[FoRK] so is it for real now?

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Tue Oct 14 10:01:25 PDT 2008

J. Andrew Rogers wrote:
> On Oct 13, 2008, at 11:33 PM, Stephen Williams wrote:
>> Clearly the deficit is unmaintainable.  It's not really like you can 
>> point to whoever the next president is and say: "See, they raised 
>> taxes as soon as they could!"  It is essentially unavoidable now it 
>> seems.  The question is where and how.  Or drastically cut spending, 
>> which seems even more unpopular overall..
> Drastically cutting spending would be the smart move, as would be 
> radically restructuring taxation even if it was revenue neutral.  My 
> objections are not so much whining about what must be done, but the 
> fact that we are going about what must be done in a manner that 
> closely approximates the stupidest and least efficient way in many 
> cases. At some point, the extremity of the stupid outweighs whatever 
> benefit is supposed to be gained by the policy imposition. Stupid is 
> not good just because you can use it to brute force a desired outcome 
> at some outrageous price.
Perhaps a good description of how other government actions have been run 
> If we need to raise the taxes, we should be mitigating the economic 
> impact by restructuring our already grossly inefficient tax system -- 
> we could pull the needed boost almost entirely from the inefficiencies 
> in the current system. The US tax structure sucks compared to the 
> European tax structures in many cases where efficiency is concerned, 
> though that is partially a Constitutional matter.  Unfortunately, 
> instead of smart proposals I am seeing what are among the stupidest 
> possible tax policies put forward.  Anyone who thinks it is preferable 
> to massively raise capital gains taxes other than as a last resort 
> compared to all other taxes does not understand economics well enough 
> to run a lemonade stand never mind a country. From a pure economics 
> standpoint, it would be far better to raise income taxes to a 
> pathological level than to raise capital gains taxes, but the fact 
> that this is not even on the plate strongly suggest political 
> cowardice at best and ignorance at worst.  Leadership we can count on.
It is probably political suicide to get too far into suggestion income 
tax increases.  Obama however has strictly limited increases to the 
over-250K crowd, and in that area is reasonably aggressive.  Republicans 
seem less able to stomach that since much of their power seems to come, 
or at least is directly influenced, by those super rich who are working 
to avoid taxes at all costs.  It should be mentioned that there are, I 
believe, plenty of Democratic supporters who are in the rich category 
and don't mind contributing more if it is useful.

If you take Obama's proposal on the income tax side and scale it up 
more, while dropping or making the other changes more wise, it sounds 
like you would be happy, right?
> I understand stupid, but I do not understand otherwise intelligent 
> people hopping on a boat to Guyana with all manner of fervor.  At 
> least I have empirically confirmed that my Kool-Aid immunity gene has 
> low specificity.
> Cheers,
> J. Andrew Rogers

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