Generally, what would you rather see more of to handle the government deficit?

Reduced spending.

We need the higher taxes too, at least in the short run. But we need to cut a LOT of the defense budget (which is treated as nearly untouchable)

I voted “reduced spending,” but specifically, they need to reduce what they spend on some things (military, chiefly) and redirect that to other programs.

It is if your tax rate is high enough.

If you give a politician $100, he will spend $110. If you give him $200, he will spend $220. Increasing revenue just means they will spend more.

Projected revenues for 2011 are about $4.5 trillion. The deficit, however, is over $1.6 trillion (cite).

There is no possibility that we can reduce the deficit to manageable levels without substantial cuts to entitlements. This means Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. You know it, I know it, the CBO knows it.


Tax rates are at historical lows. If you demand that politicians spend $100, and only give them $90, they’ll spend the $100 anyway. All of our budget problems can be fixed by paying our bills.

Duh. Reduced spending.

I think reduced spending is a good long term goal, but we’re already squeezed pretty hard. It’s easy to just say we should cut “waste”, but in reality police and teachers are being laid off, infrastructure projects are delayed, etc. I think a more practical goal in that regard would be to maintain a relatively constant level of spending while our economy grew, rather than trying to gut what’s already being cut significantly. Some huge cuts could come easily - like means testing for social security - and would have a bigger impact than letting bridges collapse, firing teachers, etc.

It would be much easier in the short term to jack up the top marginal rate 3-5% and have almost no impact economically. The idea that the super rich will just stop working and employing people if their tax rates go from 33 to 37% (or whatever the numbers are) are absurd. Some of the biggest economic booms this country has ever had were at times at which the top marginal rate was absurd (75%) yet things still held together. Going into the high-30s is nothing, yet would almost single handedly solve the deficit over the next few years.

And there is no practical way we can reduce the deficit without raising taxes also. The Dems admit we have to cut spending while raising taxes, but the Republicans refuse to raise taxes at all. Who is more reasonable?

And your contention that politicians always spend more than they make is falsified by the '90s, and by most state governments before revenues collapsed.

I suspect the economy is at a point right now where raising tax rates would reduce tax revenue. The relationship between tax rates and revenue is complicated to the point that anyone who says they can accurately predict it is lying.

Its nutty to raise taxes in an economic situation like this (or at least to make it the main focus rather than spending cuts). Not to mention that arguably (I’m playing the Devil’s advocate here) that taxing based on income level violates the principle of equality before the law.

Or on the other hand flat taxation can start at say $50,000 or some income level like that.

Right, because the trillions of dollars sitting in corporate cash reserves right now are totally reviving the economy. Businesses aren’t expanding and creating products because there’s no demand - you could eliminate their taxes entirely and they’d mostly just sit in the cash until demand picked up.

And yeah, cutting spending at a time when the most major effect is a lack of demand, when everyone is sitting on their money and refusing to spend it, is definitely the way to get us out of this recession.

Well played.

Haha, how do you remotely even make a case for this? Income is taxed by bracket, not by individual. Everyone equally pays a certain percentage through certain brackets. The idea of the rich being railroaded like, say, Jim Crow blacks because they’re taxed on their millions is something that I’d only expect to see in republican focus groups when they were testing oddball strategies to get people to vote against their own self interest.

How do you think we got out of the Great Depression?

Eat the rich.

Some kind of marginal wealth (net worth) taxes. No reason that $1M in business property should be taxed and $1M in stocks and bonds should not be.

At least two new tax brackets above the $250K bracket–rising to confiscatory upper-margin taxes on personal income, capital gains, & corporate income, but with deductions for actually hiring people, investing in green tech, etc.–not to raise money so much as to incentivize economic development.

Remove the cap on FICA for Social Security, or even fund it out of the general fund and dump the regressive payroll tax from now on.

You may say I’m a dreamer, but it’s no crazier than the present GOP leadership position, is it?

This is simply untrue, soup to nuts.

I’m pretty sure Keynesian deficit spending relies on spending, not tax cuts (which would only make things worse). But I’m not actually an economist.

Your second point is a thread poking out of a philosophical large knit sweater worth unraveling…:smiley: Some other thread, perhaps.

I don’t see how reducing spending is even an option.

We’re fourteen trillion dollars in debt. We can’t unspend that money.

The entire federal revenue is two trillion dollars a year. So are we talking about cutting spending by 700%?

The irony of your post eludes you, doesn’t it?

Tax rates are too freaking low. Time to raise them. Repeal ALL the Bush cuts, then put a surtax on the rich besides that. Don’t give me that crap about how taxes would kill the recovery. The wealth is piling up in the top 2% and that pileup is accelerating. If there was a way for them to invest their excess cash to create jobs they would have already done so, giving them more excess cash isn’t going to do a damned thing. And stop calling the wealthy “job creators” . Professional athletes don’t create jobs. Movie stars don’t create jobs. They can well afford to pay more.

Want to cut spending? How about we go after those bastards who sell those Rascal power chairs and then boast about how they can get you qualified and it won’t cost you a cent. How about we go after latent homosexuals (yes, I mean Marcus Bachmann) who open clinics and then give Bible verses to gay men and tell them to “pray the gay away” and then bill Medicare for it? The usual Reich wing targets (foreign aid, arts, PBS, Planned Parenthood, etc.) don’t amount to a hill of beans. Close some overseas bases, reopen some domestic bases and let the troops spend their liberty and their money right here.

I was very careful with my wording. Please reread assuming each word is meaningful.

You are correct, and I apologize. What I should have said was 'Give a Democrat $100 and he will spend $110". Since the budget was balanced in the 90s, and the deficit at manageable proportions until the Dems took control of Congress.

No it isn’t.