Deep Thought

Jeff Alworth

"The perfect storm is here, and Oregon is feeling the recession more than other states," State Economist Tom Potiowsky said to lawmakers assembled in the House chamber....  Potiowsky also said that the outlook for the next two-year cycle has dropped by $2.5 billion in income taxes, and about $200 million in lottery proceeds."

Salem Statesman Journal, today

If Tom is wrong and the recession is not as long or deep, his forecast will trigger tax refunds, no matter how brutal the cuts are now or how underfunded we'll still be thanks to the plummeting economy.  My, what a gorgeous piece of public policy the kicker is!

  • (Show?)

    Grover Norquist says he wants to shrink government down to where it's small enough to be drowned in a bathtub.

    The kicker is the hand that will be holding government's head under the water.

    What a brilliantly-designed downward-ratcheting device the kicker is.

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    The kicker is bad policy, but it does no good to deny that we are in deep shit, all of us, in this country and apparently in the this global economy. Today Paul Volcker said the plummet of the world economy is going faster and more precipitously downward than the first great depression of the 1930s. This second great depression, and I believe we are headed there, will likely increase the role of government at all levels, because it will take government to save capitalism and to help us survive it.

    The arguments of Grover Norquist and the government haters don't hold up when the whole ship is sinking. Even today David Brooks said Obama should do more than he is already doing in the way of government intervention in the economy. Most of our major banks are insolvent. That's why there's this semantics argument about nationalization. Fact is, the government is taking over the banks through TARP to keep the banking system from totally collapsing. I don't buy your argument that it's not as bad as people are saying. It's worse. Obama is trying to brace people for how bad it really is, the hopeful talk is on the back burner.

  • mp97303 (unverified)

    Now you have shown me an example of the flaw in the program. While I still support the premise of the kicker, I wholeheartedly agree that it needs a modification to compensate for just this type of situation.

  • LT (unverified)

    What about a proposal to put part or all of the kicker into the rainy day fund to even out the boom or bust cycle?

    And whether or not the kicker can be changed or abolished (that requires a vote of the people thanks to Knopp's 2000 measure), why on earth in the days of direct deposit must it go out in paper checks that must be printed and mailed?

    That is, of course, if we don't see the several down forecasts in a row as has happened in the past.

    One revenue idea is to tax at double the rate of ordinary income any the car allowance given to any public administrator who gets a car allowance instead of being reimbursed for work-related mileage. Keeping track of that mileage would also be a way of knowing where the money is going.

  • WunderBlunder (unverified)

    Comeraden! Why not just take all of the proletariets money? They have no idea what to do with it anyway.

    The state must survive at all costs and must not be compromised.

    Great Leader says that they will be happy no matter what the outcome.

  • alcatross (unverified)

    Some observations from here:

    • Forty-five states face budget shortfalls of varying degrees, totaling approximately $132 billion through fiscal year 2010. However, every state but one expects revenues in 2010 to be higher than in 2006, and all but nine states have seen revenues grow faster than inflation from fiscal years 2006 to 2009.

    • States hit hardest are those that relied most heavily on growth in unstable revenue sources like taxes on capital gains, high-income earners, and corporate profits.

    • Punitive taxes on unpopular groups, such as smokers, drinkers, or high-income earners, are poor tax policy and a source of instability because they force a small group of people to pay for government services broadly available to all citizens. Shifting the burden of paying for these programs away from most taxpayers can result in demands for more government than people are actually willing to pay for.

    • State and local officials are more frequently using the “Washington Monument” ploy — threatening to cut politically popular services to create pressure for tax increases. Like I haven't seen this multiple times in my 12 years in Oregon now.

    • Broadening tax bases, lowering rates, and eliminating targeted tax credits can generate extra revenue without unduly harming a state's economic performance.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: WunderBlunder | Feb 20, 2009 9:17:15 PM

    Do you think your schtick is clever or something?

    Head back the FreeRepublic of NW Republican or whatever Fright-Wing hole you crawled out of, or you could head to midland Texas where your "Great Leader" now lives.

  • alcatross (unverified)

    lestatdelc says: midland Texas where your "Great Leader" now lives

    eh... actually, W Bush lives in Dallas now. Although he did live in Midland, TX back in the late 1970s to early 1980s.

  • Richard (unverified)

    I aghree with Bob R that things are and will be getting worse. But enough of the "goverment haters" straw man.

    The depth of the recession. or depression dictates that government at all levels be condensed to live within lesser means, period. Despite the clamor for new revenue and larger bailouts we simply can no longer afford to fund goverment that seeks to lesson all forms of discomfort and inequality and still maintain that which is most vital.

    The examples locally and at state levels make clear that goverment can no longer function by deferring it's perpetual fiscal crisis MO.

    The idea that the revenue is out there to be had is the government class refusing to face reality.

  • alcatross (unverified)

    Richard says: The depth of the recession. or depression dictates that government at all levels be condensed to live within lesser means, period.

    Sorry Richard, that's not the typical prevailing line of thought here. In down times like now, it's said we need MORE government programs and services because more people seek assistance.

    And in economic good times?...

    Well, then we should create MORE government programs and services because more $ are readily available. (i.e., 'we don't need no stinkin' kicker!...') This is why even back in the years when $ were gushing into the state coffers we still heard EVERY election cycle that schools and other services weren't adequately funded.

    It more often than not devolves into a 'tails, I win - heads, you lose' discussion here.

  • Bill R. (unverified)


    You've really proven my point. As a government-hater you adopt the Herbert Hoover remedy to economic depression, fire more people, reduce assistance to those who need it, remove more money from the income stream, make the economy contract even more.

    When the banks are failing, when fewer and fewer people have health care, and those that do pay more because their insurance has to subsidize those who can't pay, when families can't survive because their unemployment benefits have run out, when the 401ks have dried up and Wall St. has collapsed, then the government-haters like yourself lose all credibility. The govt. is the only one to guarantee our deposits, the only one who keeps schools open, the only one left who can provide health care for our families, the only one who can provide social security income for the elderly and disabled. You don't like government? Call Bernard Maddow, he will rescue you. Better yet, try living in Somalia!

  • Richard (unverified)

    Hey Bill R,

    You made my point.

    We have no dispute on these basics.

    Yes the govt. must guarantee our deposits, keep schools open, provide health care for the needy, provide social security income for the elderly and disabled. Along with police, fire and national security and other basic services.

    That's when I like government.

    I don't know if you are deliberate or confused but goverment does waaaaaayyyy more than it should.

    That's why they can't do very well what we ALL know they should do.

    That's why goverment didn't do a very good job of watching Fannie May or Madoff.

  • alcatross (unverified)

    Bill R says: adopt the Herbert Hoover remedy to economic depression, fire more people, reduce assistance to those who need it, remove more money from the income stream, make the economy contract even more.

    I know this is the common conception about Herbert Hoover - but it's also completely off-base. I recommend you read some history - Hoover advocated none of these as policies during his time as Secretary of Commerce under Coolidge or as President. He denounced laissez-faire thinking. Yes, he was pro-business - but he was also very much active pro-regulation. Thus Hoover came into office with a deserved reputation as a Progressive and a Reformer.

    It's not that Hoover stood by and did nothing during the downward spiral... it's just his policies were ineffective. [you may find it enlightening to know that during his 1932 campaign the sainted FDR blasted Hoover for spending and taxing too much, increasing national debt, raising tariffs and blocking trade, as well as placing millions on the government dole. He further attacked Hoover for "reckless and extravagant" spending, of thinking "that we ought to center control of everything in Washington as rapidly as possible," and of leading "the greatest spending administration in peacetime in all of history."]

    You can fault Hoover for not doing enough, I guess - but hindsight is 20/20. And some 'New Dealers' later admitted that much of the 'New Deal' was extensions of efforts Hoover actually started.

  • mp97303 (unverified)

    Instead of constantly debating big/small government, has BO ever attempted to have a debate about what gov't should/should not do? Maybe if we could agree on what gov't should be doing, it would be easier to agree on how much we should be spending...

  • alcatross (unverified)

    mp97303 says: Instead of constantly debating big/small government, has BO ever attempted to have a debate about what gov't should/should not do?

    Short answer: no... Here there generally is only discussion about what government could/should be doing more of.

    The prevailing opinion of government's duty by BO and his supporters was artfully stated by Arnold Schwarzenegger some years ago:

    'Everything must be provided for the people...'

  • AbbyTheLiberal (unverified)

    Such deep thoughts for such a shallow blog. The contributers try, but there hasn't been a single discussion on here in months and months, where the thinking got much deeper than what you would hear from talking heads on Faux News.

    I have to conclude that as the official, unofficial blog of the Democratic Party in Oregon that there is a conscious strategy to discredit "progressives". Seems like the message is that you shouldn't be hopeful and think progressive; the Dem hacks and Obama are the best you're going to get. Senator Jeff used to post on here regularly, and was always the voice of realpolitik, the "get over it; it don't get better than us", Pelosi style expectation setting. They really believe that. Read Kari's oft-expressed sentiments about unicorns and puppy dogs vis a vis his posterior and you see what these Dems think of progressive ideas. Service, change, doing it by the numbers, you want to win or lose? We want to win! And a little more of that "mother's milk", please.

    Real progressives, like Harry K and JVDW, cheapen themselves by exposing real progressive thought to the ridicule of old party hacks. Better to let Steve M. pontificate, let T.A. judge the ethics, let Dan and Carla judge the language and Kristin remind us that it's "for the children", than let one real, progressive idea get a hearing.

    The regular responders are either people pissed at the Dems that want to shout something quick or entrenched interests, like unions, GLBT community, any ethnic minority that a Fed program is directed at, and the kiddies- always the kiddies. That is pretty much boring old hat, so every day you find a reason that you're so glad you're not as stupid as the Republicans and strut around and crow about how stupid their cover story is. Of course, you only talk about the cover story, because you're usually snout and trotters in the same trough that they are.

    It's a very consistent message. You don't get change; your only choice is the two parties and ever vote that isn't in the majority doesn't count. If you want change, you vote for one of the old, tired choices, and we'll tell you what change you get. You just got big change. Be grateful. Go buy a commemorative plate. This is a great moment in American history. Look at the posting volume from October until now. There were a lot of new faces. You asked, "how do we move all that hope and change forward". The answer- and how stupid were we to think it might be otherwise- is "you don't. You stomp it dead". Mission Accomplished. You're back the little clique of canned speeches that was "debate" before you did that bit of "hope and change" shtick.

    BTW, did I mention that Nancy Pelosi is the worst Speaker in the history of the House? I forgot. That's a big move forward, her being a woman. I was going to give the Dems four, but from where I sit, you're not worth a moments consideration more. Enough is known about the new Administrations environmental choices and they have already decisions enough to show that hope and change in this area was a fraud. You were the first Republic's last hope, and you have shot it through the head. Vive la Republique Seconde! Progressives, the time has come to act and stop having pedantic debates with loser Dems. Oh, right. You won; you can't be losers. The bankruptcy in this country is profound...

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