America Is Eff'd!

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Re: America Is Eff'd!

Postby UWSaint » Mon Aug 15, 2011 7:38 pm

Per wrote:You will notice that not only is the USA the OECD country with the lowest tax pressure, measured as tax revenue as a percentage of GDP, but it is also the only OECD country to have lower taxes in 2009 than in 1965. In 1965 the US taxes were on par with the OECD average (96.(% of the average OECD figure) but in 2008 (the last year with a calculated average) American taxes were 25% lower than the average for th eOECD.

To look at that and than state that taxes are too heavy and that any raised taxes are a no-no.... I find it silly.


USA's overall tax burden as a percentage of GDP is similar today as it was 50 years ago, whereas other developed countries have seen their burdens increase. It has gone up a bit here and there, but even where there were increases, the US "lagged behind" other countries in taxes as a percentage of GDP.

It is also true that the US's GDP per capita has continued to increase at similar rates to other developed economies over this period. See this Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Each country is unique in comparison, and I don't want to overgeneralize, but the US started wealthier and is still wealthier per capita, and by a greater degree.* Take Sweden and Canada: both countries had roughly the same percentage less GDP per capita as the US in 1960 and 2010 -- in inflation adjusted terms, the US GDP PC was approx $3,000 greater than Canada and $3,500 greater than Sweden in 1960 and more than $7,000 in 2010.

What does that mean when we also look at the tax burden? It means that the US produces more wealth in real and comparative terms than these countries as compared with 1960 AND that citizens keep more of that increase in wealth that has been produced – because the tax burden has been fairly constant in the US while it has increased in other countries. That's a pretty good deal for US citizens, I'd say.

I don't want to overstate the case. Taxes don’t go into the nether world; they provide a value to taxpayers, that while often not optimal is certainly not zero. The US economy is not perfect. And what is good about it is not solely due to tax policy, though I believe that a lower overall tax burden has allowed the United States a small collective advantage to the US economy vs. other countries and a larger advantage for the individual. And there are fair debates to be had about taxation, the role of government, etc. But the US is not “undertaxed” merely because other counties eat wealth with overtaxation and it is not silly to complain about the tax burden (or argue it shouldn’t be increased) merely because other developed economies have significantly increased taxes as a percentage of GDP.

Do not miss the thrust of American Exceptionalism – that the US has a different way of going about its business and that this is either normatively better or at least works better for the US. The political debate in the United States is largely about whether to continue that unique course or whether to become more like Europe.

Last, on the Tea Party, it is not a centralized movement with a creed, so it is difficult to understand. And even those who in good faith try to understand it will likely not agree about exactly what it is. But I think there should be some consensus about what it is not. Some posts have the Tea Party as the religious right. It is not. While there are certainly members of the religious right that would consider themselves Tea Partiers, if the Tea Party were simply the religious right, well, then they’d simply be the religious right! But the Tea Party movement is dramatically different. If the Tea Party movement was only birthers, than it wouldn’t have been a post-Obama election political movement, because birthers certainly predated Obama’s election. Saying that to be a birther is to be the same as being a Tea Partier is like saying democrats are the party of 9-11 conspiracy theorists. It is a sophomoric logical error. It is also an indication that those who oppose the Tea Party prefer to build up strawmen to knock it down rather than trying to understand why it has become a powerful mainstream political movement – certainly more mainstream than socialism is in this country.



*Countries with underdeveloped economies in 1960 had higher growth rates and there are, of course, wealthy countries that are effectively city-states or are small with large natural resources that have large GDPs per capita. On the former, compare Singapore with New York City, Atlanta, Washington DC, etc.; for the latter, compare Norway with Alaska….
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Re: America Is Eff'd!

Postby Strangelove » Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:02 pm

Per wrote:I know you are not an idiot, which is why I would have a hard time envisioning you in the tea party camp.


Poll Finds Tea Party Backers Wealthier and More Educated Than the General Public

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/15/us/po ... 5poll.html

Per: It's idiotic to paint all Tea Party folk as "idiots".


Per wrote:And the large number of prominent tea party spokesmen that have been wearing tin foil hats in public and questioning whether th epresident's birth certificate is fake only helps reinforce the picture of this movement as a bunch of morons. Sorry. They just don't seem to deserve being taken seriously... :|


30% of Tea Party Folk Believe Obama was Born Outside the US, Compared to 20 % of Americans Overall

http://s3.amazonaws.com/nytdocs/docs/312/312.pdf (just over halfway down)

Per: It's moronic to paint all Tea Party folk as "morons".
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Re: America Is Eff'd!

Postby Strangelove » Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:46 pm

UWSaint wrote:Saying that to be a birther is to be the same as being a Tea Partier is like saying democrats are the party of 9-11 conspiracy theorists. It is a sophomoric logical error. It is also an indication that those who oppose the Tea Party prefer to build up strawmen to knock down


Jolly well said ole bean...
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Re: America Is Eff'd!

Postby Hoss » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:53 pm

UWSaint wrote: It is a sophomoric logical error. It is also an indication that those who oppose the Tea Party prefer to build up strawmen to knock it down rather than trying to understand why it has become a powerful mainstream political movement – certainly more mainstream than socialism is in this country.


Nothing outs a person's politics than to use the term socialism in regards to American politics. Not even Al Queda could take the place from the baby boomers of the long deceased threat of the Evil Empire.

Socialism and entitlement are for damn fools. So is right wing talk radio. And if you expect me to believe that the Tea Party isn't a force for the far right, than maybe they should pick some spokespeople that don't sound like a terrible mix between Reagan and Billy Swaggart.
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Re: America Is Eff'd!

Postby Hoss » Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:16 am

And while we're freely quoting from wikipedia, how about this, from the same article:

The Bloomberg National Poll of adults 18 and over showed that 40% of Tea Party supporters are 55 or older, compared with 32% of all poll respondents; 79% are white, 61% are men and 44% identify as "born-again Christians", compared with 75%, 48.5%, and 34% for the general population, respectively. (this compared to the general population polled)

Things that make you go HMMM.
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Re: America Is Eff'd!

Postby Per » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:35 am

UWSaint wrote:USA's overall tax burden as a percentage of GDP is similar today as it was 50 years ago, whereas other developed countries have seen their burdens increase. It has gone up a bit here and there, but even where there were increases, the US "lagged behind" other countries in taxes as a percentage of GDP.

It is also true that the US's GDP per capita has continued to increase at similar rates to other developed economies over this period. See this Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Each country is unique in comparison, and I don't want to overgeneralize, but the US started wealthier and is still wealthier per capita, and by a greater degree.* Take Sweden and Canada: both countries had roughly the same percentage less GDP per capita as the US in 1960 and 2010 -- in inflation adjusted terms, the US GDP PC was approx $3,000 greater than Canada and $3,500 greater than Sweden in 1960 and more than $7,000 in 2010.

What does that mean when we also look at the tax burden? It means that the US produces more wealth in real and comparative terms than these countries as compared with 1960 AND that citizens keep more of that increase in wealth that has been produced – because the tax burden has been fairly constant in the US while it has increased in other countries. That's a pretty good deal for US citizens, I'd say.

I don't want to overstate the case. Taxes don’t go into the nether world; they provide a value to taxpayers, that while often not optimal is certainly not zero.

Giving the difference in GDP in absolute rather than relative terms and not showing the actual amounts may mislead people to think the gap has widened. That is not so. In 1960 the Swedish GDP/capita was 79.5% of the American (13807/17368) and in 2010 it was 84.1% (39407/46844). Thus one third of the gap has been bridged. The figures for Canada are 83.1% and 83.5%, so their relative strength compared to the US is more or less unchanged.

I also think that often when the difference in taxation is compared it tends to be overstated. You should keep in mind that Swedes do not pay health insurance nor tuition, as those services are fully financed through our tax system. If the amounts Americans pay for those services were added to the amount they pay in taxes, the difference would probably not be as great.

I personally think that we in Sweden probably pay a bit too much in taxes, which is probably also why the electorate in the last two elections has chosen to vote for the current centre-right coalition. I don't see taxes as intrinsically good or evil. It's a matter of how the money is put to use. I just have a problem with people who insist that taxes always are bad. They're not. And in a system where Warren Buffett pays less in tax than his employees, I think a revision might be in order.
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Re: America Is Eff'd!

Postby Strangelove » Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:50 am

Hoss wrote:And while we're freely quoting from wikipedia, how about this, from the same article:

The Bloomberg National Poll of adults 18 and over showed that 40% of Tea Party supporters are 55 or older, compared with 32% of all poll respondents; 79% are white, 61% are men and 44% identify as "born-again Christians", compared with 75%, 48.5%, and 34% for the general population, respectively. (this compared to the general population polled)

Things that make you go HMMM.


The only thing that makes one go HMMM is your suggestion those numbers should make one go HMMM.

Not exactly mind-blowing numbers there Hoss...

*notes Per ignored UWSaint/Strangelove accusations of stawman-building/bigotry*
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Re: America Is Eff'd!

Postby Sick Bunny » Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:46 am

This clears up a few things.

On the other hand, the message did arrive just moments after the morally repulsive Rick Santorum had finished explaining that abortions must be denied even to victims of rape and incest because the baby shouldn't be "victimised twice",
...
Doublethink is looking at the truth and seeing just a reflection of one's desired self. It is the only explanation for Michele Bachmann's insistence that the credit downgrade was due to the raising of the debt ceiling, even though it was largely, S&P said in its statement, because of her and her fellow Tea Partyists' "contentious and fitful" wrangling. She claimed on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday that one should never "mess with the full faith and credit of the United States", and yet that is precisely what she did.
...
Bachmann has said that wives "are to be submissive to their husbands" and, as Sarah Posner wrote this week on Salon, this idea, of the woman being "the obedient helpmeet, the vessel for the children, the devoted mother and warrior for the faith" is "central to the faith of many evangelicals". Yet when asked about it directly in the Iowa debate and again on Sunday on NBC, Bachmann retranslated "submit" to mean "respect", even though one could argue that their meanings are if not diametrically opposite, then at least on the quarter angle.
...
Perhaps the most blatant use of doublethink was Mitt Romney's self-serving claim last week that "corporations are people, my friend", which managed to be both deeply Orwellian as well as sounding like an offcut from It's a Wonderful Life. It doesn't even require a tiptoe of imagination, let alone a leap, to envisage Lionel Barrymore as evil Mr Potter cackling to James Stewart as poor George Bailey: "Corporations are people, George!"

Reminds me more and more of a certain country that was also big on ideology, and was supposed to be super-scary until it went and fell apart in 1991. The name escapes me just at the moment...
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Re: America Is Eff'd!

Postby Per » Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:40 am

ODB wrote:It's so simple eh? Clinton whipped out his ten inch which-a-ma-hoo, dropped a you know what on Monica Lewinsky's blue dress and the country was in surplus. Bush (who is clearly the devil) spent the country into the largest deficit in history!

Meanwhile the truth is, Clinton rode the internet/tech bubble straight to a balanced budget. That bubble would burst under Bush just like the housing bubble burst under Obama!

Good ol drop a load was not a savior people. He was simply in the right place at the right time!

Go internets go!?!?

It's not that simple, and clearly Clinton was a man with flaws. But he ran a very tight ship when it came to the economy.

I have just written an angry letter to the editor of TIME Magazine. They had an excellent graph on page 14 in the international print edition of tha Aug 15th issue as an illustration to an article by Fareed Zakaria that showed how govt spending and revenue has developed from Nixon and onward. But the shortsighted and greedy bastards have started to block their online content and charge you for it. Bullshit! I already subscribe to their print edition, and me sending links to articles to other people should be considered peer-to-peer marketing, which is normally considered invaluable. But apparently not to this bunch. :evil:

Anyway, the article itself can be read in its entirety at Fareed's own site, so I'll just link to that instead, but that site does not have the graph which was what I really wanted. :(

Here's an excerpt from the article that help explain my previously posted point:
The modern seesaw about the role of government began with Ronald Reagan, who rode to the White House in 1980 on a tide of frustration with high taxes and big government. He promised to cut both down to size. He succeeded with taxes, reducing rates across the board and closing loopholes. Although he raised taxes several times during his presidency, by the time he left office in 1989, taxes were at 18% of GDP, down from about 20%.

But what he did not do was cut spending consistently. Spending under Reagan averaged 22.4% of GDP, well above the 1971–2009 average of 20.6%. Yes, much of this was for defense, but almost everything went up during his Administration. Farm subsidies, for example, rose 140%. If you lower taxes and don’t trim expenses, there is only one way to make up the difference: by borrowing. The national debt tripled, from $712 billion in 1980 to $2 trillion in 1988.

Reagan reflected the American public’s basic preferences. We want big government but low taxes. The only way to make this work, short of magic, is debt. And government at every level—state, city and local—followed this pattern and took on ever increasing amounts of debt. In fact, because of weak accounting requirements, politicians at the state level have even resorted to a kind of budgetary magic to satisfy key constituencies. When public-sector employees want pay raises, politicians provide just modest step-ups in salary but huge increases in pension and retirement health care benefits. That way, the (fraudulent) budget numbers don’t look that bad until years later, when the politicians who did the damage have safely retired.

Over the past three decades, this pattern has persisted, with a few exceptions at the federal level. Tax hikes and spending restraint under George H.W. Bush and even more so under Bill Clinton brought the problem under control and in the late Clinton years even produced a budget surplus. Then came the George W. Bush tax cuts, expanded health care benefits and two wars—all unpaid for—without any tax increases. The result: the surplus disappeared, and by 2008, the debt had ballooned to $10 billion. The final blow was the financial crisis and recession, which meant that federal tax revenues collapsed, followed by more tax cuts and stimulus spending. The debt rose to its current $14.3 trillion.


So, to sum it up:
Reagan cut taxes, increased spending, tripled the deficit.
Bush I raised taxes, cut spending, balanced the budget.
Clinton also raised some taxes, but above all cut spending to the extent that he ran budget surpluses several years and thus helped reduce the debt burden.
Bush II cut taxes and increased spending, sent the budget deficit and public debt soaring to new heights, and then the roof caved in just before he handed over power to Obama.

Clinton was helped by the IT boom in raising revenue, but if he had lived up to the tax and spend stereotype he'd used up all that revenue rather than reduce spending to create a budget surplus. He was also helped by keeping on Greenspan, who did a lot to keep the economy ticking along at a nice pace.

And I don't think Bush II is the devil. I just think he's not the sharpest tool in the shed and should have taken some advice from his father, who's quite far away from me politically, but was a smart and consistent politician who knew the basics of how the economy works.

Fareed also shows what is wrong with the system:
A National Journal study shows that, for the first time since the publication began tracking the divide 30 years ago, the most left-wing Republican is more conservative than the most right-wing Democrat. There is no overlapping set of moderates, who used to engineer congressional compromises. This polarization has resulted in paralysis. More than two years into the Obama Administration, hundreds of key positions in government remain vacant for lack of Senate confirmation. The Treasury Department had to handle the global financial crisis, recession, bank stress tests and automaker bailouts, as well as its usual duties, with about a dozen of its senior positions—almost its entire top management—vacant. Senate rules have been used, abused and twisted to allow constant delay and blockage. The filibuster, historically employed about once a decade, is now a routine procedure that allows the minority to thwart the will of the majority. In 2009, Senate Republicans filibustered a stunning 80% of major legislation. :shock: Given how the chamber is composed—two Senators per state, no matter how thinly populated—people representing just 10% of the country can block all legislation. Is that how a democracy should function?

American parties now function like European parliamentary ones, ideologically pure and with tight discipline. But we don’t have a European system. In parliamentary systems, power is united so that when, for example, the British Prime Minister’s coalition takes office, it controls the legislative branch as well as the executive. The Prime Minister is, in effect, chief legislator as well as chief executive. The ruling party gets a chance to implement its agenda, and then the public can either re-elect it or throw the bums out. The U.S. system is one of shared and overlapping powers. No one person or party is fully in control; everyone is checked and balanced. People have to cooperate for anything to get done. That is why the Tea Party’s insistence on holding the debt ceiling hostage in order to force its policies on the country—the first time the debt ceiling has been used this way—was so deeply un-American.


Here's a link to the article in its entirity:
http://www.fareedzakaria.com/home/Artic ... ilure.html
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Re: America Is Eff'd!

Postby Strangelove » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:12 am

Strangelove wrote:*notes Per ignored UWSaint/Strangelove accusations of stawman-building/bigotry*


Per, no apology, no nuthing?? :shock:
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Re: America Is Eff'd!

Postby Hoss » Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:29 pm

Strangelove wrote:The only thing that makes one go HMMM is your suggestion those numbers should make one go HMMM.

Not exactly mind-blowing numbers there Hoss...

*notes Per ignored UWSaint/Strangelove accusations of stawman-building/bigotry*


Then I guess its my turn to HMMM at your understanding of statistics. I'm no math wiz but even I can wrap my mind around that shit.
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Re: America Is Eff'd!

Postby Per » Thu Aug 18, 2011 3:02 am

Strangelove wrote:
Per wrote:I know you are not an idiot, which is why I would have a hard time envisioning you in the tea party camp.


Poll Finds Tea Party Backers Wealthier and More Educated Than the General Public

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/15/us/po ... 5poll.html

Per: It's idiotic to paint all Tea Party folk as "idiots".

Who says idiots can't be wealthy or well educated? :eh:

Besides, I have already stated that UW is not an idiot, so should it turn out that he in fact thinks tea is a party beverage (perish the thought), it would be clear that I do not think all "tea party folk" are idiots. Just the vast majority of them.

In fact, the NYT survey you linked to shows that unlike the average American, a majority of tea partiers get their news mainly from Fox, which could be a strong indication that they may not be stupid but rather misled.

Strangelove wrote:
Per wrote:And the large number of prominent tea party spokesmen that have been wearing tin foil hats in public and questioning whether th epresident's birth certificate is fake only helps reinforce the picture of this movement as a bunch of morons. Sorry. They just don't seem to deserve being taken seriously... :|


30% of Tea Party Folk Believe Obama was Born Outside the US, Compared to 20 % of Americans Overall

http://s3.amazonaws.com/nytdocs/docs/312/312.pdf (just over halfway down)

Per: It's moronic to paint all Tea Party folk as "morons".


I do not see the intrinsic logic in this. Are you suggesting that it is impossible that 20% of the American population are morons, or are you implying that all morons have the same stance on this specific issue, thus rendering 70% of the tea party supporters polled im-morons? What are you trying to say?

I just meant that people lead by the likes of Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Michelle Bachman do not seem to choose their leaders wisely, if you get my drift. And if they themselves resemble these leaders, then to me it would seem likely that they are morons (NB: not to be confused with mormons; that's Mitt Romney et al).

Let's take a look at some of Bachmann's statements and how factually correct they are, shall we:
http://www.politifact.com/personalities ... ts/?page=2

:wow:

Not to mention that she has mistaken New Hampshire for Massachusettes, thought Elvis was born on the day he died and thinks the UN troops maintaining the no fly zone in Libya have killed 30,000 civilians..... :roll:

Any way, seems the general population is starting to be fed up with the teabaggers already, so no worries! 8-)

In April 2010, a New York Times/CBS News survey found that 18 percent of Americans had an unfavorable opinion of it, 21 percent had a favorable opinion and 46 percent had not heard enough. Now, 14 months later, Tea Party supporters have slipped to 20 percent, while their opponents have more than doubled, to 40 percent.

Of course, politicians of all stripes are not faring well among the public these days. But in data we have recently collected, the Tea Party ranks lower than any of the 23 other groups we asked about — lower than both Republicans and Democrats. It is even less popular than much maligned groups like “atheists” and “Muslims.”
:lol:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/17/opini ... ef=general
Last edited by Per on Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: America Is Eff'd!

Postby Per » Thu Aug 18, 2011 3:06 am

Strangelove wrote:
Strangelove wrote:*notes Per ignored UWSaint/Strangelove accusations of stawman-building/bigotry*


Per, no apology, no nuthing?? :shock:

Apology accepted. :wink:
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Re: America Is Eff'd!

Postby Strangelove » Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:00 am

Per, only an idiot/moron would actually believe all that crap and I know you’re not an idiot so.... Image
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Re: America Is Eff'd!

Postby Per » Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:51 am

Strangelove wrote:Per, only an idiot/moron would actually believe all that crap and I know you’re not an idiot so.... Image

Which crap? The stuff you quoted from the New York Times?
Or do you mean the stuff Michelle Bachmann says?
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