Oregonians to Lame-Duck Congress: “Let the Bush-Era Tax Cuts for High-Income Expire”

Chuck Sheketoff

With Congress having reconvened for its lame-duck session, a group of Oregonians has urged lawmakers to let the Bush-era tax cuts for those at the highest income levels expire, calling it the “responsible” course of action.

Oregonians for Responsible Federal Taxes — a coalition of more than 50 organizations and individuals (PDF) representing the faith, social service, business, farming and labor communities — insists that Congress should allow the tax cuts enacted during the Bush Administration to remain in place for all taxpayers except those that benefit only the wealthiest top 2 percent of households.

Why? Because every dollar spent on tax cuts just for the wealthy is a dollar not available to invest in our nation and its people.

Also, for all lawmakers who profess concern about rising deficits, letting the tax cuts targeted just at the wealthy expire ought to be a no-brainer.

Read the coalition’s news release and return here to discuss.


Oregon Center for Public PolicyChuck Sheketoff is the executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy. You can sign up to receive email notification of OCPP materials at www.ocpp.org.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Why the House in this lame-duck session doesn't just move forward on a temporary extension on the cuts to first $250k is baffling. It decouples the two cuts, sets the agenda, and wrong-foots the GOP on trying to explode the deficit for to pay for the cuts for upper income folks.

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      To quote Brian Baird: "You should never underestimate the power of liberals to shoot themselves in the foot."

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        Well, given that Baird also thinks that somehow the GOP could have passed TARP on their own shows how detached form reality Baird was/is.

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        I think it speaks volumes when the Democrats can't deflate this obnoxious sound bite:

        "job killing taxes"

        If businesses want a tax break, all they have to do is hire workers. Wages are a tax deduction and automatically reduce the taxes a business pays. The problem is that businesses aren't hiring, not because of taxes, but because it's cheaper to create new jobs overseas.

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          Actually, businesses aren't hiring because it is cheaper to make the current employees, who need their jobs, do the work of 3-4 people now.

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            Lack of hiring is mostly due to sales/demand by and large falling off a cliff, though what you point out is not an insignificant a factor as well.

            The larger picture is that effective median income for most consumers has actually declined in constant dollars, while business plans call for constant year-over-year increases in profits. If your customer base has an effectively shrinking income, your sales will eventually collapse.

            Consumers of course first turned to credit, then to their homes as ATMs to sustain a lifestyle that was untenable given wages were effective stagnant (at best) and actually decreasing slightly each year.

            I have mentioned it before, but it boils down the simplified phrase that Henry Ford once said, I need to pay my workers enough so they can buy a Ford car or truck. The reality is, as we have shifted more and more wealth upward without a corresponding investment in more wages back down into economy, it sets up for economic instability.

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              Demand is such a tricky thing too. I was at a Keizer Chamber event yesterday talking with some business owners. We got around to the topic of demand and thankfully, things appear to be looking up. One biz isn't getting the big jobs they used to, but demand for small jobs is up. A house painter is so busy he can hardly keep up. Another sees no demand at all.

              We all agreed that there won't be a "big boom" in demand, but that we expected slow-steady growth in 2011.

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      Nancy Pelosi has said there will be no compromise, there will be a vote only on a middle class tax cut. If she can hold the caucus, then it's doable. If Obama would just state publicly he will veto any extension of the upper income tax cut, then all this agitation would be unnecessary.

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    I think they'll end up compromising and extending the cuts for the wealthy for another two years or so, and then let them expire.

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    Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe.

    Only in the tortured minds of Carroll and Orwell could an otherwise sane person claim that it is irresponsible to continue tax cuts for some while leaving 2.5 - 3.5 times that admittedly large amount on the table. If tax cuts for those making over $250k is not reasonable regarding the deficit then the proper argument would be that no extension of tax cuts is reasonable given the deficit.

    I look forward to viewing the theater; for that is surely what it will be. There will be much saber rattling and harumphing. In the end the democrats remaining know that they don't have the votes and Obama hasn't the backbone to veto. The democrats do not want the population to believe that they allowed the entire tax cut package to expire because of an unwillingness to be reasonable.

    there are already signals out there indicating a temporary 2-3 year extension of the entire package. Full disclosure, I and family will never earn near $250k/year.

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      If the GOP isn't willing to be reasonable and vote first on the cuts for the first $250k, then =its on their head that the package expires come Dec. 31st.

      The Republicans do not want the population to believe that they allowed the entire tax cut package to expire because of an unwillingness to be reasonable.

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      I actually agree with you on this. The no tax cut extensions should apply to all categories. We can no more afford the loss of revenue from the under $250K revenue than we can for the over $250K. Here is where I disagree: This false dilemma will lead to not a temporary 2 or 3 year extension, but a permanent one. Everyone knows that.

      I also believe that the estate tax should be allowed to kick back in. We need to stop these gd wars! but that is another issue, Still if you cannot link the tax cuts with the unfunded wars and see how they are bankrupting us, then you are someone who really believes the ditty about job killing taxes.

      Trust me, most liberals I know are having a huge migraine over the conservaDems who simply cannot hold any line, starting from our President on down. One of the only bright lights at the moment is our own Merkely.

      Let's grow up here, America. Let's also clear the debris in our eyes and see---take in on a very deep level---just how the corporatists, military contractors and the plain uber rich are turning us into their slaves.

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        If I were to sign up for class warfare (against "corporatists, military contractors and the plain uber rich") it sure the hell wouldn't be under the flag of the Democratic Party.

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          I have no emotional response to the charge of class warfare. If that is what it is, then it is and I agree that the Democrats are only slightly less terrible than the Republicans on that score.

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          Of course not. You are ALREADY a foot soldier (aka quisling) on the side of the oligarchs who have been waging class-warfare for decades. That you do so because you are wealthy, dreaming you may one day be wealthy, or are a religious/social-issue nut-ball who thinks the GOP establishment gives a real rip about your issues is for you to find your own answers for, not us.

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    I think its absurd this group rage mentality. Tyranny of the majority as de Tocqueville once said would happen. "Lets tax these guys, but not me". Typical peasant antics if you ask me. Grunt grunt me no pay, but other man pay grunt grunt. The Republic was never intended to be run like this. People in their ignorance have turned the government into a tool of mob rule.

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      I take it, grunt grunt, you did not read my post.

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        His response was to Chuck Sheketoff's original post. It can be a bit tricky to follow the placement and indentations of responses that show to what post they were in direct response.

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        No I read it. I was responding to someone else. I agree both parties have engaged in collective policy making to the peril of both social liberty and economic prosperity. The peasant mentality of tit for tat and make em pay is coming back to haunt us. It is not different than the slave owner mentality a century and a half ago: Applying group status: Rich vs Poor and theft of labor under the facade of social birth debt.

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      Dunno about de Tocqueville, but Sen. Russell Long is the one famous for "Don't tax me, don't tax thee, tax the fellow behind the tree." Perhaps today's Democrats would rewrite that to "tax the fellow high in the tree."

      I dislike any tax targeted at a select group, be they high ("the rich") or low (lottery players or smokers) on the socioeconomic ladder, and all taxes designed to reward or punish chosen behaviors or groups. Taxing target groups is usually done with a great deal of surety and self-righteousness which is almost more nauseating than the bad idea itself.

      Our tax system is so tremendously complicated that a lifetime of study won't render one versed in tax law.

      A fair tax system would be designed with the sole goal of raising revenue needed for government functions desired and apportioned equitably only within that framework.

      • (Show?)
        A fair tax system would be designed with the sole goal of raising revenue needed for government functions desired and apportioned equitably only within that framework.

        Which is what most Democrats have been fighting for, for generations. Furthermore it is why Adam Smith, the grandfather of capitalism and modern economics, was very clear about the need for a progressive tax system. Which it antithetical to the GOP and movement conservatives.

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          Prepare to be shocked again -- that we don't agree about who is on the side of what.

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            So you are against capitalism now?

            And you disagree that Adam Smith, the philosophical father of capitalism didn't lay out in fairly clear terms that progressive taxation is a prerequisite in an equitable tax system?

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              Must you be quite so deliberately disingenuous?

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              Is being this way intentionally. Adam smith is not the founder of Capitalism and even if he was (you are true revisionist Mitchell along with many others) to reject one idea of his on his vision of Capitalism is not a rejection of free market Capitalism. In fact his one idea is contrary to liberty and free market capitalism. He is not the owner of capitalism and the concepts of free markets were not created by one man. No one is perfect and Adam smith shows that in his writings in this instance. Your arguments is absurd and I do believe you know that.

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                Almost every academic and economist view Smith and Wealth of Nations as the foundational treatise of capitalism and free markets.

                I also never claimed Smith was perfect, so stow the straw man. However there is nothing "absurd" about progressive tax structures at all since they are and have been in place in most major economies for generations.

                The U.S. income tax has, form its inception been a progressive one. So while you may wish to claim that reality is "absurd" it is still reality.

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                  I suppose you believe that stuff you tout. Read my post above for your history lesson.

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                    There was no history lesson, much less a coherent point in your post above.

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                      Yes I see your style, claim the facts are incoherent. Then tout collectivist ideas claiming they are the core of capitalism (not just one guys idea on a tenant of free markets) then arguing against capitalism using statism and fascism as example to prove your case against free markets, Then claim everyone is on your side as you support the very system of government you oppose. Yes I get it.

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                        Progressive taxation is not collectivism. That alone proves you haven't a clue one about what you are talking about.

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                          See my comment below regarding a definition of collectivism. The same words have different meanings so I have provided a link to show you. Yes it is collectivism but you are unaware of the definition I am using.

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                            Sorry, but progressive taxation does not mean that property be either owned by all of society in common, or that possessions be owned by collective groups that use the property.

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      Given that we have drifted from a progressive tax structure, to a more and more effective flat tax structure (a min. wage worker pays more as an overall percentage of their wages in taxes than does a George Soros or Bill Gates) which is in direct contradiction of the very premise of equitable tax systems which Adam Smith laid out in The Wealth of Nations (the foundation of capitalism and modern economics) this "group rage" as you put it, is not only justified but needed in order to correct the problems which threaten the long-term sustainability of not just this country, but our economic system.

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        Well that is very nice textbook propaganda there, but if we look at the facts historically. The system you propose has a 100% failure rate throughout history. It will not save us, it is guaranteed however to destroy us and it will. The facts on record speak for themselves. We are failing and we will fail on this course. Too bad you must experience it first to believe it. This are the consequences of the inequality under the law your system of governance demands. The non producers vote away the capital of the producers while some of the larger producers get bail outs and exemptions etc eliminating the middle class which are the life blood of any free society. Inequality under the law is a two way street and you are about to experience the horrors of that mob mentality in the coming years. Mark my words, we will not recover with this level of ignorance in this nation. You must look deeper at the core issues to make progress.

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          <blockqtuoe>The system you propose has a 100% failure rate throughout history.

          What nonsense. Almost every modern economy has a progressive tax system, and in fact the creation of a strong middle class is to a large extent attributable to a progressive tax system.

          You are talking through your hat.

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            Look at history. How many of those countries have survived as long as we did without a progressive income tax? They all failed at least once since the revolutions of 1848 and some of them multiple times. If you think history only lasts 20 years or so you are on solid ground, but if you are like the rest of us, history goes back much further and yes your system has a 100% failure rate over the course of a century and a half. We too will fail before we hit the century and half Mark.

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              Your reply is almost incoherent.

              The United States first introduced the income tax because of the costs of the civil war, which one can argue was the pre-civil war country didn't survive it, and a new country without legalized slavery as part of its economic system was no more.

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                yes but is repealed because they saw the coming problems with that type of power. So realistically the US can not be used as an example of the 1848 countries. Your example is disingenuous and takes advantage of the ignorant. I think maybe some folks have you pegged right when they say you do not offer authentic arguments.

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                  Ok, the UK had a progressive tax in place sine 1798, but I guess their country hasn't survived.

                  Oh wait, they don't count I guess since they didn't have a "revolution in 1848.

                  However the entire premise of your "argument" that the revolutions of 1848 in some European countries is some how pivotal regarding progressive tax structures is, as I intimated on the outset, bordering on absurd.

                  Those revolutions were primarily democratic revolutions against monarchies and not about installation of a different tax structure. So by your "merits" of you trying to make the European revolutionary movements of 1848 rejection monarchism for democracy means a country won't last 150 years, no?

                  Your entire premise that 1848 is somehow pivotal vis-é-vis tax systems and how a progressive ones were implemented at that point, and which lead to "those countries not surviving" is so untethered to a substantive argument or point as to be laughable.

                  • (Show?)

                    If you could do math better this would be much more fun. First of all Britain is not the hallmark of success with its failed national health care system. In that matter it has already failed. So yes I still am correct, but if you do not agree Lets look at in general terms. Britain is a law and order police state regulating almost every move of its citizens. We have moved in a similar direction with pat downs in airports and cameras in our cities. The control you wish to give government has other consequences. Yes economic failure will hit Britain as hard as it is hitting us if not harder. Your system does not create the environment you want it to, but most are not smart enough to see that when you empower government to provide everything you want, you give it the same power to take everything you have including social and economic freedoms and through out history it has.

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                      My bad I failed to include the following information: Britain repealed the income tax in 1816

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                        Which was reinstated back 1842. Once again you mindlessly leap into the false position that I advocate that the government does everything, and that everything be nationalized. You can continue to pretend to slay those men of straw, but your mishmash of factoids trying to support the bankrupt Randian philosophical sociopathy does not hold water, and is becoming rather boring at this point.

                        But feel free to have the last word.

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    I'm always intrigued by the word choice of people. "...every dollar 'spent' on tax cuts just for the wealthy is a dollar not available to invest in our nation and its people." Technically, I didn't think the government 'spent' money on tax cuts. I'm of the opinion, it's every dollar not 'taken' from the wealthy. Whether your rich or poor, the government takes money from people through taxes. Granted, this money is in turn redistributed to fund services people may or may not have had access to before. I do ask one question. Of all the Fortune 500 companies, which ones were Government-funded/founded? Google? Microsoft? Facebook?

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      Perhaps I am a little harsh in using the word 'takes.' Perhaps a better word might be 'invests.' Should people invest in the government, or want to invest more money? Do you think the government is doing such a good job that you would want to dump your savings in it?

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        The government hasn't been doing a "good job" in many areas due to the "starve the beast" defunding by the GOP for decades.

        And most areas the Government provides services are areas that should never be left to the private sector to fulfill on a for-profit basis.

        Or do you think that every street, sidewalk, and so forth should be privatized, monetized and turned into a what amounts to a toll road?

        We had unregulated raw capitalism, it was called the robber-baron era and was a litany of social and economic privations that read like a horror novel.

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          Have your Visa card in hand when you dial 911.

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          The starve-the-beasters fed the monster mightily. Don't confuse talk with action.

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          You do not understand what capitalism is if you think we have had raw unregulated capitalism. You need to step out of that dark box you live in and learn that capitalism is a system in which everyone has access to the market and can promote their ideas and business. Government's role in that system is to protect people from fraud in the market place. Government is not supposed to for example tax one commodity or producer to favor another nor is it supposed to steal the labor of workers or producers to give it to their friends. Nor allow people to sell what they do not have or short sell more of a commodity than exists nor allow banks to loan fiat currency on a fractional reserve basis. Government has interfered with the market place promoting fraud and coercion. What you have seen transpire is not capitalism at all.

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            You do not understand what capitalism is if you think we have had raw unregulated capitalism. </bllockquote> Prior to the trust-busting era of Teddy Roosevelt and the introduction of the New Deal reforms, we had what basically amounted to raw capitalism, and as I already noted, it was called the robber-baron era and was a litany of social and economic privations that read like a horror novel. And the demented ravings of the sociopath Ann Rand before spouting off about what the Government is "supposed" to do or not, are not exactly a viewpoint worth taking seriously (except that more than a few fools in places high and low buy into it so like a bad rash keeps plaguing the body politic).
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              Your comments still prove my point. You do not understand what free markets are. You wish to replace them with what? Central planning where government decides the winners and losers? Do you think that is new? Monopolies cannot exist without central planning. You are well intended but not well read. The very government you hold as holy is the one that allowed those crimes to take place in the first place.

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                You do not understand what free markets are.

                Actually I understand the term "free markets" quite well thank you.

                You wish to replace them with what?

                Not looking to "replace" anything.

                Central planning where government decides the winners and losers?

                Nope. Never once advocated for a centrally planned economy, nor even that means of production be removed from the private sector and would actively reject and oppose it if anyone was actually pushing for it (FYI, nobody in this country other than fringe parties like the actual Socialist Party of the USA is).

                I continue to support our mixed economy which is an economy that includes a variety of private and government control, or a mixture of capitalism and a public safety net particularly as it pertains to having a countervailing economic force in a down-cycle.

                Which BTW is what saved capitalism form itself in the 1930s.

                It seems to be the favored nonsense of a Randian devotee to scream that if one is in favor of a sensible regulatory scheme which has actually proven to be better for business and the economy that it somehow means one is in favor of soviet style economic systems.

                It, like most of your "arguments" are devoid of merit.

                Do you think that is new?

                Do I think what is new? That anyone who rejects raw capitalism in favored of a sensible regulatory framework to harness the power of the free markets to prevent boom and bust cycles while providing basic services that businesses and general populace benefit from is mindlessly labeled as a "socialist" by fools and devotees of unadulterated laissez-faire ideology?

                Then yes on that would be right, that is nothing new.

                Monopolies cannot exist without central planning.

                Huh?

                That is about the factually and intellectually worthless statements I have read in a long time.

                So you think monopolies only occur because of "central planning"…?

                Wow.

                • (Show?)

                  If you do not understand what I am saying you should study more. That is all I suggest. You do not understand what you are advocating and your ideas are a paradox. Of course you don't see that. That is why our country is going to fail miserably. Read Bastiat or de Toqueville. You keep talking about Rand. I never read her works. You keep putting me in some box due to your own lack of depth of knowledge.

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                    No, what you are saying is incoherent tripe, unsupported by facts. That you begin to postulate that progressive taxation is collectivism, shows you have the foggiest notion about what you are talking about.

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                      Define collectivism. I think we have a chasm of terms.

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                        Here is the definition I am using. I am not using the Bolshevik definition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collectivism

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                          Exactly. Which given that you seem to be equating progressive taxation with collectivism shows you haven't a clue as to what you are talking about regarding the topic at hand (Federal tax structures).

                          I also have little doubt that it is also why in bizarre fashion you zero in on the 1848 date (the publication of the communist manifesto) as being at all relevant to what I, or anyone else outside of fringe groups (such as the Socialist Party, who are rightly relegated to fringe status) are addressing.

                          You seem to have this bizarro-world need to see anything not pushing strict laissez-faire economics or massive deregulation as being creeping advocacy for "collectivism", "statism" or "socialism" (be afraid).

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                            This is typical nonsense when you can't provide an answer and are ignorant. Calling people fringe who disagree with you and putting words in their mouth is getting old Grow up guys. Women's suffrage was fringe at one point so that term is worthless in that it simply magnifies your ignorance of human rights. For the public I will respond, you may read if you wish Mitchell. Collectivism is the practice of looking at people in groups for the purpose of taking away rights or giving rights. Taxation that is applied to one group and not another based on a group criteria is collectivism. We are all individuals, terms are only used to identify us such as white or black or rich or poor for the purpose of giving or taking something away. This is a slave holder mentality that persists to this day. When this nation was founded there were collective principles involved and unfortunately things like slavery and tariffs were part of that mentality. It allowed society or government (they are not the same) to choose winners and losers in both life and the market place. This problem still persists and as it is magnified so will our problems. Call me stupid if you do not understand me. I once believed what Mitchell did, I am now more educated and no longer concur. Based on his writings Mitchell does not even understand what I believe yet responds anyway, not lifting a finger to study.

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                              I did provide an answer your nonsense up-thread where I pointed out that progressive taxation does not mean that property must be either owned by all of society in common, or that possessions be owned by collective groups that use the property.

                              BTW that description of what collectivism it as as it pertains to economics (and how it is not at all what progressive taxation is defined as) in the very wikipedia link you used as "your definition" of collectivism.

                              So my point stands, that you don't know what you are talking about.

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                                Your point stands that you do not understand what I am talking about. You simply do not wish to read and understand. Here are some videos to better explain collectivism. You will probably misunderstand those and start talking about roads again however. This will save you from having to read a book on the subject. Videos are 6 to 8 min each.

                                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMYicq_SN1E

                                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0o2GCT0z4Q&feature=related

                                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMMmCNjsH2o&feature=related

                                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBYmTPtZFQ4&feature=related

                                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDh8MJOGJOY&feature=related

                                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nu7p4BaUw5w&feature=related

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      I know most Fortune 500 companies have a healthy percentage of the customer revenues are form sales to the government(s) (Federal, State, Local).

      Every printer for example in every Gov. office is built buy a Fortune 500 company (though I am not 100% Lexmark or Oki are actually Fortune 500).

      To say nothin of the fact that the internet was an outgrowth of DARPA net, a government program.

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        You must be kidding me right? You call this economic productivity? You believe without those contracts no one would produce anything? Where do you think that money comes from?

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          You must be kidding me right?

          Nope.

          You call this economic productivity?

          You mean the 20%+ of HP prointer sales which are to the government doesn't actually produce economic benefits for HP or that large enterprises such as any Fortune 500 company or the government do not need office printers?

          Who knew?

          You believe without those contracts no one would produce anything?

          Hyperbole much?

          I know for a fact the HP's sales in printers (as a just a singular example) would be down by 20% and would mean far less printers produced, the jobs to sell, market, ship, service them, etc. and the government would still need to have office printers to do its work. Or do you think that the government (or any large organization) can magically function without any paper work and that hand written documents are more productive, economical and efficient?

          Where do you think that money comes from?

          And where do you think the roads that businesses rely on to move product come from? Where do you think the courts that enforce all contract law comes from? Where do you think the electrical grid comes from? Where do you think core services like water, fire protection, etc. comes from?

          Your question is so myopic in its presumptions as to be damn near meaningless.

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            Of course taking money from someone provides a benefit to the guy who gets the cash, but that is not what economic growth is. Economic growth is an increase in productive capability. When you take money from someone and give it to someone else, you have cut someone's production, spent part of their money on administration and then given the rest to someone else or purchased items etc. That is not growth. Also, I am not complaining about courts and roads and such. Just because I don't believe government should do everything, does not mean it does not provide some essential functions. This conversation is not very good as you are projecting things into that I have not said. You do not have any principles to base your beliefs on, only some ideas you read and misinformation so my reasoning is very difficult for you to understand. Proper government is limited in what it can do based on principles that maximize liberty not contract it. If you don't know what liberty is or economic growth then I am very difficult to understand of course.

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              What nonsense. Public roads are paid for (using your terms) "taking money" from people, employing people to build the roads, which then allow great productive capacity for private business to use. At every step of the way, production of tangible assets (in this case infrastructure) to allow greater production of goods and conveyance of such, (as well services as well) is all economic growth.

              That is just one small example, and the are myriad others.

              And yes, you ARE complaining about roads, courts, etc. because that has to be paid for through taxes. A progressive taxation to pay for such things by those who derive the most utility of them directly or indirectly. A CEO or business owner who moves $480 million in product over public roads gets a much disproportionally larger overall economic benefit form said road than the person pulling min. wage does by use of the same road.

              This is why it is, as Smith made clear, necessary for an equitable tax system to levy a progressively higher rate as individual income goes up in order to equitably share the costs of the economic system and the infrastructure, service,s etc. which are employed to maintain said economic system.

              That you claim that I don't have principles upon which to base my beliefs on is not only laughable, but pure chutzpah on your part.

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                Roads are paid for by the fuel tax which is somewhat fair or at least more far than the income tax and its rather simple. This however is not the point. The point is even when the taxes are taken for the purpose they are to be used for, this is not economic growth. It is a Constitutional role of government in that one aspect, but don't confuse that with growth or even efficiency. Government performs certain duties that we have created it to perform, but none of them are growth and were never intended to be. When they are sold as such, it is a form of economic voodoo or snake oil.

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        History lesson: When HP's patents ran out, Lexmark started mass producing their pin design. If you look at early Lexmark printers and HP printers, you'd be able to use the cartridges across models if you were able to change the shape of the box the pins are on.

        The Government gets most of its money from people and taxes on companies. They're essentially paying the company back and the people who work for them? Doesn't this seem to be an unnecessary middle man?

        The point I was trying to make was that the Government runs inefficiently and would go the way of ENRON and WorldCom if they were not able to print their own money or run outrageous deficits.

        You stated, 'for decades.' When was the Government doing a good job with people's money?

        • (Show?)
          The Government gets most of its money from people and taxes on companies. They're essentially paying the company back and the people who work for them?

          And in the process providing things like, roads, electrical grids, courts of law to enforce things like patents, to begin to name just a few of the litany of social benefits provided for those taxes, which benefit and provide for a civilized society for businesses to proser within.

          Doesn't this seem to be an unnecessary middle man?

          No. I don't think having roads, the basic infrastructure of commerce, an education system, etc. etc. should be the purview of the private sector.

          You stated, 'for decades.' When was the Government doing a good job with people's money?

          The California's University public system was the model for the entire world and was considered as such before it was decimated by supply-side economic voodoo is but one example.

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            Ok, this has gotten extremely off topic from the original point I was trying to make.

            Since, you believe that these things are essential and good, are you willing to donate the majority of your income to the Government and all its programs?

            We should also make a distinction between the Federal Government and the State and Local Government. This post refers to the Federal Government's taxation. Many of the things you list as services are State or Local tax fed, and not Federally fed.

            I think that there are great programs and necessary oversight that the Fed. Government can provide as a third-party with no bone to pick. i.e. FDA, USDA, NASA, USACOE, etc. However, I also see a lot of waste, unnecessary red tape, and political bickering at the expense of the taxpayers.

            As a forced shareholder (taxpayer), I would much rather see my income go to proven programs. It'd be like if you decided to donate to the American Cancer Society and saw the Board of Directors agreeing to fund lung cancer research only if they got extra stuff for themselves and their friends first. (i.e. the Health Care Reform Bill with all the extra earmarks)

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              Since, you believe that these things are essential and good, are you willing to donate the majority of your income to the Government and all its programs?

              If I made WAY above the median, then yes. While I make a good living (above the Oregon median income) I don't make enough where I pay more than 50% of my income in taxes. What I have issue with is that the fitly rich pay less of a percentage of their income than someone who works min. wage when they reap a far more disproportionally large benefit form the economy. I am all for someone reaping a deselect reward form success, but I also insist that they pay an equitable amount to sustain the system that benefits everyone, themselves the most.

              We should also make a distinction between the Federal Government and the State and Local Government.

              Why?

              States can and do receive Federal dollars, in everything form implantation of Medicare programs to roads, etc.

              This post refers to the Federal Government's taxation. Many of the things you list as services are State or Local tax fed, and not Federally fed.

              Not directly, but they are most certainly are impacted by federal spending (or lack thereof). Also given that many states, Oregon in particular have no legal authority to run a deficit, which in economic downturns is necessary as a counter-cyclical force when you have a demand-side whole to fill. The only way we got out of the Great Depression for example, was through the largest public works program in human history which was carried out via massive deficit spending on a scale unprecedented in the modern era.

              While I am not advocating that level of Federal spending, block grants to states as a way to counter the economic pit we are in and the resultant budgetary crisis the states are facing is warranted.

              This is also why I think kicker reform is a must, so that we have the capacity to build up reserves so when there are times when the economy goes south which is also when demand for Gov. services increases, that we are not looking and a feedback downward spiral of cutting services, laying of more people, which only harms businesses further, in a vicious circle.

              However, I also see a lot of waste, unnecessary red tape, and political bickering at the expense of the taxpayers.

              Any human enterprise has waste. I have seen waste in the private sector which is as great or greater than in the public one. That isn't to excuse away waste, fraud, abuse or simply ineffectual government spending. I think that squeezing the most out of every tax dollar is a must, and from my perspective a given part of what everyone in the public employ should be working to address at all times.

              I posit that half the problem is that most taxpayers are truly ignorant of how well most Gov. services and programs are run and/or are blind to what the Gov. actually does which benefits the private sector.

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                Ugh.

                I am all for someone reaping a deselect reward form success...

                Should read:

                I am all for someone reaping a descent reward for success...

                Damn iPhone predictive typing.

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                Mitchell,

                I appreciate your commentary on all these issues, and have a couple more questions for you.

                The rich pay less of a percentage of their income than the poor?

                I thought that the first bracket was 10% and the highest is 35%. Doesn't that mean the rich pay a higher percent of their income than the poor? Are you advocating everyone pay the same percentage, or that everyone gets paid the same or am I just not able to read correctly? :)

                I think you make a good point about how many pies the Federal Government has its hand in. It's their involvement in helping Oregon spend more money in the last couple years, which is going to lead to a significant pain point for next session now that the money is gone.

                I see you're taking the side of most economists in saying that the Great Depression was conquered by spending. Keynesians would also say that lowering taxes in addition to running deficits would be the best way to jumpstart the economy. I would say that the climate of the world is significantly different than that of the pre-WWII era and we need to find new, creative solutions.

                Having worked in the public and private sector I've noticed that there is little incentive to work hard in the public sector. I've observed this to be true in the private sector where workers are unionized. Don't get me wrong, I think that unions can be great vehicles for defending workers' rights, but they can also lead to disaster (*cough GM & Chrysler).

                Let's see if we can agree on something. Do you think the Government 'spends money' on tax cuts?

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                  The rich pay less of a percentage of their income than the poor?

                  When you include FICA, workman's comp, unemployment insurance, etc. a min. wage worker pays more in taxes as a percentage of income than Bill Gates does.

                  Are you advocating everyone pay the same percentage, or that everyone gets paid the same or am I just not able to read correctly?

                  I am advocating that we maintain our progressive income tax system and simply return to the Clinton administration tax rates for the upper brackets.

                  It's their involvement in helping Oregon spend more money in the last couple years, which is going to lead to a significant pain point for next session now that the money is gone.

                  The state aid the Feds passed as part of the stimulus was what prevented drastic layoffs, school closings, etc. You may agree that we need to layoff more teachers, more state troopers, etc. but I think most Oregonians correctly see that cutting services and producing more unemployment is not a way to address either the economic downturn or the resultant budgetary crisis. If we had not had stupid policies like the kicker, we wouldn't be in the mess we are now and would have the reserves to draw on during a down-cycle.

                  I see you're taking the side of most economists in saying that the Great Depression was conquered by spending.

                  That is because that is what happened. This isn't simply theory, but actual historical data.

                  Keynesians would also say that lowering taxes in addition to running deficits would be the best way to jumpstart the economy.

                  Depends on the type of taxes. Not all tax cuts have stimulative effects on the demand-side of the ledger.

                  I would say that the climate of the world is significantly different than that of the pre-WWII era and we need to find new, creative solutions.

                  Yes and no. Things are not as bad as they would have been had we not had the social safety nets that have been in place since the New Deal. But the marco economic broad dynamics are still applicable.

                  Let's see if we can agree on something. Do you think the Government 'spends money' on tax cuts?

                  Again, depends on the tax cuts, but in general (as it pertains to the total revenues vs. outlays of the budget) yes.

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              ask the surviving hemophiliacs who were infected with tainted blood products that the FDA knowingly allowed to remain in use in the 80's how useful that agency is.

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      "Of all the Fortune 500 companies, which ones were Government-funded?"

      Well, scores of them, depending on how you define "funded." Bank of America (#5), JP Morgan (#9), Citigroup (#12), Wells Fargo (#19) Goldman Sachs #39): all the big banks got "billions and billions" in the bailouts and continue to receive free money via the Fed's discount window. (And that's without even mentioning AIG - #16).

      GM (#15), of course, would no longer exist had the Obama Administration not stepped in to save the domestic auto industry.

      Lockheed Martin (#44) - Uncle Sam's largest defense contractor, its profits bloated by decades of Pentagon contracts, many pure pork.

      Oh - and those Internet companies like Google and Facebook? No DARPA, no Internet.

      Lockheed Martin

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        I put a '/' next to funded/founded. I thought it was clear I meant 'given money to start or directly started.' It's my fault for not being more concise.

        Scores indicates multiples of 20 and not 8. I do not think that the government created those companies, but agree they are propping them up, for better or for worse.

        No Alan Turing, no computer. No computer, no ARPANET. We could play the chicken and egg argument all day.

        My question to you is do you think the government 'spends money' on tax cuts?

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    The only "no brainer" about raising taxes (allowing the "Bush" Tax Cuts to expire) is that RAISING TAXES (even on the wealthiest income EARNERS) is that one CANNOT tax one's way to economic growth!

    Don't take MY word for it:

    "Lower rates of taxation will stimulate economic activity and so raise the levels of personal and corporate income as to yield within a few years an increased – not a reduced – flow of revenues to the federal government." – John F. Kennedy, Jan. 17, 1963

    OR, do you guys believe Kennedy was a Republican?

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      That Kennedy quote was when the top bracket was 91%. So your use of it in the here and now is so out of context as to be mind-bogglingly stupid.

      Well done.

      (golf clap)

      But I guess we were living under the jack-boot of socialism under Ike, that our entire way of life was destroyed.

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      Even supposing what you say made sense in context, do you think it is some wonderful function of Dems that we always think everything one of our own does or proposes is correct?

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    The rabid right trolls have climbed out from under the scummy rock they were under and have attempted to hijack the thread. They are predictably dishonest in their selections of history and quotes. I see that Bill Clinton's tax rate hikes and record economic expansion with record low unemployment have been conveniently excluded from their memory banks.

    Their adoring worship of Ronald Reagan predictably leaves out the record deficits he foisted on succeeding generations. And, as for GWB's historic tax cuts, we know very well what they have done for us, along with his two wars and expansion of medicare unpaid for, put on the national credit card when the GOP eliminated Pay-Go budgeting. It's a decade of record irresponsibility leading to economic ruin and the destruction of the middle class.

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      I feel that what makes our country great is the ability to speak freely about what we agree and disagree about. Name calling though? raises eyebrow Are we in elementary school? I'm not sure how that should make your point any more or any less valid or even make anyone who disagrees with you try and keep an open mind when reading your post.

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        "I feel that what makes our country great is the ability to speak freely about what we agree and disagree about."

        That's fine, and there are plenty of places for that. (Comment on Oregonlive.com--you'll have plenty who agree with you and few brave souls who don't.) But BlueOregon was supposed to be "a place where progressive Oregonians can gather 'round the virtual water cooler." So if you're going to come here and tell us we shouldn't be progressive, or that we're stupid for being progressives, you're sort of in the wrong place.

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      First off all Presidents including Obama do not control the economy. The Federal Reserve does. Congress has the purse strings, but they tend to do what they are told by the Fed and Lobbyists. Only the naive and misinformed think they are actually represented by these people. If you would stop looking at things from a Republican Democrat stand point you might feel better about your fellow human beings. This collective mindset is a overflow from the slavery days and it does not help anyone.If you had it your way I think we would have no profit in society, we would serve the State and individual human's who spoke up would be eliminated. This is what it sounds like you are all about when you crawl out here talking about fringe this fringe that and scum covered humans.

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