Deeper and deeper

More cheery economic news today:

  • *” Not only has the unemployment rate risen sharply to 7.2%, but the number of workers only able to find part time jobs (or have had their hours cut for economic reasons) is now over 8 million.

    “Of course the U.S. population is significantly larger today (about 305 million) than in the early ’80s (about 228 million) when the number of part time workers almost reached 7 million, but the rapid increase in part time workers is pretty stunning.” (Calculated risk)

  • * Brad DeLong offers some further context for the jobs numbers, observing that “And U-6–unemployed plus discouraged workers plus unable to fond a full-time job–is now at 13.5% of the labor force–and BLS ‘discouraged workers’ are a big undercount of the concept.” With so many able-bodied, working age people not actually working, we’re producing many fewer goods and services than we have the capacity to produce. (MY)

But these words from a noted economist are what concern me the most:

“Bottom line: Obama’s prescription for economic pain will at most be useless in encouraging short-term growth, while ensuring anemic longer-term growth for the next decade (and beyond) at the expense of Obama’s kids and my kids and yours.”

Think about that, libtards: Obama’s not even in office yet and he’s already sold his own kids down the river. Clinton didn’t do that until the Socksgate scandal.






82 replies
  1. 1
    John Cole says:

    The Malkin quote is priceless.

  2. 2
    Dusty Vajay J. says:

    he’s already sold his own kids down the river.

    The expression you’re looking for is "thrown under the bus."

    /ducks

  3. 3
    dmsilev says:

    “Bottom line: Obama’s prescription for economic pain will at most be useless in encouraging short-term growth, while ensuring anemic longer-term growth for the next decade (and beyond) at the expense of Obama’s kids and my kids and yours.”

    Because if we’ve learned nothing else over the last several years, it’s that Michelle Malkin has a keen, indeed unparalleled, grasp of economic policy, and is completely lacking in partisanship.

    Now, does anyone know what kind of countertops Michelle Obama is planning on installing in the Oval Office?

    -dms

  4. 4
    JL says:

    The big talk radio push is tax cuts so that we can spend our own money. The great economist bozo Boortz was just on the air preaching that we need to be in control of spending. Somebody had better explain to the ass that when you are afraid of losing your job, the last thing you do with your money is shop at Macy’s..

  5. 5
    Mnemosyne says:

    Don’t forget the extra-fun part of people having their hours cut: at most companies, that means you also lose your health insurance, because you have to work a minimum number of hours. At my first, horrible employer after college (Crown Books), if you worked less than 38 hours a week, you could not get health insurance through their group plan. And, of course, instructions went out to keep all of the clerks under 38 hours a week.

  6. 6
    Joshua Norton says:

    And U-6-unemployed plus discouraged workers plus unable to fond a full-time job-is now at 13.5% of the labor force

    Ah, you can almost hear the theme song to "Good Times" playing in the background.

    Thanks George.

  7. 7
    libarbarian says:

    We’re in the middle of a Democratic recession and 8 million slackers are still refusing to work to their full potential. Thats what 50 years of liberalism have brought this country.

    I, Conservatism, cannot fail. I can only be failed. I feel like Hitler in 1945 – let down by an entire country of slackers.

  8. 8
    Colonel Danite says:

    What’s most precious are the comments in the HotAir blog. One idiot would rather us go through a Depression than sacrifice "principles". Another genius wants to cut government spending because that will supposedly stimulate the economy and create jobs. The GOP has successfully created an army of economic illiterates.

  9. 9
    p.a. says:

    We all have our Walter Mitty moments, and most of mine are absolutely not for public consumption. But this one, while certainly not in the top ten, does pop into my head when she is the subject: I’m a world renowned prankster/hacker/techie who rigs Malkin’s Defeatocrat video to play worldwide in a corner of the viewscreen on whatever media outlet is shameless enough to have her on.

    Oh God, I need a winter hobby.

  10. 10
    Brian J says:

    This is scary. I’m trying to read more about what sort of policy is best and one thing I’ve read is that we need to reduce consumption, so trying to stimulate it isn’t a great option–or so that is the message I got from an opinion piece by Berkeley economist Hal Varian yesterday. I must be missing something because I become more confused each day with conflicting advice.

  11. 11
    The Other Steve says:

    I’m not an economist, but I am a crank with a keyboard.

    It seems to me that our problems over the past 20 years have been the direct result of too much investment money searching after too few opportunities. If you take a supply and demand chart, at the point where supply plateaus but demand continues you see the bubble. We saw it this past year with oil prices, and I think this is what we’ve been seeing with the markets.

    Around 2005 or so was the big boom in private equity buyouts, again… because it was widely observed there was too much money available for investments and so these spawned up as a way of doing something with it.

    I guess my point is, for long term sustainable growth I’m not sure if dumping money into this hog is the solution. Rather I’m wondering if we don’t need to do the opposite. Again, kind of like what Voelker did in 1980 with interest rates.

    Any thoughts?

  12. 12
    passerby says:

    1) Ignore Malkin. Her job is to infuriate everyone left of her and to feed the ignoramuses in her camp. She should be confined to her echo-chamber. Ignore her.

    2) While it’s fair to criticize Obama’s plan, the critics I’m most interested in are those who offer a counter plan. People who criticize without putting forth a counter point or without suggesting a better alternative are just armchair quarterbacking and don’t contribute substantively to the debate.

    3) Everybody’s a critic but how many are willing to admit that they lack the expertise that would justify there their stand (I’m talking about pundits and pols here, present company excepted) or even admit that NO ONE has any certainty of what will happen as we watch an unprecedented collapse of the economy.

  13. 13
    PeakVT says:

    I must be missing something because I become more confused each day with conflicting advice.

    Timing is everything. We (Americans in aggregate) need to reduce consumer consumption from ~70% of GDP to ~64% of GDP, BUT not right away or real fast.

    AD = C+I+G+( X-IM ). Both C and I are falling very fast right now.

  14. 14
    The Other Steve says:

    This is scary. I’m trying to read more about what sort of policy is best and one thing I’ve read is that we need to reduce consumption, so trying to stimulate it isn’t a great option—or so that is the message I got from an opinion piece by Berkeley economist Hal Varian yesterday. I must be missing something because I become more confused each day with conflicting advice.

    Ok, I found that article.

    I really think Varian is stuck in the past. He’s saying that in the past this is what we tried and it generally worked. Ok, but is that really looking at what is going on now? I don’t think so.

    One of the reasons why the Bush tax cuts in 2001 failed substantially was because of the trickle-down theory of investment. After the 1990s boom and subsequent bust in 2000, our problem was not for lack of investment. In fact our problem was we had too much capacity to produce. So further investment options were slim.

    This resulted in a lot of that investment money from the US going into foreign economies instead, notably China. US investment in foreign economies degraded the ability of the US to compete hence losing ever more local demand.

    And this is definately the problem today. We’re not suffering from a lack of investment. We’re suffering from a lack of demand for that investment.

    I guess I think that Varian guy is woefully naive, and I’m not even an economist.

  15. 15
    CJ says:

    Considering that I delete 99% of the posts I write as being overwrought and am therefore naught but a lurker, I’m not sure my contributions to this site warrant any changes, but I’ll ask anyway. Would it be possible for a front pager here to start a series examining the criteria for what constitutes success in these United States? Something that goes beyond the chicken in every pot type of thing?

    A working title could be "To be an American means . . . " From there, we could select a topic and see if there is any hope of consensus. I feel that this would be an interesting exercise. For example, on the subject of taxes, I would love to find out how many of you would quit your jobs and/or stop doing anything productive if taxes are raised and if so, is there defined proportion between taxes and inhibition or is it more of an all or nothing kind of thing?

    In any case, the unremitting doom and gloom and the steady chanting of "we’re screwed" is about as depressing as listening to public radio these days and I may have to start reading actual books in lieu of message boards.

    CJ

  16. 16
    Zifnab25 says:

    But tax cuts will make everything better. Because when you’re running several million (or billion) in the red, it’s really important to give up fewer profits to the gov.

    Meanwhile Obama’s "spend money on infrastructure" idea will do little more than create welfare for civil engineers and construction workers. And communism. Concrete communism. And illegal immigration from scary mexican’ts.

  17. 17
    The Other Steve says:

    Ok, from the Varian article:

    In the modern economy, there are four sources of demand (consumption, investment, government and exports) and two sources of supply (domestic production and imports). When a component of demand declines, supply will ultimately have to decline as well.

    If I’m spending $10 billion building a new automobile factory, that is demand… demand for materials, labor and what not.

    But that’s not what is happening here.

    Our problem is nobody needs another automobile factory. So instead I’ve got $10 billion and nowhere to spend it. That’s not demand… that’s supply.

  18. 18
    Dave says:

    @PeakVT:

    You’re right about reducing consumption, but how do you expect the public to do that in an orderly fashion? All we’ve been told is to go out and spend, to forget sacrifice and thrift. And when the economy knocked the pins out from under that mantra, everyone scrambled to the other side and started depositing their cash in the Bank of Serta.
     
    We still need to consume, because that will create jobs. But we also have to save, because we have to pay down our debt we incurred with all our consumption. It’s Kafka economics courtesy of the GOP.

  19. 19
    passerby says:

    @Brian J:

    one thing I’ve read is that we need to reduce consumption, so trying to stimulate it isn’t a great option

    I agree about this being a most troublesome of concept. If everyone began living within their means and stopped or cut personal spending on frivolous items, the industries that provide those things would fail (loss of jobs and loss of tax revenue).

    And who’s to say what Americans can spend their money on. Would we want a Stim Packg that dictated how we spend our money? I don’t think so. What to do. What to do.

  20. 20
    Feebog says:

    This "stimulus" package needs to be long on infrasturcture spending and investment and short on tax cuts. Giving people more money in this economy is not going to prompt spending. The unemployed will use it on essentials such as rent and food, the slightly better off will use it to pay off credit card debt. Very few are going to run out and buy that big screen TV, and it won’t be enough to spur sales of really big ticket items like cars.

    Even more important than the stimulus package is the rest of the TARP money. If that is put to use from the bottom up, that is by helping distressed homeowners and stablizing the housing market, that will be step one toward recovery.

  21. 21
    libarbarian says:

    Time to escape to fantasy.

    I think I’m up for a few years of insanity.

  22. 22
    JL says:

    @Colonel Danite:

    The GOP has successfully created an army of economic illiterates.

    I would only add that they had the help of talk radio.

  23. 23
    Brian J says:

    2) While it’s fair to criticize Obama’s plan, the critics I’m most interested in are those who offer a counter plan. People who criticize without putting forth a counter point or without suggesting a better alternative are just armchair quarterbacking and don’t contribute substantively to the debate.

    I agree, although I am having trouble imagining what sort of plan such an alternative would resemble. Would it involve raising interest rates for some counterintuitive reason? Would it involve, generally speaking, a whole lot of pain crammed into less time, thus bringing about a faster recovery?

  24. 24
    woody says:

    "To be an American means . . . "

    you never have to apologize to anyone for anything.

    And your chickens NEVAR come home to roost…

  25. 25
    Zifnab says:

    @passerby:

    I agree about this being a most troublesome of concept. If everyone began living within their means and stopped or cut personal spending on frivolous items, the industries that provide those things would fail (loss of jobs and loss of tax revenue).

    Except that there are large groups of people who want to spend money on non-frivolous items – food, clothing, housing, education, transportation, energy, health care – and can’t because they are poor or broke.

    This notion that we are a nation entirely consumed by iPods and without any other actual critical needs is a load of bullshit. But incomes have been on the rise in the upper classes and no one gives a shit about the folks that can’t afford big screen tvs or new Prada bags, so they don’t get talked about.

    Want to improve the economy? Food stamps. Unemployment insurance (so people can make rent). Affordable health care. Get these in the hopper and you’ll see people actually able to afford to live. And you’ll encourage industries we give a fuck about – agriculture, real estate, medical.

  26. 26
    The Other Steve says:

    Our problem is nobody needs another automobile factory. So instead I’ve got $10 billion and nowhere to spend it. That’s not demand… that’s supply.

    To further expand… Part of the reason why we have no demand for automobile factories is because we have no demand to consume automobiles. Investment creating demand is true when you are building, but once built them you have supply. If there is no demand for that supply there was no point in the investment.

    Here’s my economic theory.

    – Salaries have to go up. Salaries going up will increase demand for supply.
    – We have too much government debt, and an excess of investment money. Taxes need to go up to balance that. And we need to be responsible, I don’t mean increase taxes and then increase spending. I mean pay off debt.
    – We need to stop looking at expanding, and start looking at maintaining what we’ve got. I think we had a mindset of expansion where you build buildings and roads and such, and because everything was new and shiny we forgot to consider how much it costs to replace the windows and roof, and plow the snow from the roads.

    As far as some solutions for government budget problems…

    Increasing salaries can mean inflation in the short term. Inflation would negate the pain of debt, both personal and government.

    We also need to eliminate anything which is hog-tying legislatures. That means earmarks of all sorts. Tax revenues ear marked to one sort of spending. Spending programs which are adjusted automatically for inflation.

  27. 27
    agorabum says:

    Re: #11 (other steve):

    Too much money chasing too few invesements was one of the "benefits" of massive tax cuts for the upper brackets and on capital gains.

    Instead of that money going to the government for use on infrastructure, R&D, health care, and war (2 wars cost a lot), the Republicans decided to run massive deficits and then let the money sit in the hands of the wealthy (I’m talking multi-millionaires). Since they didn’t have any material needs (got several houses, cars, servants, etc. already, and more money just keeps rolling in), they looked for areas sutiable for "investment."

    But the more acurate term is speculation. These are people who decided to play around in the real estate market and try to make more money as novice developers, or speculated with hedge funds and stocks to try and get more and more wealth. And the party was good while the bubbles were growing. But they, for the most part, did not "invest" by creating new, hard assets & structures that will bear utility to society for decades to come. Instead, they helped wall street focus on creating CDOs, default swaps, and mortgage backed securities.

    So we managed to get the worst of both worlds with our money: no benefit to society (no assets, since the bubble burst and destroyed the wealth), and massive deficits. Huzzah!

    So we can’t fix things with a "volcker," since he tamed inflation by raising interest rates (and we’re facing deflation with central bank rates of almost 0). You just have to invest in the tangible things that will last (roads, bridges, energy infrastructure, rail, our national parks) and intangibles that will benefit society in the future (education, R&D, new health care system).

  28. 28
    passerby says:

    One thing that we will always need is FOOD. Looking at the current distribution patterns of food things, we can see that we’re eating fruits and vegs that have been trucked thousands of miles.

    Stay with me here. This is an example of economic inefficiency.

    This country is slapped full of arable farmland, some of it in our own backyards (literally) but, since ADM controls a vast empire of food production and canning they call the shots (and reap the profits) on this clunker of a system. (Not to mention government subsidies to farmers which directly benefit corporations.)

    No one in government dares talk of specifics on the operations of major industries so as not to upset the few corporations running the show. Couldn’t we envision a more regional approach to food production and distribution? Because it currently lies in the hands of a few, regionalization is is not seen as profitable particularly while the petrol fuel required to get a cantaloupe from point A to point B feeds the oil industry–the tyrant of the modern world.

    As long as the ADMs (and Monsantos and the Big 3s) are running the show, change will be hard, if not impossible, to come by. The economy is a tangled mess of interdependence which I think is why NO ONE can predict with any certainty what effects anybody’s ideas are going to have on this economic mealtdown.

    Until corporate controllers of our major industries (auto, food/agri, chemical, medical, media) are convinced to let go, we are forced to discuss economic reform in terms of consumer response and governmental regulation– an exercise in futility if we want change.

  29. 29
    JGabriel says:

    So I clicked on that Malkin link, and guess who’s advertising:

    Rachel Ray.

    I wonder if Malkin has any sense of irony whatsoever.

    .

  30. 30
    TenguPhule says:

    The GOP has successfully created an army of economic illiterates. suicide bombers.

    Corrected for accuracy.

  31. 31
    TenguPhule says:

    I wonder if Malkin has any sense of irony whatsoever.

    No.

    SATSQ.

  32. 32
    The Other Steve says:

    @agorabum: That’s exactly right.

    What I meant by the Voelcker comment, was that he tamed that problem with high interest rates, the problem being too much money in the system from that angle.

    What I’m saying here is we have too much money from another side… namely the investment side and I think it needs to be retracted by increasing taxes on it.

    Not a radical change… Just a simple taxes on investment should be the same as taxes on income. Like how they were before we decided to favor the wealthy over working families.

  33. 33
    TenguPhule says:

    While it’s fair to criticize Obama’s plan, the critics I’m most interested in are those who offer a counter plan.

    In place of tax cuts, 10 years involuntary servitude for every person who voted for McCain/Palin to rebuild our infrastructure.

  34. 34
    jrg says:

    If you want your blood to boil this morning, go read the comments on this story here.

    In a nutshell, an Alabama town with ~200 residents (that went 80% for McCain) is requesting $2million dollars per resident, and somehow that’s Obama’s fault.

    We are a nation of complete fucking retards.

  35. 35
    passerby says:

    @Zifnab:

    I agree with your observations here but this:

    Want to improve the economy? Food stamps. Unemployment insurance (so people can make rent). Affordable health care. Get these in the hopper and you’ll see people actually able to afford to live. And you’ll encourage industries we give a fuck about – agriculture, real estate, medical.

    I think, is a bandaid approach to the failed economic paradigm we’re operating now: the foods stamps, the insurance game.

    I’m with you on encouraging the agri, home and health industries but as I noted in my above screed, we have to wrest them from current, corporate control. Other than that we can have a Chicken or the Egg debate about what to do first.

    A complete meltdown gives us the opportunity to create something new and better.

  36. 36
    DougJ says:

    In place of tax cuts, 10 years involuntary servitude for every person who voted for McCain/Palin to rebuild our infrastructure.

    Would you drive over a bridge that was built by Joe the Plumber?

  37. 37
    Brian J says:

    I agree about this being a most troublesome of concept. If everyone began living within their means and stopped or cut personal spending on frivolous items, the industries that provide those things would fail (loss of jobs and loss of tax revenue).

    And who’s to say what Americans can spend their money on. Would we want a Stim Packg that dictated how we spend our money? I don’t think so. What to do. What to do.

    Heh, this is where not working hard in college and reading stuff while exhausted gets me into trouble. The Hal Varian piece I mentioned above does not, it seems, say what I thought it said, or at least it doesn’t discuss personal consumption nearly as much as I thought it did. It seems like the piece is arguing for stimulus directed at private investment more than anything else.

    As far as personal consumption goes, I’m having trouble working my way through it mentally. This might make not make any sense, and if that’s the case, then I apologize. But it seems like there’s going to be a period of adjustment regardless of whether it comes quickly or whether it is more spread out. If we’ve been buying stuff that we really can’t afford, we have to stop at some point, because the bills need to be paid. This will result in a fall in consumption, until things improve on their own. I’m not sure to what extent helping personal consumption as opposed to government consumption is necessary to lead to a recovery or to simply prevent things from getting worse. But then there’s government consumption and other forms of stimulus that could help lead us back to good times. I’m just not sure of the right formula, and every day, it seems like there’s another suggestion. I don’t know exactly what to think of all the suggestions.

  38. 38
    CJ says:

    @woody: That is, unfortunately, the level of discourse we are dealing with.
    Just call me Marvin from now on. ;)

  39. 39
    Brian J says:

    If you want your blood to boil this morning, go read the comments on this story here.

    In a nutshell, an Alabama town with ~200 residents (that went 80% for McCain) is requesting $2million dollars per resident, and somehow that’s Obama’s fault.

    We are a nation of complete fucking retards.

    At the end of the post I just made, I almost included some comments about how annoyed I get when I read comments that if we are to have infrastructure investments, they should be ones that are worthwhile, as opposed to expensive but useless boondoggles. I always wonder, do these people think pretty much everything is in this category? Not that there isn’t the potential for waste, but comments like that seem to go on the assumption that this money will be handed out like candy on Halloween.

    Then you hear about shit like that in Alabama. Now you want to believe these people may be on to something.

  40. 40
    Tsulagi says:

    I see through your snark. Once again, you miss the big picture. Military enlistment and re-enlistment rates are now up. An economy is a small price to pay to pave the road to that success. Freedom isn’t free.

  41. 41
    Trabb's Boy says:

    sold his own kids down the river??????

    Oh my god get it off get it off get it off ! ! ! ! What the fuck kind of thing is that to say about black man?

  42. 42

    @Zifnab25:

    Meanwhile Obama’s "spend money on infrastructure" idea will do little more than create welfare for civil engineers and construction workers. And communism. Concrete communism. And illegal immigration from scary mexican’ts.

    The good roads will make it easier for them to come North and take away all those great leaf blowing and dish washing jobs too. It should be obvious by now that Obama will have our children working in factories and our women garbed in burqas before Memorial Day weekend.

  43. 43
    PeakVT says:

    @Dave:

    It’s definitely one of those conundrums that Green$pend likes to talk about. Like the piece says, it can be partially addressed by making sure a lot of the "stimulus" package is spent in the form of assistance to poorer people, who "consume" most of their income. (The infrastructure part will make up for some of the falling business investment.) But otherwise it won’t be orderly. Theoretically, since this has been coming for a while, implementing a broad consumption tax (VAT or GST, and yes they can be made less regressive) in 2004 or 2005 would have slowed consumption and given a bit of a boost to exports. But you can see the probability of that happening.

    For those who want to re-live to good old days of early 2005 and engage in some red-state bashing, I ran across this the other day.

  44. 44

    @Colonel Danite:

    Another genius wants to cut government spending because that will supposedly stimulate the economy and create jobs.

    I can haz posting on HottAyre from Herbut Hoova?

  45. 45

    @Trabb’s Boy:

    sold his own kids down the river??????
    Oh my god get it off get it off get it off ! ! ! ! What the fuck kind of thing is that to say about black man?

    Hey DougJ it looks like you hooked one. Reel’em in before he gets away!

  46. 46
    ksmiami says:

    As I said before, not a penny for the so called independent red staters. Send those tax dollars back to where they were created. Then max out our energy independence, invest in better infrastructure and education and impose tariffs on crap from the far east while smiling at teh Chinese. Also, get the TARP money out from tne bailed out banks and establish a direct governmental lender to industries so performing companies get access to funds.

  47. 47

    @CJ:

    I would love to find out how many of you would quit your jobs and/or stop doing anything productive if taxes are raised and if so, is there defined proportion between taxes and inhibition or is it more of an all or nothing kind of thing?

    This came up a bit during the election campaign – Obama is going to raise taxes and professionals and business owners all over America are going to retire in droves (I think I’m looking at you, Church Lady).

    I am pretty well paid. I work quite hard over quite long hours. I don’t hate my job, but neither is it a fun packed romp. I pay tax on part of my income at the highest tax rate, which is 45%.

    If the government put the rate of tax I paid up to 50%, or 60%, or 70%, would I quit and stop working?

    Hell no, and anyone who says they would (and who doesn’t have more than enough money saved up to retire tomorrow) is a damn liar.

  48. 48
    DougJ says:

    Oh my god get it off get it off get it off ! ! ! ! What the fuck kind of thing is that to say about black man?

    We can’t criticize him because he’s black?

  49. 49
    BDeevDad says:

    Not to downplay any of this news, but how much of the part time work is due to corporations and businesses being more flexible with their employees. I know many woman who want to work but not full time and their companies not only accommodate this, but actually help make it happen with standard procedures.

  50. 50
    Zifnab says:

    This came up a bit during the election campaign – Obama is going to raise taxes and professionals and business owners all over America are going to retire in droves (I think I’m looking at you, Church Lady).

    Nonsense. I just checked the news this morning. 7.2% of Americans have gone into early retirement in anticipation of the Obama Administration. Obama is KILLING OUR ECONOMY!

  51. 51
    The Populist says:

    Colonel,

    MANY bloggers believe that the people who got us here should suffer. These people think they have a plan when the crap hits the fan but I laugh at that. You can have pallets of canned food and bullets, but what will stop a band of heavily armed thugs from overwhelming that person and taking their bounty?

    Seriously, these people saying we should leave the economy alone are nuts. Do they not understand that the ship is going to sink and take ALL of us with it? Sorry, that is not an option and I question the motivations of anybody advocating such actions.

    In hard times government must step up and do what the markets can’t. Nobody I know advocates for the government to own industries. But I must tell those crying about spending money on infrastructure to get unemployment down to stuff it. These people may have this grand delusion that they can weather this, but I question whether they really understand how bad it will get when municipalities cut police, fire, medical emergency staff, etc so these maroons can go on acting like internet tough guys and pretending everything will be fine.

    Again, 1 trillion sucks but right now if it’s used to give people a tax break on their paychecks, used to help some of the states pay their bills and fund their infrastructure, that is not a bad investment.

    The cons have forgotten that THEIR actions got us here. Fuck the idea of tax and spend liberals. Guess what, cons, I’ll take a tax and spender anyday you know why? I can vote them out and lower taxes when things are good. When the right borrows and spends on deficit (while talking a good game about fiscal conservatism) they doom us as that money costs us a lot more over time. Do they not see that? I can vote out the Republican borrow and spender but he left me a mess I have to clean up. The liberal tax and spender just left me with a tax rate I can easily lobby to have lowered with no harm or loss to the taxpayer.

  52. 52

    7.2% of Americans have gone into early retirement in anticipation of the Obama Administration.

    Heh. I don’t think it counts when, instead of a watch, you get a golden boot-in-the-arse as a "retirement" present.

  53. 53
    The Populist says:

    I would love to find out how many of you would quit your jobs and/or stop doing anything productive if taxes are raised and if so, is there defined proportion between taxes and inhibition or is it more of an all or nothing kind of thing?

    I won’t stop. The tax code still will allow me to write off business activities, so what if I pay a little extra? In the end, if it is used to fund infrastructure to get this country back on track, I am all for it.

    Those crying about tax increases perplex me. I make a lot of money and I still live well regardless if I pay a few grand more per year. Those who cry loudest tend to be the same people who live on credit from what I can see. Before Reagan, rich people still funded business activity. Most rich people still got richer, so what is the problem?

  54. 54
    The Populist says:

    I wonder if Malkin has any sense of irony whatsoever.

    Irony? Try greed. Throw her in with Coulter and the rest of their ilk in being Republican welfare idiots who take their cues from their masters yet won’t pass up an opportunity to make a few bucks from advertisers they tear down.

  55. 55
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    Mnemosyne:

    You worked at Crown Books? Oh man, I feel your pain. I didn’t work there but had several friends who did.

    The Hafts were scum. When the family imploded after the old bastard’s death, most people in metro DC applauded as things got uglier and uglier. Truely some of the worst (little pond) corporate assholes to have ever existed.

  56. 56
    TenguPhule says:

    Would you drive over a bridge that was built by Joe the Plumber?

    Provided that he goes first, yes.

  57. 57

    @The Populist:

    In the end, if it is used to fund infrastructure to get this country back on track, I am all for it.

    Those crying about tax increases perplex me.

    Too right.

    Some people just don’t seem to get that you don’t even need altruism to argue for tax rises. It is in my self interest that other people have access to schools and hospitals and railways and roads and bridges…

  58. 58
    Brian J says:

    If the government put the rate of tax I paid up to 50%, or 60%, or 70%, would I quit and stop working?

    Hell no, and anyone who says they would (and who doesn’t have more than enough money saved up to retire tomorrow) is a damn liar.

    I can’t speak for the research, but if tax levels were raised too high, it could act as a disincentive for some people, which would hurt the economy overall. However, I don’t think this argument really matters, since nobody is proposing to raise taxes that high. Anybody who inserts something like this into an argument seems to be doing something a lot of conservatives like doing: giving a heated response to an argument nobody is making.

  59. 59
    Brian J says:

    Nonsense. I just checked the news this morning. 7.2% of Americans have gone into early retirement in anticipation of the Obama Administration. Obama is KILLING OUR ECONOMY!

    Aw, people can come up with statistics to prove anything, Zinfab. Forty percent of all people know that!

  60. 60
    Church Lady says:

    @Tattoosydney- I don’t recall saying that people would retire rather than pay higher taxes, although I suppose there are some that would, given they had enough money to do so. I questioned the effect of higher taxes on high income workers and whether that would cause them to consciously produce less income in order to avoid paying more in taxes. If one already has enough money to live on comfortably, is the extra effort required to earn the next dollar worth the additional taxes that will be imposed on that dollar? Human behavior says that at some point, the answer is no.

    Given our current federal tax structure, raising the highest bracket from 36% to 39% probably won’t change my desire to earn that additional dollar. For that extra dollar, after federal income taxes and the obligitory medicare contribution, I still get to pocket 59.55 cents. But, if the idea of also having additional social security taxes kick in on high income workers that Obama floated during the campaign comes into play, suddenly my extra dollar earned is only worth 53.35 cents to me. Is the effort expended to earn that extra dollar worth giving almost half of it to the government? If I live in a state that imposes a state income tax, at that point I am paying more than half of each additional dollar earned into some governmental kitty. Add in additional taxes imposed by local municipalities, and what I pocket gets progressively lower. I guess the answer depends on what I have to give up in order to earn it, or possibly even what I get from the government in return for my additional contribution. Something like government provided healthcare might sway my decision as to whether the extra taxes are worth it.
    Given rational behavior, there is a point where the effort expended to earn an additional dollar is just not worth it in monetary terms. While still having plenty to live on, in exchange for the time spent earning that extra dollar, I will have time to pursue some other interest or activity that is more pleasurable than work. It’s just a matter of determineing exactly where that point is and it would vary given each individual’s circumstances.

  61. 61

    Republican: Ignores problem for 8 years; helps create new bubble. SUCCESS

    Democrat: Not fixing it on Day -1: FAIL

  62. 62

    @TenguPhule:

    Seconded, but first he must wear an anvil around his neck.

  63. 63
    joe from Lowell says:

    Just so we’re clear, this is the Michell Malking who spent 2007 and the first 3/4 of 2008 proclaiming that the Bush Boom economy was superawesome, and mocking people who saw a recession coming as deranged partisans, right?

    Clearly, somebody we have to pay a great deal of attention to when she makes economic proniuncements.

  64. 64
    demimondian says:

    @Brian J: The question of the price point at which people cut back is one of the critical ones confronted by economists. The answer is that we don’t know, and we should do the work to find out.

  65. 65
    HyperIon says:

    @Zifnab:

    Except that there are large groups of people who want to spend money on non-frivolous items – food, clothing, housing, education, transportation, energy, health care – and can’t because they are poor or broke.

    that’s why i am against giving folks like me any money.
    it should go to people who WOULD spend it on non-frivolous items. extend unemployment benefits out as far as necessary.

    we need to put people to work. if they can contribute to rebuilding infrastructure, then it’s win-win. fuck, pay people to pick up trash. just don’t give it to middle-class to pay off their credit card debt.

  66. 66
    demimondian says:

    @HyperIon: Word.

    As a rule, make-work projects which produce something of value to everyone are great for everyone who benefits. Hyperion and I, for instance, benefit from one of America’s largest make-work projects: Grand Coulee Dam. The fact that it also helped put starving and desperate people to work? We don’t care much any more…but those people did.

    Unemployment insurance now, to stanch the bleeding. Make-work public works to stabilize the patient, and get her healing herself. Then, and only then, a gradual weaning off the feeding tube to return her to normality.

  67. 67
    David Hunt says:

    It should be obvious by now that Obama will have our children working in factories and our women garbed in burqas before Memorial Day weekend.

    Well yes, but you have to remember that he’s also an evil Liberal under the control of Hollywood so the burqas will also be required to be see-through. So it’s not all bad…

  68. 68
    Zifnab says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Just so we’re clear, this is the Michell Malking who spent 2007 and the first 3/4 of 2008 proclaiming that the Bush Boom economy was superawesome, and mocking people who saw a recession coming as deranged partisans, right?

    I wish I could see her 401(k) plan.

  69. 69
    Zifnab says:

    One thing I do wonder is about tax increases. You’ve got something in the range of hundreds of billions to trillions of dollars floating around without anything to invest in because banks and investors are too scared to sink it into a loser. This money isn’t really doing the economy any good. Why wouldn’t you want to tax it?

    The government needs money. The upper 1% of American income makers have it. We need to ramp up spending, but we also need to be at least cognizant of the budget. What’s wrong with upping taxes to Clinton-era levels? If anything, this is the perfect time to reset the capital gains tax. No one wants to take money out of the market at a loss and you don’t get taxed on sale of an asset that losses money anyway. So the market won’t sink in response. Likewise, investment can’t get any lower than it is today. People have all their money shoved into T-Bills.

    Obama has been skiddish about tax hikes, even on the wealth, because of the common wisdom that Hoover and Roosevelt both tried to balance the budget and only made the economy worse in this way. But I think raising the top tax bracket now, when the least people will actually feel it, is the best time to strike.

  70. 70
    HyperIon says:

    @agorabum:

    Too much money chasing too few investments was one of the "benefits" of massive tax cuts for the upper brackets and on capital gains.

    i agree. when folks start talking about how much money was "lying around" waiting to be invested, i’m thinking: tax it.

    IMO the "sacredness" of investment is BS peddled by the same people who insist that we must grow every year. the earth is a closed system. it cannot support continuous growth forever, at least not at the level that a capitalist economy seems to desire/demand. (sometimes i think the american economy is a ponzi scheme.)

    i’m in favor of maintenance. i maintain my home. i don’t constantly think about how i could make it bigger. i’d like to see us maintain some of our country’s existing assets instead of fantasizing about all the new investments we can make in housing, weaponry, big screen TVs, and autos. we have too much of these things already.

    i like you point about food, too,

  71. 71
    David Hunt says:

    I can’t speak for the research, but if tax levels were raised too high, it could act as a disincentive for some people, which would hurt the economy overall. However, I don’t think this argument really matters, since nobody is proposing to raise taxes that high. Anybody who inserts something like this into an argument seems to be doing something a lot of conservatives like doing: giving a heated response to an argument nobody is making.

    What do you mean? Taxes are already way higher than that point right now! That’s why we need massive tax cuts on the highest income levels which will not only stimulate growth, but cause a rise in government revenue!

    /Grover Norquist.

    Seriously, the idea that lowering taxes (by which they mean the top tax rate) will making everything better is an ongoing piece of conservative rhetoric. They consider it to be axiomatic. Yes, I know it’s both simplistic and idiotic but it’s constantly echoing through the Rightwing Noise Machine, so this canard actually has to be addressed. And it has to be done loudly and forcefully to get the message out. It’s incredibly seductive to be told that lowering your taxes will actually make everything better. I need only look to my dad to see that in operation.

  72. 72
    fledermaus says:

    Of course the problem is that there are no solutions here. It’s going to be a big adjustment. Increasing salaries is nice but all we make these days are dollars. I think we’re going to see some serious hyper inflation

  73. 73
    HyperIon says:

    he’s already sold his own kids down the river

    in a similar vein, what gives with the PJmedia banner at the top of this post: Sending the main stream media down the river?

    Translation, anyone?

  74. 74
    Church Lady says:

    I agree with demimondian. I think the best use of government spending will be on infastructure projects, which we desparately need and which will put many people to work, and an extension in unemployment benefits. Extending unemployment benfits, which can make the difference between standing in a soup line and living in a cardboard box and maintaining a dignified life, would seem to be especially beneficial. Also, those receiving unemployement benefits will spend them on necessities, such as groceries, putting the money back into the economy. Cutting middle class taxes, depending on where in the middle class one stands, will be used to either pay off debt or be saved – nothing that will really help stimulate the economy. I also don’t see the point in the $3K tax credit for new hires. It seems to me that a company won’t hire an unnecessary worker just to get the tax credit, and would hire someone that they needed, without the tax credit incentive, anyway. As to the tax credit for retraining, I don’t know enough about the details to offer an opinion on whether it would be money well spent.

  75. 75
    The Populist says:

    Too right.

    Some people just don’t seem to get that you don’t even need altruism to argue for tax rises. It is in my self interest that other people have access to schools and hospitals and railways and roads and bridges…

    AMEN! I argue with my right wing friend who tells me the country is losing it’s morals yet he believes we need to cut school funding down (why should I pay for it!). He cries that they give too much of HIS money to the welfare cases (I argue food stamps keep people fed and MAYBE they won’t commit crimes to feed their kids). I also point out since he lives in California that not all his tax dollars actually go to welfare moms. It actually goes to states like Mississippi and Alabama and Arkansas so they can spend it on luring foreign automakers (example folks) to their states so THEY can defeat unions and put THEIR people to work.

    He doesn’t get it. If anything he PAYS pennies to feed some woman and her kids. I also laugh that he’s a salesman for a big pharma company and he uses public roads, publicly run airports to do his business. He also enjoys our beaches (taxes) and the local park (taxes). He seems to love bragging about his fat pension that will most likely be taken on by the US Government should his company go under. He calls dems liberal socialists yet good luck explaining to him that HIS party’s leader is giving money to bail out foolish banks, lenders and wall street capitalists. The dems do it too, but that is expected.

    Funniest yet, I told him I liked Ron Paul (I know, I do like SOME of his stances okay but I can play act for a guy like this to see how he truly stands on things) and he stared at me like I was a pariah. I asked why do you hate Ron Paul? For a conservative like you, he should be the man you get behind! He argues that the guy is crazy. So basically, it’s okay to invade other countries (he hates muslims so it’s okay if THEY are attacked), spy on Americans (what? how will we catch bad guys if we don’t spy on them!) and trample the constitution because he thinks what Cheney has done is great.

    It’s sad. Really. I point out Paul is against all those things because a real supporter of our constitution doesn’t trade his liberty and values for faux security. He stops talking to me and moves to new subjects.

    Argh.

  76. 76
    The Populist says:

    I might add that another conservative friend of mine has no idea WHY he’s a con. He owns a music label and he is only republican because he "got a tax refund from Bush". I mean really? $600 is so good for him that it means loyalty to the worst president we’ve had since Hoover?

    Funniest yet is how he tells me he made no real money during Clinton when I know really rich people who made a KILLING under Billy and crap under Bush.

    The label owner guy is pretty much living off a trust fund and hand to mouth since his business doesn’t make enough to pay him much.

  77. 77
    RememberNovember says:

    First, we have to define what a "job" is, is….

    UI after 6 months is up? Then we add you to the job rolls…gotta love fuzzy math and unintelligent design.

  78. 78
    RememberNovember says:

    It should be obvious by now that Obama will have our children working in factories and our women garbed in burqas before Memorial Day weekend.
    Well yes, but you have to remember that he’s also an evil Liberal under the control of Hollywood so the burqas will also be required to be see-through. So it’s not all bad…

    Which might be hot until we see Lindsay Lohan in one and mistake her for Sam…

    Angelina in a wispy burkha is another story altogether…

  79. 79
    bago says:

    Is it cos I iz black?

  80. 80
    Johnny Pez says:

    When was the last time unemployment was at 7.2%?

    January 1993. Which was the last time we had a Republican president.

    A subtle pattern begins to emerge.

  81. 81
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @demimondian:

    As a rule, make-work projects which produce something of value to everyone are great for everyone who benefits. Hyperion and I, for instance, benefit from one of America’s largest make-work projects: Grand Coulee Dam.

    Not to mention the Central Valley Project. For us Californians, that is.

  82. 82
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    OT but important:

    Hey, Autoblog has pulled ahead of cjane and Insta-boy!

    Weblog Awards

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