Got four trillion bucks?

Thursday, September 16th, 2010 @ 7:26 pm | Clueless Conservatives, Economy

Not only have Bush’s tax cuts helped put us in the hole, but should they be made permanent, as Republicans would like us to do, it would cost us $4 trillion in just the next ten years.

These are the people we’re supposed to trust on the deficit? Repeat after me: Democrats lead to surpluses, Republicans lead us further and further into endless debt. Obama and the Democrats are taking a major step forward towards fighting the deficit by letting the Bush tax cuts expire for the rich. If only our country had the balls to go back to Clinton-era rates for everybody.


p.s. It’s true, it must be noted that Obama wants to compromise with the Republicans to keep the bulk of the cuts, which would go to the poor and middle class. That’s the thing…he’s trying to find a middle ground between the right solution and the destructive one, but the result is still $3 trillion more in the hole, validating a tax cut we never needed and couldn’t afford in the first place.

Now were the Republicans actually willing to do something real about the deficit, and we could all agree to go back to the tax rates of the 90’s, the Democrats wouldn’t be trying to compromise. Were the Republicans not willing to call the pre-set expiration date a “tax increase,” we wouldn’t have the compromise. But we have demagogueing entertainers on the right and shiftless cowards on the left, and so Rome continues to burn…

22 Responses to “Got four trillion bucks?”

  1. Dana Says:

    Try being honest here: if the President’s proposal, to extend the tax cuts for everybody but the highest producers were passed, the tax increase wouldn’t be $4 trillion, but $700 billion; the other $3.3 trillion would continue as tax cuts for the lower 98%.

    We discussed this before, and I did something really radical like doing the math:

    Maybe it’s because, unlike the Democratic Party demagoguery that the tax cuts were just “tax cuts for the rich,” they actually know what the impact would be on just regular Joes. I calculated it out earlier, using tax years 2000 and 2004 Forms 1040 (picked because 2000 was the last year under the pre-tax cut numbers, and 2004, because it had all of the 2003 tax cuts figured in) and an adjusted gross income of $60,000 for a family of four, with two children under 17 at the end of the tax year, and using the standard deduction, that $60,000 AGI in 2000 would have paid $5,214 in federal income taxes, while in 2004, only $2,974 in federal income taxes, for a savings of $2,240, or $186.66 a month.

    Now, what’s $186.66 a month to a family of four? Well, it might be a whole week’s worth of groceries, or perhaps it’s their electric and water bills for the month. Maybe it’s a car payment, so they can get to work. If we assume that the $60,000 is jointly and evenly earned by two people, working full-time jobs, you’re looking at an hourly wage of $14.42 an hour; $2,240 = 155.34 hours of work for them, or just shy of four weeks of full time work! Under the 2000 tax rates, each of those two people would be working two more weeks out of the year for the federal government . . . and two weeks less for themselves.

    What you have advocated, Mr Brown, is that middle class people ought to have to work an entire month more just to pay their federal taxes.

    Now, if you believe that you are under-taxed, then I believe you ought to put your money where your keyboard is, and choose to pay extra to the government. Dana Milbank of The Washington Post noted that “The Treasury Department Web site even accepts contributions by credit card to pay the public debt.” I couldn’t find that part of the website, but I’m sure, as you try to voluntarily pay more, you’ll be able to.

    If you would like, I will be happy to forward to you copies of the year 2000 Form 1040, so that you can calculate what you really think you should pay. Hell, just send me your 2010 Form 1040, and I’ll even do the math for you, nice guy that I am!

  2. Dana Says:

    And, just to help you out, here is the form with which you can make voluntary donations to help reduce the public debt.

    Always glad to be of service! 🙂

  3. AJKamper Says:

    That’s such a stupid canard. It’s basically saying that we should have a higher tax rate for those who care about fiscal responsibility.

    Let me be clear, from a household who almost certainly will earn enough to pay the higher tax rate under Obama’s plan next year: I AM UNDERTAXED. And I’m willing to shoulder my fair share of the debt… but it’s only a fair share if people who are situated similarly to me are paying an equal amount.

  4. Henry Whistler Says:

    Eh? I don’t quite read you there. People situated similarly to you aren’t paying the same?

  5. AJKamper Says:

    HW: REsponding to the “voluntary payment to reduce the debt.” That would mean that I was paying more than someone situated the same but not paying the voluntary amount, and that’s hardly me accepting a “fair share.”

    Somehow I missed Dana’s more complex first point, but it’s not much better, most notably where he proves that each person needs to work two more weeks and then suddenly says that each person needs to work a whole month, but also when he doesn’t concede that 2% of the population received (according to his numbers) nearly 20% of the benefits, and that it scales up with income.

  6. Henry Whistler Says:

    Dana: because we were all so poor in the 90’s, right?

    I think I’ve made myself clear here: everybody needs to get behind the wheel. That family making $60k already owns a share of our deficit. They own a share of the trouble we are now in.

    Of course, the second one sympathizes with your story and says, ala Obama, okay let’s just tax the rich higher, you and your friends will immediately pivot and complain about class warfare and punishing the successful, THE COMMIES ARE COMING, etc. So it appears that the only honest answer that is possible is mine: eliminate them all. And that’s certainly the only answer a deficit hawk could give.

    Dana, you’ve to pick a stance! You’re all mushy.

  7. Henry Whistler Says:

    AJ: okay I had just figured out what you said. Exactly. Besides that, Dana’s point is fundamentally unserious about the deficit. Volunteer taxpayers wouldn’t even begin to dent our problems.

  8. ladk Says:

    How about if you’re serious about removing the deficit then you could always urge your nearest Democrat Congressman to cut spending down to realistic levels. Even Defense spending too because as I’ve said before they love themselves some guns just as much as the Republicans do

    I love how it’s always WE MUST RAISE TAXES with you guys over here.

    You know if a business was in the red as much as the government is right now they would have to cut their spending and find better efficient ways to operate. They can’t just magically raise their revenues by taking money from their investor’s accounts with the excuse of ‘it’s part of the investor’s debt as well’ being anywhere near a sane line of thinking.

    But for some reason you keep spouting this line of reasoning off over and over and over again. Almost like you think the more you say it the more it makes it real.

  9. Dana Says:

    Mr Whistler wrote:

    Besides that, Dana’s point is fundamentally unserious about the deficit. Volunteer taxpayers wouldn’t even begin to dent our problems.

    Really? If paying higher taxes is something you believe to be both necessary and popularly supported, why shouldn’t such make a dent in our problems . . . unless you believe the people who claim to support higher taxes are hypocrites?

  10. AJKamper Says:


    Because we wouldn’t be treated fairly by people who are in an equally good financial position but are choosing not to. There’s absolutely nothing wrong or hypocritical with only choosing to take part in an initiative if we are all sharing the burden equally–to the limit of our ability to do so.

    This is so elementary as to be beneath comment.

  11. AJKamper Says:


    A company wouldn’t choose to forgo available income to be nice to the customers. Another poor analogy. If we the people ask our government to provide more services, we should be willing to pay for them.

    That said, I’m pretty fiscally conservative for a Democrat, and would be quite okay with some significant spending cuts… though as far as our income tax goes (as compared to mandatory taxes like Medicare and Social Security), it almost ALL goes toward defense and debt service.

  12. Put your money where your mouse is « Common Sense Political Thought Says:

    […] second paragraph of Mr Whistler’s postscript came after I noted that President Obama’s proposal to increase taxes only on the top producers didn’t […]

  13. Henry Whistler Says:

    Yeah, hear hear for defense cuts…of course. We need a variety of solutions to our problems.

    Besides the fact that Dana’s question wouldn’t dent our deficit and is mere “librul hypocrisy!” blather, the fact is that it’s patently absurd to complain about the deficit then say, “Hey, Democrats, why don’t you pay some extra taxes and get us out of this mess?” Why should Republicans and other spoiled children who don’t want to pay for the deficit get off scott-free? Dana has Bush’s tax cuts, Bush’s wars, Bush’s Medicare Part D, and Bush’s broken economy to make up for, so why shouldn’t he face a tax increase? He got us into this mess! I didn’t vote for Bush, so maybe I should get a tax cut?

    This is why I really just don’t believe the Republicans are that serious about deficits, other than as a campaign slogan. They didn’t care when they had power, but they care when they’re out of power in order to get back into power. You start talking about some hard measures and they immediately wail and moan.

    It’s nice of you, ladk, to say you’re for cutting defense. There’s about ten Republicans like you. Bob Gates has few friends right now and he’s just trying to shave a percentage point or two off defense spending. Yes, surely some Democrats are in cahoots with the military industrial complex, but if there was an actual grassroots right/left coalition on this, they’d be scrambling.

  14. Dana Says:

    Our esteemed host wrote:

    It’s nice of you, ladk, to say you’re for cutting defense. There’s about ten Republicans like you.

    Hardly. You could include me among those Republicans who believe that Defense spending can be cut, in sensible ways. For example, the threat environment has certainly changed, and the threats for which our Navy and Air Force were built are disappearing; it isn’t difficult for me to see that we would need fewer aircraft carrier battle groups than previously. I don’t see as much need for strategic bombers in the Air Force. At least for the foreseeable future, our greater military needs are going to be in ground forces, meaning the Army and the Marine Corps, for helicopters and ground-assault fixed wing aircraft, and for armored fighting vehicles.

    Supposedly, President Obama wants to cut the number of flag officers, and I can see that as well.

    If sensible military reductions are proposed, reductions which match the changes in the threat environment, conservatives will support them. The problems come when all we hear is “cut Defense!” without any sensible plans involved.

  15. Dana Says:

    Mr Whistler wrote:

    I didn’t vote for Bush, so maybe I should get a tax cut?

    Actually, since you didn’t vote sensibly, you should have to pay the higher taxes for which you voted! 🙂

    However, despite the fact you didn’t vote for President Bush, the fact is that you already did get a tax cut, in 2001 and 2003.

  16. Henry Whistler Says:

    How about those who voted for Bush can split up the costs of his huge spending and huge tax cuts, and those of us who voted for Gore and Kerry can just pay Clinton era tax rates?

    I think we’ve settled the superfluous issues here. We don’t have $4 trillion, or $3 trillion. When will our nation get serious?

    When will folks like yourself, Dana, quit advocating irresponsiblity? And using families making $60K as false cover, when Dad lost his job and you’re trying to cut his unemployment benefits?

  17. Mike Thayer Says:

    Another unremarkable post by Iowa Liberal. It’s more cut and paste liberal talking points that don’t tell the truth. It won’t cost taxpayers $4 trillion to extend tax cuts to the people that create jobs, it won’t cost the American people anything, IT WILL PUT MONEY IN THEIR POCKETS!

  18. ladk Says:

    One thing I’d love to see is a huge draw down of military stations all over the world.

    Seriously, we don’t need over a hundred and ten bases operating in places like Japan and Australia anymore. Those places just suck money away with no real benefit to them.

    Oh and you could really draw down troops in Afghanistan, but I recognize that they need to be there insofar as if you’re going to fight a war at least fight to win with the correct amount of troops and equipment needed.

    An investor isn’t a customer that a company can choose to forgo. They’re the financial backers of said company. Essentially what the American People are to the US Government. A company cannot fleece their investors for the money they lost. They can only report what they lost to them and then hope they don’t back out of the company.

    However, our government can and routinely does fleece its ‘investors’ after recklessly spending.Then people like you lecture the other investors that it’s only their duty to bail out the irresponsible company who acted recklessly.

    Also, that’s a pretty huge high horse you’ve got to say that other people are bad because they would choose not to pay more in taxes than what they already owe.

  19. AJKamper Says:


    I don’t think the “investor” analogy is any more apt than the customer analogy, really: the government’s job is not to make money, after all, but to provide services. I’ll concede that mine wasn’t good if you concede yours.

    However, our government can and routinely does fleece its ‘investors’ after recklessly spending.Then people like you lecture the other investors that it’s only their duty to bail out the irresponsible company who acted recklessly.

    Well, except we picked the government to do our bidding. We have pretty much the government we voted for. Unless you claim that special interests are the REAL evil.

    Also, that’s a pretty huge high horse you’ve got to say that other people are bad because they would choose not to pay more in taxes than what they already owe.

    You have to work pretty hard to extract that from what I said. I’m merely saying it’s not hypocrisy if I refuse to pay more in taxes voluntarily when we should all be doing so equally.

  20. Henry Whistler Says:

    Yeah, this is where I find analogies become crutches for weaker arguments. If an analogy isn’t being used to describe something complex for ordinary people to understand, it’s usefulness is limited. And you can’t keep explaining why U.S. citizens shouldn’t pay for the programs their democratically elected leaders have enacted by making business analogies. You are making the most classic apples to oranges comparison possible, suitable for its own idiom: “That’s like comparing the government to a business!”

  21. Henry Whistler Says:

    Hey, Thayer: I changed your handle to reflect who you are, instead of letting you play sock puppet with five different handles. But I didn’t alter your words.

    Unlike you, who cut off 80% of my comment reply on your site.


  22. mike g Says:

    Care to explain why you used my email address for one of your own comments, Thayer?