“The GOP Wants to Raise Your Taxes”

Harold Meyerson, bless him, is shrill. The WaPo‘s only non-Villager columnist has the perfect short-form payroll-tax summary to email your low-information-voter acquaintances and family members:

America’s presumably anti-tax party wants to raise your taxes. Come January, the Republicans plan to raise the taxes of anyone who earns $50,000 a year by $1,000, and anyone who makes $100,000 by $2,000.
__
Their tax hike doesn’t apply to income from investments. It doesn’t apply to any wage income in excess of $106,800 a year. It’s the payroll tax that they want to raise — to 6.2 percent from 4.2 percent of your paycheck, a level established for one year in December’s budget deal at Democrats’ insistence. Unlike the capital gains tax, or the low tax rates for the rich included in the Bush tax cuts, or the carried interest tax for hedge fund operators (which is just 15 percent), the payroll tax chiefly hits the middle class and the working poor…
__
Republicans like to complain that Democrats practice “class warfare” and “the politics of division,” as House GOP leader Eric Cantor argued on this page Monday. What the Republicans’ position on the payroll tax makes high-definitionally clear is their own class warfare on working- and middle-class Americans. Their double standard couldn’t be more obvious: Tax cuts for the wealthy are sacrosanct; tax cuts for everyone else don’t really matter. Norquist, Cantor, Ryan, Camp, the Journal editorialists and the whole Republican crew give hypocrisy a bad name.






80 replies
  1. 1
    WereBear says:

    Yes, yes, yes.

    And if we put it to the tune of “My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama,” it’s also catchy.

  2. 2
    RosiesDad says:

    Jeb Hensarling, sounding eerily like the pigs in “Animal Farm,” said in effect, “All tax cuts are good, some are just better than others.”. And because this tax break mostly benefits those who are not wealthy, it is expendable. Giving hypocrisy a bad name indeed.

  3. 3
    harlana says:

    What are you kicking about?

    Know thy place, peasants!

    and

    IOKIYAR

  4. 4
    RosiesDad says:

    @WereBear: Although it seems to me that the game the GOP is playing is more like “Let’s Make the Water Turn Black.”

  5. 5
    RL says:

    I’m in hot plate heaven…

  6. 6
    A Mom Anon says:

    I guess I’m glad I don’t understand how these asshats think. But honestly,it would really be SO easy for these bastards to be heroes to the American people and assure re-election for a very long time. It is truly possible to be fiscally conservative without being mean and stingy. And if they actually could muster that up(I know,and unicorns fart glitter,blah,blah),they’d be admired and respected by most people. I know,it’s not as lucrative to be a decent human being and I guess that’s what wins.

  7. 7
    schlemizel - was Alwhite says:

    What is really sad is to wade into the cesspool of comments & see how really desperate some people are to convince themselves that the Republicans are all goodness and light bravely battling the eeeeevil Dems.

  8. 8
    LosGatosCA says:

    I’m a little concerned that the GOP rope-a-dope on this issue is working. This conversation is exactly the one they want to have about Social Security. Have Demicrats insist on cutting the funding now, so Republicans can cut the benefits later.

    Slippery slope gets applied to too many issues, but this is a Republican slippery slope by design.

  9. 9

    Republicans only want to tax the Meat People. Corporation People must be protected from the horrors of taxes at all costs.

  10. 10
    harlana says:

    OT, sorry, can’t help it:

    Despite calls for his resignation, Hinkle said Tuesday that he would serve the remainder of his term. . . Indianapolis Star obtained a series of e-mails between Hinkle and 18-year old Kameryn Gibson, sent via Craigslist, in the m4m (men for men) section of “Casual Encounters.” . . .

    “Cannot be a long time sugar daddy,” says one e-mail response from what is allegedly Hinkle’s address, “but can for tonight. Would you be interested in keeping me company for a while tonight?” In the e-mails, Hinkle allegedly offers $80 for “a couple hours of your time tonight” plus a tip “for a really good time.” . . .Hinkle recently voted for an amendment to the state’s constitution that would define marriage as between a man and a woman.

  11. 11
    Danny says:

    Even Steve Benen is getting a bit shrill these days:

    In the case of the earthquake, if there’d been an actual disaster, and Obama sat around reading a children’s book while Americans were dying, I could see conservatives getting upset. If Obama had been told a month ago that a serious disaster was poised to happen, and he told the geologists, “All right, you’ve covered your ass now” before ignoring the warnings, the right would have plenty of room for criticism.

  12. 12
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Danny: They may get their natural disaster in a few days if Irene doesn’t say goodnight.

  13. 13
    capt says:

    Anyone lucky enough to make over $106k gets a tax holiday from SS? So now they want to trim the future COLA because we have to preserve the tax holiday for people making over six figures? That is shared sacrifice.

  14. 14
    gnomedad says:

    How is this not political suicide? Obama needs to hammer on this now, and if it passes, remind people regularly about their smaller paychecks and who’s responsible.

  15. 15

    @harlana: Shorter – Hinkle clings to the government teat like it’s a young man’s ass.

  16. 16
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    @schlemizel – was Alwhite: Newspaper comment sections make Youtube comments seem like Plato’s Dialogues.

  17. 17
    honus says:

    I don’t see how they can spin this as anything but an attack on the working class. I also won’t be surprised when they do so successfully. After all, in 2004 I didn’t see how they could turn a silver star and three purple hearts against a guy who was running against a draft dodger.

  18. 18
    gnomedad says:

    @harlana:
    ‘I honestly don’t know’ what I was thinking, says Hinkle
    Hmm, maybe “it’s OK if you’re a Republican”?

  19. 19
    robertdsc-iPhone 4 says:

    Just this once, I’m with the Rethugs. No more tax cuts.

  20. 20
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @harlana:

    If a Republican officeholder pulls shit like this, they seem to prefer to stay and fight it out. If a Democratic officeholder does something like this, they usually leave. If resigning in shame is the right thing to do when shit like this happens, please tell me, which one is the honorable party here?

    The Republican creed: Rules don’t apply to us, just everyone else.

    Note: Unless you have money or a cushy job to give us. Then you can do whatever you want.

  21. 21
    Keith G says:

    ..the perfect short-form payroll-tax summary to email your low-information-voter acquaintances and family members:

    How ’bout the West Wing and the DNC pool resources and brains (I think they have a few) and plan a marketing campaign over this issue.

    The GOP will back down, but they should pay a price for their views here.

  22. 22
    gnomedad says:

    @honus:
    “Swiftboat 2012” Says Tax Increase Actually a Pony

  23. 23
    Emma says:

    Speaking of comments sections, have you noticed how identical some of those republicans sound? they have the talking points down pat and spread out the moment they know some criticism of their policies is out there.

    I wonder what would we find if someone decided to figure out where they’re coming from. Yeah, I know, paranoid much? But I hang around with liberals and our style is “seven people, nine different opinions.” The Republicans are completely lockstep. It’s scary in a pod people sort of way.

  24. 24
    jibeaux says:

    @Comrade Javamanphil:

    Our state highway patrol has gotten some bad press of late, so in what I think is a good thing, they ran a short feature story on a good turn a motorist had reported to them. It basically involved the trooper buying a stranded motorist and his mom water with his own money and not accepting reimbursement, offering them a ride but when they waited, coming back to check on them two more times. Nothing heroic, but it was nice of the paper to run some positive press like people always say they should do. Naturally, in the comments there was someone complaining about taxpayer money spent on gas for the trooper to do all that.

  25. 25
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @A Mom Anon:

    Fiscal conservatism is just the selling point…they don’t mean it at all, they don’t believe in it. Reagan didn’t, nor did Bush pere or fils. It’s all about the unbridled greed of the Galtians…as John once very succinctly put it, “they want ALL the money”.

  26. 26
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Thoughtful Black Co-Citizen:

    He’s got nothing after this. Like Vitter probably saw for himself, the future looks bleak for earning a paycheck after he leaves office so he might as well hang on and grift a few more paychecks.

    Maybe his voters will forget/forgive what he did. Vitter pulled it off, so maybe he figures ‘Why not?’. Republicans seem to depend on stupid people for the win. The dumber and less-informed the voter, the better Republican voter they make.

  27. 27
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Emma: Sadly, the GOP doesn’t have to pay anyone to repeat talking points at that level. Their designated mouthpieces just spew the bullshit and the lemmings lap it up and regurgitate it verbatim. Drudge, Limbaugh and a chorus of congresscritters repeating the same thing for a couple of days will be enough to prime the pump.

    Witness the weak-ass trollery that goes on around here from the conservative trolls (excerpting the obviously insane trollery of derf, of course).

  28. 28
    rikryah says:

    say it over and over and over again

  29. 29
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: “… as John once very succinctly put it, “they want ALL the money”.”

    We still have skin. And refrigerators. They won’t quit until they get it all.

  30. 30
    Emma says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: I know. No conspiracy theories needed to interpret the marching morons… but lordamercy, it’s scary.

  31. 31
    cleek says:

    @Danny:
    i can hardly believe people are falling for this shit. a handful of wingnuts have trolled the entire lib-o-sphere.

    ferfuckssake, people, they say shit like this to annoy us, not because they actually believe it.

  32. 32
    NonyNony says:

    @A Mom Anon:

    I guess I’m glad I don’t understand how these asshats think. But honestly,it would really be SO easy for these bastards to be heroes to the American people and assure re-election for a very long time. It is truly possible to be fiscally conservative without being mean and stingy.

    First of all – get rid of the idea that Republicans are somehow “fiscally conservative”. That part of the party started losing power in the 80s under Reagan, saw themselves cast out of the conservative movement after Dole, and has been migrating over to the Democrats in fits and starts since Clinton was in office. W was the last straw for many of them.

    There are still people in the Republican party who use the rhetoric of fiscal conservatism, but they’re not fiscal conservatives. They’re economic radicals for the most part.

    Second it’s actually really damn easy to see how these asshats think. “If Obama is fer it then they’re agin’ it.” Obama wants the payroll tax relief extended ergo they don’t. Simple.

    Actually that’s glib – if the payroll tax relief is extended then by the games that the Republicans want to play either something else has to be cut or revenue has to be increased elsewhere in the budget to account for it. Which means he’s boxing the Republicans into a corner where they have to argue that this pet spending for their district or that pet project for a contributor is more important than payroll tax relief for working class people. Republicans could end this game right now if they were fiscally conservative and agreed to a moderate tax increase on the top tax bracket – but then there aren’t any fiscally conservative folks in the GOP anymore so that’s unlikely to happen.

  33. 33
    middlewest says:

    So, is anyone on the left planning to hold some Tea-party style protests of the GOP tax? Or is everyone just going to sit around and complain about what Obama is or isn’t doing?

    Did I just answer my own question?

  34. 34
    Marc says:

    @cleek:

    It’s only a few of them, but yes – it’s extremely obvious. All it takes is a place which doesn’t ban trolls and the right local culture. Kevin Drum has a pest infestation, for example.

    Some of these folks are probably paid – corporations have been doing this sort of thing for years. But all you’d need is a few people who enjoyed yanking the chains of the lefties to do the same thing for free. You end up in the same spot.

    You need active moderation or things go down the drain.

  35. 35
    Danny says:

    @cleek:

    Hm, maybe if we just reply “troll harder” to all the crazy shit the wingnuts keep coming up with, they’ll finally shut up? It’s worth a try; nothing else is working.

  36. 36
    Keith G says:

    @middlewest:

    So, is anyone on the left planning to hold some Tea-party style protests of the GOP tax? Or is everyone just going to sit around and complain about what Obama is or isn’t doing?

    The thing is, middle, Tea-party protests were not organic. The were produced for the most part by GOP insiders – high level operatives who wanted to get a specific message out.

    As I understand it, the Democratic Party also has one or two high level operatives. Let’s see if they got game.

  37. 37
    suzanne says:

    @cleek:

    they say shit like this to annoy us, not because they actually believe it.

    That has to be the only explanation, right? They can’t really be that fuckin’ stupid, right?
    So I’ll go with, hmm, well, EVIL.
    Should be interesting to see if any of the Teabaggers are intellectually honest enough to disagree with this bullshit idea, too.

  38. 38
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @suzanne:

    Should be interesting to see if any of the Teabaggers are intellectually honest enough to disagree with this bullshit idea, too.

    This isn’t about intellect. It’s about the hind brain. The teabaggers see a near guy, they go nuts. It’s that damn simple.

  39. 39
    ...now I try to be amused says:

    @Emma:

    The Republicans are completely lockstep. It’s scary in a pod people sort of way.

    Why don’t Democrats use the GOP’s monolithic nature against them? As in, “[GOP candidate] might not be an obvious loon, but if you elect him he will vote with the loons, so effectively you’d be electing another loon.”

  40. 40
    Danny says:

    @Keith G:

    Actually, according to Wikipedia:

    On January 24, 2009, Trevor Leach, chairman of the Young Americans for Liberty [formerly Students for Ron Paul] in New York State organized a “Tea Party” protest in response to “obesity taxes” proposed by New York Governor David Paterson, and out-of-control spending. […] New York Times journalist Kate Zernike reported that leaders within the Tea Party credit Seattle blogger and conservative activist Keli Carender with organizing the first Tea Party in February 2009, although the term “Tea Party” was not used.[41] Other articles, written by Chris Good of The Atlantic[42] and NPR’s Martin Kaste,[43] credit Carender as “one of the first” Tea Party organizers and state that she “organized some of the earliest Tea Party-style protests”.[41]

    Anyway, wouldn’t it be preferable if our protest movements were genuine grassroots movements, rather than astroturf?

  41. 41
    Dennis SGMM says:

    There’s no hypocrisy here if you bear in mind that the Republicans’ top goals are pissing off liberals and getting Obama out of the White House. Anything that accomplishes either of those two is perfectly consistent in their eyes.

  42. 42
    Emma says:

    @…now I try to be amused: Because it’s very hard to get through to people that voting for someone who’s not a loon will result in loony legislation.

    You can see that again and again in the polls showing that people believe, at the same time, that all politicians are crooked, but theirs isn’t. Or that all (insert political party people hate) are terrible, except theirs.

    American politics is the cult of the individual.

  43. 43
    jon says:

    I’m middle class, and I’m all for shared sacrifice. I’m actually willing to have my taxes increased to pay for all the government services I get, will get, and did get in my lifetime. But I’m not sure if I’m supposed to just say I’m okay with this tax cut lapsing or if I’m supposed to do some sort of freakout thing so that my tax cut lapsing is somehow tied to the end of some tax cuts for the rich.

    Maturity: I’m drowning in it.

  44. 44
    boonagain says:

    There is a gay website called Datalounge that is basically entertainment gossip with a few political threads thrown in. It is a lot of fun to read and usually very entertaining, but lately it has had a flood of invading freepers commenting and starting threads concern trolling Obama’s chances. It is obvious that there are not that many Log Cabinettes out there so I firmly believe it is a concerted effort by them to instill dissatisfaction in what should be a strong base of support for Democrats.

  45. 45

    @LosGatosCA:
    Here’s the thing: Who is having this conversation, and where? Pundits and journalists are having it on television and in the news. Who decides what that conversation is? They do. Other than abandon those information sources in droves, which means they’ll get worse before they get better, there is jack all that anyone can do about it. These are the talking points pushed by the Republican congressman who’s their good buddy and who makes the most amazing barbeque and says the most hilarious things on-air, so they’ll talk about it. For bonus points, the GOP wants to lower the pundits’ taxes, this is the will of the Tea Party who the journalists have already decided is a spontaneous mass grassroots movement of the true independents and reflects the real will of America, and GOP issues are so much easier to discuss. You don’t need to do any research on made up shit that will wreck America.

    We ain’t gettin’ a word in edgewise in that environment.

    @middlewest:
    This is a perfect example. Those Tea Party protests and demonstrations were tiny. There are immigration reform rallies held every year in Los Angeles that dwarf all of them combined. We had marches for Health Care, against union busting, for every issue you can imagine and they *started* at four times the size of the Tea Party’s march and went up from there. Who got national news coverage?

  46. 46
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @jon:
    “Shared” is the operative word. If this tax increase comes to pass then We will make the sacrifice while They buy more shares.

  47. 47
    Danny says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Well it does help having a news channel dedicated to forwarding your cause.

  48. 48
    Judas Escargot says:

    @Emma:

    Speaking of comments sections, have you noticed how identical some of those republicans sound? they have the talking points down pat and spread out the moment they know some criticism of their policies is out there.

    The talking points are spreading like wildfire in Meatspace, also, too. To the point where I can finish someone’s sentence for them once they start– because by the time I hear them say it, I’ve read it 20 times (they find this annoying).

    So no, I don’t think you’re paranoid: Someone, somewhere, must be busy creating these soundbites and injecting them into the culture (tv, chain-emails, and whisper campaigns).

  49. 49
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Judas Escargot:

    omeone, somewhere, must be busy creating these soundbites and injecting them into the culture (tv, chain-emails, and whisper campaigns).

    Furthermore, they have a ready pool of the authoritarian inclined who are more than eager to do their bidding, and pass on those soundbites.

  50. 50

    @Judas Escargot:
    They’re called ‘think tanks’. That’s a think tank’s JOB.

  51. 51
    David says:

    Please, people. This is NOT the e-mail to send your “low-information-voter acquaintances and family members.”

    Accusing the GOP of hypocrisy is a waste of time. Everyone EXPECTS hypocrisy from politicians. This will be tuned out be anyone.

    What has to be said is simple and true: The GOP wants the economy to be worse and for you to be poorer. Or if you are unemployed, they want to make sure you do not get a job. They want this so that they have a better chance to win the 2012 elections.

    That is true. And that is the talking point. Anything else is a waste of time. If everyone started saying this (including Congressmen and Senators), it would make into the media. Yes, there would be hand-wringing about whether the democrats are “going too far.” But it’s more than worth that risk. The GOP wouldn’t care about those kinds of accusations, and for good reason.

  52. 52
    Davis X. Machina says:

    The official progressive position is to also oppose the continuation of the payroll tax cuts, as it was to oppose them in the first place.

    • The payroll deductions not taken from you and me are still made into the SS trust fund, but from general federal revenues.
    • And general federal revenues are running behind expenditures.
    • So making the SS trust fund whole from g.f..r. contributes to the deficit
    • Consequently this now enables anyone interested in cutting the deficit to go after SS, which had been ring-fenced.

    That’s the Weak Version of the theory. The Strong Version adds a step or two:

    Obama chose to deliver additional money to the consumer this way, rather than Bush-style (mail checks, from general federal revenue and letters taking credit for it) because either:

    • His PR operation is terminally inept, and/or
    • He secretly wants to kill SS, and this bank-shot is political cover

    Not saying I buy it, but it’s out there.

  53. 53
    Danny says:

    @David:

    I agree with this. In any case, there’s no reason why us grassroots shouldn’t say this at any chance we get. This should be our talking point, if nothing else.

  54. 54
    Danny says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    The official progressive Emobagger position

    Fixed.

    I’m a progressive. These people are the Emobagger group among progressives. Obots make up a far bigger part of progressives so it’s factually incorrect to pretend that Emobaggers = Progressives.

    So making the SS trust fund whole from g.f..r. contributes to the deficitConsequently this now enables anyone interested in cutting the deficit to go after SS, which had been ring-fenced.

    This is false. The federal government already owes SS a huge bunch of cash and that’s been the case for a long time. That’s the IOU pitch that Bush tried to float back in 2005 – it was bullshit then, it’s bullshit now, and it doesnt get to be less bullshit because Emobaggers are now the ones floating it, rather than Republicans.

    He secretly wants to kill SS

    How come Emobaggers are so often preoccupied with the question whether the President is a traitor and a secret ultra-extreme conservative libertarian that’s been play acting for 30 years? Ratfuckery.

  55. 55
    Davis X. Machina says:

    I don’t make the news, I just report it. The line of argumentation can be found, e.g. in Fallows’ piece on the GOP’s move.

    Me, I won’t listen to someone unless the first two words out of their mouth are ‘aggregate demand’ and the next four are ‘marginal propensity to consume.’

    The payroll tax holiday, AFAIC, is sound on both.

  56. 56
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Danny: I’m actually wondering if that’s not the Tea Party’s attempt to make up a “Creation Myth” that suits their faux grassroots veneer. An improvisational actress/adult reading instructor can summon forth the hoverrounds? Also, her “Porkulous Protest” is straight out of Glenn Reynolds’ repertoire. Add in some Dick Armey, David Koch money and voila.

  57. 57
    Danny says:

    it doesnt get to be less bullshit because Emobaggers are now the ones floating it

    In fact, Emobaggers are arguably the ones enabling attacks on SS by providing leftwing sponsorship to a bullshit conservative argument that was constructed to attack SS. Funny that, huh?

  58. 58
    Danny says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    I’m not attributing anything to you but to the Emobagger progressives you were talking about in the first place.

  59. 59
    Danny says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Sure. I’m not saying I know how they got started, and I remember quite well that our position was always that they were astroturfed into being. But we had a vested interest when saying that, and do we actually wan’t our own movements to be astroturf?

    I’m just not so sure it’s the best approach to say that the dem establishment must be a secret originator of any protest we could consider participating in…

  60. 60
    wrb says:

    It is great but it is too small, both for the economy and for politics.

    $1000 is nice to get but $3000 starts approaching the amount of money that is going to get someone hostile toward those taking it away.

    This extension is just a continuation of something already being done, by itself it isn’t going to make anything better, just help keep it from getting worse.

  61. 61
    wrb says:

    @Emma:

    I wonder what would we find if someone decided to figure out where they’re coming from. Yeah, I know, paranoid much?

    I used to participate in a local forum on which there would be no conservative comments, especially if news had broken that required an original response, until Rush’s show came on. Then they would all show up spreading the Word of Rush, in lockstep.

  62. 62
    CaffinatedOne says:

    The framing of the expiration of the payroll tax cuts as a big “tax increase” on the working class couldn’t possibly come back to bite us.. nope, not at all…

    When the estimates come back on the finances for these programs, and it turns out the Social Security and Medicare are much worse off due to decreased income, I’m sure that we’ll enjoy the fight for a big “tax increase” as opposed to the calls to cut the now “obviously unsustainable” programs.

    Doing stimulus through tax cuts is bad itself, since it’s much less effective than just spending money on things directly. Doing stimulus by cutting the funding for our social safety net programs is doubly bad since it undermines their finances in addition to being ineffective.

  63. 63
    Danny says:

    @CaffinatedOne:

    When the estimates come back on the finances for these programs, and it turns out the Social Security and Medicare are much worse off due to decreased income

    They won’t be. Social Security has the exact same income, only that the Fed owes them the money. George W Bush called that a bunch of worthless IOU:s back in 2005. Are you saying that you realized just now that you actually agree with him?

  64. 64

    And yet, Republicans are probably going to crush the Dems in 2012. It drives me crazy. Someday the Democrats are going to get a backbone. Someday.

  65. 65
    MattR says:

    @Danny:

    Social Security has the exact same income, only that the Fed owes them the money. George W Bush called that a bunch of worthless IOU:s back in 2005.

    The difference is that the money that Bush was talking about was money that Social Security lent to the Fed via treasuries (ie. Social Security gave $X to the Fed in exchange for a promise to be paid back) But with the payroll holiday, the Fed does not actually get anything in exchange for adding to the amount of money it owes Social Security. Theoretically, the Fed could have just held the $X it borrowed in our first example and then paid it back when it was due. However in the second example it has to do something to raise the money not collected as a result of the payroll tax holiday.

  66. 66
    Ian says:

    @Davis X. Machina:
    You must have a lot of deaf conversations

  67. 67
    Danny says:

    @MattR:

    The difference is that the money that Bush was talking about was money that Social Security lent to the Fed via treasuries (ie. Social Security gave $X to the Fed in exchange for a promise to be paid back) But with the payroll holiday, the Fed does not actually get anything in exchange for adding to the amount of money it owes Social Security. Theoretically, the Fed could have just held the $X it borrowed in our first example and then paid it back when it was due. However in the second example it has to do something to raise the money not collected as a result of the payroll tax holiday.

    The only difference is the size of the aggregate federal debt and whom it is owed to. Yes, the payroll tax holiday will add to the federal debt; money that is owed to SS. Your example is indeed hypothetical, because that is not what happened, the money wasnt paid back, it is still owed by the Fed to SS.

    So there is no difference of practical consequence between the money Bush talked about and this debt. If you’re trying to argue that the new debt is more of an IOU than the old debt, then you’re ipso facto trying to float a phony narrative to attack SS with. The Federal government is obligated to honor it’s debt to SS, just like any other debt. That was the reason that Bush IOU pitch was bullshit and it applies exactly as much to the debt incurred by the payroll tax holiday as to the debt the Fed already owes SS.

    The consequence of the payroll tax holiday is a larger aggregate federal debt, just as it would have been if we had spent money on infrastructure spending. It’s completely immaterial to SS solvency, and conflating the two is a sophistry and pitching libertarian narratives.

  68. 68
    Brachiator says:

    Harold Meyerson, bless him, is shrill. The WaPo’s only non-Villager columnist has the perfect short-form payroll-tax summary to email your low-information-voter acquaintances and family members

    ALL voters are pretty much low-information-voters when it comes to tax and economic issues.

    The payroll tax cut that Obama and the Democrats agreed to already screws poor people and throws money at upper income groups.

    The former Making Work Pay credit was more of a flat amount (depending on filing status), but phased out for incomes over %95,000.

    The payroll tax cut is a bad deal for low income workers, but a sweeter deal for upper income workers. For example, single workers making less than $20,000 and couples earning less than $40,000 actually will receive less from the payroll-tax cut than they did from the Making Work Pay credit.

    A handy chart here.

    And as another poster noted, the payroll tax cut is more expensive and depletes revenues that could be used for Social Security and other payments.

    So, let’s see. The rich get to keep the Bush tax cuts, and get a little extra payroll tax cut gravy.

    A few more compromises like this and we will all be done for.

  69. 69
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Brachiator: IMHO the proper metric would be “what stimulates the economy more.” We’ve just been through a period where the consensus in the blogosphere was that we needed to worry less about the deficit and more about Keynesian stimulus. The objections you’re voicing, and those expressed in the chart, are not about stimulating the economy, but are actually about long-term financing of “entitlements”… which most people on the left agreed shouldn’t actually be a principal concern to begin with.

    IANA economist, but if the payroll tax cut is so evidently a terrible and anti-progressive idea, I’m not sure why Robert Reich would be one of its leading proponents.

  70. 70
    Danny says:

    @Brachiator:

    The payroll tax cut is a bad deal for low income workers, but a sweeter deal for upper income workers. For example, single workers making less than $20,000 and couples earning less than $40,000 actually will receive less from the payroll-tax cut than they did from the Making Work Pay credit.

    I’ve already debunked the SS bullshit so let’s have a look at this. David Dayen of FDL carps about the highest income earner bracket under the tax holiday saves $2136 from the tax holiday while a “low earner” saves only $388.

    But the Bush tax cuts actually gave the average millionaire a taxcut of $139,199 in fiscal 2011. There are 321,000 millionaires, so they got ~44.7 Billion$ of tax cuts from the Bush tax cuts this year.

    But Millionaires and Billionaires only get ~685.6 Million $ from the payroll tax holiday.

    Futhermore we find that, according to Dayan’s table, “medium” income worker gets a $862 tax cut under the payroll tax holiday. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that 100 million americans qualify for the “medium” bracket in Dayans table. (I actually have no idea, but trivially low and medium income earners make up most of the US population).

    So, with that assumption “medium income workers” get 86.2 Billion $ from the payroll tax holiday.

    I dont feel like hunting down the actual number of americans that fall into those brackets in Dayans table, but anyone is free to go out and get the numbers and do the math.

    It should already be bleedingly obvious that the payroll tax holiday is wildly progressive in that most of the money spent end up in the pockets of the poor and the middle class while a fraction end up in the pockets of millionaires and billionaires.

    That money will then be offset by future debt service paid for to a much bigger part by millionaires and billionaires, and thus the payroll tax holiday takes future taxes from the rich and gives them to the poor and middle class today.

    Not to surprising, we find that FDL once again are full of shit and that they are not above lying to their readers to trick them into opposing progressive legislation. To bad that FDL readers are to fucking stupid to understand when they’re being used.

  71. 71
    Danny says:

    Are you paying attention here, Brachiator? Do you like being Jane’s tool?

  72. 72
    Brachiator says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    IMHO the proper metric would be “what stimulates the economy more.” We’ve just been through a period where the consensus in the blogosphere was that we needed to worry less about the deficit and more about Keynesian stimulus.

    The payroll tax cut has not had much stimulative effect. Professional economists have noted that many people haven’t even noticed a big difference in their checks, and are not spending more. And of course the unemployed don’t get a payroll tax cut. I’m not sure that the consensus of the blogosphere is particularly meaningful.

    The objections you’re voicing, and those expressed in the chart, are not about stimulating the economy, but are actually about long-term financing of “entitlements”…

    No, it’s about something more fundamental. The Republicans are winning the larger battle. They preserve tax cuts for the rich, push for and get additional tax benefits for this group, and then turn around and cry that the middle class needs to be squeezed more in order to reduce spending. Republican policies not only rob the government of revenues, but effectively redistribute more of the tax burden to the already hammered middle class.

    The Republicans don’t really care about stimulating the economy. If there are big profits and massive rewards for their favored groups, the state of the overall economy is irrelevant. See the writings of former NYT reporter David Cay Johnston on this.

    which most people on the left agreed shouldn’t actually be a principal concern to begin with.

    The left no longer seems to have any understanding of the economy or coherent view of tax policy. The aim of any stimulus oriented policy should be to create jobs and increase wages, undoing the damage of the Bush era.

    IANA economist, but if the payroll tax cut is so evidently a terrible and anti-progressive idea, I’m not sure why Robert Reich would be one of its leading proponents.

    I posted once before that the biggest proponents of the payroll tax cut were conservatives. The late Robert Novak and others pitched this hard to McCain.

    Ah, yes, here it is.

    Yes, Reich likes the payroll tax cut because he believes that it is stimulative, and because they can leave other parts of the tax system intact. Conservatives like it because it gives them an additional weapon that they can use to attack Social Security.

    The conservatives are getting the better end of the deal.

  73. 73
    Brachiator says:

    @Danny:

    It should already be bleedingly obvious that the payroll tax holiday is wildly progressive in that most of the money spent end up in the pockets of the poor and the middle class while a fraction end up in the pockets of millionaires and billionaires.

    It’s not obvious. It ain’t true. I picked the chart from FDL not because I give a rat’s ass about any of those people, but because it provided a handy chart that even the most math averse could understand.

    Let’s look at the numbers another way, again keeping it simple:

    Those making over $20,000 will enjoy an increase in their paychecks when compared to 2010 while those making less than that (which includes minimum wage workers) will be looking at slightly less money in 2011.

    The lowest wage earners get screwed by the payroll tax cut. And there is also this:

    That payroll tax “holiday” will replace the Making Work Pay credit, which expires Dec. 31 and was part of the 2009 Recovery Act.
    __
    As a result, 51 million households — about a third of the total — will be out an average of $210 compared with this year, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.
    __
    “Nothing else in the compromise tax agreement compensates [them] for those losses,” Tax Policy Center senior fellow Roberton Williams wrote in the blog Tax Vox.

    So explain to me again how a tax plan that results in lower income taxpayers getting less money is progressive?

    The larger point is that millionaires and billionaires should not have got anything from the payroll tax cut. And lower income Americans should have got more. Period.

    You clearly have not read any of my past posts if you spout nonsense about my being Jane’s tool.

  74. 74
    Danny says:

    The Making Work Pay credit was part of ARRA and even more progressive than the payroll tax holiday. It was a temporary refund of 400 bucks set to expire at the end of 2010.

    That means that the baseline – e.g. no new legislation passed – means no 400 bucks in 2011. Capiche? You cant compare the payroll tax holiday to imaginary legislation that says there will be a 400 bucks refund forever because there aint never been no such legislation. Am I moving to fucking fast for you?

    Now it’s true that the payroll tax holiday is less progressive than the Making Work Pay credit. That’s because when the payroll holiday was passed, there were +70 new republican house members and +7 republican senators on their way in and we still needed republican votes to get cloture. Reconciliation was already used on PPACA, so that wasnt an option.

    Those making over $20,000 will enjoy an increase in their paychecks when compared to 2010 while those making less than that (which includes minimum wage workers) will be looking at slightly less money in 2011.

    Here you’re pretending that the Making Work Pay credit would have continued into fiscal 2011, but that is fraudulent. The baseline is <20k$/yr bracket seeing their paycheck go down by 400 bucks.

    Thanks to the payroll tax holiday they saw their paycheck go down by between 185 and 12 bucks. Those that were worst off saw their paycheck get 215 $ bigger than without the legislation.

    It’s not obvious. It ain’t true. I picked the chart from FDL not because I give a rat’s ass about any of those people, but because it provided a handy chart that even the most math averse could understand.

    Well I’m telling you – showing you – that they’re lying to you. Millionaires and billionaires get 0.6% of the 111 Billion dollars spent on the payroll tax holiday. 0.6%. Millionaires and Billionaires pay far more than 0.6% of federal revenues, that means that the payroll tax holiday takes future taxes from millionaires and billionaires and redistributes that money to the rest of us, today.

  75. 75
    Brachiator says:

    @Danny:

    Now it’s true that the payroll tax holiday is less progressive than the Making Work Pay credit.

    Glad you admitted it. When you strip out all your other gloss, this is the bottom line we get to.

    That means that the baseline – e.g. no new legislation passed – means no 400 bucks in 2011. Capiche? You cant compare the payroll tax holiday to imaginary legislation that says there will be a 400 bucks refund forever because there aint never been no such legislation. Am I moving to fucking fast for you?

    Oooh. Fresh meat for me.

    I’m in the tax business, and sometimes I get to fuck with the IRS for a living. In more than 20 years, I have never lost. Never. I get to teach tax preparers on the new law. I have never made an error in my presentations. But it also means that I have to track the legislation. So, there ain’t much that you can tell me about the progress of the tax compromise bill.

    Bottom line: Obama should have announced that the Bush tax cuts were dead even if the Making Work Pay Credit were not extended and there never was a bogus payroll tax cut.

    The point that you keep dancing around is the principle that the Democrats yielded on. The Making Work Pay Credit had a phaseout. Republicans hate phaseouts that maximize credits for lower income people.

    It was foolish for the Democrats to yield on this.

    Millionaires and billionaires get 0.6% of the 111 Billion dollars spent on the payroll tax holiday. 0.6%. Millionaires and Billionaires pay far more than 0.6% of federal revenues, that means that the payroll tax holiday takes future taxes from millionaires and billionaires and redistributes that money to the rest of us, today.

    Nice try. We’re still talking about a system with the Bush tax cuts in place.

    So a married couple with two kids with $100,000 in income from qualified dividends and capital gains pay ZERO in tax while a similar couple with income from wages pays thousands, even with the payroll tax cut.

    The tax plan gave upper income taxpayers new breaks while preserving old ones. And since the payroll tax cut (total cost about $120 billion) will have to be made up sometime, it is not reasonable to pretend that there is some positive redistribution going on.

    You wanna talk about the new Bonus Depreciation rules and the estate tax changes that give potential big breaks to the wealthy, and which got little coverage in the media discussion of the tax plan compromise?

  76. 76
    Danny says:

    @Brachiator:

    Ok, now it’s just obvious you’re arguing in bad faith. That tells me you’re no fucking progressive at all. Others get to make up their own mind, but I got mine made up.

    Bottom line: Obama should have announced that the Bush tax cuts were dead even if the Making Work Pay Credit were not extended and there never was a bogus payroll tax cut.

    The Bush tax cuts are completely immaterial to the question whether the Payroll tax holiday is progressive legislation. What’s being proposed now is extending the payroll tax holiday.

    What you started asserting was that the Payroll tax holiday – in and of itself – was regressive, conservative legislation. That was shown untrue without any room for misunderstandings whatsoever, so since you’re arguing in bad faith like the concern troll you apparently are, you’re now trying to move the goalposts by discussing the extention of the Bush tax cuts.

    The point that you keep dancing around is the principle that the Democrats yielded on. The Making Work Pay Credit had a phaseout. Republicans hate phaseouts that maximize credits for lower income people.

    The Making Work Pay credit refunded nothing for people making more than ~100k/yr. The Payroll Tax Holiday has a cap on how much is refunded, which is at ~2k for anyone making over ~100k/yr. Since the refund is proportional to how much you make up to ~100k/yr that means that over 100k/yr you get less and less of a taxcut, relative to how much you’re earning and relative to how much you pay in taxes.

    If I make 20k/yr then i get 2% of that amount as a refund. If I make 100 million $, then I get ~2k$ or 0,002% of that as a refund.

    But what’s important is how much money the rich get and how much the poor and middle class gets out of the 111 Billion dollars.

    And I already told you that: millionaires and billionaires get 0,6% of 111 Billion dollars. The rest of us shares 99.4% of 111 Billion dollars.

    Nice try. We’re still talking about a system with the Bush tax cuts in place.

    So a married couple with two kids with $100,000 in income from qualified dividends and capital gains pay ZERO in tax while a similar couple with income from wages pays thousands, even with the payroll tax cut.

    That’s completely fucking irrelevant because what the married couple with two kids pay on qualified dividends and capital gains is exactly the same, whether the Payroll Tax Holiday is extended or not.

    While talking about extending the Payroll Tax Holiday everything else – the Bush tax cuts, the works, the whole freaking tax code, is the baseline that doesn’t change. The only thing that changes is the Payroll Tax Holiday, which is or isn’t extended and what we’re talking about is the implications of extending it or not extending it – all else being fucking equal, including your fucking fraudulent red herring about capital gains. Mr Fucks with the IRS for a living and never lost.

    The tax plan gave upper income taxpayers new breaks while preserving old ones. And since the payroll tax cut (total cost about $120 billion) will have to be made up sometime, it is not reasonable to pretend that there is some positive redistribution going on.

    There’s no fucking pretending going on here except possibly you pretending to argue in good faith and arguably you pretending to be a progressive. Future taxes from millionaires and billionaires will pay a larger part of the debt incurred by extending the Payroll Tax Holiday; unless we shrink the part they pay of future fed revenues below 0.6% we have redistribution. They pay more than they get. That aint rocket science, especially not for Mr Fucks with the IRS for a living, is it?

    You wanna talk about the new Bonus Depreciation rules and the estate tax changes that give potential big breaks to the wealthy, and which got little coverage in the media discussion of the tax plan compromise?

    Are they part of the proposed extension of the Payroll Tax Holiday? Then sure. Otherwise: no.

  77. 77
    Danny says:

    And in addition: >380k$/yr earners paid 38% of federal income tax revenue in 2008, and federal income taxes made up ~45% of federal tax revenue in 2008. Just to get a feeling if we’re in the below-0.6% ballpark for millionaires and billionaires and it doesn’t look like we are, does it?

  78. 78
    Brachiator says:

    @Danny:

    Ok, now it’s just obvious you’re arguing in bad faith. That tells me you’re no fucking progressive at all.

    What? Interesting non sequitur.

    Bottom line: Obama should have announced that the Bush tax cuts were dead even if the Making Work Pay Credit were not extended and there never was a bogus payroll tax cut.

    The Bush tax cuts are completely immaterial to the question whether the Payroll tax holiday is progressive legislation. What’s being proposed now is extending the payroll tax holiday.

    Bullshit. Extending the payroll tax cut plays into the hands of the GOP. It is a lame excuse for the absence of a more comprehensive, coherent, even (gasp) progressive tax policy. It may be the best that the Democrats can get, but it is still bullshit.

    What you started asserting was that the Payroll tax holiday – in and of itself – was regressive, conservative legislation. That was shown untrue without any room for misunderstandings whatsoever, so since you’re arguing in bad faith like the concern troll you apparently are, you’re now trying to move the goalposts by discussing the extention of the Bush tax cuts.

    Here’s the deal. I have been posting here about taxes for a very long time. As I noted, taxes are my business. I will post stuff that is purely explanatory, that does not reflect my preferences in any way. However, I don’t post anything for shits and giggles, just to get a rise out of either the faithful or the faithless. But I note that some people, like you, apparently, have a deep, infantile need to label and pigeonhole people, especially when you disagree with them.

    It is a waste of your time and mine to continue in this way.

    The Making Work Pay credit refunded nothing for people making more than ~100k/yr.

    The phaseout was by design. This also allowed other credits to be enhanced without incurring higher deficits.

    And I already told you that: millionaires and billionaires get 0,6% of 111 Billion dollars. The rest of us shares 99.4% of 111 Billion dollars.

    Millionaires and billonaires didn’t need even 0.6%, especially since they are scarfing down on other benefits. It’s bizarre that a so-called progressive would try to argue the merits of giving millionaires and billionaires gravy on top of their gravy.

    That’s completely fucking irrelevant because what the married couple with two kids pay on qualified dividends and capital gains is exactly the same, whether the Payroll Tax Holiday is extended or not.

    You keep wanting to look at the payroll tax cut in isolation to overall tax policy. This is totally wrongheaded.

    There’s no fucking pretending going on here except possibly you pretending to argue in good faith and arguably you pretending to be a progressive.

    It’s not about good faith or bad faith. It’s about crunching the numbers.

    Future taxes from millionaires and billionaires will pay a larger part of the debt incurred by extending the Payroll Tax Holiday

    This is nonsense. Are you arguing from a script someone gave you?

    RE: You wanna talk about the new Bonus Depreciation rules and the estate tax changes that give potential big breaks to the wealthy, and which got little coverage in the media discussion of the tax plan compromise?

    Are they part of the proposed extension of the Payroll Tax Holiday? Then sure. Otherwise: no.

    Let’s look at this from another perspective. Present tax law and proposals on the table would end up squeezing the poor and the middle class more, and give more benefits to the rich. If the progressive position is to be grateful for a crumb while Congress and the president give the entire rest of the case to the wealthy, then the modern progressive movement has degenerated even more than I had realized.

    And in addition: >380k$/yr earners paid 38% of federal income tax revenue in 2008, and federal income taxes made up ~45% of federal tax revenue in 2008.

    And they can afford to pay more. And they don’t need a freaking penny of a payroll tax cut. Too bad that the Democrats gave up on this by not killing the Bush tax cuts when they had a chance.

    Oh yeah, and there’s a chunk of S-Corps and partnerships that previously had no Self-employment income which are now giving themselves some just so that they can get a payroll tax cut, and also use the earned income to qualify for other benefits that they don’t really deserve.

  79. 79
    Danny says:

    @Brachiator:

    Look, this is starting to feel pretty pointless.

    You started out proclaiming that an extension of the payroll tax holiday “is a bad deal for low income workers, but a sweeter deal for upper income workers”. That’s a factual claim that requires that an extension of the payroll tax holiday is regressive compared to the baseline (that is: no extension of the payroll tax holiday).

    That’s been shown false in no unclear terms starting here.

    Going on about:

    a) The Bush tax cuts should have expired.
    b) We should have more comprehensive, more progressive legislation instead of the payroll tax holiday.
    c) You consider yourself an expert on taxes.
    d) The Making Work Pay credit was more progressive than the payroll tax holiday.
    e) We must look at the whole tax code not just the extension of the payroll tax holiday.
    f) We should talk about Bonus Depreciation rules and the estate tax rather than about the payroll tax holiday.

    …is all irrelevant because it’s still the case that saying that an extension of the payroll tax holiday “is a bad deal for low income workers, but a sweeter deal for upper income workers” is false.

    It’s factually incorrect. I’ve pointed that out to you a million times by now and all you’re interested in is apparently saving face by going on about a million other subjects that – while some of them are interesting – don’t change the facts that your pants are on fire.

  80. 80
    Evolved Deep Southerner says:

    @RosiesDad: I haven’t read down below the first couple of Zappa song references, but talk about a target-rich environment!

    “Father O’Blivion.” “Uncle Remus.” “I’m The Slime.” “I Ain’t Got No Heart.” “Who Are The Brain Police?” “Trouble Every Day.” “Son of Orange County.” “Orrin Hatch On Skis.” “The Beltway Bandits.” “When Yuppies Go To Hell.” “Star Wars Won’t Work.” “Naval Aviation In Art.” “Outrage At Valdez.” “Get Whitey.” “Dance of the Just Plain Folks.” “Redneck Eats.” “We Can Shoot You.” “Dummy Up.” “Who Needs the Peace Corps?” “Hot Poop.” “The Idiot Bastard Son.”

    Wish FZ had lived longer to see the present-day GOP.

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