Righties — lighten up

First let me say that I think most people who didn’t vote for Obama are being gracious and hopeful that we will live in good times in the coming years.

It’s funny to me, though, that the general sentiment I’m sensing from the disappointed Right is that they need to hold on to their checkbook. They think that they will be paying for new spending in higher taxes.

First — the debt is $10 trillion. Our GDP is about $15 trillion. So our debt load is 2/3 of our GDP. That is getting out of hand. Our budget is about $3 trillion, so our income should be $3 trillion and thus our debt is more than 3 times our nominal income. We gotta get this house in order. We need to do it by growing the economy, running a surplus budget and paying down the debt. If, at my company, we had 3x our gross income in debt, I’d be shocked and worried.

We need to run a surplus budget. We have to do it. Some balance of less spending, higher taxes and growth of the overall economy is the solution. We can’t raise taxes so high that we curtain economic growth. We can’t cut spending so much that programs and services are starved to inefficiency. The liberal solution to growing the economy is investment in shifting the entire bell curve of the standard of living, thereby giving a return on that investment in the form of a more robust economy. The Right still seem to believe in trickle down economics.

Second — the Right doesn’t necessarily do better under Republican administrations! They think they do, because capital gains taxes do tend to be higher under Democrats, but one needs look no further than 8 years of George W. Bush to see that alone is not a good measure. Would you rather pay a little more on capital gains and have your economy not tank? I think you would.

I think the unwillingness of affluent Americans to pay taxes is one of the least patriotic things I can think of. They want to have the world’s most powerful army and they do have the world’s most powerful economy and they still can’t do the math the reveals how crucial progressive taxation is to our success in these areas. It’s vital, it’s working and rather than be grateful for the privileged lives that they lead, they whine about taxes. It’s sad, really.

So lighten up, Righties. You’re going to be fine.

Righties — lighten up

I voted to raise my property taxes

I voted yesterday to raise my property taxes to benefit the children of the Robbinsdale School District. Note that I do not have children in the Robbinsdale School District.

But thanks to affluent, white Republicans, the school district was denied the funding they asked for:

The school levy for the Robbinsdale schools failed to pass, with 9,660 votes yes (47 percent) and 10,733 votes no (53 percent).

We all love to bitch about the education system and we all suffer the economic losses related to undereducated people and yet we say no every time these honest, smart and well-meaning people ask us to fund the constitutional mandate that they are charged with.

It’s stupid as hell and the people that voted against this are selfish twits.

I voted to raise my property taxes

The tax debate rages

Nice to see some blood sport in the comments recently. As usual, I’m gonna pull out a micadelic quote:

Sheesh. Can I at least get one of you guys to agree that the gov is extremely inefficient in spending taxpayer dollars and if government could run more efficiently, and not waste so much money, it just might help out a little bit and could help offset potential tax increases.

Can I also get one of you to say that maybe, just maybe the answer isn’t always to just raise taxes? Because that’s what you all sound like.

First of all, who says “Sheesh” anymore. The proper phrase would have been “Jesus Fucking Christ”. It is Easter, you know.

Yes, I can agree that there is room for improvement in terms of government waste. I have two problems with it as an argument in this debate, though. One, you can’t improve efficiency indefinitely and; Two, government is not necessarily any worse in regards to efficiency than other big businesses. People sometimes forget how large and complicated — necessarily — it is to run the freaking United States of America. It’s not a small undertaking. I’ll point out again that 1/2 of the budget goes to the military, so we run all the other activities of the federal budget with half or less money than it takes to run the military. If you want to go after inefficiencies, start with the military. Oh wait, that’s one of the many places Republicans throw fiscal discipline out the window.

A friend of mine who works at Best Buy recently told me “Best Buy can’t take a crap without wasting $100k”. Insurance companies, for example, are wildly inefficient and bureaucratic. On the other hand, I’ve heard that federal health care programs such as medicare are more efficient than their private counterparts.

The Right has brainwashed themselves into thinking that any discussion of taxes has to be countered with this government waste argument. Yes, I agree, let’s get rid of government waste, but it is a small part of the solution.

For the second part, all people, everyone, everywhere, would rather pay less in taxes. To me the absolute goal, which has been forsaken by Bush & Co., is to run a balanced budget. Clinton ran a surplus budget. Bush has driven up the debt and the deficit. Why don’t we have a surplus budget if cutting taxes is the key to more revenue? Bush got his way on taxes and spending and, while the economy is pretty good, the deficit and debt have both increased.

And, obviously, there comes a point where cutting taxes does not increase revenue. That’s the whole debate of degree thing I mentioned earlier. It is possible, and in fact it happens all the time around the world, where underinvestment in government undermines your economy. I would venture to say that the countries with the highest standards of living are invariably those with the highest tax rates. Quality government costs money.

It’s not that I want to pay more taxes, it is that I am willing to, unlike, apparently, you.

The tax debate rages

How the fuck can you be pro-military and anti-tax?!?

51% of the federal budget, or around 0.5 TRILLION dollars per YEAR is spent on the US military. (Ref: Wikipedia)

Isn’t it funny that the same rich bastards who fight against every tax and constantly complain about how we are over-taxed are the same people who are pro-war and pro-military? They want to grow military spending every year and yet they constantly whing about how our government spends too much!

The only way you can reconcile that is by being totally divorced from reality.

Pro-military means pro-tax. Deal with it.

How the fuck can you be pro-military and anti-tax?!?

Taxes and smaller government

So micadelic brings up the same Right wing argument about taxes:

Voting to raise taxes is ill-advised, ignorant and short-sighted.

Working to reduce government waste and spending takes courage and brains.

First of all, neither of these sentences make sense when taken to extremes. Should we have NO taxes? Should we reduce government to ZERO? Obviously, taken to extremes, these are both completely retarded. So, as I often like to point out, this is a debate of degree: what is the right balance between the tax burden and the size of government. No one except the most deluded libertarians think we should have no taxes and no government.

So I can’t really agree with the above quoted two sentences. I think Pawlenty was a moron to take new taxes off the table. I think all people, left and right, should be concerned about revealing and eliminating government waste. But we can’t get there just by watching the expense side; every responsible business person needs to be concerned about the income side, too. Government is no different.

The other thing that bugs the hell out of me is when people talk about taxes being “too high” without talking about what they are buying with that money. Go live in Mississippi if you want to live in a low-tax hell hole. Their education sucks and their infrastructure sucks because they can’t get their retarded citizenry to agree to pay taxes. Here in Minnesota we have a great environment for business, an educated work force, wonderful natural resources, great infrastructure. Paying more in taxes is the best decision Minnesotans have ever made.

It’s like if I said “Hey, a bought something for $10k” and you said “You got ripped off” BEFORE YOU KNEW WHAT I BOUGHT! The Right always talks about taxes being too high without recognizing how important that money is in making our state so great. What if I got a new BMW for $10k? Did I get ripped off?

And like I said in the previous post, the rich pay less of their income in taxes than anyone else because many taxes and fees are regressive. It is not stealing to raise taxes on the rich, it is fairness. People capable of paying more should pay more HAPPILY.

We need to raise taxes in this state to ease the property tax burden and get more money into schools. Fucking Pawlenty’s “no new taxes” pledge did not in any way make the problems go away, they made them worse.

Pay your fucking tax bill and be proud of it.

Taxes and smaller government

Tax the rich, dammit!

The Republicans in Minnesota are whinging again because the Democrats want to raise taxes on the rich. By “rich” they mean couples with incomes above $400k and individuals with incomes above $220k.

They want to do this because the failed “no new taxes” policy of Gov. Pawlenty has driven property taxes through the roof. As you may recall, property taxes are largely regressive in that lower income people pay a larger percentage of their income towards them. They want to raise income tax on the rich so they can lower property taxes on the rest of us.

The Republican doofus who was on MPR this morning brought out the same old tired rhetoric. “We’re taking money out of one pocket and putting it in another” and “Rich people are the drivers of are economy and we don’t want to drive them away”.

What a load of bullshit. If the rich don’t like paying a disproportionate tax burden then they should give away all their money so they can be part of the “lucky” majority that are not rich. No one would make that trade. They also have no problem taking money from one pocket to another so long as it goes into their pocket.

Taxes should be as low as possible but no lower! The rich should pay more in taxes. When I’m rich, God willing, I will not bitch about taxes. Incidentally, I’m not rich and I still don’t bitch about taxes.

Tax the rich, dammit!