published Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Congress' weakness revealed


Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, when world stock markets soared after Congress approved legislation that prevented the United States from going over the fiscal cliff.
Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, when world stock markets soared after Congress approved legislation that prevented the United States from going over the fiscal cliff.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

For all the noise over whether or how to avert the fiscal cliff by New Year's day, Tuesday's bipartisan deal — making permanent the Bush tax cuts for the middle class, but not for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans — is disappointing in its reach.

It offered enough near-term certainty over taxes to buoy the stock market Wednesday, and it assured most Americans that their income taxes will not rise (though their payroll taxes will as the Social Security tax reverts from 4.2 percent to the normal 6.2 percent). Yet the terms to avoid the fiscal cliff's mandated spending cuts and tax hikes makes just a modest stab at reversing the thrust of the disastrous Bush tax cuts by restoring Clinton-era rates on the biggest earners.

The deal is disappointing because it doesn't begin to offset the cost -- an additional $4 trillion in new federal debt over the next decade -- of making permanent the Bush tax cuts for the 98 percent of Americans who comprise the nation's broad and uneven middle class. It should have done so by moving toward a so-called grand bargain to overhaul the tax code, and to eliminate the vast range of loopholes that let two-thirds of American corporations -- and usually the richest and biggest conglomerates -- escape paying most or all of the business taxes that Republicans claim are otherwise so onerous. But Tuesday's deal didn't attempt to address those larger issues.

The United States would be better served, and more able to begin paying down the rising federal debt, if business taxes were lower, but closed to the current gross leakage of so many loopholes. But tea party Republicans strenuously resisted such deal-making because it would necessarily raise some new tax revenue from corporate taxes to help reduce federal debt. Though they want to do the latter, they want only ordinary Americans to suffer, by cutbacks in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. They don't want businesses to pay any higher taxes at all.

So for all their lip service about reducing federal debt, Republicans have yet to cite, much less offer to close, any specific loopholes they might actually be willing to eliminate. President Obama, by contrast, has already put more than $1 trillion in spending cuts on the table. Republicans' continuing rigidity against balanced debt reduction, however, remains the biggest obstacle to deficit-and-debt reduction.

Their untenable focus remains wrongly fixed on starving government spending on programs that aid poor and middle-class Americans and that provide vital government services and infrastructure investments. They remain oblivious to the fact that corporate profits are at record highs, even as inflation-adjusted wages have diminished. And they ignore the fact that the current rate of tax revenue to support essential government services is at a 60-year low as a percentage of gross domestic product, due mainly to the Great Recession of 2007-2009, and the resulting fall-off in tax revenue. It is that fall-off, from more than 18 percent down to 16 percent of GDP, that has stoked federal debt -- not unfettered government spending.

Regardless, the Republicans' right wing is already girding for another round of attacks on government spending when the federal debt ceiling will again have to be raised in March. Though they have failed to reveal any specific cuts in tax loopholes, they already are warning that they will again demand cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and unemployment insurance, along with the regulatory agencies that they disdain.

It is the prospect of this sort of continuing, unproductive, self-wounding political battle that is so discouraging. President Obama rightly warned Tuesday that he will not allow the government to default on the spending that Congress has already approved. But that battle, unfortunately, remains to be fought.

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conservative said...

I hate it when people try to deceive others in order to advance Godless Socialism.

I will begin with the writer's words as proof - "The deal is disappointing because it doesn't begin to offset the cost -- an additional $4 trillion in new federal debt over the next decade -- of making permanent the Bush tax cuts for the 98 percent of Americans who comprise the nation's broad and uneven middle class."

This is an incredible statement. This writer, just like all of the other Liberals, have repeatedly said that the "Bush" tax cuts only benefited the rich ( think the 1%) and NOT the middle class. Here the writer says the 98 percent ( the middle class ) received "Bush" tax cuts. He must believe that no one will call him on his hypocrisy and contradiction.

I placed the "Bush" tax cuts in quotes because Bush had no authority to cut anyone's taxes. These tax cuts were passed with Demoncrat votes along with Republican votes.

Note also that the writer calls tax cuts "cost." Tax cuts mean that the feds will get less of your money (remember he has stated that the middle class will pay less taxes ) and I think that is a good thing. Tax cuts are NOT costs, SPENDING is cost. This is how Liberals/Socialists think and this is how they deceive others into thinking Socialist.

Furthermore, the writer says there will be $4 trillion in federal debt in the next decade because YOU the middle class will not have to pay $4 trillion in new taxes. Do you feel guilty?The writer is also saying that this $4 trillion in debt is NOT due to increases in spending. Think about how absurd that is!

Using the writer's own logic, he could tell his creditors that he is in debt because the Times Free Press doesn't pay him enough! Do you think he would even try that with his creditors? Then why does he try to deceive you?

January 4, 2013 at 7:21 p.m.
conservative said...

The writer immediately follows with - "It should have done so by moving toward a so-called grand bargain to overhaul the tax code, and to eliminate the vast range of loopholes that let two-thirds of American corporations"

The deception here is the word "loophole" because as defined by Webster a loophole is: " a means of escape; especially: an ambiguity or omission in the text through which the intent of a statute, contract, or obligation may be evaded"

Tax deductions are written into law and they are specific and not ambiguous. Homeowners can claim a deduction for the interest paid on their loan. This is not a "loophole." Note how this writer and other Liberals use this word "loophole" without ever naming them. Why is that? Well, the word can have a negative connotation and that is why Liberals/Socialists use it without ever giving any specific examples. It is an awful deception.

January 4, 2013 at 7:57 p.m.
conservative said...

The writer wants to close "the current gross leakage of so many loopholes" available to business. Now, did you notice that he doesn't list any of these "many loopholes?" Well, deductions are written into law, they are not ambiguous so they are not "loopholes."

Now, if the legitimate deductions of business and corporations ( those allowed by law, and thus not loopholes) are eliminated many will go out of business, hire fewer people, layoff people or simply pass the increased costs on to the consumer (YOU).

Liberal/Socialist writers know how ignorant most of their readers are so they deceive them by appealing to their base nature of envy, greed and covetousness.

January 4, 2013 at 8:46 p.m.
conservative said...

Then this Liberal/Socialist writer charges that Republicans "want only ordinary Americans to suffer, by cutbacks in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. They don't want businesses to pay any higher taxes at all."

Well now, two notable Demoncrats who go by the names of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama have backed cutting Socialism Security by changing the way inflation is calculated for recipients. The cost of living increases would be tied to the Consumer Price Index instead of inflation rates which would result in SMALLER Socialism Security checks.

This writer never once blames Demoncrats for anything in this piece but places all his blame on Republicans.

January 5, 2013 at 11:13 a.m.
conservative said...

The writer continues his deceit:

"So for all their lip service about reducing federal debt, Republicans have yet to cite, much less offer to close, any specific loopholes they might actually be willing to eliminate"

Now notice the deceit here. The writer speaks of Republicans unwilling to cite so called "loopholes" to reduce the federal debt.

First, the writer does not cite any so called "loopholes" that he or the Demoncrats would close and I have also not seen any specific "loopholes" that Demoncrats would close either. Why? Because they are not loopholes but legitimate tax deductions written into law. Specifics would reveal this so they just keep repeating the deceitful line about closing "loopholes."

Second, the federal debt just like your personal debt is caused by SPENDING, and not non existent "loopholes." We have a spending problem and the Demoncrats/Liberals/Socialists are not going to admit that or do anything to stop the unsustainable spending madness.

January 5, 2013 at 8:23 p.m.
Easy123 said...

COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF IDIOCY BY conservative

January 5, 2013 at 9:24 p.m.
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