The New York Times looks beyond the "fiscal cliff" and beyond the idea that what the nation needs is to make permanent tax rates that were a bad idea to begin with.
The main problem is that the current tax code is incapable of raising the revenue needed to pay for the goods and services of government. Over the last four years, federal revenue as a share of the economy has fallen to its lowest level in nearly 60 years, a result of the recession, the weak recovery and a decade’s worth of serial tax cuts. Even with deep spending cuts, the chronic revenue shortfall is expected to continue, swelling the federal debt — unless taxes go up. To stabilize the debt over the next 10 years while financing more investment would require at least $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion in new revenue, above what could be raised by letting the top income tax rate revert to its pre-Bush-era level of 39.6 percent.Chris Cillizza hands out his worst year in Washington award to our pals at the Tea Party.
A logical way to help raise the additional needed revenue would be to tax capital gains at the same rates as ordinary income. Capital gains on assets held for more than a year before selling are taxed at about the lowest rate in the code, currently 15 percent and expected to rise to 20 percent in 2013. That is an indefensible giveaway to the richest Americans.
The Gadsden flag, which flew proudly over the 2010 midterm elections, now lies in tatters — rent by internal disagreements, losses among its most visible standard-bearers and a growing sense that the tea party movement, which once looked like it could transform American politics, will soon be nothing more than a blip in the country’s collective memory.It's not like the tea party did nothing this year. They were critical to Democratic wins in the Senate.
Chris Cillizza also hands out a good year award to a Kos alum.
Republicans reacted with outrage as Silver’s model kept pumping out predictions that Obama had an 80 percent (or higher) chance of winning. A columnist for the Examiner chain critiqued Silver’s appearance and voice. Others questioned how anyone could predict to the percentage point the likelihood of Obama winning or losing. Even the mighty David Brooks — himself a columnist for the Gray Lady — scoffed at the idea of making calculations accurate to the decimal point: “If there’s one thing we know, it’s that even experts with fancy computer models are terrible at predicting human behavior...Of course,Nate wasn't quite as accurate as another kos alum, but hey, not a bad year.
If Silver was big before the election, he turned huge — like Jay-Z/Beyonce huge — after it. Jon Stewart called him the “God of the algorithm.” President Obama referenced Silver when talking about the annual turkey pardon. Silver was named Out Magazine’s person of the year. He even sat down with Fix hero Bill Simmons (a.k.a. the Sports Guy) for an hour-long podcast. (And, yes, we are VERY jealous.)
Greg Sargent says the president has delivered his final offer.
Curtis Hubbard says that, just because the year is ending, our commitment shouldn't go with it.
We must do something. Anything. Everything.Apologies for the extremely brief APR this morning. Most of the pundits took a vacation this weekend.
We need more people to step forward with ideas to reduce gun violence, tackle mental illness and curb other aspects of a culture that has numbed us to violence.
Surely, if we put our national energy to this issue, we can minimize future damage. ...
Do we run the risk of overreacting? Certainly. But at least then we are acting to address the issues.