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Tilting at Windmills

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March 26, 2009

'HERE IT IS'.... When House Republicans unveiled their not-really-a-budget budget this morning, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) sounded like he had something real to offer.

"Two nights ago, the president said, 'We haven't seen a budget yet out of the Republicans.' Well, that's not true, because here it is, Mr. President," Boehner told reporters. "Today, we're introducing a detailed 'Road to Recovery' plan and our plan curbs spending, creates jobs, and cuts taxes while controlling the debt." (The House GOP leader liked this so much, his office posted the comments to YouTube.)

It's only three sentences, but can you count all of the errors? It's not a "budget." It's not "detailed." And it doesn't actually do anything of the thing Boehner assures it does.

Ryan Grim noticed one key proposal from the document: "a huge tax cut for the wealthy."

House Republican leaders called a press conference Thursday to unveil their "alternative budget." While it was thin on specifics, it does include one major policy proposal: a huge tax cut for the wealthy.

Under the Republican plan, the top marginal tax rate would be slashed from 35 to 25 percent, facilitating a dramatic transfer of wealth up the economic scale. Anyone making more than a $100,000 would pay the top rate; those under would pay 10 percent.

No, seriously, that's the plan. It's right there on page 10: "Republicans propose a simple and fair tax code with a marginal tax rate for income up to $100,000 of 10 percent and 25 percent for any income thereafter."

So, Bush/Cheney lowered the top rate from 39.6% to 35%, which cost hundreds of billions of dollars and helped create the largest budget deficits in American history. Now, the very same GOP lawmakers want to send the top rate from 35% to 25%, at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars, all in the name of deficit reduction.

How much would this cost? The "detailed budget" doesn't say. What it would do to the deficit? The "detailed budget" doesn't say. What would Republicans cut to pay for this massive tax cut for the wealthiest Americans? The "detailed budget" doesn't say. How much would Republicans raise or spend over all? The "detailed budget" doesn't say.

When might GOP leaders flesh out the details in their "detailed budget"? Boehner told reporters today that some numbers will probably be available sometime next week. So, right around the time House lawmakers are voting on the budget, the minority party will offer an alternative budget that no one's seen.

If Republicans aren't going to take their own ideas seriously, why should anyone else?

Update: Some emailers are suggesting GOP leaders deserve some slack because they'll get to the details eventually. When Obama first sketched a budget outline, his plan didn't include a lot of numbers, either.

It's a weak defense. First, Obama's initial bluerpint had plenty of budget estimates (i.e., numbers). Second, Republican leaders promised specifics today, but didn't deliver. Indeed, while offering no details, they patted themselves on the back for offering details.

Even the National Review concluded: "I was not the only reporter in the room during the delayed press conference who had expected to see some numbers, at least ballpark. Today's press conference did not provide further details."

Steve Benen 4:45 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (35)

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I could very well be wrong, but isn't it also a pretty huge revenue bust to drop everyone else's taxes to 10%? Or are they counting on the fact that they are now taxing the extremely poor at 10% to somehow make up revenue as well? Either way, I would absolutely LOVE to see some numbers run on exactly how much that would lower the Federal Government's revenue flow.

Posted by: socratic_me on March 26, 2009 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Complicating the ReDrudgelican's problems is the recent swell of good news and optimism about "the markets". See this gem, and it started from France! [Oil does keep climbing a bit, so long-term we've got to keep pushing energy improvements]:

http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,25249558-5001028,00.html

"
Wall Street extends rally
Article from: Agence France-Presse

From correspondents in New York

March 27, 2009 07:19am

WALL Street shares powered higher today to extend their rally amid growing optimism on prospects for economic recovery as the market shook off the latest grim reminders of the depth of the slump.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 blue chips vaulted 174.75 points (2.25 per cent) to 7924.56 at the closing bell, extending the rally that has pushed the blue-chip index up more than 20 per cent from March 9 lows.

The Nasdaq composite lifted 58.05 points (3.80 per cent) to 1587.00, as the tech-heavy index turned positive for 2009.

The broad-market Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 18.94 points (2.33 per cent) to a preliminary close of 832.82.

Market action came after data showing a revised 6.3 per cent pace of decline in the US economy in the fourth quarter, a modest revision from the prior estimate of a 6.2 per cent shrinkage.

A separate report showed the number of new jobless claims in the United States rose by 1.2 per cent to 652,000 during the week ending March 21 as the country reeled from recession.

But analysts at Charles Schwab & Co said that following other data and the growing government rescue plans being put into place, "optimism is preserved that the worst of the recession may be behind us".
"

Posted by: Neil B. ♪ on March 26, 2009 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

It's like they said, "How did we get into this mess?" and then decided that the best way to get out of the mess is to do more of what caused it in the first place. Lots more.

By that logic, drug addicts should just keep taking more drugs in an effort to quit.

Posted by: Personal Failure on March 26, 2009 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Why do Republican congressmen need staffers? What could they possibly do all day?

Posted by: Danp on March 26, 2009 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, I couldn't find out what the Replutocrats plan for capital gains in this proposal, that should be really telling (let me guess: no tax on capital gains! - a fraud since most CG is just traded securities and flipped houses; only SU capital should get a break.)

Posted by: Neil B ☺ on March 26, 2009 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Here's my guess about the thinking that went into it:

- The financial industry has given a lot of money to Democrats in recent years (Republicans too, but skip that for the moment.)

- Stupid Democrats are talking about taxing their bonuses. An opening!

- Hey guys, we'll cut your taxes! Don't you want to play with us now?

Nah, I'm probably overestimating the amount of thought that went into it. More likely it's just another round of "Tax cuts are the answer. What was the question?"

Posted by: Redshift on March 26, 2009 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

What could they possibly do all day?

Bury dead hookers.

Posted by: doubtful on March 26, 2009 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Ryan Grim noticed one key proposal from the document: "a huge tax cut for the wealthy."

At least they know who their owners are.

h

Posted by: h on March 26, 2009 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

I scanned this document (available at GOP.gov), and it refers to the "Democrat" budget throughout, rather than the "Democratic" budget. They actually print this nonsense in their official documents. Such childishness alone should be enough to inspire voters to send these clowns home at the next opportunity.

Posted by: CJ on March 26, 2009 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Tangentially important considering the direction of the economy:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123808291973348921.html

* MARCH 26, 2009, 3:40 P.M. ET

Oil Production Cutbacks Threaten Major Price Spike, Study Says

Posted by: Neil B ♣ on March 26, 2009 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

"By that logic, drug addicts should just keep taking more drugs in an effort to quit." -PersonalFailure

Welcome to the Rush Limbaugh 365 Day Yearly Program. That will be $1500 for your registration and your first shot. Remember our motto is "We all quit together!"

Posted by: Rush Limbaugh on March 26, 2009 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

For eight long years they've been able to spout whatever bullshit they wanted and the MSM would dutifully copy down what they aid and publish it as straight news. They obviously think it's still 2001 and nobody will question what they say.

They're right, in a way. The MSM still quotes Cheney, Rove and Gingrich as if they know what they're talking about.

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on March 26, 2009 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

"So, Bush/Cheney lowered the top rate from 39.6% to 35%, which cost hundreds of billions of dollars and helped create the largest budget deficits in American history."

Even assuming that allowing people to keep more of their own money is somehow a "cost" to the federal government, the "cost" of the tax cuts are a drop in the bucket when compared to the TRILLIONS of dollars in government spending that Bush and now the One will authorize. Simply, cut back on that orgy of spending to like twice or even three times the rate of inflation and the budget deficits will disappear like they did under Clinton and a GOP Congress.

As to the merits, since the One is turning out to be nothing more than a bad combination of LBJ Great Society spending with a Carter-like incompetence, a return to the two tax rates of the Reagan years could be a welcome tonic that the American people will want in 2010 and beyond. Especially when the One's plans for the economy are exposed and acknowledged to be the failures that we conservatives know them to be.

Posted by: Chicounsel on March 26, 2009 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

"Republicans propose a simple and fair tax code with a marginal tax rate for income up to $100,000 of 10 percent and 25 percent for any income thereafter."

Well, all the flat tax fans should be jumping for joy. The FICA tax is 15.5% (when you include the employers' portion) on the first $106,000, so this would put everybody at a flat 1/4 of their income going to the feds...

Posted by: Unca Paul on March 26, 2009 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

>>>"Under the Republican plan, the top marginal tax rate would be slashed from 35 to 25 percent"

and here steve had said they had no ideas...they've got ideas, all right...just no NEW ones...

Posted by: dj spellchecka on March 26, 2009 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Especially when the One's plans for the economy are exposed and acknowledged to be the failures that we conservatives know them to be.
Posted by: Chicounsel

With such stellar analysis lacking any connection with reality, it's no wonder that you had to go to a gumball machine to get your legal degree. Tell us, did it cost you a nickel, or did you splurge for a quarter?

Posted by: DJ on March 26, 2009 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Personal Failure says: It's like they said, "How did we get into this mess?" and then decided that the best way to get out of the mess is to do more of what caused it in the first place. Lots more. By that logic, drug addicts should just keep taking more drugs in an effort to quit.

This is like the Gastric Bypass strategy: Gastric Bypass surgery leads to dramatic, usually permanent weight loss. Only the morbidly obese are eligible for GB due to the danger. So, if you are "only" 50 pounds overweight, you should gain another 100 pounds in order to get gastric bypass. See, it's easy.

Posted by: CParis on March 26, 2009 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

I'm going to end war and poverty in the entire world. I'm releasing my END WAR AND POVERTY proposal today and it includes no taxes on anyone making over $10,oo0/yr. I'll try to get some details up next week but aren't you just excited as hell???

Posted by: bjobotts on March 26, 2009 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, Chicocounsel is misinformed.

Reagan exploded the deficit, piled on the debt and later reversed some of his own tax cuts (in other words, he raised taxes) without cutting spending in a half-assed effort to undo some of his own damage.

In addition, it's odd that Chicounsel would compare Obama to Carter just two months in when the economy didn't turn around for Reagan until over two years after he was sworn in (Reagan was very unpopular during the first two years of his first term).

Also Chico--it's not your money, any more than the money you pay the plumber to fix a leaky faucet is your money. The government provides services, and we have to pay for them. You want a strong military (bigger than the combined military of every other country in the world), a war in Iraq with corrupt crony contractors, subsidies for millionaire farmers (a Republican favorite), a nonsensical prescription drug program,... then you have to pay for it. You want to elect people who rack up debt, then you have pay the bond holders back--plus interest.

You complain about Bush, but you voted for him--twice (don't try to deny it). So, your "my money" silliness has no credibility when did your part to elect the guys who took growing surpluses and turned them into growing deficits (contrary to your false assertions, the guys we elected are reversing the trend).

Posted by: CJ on March 26, 2009 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

::Why do Republican congressmen need staffers? What could they possibly do all day?::

Attend Britney Spears concerts.

Posted by: tam1MI on March 26, 2009 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Simply, cut back on that orgy of spending... -Chicounsel

Right, let's continue to let levies fail and bridges collapse beneath us! Let's let entire states go dark as the aging power grid crumbles! Let's watch as governments around the world build internet infrastructure that puts ours to shame! Let's ignore scientific fact and shun scientific research as our education system slides into oblivion!

As long as I don't have to pay any fucking taxes, right?

Oh, but how will we send the undereducated, jobless youth of this country to kill brown people so I can secure oil based energy for months to come? I know, I'll leave it off the budget, borrow the money, and just blame liberals who are stupid enough to report it accurately.

Posted by: doubtful on March 26, 2009 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

Just like I knew:

Our plan would lower the capital gains tax and loosen restrictions on various savings vehicles [read: investor's loopholes] in order for individuals to catch up and replace losses from the
market.

Posted by: Neil B ◙ on March 26, 2009 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Why do Republican congressmen need staffers? What could they possibly do all day?

Posted by: Danp
---------

Oh, snap!

Posted by: Scott F. on March 26, 2009 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

God, I was hoping Chicounsel would go away. Chicounsel - do you know how stupid your posts sound using the One crap.

Posted by: Scott F. on March 26, 2009 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

First, the GOP's infatuation with the Laffer curve continues.

Second, if you know anything about Austrian economics, you know that numbers don't mean much to Austrians anyway - the theory being that it's futile to give estimates because the estimates are always wrong. The further the Republicans move away from Friedman, the closer they get to von Mises and Hayek.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on March 26, 2009 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

A budget, numbers or not, is a statement of values! Let's all do our nation's democracy a favor and line Boehner's budget up directly to President Obama's.

Boehner"s proposal
-we like rich people better
-we want to destroy gov.t
-we want to reward the players who have brought us this economic crisis

Obama Administration
-we support the middle class
-we want to make gov't.a smarter partner with "The People" (us)
-we want to reign in greed

I know which proposal I would rather see our elected representatives gravitate toward - hands down! Hint: I make less than $100,000 annually. -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on March 26, 2009 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Lost revenue? Haven't you liberals learned by now that when we cut taxes for rich people it results in MORE revenue to the government? (sarcasm)

Posted by: Speed on March 26, 2009 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

The reason the MSM jumped all over the Republican "budget" with such disappointment is they are JONES-ING for something to hit Obama over the head with, it's been almost a week since AIG bonus fever!!

Posted by: Bruce K on March 26, 2009 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

THAT's the GOP budget?

Rehashed talking points, stupid ideas, and a bunch of connected circles?

Wow, it must have taken them a whole hour to crank that thing out. Well, if you include the 30 minutes it took to print at Kinko's.

Posted by: 2Manchu on March 26, 2009 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

uhh, i see another problem that any five year old on Boner's staff should have recognized:

"Two nights ago, the president said, 'We haven't seen a budget yet out of the Republicans.' Well, that's not true, because here it is, Mr. President," ... "Today, we're introducing..."

Great, great, that's adorable. But two days ago you hadn't. His statement was not untrue. That's like me playing a clip of President Kennedy saying "We choose to go to the moon in this decade." and shouting, "Ahah! But we've already been to the moon! Your move, Kennedy!"

Posted by: bend on March 26, 2009 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, it must have taken them a whole hour to crank that thing out. Well, if you include the 30 minutes it took to print at Kinko's.

Come now! Ensuring that the scans were low-res enough to remain blurry and the stock photos were selected for maximum cheese potential must have required some time on their part.

Posted by: shortstop on March 26, 2009 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

Chicounsel,

"Even assuming that allowing people to keep more of their own money is somehow a "cost" to the federal government.."

It is, unless you are running surpluses.


"...the "cost" of the tax cuts are a drop in the bucket when compared to the TRILLIONS of dollars in government spending that Bush and now the One will authorize."

The tax cuts for the Rich & Corporate enacted by Reagan & Chimpy Bush DID cost trillions of dollars, hence the trillions of dollars of extra federal debt.


"Simply, cut back on that orgy of spending..."

WHERE ?


"...and the budget deficits will disappear like they did under Clinton and a GOP Congress."

Those budget deficits disappeared because of President Clinton and the Democratic Congress passed tax rate increases on the Rich & Corporate, before Newtie and the Blowhards ever took office.

Posted by: Joe Friday on March 26, 2009 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

You're right, shortstop. I should give them more credit.

Putting together an elaborate presentation such as this must've taken, at the least, 45 minutes.

Posted by: 2Manchu on March 27, 2009 at 12:45 AM | PERMALINK

Forget the general goofiness, partisanship, movement conservatism in the "plan". Has anyone studied the impact of such a large single increase in marginal tax rate (increase from one bracket to another).

It seems that going from 10% to 25% at $100K would be worse than increasing marginal rates gradually from 10% to 35% from $100,000 to, say $250,000. If you're going to buy into Reganomics, as the proponents of this plan undoubtedly would say they do, at least consider the impact on willingness to work when family income rises above $100K.

Tax on $100k = $10,000
Tax on $125k = $10,000 + $6,250 = a 62.5% increase in taxes paid.

If anyone knows of a study on such sudden, large increases in marginal tax rates please forward to:

bobreply@gmail.com

Posted by: Bob on March 27, 2009 at 7:13 AM | PERMALINK

"Two nights ago,, the president said, 'We haven't seen a budget yet out of the Republicans.' Well, that's not true, because here it is, Mr. President," Boehner told reporters.

Good Ford, Republicans can't say anything without lying, can they? Um, if you're presenting your budget now, that means that two nights ago we hadn't seein it >i>yet. Duh.

Jackass.

Some emailers are suggesting GOP leaders deserve some slack

Aw, the big brave Republican apologists are too scared to make that suggestion in the comment thread? Actually, I can't blame them, because they'd get laughed out of the room for suggesting GOP leaders deserve any slack or any benefit of the doubt at all. The Republicans may want very much to forget the last eight years of disastrous Republican misrule, but we won't.

Posted by: Gregory on March 27, 2009 at 8:22 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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