Death and Taxes

Just wanted to gauge the reaction to Paul Krugman’s 10-page attack on the Bush tax cuts…

Bueler? Bueler? Bueler? Get those knives out!

Krugman is a lot like Coulter, except he uses deception by numbers rather than words alone. Not to mention that NYT registration…no thanks.

You shouldn’t believe what National Review tells you…

The article’s an excellent summary of the state of the tax wars.

Krugman told me himself. Exhibit A being his body of work since like 1995.

Sigh. Like the time he pointed out that CA’s energy crisis was due to market manipulation, got attacked for it, and then FERC admitted he was right a year later?


His assertions on the surface, like saying the CA energy crisis is caused by market manipulation, are true to the point of being obvious. It’s what he infers from them that make him look stupid.

EDIT: in any case, like I’ve said before comparing other people’s talking points, the resulting apologia, etc are not really all that interesting to me in any extended timeframe. I’m pretty sure that our perceptions of Krugman’s work will come down to fundamental ideological points, and I’d much rather address those on their own terms as they come up. You agree with him, I don’t. Fair enough?

Plus it’s Friday, man.

Yes, it’s Friday! :D

Seriously, I can see disagreeing with ideology, but other than some rare occasions like him screwing up description of the Bush stadium deal (it was still crony capitalism; he was paid lots of money strictly for his name and connections. It wasn’t as uncommon as Krugman said to have an unequal partner, though) his facts are right.

So here’s the picture: Americans pay low taxes by international standards. Most people’s taxes haven’t gone up in the past generation; the wealthy have had their taxes cut to levels not seen since before the New Deal. Even before the latest round of tax cuts, when compared with citizens of other advanced nations or compared with Americans a generation ago, we had nothing to complain about – and those with high incomes now have a lot to celebrate. Yet a significant number of Americans rage against taxes, and the party that controls all three branches of the federal government has made tax cuts its supreme priority. Why?

Why compare us with other countries? If only to justify the level of taxation which is unarguably higher in the rest of the world. It’s a ridiculous assumption to say that because the rest of the world pays a higher % of GDP in taxes, that we are taxed too low. This whole piece is a liberal slant to make us feel guilty for not paying enough of our ‘fair share’.

We have the lowest rates since the new deal? Yeah, and look at the amount of revenue that comes from these ‘lower’ rates. The highest revenue since the new deal, contradicting his premise. Then he says we’ll have to sacrifice government as we know it by either raising taxes or cutting services. Cut the Freaking services then. Spending is out of control with no recourse, no representation, and no thought of reduction.

This entire article is an attempt to blur the distinction between Republican political rhetoric and the principle of cutting taxes. I’ll agree that Republicans are as bad if not worse than Democrats when it comes to budget irresponsibility, but to imply we are undertaxed and thwarting our responsibility as americans is insulting. Government waste only accounts for 3% or a rounding off error? Give me a fucking break!

He never says we’re undertaxed. He says it’s strange that everyone’s so convinced their taxes are higher than ever, because they clearly aren’t, and haven’t been this low for a long, long time.

B, find me some government waste that’s more than 3% of the federal budget. “Waste” being defined as “entirely pointless endeavor”, like the helium reserve; that the government is naturally more inefficient than the private sector isn’t what people are thinking of with the term “waste.”

Sheesh… you should write polls for biased news channels or something.

The issue is not so much “entirely pointless endeavor” as “less important endeavor”.

There are also duel issues… one is how efficient the government is at doing a task (compared to the same task being part of the private sector) and the other is challenging the very tasks that comprise the government. Like maybe a governmental task shouldn’t exist AT ALL in which case its totally wasteful.

Most of this is a moot point anyway since the government does things the private sector cannot or will not do due to a lack of a business model. But this issue usually explores just what governmental tasks can be taken over by the private sector and what the difference would be if they were. Do you fear this kind of debate with your machination called the “entirely pointless endeavor”?

I’m not “B”, but the US Postal Service is your answer. It is not a waste en toto, but most of it is a severe waste that should be privatized and/or de-monopolized. It may reach 3% of the budget even.

The postal service is a mess, but I’m not sure if it could really be privitized. Anyway, it’s only .05% (1/2000th) of the budget. (Check out 8-1 in the 2004 historical tables)

Defense, SS, and Medicaid are 81% of the budget.

The US Postal Service doesn’t even appear on the federal budget, voltaic. It’s considered an “off-budget” item because it’s self-sufficient, and has been for years. The costs of running the operation are paid for entirely by postal fees. The money that it gets from the federal government is technically reimbursement for implementing assorted federal mandates. It’s a piddly amount, though.

I consider Social Security to be a massive waste. And it’s the single largest line item in the federal budget. Start by cutting that.

I see. Do you have any relatives on Social Security? Did anyone you know pay into it all their life and now you just want to take it away? Did you bother to think how this would affect millions of elderly?

Too many people have been conned into the pyramid scheme already! We have to keep the ball rolling…THINK OF THE CHILDREN, MY GOD, WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

It’s only a pyramid scheme if people stop having kids.

You can argue that social security is something the government shouldn’t be doing because its not their responsibility or whatever, but the program isn’t wasteful. SS has a fraction of the overhead of comparable private retirement programs.

MS, you are riding high on the “jumping to conclusions” express today. I didn’t say that we should deprive anyone of money that they paid into the program, or just shut it down like we’re flipping off a light switch. It’s a huge program that taxpayers have paid significant money into, and it would obviously need to be phased out over a lengthy period time.

Did you bother to think how this would affect millions of elderly?

In the long term? Yeah. That’s why I’d like to see it eliminated.

And it pays out a fraction of the returns. And the government regularly raids the Social Security surplus to pay for other stuff–something it wouldn’t be able to do if people were allowed to manage their retirement savings without government intervention.

Yeah, and have you looked at the reproduction rates of the affluent Americans that fund it? Unless, of course, you are planning to fund SS on the backs of Hispanics and other proportionately poorer minorities…

You can argue that social security is something the government shouldn’t be doing because its not their responsibility or whatever, but the program isn’t wasteful. SS has a fraction of the overhead of comparable private retirement programs.

Says who? It’s very easy in a vast government program to conceal hidden costs and deadweight losses. Especially if you aren’t looking for them.

It’s a sad grim country we are going to live in if ya’ll have your way. You think there’s too much crime and poverty NOW?

But you have all the answers, right? How does forcing seniors to live on a fixed income that’s often less than what they needs for subsistence, and way less than what they’d have if they had been allowed to invest the same money into a private fund (hell, even bonds pay higher returns than Social Security!), combat poverty?