Bill Kristol tells GOP to come back to the table.

DSGamer wrote:
Even with the payroll tax change this year my wife and I figure we'll be out an extra ~$2,000 over the course of the year. We won't make up that spending. We can't. Congress doesn't know what they're doing by taking money out of the hands of people who can actually afford to spend.

Maybe if you made a solid hundred million and were a job creator we could talk about how unfair taxes on you.

KingGorilla wrote:
Robear wrote:
But can Congress give one of it's enumerated powers to an Executive Branch Department?

Given strictures of the act, congress can and has. Patents and Trademarks are handled by the department of commerce, the department of transportation deals with roads, the lending of money is handled by the treasury which also regulates its value.

These are all enumerated legislative powers handled by executive agencies.

You guys are letting our colloquial English cloud what's going on in government. Yes, the executive Departments run and manage those aspects of society, but they, for the most part, have strict guidelines that Congress makes them work within. If they want to change something, for the most part, must get approval by Congress. The independent regulatory agencies, on the other hand, like the EPA, FCC, etc., often have both the power to administer AND the power to establish regulations. There's nothing that I know of in Article I about protecting the environment, etc., so they've historically received less interference from Congress, which when annoyed, most often will reduce funding and/or attempt to pass legislation establishing oversight.

OG_slinger wrote:
jdzappa wrote:
And since we're on the subject, the $100-250 K familes are by and large the job creators. These are the relatively successful but not obscenely rich business owners who provide the majority of jobs.

I'll echo Kraint's desire for a citation on that claim, especially details about what kind of jobs are created. There's a world of difference between the quality and number of jobs between an entrepreneur opening a Subway franchise and someone starting the next Google.

jdzappa wrote:

2. What I'm not seeing in this thread (and maybe it deserves to be in a separate thread) is the question of tax reform. The following article really brought home to me just how f'ed our tax system is if we're not going to take a hard look at closing egregious tax holes.

We can have that conversation when the GOP eases up on their ideology that taxes can only be eliminated and tax rates can only go down.

Actually, it's more fundamental than that. Over the past couple of years the GOP (well, the Tea Party) has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to damage the US economy in the name of blind adherence to a political ideology based on severely flawed and largely disproven economic theories. Until the GOP can prove that it's not the political equivalent of an angsty, surly teenager any discussion of tax reform should be tabled. You're not going to have an informed discussion or intelligent reform coming from the party that's effectively run by a group of idiots who think the government should keep its hands off of Medicare.

Ok I found a number of articles showing that $100K is a pretty average yearly salary for an established business owner (10+ years of experience), Of course, new business owners make a lot less and often are working 60-80 hour weeks to make their business successful. In other words, you're proposing to raise taxes on the people who have spent a decade or more working harder than the average American and risking it all (remember business owners don't have UE to fall back on).

Average Income by Experience

According to compensation survey administrator PayScale in 2010, the average income of small business owners varies widely depending upon their level of experience. For example, small business owners with less than one year of experience in running an organization earn an annual salary ranging from $34,392 to $75,076. Those with more than 10 years experience, on the other hand, earn upwards of $105,757 per year.

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/avera...

Here's another good article about how tax hikes would affect small-medium businesses.

The Congressional stalemate over the two top individual tax rates and rates on dividends and capital gains have been central to the dispute because many business owners (including those with S-Corps., partnerships, limited liability companies and sole proprietorships) pay taxes on their business profits through their individual tax returns.

These types of businesses employ about 54 percent of the private sector workforce and pay 44 percent of federal business income taxes, according to an Ernst & Young study. It’s not only small businesses that are impacted: more than 20 million workers are employed by larger businesses (those with more than 100 employees) that pay individual income tax, the study found.

Tax hikes aimed at Americans making over $250K would also impact successful small business owners, says Dennis Hoffman, a professor of economics at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “This would hit well-to-do individuals, but it would also hit small business owners who file individual taxes,” Hoffman says. They also will face tax hikes on investment income and new taxes tied to the Affordable Care Act.

The potential changes have many small business owners feeling anxious. According to a new Gallop poll, small business owners expect to add fewer jobs in the coming year than they have since late 2008 when the country was in the midst of the recession. A National Federation of Small Business (NFIB) report on Tuesday also found that the Small Business Optimism Index dropped 5.6 points in November. “Between the looming fiscal cliff, the promise of higher health care costs and the endless onslaught of new regulations, owners have found themselves in a state of pessimism,” chief economist Bill Dunkelberg said in the report.

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articl...

I'm not saying that all businessowners earn $100-250K, or that every one making that amount is a small business owner. But there are enough of them that I think it would be highly imprudent to significantly raise taxes on anyone making less than $400-500K. I'm not against the capital gains tax increase as it's one of the lowest in the world.

A final note - and this is done more as an exercise rather than me saying that all the Bush taxes should expire. Since there seems to be little or no sympathy for people making more than $100K, why is there so much sympathy for families making $50K? That's a reasonable salary in many parts of the country and obscenely rich compared to the nearly half of humanity who makes $10/day. The reason is more people relate to the $50K family, and nobody wants taxes to go up on themselves. It's always the other guy who should be paying.

I think what needs to be addressed JD is the rising number of Americans at or below the poverty line as wealth continues to concentrate with the wealthiest 1.5%. The median income is also declining. You tax capital gains as income, and you raise that tax rate to 55%-60%, you have removed a major incentive for those in control of the major companies to continue concentrating more and more wealth into their own hands-bonuses, salary, stocks and bonds.

I think growing executive salary as the bottom quarter keeps getting pulled up is just fine. The issue is that the tether broke somewhere along the way. You have to start with talking about those tax rates pre and post 1975. Now then, you provide incentives like lower corporate taxes or lower capital gains on bonuses for those CEO's and Companies who raise the average salaries of their workers, hire more workers to off set that increase in taxes. That additional tax revenue goes into getting the budget more in line, and to adding public works jobs-updating the power grid, laying fiber for telecommunications and internet.

I am not informed on how small business tax filing works, but why are we giving small business owners making $100k any additional credit than someone who works for a company making $100k? I understand that a small business owner typically is working longer or harder than a company employee but shouldn't there be a special category if this person is so special? That way we can tax the lowly employee making $100-250k differently than the special job creator making $100-250k? Or is it a choice that small business owner files as personal income?

Once you get into $50k and lower, you start cutting into people's ability to pay rent and other necessities. Instead of talking about not being to afford a certain home or car you start talking about not being able to afford a home or car at all. Keep going lower then you are talking about food and heat. Cue those that will say that they lived like a king for $50k, but at a certain income levels what I am saying is true.

jdzappa wrote:
Since there seems to be little or no sympathy for people making more than $100K,

I think there is. There's just not sympathy for someone who complains that because they can't live on Park Avenue, they're not 'wealthy'.

why is there so much sympathy for families making $50K? That's a reasonable salary in many parts of the country

Well, going strictly by the math, there should be twice as much sympathy! And that's not even taking into account how the hundred thousandth dollar your earn is different from the fifty thousandth dollar you earn. Much of our consumer culture has the same pricing no matter where you live: Steam sales aren't regional, they're national, right?

and obscenely rich compared to the nearly half of humanity who makes $10/day.

Because we don't own the land that half of humanity lives on. Yet. For now though, I think it's crazy to bring in with such a simple comparison populations outside our country when we're talking about how our country should fix things. We have the greater power, the right, AND the duty to fix things for people inside our own country, don't we?

+++++

All that said, you do bring up a good point about the person who earns $100,000 a year on a business they built as opposed to someone who can command wages that high as a worker for someone else. Maybe we should tweak something like S-Corp taxation to give a break to the person earning that much on an individual business they can't pick up and move and probably can't replicate if they had to start over as opposed to the person earning that much off of skills that they can carry with them in their head.

JD, one of the issues here is not "raise taxes on the small business owners", as you describe, but rather - overall - the problem that massive tax reductions on the rich in the last 30 years has caused social mobility to drop significantly. So the general issue is "we should consider raising taxes on those who make more than the median, because they've had far more cuts than ordinary taxpayers". While there is argument over where that line should be, you're focussing on the very lowest end of that, and trying to push that argument up the slope.

The problem is, again, that raising taxes over $250,000 does not affect businessmen making less than that, and as you noted above, the average income of a small business owner with ten years experience is $105,000. That person would not be affected at all by this income tax change. Nor would those making $250,000. Someone making $450,000 would only see $200,000 subjected to the higher rate, and that increase would be 3.6 percent, or a max potential of about $7200 increase if the tax was set to $250,000. That's before any tax or health care credits or the like.

Even if they are paying minimum wage, that's less than one person's salary. Is that really going to damage the economy? Because we are really taking a hit from the income inequity; that's got to change.

In my opinion, this "uncertainty" is political in origin.

It seems dumb to me to handcuff all of our tax plans because of the "small business owners" that may be affected. Like Cheeze said, they should become a corporation if that makes more sense for them, and if that pathway is weird/difficult for companies of that size that is the real problem.

It's kind of like complaining that a wildlife protection bill is stupid because of all the pigeons that live in the area. A. The pigeons probably aren't protected by the bill. B. If they are, cut them out so the bill works for the other 99.9% of species in the area.

So basically we need to promote the income mobility solution to our growing deficit. That Romney wasn't technically incorrect about the 47%. He just needs to realize that tax cuts (trickle down economics...) are going to increase that percentage.

If the 1% wants the 47% to pay taxes then they should create jobs. That million dollar yacht you just bought would employ 10 people $50k a year for 2 years. These people want power and buy largesse to prove their status. I can't think of anything more powerful and status invoking than putting people to work. You are basically giving them and their families life and opportunity. I don't get why no one sees this and ends the greed culture. It is all about the big cash out.

This is what some Republicans are arguing, that they need to justify all their policies to the "47%", and explain how their approach increases social mobility, rather than decreasing it. That would probably have a chance of working, but it would require giving up many of the failed economic policies that Republicans are still in love with. That's not likely to happen with the Old Guard, and the Tea Party new guys are wedded to "lower taxes patch all boats", which is one of those failed policies. So...

jdzappa wrote:

Ok I found a number of articles showing that $100K is a pretty average yearly salary for an established business owner (10+ years of experience), Of course, new business owners make a lot less and often are working 60-80 hour weeks to make their business successful. In other words, you're proposing to raise taxes on the people who have spent a decade or more working harder than the average American and risking it all (remember business owners don't have UE to fall back on).

I didn't ask for a citation on how much small business owners made. I asked for a citation for your claim that they were job creators who "provided the majority of jobs." I also asked for some proof that the jobs they created weren't just sh*tty minimum wage jobs. You have done neither.

Nor have I ever proposed raising taxes on people making $100,000.

Several people have, for some goddamned stupid reason, glommed on to the $100,000=rich figure. Jonstock originally used the $100,000 figure in response to Norman's claim that just taxing the top 2-3% couldn't close the deficit. Greg said that the $100,000 figure wasn't the top 2-3% of income earners. I went through the IRS data and found that those making $200,000+ were 3.2% of the population to tie it all back into Norman's initial post and to address Greg's concern that it wasn't an apples-to-apples comparison.

It should be obvious to everyone now that there is a tremendous overlap between Obama's historic position that those making less than $250,000 should be left alone tax-wise and the IRS data. All that gets us to is arguing over whether or not $250,000--or five times the median income--is rich. Again, this was the reason I proposed adding another income tax bracket that was clearly designed solely for the wealthy so we could stop bickering over whether someone making $250,000 in NYC was really rich or just middle class.

PoderOmega wrote:
I am not informed on how small business tax filing works, but why are we giving small business owners making $100k any additional credit than someone who works for a company making $100k?

Yonder wrote:
It seems dumb to me to handcuff all of our tax plans because of the "small business owners" that may be affected. Like Cheeze said, they should become a corporation if that makes more sense for them, and if that pathway is weird/difficult for companies of that size that is the real problem.

We should simply stop allowing people to run their businesses through their personal finances and Schedule C of their tax forms. Account for your business like an actual business and keep your personal finances separate. That would also cut down on all the people who claim an ass load of deductions for their "business," which only ever turns a profit when it's required to avoid an audit.

Robear wrote:
Nomad wrote:

It would effectively be a salary cap.

And Steve Jobs and other CEOs taking one dollar a year, that's not effectively a salary cap either? Because it's used as a way to avoid paying taxes, pure and simple. Their income comes from investments instead, which are taxed at a much lower rate than their salary would be.

In other words, just the ordinary income taxes you and I pay are enough to make some of these guys opt out of salaries altogether. You and I can't, of course. But that's part of the worldview you're protecting here.

How is it I'm protecting this view again? I'm not the one promoting the 95% tax rate. I am promoting closing some of the crazy loop holes that allow people and corporations to cheat the system.

Excellent post jdzappa. I found it quite fascinating.

Robear wrote:
This is what some Republicans are arguing, that they need to justify all their policies to the "47%", and explain how their approach increases social mobility, rather than decreasing it.

And on the other end of the spectrum there's a, I believe Al Franken, book that describes how to sell every liberal idea to conservatives by referring to each goal's financial implications:

*Universal health care = less debilitating illness =more money and jobs for everyone
*Affirmative action = closer to equal opportunity among races and genders = more money and jobs for everyone
*Protecting the environment = less debilitating illness and longer-lasting resources = more money and jobs for everyone
I think you see the point.

The problems with that approach are, of course, those linkages may be challenging to make sound believable and those arguments undermine the philosophical bases of said beliefs.

Jaded hyperbolic rant: But discourse these days focuses almost exclusively on horseracing and spin, not validity or logic, so in the end we're stuck with prefabricated political parties with vacuous, self-reinforcing propaganda often based solely on some misquoted sound bite from someone in the other party. And you and I in the middle are left wondering, how I could have voted for any of these guys? If only we respected our third-party candidates.

Keithustus wrote:
Excellent post jdzappa. I found it quite fascinating.

Same here.

And on the other end of the spectrum there's a, I believe Al Franken, book that describes how to sell every liberal idea to conservatives by referring to each goal's financial implications:

*Universal health care = less debilitating illness =more money and jobs for everyone
*Affirmative action = closer to equal opportunity among races and genders = more money and jobs for everyone
*Protecting the environment = less debilitating illness and longer-lasting resources = more money and jobs for everyone
I think you see the point.

Yeah, and I've highlighted the important part. I think where liberals sometimes misunderstand conservatives is in dismissing how important it is to many conservatives not just for the deserving to prosper, but for the undeserving to suffer. In general, a liberal will put up with a rich person behaving badly yet getting more rich as long as society overall gets better far more than a conservative will put up with a poor person behaving badly yet not suffering for it even if society sees an overall improvement.

Jaded hyperbolic rant: But discourse these days focuses almost exclusively on horseracing and spin, not validity or logic, so in the end we're stuck with prefabricated political parties with vacuous, self-reinforcing propaganda often based solely on some misquoted sound bite from someone in the other party. And you and I in the middle are left wondering, how I could have voted for any of these guys? If only we respected our third-party candidates.

I like to think of it this way: we haven't had third parties by a strict definition, but if we consider the changes inside the two parties as part of the push for third parties, we get this: the Democrats produced Third Way politicians like Clinton and Obama. The Republicans gave us the Tea Party.

I like to think of it this way: we haven't had third parties by a strict definition, but if we consider the changes inside the two parties as part of the push for third parties, we get this: the Democrats produced Third Way politicians like Clinton and Obama. The Republicans gave us the Tea Party.

Ouch!

CheezePavilion wrote:

Yeah, and I've highlighted the important part. I think where liberals sometimes misunderstand conservatives is in dismissing how important it is to many conservatives not just for the deserving to prosper, but for the undeserving to suffer. In general, a liberal will put up with a rich person behaving badly yet getting more rich as long as society overall gets better far more than a conservative will put up with a poor person behaving badly yet not suffering for it even if society sees an overall improvement.

Considering that the "compassionate conservatism" term has just about died a quiet death these days, I think your analysis is spot on.

Gorilla.800.lbs wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

Yeah, and I've highlighted the important part. I think where liberals sometimes misunderstand conservatives is in dismissing how important it is to many conservatives not just for the deserving to prosper, but for the undeserving to suffer. In general, a liberal will put up with a rich person behaving badly yet getting more rich as long as society overall gets better far more than a conservative will put up with a poor person behaving badly yet not suffering for it even if society sees an overall improvement.

Considering that the "compassionate conservatism" term has just about died a quiet death these days, I think your analysis is spot on.


This was a somewhat kinder and more elegant version of what I wanted to say.

Gorilla.800.lbs wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

Yeah, and I've highlighted the important part. I think where liberals sometimes misunderstand conservatives is in dismissing how important it is to many conservatives not just for the deserving to prosper, but for the undeserving to suffer. In general, a liberal will put up with a rich person behaving badly yet getting more rich as long as society overall gets better far more than a conservative will put up with a poor person behaving badly yet not suffering for it even if society sees an overall improvement.

Considering that the "compassionate conservatism" term has just about died a quiet death these days, I think your analysis is spot on.

Yes, good point Cheeze. Spot on.

CheezePavilion wrote:

Yeah, and I've highlighted the important part. I think where liberals sometimes misunderstand conservatives is in dismissing how important it is to many conservatives not just for the deserving to prosper, but for the undeserving to suffer. In general, a liberal will put up with a rich person behaving badly yet getting more rich as long as society overall gets better far more than a conservative will put up with a poor person behaving badly yet not suffering for it even if society sees an overall improvement.

While I'm not comfortable with this as a blanket statement, it certainly fits with the vast majority of the people I know well enough to have heard their views, be they conservative or liberal.

This also matches my anecdotal experience with conservatives, and many conservative policies ring true with this logic in mind. For example the crippling effect that criminal charges have on a person's employment prospects makes it incredibly difficult for a convicted criminal to reenter society at large. There are solutions to this that other countries have successfully implemented to greatly increase rehabilitation rates, but we haven't implemented them here because what is a little thing like the betterment of society next to the chance to get all righteous and satisfied about punishing people.

Waterboarding is another good example. It flies in the face of what we pretend the country stands for, has historically been classified as torture, and it appears to do worse at getting good information than other methods. Most of the GOP is behind it though, because our prisoners aren't going to make their own lives miserable, and their lives need to be miserable.

Kind of off-topic, but why do you guys think that is? Vestigial (or active) religious legalism? Something else? I know there's a general human element to it, but American society seems particularly fond of institutionalized retribution.

I honestly don't know, Clover, but it definitely seems to be a trait that has stuck with a significant part of American culture long into our history.

clover wrote:
Kind of off-topic, but why do you guys think that is? Vestigial (or active) religious legalism? Something else?

Hmm, good question. I do wonder if me and other atheist liberals are too quick to blame religion for what we feel are GOP failings, but it seems like conservatives are generally very Old Testament people, and that book has always been about punishment and harsh discipline to me. Most liberals are religious too, this is America after all, but they all seem to put much more stock in the New Testament, wanting to directly help the poor, etc etc.

I'm also not trying to say that conservatives don't want to help the needy. I know that most of them do, and think that their methodology is the best way of doing so. It seems clear to me that most of their methodologies are completely wrong though, trickle down economics being the best example as it is both clearly (IMO) wrong and so dearly clung to in the GOP as possibly the most important way to help the poor. Why do they not update their methodology? I'm not sure, maybe this sort of thing is the reason why, they are missing the forest for the trees (IMO) and using the wrong criteria to evaluate the methodologies.

I know that a conservative would say that they want to teach people to fish instead of giving people fish. Honestly at this point it seems to me that both groups are trying to teach people to fish, but the liberals are keeping the class fed during the lessons so they don't starve to death first. The conservatives have decided that instead of risking feeding some people that weren't fishing hard enough it's better to just let the people that failed the first couple of days wither away.

IMAGE(http://i43.tower.com/images/mm107963405/virtue-selfishness-ayn-rand-paperback-cover-art.jpg)

It's always felt like some light, but very successful Othering to me.

I'm just going to add to this that I live in Austin, TX, and a lot of my liberal friends do in fact seem quite happy with the idea that the rich should be punished. Because... they're bad. Unless they want to give all their money away to whatever cause. I'm not stating this just to be contrary, but I think perspective has a lot to do with this. The idea that conservatives want to see people punished, and this is a largely conservative trait lines up with this very post -

SpacePPoliceman wrote:
It's always felt like some light, but very successful Othering to me.

Given the current state of the super-rich and the makeup of Congress, Liberal Othering has clearly not been as successful. The thought process is the same, but I do think there is a big difference between Austin dirt surfers, and elected representatives.

Yonder wrote:
clover wrote:
Kind of off-topic, but why do you guys think that is? Vestigial (or active) religious legalism? Something else?

Hmm, good question. I do wonder if me and other atheist liberals are too quick to blame religion for what we feel are GOP failings, but it seems like conservatives are generally very Old Testament people, and that book has always been about punishment and harsh discipline to me. Most liberals are religious too, this is America after all, but they all seem to put much more stock in the New Testament, wanting to directly help the poor, etc etc.

When it comes to religion and fairness, I always recall the parts of the New Testament like the fatted calf being slaughtered to celebrate the return of the prodigal son, or that God makes it so that the rains fall on both the just and the unjust. I also think one of the ways American Christianity has suffered is that it just dives right into the Old Testament without any of the context that, say, Judaism has in the form of the Rabbinic tradition.

but anyways...

I think it's something very primal like that, though, maybe something that even precedes formal religion and is in fact responsible for the rise of religion to an extent. I think it's that when the unjust prosper, for some people, that gives them the feeling that the order that holds society together is threatened. That seeing the unjust punished actually increases feelings of social stability. I mean, everyone is like that to some extent, it just seems like the more you feel that way, generally, the more conservative you are. I know there's been some psychological research done on how many people will reject an unjust--in their perception--offer to split a pot of money even if it means everyone walks away with nothing. That there's some human impulse to punish even when it hurts--altruistic punishment is one name given to it.

Or maybe it's all about whether your parents were authoritarian or egalitarian.

Jayhawker wrote:
IMAGE(http://i43.tower.com/images/mm107963405/virtue-selfishness-ayn-rand-paperback-cover-art.jpg)

Funny you should mention that: I had Atlas Shrugged in mind when I wrote my original comment. There's a part where a hobo is willing to jump off a train to his death to respect the property rights of the Taggarts and is held up as a example--however extreme it is--of how 'moral' people act. Contrast that with how the New Deal was considered a security measure against the rise of Fascism: FDR's position was that "necessitous men are not free men."

IMAGE(http://i1094.photobucket.com/albums/i453/czpv/Fhh_zpsa9d2b58a.jpg)

In fact, as long as we're getting into vestigial matters, I'm reminded of this article:

However, deep in the Ituri Forest was a man Ayn Rand might have felt a bond with. Cephu had a reputation as someone who valued himself above all others long before he decided to maximize his personal profit margin on the community hunt. As Turnbull found when talking to the Mbuti tribesmen, Cephu never joined the rest of the group at breakfast whenever they strategized about where to set their nets. He would simply follow along once the decision had been made. To make matters worse, he was often loud and would frighten the animals away before they got close to the trap. Whenever he did get his share of the community meat, he would always take it to his own campsite rather than eat with everyone else (and could sometimes be heard yelling insults at the main camp once he was there). According to Turnbull, nearly everyone was irritated with Cephu's self-serving behavior and gossiped about it. But most members of the community tolerated him in order to maintain unity. "Rather than cause an open breach," Turnbull wrote, "everyone in the main camp kept his thoughts to himself and was silent." But finally Cephu went one step too far.

SpacePPoliceman wrote:
It's always felt like some light, but very successful Othering to me.

No they mean Republicans, not these past few posts.

NormanTheIntern wrote:
SpacePPoliceman wrote:
It's always felt like some light, but very successful Othering to me.

No they mean Republicans, not these past few posts.

That is one alternative to writing up a post about how conservatives/Republicans/GOP/Neocons don't actually have a tendency to let society suffer so that they can punish people, with examples and logic as to why that is not the case.