The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

Washington Post: The Fierce Urgency of Pork

Posted by iusbvision on February 6, 2009

By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, February 6, 2009; A17

“A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe.

– President Obama, Feb. 4.

Catastrophe, mind you. So much for the president who in his inaugural address two weeks earlier declared “we have chosen hope over fear.” Until, that is, you need fear to pass a bill.

And so much for the promise to banish the money changers and influence peddlers from the temple. An ostentatious executive order banning lobbyists was immediately followed by the nomination of at least a dozen current or former lobbyists to high position. Followed by a Treasury secretary who allegedly couldn’t understand the payroll tax provisions in his 1040. Followed by Tom Daschle, who had to fall on his sword according to the new Washington rule that no Cabinet can have more than one tax delinquent.

The Daschle affair was more serious because his offense involved more than taxes. As Michael Kinsley once observed, in Washington the real scandal isn’t what’s illegal, but what’s legal. Not paying taxes is one thing. But what made this case intolerable was the perfectly legal dealings that amassed Daschle $5.2 million in just two years.

He’d been getting $1 million per year from a law firm. But he’s not a lawyer, nor a registered lobbyist. You don’t get paid this kind of money to instruct partners on the Senate markup process. You get it for picking up the phone and peddling influence.

Read the rest here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/05/AR2009020502766_pf.html

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One Response to “Washington Post: The Fierce Urgency of Pork”

  1. The last time we had a new Democratic president, essentially the same thing happened. Republican congressmen voted against
    Bill Clinton’s 1993 tax and budget proposals, uniformly predicting doom. Raising marginal income tax rates a few points on the
    wealthy, they charged, would lead to economic ruin. Instead, the exact opposite happened. Over the ensuing eight years,
    the nation witnessed the creation of 25 million new jobs, a balanced federal budget and steadily rising prosperity.

    Today, an act of historical memory is required to recall that when Bush took office in 2001, people actually worried about
    paying down the national debt too fast. No problem. The new president embraced what it’s tempting to call Limbaughnomics,
    the absurd belief that tax cuts invariably lead to greater government revenues and more and better jobs.

    Instead, Bush presided over a sluggish economy, the worst record of job creation since World War II, growing inequality
    and the current banking crisis, a direct result of “free market” deregulatory fundamentalism combined with a speculative
    real estate bubble that sustained the illusion of prosperity until it burst. Oh, and yes, runaway budget deficits, thanks
    mainly to the combination of Bush’s tax cuts and the war in Iraq.

    [Mark,

    The problem that you are having is that your “historical memory” is a fantasy. The economy did not start to improve under Clinton until 1996 and the economy under Bush from 2003 till 2007 was booming and the record shows it. I am about to show you some of that record.

    So what happened during that time, well Clinton worked with Newt Gingrich and John Kasich in the Republican dominated Congress and passed welfare reform, government spending restraint, and they cut that capitol gaines tax in half. The result was an explosion in government revenue.

    This was referenced in the debates. Remember when the ABC reporter chastised Obama for saying that he wanted to raise the capitol gaines tax rate in spite of the fact that history proves that doing so slows the economy and lowers revenue? Here is the video and you can see for yourself – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpSDBu35K-8

    Also your fantasy that President Bush mostly presided over a sluggish economy is just a lie and here is the proof. http://iusbvision.wordpress.com/2006/10/25/economy-booming-rich-paying-more-since-tax-cuts/

    Look at that article carefully and than look in the comments section where we piled on with more articles. We posted a couple dozen articles from the NYT, the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press that told about how the rich were paying more money in real dollars since the tax rate cuts, the economy was growing, unemployment was dropping and government revenue was going up.

    Here are some examples:

    According to the government’s establishment survey, in the 36 months since the tax cuts became law, 5.3 million new jobs have been added to the economy. According to its employment survey, 288,000 jobs were added in May and 387,000 in June. The unemployment rate dropped from 6.1% when the bills were signed to 5.4% at the end of 2004 and 4.6% today, and the rate has gone down for men, women, blacks and Hispanics. Hourly wage rates for workers are up 3.9% in the past year, and they increased at an annualized rate of 4.6% in the second quarter of this year, the highest quarterly rate in nearly 10 years.

    All this has been good news for the government. Federal tax receipts increased by 15%– $274 billion–last year and 13%– $206 billion–in the first nine months of this fiscal year, which, as the Journal points out, means the nine-month increases for the past two years represent the highest growth rates in 25 years. Looking ahead to the end of this fiscal year, total inflation-adjusted government receipts will likely be 23% above 2003 when the Bush tax cuts were signed into law.

    WASHINGTON — The federal deficit in the budget year that just ended fell to a four-year low of $247.7 billion _ a figure President Bush touted Wednesday as “proof that pro-growth policies work.” The deficit for the budget year that ended Sept. 30 was 22.3 percent lower than the $318.7 billion imbalance for 2005, handing Bush a welcome economic talking point as Republicans battle to hold onto control of Congress in the midterm elections. (AP Oct. 11, 2006)

    One place it has come from are corporations, whose tax collections have climbed by 76% over the past two years thanks to greater profitability. Personal income tax payments are up by 30.3% since 2004 too, despite the fact that the highest tax rate is down to 35% from 39.6%. The IRS tax-return data just released last month indicates that a near-record 37% of those income tax payments are received from the top 1% of earners — “the rich,” who are derided regularly in Washington for not paying their “fair share.” (WSJ Oct. 6 2006) The rich are paying more in real dollars since the tax cuts.

    Hiring perked up in August as employers added 128,000 jobs, pulling down the unemployment rate to 4.7 percent, sending a Labor Day message that the economic expansion still has staying power. The latest snapshot, released by the Labor Department Friday, was a bit brighter than expected and should ease any fears that the expansion that began in late 2001 is not in danger of fizzling out. (AP Sept. 1, 2006)

    I have dozens more of these. So much for your “historical memory”. With all due respect here is an idea for you, do the homework and stop just making stuff up or repeating talking points that are easily disproven in 10 minutes of looking up the record. – Editor]

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