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Hell, no, I don't want my money back! -- A contractual obligation piece (3 of 7)

(This one is for Bill K. Bill, this was probably the meanest challenge of them all -- "make the case against President Bush's tax cuts." I've actually benefited from them, and support them. But I think that if I cheat a little, I can answer your challenge satisfactorily.)

There's been a lot of criticism of President Bush's insistence on pushing through his tax cuts, and a lot of it is crap. Historically, tax cuts have had the effect of both improving the economy and increasing government revenues. I know that may seem counterintuitive, but as the rates lower, the people paying those taxes make more money and end up paying more in taxes (but a smaller percentage of their income).

But there is a case to be made for ending the tax cuts, and it's a bit obscure. As many of the tax cuts' critics point out, we are at WAR here, and as Bush predicted, this war is likely to go on for many years to come. And tax cuts just don't make a lot of sense in one context.

One of the reasons World War II was so widely supported in the US was that everyone felt like they were "involved" in the effort to some degree or another, that we all had a "stake" in the struggle. People sent loved ones off to war, bought war bonds, collected scrap metal, rationed food, gasoline, and other products, and in general the war was foremost on everyone's minds.

Nowadays, though, support for the war on militant Islam (OK, OK, I'll be PC and call it "the war on terror") is showing signs of waning. We need to remind people just how important winning this war is, and asking people to make the sacrifice of giving up their tax cuts might just do the trick. I know I'd be willing to give up my tax cut in the name of winning this war. The impact on the general economy would be minor, but the gains in public support will more than make up for it.


Comments (19)

re: mutual sacrifice. Some... (Below threshold)

re: mutual sacrifice. Someone should add up the impacts / costs of the various measures that have "taxed" us all like the Patriot act (more transparency, less privacy in our lives), the impact of businesses giving up employees to military reserve service, the actual dollars transfered into these efforts (whether taxes or debt - paid by an even smaller segment of our ever richer children.. we have no history of NOT increasingly taxing fewer richer payers, over time, irrespective of how unjust this is - in terms of equating wealth to a valuing of citizenship).

Increased sacrifice wrt the Patriot act would suggest allowing the government to use some automation to find maelfactors (rather than using this access after-the-fact) - something no amount of money in taxes could match.

It looks like most terrorist homeland-defense is / will be citizen-based (i.e. citizens not being docile passengers on a hijacked flight), so more mutual sacrifice here would be to waive all state handgun restrictions for those willing to have a background check and take a competency test, and then have them bear the inconvenience (and extra-care) of being required to wear a conceled weapon wherever they go.

Taxes at above 10-15% don't directly equate to mutual sacrifice, defense, fairness, etc. They are really "just" a shift of power, usually from those with less to those with more already (as opposed to, say, letting the issue stay w/ the citizen, or leaving it to "the market")

As much as I agree with the sentiment (taxes being the "least" we could do), we-the-people-acting-thru-a-representative-government shouldn't ask for more until we've shifted all of our existing (descretionary) resources to the fight.

The "shared sacrifice" and ... (Below threshold)

The "shared sacrifice" and the "stake" that many people felt in WWII was mostly propaganda. Collecting scrap metal and rubber and much of the rationing had very little effect on the war effort and in some cases actually "cost" more than the supposed benefit... But in the way of the modern Democrat party it's the thought that counts (not the actual effectiveness of the program).

Oh, yuk, Jay - people who h... (Below threshold)

Oh, yuk, Jay - people who haven't been following what this challenge is all about, will think you really mean it.

Jay:I'll give you ... (Below threshold)


I'll give you an A for effort, but a D for achievement... you ignore too many facts for your argument to get any traction - the primary fault is that none of the people who do not now support the war are against the war only because of the tax cuts or because not 'enough' Americans are sacrificing for the cause.


For more 'anti-sacrifice-the-tax-cuts-for-the-war' arguments, check out my full post at thoughtsonline

Nothing about the increased... (Below threshold)
Bill K:

Nothing about the increased deficit? I mean, you couldn't have even jokingly put in a refence about how you can't give your kids an allowance bigger than your monthly check?

I was really under the impr... (Below threshold)
Bill K:

I was really under the impression you were going to take a real swing at these things. Oh well, I won't say anymore. It is like bitching about the chicken at a fundraising dinner...

Bill, I said I was no econo... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Bill, I said I was no economist, and I don't have the aptitude to learn enough to be more than dangerous. I just know that, historically, tax CUTS have led to INCREASED government revenues. It's counterintuitive, but it seems to be pretty consistent. And increased revenues should help cut the deficit.

If you're unsatisfied, I probably should have declined it on the same basis as I would have a "sports" one -- lack of adequate knowledge and interest to do it justice. Wanna take another shot? I'd really like you to feel you got your money's worth, and it really wasn't the angle of the position. I was prepared to argue that Kerry shoulda been elected, if asked; I'm not gonna weasel out of a simple policy issue.


it may not work to change m... (Below threshold)
tee bee:

it may not work to change method in mid-stride, but I think arguing against something you believe in, particularly to the point of arguing something you are against, will disappoint the one who wants said point promoted.

perhaps you could allow the person to post their ideas to wizbang; or you could offer to co-write the piece, in which you support the author in the way that's least offensive to you; or you could write the piece, and get their input before posting. if quid pro quo is offered for charity, it should be paid in the same spirit it is solicited, which I expect you are attempting.

unless the exercise is in part to prove that, a la kos/Dean and Williams/NCLB, writers write what they are passionate about even when paid to (and those who write only what they are paid to - can't think of an example other than you for this charity event - do a transparently poor job of it). in which case, carry on.

regarding the topic, I don't believe there is any benefit that outweighs the impact of lesser taxation. people and businesses tend to gravitate to such places; community spirit doesn't need a tariff to spark the feeling of collective action, and no such "penalty" will ever motivate people to feel anything except coerced. hell yeah, I want my money back, and W has made a small start.

This is the only Blog that ... (Below threshold)
Drew - Dallas, TX:

This is the only Blog that I have seen where the moderator(s) have actually made an effort to address the opposition in such a way.

Bill K., you should feel privileged to be the recipient of the casual professionalism that Kevin, Paul and JayTea have shown you. Some of our comments may be the exception.

Every time I enter a liberal forum (we all have our favorites), I'm at the end of a constant stream of "wish cancer upon you" statements - even before I start bashing someone - simply because of my handle.

JayTea, I think you did a pretty good job with the article without rambling and getting away from the salient points - after all, you like the tax cuts, I like the tax cuts, and last time I checked, the recipients of said tax cuts are free to do with it whatever they wish.

Although it's designed to pipe directly into the economy - why don't the folks who are so offended by this just send it to their favorite charity?

I can assure you that my friends in Canada wish that they had the same problem.

- This subject is a constan... (Below threshold)

- This subject is a constant source of amusement...Even at a time when several of the Euro block countries are looking at their flat or failing economies and trying anxiously to figure a way out of the "Great socialistic promise land", the liberals among us cling to their shopworn idiocies...

- Back in the Reagan days an economist named Laffer drove the liberals nuts with his "Laffer report" and charts which showed that revenue from any taxation starts at zero, rises to a peak somewhere between 10 and 25% and then starts to fall again back to zero, when presumably the citizens would just give up and start growing their own tomato's....

- It must be hell living in a constant state of jeolousy over what other people have that they worked hard for and achieved, but somehow I come up short feeling much sympathy for the moonbats....

I love you guys, Seriously.... (Below threshold)

I love you guys, Seriously. What a hoot. J amkes the case that tax cuts spur economic growth but then turns around and says "I'd be willing to give up my tax cut in the name of winning this war. The impact on the general economy would be minor."

Classic. If recinding the tax cuts wouldn't have that much of an impact on the economy, why enact them in the first place? For the massive deficits?

See, this is what happens when you don't bother to do even the most basic research and depend entirely on "conventional wisdom" which is little more than quackery pumped up by endless repetition.


"There is no historical evidence that tax cuts spur economic growth. The highest period of growth in U.S. history (1933-1973) also saw its highest tax rates on the rich: 70 to 91 percent. During this period, the general tax rate climbed as well, but it reached a plateau in 1969, and growth slowed down five years later. Almost all rich nations have higher general taxes than the U.S., and they are growing faster as well."

You guys are too much.

Oh, hey, there's more, I gu... (Below threshold)

Oh, hey, there's more, I guess in spport of Js miniscule impact argument:


"Specifically, the CBO data show that the underlying rate of annual economic growth was lower in the 1980s than the 1970s. It averaged 3.4 percent from 1969 to 1980, then slipped to 2.7 percent in the 1980s (not the 3.8 percent that comes from measuring from the depths of the recession in 1982), and is now projected at 2.1 percent. It is plausible that the underlying annual growth rate might have been slightly less than 2.7 percent in the 1980s were it not for the 1981 tax cut, but surely only slightly."

I'm not going to get into a... (Below threshold)
Drew - Dallas, TX:

I'm not going to get into a copy and paste argument with you 'frameone', but it would be nice to have the GDP equivalents for those same time periods. That always seems to get omitted - what with it having nothing to do with this discussion.

One part of the first plan addressed amortization periods for businesses in order to spur investment. Oh, the horror.

But I'm also wondering why Paul Krugman in particular was cited giving "CBPP" kudos. Any ideas?

Uh, yeah, sorry for coming ... (Below threshold)

Uh, yeah, sorry for coming in the middle of this brilliant discussion. Maybe that's why I can't figure out who brought up the patently empty rhetoric that "Historically, tax cuts have had the effect of both improving the economy and increasing government revenues."

Frame:"Maybe that'... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:


"Maybe that's why I can't figure out who brought up the patently empty rhetoric that 'Historically, tax cuts have had the effect of both improving the economy and increasing government revenues.' "

That would have been been me who said that -- me, the original author of the piece. If you want to add that to the list of reasons why I normally avoid talking about economics, you're certainly welcome.

In fact, I think I might even write a piece outlining everything I know about economics. I've been meaning to write shorter pieces lately, but they keep getting away from me.


Jay Tea, our astute liberal... (Below threshold)
Drew - Dallas, TX:

Jay Tea, our astute liberal economist friend doesn't seem to have any problems somehow summarizing the notoriously complicated history of tax cuts in less than a couple hundred lines - what's the problem?

Actually, I guess it can be done when you leave out less than important factors like Reaganomics that had such an insignificant impact that it ended the Cold War, or Hurricane Andrew or OPEC holding the modern world hostage or blah, blah blah - who really cares about all of these little things.

I've heard all of the liberal arguments before and they all have one thing in common. They all half ass the numbers. They only factor in variables when they make the economy look bad.

You might also want to post some regurgitated liberal gibberish on a website with "kangaroo" in the URL as that makes it much more credible. Or, yes, it also helps to spit out links to analysis where unbiased names like Paul Krugman can be found with a couple of mouse clicks.

I think we should set the t... (Below threshold)

I think we should set the tax rate to zero to increase the money collected to it's highest possible sum. Sounds like a win/win to me!

I'm sorry, I just can't shu... (Below threshold)
Drew - Dallas, TX:

I'm sorry, I just can't shut up about this because even an economic know-nothing-know-it-all hack like myself can smell the liberal stench on this discussion.

There are at least three levels to this argument - 1) the country's economy as a whole 2) how it impacts individual Businesses 3) and how it impacts you as the individual. All of this repetitive "concern" for a massive deficit is bullshit. 95% of Americans have massive deficits on a check-to-check basis.

Regarding the US economy as a whole, this argument is a moot point as we can both speculate all we want but in reality we won't know for several years.

On the business Level, part of the tax plan is designed to help businesses and investors get off of some of capital that they have been sitting on - really since 9/11. If that negatively impacts your company because you want to depreciate an $90,000 piece of equipment over 15 years - long after the vendor stops supporting or repairing it, then tough shit. It's not designed that way anymore - take it up with your congressman and don't forget to explain that you're a total jackass just in case he/she doesn't get it. I don't just think that it's working, I know that it's working - I can see the evidence all over the industry that I'm in.

On the individual level, if you have kids, then you are, at least in part, a participant in Bush's faith-based initiative whether you like it or not. A $1,000 child credit would purchase school supplies, project materials and probably Hockey equipment for 3 kids for an entire year. That's pretty cool when you think about it, although a lot of folks will more than likely decide to piss it away into their day trading "occupation" instead of buying a new suit and getting a haircut or perhaps trying to pay off some debt (which should be a prerequisite for day trading in the first place). Finally, if you want to continue to sound like an asshole bitching about the money you got back from your government because you are a concerned amateur economist, you won't hurt my feelings whatsoever - knock yourself out. May I suggest that you not practice this in Canada at the risk of getting bitch slapped, eh?

yo JAY TEA i have noticed t... (Below threshold)

yo JAY TEA i have noticed that your chatting to everyone but why not me. what have i done man?






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