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Tilting at Windmills

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July 28, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

RAGS TO RICHES....The latest from the GOP:

Republican leaders are willing to allow the first minimum wage increase in a decade but only if it's coupled with a cut in inheritance taxes on multimillion-dollar estates, congressional aides said Friday.

Clearly, the Republican Party is the party of common sense. After all, if you give a few hundred dollars a month to the poorest of the working poor, it's only fair that you also give several million dollars to the richest of the idle rich.

Right?

Kevin Drum 9:45 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (173)

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Comments

The GOP has finally taken the final bold and unmistakable step from just 'evil and greedy' to cartoonish super-villainy.

Posted by: Augustus on July 28, 2006 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

Who's actually "giving" the money in both cases? Businesses are paying the workers more, and the government is letting the rich keep what they already had.

Posted by: artie on July 28, 2006 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Kevin. I think this sums up the Republican agenda pretty well.

When talking about the estate tax, never forget that the Republican proposals to abolish the Estate Tax will increase the national debt by $1 trillion over ten years; that under current law, the estate tax affects a fraction of 1 percent of the wealthiest estates; that every dollar not taken from the estate of deceased multimillionaire must come from a regular family struggling to raise their children; and that Republicans are trying to cut taxes on the wealthiest during a time of record deficits.

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on July 28, 2006 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, but: Abortion! Gay marriage! Rap music! Hollyweird!

Posted by: Alek Hidell on July 28, 2006 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

---
the government is letting the rich keep what they already had.
---

the government is letting the *dead* rich keep what they already had by increasing taxes on the *living* middle class.

Posted by: eightnine2718281828mu5 on July 28, 2006 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

Guess it is time to use the term, "oligarchs".

Posted by: Bob M on July 28, 2006 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

The Republicans also want to keep cutting taxes during wartime, which is without precedent. Lincoln raised taxes; FDR raised taxes. But raising taxes on the GOP's campaign contributors (or even keeping them at 1999 levels) is apparently an intolerable burden in this conflict.

The whole idea of sacrifice in wartime is dying. Apart from military members and their families, no one is being asked to sacrifice a damned thing.

Except, of course, their civil liberties.

Posted by: Joe on July 28, 2006 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

"richest of the idle rich" -- gotta love that class welfare.

Posted by: Thomas on July 28, 2006 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

Man, never thought I would be AGAINST a minimum wage increase. Way to go you Republican turds!

Posted by: Eric Paulsen on July 28, 2006 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

The Republicans will agree to an increase in the minimum wage without the cut in the Estate Tax. The Republicans simply cannot allow the Democrats to use that issue in November. Will/can the Democrats push the issue?

Posted by: Out on Bond on July 28, 2006 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

The Democrats should demand a straight up-or-down vote on the minumum wage. Then they should demand a straight up-or-down vote on the estate tax.

A straight up-or-down vote has been the bleat of the Repugs. Time to turn it back on them.

Posted by: Joel on July 28, 2006 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

We all have to sacrifice so Paris Hilton can buy another chinchilla coat.

Posted by: Thomas on July 28, 2006 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

With pigs at the trough what did you expect?

Table manners?

Posted by: koreyel on July 28, 2006 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

Whatever you might think of the GOP, you have to admit that the Democratic Party has a few problems with thinking things through.

Even bright third-graders could see the problem with having a high minimum wage while at the same time allowing anyone to enter your country whenever they want. Yet, that's the Democratic Party's position.

Could someone explain - in realistic terms - exactly how that is not a disaster?

Posted by: TLB on July 28, 2006 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

Even bright third-graders could see the problem with having a high minimum wage while at the same time allowing anyone to enter your country whenever they want. Yet, that's the Democratic Party's position.

I want to see the part of the Democratic Party's platform that says that "anyone can enter (the) country whenever they want."

Link, please. Because, otherwise, you reveal yourself as yet another Rush Limbaugh listener who doesn't bother to check these things out for himself.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on July 28, 2006 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

"Even bright third-graders could see the problem with having a high minimum wage while at the same time allowing anyone to enter your country whenever they want. Yet, that's the Democratic Party's position."

Uh, no, bubble-head. Democrats are not advocating a high minimum wage. They are advocating a low minimum wage, just one that is higher than the one we presently have. And, no, Democrats are not advocating allowing anyone to enter your country whenever they want. That is the official Libertarian Party position, not the Democratic Party platform.

Stop lying.

Posted by: Joel on July 28, 2006 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

The minimum wage is not an effective or efficient way of providing income support for the working poor. Refundable tax credits like the EITC are much better.

Posted by: GOP on July 28, 2006 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

"The Libertarian Party has long recognized the importance of allowing free and open immigration, understanding that this leads to a growing and more prosperous America."

http://www.lp.org/issues/immigration.shtml

"Democrats will continue to fight for immigration reform that strengthens our borders, protects U.S. workers and their wages, reunites families and allows hard-working immigrants who pay taxes and obey the law the opportunity to earn the right to apply for the responsibilities of citizenship."

http://www.democrats.org/a/2006/07/hasterts_sham_b.php

Posted by: Joel on July 28, 2006 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

"The minimum wage is not an effective or efficient way of providing income support for the working poor. Refundable tax credits like the EITC are much better."

Fine. Let's have a straight up-or-down vote on increasing the minimum wage. What are you afraid of?

Posted by: Joel on July 28, 2006 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

Fine. Let's have a straight up-or-down vote on increasing the minimum wage.

No, let's not.

Posted by: GOP on July 28, 2006 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

Why not? Why a straight up-or-down vote on Supreme Court appointees but not on minimum wage legislation? Do you only want up-or-down votes on issues you're sure you won't lose on, bucko?

Heh.

Posted by: Joel on July 28, 2006 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, Kevin, Kevin. Why do you always want to punish the successful? It should be very clear to even the casual observer that Steve Forbes and Paris Hilton have worked so much harder all their lives than the single mother who holds down three jobs to feed her kids. If the government stole all that accumulated wealth from the trust funds of rich kids like Nicole Richie or George W. Bush, they would have to compete on equal terms with the kids growing up in the barrio or the ghetto and that would be - well, capitalistic!

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on July 28, 2006 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

Joel Rubinstein:

You may have set a new record for the highest number of false and unjustified claims in the lowest number of words:

When talking about the estate tax, never forget that the Republican proposals to abolish the Estate Tax will increase the national debt by $1 trillion over ten years;

No one knows how abolishing the estate tax would affect the national debt.

that under current law, the estate tax affects a fraction of 1 percent of the wealthiest estates;

According to the IRS, the estate tax affects 2% of estates, not "a fraction of 1%."

that every dollar not taken from the estate of deceased multimillionaire must come from a regular family struggling to raise their children;

Obviously false. The lost tax revenue, if there is any, doesn't necessarily have to "come from" anywhere, let alone from "a regular family struggling to raise their children."

and that Republicans are trying to cut taxes on the wealthiest during a time of record deficits.

This is not a time of record deficits.

You know, you might have more credibility if you could actually come up with an argument that relies on facts rather than falsehoods and claims of fact that you cannot possibly know to be true.

Posted by: GOP on July 28, 2006 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

Joel,

Why not?

Because that's not how congress works or is supposed to work.

Do you only want up-or-down votes on issues you're sure you won't lose on, bucko?

No. Do you favor up-or-down votes on every issue, or only on issues for which you are confident the result of the vote will be the one you prefer? Shorty.

Posted by: GOP on July 28, 2006 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

"Obviously false. The lost tax revenue, if there is any, doesn't necessarily have to "come from" anywhere, let alone from "a regular family struggling to raise their children."

Very true. We can run the government by continuing to borrow money from China. Want to campaign on that platform, GOP?

"This is not a time of record deficits."

It is a time of record national debt. Make you proud, GOP?

Posted by: Joel on July 28, 2006 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

"Because that's not how congress works or is supposed to work."

Well, it used to work that way. I guess now it's supposed to work by being a rubber stamp for the Republican White House.

"Do you favor up-or-down votes on every issue, or only on issues for which you are confident the result of the vote will be the one you prefer?"

I'm just citing the rhetoric of your own party. Why does that bother you?

"Shorty."

Wow. Guess you nailed me there, GOP, tough-talking manly-man that you are. Are all your arguments so incisive and well thought out?

Posted by: Joel on July 28, 2006 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

Very true.

Yes, indeed.

We can run the government by continuing to borrow money from China.

Yes, we can. Or we can borrow from elsewhere. Or we can cut spending. Or we can raise taxes elswhere. There are many options.

Want to campaign on that platform, GOP?

The source of federal borrowing is not a platform.

It is a time of record national debt.

Almost every year for the past several decades has been "a time of record national debt." The absolute size of the debt is less important than the ratio of the debt to the economy, and that is not at a record high.

Posted by: GOP on July 28, 2006 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

Joel,

Well, it used to work that way.

No, it's never worked that way. The passage of federal laws has always been governed by a complex set of rules and procedures, which both parties have used to try and produce their desired outcomes.

I'm just citing the rhetoric of your own party.

No you're not. Do you favor up-or-down votes on every issue, or only on issues for which you are confident the result of the vote will be the one you prefer?"

Wow. Guess you nailed me there, GOP,

Would you prefer "bucko?"

Posted by: GOP on July 28, 2006 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

GOP, your data is old.

---
Just over one in 370 of all estates (0.27 percent)
will pay the federal estate tax in 2006, down
from 2.18 percent in 2000.* By 2009, only one
in 600 estates will owe the tax.
---

link

Posted by: eightnine2718281828mu5 on July 28, 2006 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

---
The lost tax revenue, if there is any, doesn't necessarily have to "come from" anywhere
---

Let's repeal the payroll tax! The money doesn't have to come from anywhere, and Cheney already told us that deficits don't matter!

Posted by: eightnine2718281828mu5 on July 28, 2006 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

Ban the payroll taxes and keep the estate tax. I'll be more than happy to let the government carve up my "estate" to get their fair share, but I need my money NOW, while I'm ALIVE.

Of course that won't work will it? Got to keep taxing the working man because without him there wouldn't be enough tax revenue coming in to buy office supplies. Don't tax inheritance though and don't tax dividends because... well, because. The idle rich are tumors on the skin of society, and holy crap, we don't wan't people like Paris Hilton pretending to be useful. Then who would tell us what was "hot" and flash their tits at us?

Posted by: Eric Paulsen on July 28, 2006 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

---
Don't tax inheritance though and don't tax dividends because...
---

... we need to maximize every fetus' incentive to be born to rich parents!

Posted by: eightnine2718281828mu5 on July 28, 2006 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

Frankly, I wasnt in favor of a minimum wage increase in the first place, but this move by the GOP makes this a must fail. People shouldnt be able to earn a living wage working the counter at Burger King. There has to be incentive for people to stay in school, learn skills that are in the demand in the workplace and acquire enough social skills to be employable. But the Estate Tax has to stand. Transfer of wealth is income to the beneficiary and should be taxed as any other income. I hope our esteemed elected officials do the right thing and kill this bill, election year politics or no.

Posted by: arteclectic on July 29, 2006 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

it's only fair that you also give several million dollars to the richest of the idle rich.

Kevin calls a tax reduction "giving money to taxpayers." Apparently he believes that the government owns everything. We should be grateful that the government allows us keep a portion of our money.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 29, 2006 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

---
Apparently he believes that the government owns everything.
---

They don't own everything, but courts have said that marginal tax rates can be set arbitrarily high.

And the right is certainly fond of their own pet government intrusions; it's not just one side of the aisle.

Posted by: eightnine2718281828mu5 on July 29, 2006 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

Apparently he believes that the government owns everything. We should be grateful that the government allows us keep a portion of our money.

That's exactly the problem with the estate tax. Everything is justified by "they can afford it", with no regard to fairness. In Democratic America, we should all be cackling with glee when grandpa dies, because it means that the graverobbers can take half his stuff.

Posted by: American Hawk on July 29, 2006 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

Frankly, I wasnt in favor of a minimum wage increase in the first place, but this move by the GOP makes this a must fail. People shouldnt be able to earn a living wage working the counter at Burger King. There has to be incentive for people to stay in school, learn skills that are in the demand in the workplace and acquire enough social skills to be employable. But the Estate Tax has to stand. Transfer of wealth is income to the beneficiary and should be taxed as any other income. I hope our esteemed elected officials do the right thing and kill this bill, election year politics or no.
Posted by: arteclectic on July 29, 2006 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

How do these incentives not already exist, you know for things like staying alive? Only so much of our population will be able to go to college. When our worst schools fail, there isn't much incentive to stay there anyway unless you're one of the three out of 1,000 students who will be able to get a scholarship. A lot of people already work two or three jobs to make ends meet. States like Oregon have seen their employment rates go up as the minimum wage went up. People who earn around the minimum wage have less capacity to save and have to live from paycheck to paycheck. This increases consumer demand, which helps to fuel growth, similar to how tax cuts that target the middle and lower class carry greater overall economic benefits that tax cuts that target the rich. It's easy for the educated to talk about these types of incentives, but face the incentive to just survive every day.

Also, in Slate a while ago one of the economics writers mentioned that the vast majority of economic studies done on the effects of raising the minimum wage have a negligible effect on unemployment, which contradicts both classical and neoliberal theory. I'm too lazy to look up the link right now.

Isn't the minimum wage also at around a 30-year low? Has anyone actually been able to show how this is a good thing?

Posted by: Reality Man on July 29, 2006 at 12:47 AM | PERMALINK

Ann Coulter on Al Gore, 'total fag',

http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Ann_Coulter_defends_insinuation_Bill_Clinton_0727.html

Posted by: cld on July 29, 2006 at 12:50 AM | PERMALINK

---
Everything is justified by "they can afford it", with no regard to fairness.
---

Why should this form of income be treated any differently than the money someone makes flipping burgers at McD's?

Seems like the heirs are the ones looking for 'special treatment' here.

Posted by: eightnine2718281828mu5 on July 29, 2006 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

You wrote, "if you give a few hundred dollars a month to the poorest of the working poor, it's only fair that you also give several million dollars to the richest of the idle rich."

No you stupid shit. The government doesn't "give a few hundred dollars", business pay people to do certain jobs that need to be done, but aren't the most important jobs to the business.
How come you don't understand that?
You really are a thick headed, stupid schmuck.
You also real don't give a damn about the poor or anybody else.
You are a loser. The best thing you can do for this world and most of all yourself, is commit suicide.
You are a piece of shit.

Posted by: Chaufist on July 29, 2006 at 12:55 AM | PERMALINK

Apparently he believes that the government owns everything. We should be grateful that the government allows us keep a portion of our money.

That's exactly the problem with the estate tax. Everything is justified by "they can afford it", with no regard to fairness. In Democratic America, we should all be cackling with glee when grandpa dies, because it means that the graverobbers can take half his stuff.
Posted by: American Hawk on July 29, 2006 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

Man, you two never get tired of burning the strawmen, do you? Do you actually believe this stuff when you write it? The truth of the matter is that tax revenue has to come from somewhere to pay for things like the military and highways. This is probably the most humane and justifiable way of raising revenue without keeping income taxes and sales taxes at unbearably high levels. Only about 1-2% of the population is affected, the laws are written to make the tax easy to pay off over a reasonable amount of time and a lot of money is exempt from the tax while also preserving the American ethos of not having a deeply entrenched oligarchy or (unofficial) nobility. That 1-2% of the population is actually more in favor of keeping the estate tax than the general population because they actually know the reality of the tax, how easy it is to pay off and how that money has to come from somewhere. They will barely feel the pinch and they know it. We have the choice of destroying successful programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security that the people favor, cutting back military spending (which is a political near-impossibility for any politician in America regardless of whether certain research / technological projects are actually useful to keeping us safe and promoting our interests). Things like pork are really just too small a portion of spending to make a significant dent in cutting back spending and reducing the deficit.

Posted by: Reality Man on July 29, 2006 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

Chaufist, you really shouldn't huff dry cleaning fluid before you post.

Posted by: Joe on July 29, 2006 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

Looks like we can put Chaufist down for a vote in the minimum wage 'nay' column, unless I'm misinterpreting some details supporting his rather subtle argument.

Posted by: eightnine2718281828mu5 on July 29, 2006 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

Chaufist, you really shouldn't huff dry cleaning fluid before you post.
Posted by: Joe on July 29, 2006 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

But where would the blogsphere be without huffing?

Posted by: Reality Man on July 29, 2006 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

When you raise the price you reduce demand.
That is a fact Kevin. If you don't believe that then why shouldn't Congress raise the minimum wage to 100 dollars an hour?
Why don't you advocate that Kevin?
Since you own this website how much do you pay your lowest paid employee?
If the minimum wage doesn't effect demand, what is your excuse for NOT paying the lowest paid employee 100 dollars an hour?
You are a hypocrite but like all hypocrites a stupid shit too.
If you don't like this world, why don't you committ suicide?
Well, then that would take a back bone.

Posted by: Chaufist on July 29, 2006 at 1:02 AM | PERMALINK

Where in the US Constitution does it give the right of the Federal Government to decide what a job is worth?

Please be specific liberals. Take your time too.
A day or too if necessary. There are good hearted people out there who will read you the US Constitution. They are the same people who read you "Sally, Dick and Jane" and "Curious George" and "Fun with the Alphabet".

Posted by: Chaufist on July 29, 2006 at 1:06 AM | PERMALINK

Here's the deal we give to workers in this country; we will give you a high school education and subsidize college.

When you're young and not making much money, we cut you a break on taxes so you can get a toehold on building wealth. As you get older and are more able to shoulder the burden of a higher tax rate, we increase your taxes.

You will have access to a sophisticated economic environment that provides you with many opportunities for self advancement and support you through the tax code's generous write-offs for business expenses should you decide to take that route.

If, by taking advantage of all of these benefits, you make a lot of money in your life, we will tax you at a higher rate so that we can provide these same subsidies to the next generation of our citizenry.

Posted by: eightnine2718281828mu5 on July 29, 2006 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK

When you raise the price you reduce demand.
That is a fact Kevin. If you don't believe that then why shouldn't Congress raise the minimum wage to 100 dollars an hour?
Why don't you advocate that Kevin?
Since you own this website how much do you pay your lowest paid employee?
If the minimum wage doesn't effect demand, what is your excuse for NOT paying the lowest paid employee 100 dollars an hour?
You are a hypocrite but like all hypocrites a stupid shit too.
If you don't like this world, why don't you committ suicide?
Well, then that would take a back bone.
Posted by: Chaufist on July 29, 2006 at 1:02 AM | PERMALINK

Except American economic history has shown the effect of the minimum wage to be neutral or just the opposite of what you have written here. Just because something makes sense of graphs doesn't mean that it reflects reality. If graphs' mathematical logic always directed reality, Indians would have grown rich off of Fabian economic policies and communist nations everywhere would have been able to take advantage of scale economies. When you get into monocausal economic thinking, you leave out all the effects a policy can have that run in different ways. Minimum wage hikes tend to be a problem in third-world nations with poor educational systems and crumbling infrastructure, but not necessarily in rich nations (unless where are talking making the minimun wage $85 / hour). Your comment about $100/hr wages only make sense in your head. You don't even know how much he pays his lowest-paid employee and you charge him for hypocrisy. Meanwhile the gap between the highest-paid and lowest-paid employees in general has grown over time but CEO's haven't suddenly become much more efficient. As Tom Friedman pointed out a little while ago, CEO's of major corporations have gained such a sense of entitlement that they demand that their salary match the salaries the CEOs of major competitors whether or not they do a better job. Think of all the times CEOs have run a company into the ground or failed to think up how to save it and just floated away with a golden parachute. What type of perverse economic incentives are these?

Posted by: Reality Man on July 29, 2006 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK

eightnine27...
WHAT? Are you that stupid?
Please give the definition, the criteria under which the law decides who is a "worker" and who isn't?
Work with your hands in a hot environment with a very high probability of permanent physical injury?
Is that it?
That is also pro football, baseball, basketball and hockey.
They're poor? They don't have advantages no one else has?
God, where you born that dumb or did you have to work at it?

Posted by: Chaufist on July 29, 2006 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

---
Where in the US Constitution does it give the right of the Federal Government to decide what a job is worth?
---

Maybe the commerce clause? Because, you know, it has to do with regulating economic activity, which is what the word 'commerce' means.

Posted by: eightnine2718281828mu5 on July 29, 2006 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

No it doesn't. Read it schmuck.

An example: A maid's job in Beverly Hills, California is worth the same as a maid's job in Bangor, Maine?
God, your dumb.

Posted by: Chaufist on July 29, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

---
who is a "worker"
---

We are all workers.

Posted by: eightnine2718281828mu5 on July 29, 2006 at 1:18 AM | PERMALINK

Where in the US Constitution does it give the right of the Federal Government to decide what a job is worth?

Please be specific liberals. Take your time too.
A day or too if necessary. There are good hearted people out there who will read you the US Constitution. They are the same people who read you "Sally, Dick and Jane" and "Curious George" and "Fun with the Alphabet".
Posted by: Chaufist on July 29, 2006 at 1:06 AM | PERMALINK

This argument gets thrown around a lot even though it is rather irrelevant. Where in the Constitution does it say the federal government has the right to build up the national highway system? Eisenhower pulled up the idea that the highway system on national security grounds out of his ass when he didn't even really believe that was his motive, but it was good policy even if not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution while also not banned in the Constitution. Now unless you can make an argument that it is unconstitutional, make it. However, if your argument is that anything not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution is unconstitutional, then you are getting into a solipsistic original intent argument that you can only verify with the aid of telepathy and a time machine.

Posted by: Reality Man on July 29, 2006 at 1:21 AM | PERMALINK

"Reality Man" thank you for making my point even though you have no idea what your talking about.
If its "neutral" that is because the free market has already established a "minimum wage" higher than the governments.
As for the opposite, explain that please.
You can't, because its impossible.
Again, raise the price, reduce demand. That is a fact.

Posted by: Chaufist on July 29, 2006 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

Huffing cleaning fluid is close, but this has the traits of a full-blown pcp-induced psychosis.

Say, Chaufist, you got anything you wanna tell us? Might help to get it off your chest; maybe come clean before they show up with bloodhounds and start digging in your back yard...

Posted by: eightnine2718281828mu5 on July 29, 2006 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK

Charlie using his latest in his now over three dozen aliases wrote: "richest of the idle rich" -- gotta love that class welfare.

This is not about soaking the rich. It's about everyone paying their fair share for the opportunity/resources they've used. It's about America being a meritocracy.

At the moment, American 'haves' can pretty much take the publicly-provided opportunity America gives (opportunity they didn't create and that would not be available to them in Mozambique or Mongolia) and not pay a fair price. If you want to categorize a demand for fairness as class warfare, please go ahead. I suspect you'll lose.

OT on class warfare: I remember reading an article in the Economist a few years back the results of which seemed to indicate that most people on top would actually choose an overall drop in their living standard if the gap between them and those below them could be increased. It's all about the gap - growing it for the 'haves' and reducing it for the 'have-nots'. I'll admit I have a root prejudice for the more egalitarian model. I've always been leery of concentrated power, political or economic.

Posted by: snicker-snack on July 29, 2006 at 1:25 AM | PERMALINK

A worker being paid today's minimum wage and working 40 hours a week would gross a grand total of $10,712 annually.

And you dumbass Republicans wonder why some of our workers come to the conclusion that collecting welfare beats working?

Posted by: eyeball on July 29, 2006 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

Nineth and tenth amendments schmuck.
So if a President does it, its constitutional?
That is your arguement.
How do you know Eisenhower didn't believe defense wasn't the "real reason".
BTW: Even if it was partly the reason, defense of this country has been, and still is, the primary reason and responsibility of the Federal government.
Can't you read? No.

Posted by: Chaufist on July 29, 2006 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

No it doesn't. Read it schmuck.

An example: A maid's job in Beverly Hills, California is worth the same as a maid's job in Bangor, Maine?
God, your dumb.
Posted by: Chaufist on July 29, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

You ignore the fact that minimum wages vary across states as well because they can set their own policies. The minimum wage in CA is $6.75 across the state, $8.82 in San Francisco, and $9.08 in LA. According to the Department of Labor, "the Maine minimum wage is automatically replaced with the Federal minimum wage rate if it is higher than the State minimum with the exception that any such increase is limited to no more than $1.00 per hour above the current legislated State rate." Meanwhile, in Kansas "The State law excludes from coverage any employment that is subject to the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act." A lot of interplay is in effect here. A federal minimum wage does not standardize the minimum wage across America.

Compare minimum wage rates here:
http://www.dol.gov/esa/minwage/america.htm

Wikipedia has some extra explanation on California that actually cites sources (rare for Wikipedia):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._state_minimum_wages

Posted by: Reality Man on July 29, 2006 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

If you're complaining about the tax rate on estates greater than 25 million (50 for a couple) you're not only among the richest of the idle rich, you're a whiny jerkoff.

Posted by: B on July 29, 2006 at 1:36 AM | PERMALINK

November 10th 2004

A bunch of people at our party last night asked me why I have felt - for a long time - that George W. Bush would win. It was a party, so I didn't relate the following non-scientific answer. Besides, the answer is a depressing one.

On September 1, as we all recall, Islamic terrorists took more than 1,300 hostages at a middle school in Beslan, Russia. Most of the hostages were children. Fifty-three hours later, as Russian troops stormed the school, the terrorists started executing hostages. In the end, 335 people lay dead, over half of them children. Nearly 700 were injured. On the morning that the extent of the Beslan holocaust was becoming known, my Mom and I were leaving Kennebunkport. We stood in Meserve's with a lot of Americans, getting coffee or whatever, watching the horrifying news come in on CNN. Nobody said anything. Some people shook their heads, but nobody really said anything.

But you could see it on the faces of the Americans standing around us: September 11, 2001, was not just a part of U.S. history - it was, and remains, a part of their national identity. It underscores who they are, now: fear, and uncertainty, and anger, and isolation. It's the way things are now in Beslan, too, I suspect, and understandably so.

Fear, uncertainty, anger, isolation: those aren't the things George W. Bush has tried to change. Those are the things that he has used to get himself re-elected.

So we got in the car and drove North, fast.

Posted by: JFD on July 29, 2006 at 1:47 AM | PERMALINK

Again, raise the price, reduce demand. That is a fact.
Posted by: Chaufist on July 29, 2006 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, the minimum wage hasn't always acted like that. This is not an iron law for all economic behavior. For instance, raising the price of luxury goods can raise the demand for the good as well because people who buy luxury goods often use price as a proxy for determining quality. To quote from a Slate article on the minimum wage:

"In fact, the power of the minimum wage to kill jobs has been greatly overestimated. Nowadays, most labor economists will tell you that that minimum wages have at most a tiny impact on employment.

Twenty years ago, they'd have told you otherwise. Back then, dozens of published studies concluded that minimum wages had put a lot of people (especially teenagers, blacks, and women) out of work. As the studies continued to pile up, you might think we'd have grown more confident about their common conclusion. Instead, the opposite happened. Even though the studies were all in agreement, they managed to undercut each other.

Here's how: Ordinarily, studies with large sample sizes should be more convincing than studies with small sample sizes. Following the fates of 10,000 workers should tell you more than following the fates of 1,000 workers. But with the minimum-wage studies, that wasn't happening. According to the standard tests of statistical significance, the results of the large-scale studies were, by and large, neither more nor less significant than the results of the small-scale studies. That's screwy. Screwy enough to suggest that the studies being published couldn't possibly be a representative sample of the studies being conducted.

Here's why that matters: Even if minimum wages don't affect employment at all, about five out of every 100 studies will, for unavoidable statistical reasons, appear to show a significant effect. If you could read all 100 studies, that wouldn't be a problem95 conclude the minimum wage is pretty harmless as far as employment goes, five conclude it's a big job-killer, you realize the latter five are spurious, and you draw the appropriate conclusion. But if the 95 studies that found no effect were deemed uninteresting and never got published, then all you'd see were the spurious five. And then the next year, another five, and the next year another five.

Even when the bulk of all research says one thing, the bulk of all published research can tell a very different and very misleading story.

How do we know what was in all the unpublished research about the minimum wage? Of course we don't know for sure, but here's what we do know: First, the big published studies were no more statistically significant than the small ones. Second, this shouldn't happen if the published results fairly represent all the results. Third, that means there must be some important difference between the published and the unpublished work. And fourth, that means we should be very skeptical of what we see in the published papers.

Now that we've re-evaluated the evidence with all this in mind, here's what most labor economists believe: The minimum wage kills very few jobs, and the jobs it kills were lousy jobs anyway. It is almost impossible to maintain the old argument that minimum wages are bad for minimum-wage workers.

In fact, the minimum wage is very good for unskilled workers. It transfers income to them. And therein lies the right argument against the minimum wage."

http://www.slate.com/id/2103486/

Nineth and tenth amendments schmuck.
So if a President does it, its constitutional?
That is your arguement.
How do you know Eisenhower didn't believe defense wasn't the "real reason".
BTW: Even if it was partly the reason, defense of this country has been, and still is, the primary reason and responsibility of the Federal government.
Can't you read? No.
Posted by: Chaufist on July 29, 2006 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

Now you are just putting words in my mouth. If I remember my old work in logics and discrete math, the opposite of A is Not A. It is not B. Just as the opposite of moral is not immoral, but is amoral, the opposite of explicitly constutional is not explicitly constitutional; The opposite is not unconstitutional. If the Constitution forbids an action, such as illegal search and seizure or suppression of free speech, then it is unconstitutional. However, if it is not banned by the Constitution, such as Congress deciding to declare that May 23rd is National Duck Appreciation Day, then there is no mechanism to stop them. You can argue that there should be, but you are on shaky legal ground. If a person in a country without the equivalent of our 9th Amendment commits an act that is not explicitly illegal (assuming that some measure of restraining the state exists in law, unlike in Burma), such as jumping on one foot, he has not committed a crime. Any legal action taken against him by the state would be an arbitrary use of power without legal backing even if police had the gunpower to force their will (which can happen anywhere the state has guns, such as the massacres on American campuses in the 1960s). This would not be an exercise of law. The difference is there. The 9th Amendment exists simply to underscore the point that power cannot be used to curtail the citizens' rights unless laws are passed against certain types of behavior and those laws do not violate the constitution.

Posted by: Reality Man on July 29, 2006 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

The above figure of $25 million is in error.

Under current Republican-passed law, the exemption for deaths occurring in 2006, 2007, and 2008 is $2 million. For 2009, it's $3.5 million. For 2010, it's infinity, that is, the estate tax does not apply to estates of those who die in 2010. In 2011, under current law, the exemption returns to $1 million, the same value that prevailed in 2003. Married couples can pass twice these amounts tax-free to their heirs.

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on July 29, 2006 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

Under current Republican-passed law, the exemption for deaths occurring in 2006, 2007, and 2008 is $2 million. For 2009, it's $3.5 million. For 2010, it's infinity, that is, the estate tax does not apply to estates of those who die in 2010. In 2011, under current law, the exemption returns to $1 million, the same value that prevailed in 2003. Married couples can pass twice these amounts tax-free to their heirs.
Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on July 29, 2006 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

Who wants to start a pool to see which famous rich guy is the first to kick it in 2010 during mysterious accidents hiking or windsurfing with their useless children? Will it be Trump, Murdoch, Gates, Buffet, Tunrner or one of the many Walton family? Maybe a member of the NBA or NFL? Maybe Romeo will see to it Master P has an accident. You know, it may be worth it to get rid of the estate tax just to see Trump bumped off by his kids.

Posted by: Reality Man on July 29, 2006 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK

"You can argue that there should be, but you are on shaky legal ground."

I forgot to finish this sentence while doing something else. It should read "you can argue that there should be, but you are on shaky legal ground if you try to use the Constitution and the concept of unconstitutionalism to back up you're claim."

Posted by: Reality Man on July 29, 2006 at 2:12 AM | PERMALINK

The above figure of $25 million is in error.

Read the linked article, Joel. The Republican proposal lowers the maximum tax rate for estates over 25 million from 46% (2006) to 30%. Estates under 25 million would be taxed at the capital gains rate (currently 15%).

Posted by: B on July 29, 2006 at 2:14 AM | PERMALINK

From the article:

Under the bill, estates worth $5 million -- or $10 million for a married couple -- would be exempted from taxation. Inheritances above that threshold and up to $25 million would be taxed at capital gains rates, currently 15 percent. Estates worth more than $25 million would be taxed at 30 percent

Posted by: B on July 29, 2006 at 2:19 AM | PERMALINK

Reality Man wrote, "The minimum wage kills very few jobs, and the jobs it kills were lousy jobs anyway."
Better to have no job then a "lousy job"?
What is the definition of a "lousy job"?
So you agree minimum wage kills jobs.
Thank you.
God, you need to get your head checked.

Posted by: Chaufist on July 29, 2006 at 2:56 AM | PERMALINK

Better to have no job then a "lousy job"? What is the definition of a "lousy job"? So you agree minimum wage kills jobs. Thank you. God, you need to get your head checked.

OK, smug troll. Who said this: there are good, honorable, hardworking people here doing jobs Americans wont do." ?

What are these jobs that Americans won't do? Wouldn't they rather have one of them than no job? So you agree that Bush's immigration proposals kill jobs? Thank you. headcheck, blah, blah, blah.

Posted by: toast on July 29, 2006 at 3:04 AM | PERMALINK

If the GOP gets its way on this, it could lead to a killer Democratic ad this fall: show a crowd of working people from a variety of occupations, with the voiceover, "Yes, the minimum wage has been raised, but for thousands of the working poor, the collective increase equals the amount of Republican-backed inheritance tax cuts for one person." A huge shadow suddenly looms over the crowd, and a skyscraper-scale pair of female legs, clad in expensive, sexy heels, is revealed to be standing next to them. A Paris Hilton soundalike, with reverb to make her sound like a giant, then coos, "That's hot!" The voiceover replies, "That's not. Vote Democratic."

Posted by: Vincent on July 29, 2006 at 3:05 AM | PERMALINK

Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers

Posted by: data on July 29, 2006 at 3:14 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: dd on July 29, 2006 at 3:19 AM | PERMALINK

Yes Enrich Frist and Friends at the expense of the Working Man...

Talk about "COMPASSIONATE CONSERVATISM"
and the "MORAL MAJORITY"
Bushco and friends are more like organized crime than government.
==
"Congressional Republicans have seemingly been obsessed with only one thing over the last year, pulling out all the stops by doing anything at all in their power to give their friends, their campaign contributors, family farms and small businesses a tax cut worth upwards of $1 trillion.

Almost all respectable media outlets, congressional offices, outside analysts and even most Americans now understand that the fight to repeal the estate tax is not about fighting for the little guy or the needs of average Americans, but is really about a windfall welfare program for the heirs of the outrageously mega-richwith the 18 families at the top of the list." -Tom Paine

Posted by: Tau on July 29, 2006 at 3:21 AM | PERMALINK

Paris Hilton,welfare whore, would be serving soup du jour and smoking crack with the bus boys had she to be independent.

A Welfare whore is a Welfare whore no matter who pays.

Posted by: Paris the Peasant on July 29, 2006 at 3:36 AM | PERMALINK

When you raise the price you reduce demand.
That is a fact Kevin. If you don't believe that then why shouldn't Congress raise the minimum wage to 100 dollars an hour?
==
Then why don't they regulate the price of gas genius? The price of fuel drives up the cost of airline tickets, it drives up the cost of shipping, it drives up the cost of living, it drives up your electric bill.
HOW are you gonna pay for all these increases
without a raise?

Posted by: Paris the Peasant on July 29, 2006 at 3:40 AM | PERMALINK

When you raise the price you reduce demand.
That is a fact Kevin. If you don't believe that then why shouldn't Congress raise the minimum wage to 100 dollars an hour?
============
Congress just voted a raise for themselves, did you notice any reduced demand for lobbyists?
A reduced demand for new laws?

Exxon and Others have record profits with fuel at 3$ a gallon. Reduced Demand? So the Less Gas I use the higher it goes? Explain this.

And the less fuel I use the higher it goes and so does my electricity bill--even though I use less electricity? So I pay more for less and less. WTF?

Posted by: Think ABout it on July 29, 2006 at 3:47 AM | PERMALINK

If you give raise to highschool kids, you might as well give a tax cut their parents who hire them.

Posted by: aaron on July 29, 2006 at 3:58 AM | PERMALINK

when will you fuckers stop whining about the GOP and start buying guns?

we need to KILL THE RICH. this is not satire. i'm serious.

Posted by: enough on July 29, 2006 at 5:04 AM | PERMALINK

The creature called Chaufist, whose Randian obsession with the minimum wage belies his or her obvious identity as one of the Walton children, regales us with some typically thoughtful conservative arguments:

- You really are a thick headed, stupid schmuck.
- You are a loser. The best thing you can do for this world and most of all yourself, is commit suicide.
- You are a piece of shit.
- You are a hypocrite but like all hypocrites a stupid shit too.
- God, where you born that dumb or did you have to work at it?

And of course, the capper:

God, your dumb.

Bless the Internet. It's like anthropology, observing these specimens in action.

Posted by: R.Porrofatto on July 29, 2006 at 5:25 AM | PERMALINK


i think it was -craigie-

that said it best....

...

Conservatives believe that in order to motivate the POOR, you have to pay them less.

Conservatives believe that in order to motivate the RICH, you have to pay them more.

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on July 29, 2006 at 6:56 AM | PERMALINK

"Taxes are the price we pay for civilized society."
---Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

Posted by: Quotation Man on July 29, 2006 at 7:14 AM | PERMALINK

the cult of republicanism proves over and over and over again that they stand for wanton greed.

Posted by: pluege on July 29, 2006 at 7:35 AM | PERMALINK

There are people with degrees working at Burger King because they can't find a job in their field. The reality is, if we could magically give everybody a degree/trade, it wouldn't change things much at all, because the labor pool isn't dependant on how much education is in it. The labor pool is dependant on what work there is and needs to be done.

Because people are hired not because of how much money they are paid, but because of what work needs to be done, that's what makes raising the minimum wage not negativly cause much unemployment at all. There are some jobs that don't "create enough wealth", I guess, to justify the new pay rate, and those jobs will go.

However, those losses are balanced by new jobs, as people have more money to spend, so there's more demand, especially at the lower levels, because of more demand, companies have more labor that needs to be done, so they hire more.

Posted by: Karmakin on July 29, 2006 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

It's about the "social contract." It's about a "government of the people, by the people, for the people."

Doesn't mention "corporations" in the Declaration of Independance or the Constitution, for that matter.

Posted by: Chief on July 29, 2006 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

Chaufist, inasmuch as you aren't bright or educated enough to know the difference between "your" and "you're", perhaps you should refrain from calling other people stupid. Just a suggestion.

Posted by: Donna Q on July 29, 2006 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

"People shouldnt be able to earn a living wage working the counter at Burger King. There has to be incentive for people to stay in school, learn skills that are in the demand in the workplace and acquire enough social skills to be employable."


If people are working at Burger King then they are in demand, and they have enough social skills to be employable.

What they may not have are the abilities to go to college or learn skills that are more complicated than working at Burger King. Why should someone be looked down on because Burger King is the best job they will ever be able to do. Why not honor and respect them for reaching whatever their maximum potential is and pay them a wage which allows a person to have a decent minimum standard of life in the "richest country in the world"?

And according to the link provided about minimum wage workers more than 50% of minimum wage workers are over 25. That's a lot of adults working 40 hours a week just to stay below the poverty line.

Posted by: Prudence Goodwife on July 29, 2006 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

Wretched. Where do I go to get my country back on a good track... and off the over-the-cliff track?

Posted by: other jerry on July 29, 2006 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

Yo, Kevin. Elimination of the estate tax is the only thing that the Republicans have done to the advantage of gay people. What have the Democrats done, except to affirm and re-affirm their opposition to equal rights for gay people?

Since we are gay, why in the world should I oppose the elimination of the estate tax? Because it might cause an imposition on your children? Give me a break. Democrats don't do very much for gay people, so why should we care what debts your children might have to pay?

Posted by: raj on July 29, 2006 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

"Great wealth only comes from great exploitation."
--Jack Jezreal

Posted by: Quotation Man on July 29, 2006 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

"the cult of republicanism proves over and over and over again that they stand for wanton greed"

Tell me why it's ok for the gov't to take up to 50% of a family's wealth upon the death of an elder.

Tell me why it's ok to tax that wealth again after it was already taxed when it was earned.

Tell me why the gov't seeking up to 50% of estates via taxation is not wanton greed by the gov't.

Posted by: Jay on July 29, 2006 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

"And according to the link provided about minimum wage workers more than 50% of minimum wage workers are over 25. That's a lot of adults working 40 hours a week just to stay below the poverty line."

That's a lot of children not paying attention in school and a lot of young adults making bad decisions.

But it's not their fault right? It's societies fault.

Tell me why over 65% of Laotians that migrated following the Vietnam war are now homeowners and business owners.

Posted by: Jay on July 29, 2006 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

it's only fair that you also give several million dollars to the richest of the idle rich.


You mean "not take."

Posted by: jj on July 29, 2006 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

"But it's not their fault right? It's societies fault."

No it's natures "fault", or if you believe in that kinda stuff, God's

"Tell me why over 65% of Laotians that migrated following the Vietnam war are now homeowners and business owners."

I don't know, maybe only the smartest, hardest working Laotians were the ones to make it to the US? What about the other 35%?

It seems as if you have proven my point, no matter how much education you have you can't make an idiot into a genius.

And no I am not calling people who do not have high IQs idiots, just Jay.

Posted by: Prudence Goodwife on July 29, 2006 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Also I've worked at minimum wage because circumstances demanded it and I can assyre you that my fellow messengers & I worked our asses off. Many minimum wage workers work hard, so lets not throw around that particular canard.

Don't wory jay I'm not talking about abusing a poor little duck.

Posted by: Prudence Goodwife on July 29, 2006 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Exactly how is it "natures" fault?

This one I can't wait to hear.


"It seems as if you have proven my point...."

You had no point, you only had a pity campaign slogan.

Posted by: Jay on July 29, 2006 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

"Tell me why it's ok for the gov't to take up to 50% of a family's wealth upon the death of an elder."

Because hereditary aristocracies are bad for society.

"Tell me why it's ok to tax that wealth again after it was already taxed when it was earned."

Because it's changed hands. Same reason it's ok to charge me sales tax when I purchase something with dollars that have already been subject to income tax.

"Tell me why the gov't seeking up to 50% of estates via taxation is not wanton greed by the gov't."

Why should I? The burden isn't on me to prove the negative. You tell us why the gov't seeking estate taxes *is* wanton greed.

Posted by: Joel on July 29, 2006 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Jay:

- Tell me why it's O.K. for the government to run up massive debt and hand the bill to my children?

- Tell me why it's O.K. for the government to rush Israel bombs so they can blow up innocent civilians?

- Tell me why it's O.K. for the government to collect the phone records of every person in America and sift through them for somthing/anything to prosecute us for?

- Tell me why it is O.K. for the government to take my tax money and invade and occupy a foreign country that wasn't the least threat to us?

- Tell me why it is O.K. for this government to torture innocent people in our name?

When you can answer those questions to my satisfaction, I will give you my opinion on why it is fair to take 50% of Paris Hilton's trust fund that she worked so hard to "earn".

Best regards,

Stephen Kriz

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on July 29, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

raj:

Well, there's an argument I haven't heard.

Posted by: Thomas on July 29, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

"Don't wory jay I'm not talking about abusing a poor little duck"

What's this?

I never inferred that minimum wage workers do not work hard. I inferred that they haven't taken the time to learn and apply the skills necessary to compete in the labor market. You could pull yourself out of a minimum wage job by taking the time to attend job seminars and/or vocational classes to obtain a targeted higher paying position.

By seeking a targeted set of skills, you're income could improve greatly within two years.

Posted by: Jay on July 29, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

"By seeking a targeted set of skills, you're income could improve greatly within two years."

Heh.

Gotta admire a guy who dishes out advice about job skills and doesn't know the difference between you're and your.

Posted by: Joel on July 29, 2006 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

According to the five minutes that my stomach could take of LIMPBOW yesterday...the "whiny liberals" are just jealous of all the rich folk (like himself) and don't want the tax breaks even IF it will give more money to the little, poor people...after all more money in their pockets will make their lives so much better...but, NO, we just want to hurt the wealthy!!! MY GOD, what color is the sky in his reality???

Posted by: Dancer on July 29, 2006 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

"MY GOD, what color is the sky in his reality???"

Rush Limbaugh experiences reality? Who knew?

Posted by: Joel on July 29, 2006 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

I'm no biologist but I'm pretty sure that not every person is born with the same mental or physical capacities.

You have some Einsteins, you have have some autistics and in between there are many, many gradations.

My point is that every worker should be treated with respect and that there should be some form of living wage for everybody who holds a job. It's not like I'm advocating Lee Raymond salaries for burger flippers.

And I've never met a person that asked for pity, just a raise.

Do you think we all share the same intelligence, because if I share yours then I may have a little pity party for myself.

Posted by: Prudence Goodwife on July 29, 2006 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

"When you can answer those questions to my satisfaction........"

I have no desire to do ANYTHING to your satisfaction.

"Life was better in Iraq under Saddam"
Stephen Kriz

Mr. Kriz, I only hope that the Democrats will run their '08 campaign on the very questions you posed because that is truly the lefts identity. They tend to hide their true agenda when it comes to election time.

Joel, why do you fell the need to punish families like the Kenndys, Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, Hiltons, etc. etc?

Does this make you feel better, like you actually care? Does it not bother you that that taxation will do NOTHING to improve society and only serves to punish hard work.

I guess robbing Peter to NOT pay Paul is your vision of a fair society.

Posted by: Jay on July 29, 2006 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

"Don't wory jay I'm not talking about abusing a poor little duck"

What's this?

It's a joke. Maybe you should use you're (sic) dictionary

Posted by: prudence Goodwife on July 29, 2006 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

"taxation will do NOTHING to improve society"


Then move to Sudan, I hear their tax rates are very reasonable.

Posted by: Prudence Goodwife on July 29, 2006 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

"Joel, why do you fell [sic] the need to punish families like the Kenndys, Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, Hiltons, etc. etc?"

I don't. Why do you feel the need to make such silly statements?

"Does it not bother you that that taxation will do NOTHING to improve society and only serves to punish hard work."

It would if it were true, but of course it isn't. Taxation paid for interstate highways. Taxation pays for the enforcement of banking and investment laws that protect the weath and capital that built and maintains this country. Taxation pays for the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control that create new knowledge to maintain the public health.

Taxation created the internet, that allows you to prattle endlessly about stuff you know nothing about . . . oh, wait, you did say "improve" society. Forget that last bit.

Posted by: Joel on July 29, 2006 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, yeah, and there's this bit of stupidity:

" . . . only serves to punish hard work."

Inheriting wealth is hard work? Really? For whom?

I've inherited money. I didn't have to do anything for it except deposit the check. It wasn't any kind of "work" at all.

Posted by: Joel on July 29, 2006 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Since we are gay, why in the world should I oppose the elimination of the estate tax? Because it might cause an imposition on your children? Give me a break. Democrats don't do very much for gay people, so why should we care what debts your children might have to pay?

Are you serious? Deficits don't matter to gay people? Middle East peace, nuclear waste storage, and global warming must be spectacularly irrelevant.

You sound like the unlikely offspring of a WSJ editor, author of "Republicans; the champions of gay rights" and Slim Pickens in drag riding a nuclear bomb.

Posted by: toast on July 29, 2006 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

Eliminating the estate tax exposes republican tax policy for the scam that it is. What could be more of an incentive for the wealthy to spend money so it trickles down to the slovering masses than an estate tax something that is completely avoidable if the very rich would just spend their money in the here and now. Republicans, if they were honest (which we all know theyre not) should be clamoring to raise the estate tax to encourage more spending, not insisting on its elimination.

Encouraging spending by the uber rich is also so very American as it encourages the settee class to go out and earn their way like the rest. Passing on great wealth (as opposed to spending great wealth) is a very unAmerican thing to do.

Posted by: pluege on July 29, 2006 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Word.

Posted by: Joel on July 29, 2006 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

The Republican Party is the party for the rich, the Democrats are for the working man.

Posted by: Boorring on July 29, 2006 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

Tell me why over 65% of Laotians that migrated following the Vietnam war are now homeowners and business owners.
Posted by: Jay

Let's start with resettlement grants and generously subsidized loans...also a demonstarted willingness to completely ignore US labor, immigration and tax laws and go from there shall we?

Down here on the Gulf Coast we got a close-up view of this process as the government set the Vietnamese up in the shrimping/seafood processing business...and, yeah, they were doing very well indeed (Rita and Katrina took all those new McMansions in East New Orleans). But don't expect the displaced domestic shrimpers to be happy about it.

I believe it was Honore de Balzac who observed that behind every great fortune was a great crime.

Posted by: CFShep on July 29, 2006 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Do you actually believe this stuff when you write it?

My gripe was with the attitude that cutting taxes means the government is giving money to people, rather than taking less from them.

In a different way, an increase in the minimum wage also doesn't give money to people. When the minimum wage is increased, some who earn minimum wage will get a raise. That's not the new law giving them money -- their employer would be giving them more money. This is not just an academic distinction, because the employer may choose to fire his low-paid workers, rather than give pay them more.

This happened to me. When in high school I was fired from a summer job when the minimum wage was raised. The factory owner told my immediate boss that I wasn't worth the extra 10%. In retrospect, he was right. My job wasn't necessary. The factory ran just fine without me.

Today, it's easer than ever for an employer to do without a low-paid worker, because jobs can be automated and because there are illegal immigrants who are willing to work off the books for less than minimum wage.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 29, 2006 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Gotta admire a guy who dishes out advice about job skills and doesn't know the difference between you're and your.

And who also can't distinguish between inference and implication.

Posted by: Donna Q on July 29, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Donna Q you stupid cunt.
I write quickly and post. Usually from work.
Time and place for everything. Consider the circumstances.
Thanks for the lesson.
Now, can you give me an explanation on how raising the minimum wage raises the standard of living. This will require facts and examples.
Good ahead, lets hear it.
Oh, where in the US Constitution does it give the Federal Government the power to decide what a job is worth?

Posted by: Chaufist on July 29, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Jay,

You pathetic little man, you can't answer my questions because there are no sane or rational responses. That is why your posts on this blog amount to mental diarrhea and are simply an annoyance to everyone involved. You repeat yourself, you accuse those who disagree with you of positions they do not hold and you defend the indefensible. Just go away. Instapundit and other right-wing blogs would love to have mental midgets like you join their ranks. I get enough of your kind of thinking when I visit my son's junior high. Now, go piss off.

SK

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on July 29, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Jay: Does this make you feel better, like you actually care? Does it not bother you that that taxation will do NOTHING to improve society and only serves to punish hard work.

Hard work? How does this apply to your own situation? We've already established that you're unemployed and unemployable. What are you "working hard" at? Collecting porn and carpet lint?

Posted by: Thomas on July 29, 2006 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

By seeking a targeted set of skills, you're income could improve greatly within two years.

Posted by: Jay on July 29, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

"Donna Q you stupid cunt.
I write quickly and post. Usually from work."
Posted by: Chaufist on July 29, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Chaufist- are you working so hard that you can't even tell when someone is insulting Jay's solecisms & not yours. Or are you 1/3 of the Three Moroneteers- Stupidity for one, stupidity for all.

Posted by: Prudence Goodwife on July 29, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

"I believe it was Honore de Balzac who observed that behind every great fortune was a great crime."

This is a perfect example of the liberal mindset. Tell me what crimes did the Fords engage in.

The Laotians were successful largely because of their work ethic and determination. Many of the current US residents in poverty do not have these traits. They were able to parlay what they were given from the gov't (which incidentally was no more than given to a broad range of groups) into a very nice living. They take care of their families and pass down the wealth, which is the wealth you want to take back from them.

We need more rich families, not less.

Did you hear that Joel?

Posted by: Jay on July 29, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas you have yet to establish anything except your own blind conjecture and hatred because of the realization that most of the world doesn't have your form of brain damage.

Get a job.

Posted by: Jay on July 29, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Your questions were nothing more than ignorant rants from a deluded liberal Kriz. You represent the stupidity wing of the minority party.

The fact that you want to silence me is further proof of your desire for facism. Hence your quote,

"Life was better in Iraq under Saddam"

That speaks VOLUMES.

Posted by: Jay on July 29, 2006 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

I have no desire to do ANYTHING to your satisfaction.

I need to amend that comment. I have neither the desire, the ability, nor the intelligence.

Posted by: Jay on July 29, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

"Did you hear that Joel?"

Sure. What this has to do with estate taxes, I couldn't begin to guess. Did you actually, you know, have a point, Jay?

Didn't think so.

Moron.

Posted by: Joel on July 29, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

"What this has to do with estate taxes, I couldn't begin to guess"

It's the inhertance tax Joel, we're talking about. The tax that you so gleefully want to impose on hard working families that choose to save for their childrens future. Your belief is that that money should not be passed down, without upwards of 50% taxation.

"I couldn't begin to guess."

Trust me, I know.

Posted by: Jay on July 29, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Paris Hilton needs $100 million to protect herself from her own stupidity, $50 million simply isn't enough.
I believe in rewarding lazy, worthless, wastes of oxygen.

Posted by: Jay on July 29, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Arteclectic said:

"Frankly, I wasnt in favor of a minimum wage increase in the first place, but this move by the GOP makes this a must fail. People shouldnt be able to earn a living wage working the counter at Burger King. There has to be incentive for people to stay in school, learn skills that are in the demand in the workplace and acquire enough social skills to be employable."

If there were enough jobs available at higher levels, I would find your point more attractive. But there arent. And tuition at universities, even state universities, is basically out of the question for anyone who is only able to get a minimum-wage job. Even the lower tuition at 2-year colleges. Do you think a person earning a miminum wage will be able to pay more than basic expenses, much less tuition as well?

Also, see Karmakins reply to you:

Karmakin said:

"There are people with degrees working at Burger King because they can't find a job in their field. The reality is, if we could magically give everybody a degree/trade, it wouldn't change things much at all, because the labor pool isn't dependant on how much education is in it. The labor pool is dependant on what work there is and needs to be done."

Not to mention that many of the jobs which do require a fair amount of higher education are being bled off by outsourcing.

Moreover, there are people who dont have high verbal or spatio-mathematical types of intelligence, the two types needed to succeed in higher education. Thats not to say that these people are stupid; I subscribe to Howard Gartners philosophy of multiple types of intelligence. Some people are excellent mechanics, for instance, which requires a high degree of kinesthetic intelligence.

It is becoming more and more difficult for people who arent particularly verbal or mathematical, and there are plenty of them. Back when all societies will still largely agrarian, there was employment for these people. Current Western societies have little provision for them, except at Burger King, or as maids in motels, stoop labor on farms, etc.

My point is that not everyone has or can develop the particular skill sets through getting more education, and there is no guarantee that jobs would be there for those that do acquire these skill sets.

Burgers still need flipping, beds need making, restrooms need cleaning, crops need picking, etc. If people are working at these jobs and performing them competently, then they should be paid a living wage.

NONE of us liberals have ever suggested a minimum wage of $100 by the way. Thats a silly strawman.

Posted by: Wolfdaughter on July 29, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

"[The] Question then arises . . .What is the proper mode of administering wealth after the laws upon which civilization is founded have thrown it into the hands of the few. . . . It will be under stood that fortunes are here spoken of, not moderate sums saved by many years of effort, the returns from which are required for the comfortable maintenance and education of families. This is not wealth, but only competence, which it should be the aim of all to acquire, and which it is for the best interests of society should be acquired.

There are but three modes in which surplus wealth can be disposed of. It can be left to the families of the decendents; or it can be bequeathed for public purposes; or, finally, it can be administered by its possessors during their lives. . . . The first is the most injudicious. . . .

. . . the question which forces itself upon thoughtful men in all lands is, Why should men leave great fortunes to their children. If this is done from affection, is it not misguided affection. Observation teaches that, generally speaking, it is not well for the children that they should be so burdened. Neither is it well for the State. Beyond providing for the wife and daughters moderate sources of income, and very moderate allowances indeed, if any, for the sons, men may well hesitate; for it is no longer questionable that great sums bequeathed often work more for the injury than for- the good of the recipients. Wise men will soon conclude that, for the best interests of the members of their families, and of the State, such bequests are an improper use of their means.

It is not suggested that men who have failed to educate their sons to earn a livelihood shall cast them adrift in poverty. If any man has seen fit to rear his sons with a view to their living idle lives, or, what is highly commendable, has instilled in them the sentiment that they are in a position to labor for public ends without reference to pecuniary considerations, then, of course, the duty of the parent is to see that such are provided for in moderation. There are instances of millionaires' sons unspoiled by wealth, who, being rich, still perform great services to the community. Such are the very salt of the earth, as valuable as, unfortunately, they are rare. It is not the exception however, but the rule, that men must regard; and, looking at the usual result of enormous sums conferred upon legatees, the thoughtful man must shortly say, "I would as soon leave to my son a curse as the almighty dollar," and admit to himself that it is not the welfare of the children, but family pride, which inspires these legacies.

. . . Of all forms of taxation this seems the wisest. Men who continue hoarding great sums all their lives, the proper use of which for public ends would work good to the community from which it chiefly came, should be made to feel that the community, in the form of the State, cannot thus be deprived of its proper share. By tax ing estates heavily at death the State marks its condemnation of the selfish millionaire's unworthy life.
It is desirable that nations should go much further in this direction. Indeed, it is difficult to set bounds to the share of a rich man's estate which should go at his death to the public through the agency of the State, and by all means such taxes should be graduated, beginning at nothing upon moderate sums to dependents, and increasing rapidly as the amounts swell, until of the millionaire's hoard, as of Shylock's, at least
The other half
Comes to the privy coffer of the State.
This policy would work powerfully to induce the rich man to attend to the administration of wealth during his life, which is the end that society should always have in view, as being by far the most fruitful for the people. Nor need it be feared that this policy would sap the root of enterprise and render men less anxious to accumulate, for, to the class whose ambition it is to leave great fortunes and be talked about after their death, it will attract even more attention, and, indeed, be a somewhat nobler ambition, to have enormous sums paid over to the State from their fortunes . . ."

Andew Carnegie, The Gospel of Wealth, 1889

"In addition to these there is every reason why, when next our system of taxation is revised, the National Government should impose a graduated inheritance tax, and, if possible, a graduated income tax. The man of great wealth owes a peculiar obligation to the State, because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government. Not only should he recognize this obligation in the way he leads his daily life and in the way he earns and spends his money, but it should also be recognized by the way in which he pays for the protection the State gives him.

. . . As a matter of personal conviction, and without pretending to discuss the details or formulate the system, I feel that we shall ultimately have to consider the adoption of some such scheme as that of a progressive tax on all fortunes, beyond a certain amount either given in life or devised or bequeathed upon death to any individual--a tax so framed as to put it out of the power of the owner of one of these enormous fortunes to hand on more than a certain amount to any one individual; the tax, of course, to be imposed by the National and not the State Government.

Such taxation should, of course, be aimed merely at the inheritance or transmission in their entirety of those fortunes swollen beyond all healthy limits."
Theodore Roosevelt, 1906 (two speeches)

"The transmission from generation to generation of vast fortunes by will, inheritance or gift is not consistent with the ideals and sentiments of the American people. Inherited economic power is as inconsistent with the ideals of this generation as inherited political power was inconsistent with the ideals of the generation which established our Government.''
-FDR, 1935

Posted by: Dan S. on July 29, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

"The tax that you so gleefully want to impose on hard working families that choose to save for their childrens future."

Jay, you one dull-witted troll.

The wealth of hard-working people is not subject to inheritance tax, as long as they earned their wealth and didn't inherit it. Inheritance taxes begin when the person who earned the wealth dies. When a person dies, they are no longer hard-working, nor are they enjoying the fruits of their previous hard work. They are dead.

If that wealth is transferred to a person who did not earn it (what we mean by the term inheritance), the person who receives the money that was not previously theirs is subject to an inheritance tax.

For most of us, the idea is a simple, reasonable, and fair one. I'm sorry it is so hard for you to comprehend its elementary logic, Jay.

Posted by: Joel on July 29, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, I lapsed momentarily into Jay-speak. That should have read: "Jay, you are one dull-witted troll."

Posted by: Joel on July 29, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

Raj:

"Yo, Kevin. Elimination of the estate tax is the only thing that the Republicans have done to the advantage of gay people. What have the Democrats done, except to affirm and re-affirm their opposition to equal rights for gay people?

Since we are gay, why in the world should I oppose the elimination of the estate tax? Because it might cause an imposition on your children? Give me a break. Democrats don't do very much for gay people, so why should we care what debts your children might have to pay?"

Wow. Can you spell shortsighted?

I am a straight female, 60 years old. I did not have children. But that doesnt mean that I dont care about other peoples children. And even though I wont be around after another 20 years or so, I still want to see that OTHER PEOPLES CHILDREN have a decent life and a decent planet to live on.

In any case, from a strictly selfish standpoint, I BENEFIT from my taxes and those of others, in terms of roads to drive on, subsidized gas for my car, police if I get robbed, hospitals, and education. In fact, without a relatively educated populace, our society would not exist as a highly Westernized society. We ALL benefit by scratching each others backs.

Posted by: Wolfdaughter on July 29, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Prudence Goodwife said:

"Chaufist- are you working so hard that you can't even tell when someone is insulting Jay's solecisms & not yours. Or are you 1/3 of the Three Moroneteers- Stupidity for one, stupidity for all."

They could also be 2/3 of the Three Marketeers. :-)

BTW, I LOVE your screen name! Just out of curiosity, do you practice Wicca?

Posted by: Wolfdaughter on July 29, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

"The wealth of hard-working people is not subject to inheritance tax, as long as they earned their wealth and didn't inherit it."

Not subject to inheritance tax, but you are still going after earned money as well with your desire to repeal GW's tax cuts.

Secondly, what makes you think the wife/spouse and/or children of that hard working wage earner didn't also contribute to that wealth. Those are the people being punished by your programs.

This is just a jealousy thing and a "feel good" thing on your part.

Liberals have never seen a bank account that they don't want to tax.

You really are thick and have bought into the lefts talking points hook, line and sinker.

Posted by: Jay on July 29, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Jay: "It's the inhertance tax Joel, we're talking about. The tax that you so gleefully want to impose on hard working families that choose to save for their childrens future. Your belief is that that money should not be passed down, without upwards of 50% taxation."

This is propaganda funded in large part over the last decade or so by 18 super-super-super-wealthy families, including the Walmart, Mars Inc., Campbell's, and Gallo dynasties. The estate tax - a name supporters shun, because it has carries the other connotation of estate, as in palatial - is a tax on families that - while quite possibly hard-working - are leaving fortunes to their heirs. Right now, if I understand correctly, a married couple can leave 4 million dollars to their kids, tax free, with only funds in excess of that being taxed at a 46% rate. The proposal passed by the House would raise that to $10 million tax-free; can't remember how much it would lower the rates.

Nobody wants Paris Hilton to be left out in the cold, but this is a little ridiculous.
All but the tiniest proportion of "hard working families that choose to save for their childrens future" are not affected in the least by the estate tax (well, they don't have to pay it - they are affected, by a lower tax burden, a stronger military, better schools, etc.) Those who are, no-one begrudges them the right to pass on some of their wealth to their kids -currently a cool taxfree 4 million for couples, as we saw, and 54% of the rest of it. What we don't like aren't just proposals that would allow lineages to accumulate vast inherited (unearned) fortunes (and presumably the influence that always goes with them) - even though hereditary aristocracies are, one might say, unAmerican. But while that in itself is deeply worrying, the fact is that this gift to the class of indolent and pampered aristocrats would be accomplished by shifting the tax burden onto the middle class. Money that could have been - those who earned it having died, and presumably no longer in need of it - going to help fund schools, libraries, the military, social security, roads, homeland security, disaster assistance, etc., etc., etc., etc. - it will instead be stimulating that all important sector of the economy, diamond-doggy-collar manufacturers.

Heckuva job. Heckuva job.

Posted by: Dan S. on July 29, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

"a name supporters shun, "

That should be repeal (or etc.) supporters shun.

Posted by: Dan S. on July 29, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

"Secondly, what makes you think the wife/spouse and/or children of that hard working wage earner didn't also contribute to that wealth. Those are the people being punished by your programs."

They don't exist, Jay. This is a fiction. Rich people transfer their wealth to their spouses and/or children during their lifetime, if they want to avoid inheritance taxes. Nobody is being punished. This idea of punishment is a pure invention on your part.

"This is just a jealousy thing and a "feel good" thing on your part."

Wow. So telepathy is another one of your skills, Jay? Who knew?

Conservatives have never seen a bank account that they don't want to protect. You really are thick and have bought into the right's talking points hook, line and sinker.

Posted by: Joel on July 29, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Dan Paris Hilton (although I'm not a fan at all) is doing exactly what she should be doing with her money....spending it. That is much better for the economy than taxing it.

Also, a few more generations of Paris Hiltons and that family won't have much more money. I would rather they spend the money enriching business people rather than enriching gov't.

Posted by: Jay on July 29, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

" . . . spending it. That is much better for the economy than taxing it."

Great. So you agree with pluege, upthread, that estate taxes are good because they help incentivize the spending of wealth over its inheritance. I knew you'd come around, Jay.

Posted by: Joel on July 29, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

"rather than enriching gov't."

You mean, rather than helping fund government - you mean, rather than having our elected representatives decide how it might be used to help pay for the cost of running a country. You say enriching government, I say building roads, supporting our military, helping fund schools, libraries, and other kinds of things that help people improve themselves, become more productive citizens . . and often, incidentally, get jobs that pay more than minimum wage, encouraging innovation, etc., etc., etc.

And frankly, we're not talking about whatever money people like Ms. Hilton have now - but about the transfer of immense sums from deceased parents - in Ms. Hilton's case, I'v seen estimates in the lower hundreds of millions of dollars (including an extra $90 million or so with this new proposal). Most of that isn't going to be spent any time soon. We can hope that it will be invested in ways that help the economy.

So we can give super-rich people people incentives not to horde quite so much of their fortunes, but to either spend or donate it, and then redirect some part of it, upon their deaths, to assist the society that helped them become so successful - or we can have it nudge up the first few digits on the bank statements of people who managed the difficult task of choosing to be born to very, very wealthy parents (or grandparents, or . . )

Hmm.

Posted by: Dan S. on July 29, 2006 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

"You mean, rather than helping fund government - you mean, rather than having our elected representatives decide how it might be used to help pay for the cost of running a country. You say enriching government, I say building roads, supporting our military, helping fund schools, libraries, and other kinds of things that help people improve themselves, become more productive citizens . . and often, incidentally, get jobs that pay more than minimum wage, encouraging innovation, etc., etc., etc."

The top 5% of wage earners pay over 50% of income taxes, so that wealth they accumulated was already subjected to steep taxation.


"And frankly, we're not talking about whatever money people like Ms. Hilton have now - but about the transfer of immense sums from deceased parents - in Ms. Hilton's case, I'v seen estimates in the lower hundreds of millions of dollars (including an extra $90 million or so with this new proposal). Most of that isn't going to be spent any time soon. We can hope that it will be invested in ways that help the economy."

This is just envy. And you also don't have any right to Mr. Hiltons money.


"So we can give super-rich people people incentives not to horde quite so much of their fortunes, but to either spend or donate it, and then redirect some part of it, upon their deaths, to assist the society that helped them become so successful - or we can have it nudge up the first few digits on the bank statements of people who managed the difficult task of choosing to be born to very, very wealthy prents (or grandparents, or . . )"

They've done quite a bit for the country. They already paid upwards of 40% on the money they earned in addition to employing thousands of people, donating to charities and supporting their communities.

What have you done lately?

Posted by: Jay on July 29, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

"....encouraging innovation, etc., etc., etc."

Please tell me when the gov't EVER encouraged innovation.

Posted by: Jay on July 29, 2006 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

"So we can give super-rich people people incentives not to horde quite so much of their fortunes,"

hoard, hoard, i mean hoard! Unless they'll helping fund "a wandering troop or gang; especially, a clan or tribe of a nomadic people migrating from place to place for the sake of pasturage, plunder, etc.; a predatory multitude."

Posted by: Dan S. on July 29, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

"Please tell me when the gov't EVER encouraged innovation."

Well, much of American biomedical research is funded by the government. Drugs like the statins and NSAIDs, cancer treatments like anti-angiogenesis drugs, and the plethora of genome projects all represent innovations that were encoraged--nay, were made possible--by the government.

My, you are an ignorant little troll, Jay.

Posted by: Joel on July 29, 2006 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and Jay: Google "Manhattan Project"

Come back after you've finished high school, 'mkay?

Posted by: Joel on July 29, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Jay--
I work for a government agency (the Census) that is hardly known as the most obviously innovative department you could think of, yet every day I come across people that are devising innovative ways of handling and calculating data, mapping territory, running large logistical operations, etc. Many of the techniques first developed for the Census have since been used to spawn entire industries, especially statistical software and mapping systems.
Of course private industry rarely recognizes their debt to government pioneers, but you should keep in mind that, among other things, the founder of IBM started and developed many of his devices working for the stodgy Census Bureau. I am sure in other fields, the role of the federal government has been even larger. And if you throw in the large role played by State governments, mainly through state universities but also directly in fields like agriculture, the evidence for government innovation is overwhelming.

Posted by: kokblok on July 29, 2006 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

80% of all medical innovations are achieved through the public health sector.

Artificial hearts
Bypass proceedures
Artificial limbs
Reconstructive proceedures

The gov't is largely responsible for the oversight of medicinal approval and/or the funding of medicinal experimentation. And in that case, it is the doctors that are the innovators, not the gov't.

Just saying.

Posted by: Jay on July 29, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

Those are very good points kokblok, and does strengthen the case for gov't agencies.

Keep in mind my comment was made with slight tongue-in-cheek, which is often missed here.

Posted by: Jay on July 29, 2006 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

Jay--
Boy you are an idiot. If you look at the entire taxation system, instead of cherry-picking the one tax in our nation that is strongly progressive (the income tax), you'll see that, no, in fact, the rich aren't getting "soaked" at all. And in the past decades they have been paying less and less a percentage of their wealth to the government through taxes.

Can you explain to me why Paris Hilton 'deserves' her eight-millionth dollar more than a hard-working supermarket clerk
deserves his twenty-thousandth dollar? The government is going to tax someone either way. Someone is going to lose that dollar. I'd really like for you to go out to the general public and argue that it should be the clerk that loses it...if people knew the reality of our tax system there would be serious riots.

Yet you really seem to believe that dollar in Paris Hilton's is helping our economy more than a dollar in the clerk's pocket with. What a boot-licking toadie you are. You'd do well as some kind of footman or butler in victorian England. Unless you actually are in the top half of one percent of people who have a chance of benefitting from this ridiculous tax cut, which I seriously doubt. Why not look after your own economic interests, instead of championing a class you are very unlikely ever to join? Try a little class warfare--It's good for the soul.

Posted by: kokblok on July 29, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Jay--

Sorry for that "idiot" bit at the beginning there. That was uncalled for. I just really fly off the handle when I hear that kind of "the rich deserve it" rhetoric...I know a lot of rich people myself. Some are hard workig and contribute much to society. Others do nothing at all.

Posted by: kokblok on July 29, 2006 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

Well leave it to a gov't worker to not know that the supermarket clerk probably doesn't pay any income taxes at all. In fact 36% of the lowest wage earners paid no income tax whatsoever via earned income credits.

Move to a socialist country, it would be good for your soul.

Posted by: Jay on July 29, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

"I know a lot of rich people myself. Some are hard workig and contribute much to society. Others do nothing at all."

I know quite a few poor people, some are hard working and others do nothing at all.

"Why not look after your own economic interests, instead of championing a class you are very unlikely ever to join?"

What makes you think I am unhappy with my economic interests? Individuals are better stewards of spending their own money than the gov't is and with better results for the economy.

Posted by: Jay on July 29, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

Uh Jay,

Did you not read my post.
Income taxes are not the only taxes we have in our country. That was my point. Look up the TOTAL tax burden and you'll see that the poor do indeed pay taxes, actually something like 15% of their income overall. And the very rich pay, when all is said and done, a figure about two to four percentage points above that. Those wealthy people that are fortunate enough to not actually have to work (the majority of the super rich do not "work" in the normal sense) often get away with paying much less than even the poor.

It's too bad, I thought we could make up and get along here.

Posted by: kokblok on July 29, 2006 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

You know lazy poor people. I know lazy rich people. Well, no duh. That's exactly my point. The rich at this point can't be said to neccesarily deserve what they have any more than the poor do.
Since all the poor are poor, including the lazy ones, but the lazy rich are still rich despite their laziness I don't understand what your point is.

Posted by: kokblok on July 29, 2006 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Uh Jay,
The best economies throughout modern history have been those with a healthy mix of private and public spending. Which is why the economy somehow always seems to do a little better under Democrats.

And no, it is not true that the individual always spends his money in a better way than the government would. That's generally true when you're talking about consumer goods like food, electronics, etc,as well as many services, real estate, etc. It does not seem to be the case for education, health care, environmental protection, transportation, or several other expenses that have arisen with the birth of the modern world. In all these cases, no one serious even argues that the state shouldn't be the one doing the purchasing. They just quibble over HOW the government should purchase these things: vouchers vs. public schools (its still the government paying for the schools!) national health care vs. ad hoc bullshit programs and dictates (still the government either way), strict regulation or pollution "vouchers" (still the government either way), highway money vs public transportation (yep, government again! God, we stinkers are everywhere, aren't we?!) federal employees vs. "private" contractors (oh boy, now the government's even bigger than its payroll would seem to suggest! Look at all those government workers under the sheep skin of the "contractor sector"! Like pigs at the taxpayer trough, those guys. Us government folks couldn't have spent it faster ourselves!)

So the government is everywhere and spends billions of dollars that ain't about to change, Republican or Democrat in the White House. The question is, and always will be, who does the government benefit?

Posted by: kokblok on July 29, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

"80% of all medical innovations are achieved through the public health sector."

Indeed. And it is called "public sector" because it is funded through public funds, e.g., tax money. That distinguishes it from "private sector."

"And in that case, it is the doctors that are the innovators, not the gov't."

Uh, Jay, what you said was: Please tell me when the gov't EVER encouraged innovation." The innovators are "encouraged" when they are funded. Innovators who have no funds are discouraged.

Thanks for making my points. Did you look up the Manhattan Project, BTW? That was nothing if not innovation, and it was entirely funded (i.e., encouraged) by the US Government.

Posted by: Joel on July 29, 2006 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

Jay said:

"Please tell me when the gov't EVER encouraged innovation."

Dan S replied:

"Well, much of American biomedical research is funded by the government. Drugs like the statins and NSAIDs, cancer treatments like anti-angiogenesis drugs, and the plethora of genome projects all represent innovations that were encoraged--nay, were made possible--by the government."

I would like to second and underline Dans excellent post, and to add further information. Im a librarian. I just retired after 37 years in the library biz, most of it in libraries which serve medical, nursing, pharmacy schools.

I dont know if Jay is aware of MEDLINE. This is the flagship database for physicians and other health professionals WORLDWIDE. Any health professional worth his/her salt is aware of this database. Researchers writing grant proposals to fund their research are REQUIRED to show that they have searched the literature databases, and the majority of biomedical researchers WORLDWIDE use MEDLINE. That database, the second oldest of all online literature databases BTW, is maintained by the National Library of Medicine, of the National Institutes of Health. Yup, government funded from soup to nuts. OUR government. Its available free worldwide, 24/7. Go to pubmed.gov.

Medical research and innovations would be greatly crippled if this database did not exist. Yes, private enterprise also has databases such as Web of Science, maintained by the Institute for Scientific Information in Philadelphia. FOR A FEE. And if you are not affiliated with a university or a large corporation which subscribes to Web of Science, you have to pay, and the prices are steep enough that you wont be using it all that much.

So our tax dollars go, among other worthy causes, to support the National Library of Medicine and MEDLINE, which is absolutely central to biomedical research. And the majority of scientific research is carried out at publicly funded institutions, federal and state in the U.S., and nationally or regionally in other countries of the world.

Posted by: Wolfdaughter on July 29, 2006 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

"Please tell me when the gov't EVER encouraged innovation."

Ever heard of a patent?

Posted by: haha on July 29, 2006 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

Jay:

"The top 5% of wage earners pay over 50% of income taxes, so that wealth they accumulated was already subjected to steep taxation."

But we arent talking about just wage earners here. Were also talking about people who inherited their money. Some of them have improved on what they have inherited and others have not.

And those who were born into wealth also enjoy a larger portion of such things as schooling and education, health care, etc.

Also, this brings up the larger question, do those top 5% of wage earners truly earn the amount of money that is paid to them? By what criteria? Worth to society? Amount of education/training needed? Number of hours worked?

Im not saying that they should be paid the minimum wage.

Number of hours worked: there are 24 hours per day, and nobody can work that, except very occasionally. There are people who supposedly work a consistent 18 hours per day, but I doubt that they work all those 18 hours effectively, day in and day out. On the criterion of hours worked, a person working 16 hours/day would be worth twice as much as a person working an 8 hour day.

Amount of education/training needed: the highest education is a PhD or an MD or a law degree, with post-doc or education to become a specialist physician. And many positions require continuing education. As a librarian I was expected to spend several days per year in CE classes. Then there are some positions requiring only a high school education. So here were talking perhaps twice as much education, or maybe 2.5 times as much. So by this criterion alone, a job requiring a PhD and postdoc work could be worth, say, 2.5 times what a job needing a high school education is worth.

Worth to society? This is much harder to quantify. IMHO, nurses and EMTs are underpaid because hospital nurses and EMTs save lives. Also police and firefighters. Teachers, who have the future of our entire society in their hands, are underpaid. Workers in daycare centers are GROSSLY underpaid vis--vis the fact that they affect the development and intelligence of infants and small children.

There are people who own and/or run large businesses. Sure, they deserve some decent pay. But they dont do this alone. Their employees also contribute to the success or lack thereof, of their businesses. So it can be argued that they "deserve" to make more than any of their employees.

But basically the amount of money people earn has much more to do with tradition and what the market will bear. Jobs traditionally filled by men are still likely to be paid more than those traditionally filled by women. And to anyone who believes that whatever a person is paid is fair or earned, remember, our most highly paid people are: CEOs who are paid huge amounts regardless of whether their companies do well, sports figures, entertainment figures, and politicians. If you cannot see that there is something wrong with the way pay is judged, then there is nothing to say to you.

Jay also said:

This is just envy. And you also don't have any right to Mr. Hiltons money.

Your telepathic abilities are just astonishing, arent they? And astonishingly WRONG. Not everyone wishes to be fabulously wealthy. I know this because I dont wish it, and many other people I know care nothing about being wealthy as well.

Paris Hilton is a woman. Or did you make a typo? In any case, I am not claiming any personal right to her money, nor is anyone else on this board. The money would go to the federal government. Even as bad as the Bush crew is, at least some of the money our government takes in is being spent on worthy things which benefit all of us.

Posted by: Wolfdaughter on July 29, 2006 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

"I would like to second and underline Dans excellent post . . . "

Uh, that would be me (Joel), wolfdaughter. And yes, I'm quite familiar with medline, pubmed, flybase, NCBI and lots of other web resources, all federally funded. I'm a professor of Biochemistry, with a secondary appointment in Pediatrics, at a midwestern medical school. My research is federally funded.

Posted by: Joel on July 29, 2006 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

INCRIMINATING WORDS . . .

"Give"? Give to the poor; give to the rich? Not in either case. In the case of minimum wage, your are forcing, i.e., depriving of civil liberties, employers to agree to a wage they would not want to pay and would not be required to pay if permitted their liberty. So you are not "giving" but forcing, coercing, dictating. In the case of the rich, again, you are not giving, but liberating them from tax payments, i.e., permitting them the civil liberty to spend their hard earned money as they choose, to give to the poor or not as they see fit.

You Regressive-Democrats are blind to your own fascism. It might even be reasonably conducted socialism, but don't pretend it's "giving". Taxes and minimum wage laws are both summed up with one word:

FASCISM.

Or authoritarianism, or command economy, or invasion of privacy; don't pretend as government action you are giving the poor anything or giving the rich anything via either minimum wage laws or tax relief. If you want to give, start a private charity to aid the working poor and give to it.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on July 29, 2006 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, The Obstrepreous Hysterian makes his incontinent appearence. Fear of taxes drives him. Republican talking points are his watchword.

He is safely ignored. Please don't feed the trolls.

Posted by: Joel on July 29, 2006 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

Make that The Obstreperous Hysterian. Not that he makes any more sense that way. Either way, he's just a silly old troll.

Posted by: Joel on July 29, 2006 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

I was going to make an excellent post, but m' wife commandeered the computer . . .

Re: gov't and innovation, don't forget we need to include:
public schools,
public libraries,
museums and other cultural centers that receive public funding (also charitable donations, which are encouraged by the estate tax)
government loans/grants for higher ed.
land-grant and state colleges
government funded research grants, etc.
and so on and on and on.

Posted by: Dan S. on July 29, 2006 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

Take the deal Democrats, take the deal. The Bush tax cuts face certain death after his term ends in 2008 but a wage hike last forever.

Posted by: aline on July 29, 2006 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

"People shouldnt be able to earn a living wage working the counter at Burger King."

People shouldn't be advocating that people shouldn't be able to earn a living wage.

Posted by: Kimmitt on July 30, 2006 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK

Wolfdaughter on July 29, 2006 at 4:11 PM |

Wow. Can you spell shortsighted?

I am a straight female, 60 years old. I did not have children.

Yes. I can also spell discrimination. If you are married, and your husband dies, you can inherit his estate free of federal estate tax. Since my same-sex partner and I are not considered married in the eyes of the federal government, if I die first, he would have to pay a federal inheritance tax when he inherits my estate. Vice versa if he dies first.

Apparently you do not understand my point, but I stand by it. Doing away with the inheritance tax is the only good thing that Bush might do for gay people. It's certainly not intended to benefit gay people, of course, but it would.

Posted by: raj on July 30, 2006 at 6:31 AM | PERMALINK

Um, raj - while that is an amusing little point, wouldn't the better solution be either legalizing gay marriage or reforming the estate tax to recognize same-sex unions?

You also seem to be confusing (unless I am) the difference between an inheritance tax - which, as you note, is a tax on the beneficiaries of an estate, and an estate tax, which is a tax on the estate itself.

Also - and I may be misunderstanding this, which is quite possible - whichever one of you dies first, wouldn't the estate be taxed using whatever individual exemption is currently in force? Certainly it's not as good, and there is of course the principle of the thing, but am I incorrect in thinking that one of you would receive (using 2006 conditions) up to $2 million tax free (and 54% of anything in excess of that sum?)

In other words, am I wrong in thinking that the estate tax will only really kick in if your (or his) estate is in excess of 2 million (or whatever, depending on year)? Of course, certainly, in principle it's entirely unfair, and yet another example of the countless advantages granted married people yet denied gay couples no matter how committed, long-lasting, etc.


Posted by: Dan S. on July 30, 2006 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

" It's certainly not intended to benefit gay people, of course, but it would."
But what I was trying to say, if individuals' estates are taxed under the unmarried exemption rate (regardless of who is inheriting), wouldn't this only benefit the small percentage of gay people who have/ who are partners to people with fairly sizable estates - a benefit that would have to weighed against any drawbacks resulting from the further diminishment or repeal of the estate tax? And all those who aren't, wouldn't they fail to realize any benefits, but only - along with others of a similar class position - face the likely drawbacks, such as a higher tax burden and degraded services?

Posted by: Dan S. on July 30, 2006 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

"in addition to employing thousands of people,"

This is SUCH a lie, but it's so deeply part of the conservative mythology it's funny. To pretend that only the rich create jobs (which is how it is so often presented) and wealth makes it so clear you have no idea how the economy works.
The vast majority of new job creation is from smaller businesses, NOT the rich. And, ANYONE who spends money creates a demand for workers. Every time even the poorest person buys food or gas, or pays rent, they help to create jobs. The myth is a LIE.

Posted by: Mike B. on July 30, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: dd on July 30, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

Dan S. on July 30, 2006 at 11:21 AM |

Um, raj - while that is an amusing little point, wouldn't the better solution be either legalizing gay marriage or reforming the estate tax to recognize same-sex unions?

Maybe. As to the first, our same-sex marriage is recognized in Massachusetts, but it is not at the federal level, and, given the direction of politics in the US, it will not be in my or his lifetime. Or, probably your lifetime, for that matter. So at this point your pie-in-the-sky suggestions are pretty much not worth raising.

As to the second, since opposite-sex unions are already benefitting from the status quo, there is little likelihood for any significant push to conform the estate tax to recognize same-sex unions at the federal level.

Regarding You also seem to be confusing (unless I am) the difference between an inheritance tax - which, as you note, is a tax on the beneficiaries of an estate, and an estate tax, which is a tax on the estate itself.

I fully understand the difference between an estate tax and an inheritance tax, but in our situation it is a difference without a distinction. In either case, the amount that he or I would end up with would be reduced by the amount of the tax, regardless of whether the tax is paid by the estate or by the inheritor.

In other words, am I wrong in thinking that the estate tax will only really kick in if your (or his) estate is in excess of 2 million (or whatever, depending on year)?

Yes, but you apparently misunderstand. What is included in the estate is not only the value of the house (or the share of the house attributable to each), but also investments (particularly damaging when the investments are in the form of IRAs, 401Ks and pension plans) whose values have been inflated, and, particularly, life insurance. Those can add up fairly quickly.

But, all in all, this is nit-picking. It still would be discrimination, pure and simple.

On a side topic, I click onto liberal and Democratic oriented blogs quite frequently and am amazed at how rarely they ever raise the fact that gay people are discriminated against. They want gay votes, but they want to sweep us under the rug. I could count on the finger of one hand how many times Drum has addressed the issue.

Posted by: raj on July 31, 2006 at 7:43 AM | PERMALINK

I am perfectly OK with decreasing the death tax at the same time as increasing the minimum wage.

how about $1 each?

Posted by: cp1919 on July 31, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

how about $1 each?

Posted by: cp1919 on July 31, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Briliant! I'll raise you!

$2500 to $3,000 per annum. That's more than fair. And indexed to inflation. Bonus for both!

And how about universal health care so those poor inheritors don't have to worry their pretty little heads about petty things like survival. Double bonus for both!

The Uneducated Historian:
It has been proven many times over the years that unfettered capitalism leads to the exploitation of all labor, including or especially children, and still does today in many places. Minimum wage is a reasonable protection. In the UK they have a 2-tiered system for adults and (cheaper) youth. A simple economic model would say a prejudice against adults. This hasn't been proved to be the case; adults have some advatages. Imagine.

Would you get rid of all employmant laws? Sounds so!

Near-unfettered capitalism has ONLY existed under fascism. Get your phraseology right.

You really need to get out in the real world and get your nose out of the picture books you get your "experience" and history from.

Posted by: notthere on August 1, 2006 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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