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The Federal Reserve has decided to print money to service the bogus credit default swaps and bad loans of the banks speculators, and this tends to weaken the dollar, of course. Sure, in the short term, a cheaper US dollar means our goods are more attractive, but it also makes imports higher and will tend to raise petrol based energy prices and commodities.  

Effectively, in the long term, the Fed printing money is the equivalent of a regressive tax, one which will impact the poor and working class more than the wealthy, as prices for food and fuel [necessities] are forced up due to the increasing weakness of the dollar.

Temporarily, the weaker dollar may help stimulate manufacturing jobs, but in the longer term this choice if sustained can be damaging to the fundamentals of day to day Americans trying to survive.  

It's seemingly the 'way out', as chosen by the Obama Administration.

Meanwhile, the right wing is going nearly insane over Obama's plan to repeal the the Bush tax cuts: they are calling it 'class warfare', and bemoan all the jobs the rich bastards supposedly won't be giving out to working Americans as a result of this plan.

That part is a joke: this little tiny increase from roughly 35% to 40% for the top 5% of the US population is NOTHING compared to the historical tax rates paid by Americans. It's a drop of water in a huge sea of fungible assets, a symbolic change which does not refute the basics of Reagan's VooDoo economics.

People making about a half a million a year will see perhaps an increase of about $1,500 in tax - that's about it. The right wing pundits are SCREAMING bloody murder though.

Here's some perspective on tax rates.
These are all right from the IRS tax tables.

Here's a good place to look at all these tables - I don't agree with the taxfoundation stances on economic issues, but they do have a handy display of the tax rates.

Al 8 years of Dwight Eisenhower's administration, carrying through really a solid decade, from 1954 to 1963. Multiply the dollar amount roughly by 10 to equal today's dollar.
Married couples making $32K/year paid at the 50% tax bracket.
Married couples making $100K/year paid at the 75% tax bracket.
Married couples making $400K/year paid at the 91% tax bracket.

Through Richard Nixon's administration, the dollar is worth about 5 times more in today's money.
Married couples making $28K/year paid at the 39% tax bracket [around where the top bracket for the most wealthy would pay under Obama's plan].
Married couples making $44K/year paid at the 50% tax bracket.
Married couples making $200K/year paid at the 70% tax bracket.

What George Herbert Walker Bush charged Reagan of proposing during the primaries 'VooDoo Economics' became reality over the 1980s. Ironically and hypocritically, GHWB presided over even bigger reduction in taxes. Well, GHWB and Greenspan were right: Reaganomics has shown itself to be  unsustainable, and today's economy is the living proof of what happens.

Look at the beginning in 1981, and then see the last three years, at the tax rates.

Trillions in lost taxation, the money pumped into speculation, much of it wasted. Our deficit was not serviced and was allowed to grow, and worse, schools, roads, bridges and those things which allow our society to move forward have been poorly funded and serviced. All of this done so the rich could have trillions to waste in speculation, creating bubble after bubble.

It did artificially drive the economy for a while, certainly. But now we all get to pay for this 'experiment', for many years.

Today, after minor changed by Clinton bumping up the rate slightly and then GW Bush cutting the top rate again, we are here.  

This is the nexus of 'modern conservative thought'.

The mantra of Reagan;

"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"

The starvation of funding the commonwealth, Grover Norquist's dream of drowning government in a bathtub became a reality due to Reaganomics.

The initial response of the economy to the huge influx of capital as taxes were reduced on the wealthy and speculation was opened up to all was an explosion of growth. It was a Potemkin Village of pretend internet industry and fake high tech which exploded into confetti in the late 1990s.

What Alan Greenspan called in 1996 "irrational exuberance", and the result of the equity markets reaching unsustainably high levels was a direct reinforcement of what George Herbert Walker Bush had called 'VooDoo Economics', some 16 years earlier.

The economic problems we see today are caused by lack of oversight, deregulation of commerce and banking and of course the lack of funding for the Federal Government by way of taxation. All of it is a direct result of unsustainable and supposed 'conservative' Reaganomics.  

Progressive taxation, which served previous the fiscally responsible conservative administrations of Eisenhower, Nixon and Ford as well as Democrats up until 1980 was thrown away.

Today, the Democrats and the Obama Administration show every sign of being totally weak and unwilling to challenge this core lie of Reagan's 'VooDoo Economics', that reducing tax rates produces growth. The half-hearted attempts to impose some regulation on banks is a symptom of this as well.


Let's get real here:

This little proposed repeal of GW Bush's tax cuts by Barack Obama is like putting a band aid on a patient that is bleeding out, and in danger of losing it's leg.

The Norquistian model of starving government lives, and is actively supported by virtually all of Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike. The padding of speculators and Wall Street, and borrowing from the future by the Fed printing money today, rather than do the RIGHT THING, the fiscally conservative thing, to tax the rich is being rejected.

This is the core issue of our time, progressive taxation. The charlatans of the right propose the exact opposite, a 'Flat Tax'. Some here in this community are blinded enough by the rhetoric to support it, even.

Why? What makes people so blind they do not understand the very concept of 'commonwealth', that those who make more money at the expense of society should be expected to pay progressively more in taxation?

And, what would happen if we returned gradually over a period of a decade to the tax rates of the early 1980s, then the 1970s and finally ended up back at where Eisenhower had fair, just and equitable tax rates for all?

Would the 'American Way of Life' suddenly fall apart? What was life like back in the 1950s, 60s, even into the 70s? Couldn't people look forward to planning their futures, rather than strictly living nearly day to day?

Have we become so enamored with Horatio Alger's dream that we all must become filthy rich to be happy, that somehow it's "UnAmerican to tax the rich", even at a slowly increasing and progressive rate of taxation?

Where did this idiot idea come from, this inane Bushism of "It's your money, you paid for it." Where went the sense of common sacrifice of Eisenhower and JFK?

We as a society have become blinded by greed, and the huge megaphone of Madison Avenue and corporate media. The need for material things since the era of Reagan has become such a siren call, that even a modest 10% increase in the top tax bracket to a mere 40% is viewed by the elite talking heads as some sort of form of 'socialism' or 'class warfare'.

It's disgusting, it makes me sick. Worse, the rest of world has followed, and suffers from the same general disease. We have infected the planet with greed and VooDoo.

It's time that both progressives and conservatives should be calling for a return to saving, building our infrastructure and a fair tax code.  

We must stop Reagonomics, the greed and unsustainable living. If we cannot get a handle on this soon, the planet and environment itself will do it for us, and stop us all dead in our tracks.

Originally posted to Shpilkis M Katz on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 01:00 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  tip jar for beating the drum .. (42+ / 0-)

    Progressives, liberals, conservatives .. anyone with common sense can see that progressive taxation works, and that in the long term it is the best choice for any type of democracy which capitalist based.

    What has happened to sour Americans on the idea of paying their fair share?

    •  Great diary shpilk (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shpilk, JesseCW, soms, Ronald Singleterry

      I really appreciate the tax charts, but do have a question. It looks like there's a structured 'donut' which is actually pretty damn regressive in the charts you're showing from 1990 and 1989. It goes from 28-33 and then back down to 28 as the overall income increases...Am I reading this correctly?

      Diary is recommended.

      DelicateMonster a slightly left of center reading experience

      by DelicateMonster on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 01:12:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good question (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shpilk, soms

      What has happened to sour Americans on the idea of paying their fair share?


      Nobody's buying that the government is actually looking out for the little people anymore.

      Our nation's leaders are smack dab in the middle of a raging battle between realpolitik and our government's raison d'être.

      People sense this stuff, even if they can't articulate it to the satisfaction of economic and social critics. The reply, then, is something akin to, "You're not working for me anymore. I know it. Now, dry up."

      A revolution by any other name...

      •  What have you done for me lately? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I think what makes people susceptible to the Republican anti-tax mantra is that most people don't perceive that they get anything back for the taxes they pay. This is at all levels of government, really, probably more deservedly at the state level than at the town level and more deservedly at the federal level than either of those. A lot of people blame this on the taxes going to "them"—the poor, usually, or maybe the elderly, but nowadays the undeserving rich are starting to show up in the mix too.

        But there's little understanding of how the system was originally set up post-World War II to provide some benefit to working people while enriching the insiders and politically connected business interests at the same time, and how each time the system was subjected to stress and strain the working people were the ones who had to give something up while the rich and the well connected kept getting more breaks. The tax rate charts show this pretty nakedly.

        I'd pay twice as much in taxes gladly if the money were going to some tangible benefit like Medicare For All and if it were not being spent on things like wars, payments to foreign dictators, and subsidies to corrupt corporate cartels. Right now I don't feel like paying a cent, since most of what I pay in is going into some crook's pocket and the promised Social Security and Medicare benefits that I could actually use are the prime targets of politicians in both parties.

    •  Wanna know what a trillion bucks looks like? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shpilk, soms

      I'm an old warehouse hand, so I can wrap my head around the concept of pallets.  You probably can, too.  A full pallet is approximately 4' X 4' X 4'.

      All this talk about "stimulus packages" and "bailouts"...

      A billion dollars...

      A hundred billion dollars...

      Eight hundred billion dollars...

      One TRILLION dollars...

      What does that look like? I mean, these various numbers are tossed around like so many doggie treats, so I thought I'd take Google Sketchup out for a test drive and try to get a sense of what exactly a trillion dollars looks like...

      •  I think that illustration is wrong (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shpilk, gooderservice

        One trillion isn't one million billions. It's one thousand.

        The long and short scales are two different numerical systems used throughout the world:

           Short scale is the English translation of the French term échelle courte.[1] It refers to a system of numeric names in which every new term greater than million is 1,000 times the previous term: "billion" means "a thousand millions" (109), "trillion" means "a thousand billions" (1012), and so on.

           Long scale is the English translation of the French term échelle longue. It refers to a system of numeric names in which every new term greater than million is 1,000,000 times the previous term: "billion" (from bi and million) means "a million to the power of two" or "a million millions" (1012), "trillion" (from tri and million) means "a million to the power of three" or "a million billions" (1018), and so on.

        Which one are we using?

        You can only say "Let them eat cake" for so long before they strap you to a guillotine and lop off your head.

        by MnplsLiberal on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 01:43:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Excellent diary. I would add (4+ / 0-)

      that the last time we had such low top marginal tax rates was immediately before the Great Depression.

      From 1925-31 it was 25%.  They went to 63% in 1932 and the economy recovered.  Any argument that we can't afford to tax the rich in a recession has no basis in history or fact.

  •  Well, isn't it just easier to pretend? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kimberley, shpilk, seabos84

    Savez-vous quelque bien qui console du regret d'un monde?

    by DawnoftheRedSun on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 01:03:47 PM PDT

  •  I Love How ConservaRepbulicans Say (7+ / 0-)

    they deserve to KEEP the money they made while forgetting that they would never had MADE a damn dime if they hadn't lived in a society that educated the citizens, police the market place, prevent fires in the market, and regulated the market, as well as all the paving of the roads in the market; but, NO, they shouldn't have to pay for any of that.  

    Fucking selfish me, me, me monkeys.  

    I do not mind paying a bit more in taxes, as long as the Republicans are not in charge of how it is spent.

    I am too angry to even write.  UGH!


    "The market is not self-correcting, it's self-serving."

    by Ronald Singleterry on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 01:12:07 PM PDT

  •  The"pay later" is catching up with "fly now" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, White Buffalo, soms

    The huge lavish meal at the five star restaurant is winding down and now bill is on the table, but the rich guys are ducking out.
    The ones who ate the most want to dine and dash.

  •  Tnxs For Going to Root of Raygun. LONG Before GWB (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming, shpilk, soms, beverlywoods

    and his merry band of thieves ...

    OOPS! Wait!

    Most of them were employed during RayGun and Nixon!

    Bush's Great Battle Against The Peee-Ons was just part of the fascist's Great War Against The Peee-ons, and, when you look at where's the money going and who is going to jail, so far

    they won and they're still winning.


    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 01:23:31 PM PDT

  •  Excellent diary. (5+ / 0-)

    The Republicans are making adult governance of this country virtually impossible.

    I heard a reference this morning on NPR to Obama's being "on the stump" last week to try sell his budget plan.

    Um, I thought the campaign was over and WE WON already! He should be allowed to govern without threats of insurrection and all this "tea party" bullshit in the first 60 days of his presidency.

  •  Excellent Diary n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, gooderservice

    Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement. Alfred Adler

    by Hamsun on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 01:37:59 PM PDT

  •  False Dilemma (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We have to do both: print money and raise taxes. Raising taxes won't fund the Fed to take the kind of action they have to take to shore up the weak points in the economy (like, for instance, guarantee Municipal Bonds, one of the actions enabled by "printing money."). Printing money won't take care of some of the major domestic issues we're grappling with (like Healthcare).

    Is there a risk to printing 4 trillion dollars? Of course there is; if the Fed is perceived as losing its ability to control inflation, we're going to be in big trouble. But refusal to print money is, frankly, refusal to take advantage of what a system of fiat money offers during times when we're threatened by deflation.

    I don't pretend to know enough about economics to know whether or when that line has been crossed. I do know enough about ecomonics to tell you that anyone who claims to know whether or when that line has been crossed is just speculating, and anyone who tells you that printing money is a Bad Thing doesn't really understand much at all about what the Fed is doing right now, good and bad.

    •  One of the things that concerns me about these (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shpilk, dedmonds, Mtnlynn

      actions is that the Fed is bypassing congress. They need some independence in the day to day management of routine management of monetary policy. However, I think that the constitution intended that such major fiscal policy decisions as these be under the control of congress.

      •  A friend of mine expressed to me recently (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hornito, doinaheckuvanutjob

        that it's an interesting question whether what the Fed is doing is actually, you know, legal.

        At the same time, he expressed that if we relied on Congress to do it, it would never, ever happen. And I think he's right.

        Which is more a reflection on what a sideshow Congress has become than anything else, but there you have it: you may be right, but if we were relying on Congress for these actions, we'd probably be utterly fucked by now.

        •  I have heard that argument that congress (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          doesn't have the guts to do what is necessary. That sounds dangerously close to Bush and Cheney's claims that they had the power to do what ever they thought was necessary for national security.

          We may well already be utterly fucked.

          •  Yea I agree I'm not sure how (0+ / 0-)

            comfortable I am with the situation. Rule of the law and fucked nation, or questionable legality and not fucked nation? I don't even think I know enough about how far or whether the laws have been bent to even answer that question, but I think I'd need to know just that first.

            I actually don't think we're utterly fucked. I think we may be past the worst of it with an outside chance at utterly fucked.

            My friend-- who is in risk management-- described it to me thusly (though he was careful to say all he does is model risk, and that he can't claim to understand all the intricacies of the current economy, nor, in his view, can anyone): the economy is right on the edge of a cliff, but right now, there's nothing that will push it over. If something bad were to happen right now, though, it could well make the last 6 months look like a cakewalk; in terms of risk, he said that there is a very small chance that something catastrophically bad will happen, and a much larger chance that nothing too bad will happen and we're on our way to recovery.

            Now, this is, of course, just one man's view. But he is in risk management, and still has a job, which should tell you something about how well he's predicted things in the past. His financial advice save me a bundle over the course of the past two years. So I'm inclinded to believe that the models he's using have function pretty well so far during this economic mess.

          •  Not really (0+ / 0-)

            In some areas even the Constitution says that we have to make allowances for fast action (regarding troop movements, every Supreme Court allows the President to send troops for a certain number of days without Congressional Authorization).

            "An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot." - Thomas Paine

            by Mister Gloom on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 02:32:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  There is legeslation from the depression (0+ / 0-)

              which gives the fed emergency powers. I don't know if that has ever been challenged in the courts. It is also similar to the notion of the president's powers as commander in chief. In both cases you have the problem of determining what is truly an emergency and what is ongoing making of far reaching policy without the consent of congress.

              I didn't have any great problem with the Fed's origional action to bail out AIG the first time. It did seem like an emergency situation. However, they are now using this power over and over again. That raises a red flag for me.

          •  Congress has the power, but the current (0+ / 0-)

            leadership is too timid to effect real change.

      •  the fed and congress (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Richard Lyon

        Your sentence can be rewritten as follows and still say exactly the same thing.  

        "One of the things that concerns me about these actions is that the private banks are bypassing congress."

        That is what the fed is, it is not in the constitution, it is privately owned.  The banks are doing as they please and they are responsible to no one in the government.  I used to think that those folks who went around muttering about the "fed" were tinfoil hat material but now I'm not so sure.  I think it is time the United States started issuing it's own currency and not allowing the private banks to do it for us, or rather themselves.

        •  I used to think the same thin too (0+ / 0-)

          and I've started to worry about it.

          •  the fed (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Earlier versions of the Federal Reserve Bank were bitterly opposed by Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson.  They basically viewed it as a form of tyranny over the people.  Everyone is talking about causes and how to deal with the crisis but we better start thinking about what comes out the other side.  I fear that by the time this thing passes a few people are going to own us lock, stock and barrel.  I hope that I'm just being a little paranoid.

    •  I think in the short term printing some money (0+ / 0-)

      is needed.

      You have taken my diary and turned into an either/or, and I didn't say that.

      And, there is no dilemma, because there is no real tax increase at all prposed by Obama anyway. There are NO plans to tax the wealth that has accumulated, there are NO plans to put the economy back towards a sustainable path.

      What I see with Obama and the Democratic Congress so far is 'VooDoo Economics Lite'. No rejection of the unsustainable policies of Reagan are forthcoming.

      Reversing the GW Bush tax cuts is a near meaningless gesture, which accomplishes almost nothing at all when compared to the actions needed to reverse course.

      •  You opened by talking about printing more money (0+ / 0-)

        and then shifted into raising taxes; I hope you can understand why I thought you were connecting the two.

        •  The second paragarph (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Effectively, in the long term, the Fed printing money is the equivalent of a regressive tax, one which will impact the poor and working class more than the wealthy, as prices for food and fuel [necessities] are forced up due to the increasing weakness of the dollar.

          Would definitely give you the idea that he is.

        •  I clearly gave both the benefits and the downside (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Richard Lyon

          to printing money. Clearly, printing money is a fast way to effect change; without any sense of balance in terms of taxation [and there is ZERO sign of real sustainable change in the tax rates] printing money is dangerous, and ultimately will result in massive inflation.

          •  Well except that (0+ / 0-)

            it's unclear to me that the only way to deal with printing money is to raise taxes. Actually, so long as the market is willing to pay for the increased debt we're creating, and so long as the Fed can control inflation by raising the interest rates, we'll be ok. Now, the debt market is showing clear signs of being close to tapped out (China doesn't really want any more long-term US debt), meaning that we're probably reaching the limit of how much money we can print, but I don't think it's accurate to equate printing money with regressive taxation.

            I apologize if I misread your diary; to me it struck me as saying that rather than continuing to print more money we should raise taxes. I'd counter with "if we plan to continue printing more money, the safest course of action would be to also raise taxes."

            •  I think that there is something (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              to the argument that anything that creates inflation has a regressive impact on people with limited ability to expand their income.

              •  It depends on whether the inflation (0+ / 0-)

                gets out of control. We need a certain amount of inflation, and a recession as serious as this one requires some stimulus to create that inflation. But the open question is how much is enough, and does anyone real know how to control inflation that's created by printing money?

                •  I suppose that the usual tools (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  of monetary policy are as effective against any inflation not matter how it is created. The problem we have right now is that those tools are out of business because of the zero bound. Historically printing money on a large scale has usually caused serious problems with hyper inflation.

  •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)

    Re: It was a Potemkin Village of pretend internet industry and fake high tech which exploded into confetti in the late 1990s.

    I'm not sure what you mean by this, as the Internet is certainly a reality (duh-- we are using it right now!), and we did have a major technological revolution in the 90s which, however briefy, ushered in a broad based prosperity that most people in our country shared in. Of course that happened despite Cinton's 93 tax revolution thereby disproving the hysterical warnings of the GOP at the time.

    •  Literally hundreds of internet start up companies (0+ / 0-)

      were created and did nothing but sucker investors into wasting their money. The internet would have continued to exist without the huge amounts of money shoveled into Silicon Valley.

      As for Clinton's "tax revolution", it was nothing of the sort. His modest increase in taxes was a small step in the right direction, which should have been continued. Clinton was fortunate; his administration was the biggest beneficiary of the artificial boost of injecting trillions into the market. He could have done even more to pay down our national debt, but after 1994 it became nearly impossible with the Republicans controlling the money in the House.

      No, not all of the money was wasted: certainly some of the speculation resulted in demonstrable growth, but a huge amount of the money was wasted, used to inflate costs and create bubbles.

      Meanwhile, the less sexy things that government provides for, eschewed to provide the money to the wealthy to create bubbles, things that all citizens need has languished: the schools, health care, real sustainable high tech science research and development, roads, bridges, pipes, waste treatment plants, all of these neglected and costs shoved off increasingly on the States over the years has taken a huge toll.

      Our infrastructure is crumbling, many of our schools are below par. The US ranks amongst some of the worst nations in the 'civilized world' for education and health care for it's citizens, and we have one of the highest incarceration rates.

  •  How much would tax increases bring in? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, felldestroyed

    Let's say taxes were increased by 5% for everyone making over $75,000, does anyone know how much extra revenue would be brought in to the federal government?

  •  here's a graph (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, Mtnlynn

    Image Hosted by
    sorry the last years are cut off, but it's obvious that current tax rates on the rich are abnormally low. Look at the last time they were this low- 1920s. Good results that time, eh?

    Image Hosted by
    Too bad this is from 1944, being WW2. I think the same probably holds through the 50s and 60s, a time of high taxes on the rich, high union membership and incredible growth of the middle class.

    Thanks for the diary.

  •  I don't see the Fed purchase of T-bills (0+ / 0-)

    in the same way. Right now there is actually a shortage of dollars, demonstrated by the rising value of the USD as foreigners buy USD because it is seen as the safest place to keep money. Therefore, increasing the money supply can be undertaken fairly safely. The USD may suffer a weakening but it probably will not be great - 20%, I think. That will actually help with exports. But what the Fed is doing is to compete with T-bill purchasers to force them into lending elsewhere. That's called freeing up the credit markets. As lending eases, business will pick up, jobs will come back, and the Fed can start reining in the money supply as needed. With interest rates as low as they are, any signs of emerging inflation can be controlled easily enough. This is a good move.

    Ambition is when you follow your dreams. Insanity is when they follow you.

    by Batfish on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 03:51:27 PM PDT

    •  Up to a point, like I said printing money is OK. (0+ / 0-)

      It's a quick way to provide a kick in the economy; the problem is, there is no countervailing response on the other end to provide input into the system. Republicans will no doubt say "the increase in economic activity will result in more revenue for the government to tax", but at some point, that string runs out, and we are at the end of the ball of string.

      The weak dollar temporarily is fine, but increased taxation is needed to offset the inflationary spiral - the money needs to be cycled back through the government coffers at some point. Trouble is, Republicans and most Democrats both resist raising taxes on the wealthy.

      •  Good point (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I also think that there are places in which spending can be reduced dramatically. The defense budget could easily be reduced by 25% now, and agricultural subsidies have been a major scandal for years. There are plenty of places that we could restrain spending.

        Ambition is when you follow your dreams. Insanity is when they follow you.

        by Batfish on Sun Mar 22, 2009 at 09:09:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  But we mustn't raise taxes! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    No matter how much our country needs this done!

    The Republicans will call us a bunch of damned socialists!

  •  People just don't seem to understand that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the party is over.

    We've lived high on the hog for 50 years, sucking the rest of the world dry. Keeping the hoses filled required an ever-spiraling increase in phony wealth, which our elites trickled down to us so that we could continue to pay our Asian and Mexican slaves the paltry sums necessary for their subsistence.

    But the illusion had its limits, and we have reached them. There are only two possibilities:

    A. The US dollar loses a dramatic fraction of its value on the world market.
    B. The US dollar becomes much, much harder to come by in the US.

    Folks mumble cliches about "a weaker dollar means increasing exports". Yeah. Except folks still don't grasp the economic reality: Until our workers are as poor as their workers, their workers won't be paying our workers to do any work for them.

    The old model is dying folks. It was unsustainable. If "they" try to resuscitate it, "they" are going to be disappointed by the results. The rest of the world doesn't need us, it doesn't need our hubris, it doesn't need our arrogance, it doesn't need our PNAC or our bluster or our IP hegemony or our smug condescension or our Strategic Air Command or our extraordinary rendition or our manifest destiny or our chauvinism. I would find this frightening, if not for the obvious truth that at least 50% of our economy is either useless (McDonald's Happy Meal toys) or hilariously overpriced relative to cost of production (video game cartridges) or both (licensed sports logos).

    If we have the guts to admit to ourselves that our mythology is just that, we'll tax the bejesus out of the plutocrats and restructure our economic lives so that each of us consumes a fraction of what we have been consuming. We will buy things that last, and suffer the inconvenience of taking proper care of them, and having them repaired when they break. We won't imagine for ourselves a retirement that is an extended 20-year second adolescence of perpetual vacations. Instead, most of us will continue to work (though with reduced hours, we may hope) as long we are physically and psychologically able. The unsustainability of the current model is straightforward: we do not, in the aggregate, during our working years produce more than we consume, and so we cannot expect that after 40 years of labor, we are entitled to kick back and have others cook our meals, entertain us, nurse and doctor us, chauffeur us, clothe us, keep us warm in winter and cool in summer, and so on. To have supposed that we could is to have bought into the biggest Ponzi scheme of all.

    I don't know what to say.

    by UntimelyRippd on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 05:37:16 PM PDT

  •  agreed on the vast majority of this (1+ / 0-)
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    but it's worth pointing out that inflation is also a tax on hoarded money and rentiers. the rich will see their holdings diminished by devaluation as well. not that it's much solace to the working/middle classes.

    surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

    by wu ming on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 07:11:46 PM PDT

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