
            And you were acting the fool by replaying the same old speech you made several years ago, and portraying yourself as seeing everyone in 3d while portraying me in 1D, and ignoring my recently stated positions to make the inaccurate assessments in #5 and #7. And you were portraying a list of a few friends’ opinions as expert “inside information” in order to weakly refute actual information. Foolish.
            ===
            The other 5 are correct. #1 is pretty well proved beyond doubt by Trump Jr.

  • Stevendad says:

    Raise EIC levels for 4th tier. Simple.

    • Steven H says:

      You still have not explained why it is fair that some of the 4th tier pays MORE when they are not cheating the system, and the rest of the 4th tier who ARE cheating the system now get a bigger tax break, all while they are still cheating the system. Kind of blows a whole in your impossible promise (or would that be a lie?) that only the cheaters get taxed.

      • Stevendad says:

        No they don’t pay more. They would DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR get refunds of 10% per month of reported income. Simple. You just can’t open your mind to fairness. ONLY those who cheat pay.

  • Stevendad says:

    I never said I hated Susan Rice. Totally your words. I just said she was a liar. And the proof is as below…and several Liberal leaning sources agree. We’ll find out if she committed a crime through Congressional hearings and Mueller probe. We’ll see if Hillarys “glass ceiling” was part of a huge “glass house”. But I don’t know… To quote every Dem, “we should investigate and get to the bottom of it”.
    Again, I seek truth and not talking points. Try it some time SH. Think for yourself.

    • Steven H says:

      I always do.

    • Steven H says:

      TRUTH:
      National-security experts and former intelligence officials from both Republican and Democratic administrations told Business Insider earlier this month [April 2017] that Rice’s requests to unmask US persons were neither unusual nor against the law.

      “The identities of US persons may be released under two circumstances: 1) the identity is needed to make sense of the intercept; 2) if a crime is involved in the conversation,” said Robert Deitz, a former senior counselor to the CIA director and former general counsel at the National Security Agency.

      “Any senior official who receives the underlying intelligence may request these identities,” Deitz said, noting that while “the bar for obtaining the identity is not particularly high, it must come from a senior official, and the reason cannot simply be raw curiosity.”

      Paul Pillar, a 28-year veteran of the CIA and former executive assistant to the CIA’s deputy director for intelligence, said Rice’s unmasking requests could likely be viewed as routine and expected of high-level intelligence officials.

  • Stevendad says:

    Because they lied to interfere with a Presidential election! Isn’t the entire media and aren’t all of the Dems up in arms about interference of the election? Any way, it sounds like you admitted she is a liar, the only thing I said.

    • Steven H says:

      No, I said that I am not convinced. I am also not convinced that there was any political advantage to calling or not calling it a terrorist attack in the first 24 hrs. I NEVER thought it made one hoot of difference to anybody except the radical righties who get their panties in a twist every time we don’t immediately chant “death to the muslims” after an incident. It was absolutely indisputably correct to hold off in PUBLICLY and officially declaring it a terrorist attack until all the facts were in. All the brou-ha-ha about who said terrorist first is just stupid. IMHO.

      • Stevendad says:

        What was stupid was to think it was a spontaneous demonstration. These weapons are frequently brought to “demonstrations “: They then threw grenades over the wall and entered the compound with automatic weapons fire, RPGs, and heavier weapons.
        76] McLean, Alan; Peçanha, Sergio; Tse, Archie; Waananen, Lisa (October 1, 2012). “The Attack on the American Mission in Benghazi, Libya”. The New York Times. Retrieved October 28, 2012.

      • Steven H says:

        It. Does. Not. Matter. And. It. Never. Did.

  • Stevendad says:

    I think the extraordinarily wealthy Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are undertaxed, thus the wealth tax. Let’s make it 10% of total wealth for those over $40 B. I wonder if Warren would complain he was undertaxed then? You need to be careful what you wish for…
    “Undertaxed” and “overtaxed” are sure subjective.

  • Stevendad says:

    SH: Here’s another one: after you called my numbers “grossly exaggerated ” here’s the proof you ignored:

    Stevendad says:
    July 4, 2017 at 5:59 am
    Here ya go: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100668336. I inflated and rounded up a bit. That was in 2012. The estimate I found was 12.7% of GDP.(http://www.investopedia.com/articles/markets/032916/how-big-underground-economy-america.asp) $19T x .127 = $2.413T. Arithmetic, not calculus.

    • Steven H says:

      Thanks for the reference. From what I have now read, these shadow economies increase as normal job markets tighten and official unemployment increases. Some stats indicate the shadow economy was around 8% GDP before the crash and so may have declined back down from 12%. Regardless, it is larger than I was guessing.
      It must extend much higher than the lower 50% of incomes however. Using the $2T estimate, that is still double the AGI of the lower 50%. I am reluctant to believe that 2/3 of the income of the lower 50% is shadow.
      So I think we need to understand this shadow economy better to figure out how to control it. I dont really understand how a tax on spending will recover the lost revenue or control it,

      • Stevendad says:

        The assumption is most of it is spent because putting it in the bank makes it traceable.

      • Steven H says:

        I guess you are basically trying to map all spending and wealth and income, and if you have more spending than accrued wealth and recorded income, then you get taxed (no vat rebate) on the unrecorded income. But of course that assumes you can record and tax all spending. You can and do have shadow spending as well, especially with criminal enterprise. And VAT taxes might do more to encourage rather than discourage shadow spending.

        What if you spend more in a given year than that years income? Say for home repair or a car? Do yo still get a rebate if you can prove you were just pulling from savings?

        The principle of capturing shadow economy is fine. Refundable VAT just seems a complicated, expensive, and ineffective method. A better method might be to make the economy work better for everyone to begin with, so people dont feel like they must resort to under the table cash.

        • Stevendad says:

          You nail those who spend in the black market to the wall. Or deport them. There is no “rebate”. Tax tables are just rolled back accordingly.
          You are dead wrong. Sales taxes are the most simple, effective and economic way to capture revenue as businesses do it. Fewer businesses than individuals, more at stake, worse penalties to cheat. That’s why this is the principle way of collecting taxes in Europe. Much simpler than income taxes you so dearly love. You can’t win this one. Again, this only penalizes the cheaters.
          I’m not sure where you got the first assumption. It’s all just added on to what you buy. The only proof of income required would be if you expatriate money. This would capture many billions sent home without any taxation.
          I love the way you twist every cheater and criminal into a victim (in your last sentence). It’s just not true.
          Again, they still get undeserved benefits so they still make out better than those who play by the rules.
          So what if all Americans stopped paying taxes and circumvented the rules?

        • Steven H says:

          No rebate for the non-cheaters? Then you are just substituting a regressive VAT tax for the progressive income tax? In other words, shifting even more burden from rich to poor in the name of catching “cheaters”?

          • Stevendad says:

            It’s not a separate “rebate”, just reduced taxes for those who pay and INCR ASED EIC for those who get that. Net net NO EFFECT on those who actually pay in the system.

        • Steven H says:

          VAT taxes are a tax increase for the poor and a tax cut for the rich if you shift the tax rates. Consider: The lower 50% pay almost no income tax, but most of their income is spent. This is a devastatingly cruel system you are inventing. Tax the poor because they are lazy cheaters!

          • Stevendad says:

            No, as usual, you’re not listening. EIC goes up. Zero tax cut for the rich on the average as these are offset by estimates of spending. Only those who circumvent the system get taxed. They are cheaters by definition. And, AGAIN, they still get undeserved direct benefits (SNAP,Housing subsidies, Medicaid, free phones, etc) they wouldn’t get if they actually reported their income. And of course roads, schools, police, fire, defense and all the other indirect benefits. So if laws don’t matter, should those who do pay taxes just stop? You never answer this. Again because it goes against your talking points. Nothing cruel about paying a “fair share” is there?

          • Steven H says:

            OK, but you have to ASSUME you know which income brackets comprise the shadow economy. What if it is mostly in the upper 50%. Besides, 4th quintile from top pays no income tax but also gets little if any EIC. How do you counter their VAT tax. Everybody gets taxed whether they are part of shadow economy or not. How is that fair? Rich folks who invest in shadow economy with cash paid housekeepers and butlers don’t get caught but non-shadow economy people making $30K have to pay more.

          • Steven H says:

            “Only those who circumvent the system get taxed. ”
            You have not explained how this can be true. It sounds less credible than “You can keep your plan if you like it.”

  • Peter says:

    Steven H – Question for you from below that you didn’t answer……You talk a lot about how we have to raise tax revenues to pay for the bills we have already incurred. Let’s say Trump pushes through his expensive border wall, should we go into debt for years to pay for it? Because it is a bill we incurred? Should we keep raising taxes until we cover this expense?

    Personally, I’d rather reflect, reform or eliminate some of the “bills” we have incurred. That’s the problem – once you promise something, people expect it. That’s why you get resistance to higher taxes on the rich – you are taking something away from me that I thought I was getting. Whether it is a welfare check or a subsidy or a tax deduction – it doesn’t matter. To the recipient it is ‘theirs’. So if Trump passes a behemoth bill that pays for a giant wall across the Mexican border, we should not be stuck with this for eternity and tax the wealthy (whether they wanted this wall or not) exorbitantly to pay for such silliness.

    • Steven H says:

      This is not complicated. If we already spent it, yes we have to pay for it. If we are just PLANNING to spend it, the expenses can be replanned, trimmed or canceled. But you can’t just not raise taxes for expenses already spent because it is uncomfortable.

      • Peter says:

        The large majority of the budget is money we are planning on spending. That’s what the budget is……LOL. So the intelligence budget that they are counting on this year can be cut, but the promise to pay for those same employees retirement cannot?

  • Peter says:

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/vatican-police-break-up-gay-10743972

    In case you missed this. WOW!!! But not as bad as Scientology…..lol

    • Steven H says:

      Terrible stuff. I have a lotof complaints against Catholic church practices, including repression of women as leaders, requirement of celibacy as a condition of priesthood and sisterhood (which induces the sexual problems in the church IMHO), etc. However, mainline churches, Christian and non, have done a lot of good in communities and in the world, and so I support their tax free status along with other charities, within certain limits. I just think that contrived religions like Scientology which torment and extort from their members and have little if any charity value to society need to be stripped of tax free status.
      This is all just personal opinion of course. I certainly understand the argument of just taxing all churches and charities. I just worry about the real damage that would do to struggling community churches and legitimate charitable organizations.

      • Peter says:

        I certainly don’t believe that you can take a religion that believes our souls were hijacked by aliens years ago and differentiate that from one with magic underwear, or one with your own planet when you die, or one with a virgin birth and a talking snake, etc, etc, etc. You are either a charity or you aren’t. Those local community churches can easily become charities by filing as such and passing through all donations to the community. That is NOT true of the Catholic church at large. Even a giant company like Wells Fargo does a tremendous amount of charitable work, but they are still a for-profit enterprise. Scientology and the Catholic church are no different.

  • Stevendad says:

    And another: Speaking of semantics, if I take your car and you demand it back am I “giving you a car” or “not taking it away”. This has the same logic flow you espoused. There are many, many more. So just drop the “hypocritical” BS

    • Steven H says:

      Well no, that is a terrible and completely inappropriate analogy. If you buy a car and refuse to make the payments because you don’t like how the car company is managed, you can’t claim the money is yours. You agreed to buy the product, you need to pay the bill.

      • Stevendad says:

        You’re wrong of course. You took something from me and now you call it “giving it to me” when I get it back. You just see no value in ownership of individual property for the rich.

      • Steven H says:

        Taxes are club membership of citizenship. Your elected representative sets the dues. Voting sets the agreement. You can always cancel your membership by canceling your citizenship. You have entered into a contract and you are compaining about the terms, which you can certainly do, via your representative. But dont complain about dues being ‘taken’ from you. Its all part of the deal. The dues are the governments, by right, to pay for the services that government provides.

        • Stevendad says:

          Many will cancel their “membership ” and expatriate under the Bernie 90% taxes. And take their capital with them. A disaster in almost every way. How about we just gain some efficiency and try to narrow the mission Of the Federal government? I can’t understand why anyone would not even consider this.

    • Peter says:

      Actually it is more like being FORCED to buy a car you can’t afford.

      • Steven H says:

        You can always give back the car (citizenship).

        • Stevendad says:

          It’s not their citizenship we were talking about, it was increased taxes in paying their “fair share”, a “little bit more by those who can afford it” and all other Liberal catch phrases for confiscating earnings.

          • Steven H says:

            Oh please. “Letting the rich keep their money” by emptying the coffers and increasing debts the rest of us have to pay for. That is not the rich keeping their money. That is the rich confiscating even more from everyone else.

  • Stevendad says:

    Here is PRECISELY something you avoided answering from 7/4:
    At least once acknowledge the uncomfortable part of what I said. Obama stared in the camera and lied over and over about “you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan (paraphrased)”. I guarantee you my patients remember that when they pay 3 times the premium for plans with 3 times the deductible. And vote and donate accordingly. And Susan Rice is in inveterate liar. Not caught in a slip of the tongue or a twisting of an answer to a vague question. And Hillary lied many times, including to Congress, about emails and Blackberries, etc per Comey. Is Loretta Lynch squeaky clean in her interactions with Comey and Bill Clinton? Acknowledging that this mess is spread on both sides, perhaps equally, will begin to free your mind from the propaganda.

    • Steven H says:

      You can keep your plan.
      Obamas statements along this line were not a lie. They were an oversimplification of a rule that had been written into the plan. It has never been true, before or after Obamacare, that you can keep your plan if you like it, because your plan details are at the whim of insurance companies, who can change them at will. ===
      Portraying this as an intentional deception, a lie, is political, and just as non factual as the impossible promise.
      ===
      From article:

      Obama, in a Nov. 4, 2013, speech, tried to explain his past promises by saying “what we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed.” Asked when the president had previously included that detail, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, in aNov. 5 press briefing, said Obama was referring to the law’s clause allowing insurers and employers to “grandfather” plans offered before the bill became law.

      “The president was referring to the law and to the fact that the law was written in a way — and everybody who closely covered the drafting of that legislation knew it was written about — that the grandfathering clause was in the law, and he was referring to the implementation of that law through the rule process,” Carney said

      https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/11/11/fact-check-keeping-your-health-plan/3500187/

      • Peter says:

        If only you treated the other side with the same diplomacy. Don’t you see? This is all BS…..talking out of both sides of your mouth and covering your tracks is the very essence of what makes a politician.

        • Steven H says:

          Thats the problem. You and stevendad also go out of your way to cast doubt on the russia issue, but are all over Hillary for lesser indiscretions.

          • Peter says:

            I don’t consider the email scandal minor. You don’t see me going after her for Benghazi though……

          • Steven H says:

            Come on. The whole e-mail attack by the GOP was a fishing expedition with no fish. It was meant to uncover the true dark secrets of Benghazi, of which there were none. No secret emails marked secret were found. No emails with actionable intelligence were on the unclassified server — just marginally confidential state department business and old ‘top secret’ drone program info that was no longer a secret when it was written, much less now. It’s not like she had investments that she failed to divest and was making money while in office. (And no, people donating to your charity is not the same as being enriched with your business holdings.) Or was seeking back door deals with Russians. Or was caught in a scandal of lies and incompetence twice a week.

          • Stevendad says:

            “I know nothing about unmasking”
            “There were occasions when I would receive a report in which a U.S. person was referred to, name not provided,” Rice said. “Sometimes in that context in order to understand the significance of the report and assess its significance, it was necessary to request the information as to who that person was.” (Unmasking)
            Both Susan Rice statements. Both said by the same person and completely contradictory, called a lie in common parlance. Not a right wing conspiracy. TRUTH. Of course unnamed sources and innuendo mean more to blinded, mindless Liberals. For once, show you’re not one. Again, I’m not right wing, just seeking truth over ideology.
            The Right wing bastion Washington Post gave her 4 Pinocchios for her Syrian chemical weapons statements.
            You used to make real arguments SH. Either your game is fading or the unassailable TRUTH is wearing you down.

          • Peter says:

            We will agree to disagree on the email thing. I forgot how entrenched you were with the Department of State and your deep understanding of security and classified information. No wait…that’s me….. 🙂

          • Peter says:

            And no reply to all of Clinton and Podesta’s “dealings” with the Russians….. I agree with Stevendad. You have lost the argument. Wheels are coming off and you are just grabbing at politics now.

      • Stevendad says:

        You REALLY believe this BS don’t you. That is laughable. That’s why politifact called it the lie of the year: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2013/dec/12/lie-year-if-you-like-your-health-care-plan-keep-it/
        It was a deliberate lie. There are memos of the fight between O’ s operational people (there is no way this is true) and his political people (we may get too much pushback if we tell the truth). No surprise, politics won and he stared into the camera and lied. All facts. Sorry.

        • Steven H says:

          Let me be frank about a few points. One of the revelations I have had while participating on this site is that some of the political BS I didn’t’t think that any intelligent and informed person could possibly believe is actually held as true by seemingly intelligent and informed people. There is a whole list of things that I have held as political marketing invented in a back room and pushed upon the most gullible by an aggressive righty propaganda machine. Some of these whoppers include:
          1) The Clintons were responsible for killing or arranging the killing of their political associates.
          2) Hillary and Obama watched the Benghazi disaster unfold live from drone cameras.
          3) Obama was referencing businesses and not infrastructure when he said You didn’t build that.
          4) Obama was not born in the US.
          5) Obama hates white people.
          6) Hillary was hiding Benghazi secrets on her server.
          7) Pizzagate.
          8) It is crucially important to call out radical terrorists as radical ISLAMIC Terrorists, and Obama was siding with them by not calling it out that way.
          9) Obama is a secret Muslim.
          10) There were/are death panels in ObamaCare.
          11) It is crucially important how many hours or days elapsed before Obama administration verified that Benghazi was a terrorist attack.
          12) Susan Rice did something illegal by asking to unmask officials who turned out to be Trump campaign officials.
          13) Obama had a plan do destroy the country.
          14) Susan Rice did something wrong by announcing the CIA talking points which were given to her.
          15) Very little Clinton Foundation money is used for charity work.
          16) Hillary did something so illegal she should be locked up.
          17) And as for “You can Keep your plan” being a lie:

          … I recall my perception was that he was clarifying that Obamacare would not force you off of a plan, but I knew it would be foolish to think insurance companies might not do so. Less of a lie than an impossible promise. Kind of a much milder version of the much more impossible promises Trump has promised with healthcare for everybody, lower premiums, …. and cheaper for govt too!
          ===
          The point is, everything in that list above is equally preposterous in my mind that anyone would take the accusation seriously. None are supported when all of the facts are laid out. But there are some points you will stick to as true, no matter what I or the facts say.

          • Stevendad says:

            I’ve said almost none of those. STRAW MAN. An d here is POLITICO on you can keep your plan: (again) “the lie of the year”http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2013/dec/12/lie-year-if-you-like-your-health-care-plan-keep-it/

          • Stevendad says:

            Oooo, that is so rich. Please see if you can slip so much as a sliver of paper between a “lie” and an “impossible promise”. I will crap gold out of my butt and pay you next week is not a lie by your logic. Once again you are being seared by the TRUTH regarding your heroes. I have no heroes and mostly no true villains, just a lot of people trying to make the best for themselves over the American people in a system that has been shaped to help them do just that.

          • Peter says:

            What the hell is this post? Who in the world said all these things????? Are you delusional?

          • Peter says:

            The verdict is in … you are dominating the straw man in this argument. Anyone that believes ANY of the things you listed is definitely losing the argument. But you have lost the argument with Stevendad and I and everyone else who has wasted their time debating you. If you want, I can change my name to Straw Man and start arguing stupid crap like Obama being a secret muslim trying to destroy the nation so you can feel good about being a card-carrying, blind, brainwashed member of the Democratic Party again.

      • Stevendad says:

        Regardless, many, many people (including my patients) “lost their doctor” and almost all “lost their plan”. So OK, in your world, you have bicameral choice: he is a bald faced liar or his plan was a complete failure in regards to the private insurance market. Oh wait, I left a third (and most accurate) option, BOTH are true.

    • Steven H says:

      What did Susan Rice lie about?

      • Stevendad says:

        The video caused Benghazi. She KNEW it was a paramilitary operation (everyone brings RPGs and mortars to a spontaneous protest, huh?). It is documented by emails. She lied about unmasking until caught and then lied about lying. You have closed your mind to inconvenient facts and opened it to unproven gossip. You are insufferably brainwashed. A shame too, you seem like a bright man…It’s fascinating how Russia’s stooge took them on directly today and threatened to remove their second greatest power (nat gas supply to Europe). Man, it’s a good thing Putin owns him….

        • Steven H says:

          Why cant you just admit (to use your favorite phrase) that Rice was using talking points provided to her by the CIA, not just making up stuff? It was all murky at the time. Yes some officials privately offerred an assessment of terrorism early on, but it is certainly appropriate to hold off on that public assessment until more information is known. Why cant you admit that you just hate Rice And Hillary and would not believe them if they told you the sky was blue?

          • Steven H says:

            You completely misinterpret, misconstrue, and fail to explain the issues in the fake unmasking story.
            Admit you just hate Susan Rice and have been listening to too many right wing hate sites. That would be a big step if you could do that.
            http://www.businessinsider.com/susan-rice-unmasking-congress-trump-russia-2017-4

          • Stevendad says:

            No, there is email evidence she knew the truth and cited the video for political reasons as the election was nigh. Look it up.

          • Steven H says:

            Even if that was true (and I am not convinced it is), so friggin what? It is a massive political scandal that politicians bend or postpone information for political advantage. What the frigate did it ever matter how many days passed before it was called a terrorist attack. Even if true, if you rank that postponement of information against 1000 other political issues in the last 10 years, it would rank 1001 in importance or impact. Why do we even remember or discuss it now?

  • Stevendad says:

    Interesting John Brennan quote: “This was back in 1980, and I thought back to a previous election where I voted, and I voted for the Communist Party candidate,”
    In that he is so antiRussian….

  • Steven H says:

    Venezuela: Pure socialism does not work.
    Illinois: ” Overspend and overpromise and no amount of tax increases can fix it. The end result is what is happening in Illinois – no money for children’ programs…” Agreed.
    Kansas: Massive tax cuts do not grow the economy as promised. No money for schools and economy in shambles.

    The answer is to pay for the programs passed by legislatures. If the costs are too high and taxpayers feel the pain, then responsible spending ensues. The FIRST STEP is to raise taxes to cover cutrent expenditures and then you can better control those expenditures.

    Your point, peter, is that raising taxes does not by itself counteract bad money management. I agree. The point you leave out is that drastically cutting govt expenses is politically impossible, and high debt is just more bad money management. This leaves raising taxes on the bubble economy of the rich as the most practical and responsible solution.

    • Peter says:

      “Drastically cutting government expenses is politically impossible”. Then we are headed for collapse….. THIS has change and I’m not willing to resign myself to that fact.
      Venezuela/Illinois are both examples of what happens when you try and tax your way out of high expenses and obligations. If you don’t cut expenses, then the only way out are higher taxes or economic growth. Problem is it is hard to have the growth you need with higher taxes – particularly if you target the job creators.

      Until we get some party who cares about the actual people and the future of our country more than they care about reelection, post-service speaking fees, or their billionaire backers….we are spinning our wheels. And we certainly can’t afford to be progressive with new programs like the ACA.

      • Stevendad says:

        If cutting government expenditures is impossible then I’ll give some investing advice: buy gold, canned food, water purification equipment and bullets. It could get that bad when the debt time bomb detonated.
        So there is a zero % chance that there will be massive tax increase on the 1% for th next 3&1/2 years. Any other ideas SH?
        And what if you get your wish and there is ironclad evidence of collusion found with Trump and Putin. Then Pence is going to lead to Socialist Nirvana? Really? He’s way more hardass than Trump. Be careful what you wish for…
        Regardless this bickering and high stakes political gambling is dangerous to all of us. It’s fascinating that the Dems have given Putin EXACTLY what he wanted by weakening the perception of America. They are constantly claiming Trump broke the law and colluded or obstructed or whatever before the investigation, during the investigation and likely after the investigation. Can we just let it play out?

        • Peter says:

          And all this is with artificially low interest rates. What happens if we go into a recession – or if interest rates inevitably rise? As we have seen many times before, inflation can snowball dramatically and things get ugly. You have to plan for this sort of thing when times are good – not put more obligations on the backs of the government that you may eventually have to take away.

          Kind of making me laugh with Steven H’s lecture about semantics. Once we incur a bill, he says we must “pay the bills we already incurred”. Yet, reducing taxes on the wealthy is “putting more money in the pockets of those who need it the least”. So we can’t ever undo a program we have established OR reduce taxes on the wealthy. These two things are off limits? That is the very definition of unsustainable.

          • Steven H says:

            The wealthy do not ALWAYS need it least. I would contend that wealthy were overtaxed and under rewarded in the 70s, when share of income to 1% dropped below 10%, and taxes and inflation were high. Reagan just took it way too far in the other direction and started the overspending, undertaxing, deficits dont matter wing of the GOP. Right now, the bubble investor economy does not need more money. The middle class consumer economy does.

          • Peter says:

            With all due respect it is not important to the discussion whether you or I think someone is “overtaxed”. Subjective. And there are not two economies – particularly not defined as “bubble investors” and “middle class consumer”. You could, however, dissect the economy into manufacturing, technology and other sectors. I think we would start to find better solutions doing it that way rather than separating the winners and losers.

          • Steven H says:

            There ARE two economies. And your assessment of everyone not in the 1% as “losers” is a big part of the problem. Most people don’t strive to be, or even want to be in the 1%. Most people want to find productive work at which they can be competent, and to derive sufficient income to have a decent life for themselves and their families. Thats all. Not every restaurant owner wants to own a big chain. Not every engineer or programmer wants to be the CEO. Labeling these people as losers because they dont ever get or even want to join the bubble economy of the wealthiest is wrong in so many ways. The upper 1% derives an outsized percentage benefit from the growing economy while other incomes stagnate or decline. The rich are riding high on the backs of those they oppress. For most Americans, we do not see or reap benefit from that magical economy where incomes grow faster than GDP.

          • Stevendad says:

            I have some reliable information that we will see some significant (though historically modest) inflation soon. From your financial expertise what will that do to give debt?

        • Peter says:

          Not at all what I said. Grabbing for straws now rather than engaging in productive debate….

          • Steven H says:

            Then I have no idea what you meant. There is a lot more than manufacturing in the stagnant economy of the lower 90 or 99%. And the lower 90% ARE all “losers” in one sense: They have lost their rightful income to the hoards of the 1%.

          • Peter says:

            You are the only one calling the bottom 90% losers. I didn’t characterize them that way. A marijuana farmer being a “loser” relative to a corn farmer doesn’t classify 90% of the population. If I ever use the words winner or loser I mean in a strictly competitive sense. And not all winners end up in the 1%, and not all losers end up in the bottom 90. But you keep hearing what you want to hear.

  • Steven H says:

    First, I have to point out the hypocrisy of peter and stevendad in complaining that I am avoiding the hard issues by responding to certain posts, when the posts I am responding to are THEIR POSTS. If the subject is not worth discussing, don’t bring it up. If it is worth discussing, don’t lambast me for joining YOUR DISCUSSION.
    ====
    Note also that you 2 specifically called me out for spending time on the fake news issue and then spent much of the fourth begging me to respond and “admit” things regarding CNN, Project Veritas and fake news. If I dont respond, does that suddenly move frivolity to become another “hard issue” I am avoiding?

      • Peter says:

        First. I have never used the phrase fake news. It’s BS. All news is so overtly biased and unsourced these days that I question it all. I’m not arrogant enough to label something fake or real just because I agree/disagree with it. Secondly, I wasn’t talking about Van Jones. (Honestly because I could care less what he thinks…he is a left version of the blowhards like Hannity on the right – a narrative-spinner, not a reporter or journalist). And even the article you posted about the CNN producer falsely misstated that he didn’t disclose he was from Atlanta. (since retracted)

        And obviously there was editing here – but like Stevendad says – focus on what was said by the producer. There is no misconstruing this. Sure, O’Keefe is a shady character – but so is Michael Moore, Assange and countless others who sometimes uncover information that is useful and real.

        Nobody is denying that Russia may have tried to interfere in the election. (The question is Trump’s level of involvement, to which facts are limited at this point – which is why there is an investigation) I wouldn’t be surprised if they had done so in the past as well. And I can tell you with absolutely certainty that we interfere in other countries’ elections as well. Hell, we might even bomb the crap out of your nation and assassinate your leader just so we can get our guy in. Who needs cyberspace! I’m WAY more concerned with Goldman Sachs, Exxon, Soros, Koch brothers, etc. interfering in our elections. We have ACTUAL PROOF that collusion has gone on there.

        I think Van Jones’ larger point is correct – Dems need to move on from this “nothing burger” and face the actual reasons they lost the election. They have lost touch with their base, mismanaged their campaign, and put another legacy Wall-Street, dishonest, crooked politician up as their nominee making the same promises that their party has been making for decades. A certain percentage of the people wanted change and the Dems missed it. Get over it already and drop this crap (like the birther nonsense) and focus on the mid-term elections. The whole thing is going nowhere.

    • Steven H says:

      So the fake right wing news outlets are all touting a convicted liar and video scammer who was quoted minor producer not in the political news division as some kind of insider and quoted someone else out of context, and I am supposed to accept this as proof that all of the i telligence agencies, all of the concerned congressman, all of the concerned statesmen from past administrations of both parties are wrong about the Russia Trump ties beimg a major national security concern. Just ratings. Just political theater, you say. My God, whos koolaid are you drinking?

      • Steven H says:

        From various factual sources:
        ====
        A Jan. 6, 2017, report out of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said Putin himself “ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election.” Agents also concluded that the Russian government prefered Trump over Clinton, and they intended to undermine Americans’ faith in the electoral system.

        Several Trump associates have done business in Russia. Manafort has long and deep ties to pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine, having worked for Viktor Yanukovych, the country’s pro-Putin former president. Trump’s former campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page advised Russian gas giant Gazprom, and ousted Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn attended a gala for state media network RT with Putin.

        Federal prosecutors have issued grand jury subpoenas to some of Flynn’s associates looking for business records regarding payments Flynn received from Turkey and Russia, according to CNN. House Oversight Committee leaders allege Flynn did not properly disclose those payments, as required by law and Pentagon policy.

        The candidate he was advising last fall was running on a platform of America First, but the client he was working for last fall was paying him more than $500,000 to put Turkey first.

        Michael T. Flynn, who went from the campaign trail to the White House as President Trump’s first national security adviser, filed papers this week acknowledging that he worked as a foreign agent last year representing the interests of the Turkish government in a dispute with the United States.

        Sen. John McCain reacted to the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn by calling it “a troubling indication of the dysfunction of the current national security apparatus” and that it raises more questions about President Donald Trump’s intentions toward Russia.

        Paul Manafort, former campaign chairman for Donald Trump’s successful 2016 presidential run, is under scrutiny for his activities while working for a Russian-backed ex-president of Ukraine, as Trump faces renewed questions about ties between his campaign and the Kremlin.

        In documents released by Serhiy Leshchenko, a journalist and lawmaker, Manafort is alleged to have laundered $750,000, via a Belize-based company, in October 2009. That would have pre-dated Manafort’s work for the Trump campaign.

        “I have found during this investigation that [Manafort] used offshore jurisdictions and falsified invoices to get money from the corrupt Ukrainian leader,” Leshchenko said during a news conference in Kiev on Tuesday, according to The Washington Post.

        Manafort disclosed the total payments his firm received between 2012 and 2014 in a Foreign Agents Registration Act filing that was submitted to the U.S. Justice Department. The report makes Manafort the second former senior Trump adviser to acknowledge the need to disclose work for foreign interests.

        Manafort is one of a number of Trump associates whose campaign activities are being scrutinized by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of a probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Mueller’s team has been consolidating inquiries into matters unrelated to the election.

        Trump shared top-secret details about an Islamic State threat involving laptops on airplanes with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, during a May 10 Oval Office meeting.

        This information is so sensitive, according to media reports, that the United States hasn’t shared it with its allies, much less an adversary like Russia. Trump’s disclosures could jeopardize the United States’ relations with the Middle Eastern partner that procured the intelligence, and it could also put critical intelligence sources in danger.

        It’s illegal to improperly disseminate classified information.

        James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence, said the Watergate scandal that brought down the Nixon presidency “pales” in comparison to allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

        “I lived through Watergate. I was on active duty then in the Air Force, I was a young officer. It was a scary time,” Clapper told reporters Wednesday at Australia’s National Press Club in Canberra, adding that “if you compare the two that Watergate pales, really, in my view, compared to what we’re confronting now.”

        former CIA Director John Brennan just gave us one for the ages.

        Testifying in front of the House Intelligence Committee, former CIA Director John Brennan said that Russia “brazenly interfered” in the 2016 elections and had been in active contact with members of the Trump campaign. Brennan was careful to avoid explicitly saying that the two sides colluded, and said the Trump aides may not have even known the Russians were spies. Then he dropped the hammer.

        “Frequently, people who go along a treasonous path do not know they are on a treasonous path until it is too late,” he said.

        • Peter says:

          And while you are adding all of these “facts”….

          The Clinton foundation has been taking millions from Russia for years, including a $500,000 fee Bill Clinton received in 2010 for a speech in Moscow. Clinton’s own campaign manager failed to report (until March) that he was given 75000 shares of stock from a Kremlin-funded company – which he had quickly moved to a holding company so nobody would find it. Podesta’s brother had a bunch of dealings with the second largest bank in Russia – including lobbying for them. I could go on like you did….but the point is, all of our powerful politicians have histories dealing with leaders of other nations and more importantly – big business around the world. So if having extensive business dealings with Russia is Trump’s damnation, then it is Hillary’s as well – (but not Gary Johnson or Bernie Sanders!) Plus Hillary actually has a track record of being soft on Russia.

          • Peter says:

            Point being…..Russia did not cost Hillary the election. So move on.

          • Steven H says:

            And that is not the point. National security is the point.

          • Steven H says:

            No time to research and rehash Bannons clinton cash movie. She lost, you know. Time to move on. The issue with Trumps campaign people were that so many had under the table back room dealings and Trump STILL does not care about or accept American intelligence agency findings.

          • Peter says:

            I don’t know what Bannon’s Clinton cash movie is. And all I’m saying is that Trump and his camp aren’t the first people to have business dealings with other countries. They also aren’t alone in misleading the public about such dealings. Yet another reason I have little faith in our political leaders.

          • Steven H says:

            Steve Bannon produced a political hack job movie against Hillary called Clinton Cash. It sounded like you were quoting their script.

          • Peter says:

            I’m sure he quoted those facts in a movie trying to trash Hillary…..not surprised at all but wouldn’t know about the movie itself. As you know, I try not to watch that sort of political crap. And just because those facts were in a politically motivated movie doesn’t make them untrue.

      • Steven H says:

        But never mind the concerns of legislators and intelligence professionals about the ethical failings and political incompetency of our national leaders. Its just for CNN ratings.

        • Stevendad says:

          Last I looked Flynn and Manafort were fired, Carter Page had only minor associations. So where is the smoking gun Trump directed interference? And if what the Russians did is so bad (it is) then why does Obama get a pass lobbying against Netanyahu? No coverage on that. Here’s a conundrum for you: Hillary said “one device” in Congressional testimony, Comey said ten. Hillary deleted 30k emails under subpoena. Susan Rice lied over and over. All glazed over at best. Maybe NK nukes will finally get some attention to other news over there. Clapper the one who lied to Congress about metadata? By the way, the President can declassify anything he wants whenever he wants. The info was passed on when it was published in NYT, not by Russians. Both sides stink, but you’re delusional if you think CNN is unbiased.

          • Steven H says:

            Hillary did not delete emails after subpoena. Half the emails were still recovered and A computer service employee did, months after he had been contracted to do so which had been before any subpoena was issued and when there was no problem. He had an oops moment after the subpoena. Even after half of those emails were recovered, nothing was found. Because there was never any malfeasance to be found. 30 years of Republican attack and slander and all they found was beureaucratic misuse of a server and a few mislabeled markings on unclassified emails that made them look classified.

          • Peter says:

            There is literally nobody I know in intelligence or at State department that agrees with your dismissive view of “a few mislabeled markings on a few emails”.

          • Steven H says:

            You at least see that Comey said nothing done was prosecutable. And he was no friend to Clinton. It was all extremely overblown. There was more actionable intelligence mishandled by her Gop accusers in their investigation, and more by Trump in his first months in office, than on the email server.

          • Peter says:

            The fact that we spend all of our time dealing with all these “scandals” is the problem. Again, there was NONE of this around Obama or George W Bush. They were at least “clean” presidents. Crazy to think the two choices we had in 2016 both have scandals that involve national security risks. And congress is full of this stuff as well. When are we going to finally move on from Democrats and Republicans?

      • Stevendad says:

        It was said… Maybe he doesn’t attend meetings with editorial staff, maybe he does. I suppose you know that. WaPo has no ax to grind either. And the DNC leaks were for the most part denied, but heads rolled and eventually they were accepted. As a Socialist, I would think you’d be mad Bernie got so royally screwed.

        • Steven H says:

          What was said was that journalism is a business, and ratings command coverage. No surprise to anybody. Also collusion is not yet proved. Yah. So? Also that one guys opinion is that it sort of a witch hunt. None of that has any bearing on the extraordinary ties, described by intelligence agencies, not CNN, between trump campaign folks and russia. It is extraordinary to me that you persist in obsessing that ‘he’ said ‘it’meaning that some individual in a news organization has an opinion, as misquoted and selectively edited by the sleaziezt of right wing radical activists, that you agree with, and that somehow negates an entire intelligence agency and congressional investigation.

    • Stevendad says:

      Please state one time I avoided answering your point. Answering does not mean agreeing BTW. You have avoided many. Just look back to the beginning of June.

  • Steven H says:

    I dont understand the rhetorical power of the phrase ” picking winners and losers” for economic conservatives. If government chooses exxon over shell, i see the issue. But setting the rulrs of the economy and tax code is something else. Not only is it entirely fitting for government to regulate the economy and tax code, it is one of its most important functions. Certain tax exemptions provide motivations and reward for things like home ownership, child rearing, energy management etc, but to object to government involvement in such incentives is to assume that capitalism is perfect and will manage everything by itself. There is ample evidence to dispute that view. Government managemnt through rules and tax incentives is what every government does and has always done. It is not picking winners and losers. It is preventing winner take all.

    • Stevendad says:

      Why is it the function of government to encourage marriage? Or children? Etc, etc. And most winners and losers are chosen by whose pockets get lined and who gets lobbied. I know this is past most, but I’m trying to make a point. Where do we draw the line? Who is so wise to yield such power?

      • Steven H says:

        We as a society have made these decisions. For example, the propagation of the species is important to society and is an expensive task. Just imagine if we were to make child rearing so expensive that no one chose to do it. Imagine how the economy would deteriorate when one generation aged into retirement and the next was a fraction of the size. It is useful to set benefits and incentives to encourage parenting. I am aleays amused at the arguments of singles or childless couples that they should not pay school taxes because they have no children. I would argue the opposite. Parents take on the overwhelming majority of expenses in preparing the next generation. It would be entirely appropriate for schooling costs to be paid for by the childless workers. Not that that will ever happen, but it would not be out of the realm of fairness.

        • Steven H says:

          A word was lost. It would be appropriate for schooling to be,paid for SOLELY by the childless couples.

          • Stevendad says:

            Just don’t know why it is the purview of the Federal government. We have come to the point it is so toxic and potentially destructive we need to ask about EVERYTHING it does. I know those aren’t going anywhere, just making a point….

          • Steven H says:

            I just disagree. Clean water, good schools, healthy population, ae all worthy social goals. None are managed well by capitalism. Government takes on the tasks that are inhetently inefficient and costly and inappropriate for capitalism. Cutting out funding for essential social function is what damages society. Obsrssion with holding govt to be the smallest per capita of all major nations and bowing to the excesses of the rich so they can hoard weth too large for them to manage, does no one any good.

    • Peter says:

      Don’t understand the phrase “picking winners and losers” either. That darn straw man needs to quit saying that.

      • Steven H says:

        I believe that was stevendad. He believes tax incentives pick winners and losers. What he omits that every policy picks winners and losers relative to some alternate policy. There is no neutral policy.

        • Peter says:

          Semantics. But the government can encourage things through taxation. The corn subsidies are a great example. This doesn’t make all corn farmers “winners” or “losers”. But I suppose it does make a corn farmer a “winner” over a marijuana farmer.

          • Stevendad says:

            Or corn syrup over sugar which may be a big part
            of “obesity epidemic”. UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES.

  • Peter says:

    Was just thinking how Steven H is so indicative of the problem we have with our society and the ongoing debates we engage in. There are many threads in here that we have all been active in – and he is no doubt busy (as we all are) and can’t reply instantly to everything. Yet, he comes back after being going three days and feels compelled to reply to James’ “checkmate” post, the Stevendad comment about “taking less away” rather than “cutting taxes of the rich”, and the “fake news CNN” comment from Stevendad.

    No remark or perspective on the situation in Venezuela or Illinois. No further remark on the possibility that there is mounting evidence that the media is overblowing the Russia/Trump thing (the same way he feels they did with Benghazi or Hillary’s emails). No further remark on the Catholic church being a dangerous, more powerful institution than Scientology – and the thought that ALL churches should pay taxes. No further remark on Stevendad’s actual proposal to raise more tax revenues from other sources. Nothing more on stopping law breakers who don’t pay taxes like Stevendad has pointed out. Nothing more on the study I posted saying that taxation has a minimal effect on income disparity and that we should explore other options.

    Trump plays the same game – let’s stay away from the real issues and focus on rhetoric and politics. The media loves this – let’s talk about Bernie Sanders’ wife, Chris Christie tanning on the beach, Trump’s tweets about Morning Joe, Anthony Weiner’s sexcapades, etc instead of actually having a REAL open minded debate about solutions.

    The longer this goes on, the more I think …. they (the government and the big businesses that control it) don’t want solutions. They want us mired in this stupid divisive political rhetoric because they don’t want to fix the problems. These problems line their pockets and give them power. It doesn’t matter if they are Democrats or Republicans, they are all part of a larger charade that isn’t motivated by helping the lot in life for the American people. And unfortunately, this really hurts those bottom two quintiles who are far more reliant on the government for their safety, security and livelihood.

    Also – If you haven’t already, check out Putin’s recent interview…. http://www.anonews.co/putin-deep-state/

    • Steven H says:

      No need to reply point by point, but I will point out that I have already responded to many of the things you say I have not responded to (eg russia), I have completed my opinion on others (church) and do not feel compelled to add to my stated opinion, and I have no particular interest in commenting about the dismal politics and economics of Venezuela as I have neither advocated for them nor studied them. And rather than accuse me of being the problem with society because I do not respond on command to your every provocation, perhaps you should consider your assimption that I should obey your whims as a big part of the problem. I will answer posts when I have a reply ready and an opinion worth dtating, thank you very much. You are always welcome to press me, politely, over a topic I have overlooked. Your post here was not polite in the least.

      • Stevendad says:

        You do avoid the hard points a lot. Go back a month or so and see where I ended with a counterpoint and you never replied. I think that’s where Peter is going…

        • Peter says:

          There is a lot of that…. sorry you took it as impolite but I think it bears calling out….

        • Peter says:

          And my statement was more about the larger problem of choosing politics over real solutions. I think there is some serious truth there…even if you don’t think you are a part of it.

        • Steven H says:

          I have never avoided a hard point. Never. Sometimes you guys have an opinion on something that I have no opinion on, and so I am silent. Sometimes, often these days, I am on my phone and cannot easy read the long articles, so I wait til later. Some items I have a ready reply and some I dont. Sometimes I just lose track of all the posts. Stevendad, I have no idea how to identify some counterpoint to an unnamed argument a month ago. Explain. But I dont think reticence to offer my research and opinion, has,really been the issue. Peter, you have declined repeated requests to specifically clarify your opinion on multiple subjects. I think your accusation toward me is misplaced.

          • Peter says:

            Happy to clarify anything you like. And most threads end with me commenting so I hardly think that is my issue….. I think the bottom line is – between the Brookings study, and the experiences of Illinois, California and even more so – Venezuela, and countless other threads pointing out the inefficiency and waste of government……we have shown without a doubt that raising taxes on the rich is not the solution to income disparity or improving the economy.

          • Peter says:

            And maybe you should educate yourself on what happened in Venezuela and countless other countries. And what is happening in Illinois and countless other states. You might pump the brakes a little bit on your “take more money out of the pockets of the 1%” panacea.

  • James says:

    Checkmate…. 🙂

  • Stevendad says:

    How is cutting a tax you created a few years before “giving money to the rich.” Wouldn’t the correct term be “taking less away?”

    • Peter says:

      Lol….no kidding.

    • Steven H says:

      Lets not play semantics games. It does not advance the conversation, and just plays into the political distortions created by left and right. We can be smarter than that. We are comparing baseline conditions. When the proposed baseline cuts taxes on the rich that were established to finance health care, and the same proposal creates further cuts in health care to balance the equation, and the benefit cuts fall primarily on the old and sick, it is reasonable to portray this as a shift from one account, health care, to the other, tax cuts for wealthy. This is neutral and accurate language.
      Using terminology like “letting the rich keep more of tjeir own money” is deceptive and political. As wiser commentators than I have noted, the debts of the government are the debts of the people, and the money that is held back from the government belongs to the government and its debtors, not the people who withhold it. Such is the nature of the contract we have with government, that we are obliged to pay for it. A tax cut to the rich, in todays economy, cannot be defended in any economic terms. It is not surplus to the government, nor is it useful to the economy to hand it to the rich. It is political bounty only. Your use of semantical games to pretend rich are somehow owed this money back from the government, is beneath the dignity of this conversation.

      • Peter says:

        My side hurts from reading this post. Are you serious? YOu are the one with the rhetoric, my friend….you have said many times that the rich have benefited most from the economic recovery so they deserve to pay more. Or that they “can best afford it”. Yet another lecture that you should apply to yourself. That said, I agree completely – it is political semantic games. The entire Federal budget must be cut and government should get out of the business world as much as possible. Anything else is noise.

      • Steven H says:

        The rich have benefitted most and are able to pay more. Thats a fact. Not a semantic game. Letting the rich keep their money is a political semantic and rightwing propaganda phrase. Nothing funny about it.

        • Stevendad says:

          This is bizarre to me. The government owns everything they take and we have to beg to get it back? Theyhave complete confiscatory control over our income? How is this different from a monarchy? I know you will say we have elected government. However, if you look closely the last 28 years have been presidents from Harvard and Yale and 20 out of the 28 years have been within two families. The idea of representative government is passing quickly. I can see that you truly believe “you didn’t build that”. The drawback to your grand scheme is eventually people will quit working hard and taking risks. This is the beginning of the end of socialist utopia.

        • Steven H says:

          You extrapolate too far. We are in aneconomic ditch on the right. We dont have to drive all the way onto an economic ditch on the left. We need to find the optimum spot in the middle. I know you think we are there but we are not. The stats of high income disparity and the current political and social unrest prove we are in a ditch and we need to move to center.

          • Peter says:

            I hardly think we are in an economic ditch. We are in year 9 of the longest bull market in quite some time. Unemployment and interest rates are low. Inflation is minimal. There are problems but hardly a ditch. And hardly partisan.

          • Steven H says:

            Yes the bubble economy of the stock market, the investors and the 1 % is doing well. The economy of the other 99% is less favorable. Hence, political unrest.

          • Peter says:

            I think it is far more easily defined by saying “the unskilled labor and manufacturing economy is struggling mightily” while technology, financial services and energy industries are thriving. Defining it as the 1% vs. the 99% is a self-fulfilling prophecy. But I’ve said this before…..you have every right to see it through whatever prism you choose. I just don’t think the solutions lie in that perspective – as your replies to our posts have really shown.

        • Steven H says:

          And yes we do have representative government. And yes it is an imperfect machine in need of consistent watching and maintenance. As always. And yes we owe for the debts of the govt. When you buy something the money you promised is no longer yours. You owe it.

          • Stevendad says:

            A ditch CREATED by government interference (subprime lending was the initial fuel) (healthcare mess created by government wage controls in the 50’s, excessive regulation and excessive MC /MA promises) (debt fueled by global overreach) (strangling growth by competing for funds (with $20T debt), overregulation, Dodd Frank). Look at what Carly Fiorina said: “The government created a real estate boom when Republicans and Democrats together pushed home ownership even to people who couldn’t afford it, she said. When the bubble began to burst, the government under President George W. Bush forced larger banks to buy smaller ones in an effort to solve the problem.”
            And you want to give them MORE money? I am not advocating defaulting on our debt, only to slow the massive growth of government. I’ll ask you again SH, what incentive is there for any part of the government to spend less? Politicians get elected by spreading out the treasury in crony capitalism and the bureaucracy increases its power by hiring and spending. There are no real brakes. Except for us when we say ENOUGH. But the supporters of both parties are pulled away from the real issue by all this other crap. The biggest chance for our destruction as a society is a debt that overwhelms EVERYTHING.

          • Stevendad says:

            Speaking of semantics, if I take your car and you demand it back am I “giving you a car” or “not taking it away”. This has the same logic flow you espoused.

          • Stevendad says:

            There are so many entrenched forces that we have strayed from representative government. The Establishment runs all in what is approaching an oligarchy. Peter is absolutely right, we need another party or two. Since you’re a big fan of how things have been, SH, at least acknowledge the government functioned much better under a de facto 3 party system for a century (Rebups, Liberal Dems, Conservative Dems). The total loss of voice by more conservative Dems (like me) has lead to imbalances that are not only harmful to the country, but killing the party (worst shape in 100+ years). And the leadership wants to silence us more. Ergo Trump and Bernie.

          • Peter says:

            Then if Trump pushes through his wall, we should go into debt for years to pay for it? Because it Is a bill we incurred? We can’t review, reform, replace or eliminate prior financial obligations? Lol

  • Stevendad says:

    SH. Gotta be a little hard to defend CNN. It’s pretty clear this is all political theater to drive ratings. Have said that for several months now. Too bad we don’t have any real problems to try to solve… As far as witch hunts go, I assume you think Susan Rice is as clean as the driven snow?

    • Steven H says:

      “This is all political theater.” I think we can be clever enough to see through ratings and political games to distinguish real news, like the corruption and ethical failings of Flynn and Manafort, and the dishonesty of Trump administration, vs the fake news of Benghazi conspiracies and pizzagate schemes.

      • Peter says:

        Evidently not!

        • Stevendad says:

          Flynn clearly made mistakes, so did Hill with Benghazi and emails. It all stinks to high heaven. Again, it’s a good thing we don’t have real issues…

      • Stevendad says:

        And yet, as always, you are blind to anything that Obama, Hillary, Susan rice etc. did. Regardless of the truth of Manafort and Flynn, even the insiders at CNN admit that this is all for ratings and money. Look up the Veritas.com videos of a producer and want to be on your talents.

        • Stevendad says:

          One of the on the air talents, Van Jones. Dictation butchered that a bit.

        • Steven H says:

          It makes me ill to think about watching anyting from veritas. They are so slimy and dishonest.

          • Stevendad says:

            Ah yes, like CNN. The Righties think CNN is worse. The real question (like the continuously glossed over point about DNC emails) is DID THEY SAY IT.

          • Stevendad says:

            At least once acknowledge the uncomfortable part of what I said. Obama stared in the camera and lied over and over about “you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan (paraphrased)”. I guarantee you my patients remember that when they pay 3 times the premium for plans with 3 times the deductible. And vote and donate accordingly. And Susan Rice is in inveterate liar. Not caught in a slip of the tongue or a twisting of an answer to a vague question. And Hillary lied many times, including to Congress, about emails and Blackberries, etc per Comey. Is Loretta Lynch squeaky clean in her interactions with Comey and Bill Clinton? Acknowledging that this mess is spread on both sides, perhaps equally, will begin to free your mind from the propaganda.

          • Peter says:

            Agreed. That would be a huge step for Steven H if he could make it

  • Peter says:

    Just wanted to pin this up to the top…..regarding Steven H classifying Scientology as a dangerous cult vs. the Catholic church….

    What if I told you that Scientology hoarded billions of dollars – all earning tax free interest and growth – and with NO public record of holdings, transactions, etc. What if they also had a museum full of many of the greatest treasures in art history that they confiscated during the wars fought on the behalf of religion? What if Scientology had entire convents full of men and women sworn to celibacy and silence for their religion? What if they had an institutionalized system of rape and molestation – that when reported was largely quieted and covered up? What if they used this money to influence elections around the world and support causes that supported their religious beliefs? What if the US gave Scientology the city of Los Angeles as its’ own sovereign nation, where they could govern and rule as they please and be removed from all oversight by the American government?

    Scientology is the least of our problems when it comes to religion. Catholicism and other major religions are just as much cults, shams, tax shelters, etc. as Scientology – you are just USED to them by now.

    • Stevendad says:

      I liked my Church of the NFL. I’m Libertarian enough to say take away all religious tax breaks. And marriage penalties/ bonuses. And child bonuses. And over 65 bonuses. And mortgage interest subsidies… All of these in a way pick “winners and losers”. Not the role of government IMHO. Protect us, find minimalist rules for interaction, support the very poor and otherwise STAY THE HELL OUT OF MY LIFE.
      Think it through, why is an NFL based church not as valid? We can have good books, liturgy and sing songs. And LOTS of fellowship! And wine (maybe beer) and bread (maybe pretzels). It teaches team work, reward for effort, honesty and fairness. Just a little bit tongue in cheek, but maybe you see my point…

  • Steven H says:

    Stevrndad, I may be giving short shrift to your VAT tax plan because I really dont understand (a) why you want it, (b) how it would be implemented, and (c) who the new tax money would come from.
    ===
    I sort of understand the desire to bring hidden or black market economies into the taxable realm. But from what I perceive of your plan, it further punishes the lower half of all earners in the country who already suffer, adds more govt complication, and could not possibly bring in as much money ($250B) as you suggest. But perhPs I misunderstand your plan. How would it work, and which quintiles would new revenue primarily come from?

    • Stevendad says:

      $2.5T underground economy x 10%. So $250 B. And sales taxes are 90+% efficient as collected by businesses. Increase EIC and decrease income taxes to offset increase spending dollar for dollar for estimated VAT spending. Close to 100% for poor, less for rich would be assumed spent (so poor would get ~10% more EIC and rich say 5% and very rich 2% less income taxes (just guesstimates to illustrate idea). Revenue would probably come from bottom two quintiles, but only if they earn illegally. Doesn’t kick them off benefits they really don’t deserve though. Now they get double bonus: tax free income + benefits they don’t deserve. I’ll never forget the diamonds and gold on a drug dealer getting Medicaid when I was an intern…

      • Stevendad says:

        And tax expatriated money that doesn’t have a legitimate income source (Like a pay stub).

      • Steven H says:

        I think your numbers are vastly exaggerated as far as income potential. Consider the following.
        Using tax foundation AGI numbers from 2014, total income is only 9.7T. your $2.5T estimate of underground economy is over 25% of all income and seems excessive. Do you have a source? A total WAG would put it closer to 10% of whatever the lower 50% make. In 2014 total AGI income of lower 50% was $1.1T and even with an added 10% that is about 100B extra of hidden economy, since lower 50% effective tax rate is about 3.5%, the lost income tax is 3.5% of the 100B, or about $3.5B, far short of the $250B you are aiming for. It seems obvious to me that you will not easily get $250B from the half of the population that only has around $1.2T of income total. Why not look instead to the upper 1% who, at $2T, have about twice the income of the entire lower half, but spread among a much smaller population.

  • Peter says:

    http://www.nber.org/papers/w13548.pdf
    Interesting study backing up what most of us already knew….that raising taxes significantly on the rich can actually slow the economy.

    From a recent article I saw online:
    How should Congress make up for the lost revenue? By raising taxes that improve rather than harm economic efficiency. The obvious example is the so-called Cadillac tax on high-cost health insurance policies.
    This tax is an imperfect antidote to the current tax exemption for employer-paid health insurance premiums. By waiving taxes on the premiums, the current law subsidizes health insurance for those who obtain coverage through their employer, so it encourages purchase of overly generous provisions like low deductibles.
    The public hates high deductible plans, but they do exactly what insurance is supposed to do — protect the insured from large, unpredictable expenses, not reimburse people for routine or moderate health spending. This subsidy incentivizes care for which the costs exceed the health benefits, and this increased demand puts upward pressure on prices and therefore spurs health cost inflation.
    The best fix of this feature of the tax code would be repeal of the tax exemption. According to the Office of Management and Budget, that would generate more than $200 billion per year in additional revenue, while making the tax and health care systems more efficient.

  • Peter says:

    http://money.cnn.com/2017/06/28/technology/gm-engineer-training/index.html

    Corporate America screaming for the need to change how we educate our children. Will the government respond in time? They can start programs and spend all the money we want, but until our core education systems adapt we will continue to have this imbalance across sectors of our economy.

  • Peter says:

    The Venezuela story needs to be brought into this as well…. people like Michael Moore and Bernie Sanders used to gush about Chavez/Maduro – and how they redistributed their country’s massive oil revenues to the public. They had free education and health care for all of their citizens.

    Spending tons of money on social programs always boosts popularity of a candidate. Chavez was no different. But by doing this, he turned many private enterprises into inefficient, state-run bureaucracies. Eventually this led to price controls, inflation – and when oil prices fell – economic collapse.

    Saw this quote in an article – “The most dysfunctional aspects of the American economy are those in which the government actually operates enterprises (public schools, VA hospitals, housing projects, etc.) or in which its financial role is so pervasive that it is effectively a business manager (Medicaid). Government-run schools in Philadelphia fail for the same reason as government-run groceries in Caracas: Central planning is an impossibility.” Just food for thought….

    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/422084/why-sweden-isnt-venezuela-kevin-d-williamson

    • Peter says:

      …and Illinois continues to be another astounding example of how redistribution, saying yes to everything, not balancing budgets, etc. ends up. Overspend and overpromise and no amount of tax increases can fix it. The end result is what is happening in Illinois – no money for children’s programs, Meals on Wheels, AIDS patient treatment, schools, etc. Just a quick google will fill you in on the carnage throughout the state. Unless there are some controls on spending this is how the story ends.

  • Stevendad says:

    The first comment went AWOL. Was commenting on Bernie Sanders’ wife being investigated.

    • Peter says:

      No worry. All the coverage of this story is AWOL too. 🙂

      • Steven H says:

        The coverage is there. All of the conservative media is jumping to guilt assumptions and all of the mainstream media is appropriately reporting in a neutral and reserved manner until the legal process comes to some conclusion. The story is hardly AWOL just because the NY Times isn’t shouting Lock Him Up.

        • Peter says:

          I think they should report in a neutral and reserved manner until the legal process comes to a conclusion. Just like the Russia stuff should be handled.

          • Stevendad says:

            I think Russia Trump investigation has been a model of temperance and restraint in waiting for hard facts….

  • Stevendad says:

    It’s some ANIMALS are more equal than others. I misquoted. Shouldn’t rely on my memory from 1973 I guess. Interesting that Orwell was a Democratic Socialist. I haven’t read a great deal, but it seems that he was singling out Russia and failed to recognize the whole concept USUALLY leads to totalitarianism through the concentration of power. Human nature takes over from there…

  • James says:

    Looks like you guys are finally getting Steven H to see the errors of his ways. Persistence pays off! Think this whole long dialogue really shows how complicated the solutions are and how important it is to be open minded and consider everything – rather than playing politics. Things like raising taxes on the rich or cutting spending might make people feel better, but don’t always have the desired effect. If the desired effect is to improve the economy for ALL citizens, then the solutions are many and more subtle than just taxing the rich. In fact, as that study you all posted illustrates – that may not even do anything.

    • Stevendad says:

      In my business we have to stop the bleeding AND give blood. It won’t help to raise taxes if we don’t control spending.

    • Stevendad says:

      interesting news about Bernie Sanders. His wife is being investigated and it looks like he used his influence to get the loan in question through. Hmmmm… Some pigs ARE more equal after all..
      Of course a Repub turned her in, but we’ve never heard of politically motivated investigations!
      Again, the whole thing stinks to high heaven when you step back and look at it objectively.

      • Steven H says:

        Your getting a lot of aerobic exercise with your jumping to conclusions. So Hillary and Sanders are criminals guilty of any and all accusations based on no evidence and Trump’s campaign people are innocent of all wrongdoing despite damning evidence. Interesting.

        • Peter says:

          All of them are innocent until proven otherwise.

        • Stevendad says:

          No, just stated facts. Sanders strong armed bank in meetings per those who were there. No assumption of guilt whatsoever.

          You missed my point, it all stinks. The whole Washington mess.

    • Steven H says:

      Perhaps we are making progress. You agree that reducing high income disparity would be good for most Americans and good for the economy?

      • Peter N says:

        We have already covered this. You don’t care about high incomes if every body is poor but equal. What you want is to extort money from those that can.
        Refute my assertion.
        You keep repeating the same bitch about inequality but the truth is you simply want the money from the top 1%.

        • Steven H says:

          I would refute your point if there was a coherent argument in there in your post somewhere. There isn’t.

          • Peter N says:

            Can’t you understand English? All you want to do is to take from those that can and give to those that can’t. It isn’t about being equal. Being equal doesn’t fit into your scheme of things. If everyone was equally poor then what?

  • Stevendad says:

    “No supposed evidence against Trump’s campaign when Congressmen on both sides of aisle and all the intelligence agencies say otherwise.” This was false according to EVERYTHING I’ve seen. Please give the specific evidence of Trump campaign collusion with Russia. (If so, we can share a Pulitzer!!!)

    • Steven H says:

      ONCE AGAIN: Abundant evidence is against trump campaign people accepting russian money and/or communicating inappropriately with Russia and then hiding and/or lying about it. Additional evidence abounds about Russian interference with our election systems.
      I dont understand the head in the sand attitude that says the evidence does not currently prove collusion or changed votes and so we should just ignore all of the other very serious Russia issues.

      • Peter says:

        Even CNN says right now that the “evidence” they have is largely BS. (Have you seen the unauthorized film of the CNN executive producer talking candidly with a reporter?) They basically say they keep covering this story just because of ratings. It even beat out the Paris climate agreement story…..even if there is nothing real to grab on there, they are being told from the top to continue to talk about it. This will get far higher ratings than talking about Bernie’s wife.

      • Stevendad says:

        There is no evidence of collusion. Per Comey, DiFi, Schumer, Pelosi. They all keep saying “investigation ” not evidence. Put an article together with proof and op ed it to USA Today then, because its all been circumstantial conjecture. I do not reject that it COULD have happened, though seems unlikely given the resources devoted and no clear evidence.

        From the book “shattered” by two embedded journalists in Clinton campaign:
        The book further highlights how Clinton’s Russia-blame-game was a plan hatched by senior campaign staffers John Podesta and Robby Mook, less than “within twenty-four hours” after she conceded:

        That strategy had been set within twenty-four hours of her concession speech. Mook and Podesta assembled her communications team at the Brooklyn headquarters to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up. For a couple of hours, with Shake Shack containers littering the room, they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.

        The Clinton camp settled on a two-pronged plan — pushing the press to cover how “Russian hacking was the major unreported story of the campaign, overshadowed by the contents of stolen e-mails and Hillary’s own private-server imbroglio,” while “hammering the media for focusing so intently on the investigation into her e-mail, which had created a cloud over her candidacy,” the authors wrote.

        “The press botched the e-mail story for eighteen months,” one person who was part of the strategy is quoted as saying. “Comey obviously screwed us, but the press created the story.”
        So seems some of this may be sour grapes. All seems to come down to who you ask. The difference between you and me is you have made a decision based on limited flat and I’m waiting to see some REAL PROOF. Again, if you have any, this would be “All the President’s Men II”.

  • Stevendad says:

    Current California state and local debt equals $390 billion

  • Stevendad says:

    Health op ed, first two paragraphs:

    It is difficult to avoid hearing health care insurance discussions everywhere in the media and impossible (without paying a penalty) to avoid paying increased health insurance premiums. I’d like to give some perspectives from my experience over the past 35 years in the business. I am a practicing internal medicine physician for nearly 30 years and have worked in all the major practice models: government (as a resident for almost 3 years), HMO group (12 years), private practice (13 years) and hospital employed (4+ years). It is my observation that health insurance coverage issues are far and away not the biggest problem with our health care system from my perspective where the rubber hits the road.
    So let’s start with the good stuff. We have the best health care in the history of humans the United States IF you can afford it. This is the tip of the spear if money is no object. That’s why those to whom the costs are relatively small (even in the millions) come from around the world to here for care. About 65-70% of us have largely the same care, though Medicare is eroding in terms of access (Medicaid already largely has). About 18% are on access limited Medicaid and 13% uninsured (Kaiser Foundation 2013). I have used the metaphor of cars: 2/3rds driving Cadillacs, 1/6 driving Chevrolets and 1/6th hitchhiking. Most new discoveries are made in the US by our drug and device companies or by foreign companies financed by high US drug and device charges. Our doctors and nurses are recognized as equal to any in the world. Their training is accepted largely around the world.

  • Stevendad says:

    Interesting study from NIH. Insurance status does NOT affect mortality in a statistical analysis:
    Health Insurance Coverage and Mortality Revisited
    Richard Kronick

    Additional article information

    Abstract
    Objective
    To improve understanding of the relationship between lack of insurance and risk of subsequent mortality.

    Data Sources
    Adults who reported being uninsured or privately insured in the National Health Interview Survey from 1986 to 2000 were followed prospectively for mortality from initial interview through 2002. Baseline information was obtained on 672,526 respondents, age 18–64 at the time of the interview. Follow-up information on vital status was obtained for 643,001 (96 percent) of these respondents, with approximately 5.4 million person-years of follow-up.

    Study Design
    Relationships between insurance status and subsequent mortality are examined using Cox proportional hazard survival analysis.

    Principal Findings
    Adjusted for demographic, health status, and health behavior characteristics, the risk of subsequent mortality is no different for uninsured respondents than for those covered by employer-sponsored group insurance at baseline (hazard ratio 1.03, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.95–1.12). Omitting health status as a control variable increases the estimated hazard ratio to 1.10 (95 percent CI, 1.03–1.19). Also omitting smoking status and body mass index increases the hazard ratio to 1.20 (95 percent CI, 1.15–1.24). The estimated association between lack of insurance and mortality is not larger among disadvantaged subgroups; when the analysis is restricted to amenable causes of death; when the follow-up period is shortened (to increase the likelihood of comparing the continuously insured and continuously uninsured); and does not change after people turn 65 and gain Medicare coverage.

    • Stevendad says:

      Blows a hole in your “lack of insurance leads to death” argument, doesn’t it SH? They specifically refute the IOM excessive death study you quoted. Clearly a trend I’ll admit… but in a strict statistical sense, no. And this is from the govt you love and believe in so much.

    • Steven H says:

      Long response seems to have gotten lost in the ether. Suffice it to say, that:
      1) a search of terms: NIH health insurance mortality, yielded 8 NIH library articles from various journals (several of which were studies) on the first page, one of which was your Kronick study, and 7 others which supported that lack of insurance is tied to increased mortality and/or declined health care, even after accounting for other factors.
      2) These are NIH library articles, not NIH or government studies, necessarily.
      3) These include studies preceding, following, and in same year as the Kronick study.
      4) One study expressing a minority result contradicting multiple other valid studies reaching other conclusions, hardly “blows away” a majority conclusion.

      • Peter says:

        I do think it is reasonable to expect that more uninsured people die than those insured – if for no other reason than the absence of preventive care and checkups. All the research I’ve seen puts this number around 50k annually….the people that die without health insurance. The NIH study even mentions this.

        While nobody would advocate for the killing of 50k Americans, it is important to have some perspective on this. This is a relatively small number of people and hardly a massive enough number to mandate expensive nationwide policies. Plus, some of these people may have died even if they did have care, particularly if the quality of that care was low.

        I’m for a universal health care option regardless. I don’t think anyone should have to go without some low-level base of care for both emergencies and preventive needs. I just think it should be ONE option – like public transportation. I think you must have a rail and bus system to help those without the means….but I still want to drive my car since I can afford it. That’s about all I care about here….

        • Steven H says:

          So, peter, stevendad, all 3 of us are in favor of a universal healthcare option. Thats good to know, and Im glad we have come to a point of agreement.

          • Peter says:

            I think it needs to be much more low level than what they are offering though….and I think it needs to be a true public option, not one that panders to insurance companies and big pharma.

          • Stevendad says:

            Yes, but minimizing the ability of Congress to steal and the Bureaucracy to feed on it. ($2.5T is a lot of money!)

  • Stevendad says:

    A little Millennial input couldn’t hurt.

  • Stevendad says:

    OK RD, time for a comment….

  • Stevendad says:

    I realize 10% of $2.5 T is an optimistic projection, but sales taxes are easy to collect as you are dealing with larger (businesses) entities who mostly have zero incentive to cheat. Just like income taxes are based on businesses withholding and people getting back. The rebates are simple to taxpayers. Just build in an assumed income percentage spent to tax tables. No cost there. No, won’t be fair to every taxpayer, but t paying zero is much less fair. I’m always interested on your sympathy or law breakers. Again, suppose everyone just stopped paying taxes? Ok with you?

    • Stevendad says:

      Of law breakers

    • Steven H says:

      Lets assume the missing revenue you are chasing is mostly from lowest 2 quintiles, which is where it seems to be. (Correct me if I am wrong.) They are not charged income tax anyway and they are least able to pay more. I just dont understand your aggressive stance toward squeezing the poor for their pocket change. It’s all very authoritarian and vengeful, and not very productive from my perspective. Why is it so offensive to you that taxes on poor are primarily from non federal income taxes? Arent the poor poor enough already? Why are you so intent on making them poorer? How does that fit with your idea of fairness?

      • Stevendad says:

        They are earning this money criminally. Why do you have so much sympathy for them? Furthermore, they often get benefits they would otherwise not deserve. This is double dipping from those who play the system correctly and pay their taxes and don’t defraud to get benefits. Steven H I’m always puzzled why you have so much sympathy for the law breakers.

  • Stevendad says:

    Re/ VAT. $250 billion is a lot to me…

    • Stevendad says:

      1/3 of our deficit is piddling?

      • Peter says:

        Could raise about $75 billion just taxing churches. About time we did that. To quote Steven H – let’s take the money from those who have the most, who can most afford it. The Catholic church is at the top of that list.

        • Stevendad says:

          Haven’t thought about churches too much, but not sure why Harvard needs a tax free $35B endowment. Several others have very large endowmenta as well. Maybe we should wealth tax these unless returns dedicated to students.

        • Peter says:

          Another good point. Much better than going after people making $100k-$500k – many of which are small business owners and put a lot of money back into our economy. They just started taxing churches in Montreal….hope this becomes a trend. The right will resist this like crazy….. and the left will probably resist it if we tax mosques too. 🙂

        • Steven H says:

          I think taxes on some church entities … schools, hospitals, investment property, would be appropriate. Basic church function of established mainstream churches could remain tax free. We ought to omit scientology somehow. Legal definitions get difficult in actually accomplishing this.

        • Peter says:

          Picking on Scientology and not Christianity or Islam seems awfully discriminatory…..

          • Steven H says:

            To my view, scientology is a moneymaking cult which destroys families and lives with their controlling oppressive behavior. I concede that from an objective legal standpoint it is difficult to distinguish crazy hucksters from sincere believers. I visited Robert Tilton’s “Christian” huckster church, and some other evangelical services which seem quite a sham. None are quite so devious or socially destructive as the scientology cult, however.

          • Peter says:

            And the Catholic church doesn’t do this? Institutionalized molestation doesn’t do it for you? Don’t make me list the countless wars that have been started and lives that have been lost over the last 2000 years because of Christianity…. Christianity is far more dangerous and socially destructive than Scientology – just based on the sheer numbers that it touches.

          • Steven H says:

            I have gripes with various Christian denominations and various non Christian sects. But scientology is so clearly a sham of a sci fi writers retirement plan and a contrived fraudulent pyramid scheme, it stands alone.

          • Peter says:

            I disagree. But understand why you think this. The Catholic church has been around for centuries, while Scientology isn’t even 75 years old. I would argue that the Catholic church is far scarier, a far bigger threat to society. They have immense wealth (estimated upwards of $10 billion in cash alone), their own sovereign nation, global political influence, the ability to cover up institutionalized child abuse, and none of their numbers are public…..everything is held secretly under the guise of religion.

    • Steven H says:

      I missed how you are going to get $250 billion in taxes on the poor.

      • Stevendad says:

        $2.5 T (CBO estimated this in 2013, I estimated a little inflation and rounded) x 10% = $250B. 100% from those making money illegally (not necessarily doing illegal things)

  • Stevendad says:

    SH. Way back you mentioned the Verrazano Narrows bridge. Really a cool video I agree. It demonstrates harmonic oscillation with phased reinforcement if memory from 1978 serves. Consider it as an analogy to our government. Nixon /Ford modestly (at most) Conservative, Carter modestly Liberal (in totality, never would have considered gay marriage for example), Reagan/ Bush I quite Conservative, Clinton modestly Liberal, Bush modestly Conservative, Obama quite Liberal, Trump remains to be seen, but seems all over the place when economics and morals are both considered. Will this “harmonic oscillation” bring down our bridge (nation)? Again, another argument (as previously stated) for more local and state control where the back and forth is much less.

    • Steven H says:

      I’ll be interested to see the result of Supreme Court saying in on partisan gerrymandering. That is a big contributor to divisive politics today. It would be great to see that tamped down. Maybe have districts drawn by truly non-partisan committees following established rules that make it difficult to assess advantage by politics.

      • Stevendad says:

        Maybe they should get a computer and draw the maps randomly

        • Steven H says:

          I thought of that, too. Im sure an engineer/ programmer could come up with an arbitrary adjacent grid square solution that would be apolitical.

          • Peter says:

            The gerrymandering in North Carolina is astounding…..they have one district that in some places is only as wide as the interstate.

    • Steven H says:

      Correction to stevendad on the name of the collapsed bridge. It was the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington state in 1940. The Verrazano Narrows Bridge is in New York and never sufferred a collapse.

  • Steven H says:

    I dont need to counter Brookings study by the, nor do I intend to. They proved that the specific tax and education experiments they performed had little impact, by themselves, on high income disparity. That does not, by the way, generally prove that ALL tax or education experiments have no impact, but it does encourage us all to go beyond our previously proposed solutions emphasizing moderate tax increases or increased education and training. The primary point I noticed is that it indicated education had little impact because it influenced oncomes way down the scale, when most disparity is due to incomes at the top of the scale. This suggests to me that, if we truly believe disparityis aproblem we need to address, we need to impact those top incomes as will as have a broader impact on middle incomes. The floor is open for some proposals. And it has to be more than claiming we have enough ladders already.

    • Stevendad says:

      To solve debt and income inequality: We need to address the way so much is paid in financial instruments vs cash. Income inequality lives mostly in these (vs cash) from what I’ve seen. Wealth tax I mentioned before helps, and AMT addresses as well to some extent. Of course, that’s how I got here…. As I understand, unrealized options ARE taxed by AMT. At 28% (from dollar one, so higher than the regular system at lower levels). So…. maybe we should raise AMT at higher levels to capture this form of payment. But the rich is really NOT the problem. It’s bringing up middle class. Of course if we really paid down the debt by controlling some spending we could give them a raise by taking less in income taxes…. And lend them money when banks can’t just sock away TBills without risk or much research. So start with getting the poor working (maybe increasing pay by somehow decreasing low skilled worker competition) and get Walmart et al to pay back wage subsidies. Stop paying for 3rd / 5th and 11th world economies defense. Pass some tort reform and loosen a few health care regs. Raise efficiency in govt by incentivizing it vs present disincentives. Start asking for accountability from education, prioritizing kids over unions. Start paying down debt with a VAT to capture underground income. All of that sounds familiar. Gee SH, I think our goals are aligned. I just don’t see giving more money to the people that have screwed if up as an answer. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me…

      • Steven H says:

        I agree about financial instruments. AMT idea is also useful but it should have been inflation adjusted to address only the very wealthy, and highest incomes. It also seems like a very klugey implementation. Adjustments to tax brackets, exemptions, and capital gains might have been simpler.
        ===
        Tax cuts to middle class wont get us far. Middle quintile already pays very little federal income tax. Nothing beats getting a solid living wage. There is no reason we cant at least pay a 1968 minimum wage ( about $11 dollars/hr in todays money). Since 30% of all hourly wage workers earn less than $10.10, such a boost would be a big help AND a sort of tax on wealthy corporations. I know your concerns on small towns, but such changes get phased in and more than half of states already have minimums higher than federal level, with 6 states over $10/hr. VAT taxes are regressive and are not generally considered to help move money away from rich. You will just hurt those walmart workers. I can agree about incentivizing more efficiency in govt and cutting testing in schools though. If we focus on moving more money to the middle class and younger generation, not through tax cuts but through education and earned wages, and bill the costs to the financial instruments and investors, we could do must better.

        • Stevendad says:

          Again, VAT tax rebates so those who are in the system pay nothing different on balance. So NOT regressive to anyone who follows the law. It’s aim is to pay down debt, not punish the rich.
          Still feel local is better for min wage. &15 / hr is dirt in NYC and a princely wage in small town OK. Feds can’t get the precision needed. AMT captures unrealized gains that aren’t taxed at all.
          I’m curious how you plan to make companies pay more wage to middle class.
          You ignored that there would be much increased business lending if govt wasn’t competing for loans so much. Small business is the real engine of the middle class.

          • Steven H says:

            Don’t the VAT/refund and low-wage/food-stamp/fine-reimbursement plans seem to you to be more complicated than necessary? And what does the VAT/refund scheme really accomplish. I know, it’s supposed to capture lost revenue of people not in the system. But are those the people really worth going after? I’m thinking of the “sitters” that people hire at the retirement for $12/hr off-the-books, to look after grandma. That helps grandma and the family and the low income worker. Sure it’s off the books and lost revenue to govt. But is it really worth setting up a new tax and refunding most of it just to make these people’s lives a little more miserable, and get a piddling amount of income to govt for huge administration cost?

  • Steven H says:

    With regard to looking back at pre and ost ww2, the lesson I see is that
    a) it is possible to have a vastly different income distribution than now, with more generous share of income to middle class and a successful economy.
    b) income shares can grow across income groups with the economy.
    c) high income disparity is correlated to slow income growth and economic instabilit
    D) low marginal tax rates on high incomes are correlated with low govt revenue and high deficits

    Lessons from states can be learned but you have to compensate for competition between states. Low business tax rates may grow state economy or may just be raiding businesses from other states (cycle of race to the bottom). Policies may work or fail in a,given state due to health of a specific industry and may not apply to other states. You just have to be careful and not over generalize conclusions.

  • Peter says:

    Let’s look closer at California. Sure it is a state, but it would be the 6th largest economy in the world were it a sovereign nation. They have one of the highest levels of low-wage job creation in the country. They have the third highest minimum wage in the country. They have tremendous job opportunities with Silicon Valley and countless other industries that attract people there. They also tax the wealthy very heavily and have the highest top tax rate in the nation. In fact, they have been increasing taxes dramatically since 2001, particularly on the wealthy.

    What has the result been? Oddly, even with the much higher revenue from personal income taxes (which make up 50% of their budget), they have severe fiscal problems. Revenues were $54b in 1997-98, and are now $124b. But you know what happened? Spending went right up with revenues. This is how government operates. Give them more money, they spend it immediately.

    Yet California has a crippling $400B debt. They have net migration (although I think some of that may be due to baby boomers retiring in cheaper states). They rank in the bottom quintile of all the states in financial well being. Illinois and Connecticut are in the bottom 5, and Massachusetts – which has similar policies – ranks in the bottom 5 as well.

    They have one of the most generous retiree health care plans in the nation for their own employees, which covers 100% of their care for life. Yet, there is no trust fund for this – it comes out of the annual budget of the state. And as costs rise, it constricts spending on other things or increases debt. They further increase debt by issuing bonds for everything and anything – and putting these things out to a public vote. Who in the public wouldn’t vote for a bond to be issued to fix their local park? But all this debt is mounting.

    The next time a recession hits, how will California pay the interest on these bonds, their state pensions and health benefits, and maintain infrastructure in the state? In the past, borrowing was used to get us through tough times (see war bonds as an example). Now, we use the debt lever too readily in good times, so we have no leeway when things are hard. And California doesn’t have the option of printing money and reducing the value of currency.

    Steven H will argue that we must continue to raise taxes to pay for the bills we have already incurred. I argue that we need to reform and renegotiate these bills we already have. They are unsustainable as they are currently promised (both on a Fed and state level) and taxation will not solve the problem (see: California, Brookings article, countless other states, world history, etc.) – and may even exacerbate it by causing economic slowdowns or migration.

    • Steven H says:

      “Steven H will argue …”
      Heck, no reason for me to post anything anymore. Just let telepathic Peter incorrectly claim to know what I will post.

      • Peter says:

        Don’t think I’m reading minds. You have said that 100 times. Again, please do correct me if I am wrong.

        • Peter says:

          Should have said “argues” rather than “will argue”. But that isn’t really the point of my post is it. Why don’t you address that instead.

    • Steven H says:

      I think we can all agree that any economic policy can be planned or executed badly. You can favor cutting taxes or raising taxes or raising or lowering minimum wage or cutting or increasing govt spending, and at any given time or for any given circumstance, some combination of those may be good things to do. But it is pretty well guaranteed that if you go beyond certain bounds in either direction, you will break something and make the situation worse.
      ===
      For this reason, I am skeptical about “learning lessons” from cherry picked economic situations, or at least I am concerned that lessons can be interpreted too broadly. If California is in trouble because they set generous retirement plans with no set aside fund, that is perhaps a lesson learned. But it does not mean that all govt pensions are bad. If another state is in trouble due to overly generous union contracts, same thing. Bad financial planning is bad, but it does not condemn all unions. Even for my example of Kansas failed tax cut policy, it does not prove all tax cuts are bad, but that their implementation was poorly thought out.
      ===
      So we can spend a lot of time discussing tbese state economies and we may learn something. But if the direction we are heading is to try to prove something about tax cuts vs tax increases, I think it is an empty exercise. What I expect we will see is that blind subscription to any ideology without planning and a little foresight will do your efforts.
      ===
      Sound reasonable?

    • Stevendad says:

      Peter reCA debt: consider the catastrophe of normalization of interest rates. We are almost 3% below the 100 year average for 10 yrs e.g. So go to normal and multiply $400 billion times 3% = $12 B per year, about 8% of total budget more just in interest. And a late 70’s-like double digit spike, you’re talking collapse.

      • Steven H says:

        Doesn’t California have to have balanced budget?

        • Peter says:

          I am not sure….but they don’t have to spend every increase in revenue. With the $400b debt they hold, they really should be servicing it a bit don’t you think?

          • Steven H says:

            Kind of like Congressional Obamacare Repealers, right? They are trying to raid Medicaid and cut the ACA taxes, but are they going to use that revenue to pay off debt? No! Are they going to use it to help the needy? No! Are they going to give that revenue away to the rich, who have the very least need or use of that extra income? Yes!

          • Peter says:

            Hardly that simple. You could say “they are going to use the savings to build tanks” or “they are going to use the savings to help education”. The bottom line is – neither side is going to seriously just BANK savings or pay down debt.

          • Steven H says:

            Maybe not that simple. But a simultaneous cut of ObamaCare taxes on wealthy and cuts to Medicaid and subsidies to poor certainly LOOKS like a transfer of income from poor to rich.

          • Peter says:

            Even though it is not.

          • Steven H says:

            If govt was increasing taxes to boost social programs, Im pretty sure you would call this redistribution from wealthy to poor. So when social programs are defunded to provide a tax cut to wealthy, explain to me why that is not redistribution from poor to wealthy.

          • Peter says:

            Because taking away a 2-3 year old excise tax doesn’t always need to be labeled as “giving more money to the rich” and reform of programs doesn’t always need to be labeled as “cutting from the poor’s benefits”.

  • Peter says:

    Let me try and focus this in for Steven H. Two questions…..

    1. In regards to raising taxes on the wealthy, why is it important that we look back to the post-WW2 era as a “model”, but we ignore the lessons learned by the states in the past few decades?

    2. And most importantly, please counter the Brookings study, which mathematically breaks down the total lack of impact of raising taxes on the wealthy to solve income inequality.

    The reason why I said that you use your political partisan BS to counter everything … well, is because you do. If that Brookings study had come from a right-wing think tank you would dismiss it immediately. Yet you post Piketty’s writings as “academia” and use the Center for Tax Justice as a reliable source of information. But since it was from Brookings, whom you called centrist about 2 hours before I posted the link, you can’t just dismiss it with politics. You actually have to read it, digest it, and try and imagine that you might be wrong. This is what you are unable to do, due to your politics.

    I have my opinions as well, but have been very open minded here to many things – some of which you have presented. I’m fascinated by the puzzle that is the US (and world) economy. It’s my life’s passion and I’m always interested in different takes on how we might massage or improve it for more people. I’m not interested at all in politics though. If that could stay out of this conversation, I would probably be a lot less annoyed and amicable (haha).

    • Peter says:

      And let me add a third major point.

      3. Do you not agree that the very nature of government is inefficient? Why would we not focus on major reform of this system rather than simply feeding them more money? How can argue that raising tax rates on a handful of people should be a higher priority than fixing the system itself?

      • Steven H says:

        What would “major reform of this system” look like?

        • Peter says:

          A few ideas off the top of my head…
          1. Campaign finance reform
          2. Opening up the debates to third party candidates
          3. Balanced budget amendment (or at least close to it)
          4. Social security reform – phasing retirement age to late 60’s or 70.
          5. More limits on executive orders by the President.
          6. Tighter rules on lobbyists

          • Steven H says:

            I can agree with some. Esp 1, 2, and 6.
            On others, I have some questions. On number 3, I was thinking you actually opposed balanced budget law when i suggested one. And there are complications. How would you handle recessions? Some proposed balanced budget amendments are actually spending caps, eg 18% gdp. Some put the onus on cutting spending to match income. Some would increase taxes to cover legislative spending. How would you do it?
            #4 saves the govt money, but what is a worker to do when companies or health concerns (more common w construction and other working class) compel retirement at 65 but ss starts at 70? Also working class die earlier than white caller. Is this just another bad deal for working class?
            5. I dont see the need. Its pretty limited already. Signing statements might need more restriction though. Those are the caveats prez puts on legislation when he signs.

          • Steven H says:

            white collar, not white caller …

          • Stevendad says:

            Hmmmm…
            1. Yes
            2. Hell yes
            3. Or moving up tax rates when we don’t balance as I’ve said
            4. Or taxing benefits more and income capping benefits. I hate the concept, but we’re screwed if we do not do something drastic.
            5. Very much yes,!! Some court should review all with a quick bump to SCOTUS. Exec orders have become rule by fiat = monarch / dictator.
            6. Yes.
            And of course (for me) VAT / wealth tax / pass through tax for govt benefits/ efficiency incentives for govt.

          • Stevendad says:

            Here’s SH’s
            1. More taxes on 1%
            2. Dems are best
            3. Repubs suck
            4. Rich people suck
            5. Trump sux
            6. Trump sux more.

            Just kidding!!

          • Stevendad says:

            To expand on number one, although I am loathe to raise federal government intervention, I think a national fund that is split amongst candidates would reduce the perversion of public purpose have now. And overspending would lead to removal from office.

          • Peter says:

            Yes, it is crazy that spending on running for president can ramp up close to $1 billion. When the very people running are competing for the vote from “everyday joe’s” who need jobs, higher wages, infrastructure, etc. Just makes me sick when I think about how much is wasted on running for office.

    • Steven H says:

      I was inclined to answer part of this today, but will delay due yo your BS INSULTS and rejection of anything I have to say before I say it. You have ascribed motivation and you have once again attempted to read my mind which you have proved over and over you are incompetent at doing.The following.paragraph is too insulting to even address. Clean up your attitude.

      “The reason why I said that you use your political partisan BS to counter everything … well, is because you do. If that Brookings study had come from a right-wing think tank you would dismiss it immediately. Yet you post Piketty’s writings as “academia” and use the Center for Tax Justice as a reliable source of information. But since it was from Brookings, whom you called centrist about 2 hours before I posted the link, you can’t just dismiss it with politics. You actually have to read it, digest it, and try and imagine that you might be wrong. This is what you are unable to do, due to your politics.”

      I respect the Brookings institution study and find it interesting. You will have to wait for a response as I see you are cocked and ready to dismiss anything I have to say anyway.

      • Peter says:

        Not at all…and take your time. I look forward to a well thought out, non political answer to my questions. Rather than dispute my assessment of your worldview – over 5+ years and with countless other posters who agree with my perspective of you.

        But I’ll be fair. Surprise us all…..

  • Stevendad says:

    As far as progressive being smarter than everyone else in their own view, this is not snark. This is true. Here is a definition from definition.com of Progressive:
    Making progress toward better conditions; employing or advocating more enlightened or liberal ideas, new or experimental methods

    Fair enough?
    So the question I always have is, enlightened according to who? I also question the “experimental methods” which 60% of those carrying out the experiments are Liberal, 30% moderate and 10% Conservative. Furthermore, this is all college professors, I suspect it’s much higher in the social sciences and those who recommend “progressive ideas”. I’m not sure many chemical engineering professors Care too much when where the other about this. So, see what I mean, it ultimately comes down todeduction. You state certain principles as true and work from there. As I said before, CNN and MSNBC often state ideas as true without any counter arguments whatsoever.
    Again, they wish to restrict my freedom in a variety of ways, owning guns, taking money that I can’t spend on something else, etc. etc. Conservatives are just as bad the other way, I will agree. Again if you make the proclamation “abortion is murder” because I feel so. This is exactly the same thing on the opposite side of the coin. Someday you may recognize it. Again, I think the burden of proof is higher for both since they are trying to take something away from me and I’m trying to take nothing from them.

    • Stevendad says:

      Oops: Care too much when where the other about this = care too much about this one way or the other

    • Steven H says:

      Not sure about your point. You think dictionaries have a liberal bias? When you start talking about left or liberals being supposedly smarter and wiser than everyone else, just admit you are being snarky.

      • Stevendad says:

        No, I’m not. It’s not about dictionaries, I was just trying to find the most potentially unbiased source I could. You are too indoctrinared to even hear what I’m trying to say. They are “enlightened”. Just ask them. My point is that their beliefs are often not based on any facts but just with they feel in their heart. Somehow this makes them right and other people wrong. Then they backfill with reasons why their decisions are correct. And the “data” they come up with is frequently skewed dramatically by their Liberal background. Again, one can make the case that “abortion is murder”. Do you agree with that? Some people feel that in their heart.t Should that become a law of the land? Sure you won’t get any of this and you’ll focus on one little phrase in my whole paragraph as a way of avoiding answering me these questions, as usual. Closed minds learn nothing.

        • Steven H says:

          Calm down. Just trying to figure out your point. That sounds like a very limited and dim view of progressive. Progressive ideas not based on facts? Progressives feel the same about conservatives. Conservatives today seem massively deluded with false informatiln, from my perspective. And yes, abortion is an interesting counterexample. People feel abortion is wrong so they inject themselves in decisions that are none of their business. Same attitude with the argument that God is in control so we dont have to worry about man screwing up the environment. (Have you heard the story about the man in the flood who turned down rescue from a canoe and a helicopter because God would save him? When he drowned and went to heaven and asked God about this, God said “Hey it was your fault. I sent a canoe and a helicopter!”)

          • Peter says:

            I think the point is both sides are too stubborn these days. Liberals tend to think they have the “enlightened” opinions while conservatives often hide behind God or the Constitution. Neither mindset allows for much debate. Then, both sides seek out sources that back up their mindset and state those things as facts, ignoring any contrary evidence. Of course, not all liberals or conservatives are like this…but the tails wagging the dogs seem to be.

          • Stevendad says:

            So maybe you can see why a more Libertarian view is best: BOTH sides like to tell people what to do, just about different issues. “People feel abortion is wrong so they inject themselves in decisions that are none of their business.” So DeBlasio saying I can’t have a 32 oz Coke isn’t? Or taking 40+% of my earnings to spend on your priorities isn’t? And telling kids they can’t take Oreos to school (really happened)? Etc, etc. All sorts of stuff demanded by the Left as well, big and small.
            And both parties have many people who use these ideologies to enrich themselves above the needs of the public.
            So at least stay where we are or reduce Fed govt and increase local and state intervention if needed. And stay out of the” bedroom AND boardroom” unless there are compelling reasons to interfere. To repeat the Libertarians creed: “working hard to take over the world in order to leave you alone”.

    • Steven H says:

      Ok let me also indulge in a little of this philosophical generalization. Not to oppose you but just to give my perspective. In very general terms conservative and progressive do represent a difference in attitude. As you said, progressive policy is associated with changing things, experimenting, adapting, trying something new. (I will leave out whether it is ‘enlightened’.) At its best it is open minded and adaptive, at its worst it is frivolous and unplanned. Conservative policy is associated with keeping things as they are, not changing rules, not recognizing change in the world or environment, cautious. At its best it is careful and planned, at its worst it is repressive and closed minded and inflexible and cruel. Progressives want to have freedom from oppression from those with power, which explains their desire to take money and power away from most wealthy and powerful. They want to restrct wealth and power without having to become seduced by wealth and power (which are almost considered vices). Conservatives want freedom for themselves and to control and manage the environment around them, and they respect self control over other virtues, and so they reject what they see as the foolish consequences of lack of self-discipline and they reject attempts to be controlled by others. This explains their desire for power and wealth, rejection of abortion, their dim view of poverty and welfare, rejection of environmental concerns, of regulations, and of gun controls, because these are all either deserved consequences to the foolish or undeserved restrictions on themselves.

      • Stevendad says:

        “Progressives want to have freedom from oppression from those with power” Your folly is you don’t see that both sides are trying to do this. They just have a different set of things that they want to oppress. Like religious decisions, large soft drinks, Oreos, people making decisions with their own money etc. etc. My cynical side says neither has the aim of “truth and justice”, just power. Read Animal Farm again. You’ll see that even your Democratic friends are just a different group of pigs that are more equal than others. Or probably not…

        • Peter says:

          Well said, Stevendad – that’s been my point all along. And I don’t totally disagree with some of the characterizations Steven H made….but the problem is, what about the 80% of the public that falls somewhere in the middle, or with some combination of these stereotypes? What about the devoutly religious gay person? What about the socialist Southerner? What about the rich libertarians?

        • Steven H says:

          Yes I agree each side is fighting ‘oppression’ by an outside force. But can you see the different nature of the forces they are fighting? Put down your defences for a moment and look who and what conservatives oppose. Regulations. Taxes. Welfare. What do progressives oppose. The very wealthy, big corporations, and big banks. It would seem that each side opposes some big monolithic force, but look again. Progressives oppose organizations run by small cadres of very powerful people. Conservatives oppose government which is an organization ultimately controlled by the entire population. Progressives fight against the powerful and conservatives fight against the powerless. Not a pretty picture but that is pretty much how it is.

          • Steven H says:

            Actually that sounds harsh. Its not where I was going when I started the post. I imagine conservatives see govt as a powerful organization run by a few as well. Or perhaps a mob mentality organization. And yet… I keep coming back to government as the only entity that the powerless have to fight against big money, big corp, and big banks. And when you fight government you are ultimately fighting everybody else not in those groups.

          • Steven H says:

            The irony is people in government fighting against government. Some of the small government folks are fighting for economic responsibility. Others are fighting for a small and weak govt so they can run roughshod over everybody, and pull tax cuts out of the treasury, execute financially risky ventures with no oversight, and scam people.

          • Stevendad says:

            You blind yourself to how much Progressives interfere in the lives of nearly all income groups with regulation. They want to tell everyone what to eat, how a huge chunk of their income should be spent (via taxes) etc. And, again, I’m not wanting a 50% govt cut: maybe 10% of refs, 2% rather than 5% growth, etc. you seem to deal a lot in absolutes.

          • Steven H says:

            These are generalizations and don’t actually apply as much to you two, P and SD, so don’t feel too offended. But consider WHY progressives sometimes seem to be controlling what people eat or drink. It is to fight the corporations who are pushing unhealthy but profitable junk on children and poor, not to exhibit control of children and poor for the sake of control. I disagree with some of this, like regulating size of soft drinks to adults. But keeping soda machines out of schools is a good idea, as is some kind of mandate for healthier meals for kids. For all of their flaws, Progressive “control” is motivated by the best of intentions, with desire to strengthen and improve society. You could say that Conservatives also want to improve society, but they often do this by advocating for freedom (for themselves), and repression of the less fortunate. Progressives advocate for repression of the MORE fortunate. Neither are always fair, but they are not really symmetric either.

          • Steven H says:

            Let me close this section with an astounding bit of information I saw in a documentary. In France, school children have a 1 hour lunch. Plates, silverware, well-balanced meals. It is a class in how to eat right. And this is in the public schools.
            I looked this up to make sure the documentary was correct. It is. And it supposedly does not cost that much either. This is the sort of “progressive oppression” I could readily support.

            https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14845/what-french-kids-eat-for-school-lunch-it-puts-americans-to-shame.html

            “As the children come streaming into the cantine, they sit down at tables of four that are already set and wait for older student volunteers to bring the first course to their table. The child who sits at the designated “red” chair is the only one who is allowed to get up to fetch more water in the pitcher, extra bread for the bread basket, or to ask for extra food for the table. After finishing the first course (often a salad), volunteers bring the main course platter to the table and the children serve themselves. A cheese course follows (often a yogurt or small piece of Camembert, for example), and then dessert (more often than not, fresh fruit).

            “We do our best to vary our menus throughout the weeks and months, but sometimes children don’t like certain foods,” explains Cahuzac. “We ask children to at least to taste everything and have a few bites before they give up on a food they don’t like.”

            “Eating a balanced meal while sitting down calmly is important in the development of a healthy child,” adds Cahuzac. “It helps them to digest food properly, avoid stomachaches and avoid sapped energy levels in the afternoon.”

  • Stevendad says:

    I may have missed some of your immigration points, but that WAS a really long post and I confess might have skimmed it. So to clarify, are you for letting anyone in the world come here without any process or only keeping those who have already here and no more? And do you want to expand the number of those who come legally? Or some other permutation of the arguments? Just leave out the articles and state your view. I’ve stated mine (severely tighten illegal immigration, by and large let the good folks stY legally and kick the (non immigration) law breakers out). And continue to slowly expand the legal immigration process.

    • Steven H says:

      “So to clarify, are you for letting anyone in the world come here without any process?” Of course not, and I am surprised you even ask. Virtually no one on left or right would answer yes to that.
      ===
      “And do you want to expand the number of those who come legally?” Yes, for refugees. And then if we can really get control of borders (I think a really secure national ID would be better than a wall), we MIGHT increase legal immigration at level LESS than current (legal + illegal); i.e., net decrease initially with increase as economy permits.
      ===
      “I’ve stated mine (severely tighten illegal immigration, by and large let the good folks stay legally and kick the (non immigration) law breakers out). And continue to slowly expand the legal immigration process.”
      I more or less agree, with also a bit of leniency toward non-felonies, and crimes that are many years old.

      • Stevendad says:

        I was asking for, just in in a nutshell, what do you think about immigration.I don’t want to reaction to what I think.

  • Stevendad says:

    SH, this may shock you, but I thought Hillarycare in the 90’s might work the best for us. I think the buzzword was managed competition. Of course, several of the other things I said would need to be done too. My analogy is the health systems and insurance companies are the players and the Feds set up rules and referee. NOT a modified VA system for all.

  • Stevendad says:

    SH. There are several comments you left hanging. Rad through June and you’ll find them (cutting regs 10% grows economy 1%, crime committed by man in woman’s bathroom, locally based government is better, and on and)

    Of course, you are not a voice for the Liberal Democratic wing, just agree 100% of the time so it’s hard to separate.

    I am not speaking in absolutes, just where we shift the equilibrium to. You wish to move towards more government, more taxes, more regulation (except pertaining to immigration). I think we’re OK overall, except we need some form of immigration law, more government accountability and efficiency and a bit less regs. I also recognize the Federal government is evolving into being more concerned about itself than the citizens it serves. But not just me:
    Gallup: 67% of Americans (TWO THIRDS!!!) are dissatisfied with the way they are governed and only 8% of Reps and 12% of Senate are honest and ethical. 32% think THEIR Congressman is corrupt. So much for your argument that the government is not corrupt and is the answer…
    33% think government is the NUMBER ONE problem in the US, almost double the next (18% economy, 16% healthcare, etc).
    So your answer is give them MORE power and more money. Back to Thelma and Louise taking us off the cliff and asking for more gas…
    Of course, Liberals are smarter than the rest of us and feel if we could just catch their religion all would become clear and Nirvana ensue…
    Again, IMO, build Liberal Nivanae in NY and CA with huge local taxes and leave the rest of us alone. People will move to states where the solutions work the best. Ca and NY are doing that now and have net emigration of natives. We call that put or shut up here. I’m sure you’ll disagree with raising state / local taxes in these locales for Liberal agendas and that will support the weakness of all your arguments.

    • Steven H says:

      “Of course, Liberals are smarter than the rest of us and feel if we could just catch their religion all would become clear and Nirvana ensue…”
      Oh geez stevendad, what about all the idealism about cutting the facepaint, and attacking ideas not people? Stop repeating this crap.

      • Stevendad says:

        OK SH, fair enough, state your principles (home ownership for all would be such a principle, as would$15 minimum wage) and PROVE they are correct. I wasn’t attacking, stating a fact IMO. I watch lots of MSNBC and CNN and see such things pronounced as truths without any supporting evidence and, more alarmingly, accepted as facts without any attention to any counter arguments. And CLEARLY, these networks support the Liberals both in what you see and what you don’t (like DNC emails).
        And why not just do it in NY, CA and IL with local taxation and laws like I said? If those ideas are so good and work so well we’ll all migrate there.

      • Peter says:

        That’s what you took from Stevendad’s post? How about the comments about cutting regulations growing the economy….or that 2/3 of our population is dissatisfied with the government? California is a perfect example of unfettered liberal economic strategies and how they work. They have the highest taxes in the nation and tremendous job opportunities and growth, but are in constant financial disarray. And people are leaving in droves.

        More on California above.

    • Steven H says:

      How does slashing government programs solve corruption? It just gives in to the monied interests who want to slash government so that Big Business can run things instead.
      ===
      Cut money from LegislatORS, not from legislaTION.

      • Stevendad says:

        I haven’t argued “slashing” anything, just slowing growth. t doesn’t slash corruption, just reduces money, the ammunition of corruption. You have stated 1000 or so times you want to give them more.

        • Steven H says:

          We disagree on “them”. LegislaTION is money for government programs, for poor, for needy, for military, for small business administration, for regulation, for oversight. No i don’t see a big need to cut those things and I think we need to pay for existing programs.
          ===
          Corruption is giving money to legislatORS through lobbyists, super PACS, etc. If that is the money you mean, no I don’t want more going to THEM.
          ===
          Cutting functional and needed government programs because you don’t trust certain legislators is shooting ourselves in the foot. Not paying for the programs we voted for and then complaining about deficits is shooting ourselves in the butt.

          • Stevendad says:

            So The federal government is the best way to distribute things to people. I just disagree. You are in a tiny minority of Americans who trust Congress to do the right thing. According to the constitution, they ultimately are responsible for distribution of all revenue.
            Interesting that you think we are cruel wealthy Americans that only care about themselves. In fact we are far more generous than Europeans.
            Per Garfinkel: When private-sector contributions to retirement, health care, and education are added to the count, social-welfare spending in the U.S. dwarfs that of other nations. In fact, social-welfare spending per capita in the U.S. rises to nearly twice the European average.

          • Stevendad says:

            I keep going back to how inefficient our government system is. We spend more on education and healthcare than anyone else. Nearly double for education. Yet our results are poor, that sounds like an efficiency problem doesn’t it? I keep forgetting you’re an engineer. I would think you’d love efficiency. Your solution is to put more money into this and efficient system. My solution is try to reward efficiency by changing the structure of our bureaucracy.

          • Peter says:

            That’s a great point. Our spending on many of these items is higher than other nations with poorer results. Our government as it is formed now does not have a good track record – and it is getting worse.

    • Steven H says:

      So if a group of legislators says government doesn’t work and should be smaller, and then they do everything in their power to keep government from working, and people get unhappy about it, that, in your mind is proof that government does not work and we should make it smaller? Kind of a self licking ice cream cone, isn’t it?

      • Stevendad says:

        Are you talking present Dems or previous Repubs? Both are “self licking ice cream cones”. Again, I think both are self serving. It doesn’t work. Open your eyes. Thats not just me, but 67% (!!!) of Americans. See below.

        • Steven H says:

          67% are unhappy with the way they are governed. You and I are both in that group. That doesnt mean we all agree what to do about it, right?

          • Stevendad says:

            And yet you want to give them more fuel and I don’t.

          • Peter says:

            Right…the difference is between me (and maybe Stevendad) and you is that I am unhappy with the way we are governed across the board. I think you would say you are unhappy with the way Republicans govern, but generally satisfied with the way Democrats govern. Am I wrong? Maybe that’s the reason why you want to give them more money – if you give them more money, and the Dems can get their policies through, things will improve. Is that fair?

        • Peter says:

          And by the way, what is a self-licking ice cream cone? LMAO

  • Peter says:

    To recap Steven H’s return posts….
    1. Posted that he doesn’t understand why we think lack of health insurance has no impact whatsoever. Nobody said this. Straw man.
    2. Defended Dems support of Muslims by equating them with Christians and Atheists.
    3. Defended Dems by equating their suppression of the far right to a perceived suppression of the far left by the right. Gave no evidence of this and defended a behavior with a counter accusation.
    4. Attacked James for attacking people. Ironic.
    5. Ignored Stevendad’s comments about state and local governments running more efficiently due to consistent party representation.
    6. Ignored Stevendad’s comments about governments inefficiency due to spending money across voters for reelection.
    7. Labeled Stevendad’s GAO statistics as “incomplete”
    8. Again defended Dems courting of illegal immigrants to Republicans blocking paths to citizenship. An awful lot of “well they do it too” as the defense.
    9. Falsely stated that Canadians love their healthcare when the polls show they love public healthcare – not “high degrees of satisfaction” with their current plan.
    10. Ignored all of our countless, real world examples of government spending mandates and how waste happens.

    —-
    But most importantly…
    1. Responded to examples of Connecticut, Illinois, New York, California, etc finding out that tax hikes don’t solve their fiscal problems by quoting an incomplete story about tax cuts being voted down in the nations 35th largest state.
    2. Completely ignored the study from Brookings (who Steven H called a centrist think tank) that showed that tax hikes have almost no impact on income inequality. When he can’t debunk something with partisan BS, he just ignores it.

    • Peter says:

      Again … you have two main goals in this argument. Please just admit this.

      1. Defending Democrats and their ideology
      2. Raising taxes on the rich to solve income inequality

      • Steven H says:

        Wrong again. Why don’t you go back to listening what I say rather than trying to get me to “admit” things that you imagine the straw man version of me is saying?

      • Stevendad says:

        That’s all I hear and have heard for 5 years. I admire his doggedness!

        • Steven H says:

          Perhaps you should listen to the rest of what I say instead of only hearing those two things. Believing is seeing. And hearing. And reading.

          • Stevendad says:

            Sorry SH, EVERYTHING you say boils back down
            to raising income taxes on the 1% and Dem platform. I challenged you a while back about naming ONE thing you disagreed with and you replied it was because they were ALWAYS right. Wow! Either you’re not a free thinker or an anomaly as rare as a perfect March Madness bracket.

          • Steven H says:

            That was sarcasm, stevendad. I have not read the Dem platform. But boiling down my position to those two things is like me claiming that your entire position is opposing high taxes on the rich and opposing everything on the Dem platform. And that would disregard all of the other things you write and the subtleties of your position. You have misrepresented me many times. You ASSUME my position matches extreme left, then use that assumption to say that I DO match extreme left, and keep saying ai should “admit” things I do not believe. One, it doesnt matter if my ideas align with other Democrats, and two, you dont seem to know what the Dem platform is either. You seemed to think it includes “open borders”, which I doubt (again I have not read it), and which I dont support, regardless. So I dont want to engage in some exercise where I go off and read some version of the Dem platform and determine my alignment percentage. Its pointless. Lets just discuss the ideas at hand and stay open to being convinced by data and a good argument.

          • Peter says:

            I personally don’t really care what the Dem platform is. But if you think your argument has had more to it than those two tenets, you are really mistaken. You do accept other solutions (like apprenticeships, education programs, etc.) but adamantly believe that there is no solving or improving income inequality without higher taxes on the rich. You also believe that the Democratic party is generally correct in their principles (vs. Republicans) and believe in their ability to fix many things in our nation – income inequality and healthcare among them. How am I wrong here? After 5 years we don’t know what you are thinking?

          • _Steven H says:

            Here is a subtle point which you will probably disregard. The tax increases I advocate for the rich are not to reduce income disparity.
            1) I want to raise taxes on the rich. Yes. Primarily this is to pay for existing and desired govt programs to pay down deficits and debt. Why? Because they are the only ones with money to afford it.
            2) I want to structurally change our economy to give the middle class an advantage and shift money from rich to middle. This consists of many many potential changes. Altering tax structure might help a little but the Brookings study indicated that small to middling tax changes had little impact. Increasing efucation and training might help but Briokings tossed some cold water on that as well. So what will help? That is the big question. My initial solution, taxes, and yours, education, are not enough. So maybe it is a deeper structural problem. I would explore policies that have worked in the past. Minimum wage increase, pro labor policies, good universal healthcare, inexpensive education. Basically anything we can do to cut expenses and increase incomes in the middle. And yes, the money will have to come from somewhere, and that will be from the top. There is no way to alter high income inequality except to move money from where there is too much and put it where there is too little. If it is spread out over time and managed with decent economic growth, it wont be too painful. It took us decades to shift 10% to 15% of the economy from the middle to the top and it will take decades to shift it back. But we have to stop digging the hole of giving big tax cuts to the rich, as Congress is once again attempting.. It is killing the economy.
            3)

          • Peter says:

            “Here is a subtle point which you will probably disregard” …. well since you already know what I’m …. no never mind, I’ll take the high road. 🙂

            I agree with most of what you are saying. We have to look at things from a different angle rather than just taxes or education. Which has been my message all along. Probably where we differ is that I think the absolute source of all of this is our inefficient government which is run by the elite. Both parties. Congress and White House. Structurally. Anything else you do is window dressing until we address that. And while I’m willing to take tax cuts off the table, Deregulation (or at least reform) is a must….as is reducing spending. Both would help grow the economy in the long run and help the people at the bottom of the financial ladder. But it all has to be done efficiently. ACA is an example of the right idea muddied with special interest and handouts.

          • Steven H says:

            See, I can surprise you and we can agree on some points if you just let me state my opinion instead of predicting it.

    • Steven H says:

      I spent a half hour writing up a response to #1 and then the browser locked up. Short version: James actually was the one who referenced “myth of letting people die with no healthcare”. In fact many studies have indicated increased mortality from lack of health insurance because it limits access to healthcare. That is my overall point. I will find some of the studies if you cannot locate them, but they are pretty easy to google. Stevendad and and I were talking past each other in some of the posts regarding critical care after diagnosis, vs overall care. My previous lost post had more detail, but this was the gist of it.

      • Stevendad says:

        I’ve seen those, and there is certainly validity behind the argument. Of course, those without insurance often have increased bad habits across the board as a factor. Just curious, do they control for that? From my practice I’ve seen the opposite since Obamacare as well. Those who were previously insured lost healthcare (though they are still insured) as deductibles went to $6k.

        We’re in full agreement we need universal coverage and need to increase efficiency. I just don’t see a big single payor as the answer. As stated before, I don’t trust Congress to be honest and ethical with 20% of our GDP, like 90% (!!!!!) of Americans feel about them.

    • Steven H says:

      I think my response to this ended up in the wrong place slightly further down, under “Wow Peter …”

  • Steven H says:

    There seems to be some misconception here that lack of healthcare has no impact on patient health, or mortality, and that emergency rooms and charity allow sufficient access to healthcare. Many, many, many studies indicate otherwise. People in America do die from lack of access to healthcare. Sometimes it is due to less access to screening for disease, unaffordability of appointments or medicines, or other reasons. Not to mention that medical expenses have been a major cause of bankruptcies and economic destruction of families. I thought everybody understood all of this. I am astounded to read otherwise from intelligent posters.

    • Steven H says:

      I should have said lack of health insurance, not lack of healthcare …

      • Peter says:

        Man you can be dense sometimes….. nobody said having no health insurance had NO impact on patient health! Stevendad just saying that it is a myth that thousands of people are dying every day due to lack of healthcare. It certainly can be a financial killer though.

        • Stevendad says:

          Completely agree that lack of efficient universal healthcare is a problem. Noticed that healthcare is what I said not health insurance. Obamacare actually just shifted the problem up the income scale little bit. The idea that people are constantly dying of cancer and heart disease, etc. and not getting the care they need on an urgent basis is just false as far as I can see. Of course I’ve only been doing this 35 years and one community but maybe there’s more out there. Mostly sounds like political BS. We have universal healthcare, just a very poor entry point. I’m not opposed to the idea, as I said before, I’m just not sure federal consistent with the best idea since they have largely failed in every other system they have run.

          • Steven H says:

            “Completely agree that lack of efficient universal healthcare is a problem.”
            OK Thanks. Point of agreement.
            “We have universal healthcare, just a very poor entry point. I’m not opposed to the idea, as I said before, I’m just not sure federal consistent with the best idea since they have largely failed in every other system they have run.”
            This widespread suspicion is, I think, the reason for leaving healthcare in private sector and health insurance REGULATION in govt hands, with some subsidies. Not a bad approach if we just stick with it long enough to work out the kinks.

    • Steven H says:

      Wow Peter, the more evenhanded I get, the more vicious you guys get. To assess your list from the wrong to the ridiculous to the neutral to the impatient to the impassioned.

      Wrong:
      9) “Falsely stated that Canadians love their healthcare”. I CORRECTLY stated that they are considerably fonder of their system than we are of ours, and I also said that there are complaints. There are many polls and studies that back this up, including this one,
      http://www.gallup.com/poll/8056/healthcare-system-ratings-us-great-britain-canada.aspx
      which does NOT show everybody in Canada LOVES it, but that their satisfaction with AVAILABILITY of affordable health care is MUCH higher and satisfaction with QUALITY is a little higher. So , no what I was saying was not false and your saying that it is false, is false. What you really should acknowledge is that I presented honest balanced information and you tried to make it something else.
      ===
      Ridiculous:
      3) What I did was POINT OUT that those on the far left and far right each suppress speech, and that those on the fringe don’t represent the mainstream in either case. That sounds pretty evenhanded to me. I didn’t submit examples because it’s so friggin’ obvious.
      4) “Attacked James for attacking people”. James comes charging in like Peter N, complete with libtard guns a firing, and you consider me using Stevendad’s quote about being civil an attack? Come on.
      8) Wow you completely missed this point. I acknowledged that both sides court votes. I was not saying that “they do it too” is an excuse. I also presented a moral motivation for Dems supporting immigrants (giving power to the oppressed), and a disturbing immoral one for GOPS to be suppressing votes (oppressing the powerless). But the point I was answering is that Dems do not JUST court votes. They have heart, and that is the bigger motivation.
      ===
      Neutral:
      2) Yes I did. All men created equal. Freedom of religion. All that stuff.
      7) Because they were. I explained it pretty thoroughly. Do you need a link?
      ===
      Impatient:
      All of these are things I “ignored” or incompletely discussed. First of all I am really HONORED that you seek my detailed opinions on all these subjects, but I am just one guy and you all toss out a lot of posts. And I really do have a life. I will try to at least give my gut response to these items here, though some deserve and will receive more complete coverage later.
      5) Ignored stevendad’s comments about efficient state govt.: I’m just not sure I have a lot to say about this. It’s really general and subject to opinion. Any simplistic statement is almost certainly incorrect. I agree that states serve as a good experimentation ground for policy. I think states should have more control over their own education policy, but not all other policy. I don’t know that states are always more efficient or how you would prove it. I don’t think you can move ALL policy down to local level, but sometimes it is sensible to do so. Isn’t that reasonable? What else can be said?
      6) (paraphrased) inefficiency of govt due to pork barrel politics: Pork barrel politics exists. I don’t see how pointing this out is a guide in how to govern. Money talks. Nothing new.
      10) Ignored examples of waste. Same thing as 5 and 6. All I hear is your resentment of government. I guess my opinion is that every government has and always will have some of the waste examples you point out. And we should always work to reduce the waste and inefficiency. But I don’t see these examples as reason to slash government. Our government spending is already smaller per GDP than most other first world countries DESPITE our larger military spending. There is some stuff I think govt is just better equipped to handle than private sector, and I disagree with you on what is on that list. OK. But making lists of the many reasons you resent govt is not convincing me to shrink government, but just pointing out that there are problems to fix.
      Impassioned:
      11 (or important#1): Tax increases not solving problems: Lordy what are you expecting? You want me to do a detailed financial analysis on a half dozen state budgets? First of all you included California in your list which is having a deficit this year. However this is after the previous deficits, under tax cutting GOP, were solved by tax increases by Democrats… so it seems a poor example for your argument. The Kansas argument was a simplistic counterexample to your simplistic examples and all need more depth of analysis. Not sure that I have the time or the patience to take on such analysis, and not sure either of us could convince each other anyway.
      12 (or important #2): The article is interesting and I will take some time to respond later. I just have not gotten around to the thoughtful response i have been planning. Peter’s comment in the last sentence is one of the most jerky, stupid, and peter-ennish things he has said and I am hoping he recants and apologizes.

  • Stevendad says:

    Just admit that the whole support of immigration thing by the left is a political point about getting votes. It backfired when they lost their working class base. Ergo Trump, Republican Congress, Republicans state houses, republican governors, Republican Supreme Court. Again, I’m a Democrat and our party has lost its collective mind. The most shocking thing is support for the suppression of free speech.

    • Peter says:

      That is the amazing thing about the left now….quieting people at Berkeley and other places. Just putting gasoline on the fire too for those “deplorables”. That and the strange almost-defensive, blind support for Islam that the left continues to endorse….when there are countless human rights violations (from our point of view) that this religion supports and encourages.

      • Steven H says:

        Who has the face paint now?

      • Steven H says:

        Can we agree that no religion, whether islam, christian, jew, hindu, atheism, or anything else can be painted with one broad brush? There are terrible muslims and terrible christians, and terrible atheists and many admirable peaceful examples of each. What many non-Islamic defenders of Islam are trying to express is that bigotry wont solve the problems.

        • Peter says:

          My point exactly…..just saying the things that attract me to the left the most are their acceptance and defense of those who can’t defend themselves. But they seem hesitant to defend those abused in Muslim nations for fear of offending a religion….and seem awfully quick to silence the far right opinion – as idiotic as it might be.

          • Steven H says:

            From my own perspective, and many on the left AND right, Saudi Arabia is a puzzle and a problem. They support us on anti-terror, but the 9/11 bombers came from there AND they persist in teaching the radical Wahhabism version of Islam which generates hate toward west. But I think we agree the general “Islam is a religion of hate” and “Ban all Muslims” rhetoric is not helpful.

        • Peter says:

          However…there are tenets of Islam (women and gay rights for instance) that are very different than other religions. Not that all muslims subscribe to this……

          • Stevendad says:

            According to Pew research 20% of Muslims support suicide bombing sometimes or often worldwide . That’s 360,000,000 people, if you extrapolate. More than the US population. No such data available for Christians I can find. Of course most Muslims support ending violence. Just like codified racism was almost completely eliminated by the good white people, violent extremism will only be reduced significantly when good Muslims preach against, report and condemn it.

      • Stevendad says:

        The “deplorables” term was picked up and has been rebroadcast widely. It is even worn as a badge of honor by many Trumpists on Twitter I have seen. I think Progessives believe it, just regretted circulating it so blatantly. Someone may be deplorable but can be brought into the “Progressive light”. Ok, HOWEVER, the term “irredeemable” scared the crap out of me. The only way an irredeemable can be dealt with is their elimination. Could Hillary have given political clearance and tacit approval for Left wing violence? Hmmmmm….

        • Steven H says:

          I don’t think there is a lot of progress to be made by attempting to assess who has the most rancorous rhetoric.

          • Stevendad says:

            Nope. Two points of agreement. Wow!! So Hill and Trump both said stupid things… Almost everyone deplore the K Griffin thing and the attempted assasination of 10% of Repubs. Had those two cops not been there that would likely have been the result. I hope we’ve reached the nadir of ugliness. Time will tell…

    • Steven H says:

      I will not “admit” what is not true. Of course votes are sought by both parties. I think it is much more deceptive and disgusting how the voter fraud and voter restrictions issue is being overplayed by those who are just trying to suppress legitimate voters of the other party. But the folks I know who are concerned about immigration and path to citizenship are legitimately concerned about neighbors, businesd folks and students who work and live in the community and are being targeted and slandered as if they are criminals and awful people. That is the motivation I will ” admit” because it is the truth.

      As Peter said, can we just agree here that we should control current and future immigration, leave the hard working immigrants here and give them a citizenship path?

      • Stevendad says:

        Re: it’s not true, IMO, just pandering. Voter fraud may be overplayed or nderplayed. Who knows? I trusting that in overwhelmingly Hillary Detroit there WERE voting irregularitie in a key state like Michigan.

        Voting machines in 37 percent of Detroit’s precincts registered too many votes in the presidential election last month, the Detroit News reported Tuesday.

        Records from Wayne County show optical scanners in 248 of the city’s 662 precincts registered more ballots than the number of votes tallied in the poll books.

        The city’s voting irregularities prompted a call for an audit by Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s office, according to the publication.

        Also interesting that after Citizens United ruling, that the Democrats felt the Republicans would vastly outspend them. Trump raised $274 million (+$66 million out of his wallet) and Hillary $581 million. So how does that compare? 581 > 274 in my book….

        • Stevendad says:

          Interesting not I trusting

        • Steven H says:

          Interesting article on the vote tallies in Michigan. You are assuming that Hillary benefitted somehow, and that fraud was involved, but there is no evidence of that. It sounds more like disorganization and human error.
          http://www.snopes.com/more-votes-than-voters-in-detroit/

          • Stevendad says:

            Of course it was Hillary friendly Detroit. Maybe there’s enough smoke there to not say there is almost no voter fraud. You’re the big fan of investigating smoke lately. I just keep saying we don’t know…

          • Steven H says:

            Yes but it concerns me that you keep bringing up these right-wing Republican attack points when i know you don’t claim to be Republican. Tallies don’t match so it could be Hillary fraud. Immigrant crime is 3x everybody else when the stats actually indicate at least half of that 3x is just illegal immigration itself. No supposed evidence against Trump’s campaign when Congressmen on both sides of aisle and all the intelligence agencies say otherwise. Crossdressers attacking women in the restroom. Cats and dogs living together. Libertine men and Scarlet women!
            And Rag-time, shameless music
            That’ll grab your son and your daughter
            With the arms of a jungle animal instinct!
            Mass-steria!
            … sorry got distracted for a minute there. A little Bill Murray mixed with Music Man after the Republifear. Anyway, I’d stay away from wherever you got those stats. Not the GAO, but whoever quoted them in the first place to mean something they don’t.

    • Steven H says:

      Not all Dems support suppression of free speech. In fact very small percentages do. And you can find same behavior on left and right. And to counter the idea that I say nothing good about Republicans, here is possibly the best thing George W ever said regarding critique of others.
      “We judge others by their worst example, and ourselves by our best intentions.” (That may be a paraphrase … did not look up the precise wording.)

      • Stevendad says:

        Please list the Dem party people who publicly condemned Berkeley protests against Milo and subsequent cancellation of Ann Coulter. I’ve found them very hard to find, but you seem to find such things. So Pelosi? Schumer? Obama? I’d love to see the quotes.

        • Steven H says:

          https://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2017/04/23/sanders-slams-uc-berkeleys-antifree-speech-zealots-its-a-sign-of-intellectual-weakness-n2317054
          Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and DNC Deputy Chair Keith Ellison both condemned the efforts to shut down Ann Coulter’s planned speaking engagement at the hyper left wing campus on April 27.
          I don’t like this. I don’t like it,” Sanders told The Huffington Post after speaking at a rally for Omaha mayoral candidate Heath Mello on Thursday night. Sanders: “Obviously Ann Coulter’s outrageous to my mind, off the wall. But you know, people have a right to give their two cents-worth, give a speech, without fear of violence and intimidation.”
          […]
          “To me, it’s a sign of intellectual weakness,” he said. “If you can’t ask Ann Coulter in a polite way questions which expose the weakness of her arguments, if all you can do is boo, or shut her down, or prevent her from coming, what does that tell the world?”

          • Stevendad says:

            Sanders is not a Democrat, Independent Socialist, I believe. Yes, to his credit, he has more sense about social liberties than most Democrats. I was specifically talking about party leadership. Pelosi, Schumer, Obama and Perez. Crickets as far as I’ve seen. If Keith Ellison is the conscience of your party…wow.

          • Peter says:

            Agree. Sanders is a bit of an anomaly which is why the DNC tried to quiet him. I agree with a lot of his takes on things and have admiration for him as a politician. Don’t agree with everything, but he does have an open mind about many things. The treatment of Milo and Ann Coulter are great examples of this. But the left quiets liberals too. Bill Maher certainly has had his share of heat when he doesn’t line directly up with the liberal agenda.

          • Steven H says:

            So how about DNC Deputy Chair Keith Ellison?
            ““Absolutely protest these people you don’t like, absolutely write against them, denounce them,” the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee advised progressives angry at right-wing speakers. “But the solution to bad speech is good speech, the solution to bad speech is more speech.”

          • Steven H says:

            And Sanders has more of the heart of the Dem Party than Trump has of the GOP.

  • Stevendad says:

    Fair enough SH, I may have missed that. You’ve Left about 10 things hanging further down. I’m going to give away some healthcare to and indigent. And your contribution today?

  • James says:

    Finally….Steven H called out on the BS of his liberal worldview….the Brooking study where raising taxes doesn’t work, countless examples of states and nations where raising taxes didn’t work, calling BS on “letting people die with no health care” myth, the inefficiency of government stories, etc….like 10 threads in here where his liberal playbook can’t answer. We have an issue with income inequality….no doubt…. but we need to figure out a solution together, not through “libtard” politics (to quote Steven H) or by getting some sort of revenge on rich people.

    • Steven H says:

      Write on the board 20 times. Attong people instead of ideas is nonproductive. And libtard is a peter n quote, not steven h.

      • Steven H says:

        Attacking, not attong.

        • Stevendad says:

          I don’t see how he attacked you. “Liberal worldview” is what he disagreed with. That’s your ideas and not you. Fair game IMO.

          • Steven H says:

            “BS of his [my] liberal worldview”. How is that not an ataack? If he had said “BS of stevendads [any adjective] wordview” would you not feel attacked?

      • Peter says:

        Maybe you should write this too….

        • Peter says:

          “religiously paranoid uninformed bigoted authoritarian minority of idiots”. Sounds a little personal and judgmental to me

          • Steven H says:

            Not attacking anyone here i hope. Yah it was coarse. There are a few topics I lose patience with. This is one.

          • Peter says:

            Doesn’t really matter if they are here. It is a personal attack on a group of people. There may be no black people in here but I’m not about to start dropping the N word or throwing stereotypes around.

          • Steven H says:

            When people are attacking a vulnerable minority like Trans folk and virtually equating them with rapist attackers or perverts and putting their pride and health and life at risk by forcing them to use the restroom they are not identified with, that, to me, is the same as racists telling black folks to drink from a different water fountain, or Christians saying Muslims are evil people, or Skinheads attacking Jews. It is paranoid, uninformed, bigoted, and idiotic. I will now await my letter of protest from the Paranoid Uninformed Bigoted Idiot Anti-Defamation League. Sorry if I offended them.

  • Peter says:

    Looks like some of our ideas are happening. News today of 180 CEOs signing onto President’s request to increase apprentice opportunities….

  • Stevendad says:

    Another basic human nature element: at this point, the best way to get elected is to spread other peoples money amongst the voters. And they do. Of course this leads to debt and excessive promises that can’t be met. Unless we build some sort of discipline into our systems, the states and Federal government may all eventually develop severe credit problems or possibly bankruptcy.

  • Stevendad says:

    Read down all the way Steven H. I stated I am seeing a patient now in the hospital that’s getting chemotherapy for free. They have no money. Me and all the other people involved are seeing them pro bono. The hospital is giving them all the treatments they need for free in in the hospital and setting up outpatient for the same. I just don’t see what you keep accusing the system of. My point is and was that the system already has universal healthcare. We just need to be more efficient about how it is distributed. You just can’t stand not demonize people that disagree with you and turning them all in the evil Snidley Whiplash can you? By the way, what did you give to a poor person today?

    I just don’t have the faith in the federal government to run 20% of our economy completely. I know that you do.

    • Peter says:

      Is health care 20% of the economy? Wow…

      • Stevendad says:

        17.8% in 2015 and growing at 5.8% (of 17.8%) per year. 20% is not far off. Baby Boomers are getting old and will likely ACCELERATE growth as there are 1.5 times as many of them as before and after generations. Hospitals and doctors worried about enough business now may have to worry about how to deal with a future deluge. And the oldest generations are by far the fastest growing. Long term care is going to explode if things don’t change. Probably some investments in there. I like the McKesson, Cardinal health sector (not a financial advisor disclaimer) as it MUST grow 50% in revenue just to meet population demands. Then there are office suppliers, medical temp agencies, etc. All should do well. Hospitals may not fare as well as they get paid less for caring for more. That’s just a have to unless we dramatically restructure our broken payment system.

  • Peter says:

    Steven H – since you like “researching” things, read about the state of Illinois’ issues over the past 20-30 years. Out of work people, giant deficits (just shy of bankruptcy), and their only solution has been to raise taxes repeatedly.

    • Stevendad says:

      I don’t have any articles in front of me, but Connecticut is also about to go bankrupt. This is mostly related to generous union benefits. That’s according to their governor, but perhaps there is some other reason Steven H can come with up with from his personal knowledge. Alarmingly, and perhaps somewhat prescient for Nirvana California, businesses have left as they have raised taxes and become less competitive. Liberal bastions New York and California both are suffering from emigration of those who grew up there. To me it would be good that each state could come up with a set of ideas about moral issues, business, local environment, etc within a reasonable framework and people and businesses can vote with their feet. Competition with no doubt make them ( and thus all of us ) better in the long run.

      • Peter says:

        In most of theses states, the legislation repeatedly makes the argument Steven H does -you have to raise taxes to “pay your bills”….without addressing the “bills” themselves. Problem is it only increases the size of government and people leave. Jobs or economic growth don’t come simply from raising taxes.

    • Steven H says:

      And Kansas is aborting its big tax cut initiative because it is deep in the red. It seems tax cuts dont pay for themselves and parents hate for school funding to be cut to give tax cuts to rich. Whoda thunk?

      • Peter says:

        LOL…. nobody arguing for tax cuts you know…..and Kansas legislators say that tax hikes won’t solve their problems either. But we can ignore all the other states and just talk about Kansas, if that helps your point.

        • Stevendad says:

          I’ve repetitively said we should leave personal taxes the same until budget balances. And business cuts should be revenue neutral. And strongly support 5 taxes, 4 new (VAT, eliminate carried interest advantage, tax some accumulated wealth and reimbursement of govt payouts to low paid employees) and one increased (gas tax). The income tax increase well is dry to me.

  • Stevendad says:

    I thought of two other, different takes on the federal versus state versus local government size issue. The federal government, because there is a nearly equal balance between right and left, gets whipsawed back-and-forth and evrey 4 to 8 years and never gets any great momentum in one direction. However, localities and states tend to have much more steady and reproducible year after year political systems. If money was raised and spent locally, perhaps this would enable more to be done for resolution of problems than the back-and-forth system the federal government seems to be destined to continue.

    Also, local and state governments can’t print money either so at least this requires some practical fiscal decision-making.

    • Peter says:

      Never thought of that, but a great point….both in the continuity and inability to print money. State and local governments also aren’t so politically charged as the Fed government has become. The last two administrations have really fed into this divisiveness – us vs. them. Need a unifier in the White House.

  • Stevendad says:

    Steven H says:
    June 12, 2017 at 6:16 am
    I agree that attacking people instead of ideas is unproductive. Write that on the board 20 times.

    This seems extremely relevant today. Thanks for keeping it civil guys.

  • Peter says:

    https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/would-top-income-tax-alter-income-inequality.pdf

    Just more mathematical evidence (stated in more detail than I can) from about the most neutral think-tank you are going to find. Article concludes that raising the top tax bracket – or even increasing the number of college graduates – would have an almost zero impact on income inequality. Maybe we should table these two solutions and start looking for others?

    I’ve said it 1000 times….raising taxes on the top earners is largely cosmetic. It makes people feel better, as they are the ones who “can afford it”, “benefit the most”, “deserve higher taxes”, etc……It also seems like the logical and easy solution. Unfortunately, the math just doesn’t add up. I’ve stated that multiple times from many angles. This analysis is another.

    Reforming how our government operates, how we elect people, big businesses’ influence on our politicians, monopoly practices, teaching a modern day curriculum in schools, etc. are BY FAR the most important steps we must take if we want a more balanced society and a growing middle class. All the rest is window dressing.

    • Peter says:

      Figured you would have no comment on this.

      • Steven H says:

        Geez, have patience. Might be end of month. I have other stuff to do.

        • Stevendad says:

          Sometimes it’s hard to tell you have other people in your life than Peter and me. ? (Emoji wink if it didnt post right.) You do (to your credit) spend a lot of time researching and posting. Thanks again, we’ve all learned a lot.

  • Steven H says:

    Geez guys, your aversion to research astounds me. Regarding the question of imported workers and impact on wage, and the assertion that googling info on this is like googling why rain makes you wet …
    Look at following info. And you can stop instantly opposing whatever I post because I really have no horse in this race. Politically I am sympathetic both to immigrants and to workers they might possibly replace. The following is non-partisan and if the info is counterintuitive, then it is proof perhaps that you should do research and not just lay back on your ass-
    umptions.
    ===
    Although many are concerned that immigrants compete against Americans for jobs, the most recent economic evidence suggests that, on average, immigrant workers increase the opportunities and incomes of Americans. Based on a survey of the academic literature, economists do not tend to find that immigrants cause any sizeable decrease in wages and employment of U.S.-born citizens (Card 2005), and instead may raise wages and lower prices in the aggregate (Ottaviano and Peri 2008; Ottaviano and Peri 2010; Cortes 2008). One reason for this effect is that immigrants and U.S.-born workers generally do not compete for the same jobs; instead, many immigrants complement the work of U.S. employees and increase their productivity. For example, low-skilled immigrant laborers allow U.S.-born farmers, contractors, and craftsmen to expand agricultural production or to build more homes—thereby expanding employment possibilities and incomes for U.S. workers. Another way in which immigrants help U.S. workers is that businesses adjust to new immigrants by opening stores, restaurants, or production facilities to take advantage of the added supply of workers; more workers translate into more business.
    http://www.hamiltonproject.org/papers/what_immigration_means_for_u.s._employment_and_wages

    • Steven H says:

      That was from Brookings Institution by the way, generally considered a centrist think tank.
      ===
      Here is quote from Heritage Foundation, a decidedly conservative site:
      American employers cannot find enough highly skilled workers to fill essential positions. There are not enough American workers with advanced skills in computer, engineering, and mathematical occupations to perform the work that many high-tech companies need. This shortage of skilled labor has forced many companies to outsource operations abroad.

      Raising the cap on H-1B visas for skilled workers would allow American businesses to expand operations here in the United States, creating more jobs and higher wages for American workers. Increasing the H-1B cap would also raise significant tax revenue from highly skilled and highly paid workers.
      ===
      From Time Magazine:
      Immigration has an overall positive impact on economic growth in the United States and has small-to-no effects on wages and employment for native-born workers, according to a new report.
      Prepared by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the report looked at immigration trends over the past 20 years to assess the economic impact of the now more than 40 million people living in the United States who were born in other countries. It found that immigration has an overall positive long-term impact on the economy.
      ===
      The opposing view, including a link:
      Here’s the problem with the current immigration debate: Neither side is revealing the whole picture. Trump might cite my work, but he overlooks my findings that the influx of immigrants can potentially be a net good for the nation, increasing the total wealth of the population. Clinton ignores the hard truth that not everyone benefits when immigrants arrive. For many Americans, the influx of immigrants hurts their prospects significantly.

      This second message might be hard for many Americans to process, but anyone who tells you that immigration doesn’t have any negative effects doesn’t understand how it really works. When the supply of workers goes up, the price that firms have to pay to hire workers goes down. Wage trends over the past half-century suggest that a 10 percent increase in the number of workers with a particular set of skills probably lowers the wage of that group by at least 3 percent. Even after the economy has fully adjusted, those skill groups that received the most immigrants will still offer lower pay relative to those that received fewer immigrants.

      Both low- and high-skilled natives are affected by the influx of immigrants. But because a disproportionate percentage of immigrants have few skills, it is low-skilled American workers, including many blacks and Hispanics, who have suffered most from this wage dip. The monetary loss is sizable. The typical high school dropout earns about $25,000 annually. According to census data, immigrants admitted in the past two decades lacking a high school diploma have increased the size of the low-skilled workforce by roughly 25 percent. As a result, the earnings of this particularly vulnerable group dropped by between $800 and $1,500 each year.
      http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/09/trump-clinton-immigration-economy-unemployment-jobs-214216

      • Peter says:

        To me this stuff is really obvious…..but maybe that’s just me. I know some get political and emotional about this. Think Trump’s main message in the campaign wasn’t reducing immigration, but rather reducing illegal immigration, which hurts everyone – including the immigrants who come illegally. But the rest of this stuff is fairly transparent I think.

      • Stevendad says:

        Anyway, I’m only opposed to illegal immigration. How many illegal immigrants have a work visa. I think that’s zero isn’t it?

      • Steven H says:

        My objection to a tight clampdown on illegal immigrants is a disruption of stable economy of longtime residents. It serves no good purpose to deport families and students who have lived here for years, or even their entire lives.
        ===
        As for the immigrant crime claim of stevendad’s, the claim of high crime among immigrants has been widely disputed. Im not sure what specific pockets of crime you are referencing.
        ===
        And by the way, I see little to no correlation between the immigrant and gini maps.

        • Stevendad says:

          GAO report 2005. Most recent I’ve found so far shows illegal immmigrants overrepresent by 3 times:
          The first report found that criminal aliens, both legal and illegal, make up 27 percent of all federal prisoners. Yet non-citizens are only about nine percent of the nation’s adult population. Thus, judging by the numbers in federal prisons alone, non-citizens commit federal crimes at three times the rate of citizens.

        • Stevendad says:

          Don’t see the California and NY areas highly intense in both. Hmmmm… Believing is seeing…

        • Steven H says:

          Consider that half or more of that 27% are individuals only being held for immigration offense, according to sources. That would still leave immigrants with higher crime rate but …

          Libertarian think tank claims “With few exceptions, immigrants are less crime prone than natives or have no effect on crime rates.  As described below, the research is fairly one-sided.”

          https://www.cato.org/blog/immigration-crime-what-research-says

          Not sure how to resolve the statistics differences but it does not seem to be the statistical slam dunk you claim, and your 27% number is clearly incorrect. Unless you want to count immigration offense as crime, in which case 10p% of illegal immigrants are guilty. But that is a self licking ice cream cone.

          • Steven H says:

            100% not 10p%

          • Stevendad says:

            Ok GAO is full of crap. Right.

          • Steven H says:

            No, but you are using statistics that are incomplete. Look up politifact or other articles. I can find them again, but you can google. The federal statistic you quoted is distorted by number held exclusively for immigration violation, which was around half. And other studies conclude immigrants produce less crime not more. You have to do more than come up with one distorted stat out of many and declare you have found the truth you like.

    • Stevendad says:

      I’ve seen that. It’s nonsense or the science of economics is nonsense. Both can’t be true.

      • Stevendad says:

        There has to be a loss of jobs to Americans if given to others. Those studies completely ignore the governmental costs to education, health and law enforcement. Several municipalities have many times the crime amongst illegal immigrants, mostly aimed at other illegals. I’m not opposed to immigration at all, by the way, but there has to be some kind of system of government control. I thought you liked government control SH. This statement ” It found that immigration has an overall positive long-term impact on the economy.” doesn’t mean millions of native individuals are not hurt. Ergo Trump. What Heritage points out is we really somehow fail our children either in training or motivation or both… And all those contractors, farmers, tech company owners, etc all get higher incomes and worsen income inequality by the way. Lots of overlap of immigrants and Gini. :
        http://www.qando.net/wp-content/uploads/Screen-Shot-2013-04-07-at-11.28.36-AM.png

        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f5/Gini_Index_US_Counties_2010.jpg

      • Steven H says:

        Soooo…
        You dont like the results and so you assume your simplistic non fact based theoretical assumptions and personal biases are superior to actual research?
        How about trying to look at the details, learn from the analysis, understand the limitations of the analysis and try to resolve the discrepancies, instead of just declaring it cant be true?
        ===
        1) The analyses I provided indicate that it is possible for immigrant workers to enter an economy and not cause native job loss under specific conditions: (a) immigrants take jobs which locals wont take due to undesirability of conditions, or cannot fill due to skill. (b) immigrant jobs enable industry expansion which creates additional jobs for locals which better match desirability and skill.
        === This is a reasonable analysis.
        2) Limitations of analysis: If immigrants were blocked, would jobs truly go unfilled, or would market adapt by raising wages to fill those jobs? Could the industry markets support the higher wage? Would the higher wages required compel outsourcing of jobs to other countries, producing net job loss? These questions are not easily answered and would vary by industry, and are impacted by trade policy.
        3) Analysis of net increase or decrease in jobs does not describe impact on individual job markets or income categories. As the last article I quoted indicated, when there IS competition between immigrants and locals for the same job category or at the same income bringing in immigrants at a lower wage will depress the wage for locals in that subgroup, even if net job count increases and net economy increases for a broader category.
        4) My impression of all of this is that immigration, whether legal or illegal, may or may not depress wages and may or may not decrease job availability. There are a lot of other variables. We should be wary, and recognize that a net increase in jobs or economy may still depress wages and employment in specific markets.
        5) The point of all this is that you should not reject research just because it seems in opposition to a simplistic model that you like. And that you should not generalize the results of research that you like beyond the specifics of the investigation performed. There does NOT “have to be a loss of jobs to Americans if given to others”, but you have to recognize instead that complexities of systems can lead to counter-intuitive results. I think you already know this to be true.

        • Peter says:

          I’m not sure I understand the argument here. None of us want illegal immigrants here. I think we agree that rounding up millions of people already here isn’t the point – it is limiting new illegal immigration. We all acknowledge that illegal immigrants affect the job economy for our current citizens to some degree. If for no other reason that there are more people competing for the same jobs.

          I do find it hard to continue to buy into Steven H’s theory that there are people who are out of work who pass on crap jobs because they pay $8 an hour, but if they were $10 an hour, they would take them. People don’t choose to make $0 an hour over $8 an hour. Or maybe unemployment/welfare pays them too much. Otherwise, the logic makes no sense. If I didn’t have a job and needed money, I’d take whatever job I could get. I wouldn’t say “McDonalds only pays minimum wage, so screw that”.

          • Stevendad says:

            If roofers had to pay $20 an hour I’m pretty sure some people born in the United States would take those jobs. They’re paying five dollars an hour now. Because they can and it’s just good business. That’s what the roofers tell me anyway.I didn’t see any of your articles mention the fact that wages would go up if labor scarcity were more of an issue. You completely discount the people eventually would do almost any job for the right amount of money. Or perhaps the poor are just not willing to do jobs that are difficult and are not the 100% pure of heart abused people that you portray.there has to be some aspect of codependency that allows people to avoid jobs as well. You cannot deny that benefits may be high enough that they just don’t want to do a difficult job.again, my first job was cleaning toilets at 6 o’clock in the morning where they been throwing up in all night. $2.35 an hour. Glad to get it at the time. At what point should we bend over backwards to let people only have “meaningful and easy “jobs?
            I would think that we need to draw a line somewhere and say that anybody that came here before 2016 or some other date can stay on a work visa. would be happy to grant a path to citizenship to those who wish to start the process. However, it is totally unfair to move them all to the front of the line in front of the people that have been waiting appropriately. But at some point, we have to stop the uncontrolled flow.
            This is more government, I’m surprise you’re not up for it SH this is more government control, I’m surprised you’re not up for it SH

          • Steven H says:

            Well first of all, that is not Steven Hs theory, that is Peters distortion of articles that Steven H posted for everyone to discuss, not for everyone to distort and build into straw men. I already stated that I see both sides.

          • Steven H says:

            ” I didn’t see any of your articles mention the fact that wages would go up if labor scarcity were more of an issue. ”
            Then you clearly didnt read the last article or even the snippet i posted from it.
            === to repeat:
            When the supply of workers goes up, the price that firms have to pay to hire workers goes down. Wage trends over the past half-century suggest that a 10 percent increase in the number of workers with a particular set of skills probably lowers the wage of that group by at least 3 percent.

          • Steven H says:

            “You completely discount the people eventually would do almost any job for the right amount of money. ”
            Lordy stevendad, you dont actually read anything i write do you. Not only do I not discount that fact, I have stated it outright. I am not here to stand in for your fantasy caricature of a liberal. Do I need to create a new persona to post all the crap ideas you attribute to me? Maybe that would be Steven N.

          • Peter says:

            “If immigrants were blocked, would jobs truly go unfilled, or would market adapt by raising wages to fill those jobs?” To be fair, you did pose this as a question….

          • Steven H says:

            Thank you Peter, for reading and noticing. And the reason I posed it as a question was because I consider it a likely probability. I actually think high levels of immigration, both illegal and legal can be a problem for income disparity. At the same time, I wanted to present BOTH SIDES (as stevendad claimed he wanted me to do), and present the evidence that some of the research we hear (immigrants help the overall economy and have almost no impact on wages) CAN be correct while still understating the impact to lower incomes.
            ===
            I understand the usefulness of analogy and simple models, but also dislike using such simplified models to ‘prove’ wrong the efforts of more sophisticated research. In this case both the simple and complex models make sense together when you understand their limitations.

        • Stevendad says:

          There does not have to be displacement, but there has been. That’s a big reason why Trump was elected.
          Please just admit this is a policy to import future Democratic voters. I’m really tired of the moral superiority argument.
          I Think it would be very difficult to prove and an unsound economic argument that providing more of something ( unskilled labor ) drives the cost up. I also find it very unlikely that there is no level of pay that would get people off the couch. These two things together lead to a fairly simple conclusion that there is some level that people eventually would find to work “dirty jobs”. However, as I’ve said before, given the hard-working nature and conservative moral nature of his panic this is likely to backfire in the future somewhere around 10 years, once this whole 11 million illegal aliens presently here is settled out. So suddenly, Latinos will become much more Republican.
          And if you just worried about economic growth, see the previous comment where we could have 1% more economic growth of which is scaled-back the cost of federal regulations by 10%.

          • Stevendad says:

            Hispanics

          • Steven H says:

            Perhaps some Dem leaders see avote strategy in immigrants just as GOP leaders see a vote strategy in blocking paths to citizenship and making it harder for young and poor to vote. But I will not “admit” it is the strategy of Dem rank and file, because that would be incorrect.

  • Steven H says:

    I posted this elsewhere but it was intended for the top. I’ll see if its me post again …
    Found this comment regarding healthcare. It makes a good point. I tried to say something similar but this is better.
    ===
    : What is beyond me is how anyone thinks the free market can properly handle health insurance. the rest of the planet figured out like half a century ago that the free market sucks at that because insurance isn’t like other commodities. the profits motives are all reversed.
    If I’m selling… let’s say cars… what does my ideal customer look like? First of all, they drive a lot. They NEED my product. and they will use it often, which translates to more service providing replacement parts and maintenance on top of the fact that they recognize that it is worth paying me for the car in the first place. So I am going to gear my efforts towards providing the segment of the population with the greatest need for my product with what they are looking for, because that’s in my own best business interest. I make a good profit, society get’s it’s needs met, everyone happy, nation ticks along relatively well.
    If I’m selling health insurance what does my ideal customer look like? Someone who USES health insurance a lot? Hell no. Because they do NOT make me more money. They COST me more money… in direct proportion to how much services they use. So where is my motive to gear my business towards meeting the greatest needs of society in my business sector? It simply does not exist. My profit motive is in the opposite direction. I want to sell my services to the people who need them LEAST while doing everything in my power to avoid having the people who need my services most as my customers.
    That should be ridiculously, painfully obvious to anyone who thinks about it for even a couple minutes. Which is why I am always left astounded when people in the US bust out these claims that what we obviously really need to fix health care is to just turn the free market loose on it. That’s lunacy. Doing that will give you a very, very profitable health insurance industry of course… but they’re not going to be making those profits trying as hard as they can to make sure sick people get health care, that’s for damn sure.
    ===

    • Stevendad says:

      A totally free market wasn’t included in my solutions in March. One can only have a free market if we’re willing to let people die or get sicker because they have no insurance. We don’t. Go to the ER and even if you’re here illegally, you get care. Again the least efficient portal, but nonetheless an open door.

      • Steven H says:

        Are you saying that letting people die per their own free choice is an acceptable but unfortunate side effect of the higher virtue of having a totally free market, and that the net positives of the totally free market outweigh those negatives?
        Im just trying to parse your post.

        • Peter says:

          I’d rather take away Federal support of people to retire than health support.

        • Stevendad says:

          That’s a complete distortion of what I said. I’m saying no one is ever allowed to die without treatment in my experience. Not in my 35 years of doing this. You’re just not paying attention. People get the critical health care they need. I know your personal family situation was one where you felt more could be done by the healthcare system. There is a massive hole for substance-abuse and mental health. I do not deny that at all. Oklahoma passed laws that specifically address saving money in corrections by changing drug laws and pushing that money towards mental health care. Hopefully others can do that as well. Interestingly, this was passed by state voters directly. None of the legislators were willing to do so.
          I have yet to see anyone not get a coronary bypass, or chemotherapy, or any other life and death procedure that they needed due to the fact they do not have money in their pockets.

          • Steven H says:

            And yet studies repeatedly show increased mortality for those without health insurance. Perhaps it is not the critical surgery they need. But screenings, medicines, doctor appointments are expensive without insurance and so they get cut. You must know this happens.

  • Steven H says:

    Ok we are going round in circles again. Same old arguments. But to correct any misconceptions. You should know these are my positions but I want to be clear. I know we disagree, but maybe we can move on to another subtopic.
    1) I dont think spending on govt gets us to Nirvana. It is just a tool we should fund adequately, and a means to implement national priorities.
    2) We should pay our bills first, find expenses to cut second. That means raising taxes on those who can pay. Paying our bills is not giving government more money. It is paying what we owe. Increasing spending is a different topic.
    3) Tax burden is not too large for rich. They have a big tax share because they have a big income share. Upper 1% receives almost 20% of the entire economy as income, almost as much as the entire federal government. I believe the mismanagement of that income played a big part in the last few recessions. Government may be inefficient but so was the use of that money. The rich investors have paid higher effective tax rates on smaller hoards in the past, and they can pay more now if society deems it necessary.
    4) We have national needs that require investment. We can be smart about efficiency, corporate partnership, and tax incentives, but we should also consider additional smart spending.
    5) Deriding government as hopelessly corrupt and inefficient is popular political rhetoric but does not help solve our problems.

    • Peter says:

      Every time to get to a place in the argument you don’t like you go back to a restatement of your original manifesto….and we start down the same path again. This is maddening. Come on…..

      • Steven H says:

        I’m not trying to avoid anything except misunderstanding.
        Speaking of avoidance …, you never answered my question about how you misinterpreted my other post into being a conflation of value of the lower 20% of earners.

    • Steven H says:

      I just don’t like the descent into name calling and stretching of my position into something it isn’t. That’s the only reason for the restatement.

    • Peter N says:

      Aaarggh! Are you guys still at it? Steven H, why do the top 1% get 20% of the money? Do they rob people? Do they use extortion? No one is holding a gun to people’s head to “give” them their 20%. Yet libtards think they have a right to hold a gun to the heads of the top 1% and for then to pay half the federal taxes.
      http://www.cnbc.com/2015/04/13/top-1-pay-nearly-half-of-federal-income-taxes.html
      The libtards what to kill the golden goose. If the top 1% decide they have had enough then what?

      • Steven H says:

        If all the top 1% died in a plague, we would replace them with the next 1%. No problem.

        • James says:

          If the poor died in a plague we would replace them with the next 20%. No problem.

        • Stevendad says:

          What if they left and took their money with them? That’s a HUGE chunk of our national wealth.

        • Peter N says:

          “If all the top 1% died in a plague, we would replace them with the next 1%. No problem”
          You are stupid. You don’t know what you don’t know.
          Why don’t 1% of the libtards solve all the libtard problems?
          They don’t, they can’t. All the libtards want to do is to regulate those that can.

          Steven H, I have made this point before. You have NEVER REFUTED IT!

      • A Tad Glib says:

        Individuals in the top 1% are not the problem. They’ve just got too dam much money and it is not being invested as efficiently as if it were elsewhere in the economy. How did they get it? Accumulation of capital, wage suppression, bending the rules in their favor, war on drugs to arrest and harass large swaths of the population, general behavior of people who think they are better than everybody else and have the money and means to attack others while scooping up all the wealth they can. You know, normal rich-tard stuff. Not the hard workers like you of course. Its those other guys.

      • Stevendad says:

        We just can’t stop being irresistible force to his immovable object.

    • Stevendad says:

      National priorities according to whom?
      The government excels at spending money and sucks at cutting back. Surely you agree with that?
      I’ve suggested taxing the rich and those who cheat the system, not just pounding away at income taxes until it feels “fair” to the Left.
      The government is not hopelessly corrupt of inefficient, but they can see it from where they are…
      To whit: we either have a campaign that colluded to win by selling out to a foreign power or a party that with their media cronies is willing to spend millions and damage America for purely political aims. One MUST be true. So somebody is pretty darn corrupt.
      The state dept “lost” $6000 million dollars per the IG. Just don’t know where it went…. do businesses do that a lot? And wouldn’t the IRS be crawling up their rear ends if they did? Also see Peter’s example on year end spending. Etc, etc, etc…

      • Peter says:

        National priorities is a dangerous term. Lots of what Trump is doing is labeled “national priorities” because a bunch of people want it. Steven H is ignoring all of our stories about Fed spending by the way. Not sure why he wants so badly to believe that the government is righteous. It’s a freaking mess….

      • Steven H says:

        “To whit: we either have a campaign that colluded to win by selling out to a foreign power or a party that with their media cronies is willing to spend millions and damage America for purely political aims. One MUST be true. So somebody is pretty darn corrupt.”
        Or we have an incompetent self-serving egotistical President who enabled and benefitted from Russian interference without technically colluding, and we have concerned politicians on both sides of the aisle, and an honest media who are investigating to find all of the subtle improprieties that are being covered up. That could be true. Let’s go with that one.

        • Stevendad says:

          Nope this argues the constant collusion drumbeat (I saw it brought up a thousand times) was purely a political device designed by the Dems to explain away how awful their campaign and candidate was. Interesting you made that choice… And this has spent millions and led to a weakening of America. That this collusion story was made up is documented in “Shattered” by two embedded Clinton campaign reporters.
          “without technically colluding”. So you agree there was no fire from all that smoke? I can go back, but it’s late and I’ll paraphrase you earlier said collusion was a slam dunk. On to obstruction of justice…. The next political device. That’s so rich given the 30k missing emails and destroyed devices WHILE under investigation by…now who was it?

  • Peter says:

    The answer to every question can’t be “raise taxes on the rich” or “increase spending or debt/GDP”. Mathematics don’t work that way….at what point do we reach your nirvana? Let’s talk in absolutes, rather than comparatively. Because we can always raise or lower – that’s politics in a nutshell and often largely cosmetic. What we can change immediately is running what we have more efficiently.

    An important perspective from inside the government to illustrate this…… There aren’t many government agencies I visit that say “if only we had more money” (EPA might be the only one). You see and hear this very often locally, but almost never federally. In fact, one of the major agencies I work with hires me to teach seminars every year right before the end of the fiscal year. They point-blank told me that they do this because “there is still money in the budget we need to spend”. When I asked why they “needed” to spend it, they said that if they don’t, then in next year’s budget the Fed will take it away from them. If they have $1m to spend and they only need $750k, the Fed will then adjust next year’s budget to $750k. So they spend the $1m.

    In corporate America, if you spend $750k instead of the $1m in your department, you likely get a raise or a promotion. This is not how government works.

    My point is this. With this sort of structure, having our government run huge portions of our society is foolish. (And this is without even considering the partisan gridlock, executive orders, and other nonsense in the way) Hopefully you can see why when I already give the Federal government 40% of everything I earn, I don’t think the solution is giving them 45%.

    • Steven H says:

      At some point you have to at least consider the possibility that failing infrastructure, declined education, and limp economy requires investment. As I have repeatedly pointed out, govt spending has held at anout 21% GDP for decades, with some fluctuation up and down. You keep saying we are spending ‘ more and more’ but in fact we are not. We are just failing to put our monetary wealth into the proper investments. Salaried incomes of the lower echelon of 1% may have effective rates in the 40% range, but upper echelon investors have much lower rate. We can therefore leverage that wealth by (a) incentivizing investments that are helpful to the economy or (b) taxing the income or wealth to pay down debt and invest in national infrastructure.
      We have one of the smaller govt spending to gdp ratios of large civilized countries. Maybe we could do better not being so stingy. The solution is not always bigger govt. But that solution should at least be considered.

    • Peter says:

      Why? When we already have so much waste? Why is the solution always to pour more money into it? Did you not even read the example I gave? This is rampant….. And you don’t need to CONSTANTLY repeat your debt/GDP numbers. Do you realize that I know what they are? That I understand the statistic? Who says we have to stay at 21% of GDP? Why can’t we spend less than that? Again, you can’t mandate that lower-quality-experience-expertise employees make more money and management/innovators/fat cats/whatever make less anyway. And honestly, I’m not sure there is much hope for government reform either. But to think giving a wasteful organization more money is going to help anyone but the autocrats and super-rich is crazy!

    • Steven H says:

      Ive worked at big companies. Departments have the same wateful incentives. It is not unique to govt. Marketing dept spends less than budget, they get less next year.

      • Peter says:

        AAARGGGGHHHH……you just won’t budge! There is an absolute, undeniable, fundamental difference in how the public and private sector works. No clue what industry you are referring to – but it is certainly not true in a long list of them I could rattle off.

        I can acknowledge the advantages of the public sector (lack of profit motive being the biggest one) – why don’t you acknowledge the benefits of the private sector? Government is so utopian in your eyes….or to be more fair – the Democratic part of government is. I’m not saying the private sector is utopian at all – not by any means. I’m not blind to its problems….but in general, I prefer it FAR over the institutionalized political gridlock waste insanity of the public sector.

        There is tremendous waste as well in the private sector. I’m not denying that at all….but there is something called competition and capitalism. You can’t tell me one one hand that corporations are corrupted and motivated by the bottom line but then tell me they waste money too. How do those two things reconcile?

        • Peter says:

          “You can’t tell me one one hand that corporations are corrupted and motivated by the bottom line but then tell me they waste money too. How do those two things reconcile?” – just thought I’d repeat my question.

          And telling me that the private sector isn’t utopian is not news – in fact I said the same thing in my post. It’s the very nature of the public sector to have waste in their budgets though. Which is why giving them more money won’t get the results you are looking for.

        • Stevendad says:

          When I owned my own business, the waste came out of my wallet. That certainly made you more attentive to it.

      • Steven H says:

        Govt is not utopian, but neither is business. Excessive pay to management is a huge inefficiency, for instance. Vonstant drive to build up shareholder value and quarterly profits,at the expense of driving down salaries and benefits is a huge social harm.
        ===
        Competition and capitalism improve certain efficiencies. No doubt about it. Its a really good motivator. When a bunch of small companies compete, I think that system works really well. But some national priorities and utility services cannot EASILY be performed efficiently by private sector in control. Consider health care. The most efficient solution for insurance to keep costs down is to let the sickest die. Or at least to keep them off of ‘your’ insurance plan and force them on to someone elses. When services are requirements and not options, the private capitalist system breaks down.

      • Stevendad says:

        Fantastic! A breakthrough? You admit smaller is better. So local > state > Federal govt would be better as a goal.

    • Stevendad says:

      Agree absolutely. We need to incentivize efficiency, reduce crony capitalism. I’m not sure why these are controversial to SH.

    • Stevendad says:

      . In fact, one of the major agencies I work with hires me to teach seminars every year right before the end of the fiscal year. They point-blank told me that they do this because “there is still money in the budget we need to spend”. When I asked why they “needed” to spend it, they said that if they don’t, then in next year’s budget the Fed will take it away from them. If they have $1m to spend and they only need $750k, the Fed will then adjust next year’s budget to $750k. So they spend the $1m.

      I heard this type of story many times from my three federal government employee family members with almost 100 years of combined experience as well…

  • Stevendad says:

    So, to recap your position Steven H, paid maternity leave required by the (Federal) government; increases in educational expense paid for by the government; restrictions on bathrooms enforced by the federal government; increases in shelter and food expenses for the poor by the government; government mandates on birth control; increases in minimum-wage enforced by the government; healthcare administered by the government; increases in oversight of financial industry by the government. All paid for with increases in taxes on the 1%. Any recurrent theme in here? I’m sure I left out a few ways that the government could be larger. Our fundamental disagreement is if you believe in sending money to the government so that it becomes larger is beneficial in increasing US GDP and “fairness”. I don’t.I think we’re at a or more likely beyond a a reasonable balance.I observe lots of things and lots of industries, but know that the government is not helping us at all with efficiency, improved care or lower costs.I can only hope that you run into some government regulations that will “help” your business soon.

    Certainly there needs to be incentives to be more efficient. Certainly we need to quit spending money we do not have. I can say this without reservation: that the government should not be telling us to eat broccoli or not drink Pepsis.

    • Peter says:

      “Efficiency” is not the government’s specialty. And why would it be with the political landscape the way that it is? I would probably be more supportive – both verbally and financially – of “more government” if I had any respect for how it was run.

    • Steven H says:

      Corrections. Paid parental leave is a program worth considering. Perhaps it is a company cost, not a govt cost. Many companies find it valuable.
      Some of education can be paid with company investment motivated by tax incentives. There should also be limits on costs that federal programs will subsidize. Costs probably need to be regulated or incentivized lower.
      Raising minimum wage will reduce govt food stamp costs.
      Let everybody use whatever bathroom they feel is appropriate. I am AGAINST the restrictive GOP bathroom bills not for them.
      Government mandates on FREEDOM of choice for women, FREEDOM of choice for patients, without religious and moral
      Prudism and oppression by priests and nosey politicians injecting themselves into medical decisions.
      Just a bit of common sense and investment.

      • Peter says:

        Agree on all fronts but minimum wage…unless it is slight or replaces food stamps altogether. Agree on the rest because I’m an open minded non-partisan mofo 🙂

      • Stevendad says:

        Or just more government control. I’m glad the Left is so wise… it wants to spare me the strain that of making any decisions.

      • Stevendad says:

        So tax incentives do not affect the treasury at all? It’s just another way of giving away money for some sort of behavior you think would be good. It’s still not “free”. This is precisely how her text code got injected with thousands of loopholes that makes our corporate tax system so unfair. Business is already work with trade schools and universities to help develop programs for training.

      • Stevendad says:

        Raising minimum-wage also could just move food stamps away from cities and larger towns and into smaller towns as they all are destroyed by the loss of most businesses in this town. Again, these are mostly Republican voters so Democrats like you probably don’t care. Regardless of the motivation, it’s just another example of unintended consequences. Again, I’m only speaking of a federal minimum-wage. San Francisco, Seattle, NY, etc can raise as much as they want if they feel like that is necessary and helpful. Of this they have total control.

      • Stevendad says:

        Parental leave is fine on a business level, I just don’t want another government mandate. I’ve filled out about 500 FMLA forms. How many have you filled out SH? All we need is another government form. Women will vote with their feet. It is being brought up as a part of the Democratic program for government.

        And take away FREEDOM of choice for states, localities and businesses. Always a trade off… I personally don’t think these are huge issues as BC pills are $5-10/ month or free at the health dept. That’s also just a bit of common sense. Your self image of personal wisdom is astonishing.

  • Stevendad says:

    My overriding point, again is that there are principles that you should believe in and that every situation in which you pass a law helps some and harms others. I just see the bathroom issue as another situation in which the Democratic Party is pandering for votes. I’m sure it’s completely coincidental that this is helpful for their LBGTQ community who vote for them and min wage at $15 is harmful to the small-town people who do not. Completely coincidental! It is with the sanctimony of superior intellect and moral authority that this is based on. It is not at all based on politics… Right…

    • Stevendad says:

      And the opposite view: http://nypost.com/2012/09/10/the-maternity-leave-myth/ on maternity leave. Never heard of fast money before.New York Post has its issues for sure. These are anecdotes. I don’t see any study of this. Perhaps there is one available? I thought we were worried about data? I need her saying it’s right or wrong but I’m just not sure that it’s proven. Secondly, their article certainly that decry how poorly the Canadian system works for people who have urgent needs. U.S. News & World Report has an article that shows over 50,000 Canadians came to the United States for treatment. They give an anecdote of a woman who died waiting for a bone marrow transplant. Since anecdotes matter, I thought that we should bring this up. It’s not perfect but probably works for both of the British and Canadians. Americans have drastically different expectations of healthcare. I experience this at least monthly. The VA and other federal systems are shining examples of how poor they work here. I worked in a VA and the lack of accountability was appalling. It was at least five times higher than anywhere else I’ve ever worked. Again, I know you consider yourself an expert as your worked in the VA in the past. Of course, veterans want to keep free care. Who wouldn’t? I don’t have the study in front of me but recently saw that the vast majority he would rather have payment through the private system like insurance than go to the VA. That’s a voucher system, sounds a lot like Ryan care.

      • 7Steven H says:

        Regarding Canadian healthcare system. Most polls find tremendous satisfaction among Canadians with their system. Most of the issues with wait times are for non urgent care, not emergencies. Note also that the wait time in America for chronic care like cancer treatments is infinite if you cannot afford to pay, and have no insurance. There are stats anout how many Canadians opt to get care in US but the number is small. It does not reflect a failure of the Canadian system. Did you know Canadians voted the ‘founder’ of their system a national hero? Thats how much they like their system.
        BTW There are also many instances of US citizens going to other countries to get more affordable surgery or treatments not yet approved here. None of these stats are huge, though.
        Look up opinions of Canadian healthcare from Canadians. It is not a perfect system and you will find some complaints. Overall though, it looks like they have a good and well liked system.

        • Stevendad says:

          People be free cancer care. I am treating someone NOW in the hospital who has NO money for it. You’re inventing “facts”.

          • Stevendad says:

            Get not be.

          • Stevendad says:

            This person will be almost immediately eligible for Medicaid and get $10s of thousands of absolutely free care. This is absolutely appropriate by the way. I’ve never seen anyone with this type of serious illness abandoned to die without treatment. Ever. In 35 years. Have you observed this SH? Yes, those with assets often have to spend for health care from those, but I have seen no one just wither away and dies. We just eat the cost as cost of doing business. This is just political BS.

          • Peter says:

            LOL – it always comes down to the “letting people die” argument. Yet we subsidize corn syrup so people can fill their bodies full of dangerous chemicals every day…..

          • Steven H says:

            Cancer may have been an inappropriate example. But are you saying no one dies in America from lack of health insurance? I have heard that claim but dont believe it.

        • Stevendad says:

          Both have lots of issues. Americans have much higher expectations and would sue the crap out their doctors if they worked on the speed of the Canadian system. Our tort system is a HUGE cost drag, maybe $1/2 trillion a year in defensive medicine. Gee apples don’t taste or look like oranges.

        • Peter says:

          No Canadian will tell you it is good for ER care…..or to have a baby.

        • Peter says:

          The polls don’t say what you think they do. They show Canadians overwhelmingly SUPPORT public health care. It doesn’t say that they have “tremendous satistfaction”.

    • Steven H says:

      Last I’m going to post on this subject this month. This started with local legislation within a city to protect a vulnerable minority. It was the State legislators who took an authoritarian stance and tried to attack that vulnerable minority using justifications of false paranoia about predators, and then made statewide regulations that PREVENTED localities from ruling their own roost and protecting their own citizens. You keep trying to make it as if this is a liberal attack on somebody. It’s not. I don’t even want to claim it as an issue of politics or partisanship. It is an attack by a religiously paranoid uninformed bigoted authoritarian minority of idiots within the population upon a vulnerable minority who do not deserve to be attacked. Believe me they have enough difficulty without this. And the majority of Americans and American businesses do not accept these bathroom bills and will not stand for such an attack on vulnerable citizens. This is why these stupid bathroom bills brought forth by bigots and idiots in the state legislatures will never stand. There are a few legitimate related issues about protecting the sensibilities of school children and I think schools and localities can generally handle them with some guidance from legitimate civil rights rulings. But trans children and adults who dress and act and identify as males should not be forced into the women’s room by some ridiculous bathroom bill. That sort of intrusiveness is just absurd.
      I hope I have not been too subtle about my position.

      • Stevendad says:

        religiously paranoid uninformed bigoted authoritarian minority of idiots. Wow, judge people much? You never responded to the crime committed by a man identifying as a woman reported in NBC news several days ago. Still two sides, even if one is held by “religiously paranoid uninformed bigoted authoritarian minority of idiots”

        • Peter says:

          Kind of an ironic statement from someone who posted some crap about the dangers of “attacking the person vs. the ideas”.

  • Peter says:

    Curious….since you seem to keep bringing the argument back to debt/GDP ratios. We all know why debt/GDP spiked up to 76% in 2008 with the stimulus. Why are we up over 104% now? Answer this without blaming the GOP or applauding Democrats. (Think of the government as one big unhappy marriage)

    • Steven H says:

      First of all, the Obama stimulus was passed in 2009 and primarily implemented from 2009 to 2012 (it did not all get spent in or apply against the budget for the year it was passed). TARP program, passed in end of 2008, was also actually in fiscal 2009. Most people remember it as 700 billion dollars of spending, which was the amount initially authorized. A lesser amount was actually dispersed and all of that was actually eventually recovered at a small profit to government (based on my quick review of Wikipedia). Second, deficits existed before the recession, the recession took revenue even lower, and resistance to tax increases kept those deficits high for several years, driving up debt for several years. Third, when tax increases were passed, they were not as large as requested, and were less than needed to close the deficit to be smaller than economic growth, so debt/gdp continued to increase. Spending did not increase for several years from 2009 on (though this analysis is complicated by the TARP and stimulus spending) and spending was remarkably constrained for a recession. However the debt baseline and the deficit baseline going in to the recession and resistance to adequate tax levels has kept deficits too high.

    • Steven H says:

      So, to be clear, none of the debt/gdp increase in FY 2008 was due to stimulus or TARP as those began to be applied in 2009. 2008 spike was due to tax revenue losses in 2008 due to beginning of recession, and some spending increases implemented by Congress, as well as the delayed implementation costs of Pres Bushs Medicare Part D, which was passed a few years earlier but first came online in 2008 budget.

    • Steven H says:

      Error and deep apologies. I completely forgot there was also a Bush Stimulus in early 2008. It seems to have been about $150B, but I am looking up more precise numbers and impact.

      • Steven H says:

        The cost of 2008 stimulus is a little muddy. There were about $120B of individual tax cuts spread over 2008 and 2009, and additional business incentives such as temporary change in depreciation rules, which would cost 50B in revenue in 2008 an 2009, but was expected to be have 40B recovered in later years when the depreciation would otherwise have been taken. Look it up if that doesn’t make sense.
        ===
        So 2008 budget was impacted by BOTH 2008 stimulus bill and loss of revenue due to the declining economy. But the big revenue hit was in 2009 and 2010 when revenue was about 20% lower than it had been in 2007 and 2008.

    • Steven H says:

      So I am a little interested in how perception and reality diverge. This affected both of us Peter. I forgot about the 2008 stimulus, and I am guessing that you forgot about big revenue drops after 2008 and costs of 2009 stimulus being in 2009 and later (or why else would you have asked why debt continued to climb after 2008?).
      I think a lot of people remember big numbers from the time and were attributing all of the big deficits to spending. Even in the last election I heard people complaining that Obama spent too much and that is why they voted against Dems. People remember: $700B TARP, $800B stimulus of 2009, Trillion dollar deficits. What they don’t remember, or never knew, was that the $700 TARP was more of a credit limit and much less (< $500B) was dispersed and most (or all?) of that was recovered back to the government. The $800B stimulus was $500B spending + $220B temporary tax cuts, + about $70B in an AMT patch that really wasn't stimulus and should not really have been in the stimulus total at all. The Trillion dollar deficits were largely due to the sudden 20% hit in revenue largely from economy itself, accompanied by the need for immediate stimulus spending passed by Bush (2008 package + TARP) and Obama (2009 package) that further hit revenue and added to spending. So it is interesting to me to hear those who think there was unnecessary spending creating deficits in the economic crisis, when spending is actually the prescribed approach to get the economy back on track and most of the deficits were from revenue loss.

    • Peter says:

      5 replies….1000 words…..and you didn’t answer the question. I am aware of how the stimulus worked, how TARP was implemented, etc. But let me rephrase the question…… why are we still over 100% GDP in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017? This is even after the tax hikes on the top earners and economic recovery. Some of these also include a lighter presence in Iraq and certainly they don’t include TARP or stimulus. Explain.

      • Steven H says:

        Short answer: problem is tax resistance. Spending has been restrained. Taxes need to increase just a bit to drop debt/gdp.
        ===
        We started at a HUGE deficit after the 2008 crisis and even though Congress constrained spending from increasing AT ALL for 5 years from 2009, and even though economy is growing again, they would not vote for sufficient tax increases to either balance budget or even to drop the deficit/gdp to less than gap growth. We were so close in 2015, but not quite.
        3.9T spending in 2016 and we were only about 600B shy of balanced budget, or by about 3% GDP. But we don’t need to balance budget. Just dropping deficit by half would get us below economic growth and we could start to make a dent.

      • Steven H says:

        Found this comment regarding healthcare. It makes a good point. I tried to say something similar but this is better.
        ===

        : What is beyond me is how anyone thinks the free market can properly handle health insurance. the rest of the planet figured out like half a century ago that the free market sucks at that because insurance isn’t like other commodities. the profits motives are all reversed.

        If I’m selling… let’s say cars… what does my ideal customer look like? First of all, they drive a lot. They NEED my product. and they will use it often, which translates to more service providing replacement parts and maintenance on top of the fact that they recognize that it is worth paying me for the car in the first place. So I am going to gear my efforts towards providing the segment of the population with the greatest need for my product with what they are looking for, because that’s in my own best business interest. I make a good profit, society get’s it’s needs met, everyone happy, nation ticks along relatively well.

        If I’m selling health insurance what does my ideal customer look like? Someone who USES health insurance a lot? Hell no. Because they do NOT make me more money. They COST me more money… in direct proportion to how much services they use. So where is my motive to gear my business towards meeting the greatest needs of society in my business sector? It simply does not exist. My profit motive is in the opposite direction. I want to sell my services to the people who need them LEAST while doing everything in my power to avoid having the people who need my services most as my customers.

        That should be ridiculously, painfully obvious to anyone who thinks about it for even a couple minutes. Which is why I am always left astounded when people in the US bust out these claims that what we obviously really need to fix health care is to just turn the free market loose on it. That’s lunacy. Doing that will give you a very, very profitable health insurance industry of course… but they’re not going to be making those profits trying as hard as they can to make sure sick people get health care, that’s for damn sure.

    • Steven H says:

      Other reason I left out was slow revovery. If we were sustaining a 2.5 or 3 % gdp growth rate we would be closer to, or at a point of paying down debt/gdp.
      I went into the long explanations because the way you posed the question made it sound as if the big jumps in spending and losses in revenue were in 2008, when in fact both peaked in 2009 to 2010.

      • Stevendad says:

        Food for thought… a 10% drop in Fed regulation (cost ~$2T) would lead to over 1% more growth. That would get us over the 3% hump…

      • Peter says:

        Nope….because I don’t care about trying to make the ridiculous case that any of this has to do with the president or a party.

  • Peter says:

    I want to repost something I just said a few days ago regarding government: The intent initially is noble, Then politics get involved and people who know nothing about the subject (education, healthcare, financial services, intelligence, etc.) get put in positions to “fix it”. They just don’t “get” how it works.

    I think is at the heart of my argument against Steven H’s belief that government is usually the solution over private industry. Private industry has some major flaws as well – greed, protection of self-interests, etc. but does a far better job of running the businesses they are in. Government’s role should be to monitor and regulate – and the people doing so should be people from that industry, or at least with a working knowledge of the industry they oversee.

    This is not a radical idea. Nor is it partisan.

    • Steven H says:

      Well, now I get to do a correction. I think government has a role WITH private industry. And while government can always be smarter, I am pretty sure that most of the govt regulators actually do have knowledge of the industry they regulate. It’s a difficult balance of course. You want people with industry knowledge and sympathy, but not so much sympathy that they fail to do their job.
      ===
      I do object to people getting put in charge who are ignorant of their task or actually in opposition to it. (Head of EPA comes to mind.) By the way, this is actually why I am against term limits for Congress. The last thing we need is for the only experienced cognizant people on the hill to be the lobbyists. Experience, knowledge, and dedication to the job is important in government as in any other task.

    • Steven H says:

      Economic Left/Right: -4.13
      Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -2.87
      Just remember. Being in the center of two extreme positions does not necessarily make you correct.
      😉

      • Stevendad says:

        So you came out more libertarian then authoritarian? That’s interesting given your ideas about government becoming more and more involved in our lives based on your past ideas. Based on your past ideas…. i’m not critical of your finding, just a little surprised. Your Left Right ended up about where I thought. I certainly have met many that are left of you.

        • Stevendad says:

          I like to think that I’m correct because I am. I have no proof of any of this being the best answer, just ideas. I would think, however, that sitting in the center would give you a better view of both sides.

          • Peter says:

            Agreed.

          • Steven H says:

            It would be interesting to know what the median and averages are across the population on this test. I suspect it is not pre calibrated. I’m sure we would find vastly different averages in urban and rural areas …

          • Steven H says:

            Just as long as you don’t mistake centrist for correctness.

  • Peter says:

    Another great example of the insanity of our argument,….. we all generally agree on increased focus on education to better prepare people for jobs in the information age. But do we want the government doing this?

    Anyone with a kid in school right now will be wary of this. Due to the common core standardized testing put in by our government, teachers have too much pressure to teach to these tests. Problem is – the tests are about one or two months before the year ends. When they end, teachers can shut down for the year. My kids go to one of the top public school systems in the entire nation. Yet they have spent days/weeks of their schooling watching movies, coloring and playing games. I don’t remember EVER doing this when I was in school.

    This is just another example of how jacked up our government is. The intent initially is noble, Then politics get involved and people who know nothing about education (DeVos, Hillary, etc) get put in positions to “fix it”. Same thing happens in healthcare, financial (Dodd Frank), and now even in intelligence. The people that are in charge of our intelligence community now are not people from that world. They just don’t “get” how it works.

    Politicians and government and party has totally overstepped their bounds. Which is to be expected when they have trillions of dollars to spend. I just can’t see any logic in giving more money to these inefficient, inexperienced, politically motivated people to try and reform entire industries or parts of our society. The government just has a way of making it “appear” like they are helping, but in reality making it worse for all invoked. The education system is a great example, but there are countless others.

    • Peter says:

      And by the way….the coloring I’m referring to is in HIGH School. Not Kindergarten.

    • Steven H says:

      Let me state I am not an expert on Common Core, nor an advocate of standardized testing as currently implemented. Bush’s ‘ No Child Left Behind’ and Obama’s ‘Race To The Top’ are both, I believe, too focussed on standardized testing. Excess testing and reliance on testing to monetarily reward schools and teachers, has hurt our school system. I should mention however, that there may be some misconception about Common Core. It is not a federal guideline, has no tie to the federal programs just mentioned, and does not compel standardized testing. It is a state originated and driven program to provide common goals for grades. Each state can use them or not, and apply them however they want.. If implemented well, it would make transitions of students from one state or school system to the next easier.
      ===
      As I said, I am no expert and have only read up on this a little. I agree standardized testing has gone too far. But common core may be a false bogeyman.

    • Steven H says:

      ‘The government’ has always taken care of public education. I think you may mean that federal government should be less intrusive. As for your other examples of government failure, I think you are a little too extreme about your assertion that government is universally bad. There was an honest and rather effective attempt in implementing Obamacare. The starting point was a plan that was designed by conservatives, hearings were held for months with experts of multiple perspectives involved, discussions with insurance and health industry went for months, ideas from Republicans such as those posted on Boehners own website were incorporated. Its a pretty good system and is working well in many states. Of course, anything can be sabatoged from the inside and that is what GOP is doing. It isnt that government cannot do things right, but hyper partisanship can destroy even the best plans. Most of the states where it is failing are states where the Republicans were never interested in its success. Other states, where Medicaid was expanded, where state exchanges were set up well and advertised, where local politicians have an interest in success, are doing fine.
      In fact the govt system, where it is being supported, is still much better than the private system that preceded it.

      • Steven H says:

        And to be honest, we still have a private system, but with some reasonable government rules and with some subsidies to help get more people on board.
        Compare all of this to GOP plan as it has been pushed so far, where there has been MORE back room dealing, exclusion of other party ideas, and a complete subversion of the current system, chopping at its pillars and then complaining of the structure. Yes that is government at its worst.

      • Peter says:

        “It isnt that government cannot do things right, but hyper partisanship can destroy even the best plans”.

        This may be true. Then why do you perpetuate this? Why don’t you try and help take partisanship out of the discussion. Even your last reply brought a whole bunch of partisan stuff into our discussion when it wasn’t needed. It’s funny how many of your posts are critical of who YOU are. Do you not see this?

        • Steven H says:

          And you also do this.

          • Peter says:

            I would NEVER be described by someone as hyper-partisan. I’m a lot of things, but that is definitely not one of them.

        • Steven H says:

          There was nothing partisan in my last post. It is all based on factual information. You can be honest and factual and still crticize one party over another. Non partisan does not mean believing two sides equally. It means criticizing each side fairly and honestly. There is no virtue in being centrist on an issue between the correct answer and the wrong answer.
          ===
          And no I am not saying Dems are always right. What I am saying with regard to the health care debate is that Dems held a LOT of hearings and had a plan that was worked out over a long time with a lot of input. Repubs falsely claimed it was rushed through with no GOP insight or input. But now they are actually doing what they complained about but several times worse; restricting discussion and input and rushing votes vefore people notice what they are voting on. This is hypocrisy and it is not partisan to recognize it.

          • Peter says:

            You are incorrect that I do this. You are making this a political issue when the true problem doesn’t lie in the Democrats vs. Republicans debate. Both sides see the way the incompetence played out differently. I am no authority on who was more stubborn, more complicit, more unreasonable. And I don’t care. All I know is no matter who has been in the White House or Congress for the past two decades, we have had the same results. And they have been poor. So why don’t we keep the debate away from Dems vs Reps for a bit. It hurts your arguments because of your extreme partisanship. Or at least it turns me off….maybe others don’t care. I’ll just check out when it comes to this and let someone else (maybe Stevendad) debate with you the merits of the two parties vs each other. All I know is the government’s results are not good.

          • Steven H says:

            Peter, there are factions within each political party and your economic policy aligns tightly with some of them. You may test centrist and claim to despise both parties, but you still line up with the small government conservative wing of the GOP on most economic issues. You are not as hard line on taxes, but otherwise are very predictably loyal to the partisan ideas of this group.
            ===
            This brings us to the issue of what it means to even be partisan or to accuse others. At its worst, partisanship would be acceptance of what you are told from a partisan faction without coming to your own conclusions. I dont do this and I dont think you do either. And I must admit it really psses me off to be accused of it. A milder version is being unduly influenced by partisan rhetoric and arguments around us and not investigating sources thoroughly as we should. None of us think this happens to ourselves and we are probably all wrong about that to varying degrees. Then, the mildest form of partisanship is thinking for ourselves, coming to our own conclusions, but being so entrenched in our ideas and reenforced by the the knowledge that other like minded partisans agree with us that we find it difficult to accept new information. All of us do this. And those who are most guilty are least likely to see it in themselves.
            ===
            When you take the position that all government is incompetent, that costs need to be cut across the board, that government cannot or should not be relied upon to help lift up the poor at the expense of the rich, that is a type of partisan loyalty to small
            Govt conservatives. But you say that is just your opinion? Well my ‘partisan’ opinions are just as validly held. I have worked at researching information and stats to acquire my opinions, and yes I do take some comfort when others agree. But I am here, as you and stevendad are, to challenge my assumptions against other ideas. And it would be helpful if you would stop repeatedly resorting to accusations of partisanship as if you are the holy grail of centrist unbiased truth.

          • Peter says:

            “When you take the position that all government is incompetent, that costs need to be cut across the board, that government cannot or should not be relied upon to help lift up the poor at the expense of the rich”

            Not my position. Let me edit. Government is not the answer to all of our problems. Government runs more inefficiently than private industry, particularly in the last 20 years. Costs need to be cut in a lot of places where there is waste, not indiscriminately. And the government already plays an enormous role in providing a floor to our poor and struggling citizens, largely funded by the richest Americans.

            You are labeled as partisan because you constantly mention the GOP as the black hats and the Dems as the white hats. Maybe if you didn’t do that OVER and OVER we would just respect your opinions. But you are like the sports fan wearing the jersey and the hat and with face paint telling us why your team is best. My approach is more like the TV analyst in a suit analyzing the game. I still have my biases, but my opinions will be more respected than the guy in the face paint.

          • Steven H says:

            Well stated as a whole, but I still have to object to an earlier statement which expresses a repeated theme: “All I know is no matter who has been in the White House or Congress for the past two decades, we have had the same results. And they have been poor. ”
            So you are equating Bill Clinton, George W Bush, and Barack Obama as all doing pretty much the same thing and producing the same quality results. I don’t see how you could find this to be true for any subject. There isn’t one piece of policy that is common to all 3. On budget, your dearest subject, Clinton had budget surpluses, the other two had deficits, although for completely different reasons. On economy, foreign relations, tax policies, budgetary policies, regulations, social policies, you could hardly find more diversity in approach. Perhaps you could clarify how these 3 are “all the same”.
            ===
            “And the government already plays an enormous role in providing a floor to our poor and struggling citizens, largely funded by the richest Americans.”
            I would support the validity of that statement more if the govt representatives of the richest Americans were not continually trying to lower that floor or cut it completely way from so many poor.

          • Peter says:

            To be fair, I was really referring to the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations. I don’t think there is much debate that the Reagan, Bush 1 and Clinton administrations ran much more smoothly than the last three. (Although the seeds were planted in the Clinton administration with the government shutdown).

            Remember, my statement (if you read it) was that government has ran more inefficiently than private industry in the last 20 years. I didn’t equate the policies of Bush, Obama and Trump. But I will equate the amateurish, bull-headed inefficiency of all three administrations.

            As far as trying to “lower” or “eliminate” the floor….the systems that create the floor need reforming. They are unsustainable and always need revision and reform. Every time someone tries to touch them we don’t need to cry foul. As a very rich person, I can’t get my head around the idea that with all that I have, I would make it a crusade to try and take more money from those that have failed in society or are struggling to survive. That said, if I publicly suggested reforming a broken system that might actually save these people in the long run, you might accuse me of doing just that.

          • Peter says:

            “There isn’t one piece of policy that is common to all 3” – I would throw out a few….warmongering/middle east policy, increasing debt, inability to work with congress, unilateral actions/executive orders. Of course I said “White house and congress”. Congress has largely been the exact same during the entire period. Voting along party lines, blocking whatever the President wants, etc.

  • Stevendad says:

    Just to go back a few months, I also think we need a set a schedule to eliminate the debt. And to increase taxes across the board (or even reduce EIC?) when Congress over spends. It would have a direct effect on your withholding and checks when they fail. That would bring some accountability. It’s all just some “funny money” now and will be catastrophic when it becomes “real” in some short period of time. Again, the poor and middle class will suffer far and away while the rich go around buying up assets at fire sale prices. Just like 2009 where they bought up houses they have turned into income streams making them richer.

    We need to leave personal rates the same, modestly reduce corporate taxes in some revenue neutral way, roll back regulations that are unduly costly and not productive and raise some taxes (we’ve worn that out). Just my opinion again.

    • Steven H says:

      I agree we need to pay down debt/gdp as we did successfully for about 35 years after WW2. You and I may disagree about whether we need to ‘eliminate’ debt or fully balance the budget (zero deficit), but where we can agree is in a mechanism that forces taxes to rise (perhaps by proportionally increasing marginal income tax rates and capital gains taxes) when spending and revenue get too far apart. With the usual exceptions during recessions and economic crises of course. It would force some accountability.
      ===
      As a reminder, you can actually pay down debt/gdp with a deficit, as long as the deficit is less than economic growth. This is considered more economically efficient than fully balancing the budget.

      • Peter says:

        If that was your strategy then you would have to dramatically cut spending in a recession…..which is the worst thing you can do to alleviate it. Sorry but your idea just doesn’t work practically. Debt/GDP is an important statistic but not as simple a measure or solution as you wish it to be.

        • Stevendad says:

          My point is it has to be addressed and if we all IMMEDIATELY felt the pain, not in some far off “maybeland” we might actually be motivated to hold our representatives accountable. I hope you agree that the debt doubling in 30, (relative to GDP) in 25-30 more years would be catastrophic. And if you mix in unfunded liabilities it will…

          • Steven H says:

            I don’t believe that the either the budget conservatives OR the moderate Dems would allow doubling our debt/GDP. Taxes will increase or programs will be cut, but I would be very surprised if debt/gdp rises greatly over next ten years. Of course, if the tax cutters get their way, they could do a lot of damage …

          • Steven H says:

            But I agree with the immediate accountability part.

          • Stevendad says:

            Doubling to 125% of GDP is according to CBO by 2035-45

          • Steven H says:

            If we stick with current policy, sure. So let’s change policy. Raise taxes now and invest in infrastructure while interest rates are low. Invest in education now, with tax incentives to get businesses involved in training people for their industry. Raise minimum wage now to give people a decent wage and get them off food stamps. We need to get off of this kick that our government is currently in about cutting Medicaid and giving tax cuts to the rich again. Same old record. Same old failed policy.
            ===
            There is a bridge in Washington state called the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. It failed dramatically when first built. Look it up, the youtube video is amazing. There is an anecdotal story, probably not true, that the governor proclaimed he was going to build the same damn bridge in the same damn place with the same damn design. And then the engineer said “If you do that sir, it will do the same damn thing.” Tax cuts to the rich do not work. You and Peter seem Ok on that point but still seem bent on this austerity thing. I am all for efficiency. But consider maybe, possibly, it would not be such a terrible thing for spending to go up 1 or even 2 more GDP % points, and taxing go up to pay for it, so that we can actually implement the ideas we have been discussing NOW and not 2 generations from now.

        • Steven H says:

          Debt/GDP statistic is not a “solution” nor a trick or silver bullet. It is simply a metric that is useful to help illustrate a point. You do not HAVE to balance the budget (zero out deficits) or have a plan to eliminate the debt (zero balance) in order to have a sound economy. Whatever pain is induced, by tax increases and cost cutting that would be necessary to balance budget and plan to eliminate debt, may be cut in HALF by instead simply resolving to reduce Debt/GDP reliably over time. Not only that, but excess frugality in the form of reducing national investment or excessively raising taxes in order to truly balance the budget can result in LOST economic growth, therefore hurting rather than helping the economy and lengthening rather than shortening the pay down process.
          ===
          My focus on reduction of Debt/GDP as opposed to raw dollars is not a partisan thing. It is a mathematical and economic thing, and one which I think someone of your (Peter) financial analysis skills should readily recognize and endorse.

          • Peter says:

            Of course I recognize it. You keep hammering me about that but I don’t disagree with you. I disagree with your application of the statistic and your logic you follow about deficits. You use that stat to explain away the massive spending increases of the government (not just your party) of the last two decades. And you think that as long as spending increases with GDP growth we are ok. This is completely untrue. You have to cut when times are good – to protect against recession when it is far more damaging to cut. I’ve tried to explain all this many times.

          • Steven H says:

            And I also agree that you should pay down more debt/gdp in good times so you have margin in crises. But if you ever agreed with the point about debt/gdp in the past, you NEVER stated it. When i was getting pounded by Peter N and others that GDP was not even a valid metric of anything, you never once stated the moderate position, and even validated the “GDP deniers” in one of the posts. It seems, like stevendad stated recently, you felt it more important to take the polar opposite position to anything that I stated, rather than seek out a moderate compromise or to admit any single point i had that might be correct.
            ===
            Reducing Debt/GDP is a valid approach. Nice to know we agree. Why did it take so long to state it?

          • Peter says:

            I don’t disagree with the statistic. I disagree with all the dots you connect to and from it. Still do. We need to reduce actual government spending on all front steps. Spinning it back to reducing debt/GDP is no different than politicians like Trump saying that their tax cuts will be offset by economic growth. Its political BS, which I know you are fond of, but it has no place in economics.

          • Steven H says:

            I agree that attacking people instead of ideas is unproductive. Write that on the board 20 times.
            ===
            On this issue I am not connecting any dots to political BS. I am trying to get concensus on a simple mathematical issue that has everything to do with math and economics and nothing to do with politics. Your political opinions on smaller government and the need to reduce dollar spending are fine for you to proclaim, but they are still opinions and are still political. The concept that you can and should choose reduction of debt/gdp over reduction of dollar debt in a growing national economy is supported by economists and common sense principle and experience. Once you reach a point where you are paying down debt/gdp, then additional spending cuts or tax increases may become a drain on the economy. As I have noted multiple times, we paid down debt/gdp for 35 years after ww2 and yet raw debt increased. This was very likely the best decision for the economy as it freed up investment dollars into the economy and infrastructure. So it seems wholly inappropriate to attack me and inject your political opinions into the post while accusing me of politics. But I will offer you another chance. Can you offer me a non political economic and mathematical reason why paying down raw dollar debt is superior to paying down debt/ gdp. And please refrain from the personal insults and, as you called it, political BS.

          • Steven H says:

            Here is my offering of an apolitical economic article from Forbes as a point of discussion.
            http://www.forbes.com/sites/stancollender/2015/06/03/youre-wrong-if-you-want-to-reduce-the-national-debt/

          • Peter says:

            Because GDP doesn’t grow every year…..and we have recessions. If we have enormous high dollar debt – obligations we are committed to for decades – and then go through a severe economic downturn, then we are in big trouble. We can’t pay the bills and debt/GDP will skyrocket. We survived the last downturn by printing money and artificially holding interest rates down. This was done so severely that the dollar become wobbly and our country’s credit rating got reduced. But now that we broke the glass and used the fire extinguisher, we lose the ability to do it again. UNLESS – we have positive GDP growth for a while and reduce the real dollar debt. Not the deficit – the DEBT. But we have been missing that opportunity because of our political system. Nobody wants to be the guy who says “we are going to save now” and quit spending so much. It just isn’t ever going to be popular politically, so we will keep spending more and more until eventually a recession happens and we don’t quite survive it without major collapses or cuts to things like Medicare and SS – the very things that hurt the poor.

      • Steven H says:

        “If that was your strategy then you would have to dramatically cut spending in a recession…..which is the worst thing you can do to alleviate it.”
        I absolutely agree. That is why Obama’s $500B in spending stimulus and about $200B in temporary tax cuts were so important, necessary, and helpful to the economy.

        And as I said, the automatic tax increases would only be implemented “With the usual exceptions during recessions and economic crises of course. ”
        ===
        I do realize there is difficulty with the uncertainty of fluctuating tax rates. This might be a strategy to be applied when using the 10 year planning budget, and tax rates only actually adjusted once in a President’s 4 year term.
        ===
        I have not seen a plan like this fully worked out. And I certainly do not have one. But it is worth exploring. It is not inherently unworkable by design. However, it would need a lot of refinement, and I do see that it is questionable whether a divided Congress which agrees on so little would have difficulty making the compromises necessary to pass a functional version of such a bill. And if they could compromise to pass such a bill, we would probably then not need it.

        • Steven H says:

          grammatical glitch (double negative) above.
          certain that Congress would have difficulty …
          or questionable whether Congress would have success …
          is what I meant.
          Not: questionable whether Congress would have difficulty …

  • Steven H says:

    Here is an alternative to increasing taxes on the wealthy. Provide some other costs and incentives to move more income to the middle class. Yes to education programs. Yes to training programs. If government is not taxing to subsidize these programs then money comes from elsewhere. Don’t cut the corporate tax rate directly. Don’t give away that revenue for free. Use corporate tax incentives to compel companies to work with and subsidize programs in higher education that feed their industry. Give incentives to compel and encourage companies to train and educate their own programs directly. There is no reason for companies to complain that fully trained and educated new hire candidates are not piling up on their front door. They need trained people? Let them do the training. Also give tax incentives based on management to avg worker salary ratios. Reward companies who cut their own internal income slopes, including all management pay, stock, and benefit incentives. Enact board of director rules which require labor representation on the board. Like Germany does. Enact paid parental leave policies. Enact universal healthcare policy which will ultimately save money for business and government and remove a big headache from small company personnel management. Raise the FLSA overtime threshold as per Obama proposed policy. Raise minimum wage. Strengthen the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. These are all policies which will strengthen the middle class. Once that happens, the country will be more prosperous, the economy will grow faster, and the poor, the middle, and the rich will all be better off.

    • Steven H says:

      And in the interest of presenting both sides…
      Yes I know that the above policies are not directly favorable or desirable to business leaders. A business leader is only interested in portions of the total business equation however. Income. Sales. Expenses, taxes, capital investment and return. Certain unknowns are assumed to be constant. Like the availability of a customer base that will buy product. Availability of infrastructure in which to operate. Stability and growth of the overall economic system. To a businessman these are somebody elses business. And yet these other factors are all tradeoffs against the businessman priorities, and can actually decline if all policy serves business priorities in isolation. Cut taxes too low and infrastructure cannot be maintained, if all businesses cut payroll too low, customer base declines. Let all businesses operate without social or labor constraints and the entire economy declines. Somewhere in the middle is the proper compromise. The pendulum has swung too far to the advantage of big business, banks, and billionaires. It must swing back sometime soon, IMHO.

    • Peter says:

      You should have stopped with just the first post. There isn’t much wrong with what you said there…..can’t say that I disagree with much of it. If anything, I question the last third of it where you are enacting things like a universal health care plan – which as we have seen, is not the government’s forte. It is ideal though – if they could work together and avoid catering to big business. That’s kind of the “elephant in the room” in my opinion. Ideology like yours above is not incorrect at all – in fact, it is noble. But the reality of our political landscape is that those very big business leaders you say will “oppose” this (it’s not all of them, by the way) will influence our politicians to the point where either nothing gets done by the government OR it is done in a clumsy, unsustainable way (like the ACA).

      But in summary, I agree with exploring everything you wrote right up until the Like Germany Does statement. Everything after that might be worth exploring but I fear too political of a solution. I pretty much disagree with all of your follow up post. Don’t know any businessmen who think “availability of a customer base” is a constant. That post is you trying to twist it again that the bottom 20-30% of our society income-wise are as valuable or more valuable to our economy as the business owners, 1%’ers and job creators. I don’t agree.

      • Peter says:

        But that sounded too negative…. I commend you for the first part of the post. That was a great non-partisan way to look at genuinely solving the problem.

        • Stevendad says:

          Agree to most. However, most feel an upper teens % corporate tax can be revenue neutral if we eliminate all the bought and paid for favoritisms and loopholes. At some point we have to compete for corporations across the world and high taxes discourages them basing here. Or we can pass punitive taxes to leave like Bernie wants. Sounds a bit banana republic to me. Ironic Bernie wants to “build a (financial) wall” for the opposite reason/ to imprison corps in our crappy business environment. An environment he wishes to make worse. Of course, again it is all just pandering to raise money and get votes, IMHO.

      • Steven H says:

        I’m very pleased that we can agree on the first part of my first post above, and that you even see some merit in exploring the latter third of that post. And I agree there are political hurdles getting things done right and getting decent policy past the powerful lobbyists.
        ==
        Frankly, moving income to middle class in this way is preferable in that it actually increases income of middle class rather than just reduce after tax income off uppermost income class.

      • Steven H says:

        As for critique of second post, I am honestly confused. I expected criticism, but not very much, and not the criticism you offered.
        The meat of the post is in this phrase:
        “these other factors are all tradeoffs against the businessman priorities, and can actually decline if all policy serves business priorities in isolation.”
        I don’t even see this as controversial or partisan at all. As an example, if all minimum wage and overtime work-week limits and other labor protections were removed (which no one is proposing), common wages and living standard of the lower 75% or so would decrease as the upper 5% or so increased. And my assertion is that the business climate would decline and social climate and structure would also decline if such policies that ONLY fed business priorities were exercised. That’s an extreme illustration but is the essence of the post.
        ===
        The post said and implied absolutely nothing about the lower quintile, nor of their value to society, and yet you found something offensive seemingly hidden between the lines where even the author of the post cannot find it. Explain, please.

      • Steven H says:

        And by the way, there was no overt or hidden or implied dig against businessmen in the post. If that is what offended you, you are misreading my intent. My assumption is simply that business deals with what it can control, and it serves its own interests. Sure, businessmen follow politics and are interested in the economy, and may even be interested in charitable works. That’s not the point. That is the personal prerogative of the businessmen but not actually what serves the bottom line. Business’s BUSINESS is to make money in the environment that exists, and if businessmen attempt to improve the operating environment for BUSINESS, it generally is done by trying to (a) reduce their own business taxes (b) reduce regulations, (c) reduce payroll, (d) reduce operating costs, and (e) obtain any other favorable economic advantages where they can. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s expected. Business’s job is to make money, not serve society. It is society’s job to put constraints on business so that society’s best interests are also served. I meant nothing more than that, and see nothing offensive in that content. Enlighten me if you see something different.

        • Peter says:

          I wasn’t offended in any way. Just didn’t agree.

        • Steven H says:

          Please explain. You saw something in the post that I did not write. I have a notion that exploring the misunderstanding could be enlightening. But I need to undetstand what in the post made you think that I was referring to the lower 20 or 30% of population or somehow inflating their value to society. What specifically do you disagree with? I dont see it.

          • Peter says:

            The post you wrote in a bubble is just passively insulting. But when you put it in context of all your other posts, it is more so. Your worldview of business owners is a bit slanted – that they are all about profits and care about nothing else. And that they expect and take for granted the constant of a customer base and infrastructure (in other words, they rely on regular people and the Fed government). It’s ridiculous to act as though – if unfettered or regulated – most businesses will run wild and greedily steal everything they can, break rules, and hurt society. You don’t like it when people say that if you have welfare, it de-motivates people to work, do you? It’s really the same thing and it is silly. I didn’t reply because there is no point. You value the government and the infrastructure it provides – along with the “regular joe” – with much higher value to society than the wealthy business owners and job creators. I disagree. All people have value, but when we are talking about what makes an economy go, it is not the government and it is not unskilled laborers or the unemployed.

    • Stevendad says:

      Yes to labor on boards. Should management be on union boards as well? Just a question… Yes to education, but where do you get the money? Scale back EIC and SNAP? Or just keep spending more…How does paid parental leave stimulate the economy? Seems to be a decrease in productivity, but I’d like to see an explanation if it improves it. I’d rather stop subsidizing large corps with handouts for underpaid employees as stated. A national min wage increase is a bad idea and would crush small town businesses. Of course not many voters in small towns, so screw em?!? It’s again fascinating the paradoxes in the Left agenda: failing to protect at most a few hundred thousand gender identity questioners is bad, economically crushing millions in small towns OK. Again UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES. Or is crushing the small town (Conservative) voter a conscious decision? And speaking of UC, the Rise of the Machines is another certainty. Universal healthcare is great in concept, but how’s the VA working? We (private medicine) were forced to use electronic prescriptions (usual carrot then stick govt approach). It was done everywhere in 9 months except for 3 pharmacies: VA, local military base and Indian Health Service. Common thread there SH?
      You have two overriding themes SH: if we could just make the Federal govt big enough and tax the rich enough, Nirvana would ensue.

      • Peter says:

        Agreed. The liberal agenda too often is focused on the inner city poor and misses the needs of the middle Americans. Higher minimum wage would be fine to a point, but the $15 number is ludicrous. Add that to bloated costs for mandated healthcare, and small businesses will be forced to shut down or sell to big corporations who can afford the scale. Of course that’s not a surprise….that is who is financing these politicians to try and pass these laws.

      • Steven H says:

        As I mentioned, tax incentives to corporations could help feed money into education. Rather than cut taxes outright, make corporations WORK for their cuts.
        ===
        It is true that even this approach ultimately still cuts revenue to govt which needs to be made up elsewhere.
        ===
        No I don’t think we need to starve the poor by cutting food stamps, to increase education dollars. Consider instead that educating and employing the poor will decrease welfare payments over time.
        ===
        Paid parental leave can improve productivity by keeping experienced employees in the workplace (after a few weeks absence), rather than having them just quit entirely.
        ===
        I still disagree about penalizing companies for underpaid workers. I would rather just mandate a decent minimum wage. It is much more efficient, and generally shown to improve local economies when enacted. National minimum could be targeted to levels needed in rural. Cities should always be allowed to enact something higher. (States should not be allowed to block cities from enacting minimum wage.)
        ===
        It’s again fascinating the paradoxes in the Right agenda: laws attacking at most a few hundred thousand gender identity individuals is important, even though it solves no real social problem, and economically loses millions in state revenue from lost business. Again UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES. And policy based on ideology instead of reality.
        ===
        You have two overriding themes stevendad: if we could just make the Federal govt small enough and trust and reward businesses enough, Nirvana would ensue.
        ===

        • Stevendad says:

          This is false. I said over and over again that size of government and the levels of safety nets are at about the right place now. The government and taxes do not need to go up. Some modest belt tightening and some other creative taxes would be very helpful reducing the deficit and ultimately the debt. Ultimately, when the debt bubble bursts, the poor will suffer the most. According to the Congressional budget office we are on the way for this to burst. I keep thinking that you, as a good Democrat, is worried about the poor.

          • Stevendad says:

            And of course, we should re-structure of government to incentivize efficiency as much as possible.

          • Steven H says:

            “This is false.”
            Oh I see. You don’t like having your position stated falsely in order to be portrayed as a straw man extreme political caricature. Funny, that. Neither do I. Remember that.

        • Stevendad says:

          You Completely avoid the fact that millions of people will lose their homes and businesses in small towns. You keep going back to that gender ID thing. I thought you decided that wasn’t that important. The only reason that there were income and jobs lost was because other people were intolerant of their ( North Carolina ) view, be it wrong or right.

          • Steven H says:

            What the heck do bathroom bills (and you brought it up again, not me) have to do with small towns and jobs?
            “failing to protect at most a few hundred thousand gender identity questioners is bad, economically crushing millions in small towns”. Whatever does one have to do with the other? Passing a bathroom bill does not protect small towns. What are you talking about?

        • Stevendad says:

          So do you have any proof that people quit their jobs indefinitely because they don’t get paid family leave? I think nearly all would rather do that if it were possible. I’ll three of my children were raised at home until school-age. It is unfortunate more they cannot do this. However I don’t see how you’ve connected the dots that productivity is increased by giving 12 weeks off paid to parents.someone who loves data so much, are you sure just shoot off some things that don’t make any sense or have any background.

          • Stevendad says:

            All, not I’ll

          • Steven H says:

            “However I don’t see how you’ve connected the dots that productivity is increased by giving 12 weeks off paid to parents.someone who loves data so much, are you sure just shoot off some things that don’t make any sense or have any background.”

            I am amazed sometimes that you and Peter blast me as being completely wacko about topics and themes that I could have sworn were common knowledge to well-read individuals. And that are an easy google search away. Don’t you ever consider looking stuff up first before embarrassing yourself? That’s a little harsh perhaps, but really, at least do some research before insulting me.

            I googled “parental leave for companies” and got this article from “Fast Company” magazine as top pick.

            https://www.fastcompany.com/3055977/the-real-cost-of-paid-parental-leave-for-business

            One of several relevant quotes:
            Merrill [a personnel manager at a tech company] admits that the cost to cover paid leave is “hefty,” but nothing in comparison to losing a talented person. In addition to an untold loss of productivity between the person’s departure and the hiring and settling in of a new staff member, she says, “The several months it would take to find a replacement, along with the cost of manpower to recruit and interview heavily, outweighs the cost of providing this benefit.”

        • Stevendad says:

          So the money for more education has to come from somewhere. Where is it? Sure it may pay off in the long run. But for the 5 to 15 years this may take what we do in the meantime? Again, raise taxes or cut what other benefits. Or raise the debt, which CBO says is already unsustainable. Tax incentives are another way of the government spending money as this is not collected by the treasury. This is often a problem of the Left. Ideas are cheap: examples are paid for education, home ownership for everyone, paid childcare, paid medical leave. Eventually, someone must pay for all this. Who at this point is not paying enough now to pay for all this? Oh, I know those are already pay you massively disproportionate share of income taxes. Don’t bring up payroll taxes. These have nothing to do with income taxes and nothing to do with money paid out for the above benefits. Recouping money wealth fared to rich corporations is still a partial answer. I’m so puzzled you favor corporate welfare in the form of food, housing and cash (EIC) for underpaid employees.

          • Steven H says:

            “I’m so puzzled you favor corporate welfare in the form of food, housing and cash (EIC) for underpaid employees.”
            I don’t and never have. I am truly truly puzzled you favor a system where you have to give food stamps to underpaid employees and then fine the company. So complicated and intrusive. Just get the employees a decent wage from the outset. No food stamps. No fines. No intrusion. Just happy employees getting paid a fair wage.

        • Stevendad says:

          You completely skipped over management on labor boards and the efficiency of the VA and other federal government health programs. No comment? Or are you just dead wrong on these?

          • Steven H says:

            “You completely skipped over management on labor boards”. No opinion. I’d look at how Germany handles it. Do you need a labor board if labor is in the boardroom? The point is cooperation between labor and management rather than an adverse relationship.

            Efficiency of VA. VA has problems, but Veterans still strongly support it and don’t want it privatized. Canadians love their system despite its weaknesses. British love their health system. Are you saying Americans can’t do better than Britain and Canada, or at least as well?

  • Peter says:

    I do appreciate this debate – and even Steven H’s left-wing angles he has brought to the table. I realized through reading some of this today what my major problem is though with Steven H’s larger argument….. and I have touched on this in the past, but it is becoming more apparent.

    To put it in a simple statement, it would be this – that Steven H will accept no solution to income disparity or other economic issues beyond raising taxes on the wealthy. To be fair, he is supportive of other means we have brought up such as education and training programs, but ultimately would not be satisfied with those being the sole – or even primary – solutions to the issue as he sees it.

    THAT is what is maddening about this. At times, we veer into an insightful discussion about helping people that need it most – those that are struggling to make ends meet on very modest wages (or no wages at all). But then it deteriorates into nonsense about bending numbers to prove whether or not rich people make “too much” or their “fair share” or pay enough taxes. The same mindf$*#&ing is going on with the debate about Federal spending and whether we should/could cut anything there. (Regardless of whether we compare it to GDP or not)

    This is because – and you won’t like this Steven H ….. I believe that you – and many others with your mindset – care as much about sticking it to the rich as you do helping the poor. You are bitter, angry, upset about what you perceive as a “wrong”. You have labelled an entire class of people as those that have taken more than they deserved, money that could have gone to help those that need it the most. You may not think you have done this, but your posts show an edge towards these people that is similar to the poor-shaming that many on the right do. (“It’s their fault, they should work harder” kind of stuff)

    What if we took taxing the rich more than we already do off the table? Could we solve the problem? Could we improve the economy for the middle class? Could we find jobs for the unskilled, uneducated worker? There is just no way that raising taxes on 1% of population is the panacea to all the economy’s problems. And that, my friend, appears to be your primary goal – not necessarily helping the poor.

    Or, to be fair, maybe we just disagree on how the economy works. In fact, I know we do. And that is fine – we can disagree.

    And please understand, I am not against raising taxes on the wealthy. I have voted many times in the past for people that will hurt my own bottom line. One interesting thing happens when you become very wealthy – you become very philanthropic. I think far more about how I can help others than I ever did when I needed every penny I made to live. Now, I am in a great position to help many people, my community and my country. There are many others in my community like me as well – it is amazing to see the charity of people in wealthier communities. And many are Democrats who would vote for higher taxes. My motivation in my arguments is from my economic background, anecdotal life observations, and the logic that results. It is not from a political party or self-serving motivation. In fact, cutting Fed spending (one of my main tenets) would hurt my bottom line tremendously.

    My point is simply this – income inequality is a complex issue. Think outside the box a little for the solutions rather than simply feeling like taxing the rich more is the only way. You and I both can make a difference with dialogues like these if we open our minds a bit.

    • Steven H says:

      I appreciate this post Peter. It does get to a the substance of our disagreement. Additionally, your discussion with stevendad over wealth tax is useful. As I told stevendad, I have no objection to such a tax in principle but I dont have great insight as to how effective it might be. So I appreciate you two discussing the nus and bolts. Also, it should certainly be pointed out that we had a rather significant moment of agreement in all stating that those who benefit most from capitalism should pay the freight. We actually have a principle we agree on. Yay! Afterward, we are just haggling over precise percentages.
      ===
      Let me sttempt to explain my obstinacy, as Im sure it is frustrating to you, as yours is to me. If you were to look at a business and evaluate its profitability and advise on its future, you might look at how it spends its money. Lets say you observe that the company is profitable but not nearly as profitable as it used to be. Lets say you also observe that benefits to employees and expenses going to capital and infrastructur have incresed from 17% of gross income to 21%. Amazingly, the building and equipment look like they still need more investment not less. Also, you look at the wage structure. Management team is proportionally same in size at 1% of employees but is paid 22% of all salaries, up considerably from about 10% in past. Meanwhile the majority 90% of core workers, the ones who design and create the products are getting 50% of all salary, down from 65%. The professional managers and marketing dept salaries are about even.
      ===
      Its even worse, as the company has been borrowing to meet expenses and needs to pay down debt.
      ===
      So maybe it occurs to you, as an advisor, that too much of the company capital is being directed to management, and that some of that payroll could be redirected to other needs, paying down debt, investing in improvements, even restoring morale to rank and file by boosting their pay. But first you listen to management solutions.
      ===
      Management thinks they should cut expenses on infrastructure, not increase. They feel there are ways they could use the lesser funds more efficiently, but they cant explain how, exactly. Similarly they want to further cut rank and file salary. And they want to market to the workers how they should increase their education, at their own expense, so that they can work more efficiently. After listening thoughtfully, you suggest that maybe part of the solution would be to cut management payroll to historical norms, and use that money for other needs. Management is not fond of this idea and claims you are just like all the other advisers and have some kind of anti management bias. Isnt there some way to boost profitability without cutting their own salary?
      ===
      Now you probably dont like my analogy and may find all kinds of reasons why it does not apply. But if you WERE the advisor in this scenario, and you saw and believed the things I described, how could you NOT persist in tryong to convince of the need to cut management salary, or TAX it to use it better elsewhere. Its like this giant blister on the face of the problem. Once I see it and am convinced it should not be there, its really hard to not point it out.

      • Peter says:

        Less address this directly rather than with analogies that may or may not apply to the issues we are discussing.

      • Steven H says:

        I have been trying to address it directly for years. What I am trying to explain here is why it is difficult to ignore the elephant in the room. I am explaining my mindset and perspective. And that has less to do with animosity to the rich and more to do with engineering style cost benefit tradeoffs.
        ===
        But ok. Here it is directly. One way to describe the problem is to express it all monetarily. The issues and groups we have been discussing include: government spending, government deficits and debt, economic growth, national infrastructure, education system shortfalls, mismatch of job skills vs business needs, high business tax rates, business regulations, banking regulations, business profitability, poverty, middle class wage decline/stagnation, incomes of upper 1% vs everybody else.
        Then you put all of these categories into three columns based on money. First column is negative, meaning it is a cost, in the sense that it takes money to fix the problem, or a cost that is needed to increase to fix other problems. Second column is an income, a positive, in that it is a declining cost or a source of income to fix problems. Last column is uncertainty. It is a cost or an income depending on other factors.
        ===
        Most of the costs are easy. Government deficits are negative and cost money to fix. As are national infrastructure, education, job skills, high business tax rates, and middle class wage. Uncertainties include government spending, business and banking regulations, economic growth. These are dependent on other factors, eg govt spending could be increased to fix other problems or reduced to use money elsewhere in economy. Regulations cost money to fix and enforce but can positive or negative economic impact. Finally, we have 2 positives. Business profitability and incomes of 1%. These, unlike uncertainties about economic growth and money that could be obtained from cutting govt spending and exacerbating other problems, are clear profit centers. The roughly 12% of all income represented by the INCREASED share of income over 37 years represents one of yhe biggest cash variables in the chart, roughly 10% of the entire economy. But we cant touch that? I just dont see how you fix all of the monetary isdues while ignoring the largest pile of cash in the room.

        • CSteven H says:

          Clarification. 12% of all income, or 10% of the economy is income increase to 1%. Total income to 1% is 22% share which is near 20% of economy or almost as big as the entire federal government.

      • Steven H says:

        So I agree that income inequality, and our economic issues in general, are complex and entangled. There is no single silver bullet. But it is possible to perform analysis and identify the largest contributors. We have national profits but not the desired economic growth. That implies economic inefficiencies. Political wags identify the problem areas as befitting their own political preferences. What I am attempting to do with the engineering approach is identify the largest contributors. Much like a house plumbing problem, in which you know water pressure is good from the street but weak in the kitchen, you have to look for a leak, as may be indicated by a large pool of water somewhere. We can identify growth in certain govt programs or the total budget as a ‘leak’. But if we turn a blind eye to the much larger pool of money bubbling up as growing share of incomes to the 1%, much of which does not pipe back into a productive economy, I think we would be making a mistake.

      • Stevendad says:

        SH, any acknowledgement that importing skilled and unskilled workers weakens the bargaining position of US workers? I can’t see how it can’t.

        • Steven H says:

          It would seem so on the surface. But it’s a complicated issue which I have not studied and so am reluctant to offer what would be an uneducated opinion. Why do we have special visas to bring in foreign workers if it just hurts US workers? There must be more to the issue than what is on the surface.

  • Peter says:

    Regarding taxing unrealized capital gains…..I don’t see how this would ever make any sense as you would penalize homeowners everywhere as well. Farms, businesses, etc. would feel the pain tremendously. I still like the idea of not allowing cost basis step-ups upon death but eliminating the estate tax. That way, someone still pays tax on the profit from disposing of stock, property or a business – but not a completely unconstitutional confiscation of wealth upon death. The estate tax is a MAJOR killer for America’s farmers and small business owners, as heirs often have to sell the farm or business to pay the government when the original owner dies, often putting people out of work and undercutting the value of someone’s life’s work.

    • Stevendad says:

      Real estate would be exempted because it is already taxed in property taxes. The value of equipment and buildings are taxed as well by scheduled depreciation rather than expensing at purchase. (That’s complex, but you pay money on “income” that is in fact spent on equipment and then can only slowly recoup it). So it is mostly value of patents, good will and intangible assets that I have in mind. You could also eliminate depreciation over time (that would jump start business investment!) but would have to increase rates some to make up revenue. It really is much fairer than estate tax because it is a trickle rather than a fire sale (devastating the value of the asset) at the death of the owner. We have to find some way to tax unrealized gains because SH has a point about income inequality. However MOST of it is not wages, but appreciated stocks, warrants and options. That 600:1 number you hear is not a salary multiple, it includes financial instruments. I’m open to other ideas, but continuing to slam the salary maker goes at the problem only tangentially.

      • Stevendad says:

        A couple of notes: in 2013 the 1% earned only 40% from salaries.
        Also would be an exclusion of $10 million in wealth in my system.
        We have to figure out how to change this IMHO. Our system is based in the old wage model and not the new new stock options model. Besides it was unfairly skewed to the rich from day one in the 1910’s. Scaling up capital gains taxes would help as well. However, a smaller tax on the whole (1 to 2% like us slobs pay on our main asset) would be more fair IMO. Of course I’m starting a fund for my family of growth stocks that will be like a Roth in some ways in that gains are not taxed because I’m not selling anything except losers to offset dividends. I can only hope (but I doubt seriously) that it would grow to the point where I had to pay such a tax. FYI I contribute all I can to pretax programs already.

        • Steven H says:

          “1% earned only 40% from salaries”. That is an interesting statistic and I wish that more information was available breaking out tax rates on salaried vs non-salariled income. I think it is the non-salaried investment income where most of the unproductive income bubble resides and where it would be most appropriate to tap into that to push it back to middle class and finance needed infrastructure spending.

      • Peter says:

        And slamming the salary maker kills people making between $250k and $500k in particular, who aren’t the “elite” or rich people – largely living in very expensive cities which have their own layers of taxes and expenses as well. I talked about this a lot a few years ago – the policies of simply raising income taxes on the wealthy target people that may be able to afford it, but then would no longer spend on things like yard services, maids, etc. and other things that fuel jobs. Or if they were business owners, they would hire less people (I see this all the time).

        Good point about changing the rules for the new stock-option model environment. That seems reasonable, and the people in these industries would likely be amenable to this in some capacity. Scaling up capital gains is probably less effective as this is easily avoided by simply not selling anything. Plus with the advent of Roth conversions, a lot of smart individuals are moving money now (and paying full income taxes on it today) to Roth IRAs where they will be sheltered from tax forever. Of course, the government loves this as it generates revenue now – but at a great cost down the road. Typical government lack of foresight, but something that everyone – even people with more meager savings – should absolutely be taking advantage of.

  • Stevendad says:

    SH, still would love to see your politics.org political leaning score. I promise I won’t criticize the result, just curious.

  • Stevendad says:

    Here is your definition of a tax:
    Tax: a compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers’ income and business profits or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions.
    It proves you are wrong. Soc Sec and MC do NOT go to state revenue but to a lock box. Of course Dems broke the lock, so by subverting the laws intent one can make that case. They still put IOUs in there, but it is still owed as an annuity to those who pay in. $2.6T was owed as of 2013.

    • Stevendad says:

      It’s just a way to skew numbers to your favor.

      • Steven H says:

        Going to have yo disagree on this one. I think majority of population considera it a tax. Its collected by govt, its not in a lockbox, and benefits are redifined by political whim. It is only not a tax to a very small population who are making a political argument.

        • Peter says:

          But there is no other tax where you get the money back. That’s the point he is making. Look at it this way….we could eliminate both Medicare and SS and have a more progressive tax system. No payroll taxes to pay for them needed any more. You would be greatly reducing the taxes on the lower income working class. But you don’t want to do that because there is a benefit for those taxes – a benefit that many in the lower income brackets count on in retirement and for health care needs. All the other taxes go into a general pot and are not to be returned. There is a distinct difference here.

        • Stevendad says:

          SH: Progressives want to call it a tax so they can expand it as a way to bring in more revenue. Remember, we break US government revenue records year after year, up $1.17T (over a 55% increase) over 8 years of Obama. And yet we needs to borrow $9.5 T (plus ~$2T in QE). So can you at least recognize this is not totally a revenue issue? And $1.17T all of which ultimately comes from us (of course direct tax increases by statute and income creep and then corporations pass through taxes to goods and services, importers pass through tariffs, etc) if spread out would have improved per capital income by $3500 in the eight year ($1.17t / 320M). Almost $10 grand per household which would lead to a much larger middle class. Hmmm, maybe our increases in wealth have been funneling to government as well as the 1%. Again, govt competes with us for income as well as borrowing.

          • Peter says:

            That’s been my point. This money does not find its way to the people.

          • Steven H says:

            You’re killin me here.
            “Remember, we break US government revenue records year after year, up $1.17T (over a 55% increase) over 8 years of Obama.”
            So.
            What.
            Please, please, please, stop using meaningless statistics. You are implying government growth of 55% due to Obama. There are multiple problems with your statement.
            1) Government growth is defined by spending, not revenue.
            2) Statistics of spending or revenue not adjusted by population, inflation, or GDP are practically meaningless.
            3) Government growth in spending in both absolute and gdp adjusted terms was much much slower under Obama than under 3 previous Republican Presidents.
            4) Revenue at your baseline of the beginning of Obamas presidency was collapsed due to a massive recession. As recession ended and economy recovered, revenue increased.
            5) Obama did raise taxes and cut defits by about 75% relative to recession deficits.

            So please please dont push misleading statistics.

          • Stevendad says:

            55% revenue growth is a fact and not misleading. Point is that IT WASNT ENOUGH!!!

          • Stevendad says:

            Never mentioned Obama per se, just used it as a time frame reference.

          • Steven H says:

            stevendad, any reference to absolute dollars in revenue growth or spending growth without acknowledging and stating (population growth and inflation) or (GDP growth) or is misleading. Plus, use of a baseline year at the depth of a recession when revenue is going to be dropped exceptionally low, is also deceptive. I didn’t say your numbers were wrong or inaccurate. But stated as they were they are VERY deceptive, and as such, are not useful to your argument, or any argument.

          • Peter says:

            Such a tired argument Steven H …. and you ask why I think you use debt/GDP for political BS? This is exhibit A. The numbers Stevendad posted are not irrelevant or deceptive.

          • Steven H says:

            There was over a 20% drop in revenue just from 2008 to 2009, which requires a 25% increase just to get back to ‘normal’ of 2008 when there was still a deficit. Making a big deal about 55% increases from an artificially low baseline is deceptive. It is almost the definition of deceptive.
            Deceptive: giving an appearance or impression different from the true one; misleading.
            You can be accurate AND deceptive. You should know this.

    • Peter says:

      And I agree….it is actually still segregated from the general accounting of the government. Any money taken out is still owed to the American people.

  • Peter says:

    The top 0.1% of US taxpayers (i.e., top 1 out of every 1,000 taxpayers) paid 19.9% of all federal income tax for the 2014 tax year. (source: Internal Revenue Service).

    • Stevendad says:

      To quote Andrea True “more more more”, that’s what they want. Why is it you just don’t pay your FAIR share! I’m curious SH, who or what defines FAIR?
      You bring up lots of historic numbers, but historical norms clearly weren’t always fair to women and minorities. I don’t see you clamoring to go back in time there to define “fairness”. Why should we use these to define taxation? So how does one acquire the wisdom to proclaim what is fair?
      As you say, we should seek logical consistency. Where is yours?

      • Steven H says:

        Im not the one who keeps bringing up fairness. And its not that fairness is irrelevant, its just so completely subjective that it makes a difficult basis for policy except in the very very broadest terms. Our founders worried about this a lot and recognized that extremes of wealth and poverty were not only ‘unfair’ but destabilizing, and the destabilization was more the basis of their philosophy than fairness. They also realized that taxation was a very contentious subject. But the overall conclusion in many of their writings is that the funding of government should be progressive, and the economy should be structured in such a way as to avoid extremes of either wealth or poverty.
        So you misjudge my posts to think I am trying to revert all laws to 50 or 60 years ago. As a person of science and engineering, I consistently look for examples of systems that work, and those that dont, and what differentiates them. And while economies change and we have to adapt, we can learn things from our economic past.
        1) the post Ww2 world us so vastly different than pre Ww2 that it is difficult to use pre Ww2 economics as much of a guide.
        2) Tax cuts dont pay for themselves.
        3) Moderate minimum wage increases and tax increases are always predicted by economic right as a cause of disaster, but disaster does not come. Most often, economics improves, if the increases are indeed moderate and well planned.
        4) Govt as a share of the economy is about where it has been for 35 years.
        5) Post Ww2, we have always required highest income tax marginal rate to be at 40% in order to pay the bills.

        These are consistent and sound observations and if you were an external observer, you would see all of this with no controversy. I think it may be your self interest in the impact of taxation on the high incomes that skews your perception.

        • Peter says:

          I agree that using history from the 50’s and 60’s to try and correlate to today is foolish. And it is even more foolish to correlate to the 2040’s when automation and technology will likely drive unemployment to record numbers. We are in a vastly different time. Not only is the economy quite different (although economic principles still apply), but the way government is run is far different. We need to reform government rather than give it more money.

        • Peter says:

          Fun with editing:

          1) the current world is so vastly different than post Ww2 that it is difficult to use post Ww2 economics as much of a guide.
          2) Higher costs don’t pay for themselves.
          3) Minimum wage increases and tax increases are always predicted by economic left as a panacea, but results do not come. Most often, spending goes up with the increases, or other poor planning offsets any benefit.
          4) Govt as a share of the economy is about where it has been for 35 years. But the economy has gone through its most stagnant period in decades, only propped up by growth of government.
          5) Post Ww2, we have always required highest income tax marginal rate to be at 40% in order to pay the bills. Currently it is higher than that.

          • Steven H says:

            Glad you had fun making nonsense out of facts.
            1) so your objection to taking lessons from 50 years ago is to instead go back 100 years or more?
            2) ok. Agreed. You have to pay the bills. Tax increases.
            3) not supporyed by evidence.
            4) you used disconnected facts. Instead, you should note he primary reason economy has stagnated is due to policy pushing more wealth to the wealthy. Supposedly giving more money to the wealthy creates jobs. Wealthy have more income and money than ever but the economy is stagnant. Guess we should try a different approach.
            5) Incorrect. I’m pretty sure highest marginal income tax rate is still less than 40%. From tax foundation:
            === In 2017, the income limits for all tax brackets and all filers will be adjusted for inflation and will be as follows (Table 1). The top marginal income tax rate of 39.6 percent will hit taxpayers with taxable income of $418,400 and higher for single filers and $470,700 and higher for married couples filing jointly.

          • Peter says:

            Add in the 3.8% surtax for those folks on rental income, dividends, interest, cap gains, annuity income, etc. and they are over 40%. Completely stupid rebuttals to me….. nobody said anything about going back 100 years, and just keep countering higher spending with higher taxes is asinine. And the reason we don’t have as many jobs – for the 1000th time – is due to the changing economy and companies hoarding cash. Corporations, not individuals.

          • Steven H says:

            Misread number 1 on post below, so my rebuttal made less sense on that point. As I did correctly point out though, we CAN learn from history even as we adapt to cutrent changes. Have we ever had a time when automation propelled the economy into imbalanced extremes of poverty and concentrated wealth? Perhaps there ARE lessons to be learned from 100 years ago. And i dont mean to go back to tax rates of that time, but to examine the economy of the previous Gilded Age, what happened, and how we might learn from it. How was the high income disparity of the latter 19th and early 20th century resolved?

        • Steven H says:

           Correction
          5) Post Ww2, we have always required highest income tax marginal rate to be at LEAST 40% in order to pay the bills. — Most of the time when we were paying the bills it was much higher.

        • Stevendad says:

          Re: Extremes of wealth to be avoided as goal of founders. Hmmmm, let’s see: you had to own land and thus have significant wealth to vote. Washington worth $580 M in 2016 dollars, Jefferson $234 M. Not exactly “equal” wealth. Of course income was also tremendously unequal, around $2900 a year for the average with GW getting $25k in salary. I’m sure his farm generated millions. The vote was expanded by several amendments to the Constitution. Perfectly valid way to do so. Now we write law without Congress by Presidential and judicial fiat. I’m opposed to a “living Constitution” that can be capriciously changed on a whim. It has very specific rules of amendment and high bars to do so for good reason. It was to avoid the back and forth whipsawing we are seeing now. And the commerce clause has been enlarged in such a way that it dwarfs all but defense (a stated function of the document) in its size and scope. Here it is:
          “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.” Not sure where all of this expansive government came from that…

          • Steven H says:

            You are noting personal discrepancies between the wisdom of what they wrote and believed and how they lived. Judgments on how they lived do not completely negate wisdom of what they wrote and how they created our government. Right? Besides it is notable when the wealthy recognize and write about the evils if being too wealyhy. Besides I never said everyone should have equal wealth. And neither did the founders.
            ===
            Not sure what you mean about writing laws without Congress. There has always been executive orders and judicial review, but Congress writes the laws. Rumors of the death of the Constitution are premature.
            And I disagree about the theory of keeping a stagnant Constitution. So, by the way, did Thomas Jefferson.

    • Steven H says:

      I dont care. That is the most skewed and irrelevant statistic ever. The relevant statistics are what percent share of income they have, and how it has increased, and what effective tax RATE they pay, not their income tax share. If you have all the money you pay more tax. And as i have been saying, income tax is only one of the taxes.
      If income share has gone up and effective rate has gone down, the rich are sittin pretty. Income tax share is irrelevant.

      • Peter says:

        I love how an 18-word statement of fact from the IRS is “the most skewed and irrelevant statistic ever” but a chart from a partisan outlet like CTJ that quotes themselves as a source for the numbers – with no explanation of their derivation – is something we should consider? Now who is just not liking stats because they don’t suit their politics? LOL

      • Steven H says:

        I didnt say the number was wrong. I said the stat itself is irrelevant. If somebody doubles their income and their effective tax rate goes down a few %, but the tax share of their income group (say the upper .1%) has almost doubled (because the income SHARE of that group has just about doubled), is the complaint about tax share being higher really justified? What if the effective tax rate even goes up a little, but they are still making more net money than before the gross increase, and way more money than anybody else? The tax share does not directly reflect their prosperity. The implication of their complaint is that they have so little because govt takes so much. The reality is that govt takes more percentage because they have so much.
        Beyond just opposing me for sake of opposition, do you see the math I am expressing here? Do you understand why share of tax income is such a poor metric?

        • Stevendad says:

          It to intervene, but the information economy doesn’t resemble the post WW2 economy at all and is INDUCING inequality. It is much cheaper and requires much less skilled labor to copy a program 1 M times than to copy a car design (into cars)… So your backward looks may not be relevant at all. The War on Drugs and War on Poverty have both failed because the Fed government is too big and broad acting to do much if anything efficiently and fairly. Again, more decentralized government would be the most helpful in helping local needs.

          Re: “fair”. I point out that Liberal Dems are the ones who keep up the “fair share” talk. SH, at times I lump you in with them because the result of EVERY analysis you do agrees completely with Dem platform/ talking points.

          • Peter says:

            I echo every word. Well said. Been making that point all along. An information economy is not good for equality at all.

          • Steven H says:

            So what rule says that only 1% of the population should profit from an improved economy? If our economy is getting more efficient, wouldnt it be ultimayely more sustainable, productive, and enjoyable, if we were all to benefit?

          • Peter says:

            Maybe. But you can’t force it. In the information age, there are far less low-paying, low-skill jobs and far more innovators and as a result, multi-millionaire entrepreneurs. We need to change our education system fast. That’s the most important thing. Rather than just take some of Zuckerberg’s money and sprinkle it around Compton.

          • Steven H says:

            But even the real innovators … the programmers, engineers, web specialists, IT folks, etc who do the heavy lifting in the information economy are getting a raw deal. More education solves nothing if the educated technologists remain subservient to and subject to the wage suppression of the financiers and investors who ultimately have undue influence on the economy. We need to also solve the wage problem of the educated middle, not kust the employment problem of the uneducated poor.

          • Steven H says:

            In other words, i am not convinced that only 1% of the population is innovating and worthy to share in national profit. Can you make an argument otherwise?

          • Peter says:

            I don’t think you can say that…..that programmers and IT people are necessarily getting raw deals. Anecdotally, that doesn’t appear to be the case. Isn’t it a bit more obvious that we have a major problem with finding jobs for unskilled people? Automation continues to play a huge role here too. Just think you barking up the wrong tree here…..

            Plus you continue to forget that the bottom quartiles are full of people that will eventually be in the top 5% at some point in their lives. The 1% you constantly refer to is a moving target and quite fluid. Maybe we don’t need to revamp the system in the IT/innovation/technology world. We do however need to find more people trained for that world – as well as health care, renewable energy, etc. We also need to find a solution to the crisis for our less education, unskilled people that want to work – but may not be able to due to loss of manufacturing jobs or automation. These are real solutions. Much better ones than taking my money and giving it to our dysfunctional government, and hoping that it ends up in the hands of the poor.

        • Steven H says:

          Again, stevendad and peter, do you understand the mathematical argument that share of income tax paid is a poor solitary metric to express magnitude or oppressive nature of tax burden?

          • Peter says:

            Everything is a poor solitary metric. The situation is much more complex than one statistic can show.

          • Stevendad says:

            No. Income tax matters in the discussion about raising income taxes. I don’t know how else to convince you, but payroll “taxes” are a different animal.

          • Steven H says:

            Stevendad my point about income tax share has nothing to do with ss taxes. It has to do with an inherent flaw in using the statistic the way you are using it.
            For example, answer this question: Income tax share of the upper 1% has increased tremendously over the last few decades. Should they be happy or sad about that?

          • Steven H says:

            And, to be perfectly clear, I was arguing in the separate thread about payroll/ss taxes, which are still taxes in my opinion and in the opinion of most taxpayers. You are entitled to your opinion, but your analysis is not fully convincing, and while it serves your broader tax argument, it is not entirely consistent with definitions.
            ===
            In THIS thread, though I am pointing out that the 0.1% should be absolutely delighted that they are paying a much higher tax share than previously. Why? Because it means they have a much higher INCOME share than before. Paying a high tax share is not a mark of abuse by the government, or outrageous tax burden. It is a mark of really extraordinary income. The effective tax RATE of the upper 0.1% has gone DOWN. Their income share has gone UP. The fact that their tax share went up is nothing for them to complain about. And it should never be used as a statistic to try to make anyone feel sorry for them. Their only “burden” is finding a productive investment for all that money.

          • Steven H says:

            And also to be clear … in the previous post, tax share was referencing federal income tax share only, and NOT a combined tax share involving payroll taxes.

  • Steven H says:

    One of the confusing things I encounter in some of these conversations is how some items that I hardly see as worth discussing, because they are of so little real consequence, get people passionately excited to do something consequential and controversial when all the real impact is harmful and not helpful.
    The two primary examples are illegal immigrant voting and bathroom bills. On one hand, stevendad wisely indicates that we should apply political triage and focus on items of importance. On the other hand he argues passionately for the arguments to pass laws that serve little positive purpose.
    I really dont get it.
    Draconian voter restrictions prevent many poor and young from voting, and bathroom bills attack trans people. For little or no positive outcome.
    Its as if stevendad wants to … “crack down on everyone for the misbehavior of a small few. It’s like punishing the whole class in the third grade when someone in the back is talking. Neither fair nor all that effective. But quite a power trip….” ( to quote another esteemed poster here).

    • Peter says:

      Could care less about either issue. Much bigger fish to fry.

    • Stevendad says:

      No, I just want you to see there are two sides of bathroom issue. Illegals voting, if it occurs, undermines our democracy. You’d be vehemently against this if they all voted Repub, which I think they will in a decade or so…

    • Stevendad says:

      It’s a small issue in the grand scheme of things of course. I try to take the opposite side as you because you miss a HUGE overlying issue, that is closing ones mind to the “rightness” of the other side of the argument. To be honest I’m agnostic about the whole thing and see that like all laws could have UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES. I’m just tying to make you see the duality of arguments. If Progressives or Conservatives opened their minds for one second that there is a rational argument on the other side rather than assume that person is filled with hate and bigotry (both sides can claim some) then perhaps we could move past our impasse and get some serious work done. That’s all.

      • Stevendad says:

        A true Conservative in here would make my blog life easier. I wouldn’t have to spend so much time bringing up arguments for things that are unimportant or I don’t really feel that strongly about either way.

        • Peter says:

          We do need one. Peter N was one I think….. of course, to Steven H we are all right wing.

          • Peter says:

            Peter N = Steven H but just on the other side – although Steven H is less rude than Peter N was, and does at least try to offer productive solutions (albeit very one-sided and narrow minded) rather than just hurling insults.

        • Steven H says:

          Sorty, but Peter N did you no favors. He was the very caricature of a right wing narrow minded insult tossing extremist. And I must say, for all your claims of centrism, you are upholding the conservative small government mantra pretty staunchly. But at least you are usually polite and logical.

      • Steven H says:

        Here is asuggestion to make my life easier and yours. Consider that I can see both sides. You dont have to oppose me for the sake of opposition. Just state your views. Trying to defend an extreme view that you either dont care about or dont believe serves no purpose and just irritates us both.

  • Stevendad says:

    There is a reprise the political leaning test: https://www.politicalcompass.org/test

    • Peter says:

      That was a strange one…. some very unusual questions. I ended up with a 1.63 for Economic Left/Right and a -4.26 for Social Libertarian/Authoritarian.

      No huge surprise. Almost dead center economically and heavy libertarian with social issues. Curious what you guys get.

  • Stevendad says:

    As far as “fairness” goes, it’s hard to make a definite argument that 60% of income is “fair” or 70% is fair, etc. However, I can easily argue that some is far less fair than zero to those who do pay taxes such as with unrealized capital gains (Warren Buffet, Bill Gates) or with the underground economy (some legal endeavors and some not). I can also argue that it is unfair that we subsidize the richest family in America (Waltons) by subsidizing the wages of their employees. Please refute these, if you can.

    • Steven H says:

      I think you said something backward and meant to say some is MORE fair than zero. Right?
      1) I would actually be interested in Peters opinion on unrealized capital gains. I have a rather simplistic view. If you buy a stock and it doubles in value in ten years but than halves again by the point when you need or choose to sell it, you are selling it at the same price you bought it for. Are you saying you would have to pay tax on the unrealized gain that was never actually, well, realized? That seems unfair. To me its all funny money til you actually sell. Maybe Im missing something.
      2) Underground economy. People use an underground cash economy to compensate for the fact that we are underpaying workers at low end of scale. These are not the people we need to make poorer.
      3) more transactions = less efficiency. Rather than using 4 transactions to a) pay workers too little b) have workers get food stamps to supplement low pay, c) have employee report income and food stamps to govt, d) have govt charge employer for food stamps; it is much more efficient to have minimum living wage to begin with and avoid all the paperwork and rigamorole and food stamps for working poor. If you are working full time, you should make enough to pay for food. The simplest solution is best.
      ===
      Just opinions but thats how I see it.

      • Stevendad says:

        To clarify: the nonzero number we pay income tax is less fair than the zero they pay in unrealized gains and underground economy.

      • Peter says:

        No that’s not how it works. If you buy a stock for $10, it rises to $100 and then drops back to $10 and you sell it, you pay no capital gains taxes. If you sold it for $50 you would pay taxes on the $40 gain. If you sold it for $2, you would take a $8 loss, which can offset other gains. If you have a net loss for the year, you can take $3k of it as an income tax deduction.

        • Stevendad says:

          But you can accumulate billions print ( like Bill Gates) and not pay a penny. Only dividends are taxable until sale. And it all accumulates tax-free. If you buy for $10 and it rises to $100 you can borrow against it or just keep it and not pay taxes until it is sold. You take the case where it goes back down. Most often stocks do not go back down overt ime. They have accumulated about 11% per year over decades and decades and from what I have read.
          In Bill Gates case, he just donated it to his trust and he’ll never pay taxes on it.
          I’m puzzled, are you saying that you pay taxes on unrealized gains? My accountant and every financial magazine article orbook I have read must be wrong then

          • Stevendad says:

            In profits, not print. The only exception I am aware of is certain types of warrant and options profits are taxable with the alternative minimum tax before they are realized

          • Peter says:

            No you don’t pay tax until you sell.

      • Steven H says:

        Ok so what is stevendad really proposing on taxes on unrealized capital gains. That is what confuses me.

        • Peter says:

          I’m not sure. I think he is referring to someone like Gates who might have $100 million in a stock with a $1000 cost basis. Meaning if he sold any of it he would pay taxes on the gains. But he doesn’t sell it – and he essentially doesn’t pay taxes on the profit. But he also can’t use the money unless he sells…..

          • Stevendad says:

            Yes tax a small percentage in wealth. Corporate values and unrealized capital gains are wealth. This would be in lieu of estate taxes. Again, the vast majority pay tax on their wealth in property taxes. It levels the playing field. At least Buffett won’t have to complain he is paying less tax than he is secretary if he pays $1B in wealth tax (about 2%)!

    • Steven H says:

      I guess iwould rather stick with tax and economic solutions that are well understood. Minimum wage and progressive income tax with multiple brackets extending to upper 1 %, 0.1 % and 0.01% earners are more manageable than untried food stamp rebate and wealth tax and special taxes to target the poor in underground economies. Again, just my opinion.

      • Stevendad says:

        I’m always a bit stunned you feel those who cheat the system are ok. Many of them do so illegally. And then you come back and say how it is so important that I follow the law in paying taxes ( which I do to the penny). Hypocrisy much? Your blatant bias against anyone who is successful (another Dem talking point) and for anyone who is not somehow lives in that “logical” mind of yours. Lest we forget, some of those who cheat the system are quite wealthy any way.
        And, you have opposed the mechanism, but not the underlying idea of fairness in my proposals. You ask for more from those paying a lot. I ask for some from those paying NOTHING.

        • Stevendad says:

          I’m sure you support inheritance taxes SH, the wealth tax does the same thing, only in a much slower and organized way. I too am opposed to the absurd overconcentration of wealth in some ways. We should at least let those who benefit the most from capitalism pay the freight. Again, you pay taxes on your largest asset, why shouldn’t they?

          • Steven H says:

            Inheritance taxes are fine. I think parents can and should look after their children, but children are not entitled to 100% of vast parent fortunes IMHO. So I disagree with Peter on this. And I don’t have a strong dislike about wealth tax. Im just not sure how well it might work.I just figure it may be easier to escape than an income tax.

          • Steven H says:

            “We should at least let those who benefit the most from capitalism pay the freight.”
            Thanks stevendad, Im glad we agree on that point. But careful … Peter wilk think I hijacked your screen name. Maybe Peter will sympathize better with the statement coming from you, more than from me.

          • Peter says:

            I agree with that which is why we have a progressive tax system. Plus I am a huge believer in charity – practice it heavily myself. However this doesn’t translate to a constant desire to make taxes more progressive or to take half of someone’s savings when they die.

        • Peter says:

          Definitely a disdain for the rich….. he has let his feelings about the people that “cheat” the system stain his opinion on what wealthy people are like and do practically in their lives. Much like the right does with the welfare queen stories. Same thing, different shade.

        • Steven H says:

          I have no problem with addressing those who cheat the system. I have problems with going after those who are being cheated by the system.

          • Stevendad says:

            Can you explain how people are “going after “those who are being treated by the system? So are people throwing them in jail, taking their earned money away or other things? Do you consider keeping their free stuff at the same level as “going after “them? Do you consider giving them less free stuff “going after” them? Just curious what you mean by this…

          • Stevendad says:

            So based on this, you were against unfettered immigration and choking Dodd Frank regulations which both hurt the working poor and the middle class?

          • Steven H says:

            You know my stats on income inequality by now. If it is true that the lower 90% are now making about 25% less than under a more generous income slope that we had for about 30 years after ww2, then the working poor are already being “taxed” with low wages. Politicians have compensated for this partially with refundable tax credits and food stamps, but in some sense, working poor are being cheated out of a fair wage. Im sure you disagree, but I am just explaining what I meant. So to go after them for paying no income tax seems pointless. The term getting blood out of a stone comes to mind.

          • Peter says:

            Your words speak for themselves

          • Steven H says:

            Yes they do. Don’t twist them and start mind-reading again.

          • Steven H says:

            Yes I am against unfettered immigration but am for a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who have been working and raising families in our community.
            Yes I am against choking Dodd-Frank regulations but am favorable toward those Dodd-Frank regulations which protect our citizens and prevent oppressive economic policies by banks and investment firms.

        • Steven H says:

          And no i have no disdain for the rich. I have disdain for excess and inefficiency of a system that deprives the economy of a functioning and prosperous middle and working class.

          • Peter says:

            Wrong. Every time anyone defends the rich, tells an anecdotal story about the experiences of the rich, talks about how they became rich, etc. you always question it, minimize it or try and dismiss it. I personally do not feel as though you truly respect the rich. You have on many occasions even tried to vilify them – saying either that they got that way on the backs of others, or nefariously, or at the very least mainly care about themselves (lower taxes, etc.). These are your opinions that you are entitled to – I’m not really trying to change them or vilify you for having them. But don’t try and tell us that you have no disdain for the rich. You do.

          • Steven H says:

            Stop telling me what i think. You constantly and consistently misinterpret and twist my posts. Because believing is seeing.(thanks stevendad). When i say the rich get a bonus from the economic slope, you say i am saying rich dont work hard. When i say economic policy tilts to the rich, you claim i am saying the government gives rich all their money. When i say poor get a raw deal you say i am trying to make all incomes equal. Whenever you are telling me what i think, you are out of line. And wrong every time. Listen. Dont try to mindread. You are not very good at it.

  • Stevendad says:

    Triage is a concept we really need to understand in government. Start with the most important immediate threat and move backwards. For example, the debt that will consume us all in a few decades. To me that’s the number one problem. Secondly, the North Koreans and Isis and everybody else that is trying to destroy our society. Both seem far more important then transgender bathrooms and petty politics to me. Steven H, as I said before, I’m with you on not reducing personal income tax rates. Of course, I don’t think we should increase them either. We also need to income limit Social Security and Medicare benefits to for the wealthy to some extent. Business tax rates need to be simplified and lowered to stay globally competitive and we need to quit picking winners and losers with loopholes as much as we can. If we lowered the rates and closed all the loopholes, 20% is easily doable without much change in revenue. 15% is possible, although somewhat unlikely. We more than likely would be getting more than that in economic benefit. Continuing to lower income tax rats is probably not all that helpful as it will tend to lower economic growth by increasing federal debt that competes with private borrowing. Taxing non-real estate wealth , adding a value added tax in a neutral way for people that are presently paying taxes to capture underground income and asking large corporations to rebate government programs that are paid to their employees will help a long ways to reduce deficits as well. Income taxes are a way of destroying wealth rather than creating it for the middle class. The latter should be actually a Progressive point after all. It is not pushed by the Democrats because they only believe in their limousine Liberal financiers and not the common man. Ponder that one Steven H.
    Bending the rising healthcare cost curve downward is critical as well. I am thinking about writing an op Ed about this issue. It will use some of the points that I made earlier. I may publish it first here to see your thoughts if you are agreeable Peter and Steven H. Are you in?
    And being from Oklahoma, I’ll throw in we must “methanize” our economy as possible until solar and wind energy can become more economically viable in 2 to 3 decades. We have plenty of it in relatively cheap supply and we will also lower the carbon dioxide footprint with this method, in a way that is beneficial to our economy. Also, the economy will boom, albeit especially in my home state and yours Steven H, Texas.

    • Steven H says:

      “20% is easily doable ” I don’t know what you mean. Flat tax rate?

    • Steven H says:

      “Bending healthcare cost curve down”. Yes this needs to be done.
      Frankly, for all of it’s flaws (and yes I admit it has some), I think ACA actually has been helping with this. The upset and uncertainty with TrumpCare will likely make care rise at higher rates again.
      We need to get the Pharmaceuticals under control. I have no idea how to do this, except to give government the power to negotiate and lower prices for medicare and medicaid, as other countries do.

    • Steven H says:

      Fracking (I presume is what you meant by mechanize) is OK and has been helpful in breaking OPECs grip. If you saw my other article post, it seems that wind and solar are getting competitive NOW and we don’t have to wait several decades. That’s good to have options.

    • Steven H says:

      We really should boost the gas tax now with prices low, in order to get funding for interstate and bridge repairs. And despite the idealistic opposition, it may be time to consider an additional high end tax bracket or two to get funding for debt pay down as well as other infrastructure and education needs. These moves to blindly slash departments make government less efficient rather than more so. They lose the experienced workers who understand the system and run programs more effectively and then eventually have to hire new replacements that don’t know what’s going on.

      • Stevendad says:

        I’d personally be ok with a gas tax. And if it goes to highways and bridges it is a direct tax / benefit to the user.
        You assume there were s zero fat in Federal departments. Perhaps, but seems unlikely given growth and general disincentives to be efficient

  • Steven H says:

    A surprising statistic:
    Us Defense spending dropped below 4.5% of GDP from 1995 to 2004, the first years that had occurred since 1940. (From WW2 through 1972 it varied from 41% GDP at the height of the war down to 7% GDP, and has since been below consistently below 7%.) Since 2004, it peaked at 5.7% of GDP in 2010 and 2011 (high defense spending and low GDP) and has now dropped to about 4.4% of GDP. I thought our military had been growing in spending per GDP, but it has actually gone down for the last 5 years.

  • Peter says:

    Regarding foolhardy politically-motivated regulations….I’ve talked a lot about the redundant and unnecessary fiduciary rule over the past 6 months that they are adding to the financial advice industry. Just saw this which kind of sums up what is happening “at ground zero”.

    “The fiduciary rule is going ahead on June 9th. And while a revision of the rule looks likely before January, the implementation next month will have a big effect on the industry. The Chamber of Commerce has just put out a study showing how big of a change it might cause. The CoC says that retirement fees will jump by 200% because of the rule, and that 7m Americans will lose the services of the wealth management industry because of the rule’s incentives for firms to get rid of smaller accounts. The CoC summarized the situation this way, saying “Throughout the rule-making process, the U.S. Chamber warned that the fiduciary rule was built upon a mountain of flawed analysis and would harm the very people it was purported to protect by raising costs and limiting investment options”.

    Some politician decides that they can win favor by adding regulations to limit fat cat Wall Street types from overcharging or misrepresenting their services. This helps the little guy from getting screwed. However, the rules the politician claims to be adding are already in place and enforced by THREE other government agencies. But that doesn’t help the politician. He needs to add his own regulations to put his mark on things. And if people oppose the media will spin it for him saying “those that oppose don’t care about the little guy”. The irony is that these rules get added and the Wall Street fat cat says “it is too risky and time consuming for me to service this many clients. I must trim down the number of people I work with”. Who gets cut? The little guy. And lots of them. Already seeing it happen…..now the average citizen can’t get financial advice unless they have big $$$.

    But this is not what you will hear in the press. If Trump rolls this back you will hear that he is throwing a bone to his Wall Street cronies. Just one more example of how government should stay out of corporate America’s business as much as possible. Tax them, punish the wrongdoers, prevent monopoly or inappropriate business practices….but largely stay out of the way.

    • Peter says:

      One other thing (I’m on a roll this morning)…..

      Steven H – this Federal spending you so adamantly defend includes things like enforcing this Fiduciary rule. And this is just one industry example – the industry I’m expert in. (You can address the other industries since you are more well versed than I in a wide variety of fields…heh heh) The Federal spending you defend also includes a gigantic military arsenal that is continuing to grow. It also includes departments that have little jurisdiction or power. It also includes involvement in international conflicts in dozens of countries. It also includes poorly managed programs or agencies that run with low efficiency rates. And it includes so much redundancy….. Even someone like you who loves big government should see the waste here.

    • Steven H says:

      Peter, since you are indeed the expert here in the fiduciary rule, perhapss you could explain this testimony that a presumed financial adviser in your industry gave as testimony to Congress:
      Senator: “For all Americans saving for retirement, the stakes are high. Paying just 2½% more in fees can dramatically reduce a retiree’s nest egg as the effect of compounding takes its toll over a lifetime of investing.”

      Scott Puritz: “Senator, thank you, that’s an excellent question and really gets to the heart of this matter from an economic point of view, from a return point of view. If someone had $100,000 and they were in an all-growth stock (portfolio) — which historically has returned 7.2% a year — that account would double every 10 years. So, in the 30-year time frame, $100,000 would become $800,000…real, considerable wealth creation.
      By contrast, if you reduce that down to 5%, which is really the fee delta that we see in the marketplace, that $100,000 only grows to $400,000, or half the amount of money. So that’s what’s at stake here.
      The Department of Labor’s new rules are designed to save investors the billions of dollars they lose each year due to conflicted investment advice. One way to avoid that risk right now is to make sure your advisor is a registered fiduciary.”
      ===
      From this testimony, it might SEEM that the fiduciary rule is undesirable to SOME advisers because it might prevent them from making as much money in fees that seem small in percentages as presented to the investor, but are huge in the amounts of money involved. A cynic would not be surprised that smaller accounts get dumped when perhaps those accounts are no longer available for pilfering. Is it possible that this rule will help to filter out the more predatory advisers and leave the business to more honest folks such as you surely must be?

      • Stevendad says:

        This is what I see in my business. Crack down on everyone for the misbehavior of a small few. It’s like punishing the whole class in the third grade when someone in the back is talking. Neither fair nor all that effective. But quite a power trip….

      • Peter says:

        Steven H – In theory, that is the idea. However, these rules are already in place. “Pilfering” is already regulated by the NASD, CFP Board and SEC. We don’t need a fourth organization to police this, particularly one with no way to enforce the rule (it would be enforced purely through litigation).

        Plus, why should advisors be told what to charge? Obviously, it hurts you to pay 3% a year vs. 1% a year. You would have a lot less money if you paid the higher annual fee. But it shouldn’t be illegal for advisors to charge the higher fees. (By the way, I’m at the VERY low end of this scale) As long as the fees are disclosed fully in a way the public can understand. If a $1 candy bar can be sold for $6 at a movie theater, then an advisor can charge 3% a year.

        That said – it is a stupid comment to say that smaller accounts “get dumped because they are no longer available for pilfering”. Only a very low-earning, unscrupulous advisor would be able to make any money off of “pilfering” small accounts. Even if you charge 5% a year (unheard of, but still) on a $50k account, you aren’t making any money. This just doesn’t happen.

        You are correct that the result will be eliminating some of the more predatory advisors (good!), but the collateral damage is severe. That collateral damage is that the scrupulous, experienced advisors like me – who don’t need all of my accounts to pay my bills – will drop the smaller accounts just to not have the paperwork hassle and time commitment it takes to handle them.

        A great example is if you wanted to put $5000 in a 529 plan for your son to go to college. Under this rule, I couldn’t do this for you without doing a full financial plan and profile, meeting at least once a year, and documenting all parts of your financial life on a quarterly basis. Considering that this plan would pay me under $50 a year to manage, why would I do this? The little guy is getting squeezed hard by this rule.

        • Stevendad says:

          I hope there are no Gypsies out there, because I’m going to borrow a ’60’s movie stereotype. This is not against any body now only to illustrate a concept. With that disclaimer: the idea was that the band of Gypsies in their wagons would pull up outside of town. They’d come in to town, start a party that ended up all over town. Then all the townspeople would have a great time, get blind drunk and then wake up minus their wallets and jewelry. Then they would gather the pitchforks and torches and head out to the camp, only to find it gone…. The shady people in my industry are like that, especially with Medicare. About the time the bureaucracy finds the problem, a solution grinds through Congress, rules are passed, they have moved on to the next gig leaving a pile of paperwork and regulations behind for those of us just trying to help people to deal with. Neither very effective nor efficient a way to do things. Sounds like the system is a bit like that in finance. Shackle the vast majority trying to do a good job with regulations in order to catch the few who are bilking their customers.

          • Peter says:

            Yes, great analogy. But people get elected and re-elected by chasing the gypsies. Even if they never truly catch them or do more harm than good. Kind of a like a cop chasing a bad guy through a town, running over innocent people and destroying property to catch the guy who robbed the store (maybe). They stopped the guy, but at what cost?

  • Steven H says:

    Interesting table here (2011 data; not sure if there is a newer version):
    http://www.ctj.org/pdf/taxday2012.pdf
    Effective tax rate and shares for various income groups after adding averages for ALL taxes: federal, state and local. Of course this varies by state and locality, but these are the averages.

    Income group; Income share; Tax share; effective tax rate
    Upper 1% group; 21.0%; 21.6%; 29.0%
    [Note: Above is average of investors and high incomes, which are different shares and rates, based on previous discussions]
    Next 4% group; 14.3%; 15.5%; 30.4%
    Next 5% group; 10.1%; 11.0%; 30.3%

    Middle quintile: 11.4%; 10.3%; 25.2%

    Lowest quintile; 3.4%; 2.1%; 17.4%

    Using these numbers, it is easy to see that everyone pays taxes, nobody is pushed around in a wheelbarrow by the rich paying most of the taxes, and our system is not nearly as progressive as most believe.

    • Peter says:

      Another example of flat out incorrect data. Look at the raw data….. it just doesn’t match up. And their chart is unexplained (mathematically) and quotes themselves as a source. Not to mention that the source has an agenda.

      There are two debates here. First, is the effective rate each individual pays. Your hard-left friends are correct here in that payroll taxes and local taxes hurt lower income people more as a percentage of income. Obviously. The second debate is percentage of total tax receipts. Payroll taxes are largely non-progressive. They make up about 1/3 of all tax receipts from the government. Income taxes make up about half and are very progressive. Things like dividends/cap gains, passive income and estate taxes are also progressive in that they affect the rich almost exclusively.

      We can spin numbers all we want, but at the end of the day what is the point? What is the argument really? If it involves the words “fair share” then we are wasting our breath as that is subjective. We know your primary agenda is to tax the rich more – which is a fine opinion to have. But don’t try and find data spin that tells us we aren’t really paying as much as we think we are. This is the kind of thing that really disconnects with people. Like telling them the economy is turning around when they can’t find a job in their town. I am not overly concerned about my “percentage of total tax receipts”. I just know what I make and what I take home. And I know what my friends and family make and take home. No way I’m going to be convinced that somehow I’m not contributing enough and they are.

    • Peter says:

      “What I believe IS political propaganda is the presentation of data which is severely skewed to defend a political position rather than to enlighten” – Steven H, May 31st

      Seriously dude….do you even hear yourself? You write this less than 24 hours after posting the above statistics from a site that almost fits your description to a T? What if I posted THIS article? http://dailysignal.com/2015/04/15/how-much-do-the-top-1-percent-pay-of-all-taxes/

    • Steven H says:

      Peter, your article is OK. It is somewhat more complete in that it discusses all federal taxes rather than just income tax. The statistics seem approximately correct though I have not validated them all. The other table I referenced seems to include state and local taxes as well, and so it would seem to give a more complete picture.
      ===
      I am staying away from assessing “fair share”. What I am addressing here is that you have put forth the argument, as has stevendad and many others, that the wealthy are paying “the lion’s share” of taxes, then you usually only quote statistics for federal income tax. Including all taxes seems to me a better and more just measure. Can you explain why that would not be the case, and why it is more fair to leave out certain data to make the burden of the rich seem more burdensome?
      ===
      I don’t know what you mean by the raw data not matching up. Please explain.

      • Stevendad says:

        Again, SS and MC are not taxes, but forced savings. You should in theory get it all back as a senior or if you’re disabled. But then Congress saw a way to buy votes with outsized benefits and that huge pile of money in that “lock box”…

        • Peter says:

          Agreed. So you could make an argument that comparing tax rates across income levels should NOT include payroll taxes. And nowhere in here did we add the ridiculous (and unconstitutional in my opinion) estate taxes, which ONLY affect the wealthy. Either way, the rich are paying a ton.

      • Steven H says:

        I’ll just have to disagree with you on SS and MC taxes. They are taxes going to govt, just like income, gas, sales excise and estate taxes. They are not forced savings … I dont have a guaranteed account balance I can will to my children. They are, by reasonable definition, just another flavor of tax.

        • Stevendad says:

          SH: Again, I think you’re wrong. You DO receive a defined benefit with SS (they send you an estimate every year or two) so it’s like an annuity investment. Similarly, it’s like investing in long term care insurance to pay for your health care when you’re old. Please correct me if I’m wrong Peter, this is more your field.
          That’s why these are the “third rail” of politics: they are monies whose benefits are specifically targeted at individual taxpayers and not spent solely at the discretion of Congress and the bureaucracy.

        • Peter says:

          Stevendad – you are absolutely right. The only counter I would make to support Steven H’s point is that it is a required option. Forced savings, if you will. But not really a tax the way property or income taxes are – money that is gone forever.

        • Steven H says:

          Isnt it correct that it is a monthly benefit until you die? So the amount is variable, not at all like savings. If anything, it is like insurance, which is like the pooling of social resources and monetary premiums for group benefit. When such pooling is mandatory and done by a government, the premiums are called a tax. You are playing with definitions to put your thumb on the scales of the argument. But mandatory payments defined by, and received by, a government from its citizens are a tax.

          • Stevendad says:

            No, I never said it was like savings. It is exactly like an annuity. This is a life insurance product. If you die there are survivor benefits. Please research what an annuity is. They are not free, you have to pay for them as well. However, you do not have to participate in them. In the 1930s, they felt enough people had not say that it was important to have some sort of “Social Security”. They pick this method which acts as an annuity. You’re the one that is making this into a tax and it never was intended to be that.
            No thumb on the scale. Again, this is the only situation where there is a direct promised benefit related to the money you pay in. Whether that promise will be broken or not is a completely other issue.
            No thumb on the scale. Just truth, even if you want to deny it.

          • Stevendad says:

            SS seems to fit nicely with definition number two.an·nu·i·ty
            ??n(y)o?o?d?/
            noun
            a fixed sum of money paid to someone each year, typically for the rest of their life.
            “he left her an annuity of $1,000 in his will”
            a form of insurance or investment entitling the investor to a series of annual sums.
            “an annuity plan”

          • Steven H says:

            Tax: a compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers’ income and business profits or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions.

            An annuity premium that is compulsory and paid to the governmwnt is STILL a tax. It goes into revenue first, and government decides on the fly how benefits will be paid out. Its a tax.

          • Peter says:

            That’s actually not true about payroll taxes Steven H….

  • Steven H says:

    Stevendad, I left at least one of your questions unanswered. You asked if I have daughters. i do. You asked if i was comfortable with the idea that some man could “identify” as a woman that day and eneter the women’s restroom with my daughter. I agree that laws against such behavior would make that completely impossible and that they would prevent the rampant rise of men claiming they are trans to bypass the potty police and enter women’s restrooms. OK yes, my sarcasm switch is on high. You see my points
    1) There is no rampant rise of pervs claiming to be trans to enter women’s restrooms.
    2) GOP bathroom bills have no capability to prevent pervs from entering whatever room, bath or otherwise, they choose to enter.
    3) There are no potty police, and I hope we never need them.

    So I recommend we establish a new government agency: ZED.
    Zombie Elimination Department. It has no budget. It makes no laws. It just sends out warnings. It is staffed by passionate, if deluded, volunteers. Along with its primary mission of eliminating zombies, it also has the mission of addressing other presumed crises for which there is no significant evidence that a problem actually exists. Such as illegal immigrant voter fraud. Such as perverts claiming to be trans to enter bathrooms. Give it to ZED. Let ZED handle it.

    Before you hasten to add Trump-Russia to ZED’s mission, however, recall that intelligence agencies are finding evidence of criminal behavior and foreign interference in our election. That requires investigation with a budget. That is out of ZED jurisdiction. Bathroom Bills however, are clearly in the domain of ZED.

    • Stevendad says:

      Thanks for the snark. So, you are fine with some dude who just wants to sneak a peek at your daughter in the restroom with her? How can anyone prove they are not a “gender identified” woman? A young lady’s dad just found a camera in in the vent his daughter’s apt in OK. Men already do many crazy things and frankly don’t need other avenues. Your complete disregard of human nature is a bit puzzling. But of course it’s a Dem talking point and can’t be challenged in any way.

      • Peter says:

        Actually, I’m curious…. is it illegal for a man to go in a women’s bathroom now? Could you actually get arrested for that?

        • Steven H says:

          Not to my knowledge.

        • Stevendad says:

          I suspect it varies by municipality but regardless it would give guys in their for nefarious reasons an out. Of course this pales in comparison to the Fed debt, Isis, drug deaths, NK nukes, etc so why does America worry so much about it? My only point is it is another collision of rights and there are clearly two sides.

          • Stevendad says:

            There. Wow. Dictated that and slipped by in the proofread. My English teacher would crap!

      • Steven H says:

        Installing bathroom cameras is already illegal. And I have no disregard of human nature. I just know the limitations of legislation.

    • Steven H says:

      It should not be a Dem/Gop issue at all. Bathroom bills are completely ineffective and unenforceable against the pervs GOP claim to target, but are malicious harrassment of Trans folks who are just trying to poop in peace. Do YOU want a trans who looks precisely like a guy to be forced into restrooms with your wife and daughter? Do you want to share the restroom with a trans who has every appearance of being a woman? Bathroom bills are a solution without a problem, causing more trouble than they solve. Let ZED handle it.

    • Steven H says:

      Just saw a reddit discussion that opened up issues I had not thought about. Several men confessed having to go in womens restroom when their young daughters went in and then needed help, or because only the womens room had changing tables. Bathroom bills would make such innocent necessity a crime, possibly with severe penalty as a sex offender. Again, the bathroom bills solve nothing but create a lot of problems. And I thought you wanted govt to get OUT of peoples personal business.

    • Steven H says:

      Sneak a peek at my daughter? How? With xray vision through a closed bathroom stall? The whole bathroom bill paranoia is insanely flawed. Personally, id be ok if they just passed a law school gyms to have personal shower stalls and changing areas for everyone. I was a shy kid and hated changing and showering with others. Trans problem in schools are then solved and nobody even knows who is trans.

      • Peter says:

        Yawn. Such a non important issue.

      • Stevendad says:

        Ok you win. Dudes in ladies bathrooms is ok. The long term solution will be individual bathrooms women and men both use. Ask your wife how much she likes to share… I have a feeling all the dudes out there won’t keep the seat up!

    • Stevendad says:

      You get plain idiotic in your snark at time. There ARE pervs, there ARE NOT zombies. Ridiculous argument I have tried to ignore but really! I forgot there are only good people in your Kumbaya world.

  • Steven H says:

    Good news for economy and climate. Wind and solar now getting cheaper than fossil fuels.
    https://cleantechnica.com/2016/12/25/cost-of-solar-power-vs-cost-of-wind-power-coal-nuclear-natural-gas/

  • Stevendad says:

    So what about a wealth tax? What about downsizing the Feds and upsizing local governments?