Republicans want to move beyond tax rate fight on the wealthy

Comments (26)

I don’t see what the impasse and all the fuss is about. What’s so bad about going back to the tax rates for the super-wealthy that were in place in the Clinton years?

Just about everybody was doing fine in those years, including the super rich. I seriously doubt that the extremely comfortably well-off will be hurt all that much, OR AT ALL, by paying a slightly higher rate.

Jeez.

Dec 09, 2012 1:41pm EST  --  Report as abuse

And one more thing. I wish the media and politicians would stop calling Social Security and Medicare “Entitlements”.

They are NOT “Entitlements”, they are Earned Benefits! Get it through your collective heads. And while we need SS reform to keep it from running out of money, as it stands now, there is $1.7 Trillion in the SSTF, and it is expected to be solvent for the next 22 years.

Had presidents Reagan, Bush Sr., and Clinton not “borrowed” a total of $1.9 Trillion from the SSTF to pay down deficits during their terms, there would be $3.6 Trillion in the Fund, or thereabouts.

And SS has nothing to do with our $16 Trillion Nat’l Debt, so stop blaming the program as if it’s the culprit.

Dec 09, 2012 1:46pm EST  --  Report as abuse
BOOWAH wrote:

Social Security is completely off the table no matter what. It doesn’t contribute a dime to the national debt and is solvent for another two decades! Besides, 60% of the American People don’t want it screwed with! Go over the cliff, default on our debt by refusing to raise the debt ceiling, and put the blame where it lies……with the Republicans!

Dec 09, 2012 2:00pm EST  --  Report as abuse
BOOWAH wrote:

Social Security is completely off the table no matter what. It doesn’t contribute a dime to the national debt and is solvent for another two decades! Besides, 60% of the American People don’t want it screwed with! Go over the cliff, default on our debt by refusing to raise the debt ceiling, and put the blame where it lies……with the Republicans!

Dec 09, 2012 2:00pm EST  --  Report as abuse
BOOWAH wrote:

Social Security is completely off the table no matter what. It doesn’t contribute a dime to the national debt and is solvent for another two decades! Besides, 60% of the American People don’t want it screwed with! Go over the cliff, default on our debt by refusing to raise the debt ceiling, and put the blame where it lies……with the Republicans!

Dec 09, 2012 2:00pm EST  --  Report as abuse
DavidPun wrote:

A problem we have right now is that the US Government (The Fed in particular) is deliberately holding down interest rates to ridiculously low levels. This is done to keep the deficit from exploding. However, the downside is that even if the Govt was not “borrowing” these funds to pay for other things, there would be virtually no return on the money invested into SS or any other fund and private retirement investment funds earn virtually nothing because of depressed interest rates. As it stands, the amount of money paid into SS and Medicare even over a lifetime of work, in most cases is not enough to pay for the benefits received when there is no supplementary investment return on the funds. Hence in that sense it is an “entitlement”. However, if you compare that to the sense of entitlement that your average Wall Street Banker has to get bonuses of 20 million a year even when the bank is losing money and providing no investment return to people whose money it holds, I think the real issue is that virtually all Americans are living so far beyond their means that it will create a huge crash when we are eventually forced to come back down to earth, as will inevitably happen.

Dec 09, 2012 2:09pm EST  --  Report as abuse
csm697 wrote:

Zen, ‘just about everybody’ was paying higher tax rates during Clinton, not just ‘the rich’. The fuss now is that Obama is demanding (yes…demanding) to raise taxes on only a very small portion of the country while continuing to essentially give the rest of us a free ride, which is neither fair nor equal. Spending was much lower during Clinton, as well, and part of the Republican problem with Obama’s plan (besides the power-grab over the debt ceiling) is that it includes increased spending.

Dec 09, 2012 2:16pm EST  --  Report as abuse
misterjag wrote:

Fortunately there’s still a few Republicans who are pragmatic and more interested in achieving the greater good than waging petty ideological battles.

Dec 09, 2012 3:00pm EST  --  Report as abuse
WildBillWB wrote:

Now that they have no choice why not make ‘em pay a little more, seeing how hard they made it to eliminate a temporary tax break that was supposed to expire two years ago and isn’t dead yet?

Dec 09, 2012 3:10pm EST  --  Report as abuse
BillDexter wrote:

What, besides entitlements, shall we call S.S. and Medicare? Are people suddenly going to agree to never give an individual more in S.S or Medicare benefits than what they paid in? Are people going to suddenly realize that the money being collected today goes directly to people who are collecting today? Ever wonder why? That ‘s because those two programs, whatever we call them, spend more than they take in. Calling S.S. ‘solvent’ is fine as long as you realize it is not true. It is a pyramid scheme. Worse, it is the pyramid scheme that Medicare, Medicaid and now ‘Obamacare’ are based on.
Whatever ‘moral’ argument is made for giving people money beyond what they paid in, the fact remains that it can only continue until treasury bonds are no longer desirable. The whole thing will collapse under the weight of it’s debt.

The Democrats won the election. They have no intention of reeling in giveaways, whatever they are called. We will now begin the final phase of transformation, taking capital away from the military budget and wealthy people to fund the giveaways, thus leaving us a nation of government dependants with no defense and no wealth left to tax – effectively a third world nation.

Dec 09, 2012 4:17pm EST  --  Report as abuse
flashrooster wrote:

csm697: It’s wrong to try and paint the question of income tax rates as taxes are good or taxes are bad. The trick is to find the best balance in tax rates. Too little is bad and too much is bad. Also, I think it’s safe to assume that the ideal tax rates–the best rates to serve our nation–change as the economy changes. Though it’s difficult to prove exactly where to best fine-tune tax rates, the rates Clinton put into place did seem to work well for us, and are probably close to being good rates to utilize. When Bush cut those rates we immediately started running record deficits, and have been ever sense. I’d say that was a step too far.

That said, the reason Obama is raising rates on the wealthy and not everyone else is because the wealthy have been benefiting enormously from our economic structure for several decades now. The Middle Class has not. Middle Class wages have been stagnant during most of last 3 decades or so, and have actually begun to decline. In the meantime, the cost of goods and services have steadily marched upward, with no end in sight. The Middle Class is tapped out.

Tax relief for the Middle Class makes perfect sense. The Bush tax cuts for the wealthy were illogical and did not have the results Bush and the Republicans were seeking. It’s not a “soak the rich” proposition. After all, Obama will see his own taxes rise, but he’s doing it for the betterment of our society and our economy. Allowing the old tax rates on the wealthy rise back to where they were under Clinton won’t hurt them, but any tax increase on the Middle Class will hurt them. The savings that the Middle Class has enjoyed from those tax cuts have already been gobbled up by inflation, and our wages haven’t gone up to make up the difference.

BillDexter: Social Security is something working people pay into so that they have some money to live off of when they retire. Otherwise, we’d have millions of starving elderly living on the streets. They pay into that. These are working people. It’s a good program that encourages people to work.

“Entitlement” is a pejorative term, which is why the Republicans use it. But it’s inaccurate, unfair, and demeaning. Likewise with Medicare. It’s simply wrong and unfair to allow healthcare costs to rise beyond what millions of elderly can afford, and then when well-intentioned legislators design Medicare as a solution to the problem of millions of elderly being unable to afford their healthcare, label it with this pejorative term, entitlement. If you really peeled back the layers on this issue, it would be more accurate to say that government allowing the healthcare industry the entitlement of raising prices to the point where millions find it unaffordable, and either go bankrupt trying to afford it or just do without, is the real entitlement. It’s irrational, and we’re the only nation in the developed world that has such a system that entitles an industry to make billions at the people’s expense. It’s kind of like raising the cost of basic necessities like water or gasoline during an emergency, like a hurricane, known as price gouging. Price gouging is illegal because it’s unfair to force people to pay exorbitant prices for something they can’t do without. Well, that’s what our healthcare industry is engaged in, price gouging, for something we can’t do without.

Consider our military. National security is something we feel we can’t do without. Government #1 priority is to protect its people. Why not be critical of our military and call it an entitlement? Because we see it as a basic need, as is medical care, which is why no other country has a for profit system like we do. It’s a need, like national defense or clean water. So it’s wrong to call government’s attempt to offer affordable healthcare to its people an “entitlement”.

Dec 09, 2012 5:54pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Robert76 wrote:

All the outrage over raising tax rates means little as long as millionaires are paying little or no income taxes. We have corporations like GE paying absolutely no income taxes despite their huge profits. You have the super wealthy hiding money in the Caymen Islands, Bahamas, etc to avoid paying any income taxes at all. Until that is corrected, any talk of rates is simply a lot of noise generated to keep our eye off the ball.

Dec 09, 2012 6:41pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Saywhaaaaa wrote:

Well said flashrooster. The price gouging analogy sums up well the healthcare industry problem we face today.

Dec 09, 2012 7:59pm EST  --  Report as abuse
usagadfly wrote:

The real problem is that the Republican Party wants to put the entire weight of moving toward a balanced budget on the people forced by law to participate in Federal Retirement and Medical programs for the general public while exempting all Government employees,including current and retired military and elected officials of all stripes. This is simply unacceptable.

Cuts must be made proportionately to ALL Federal taxpayer funded retirement and benefit programs, not just to those of ordinary people. Cuts must be made to military and para-military spending as well, proportionate ones. No corner of Federal spending should be exempt from cuts and no corner should avoid the same percentage cuts as Social Security and Medicare.

Republicans just do not get it. All they see are their donors, their “special” interests, their vested interests, not the American People. They will never be reasonable. They will fight for every special interest who will pay them off. No deal can be made with such people.

Dec 09, 2012 8:08pm EST  --  Report as abuse
SanPa wrote:

The average GOP mindset on taxes has been perplexing at best and insincere to be sure. They hold fast that taxes for the wealthy must not be raised, but in digging their heels guarantee that every taxpayer will have higher tax rates. How dumb is that?

Dec 09, 2012 8:14pm EST  --  Report as abuse
BillDexter wrote:

flashrooster, again you fall back on semantics saying “S.S. is something working people pay into so they have money to live off of when they retire.” Have you ever criticized Social Security Disability as taking that money away from those working people? No. That’s the problem. It’s easy and fun to feel superior by vilifying Republicans and ignore the unsustainability of the thing, but who is going to suffer when it collapses? Rich people? You’d like that, but it isn’t true. Working people who are given reduced payments will suffer. Why, why WHY not acknowledge that no program can spend more than it takes in? You adroitly ignore that. In fact, your articulate albeit long winded arguments are entirely based on denying that. Instead, again and again you make the ‘moral’ argument for giving people more money than they paid into the system. “Entitlement is a pejorative term” “It’s simply wrong to allow healthcare costs to rise beyond what millions of elderly can afford.”
Obama won, and you will likely get your way. A majority of Americans do not at all think that they own the national debt, but do think that they are owed benefits regardless of the economic reality. A majority of Americans expect that income is distributed and not necessarily earned. You and so many others reflexively form whatever rationale you think will politically trump that which smacks of conservatism, but you are truly blind to the sellout the Democrats have done. Democrats sell government dependency and distain the private sector that they rely on to tax. Remember when Yosemite Sam would run off the cliff and not realize it for a few seconds? That’s where we are now.

Dec 09, 2012 8:52pm EST  --  Report as abuse
TheNewWorld wrote:

@robert76

“All the outrage over raising tax rates means little as long as millionaires are paying little or no income taxes. We have corporations like GE paying absolutely no income taxes despite their huge profits. You have the super wealthy hiding money in the Caymen Islands, Bahamas, etc to avoid paying any income taxes at all. Until that is corrected, any talk of rates is simply a lot of noise generated to keep our eye off the ball.”

You get it. That is why the wealthy push for income taxes. They don’t want consumption taxes, property taxes, or estate taxes that they can’t get around. The devil is in the details.

Dec 09, 2012 9:25pm EST  --  Report as abuse
TheNewWorld wrote:

@SanPa

The GOP mindset has been to cut Federal spending. That isn’t happening, and it isn’t on the table, yet again. All we see in the headlines is the fight over the Bush tax cuts. Which really is government spending in its self which the GOP wont admit. This whole fight is for political points. More partisan grand standing. We are going to go over the cliff. It was designed so that each party can blame the other for the cuts and the tax increases. Nothing in Washington happens without political posturing.

Dec 09, 2012 9:28pm EST  --  Report as abuse

@FlashRooster- I second the opinion: Well Said!

Dec 09, 2012 11:01pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Gigimoderate wrote:

Bill Dexter, I think you may be suffering from (AGP) anti-government phobia. A unfounded fear of the government. Treatment is easy, stay away from media outlets or others that perpetuate your anti government views!

Dec 09, 2012 11:26pm EST  --  Report as abuse
SanPa wrote:

Where are corporate assistance and subsidies in the grand scheme of things? Will the budget be rid of gratuitous military hardware purchases? The US spent $10 billion on Israel alone during the past year, with additional monies spent aiding other less wealthy nations … what about means tests for assistance? What have we learned from Issa’s billion dollars of professional investigations?

Dec 09, 2012 11:52pm EST  --  Report as abuse
flashrooster wrote:

BillDexter: You’re reading right past what I write. You’re either failing to understand my position or you’re just ignoring my points so that it’s easier to present a counter argument. Specifically, you’re charging that I’m just ignoring the fact that Medicare and Medicaid costs are continuing to rise and seem to be suggesting that I think we should just keep paying out benefits and ignore the debt. If you read my posts you have to know that that’s not what I’m saying at all.

My position is this: Doing nothing is not an option, the opposite of what you’re charging me with. A reasonable tax increase on the wealthy is just one necessary step, but only doing that won’t solve our problems. Take Medicare, and I address this in my post above, which you seem to have missed. You have to think outside the box, and not how we’re told to think by the folks running this country. Yes, Medicare is becoming unaffordable, but you have to look the big picture. The real issue is the cost of healthcare in America. It’s becoming increasingly unaffordable. The problem is not just Medicare. There are millions of Americans who are forced to file for bankruptcy due to healthcare costs, and these people are not on Medicare, but they are suffering from the same problem that tax payers are with the cost of Medicare and Medicaid. So the problem isn’t the program. Medicare is a good program. We have to figure out how to lower healthcare costs. That’s the ONLY way we can solve this problem.

We can cut Medicare benefits, raise the co-pay amount, raise the eligibility age, but those moves don’t solve the problem. It won’t be long before we’re right back in the same place. And raising the eligibility age will do very little good at all because among those on Medicare, we’re talking about the dropping the youngest and healthiest. Studies show that this wouldn’t save us much money. It would just drain the resources of people near retirement age. We end up trade one problem for another.

You have to approach this with the simple question: What is the best way to offer affordable healthcare to all Americans? You have to take the profit out of our healthcare system. As long as it’s profit-driven, our healthcare costs will always go up, and that’s unacceptable. It’s a business and they’re out to make as much profit as possible.

I know Republicans loathe the idea of a healthcare system that’s not profit driven, but you’ve got to understand that Republicans don’t hold all the answers, and they’ve been woefully void of any real solutions to bringing down healthcare costs. (Yes, Dems don’t have all the answers either.) Understand this: the US is the only country in the world with a system like ours and ours is the most expensive and most inefficient in the world, by a wide margin. The inefficiency is the reason no other country has healthcare like ours. It’s not because we’re smarter or somehow nobler than everyone else regarding healthcare. It’s more the opposite.

I could go into much more detail, but I’ll spare you. Just don’t ever accuse me of believing that we should just tax rich people into oblivion and not change anything about how we administer healthcare. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Dec 10, 2012 12:14am EST  --  Report as abuse
BioStudies wrote:

So with 500B in new taxes and 100B spending cuts the fed comes out ahead 400B. I fail to see why this is even an issue for the dems AT ALL. LOL

Whatever.

Dec 10, 2012 1:24am EST  --  Report as abuse
BillDexter wrote:

So, I have read past your posts and I fail to understand your position. Then, you say reasonable tax increases are just one necessary step – and then “you have to think outside the box”. You go on to say – the real issue is the cost of healthcare to Americans” So, think outside the box and we have to take the profit out of healthcare and what’s the best way to ‘provide’ healthcare for all, but I fail to understand your position. Right. Not everyone is able to afford their own house so let’s ‘take the profit out’ of real estate and ask ourselves what’s the best way to ‘provide’ housing for everyone and put everyone into public housing. Right.

Dec 10, 2012 1:51am EST  --  Report as abuse
Abulafiah wrote:

@BillDexter

In what way, exactly, is SS or Medicare ‘unsustainable’?

Dec 10, 2012 4:45am EST  --  Report as abuse
Randy549 wrote:

It’s interesting, the discussion about profit in healthcare. In most industries (housing was given as an example), the motive to make profits, along with having to compete against other entities for market share, is what drives entities to provide the best-quality products and services for their customers, at the lowest sustainable price.

Why doesn’t that work for healthcare?

Dec 10, 2012 9:26am EST  --  Report as abuse
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