Comment of the day

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

This particular comment, by Jason Lang, over on a post by Chuck Sheketoff - struck me as a particularly well-written and cogent statement of the difference between progressives and conservatives on how to handle budget shortfalls - especially the closing paragraph:

If my household were starting to run up debt and trying to make ends meet, sure, there is some cutting back to do. I'd go out to eat less, buy generic instead of brand name, and look into coupons.

However, I would not, for example, sell off my car, cut all services (water, electricity, phone) completely, and basically sit in my box and wait for something to somehow improve. Even should 'the market' somehow improve, that will not improve situation at all. You need to increase revenue, which governments do by taxing. And you do not attract people to move in by living in an industrial wasteland.

Taxes do not kill jobs. Opportunities make jobs. You make opportunities by improving your population, and their condition. Having a large number of moderately affluent people will make jobs as people find ways to get their money, and find their businesses supported by a steady flow of income.

Right now, our tax structure is not making a large number of affluent people, it is making a very small number of extremely wealthy individuals. And there is only so many toothpaste tubes and TVs that Bill Gates and Phil Knight needs. Which leads to fewer businesses competing for fewer and fewer resources. We need to tax more so that we can make things better for everyone, you, me, everyone.

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    From my point of view, I see some of the comments from cons as the "yoyo" syndrome (you're on your own) or IGM (I've got mine). I believe we all have an obligation to leave things better than we found it and I think we should be ASHAMED of ourselves for handing over a standard of living LESS than what our parents passed on to us.

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    Kari, Thanks for posting this here. Jason Lang takes the commonplace right-wing metaphor of the household cutting back in hard times and simply completes the metaphor to show the absurdity of the republican "we're broke" slogan. Of course householders don't panic and cut off our own water and electricity. I would add only that most homeowners also hold a mortgage and, except during Wall Street speculative implosions, do not live in panic about this useful form of "borrowing" either. Good job of reframing by Lang!

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    Most households don't layoff the kids or cut Grandma loose during the recessions either.

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    blushes Aww, shucks, Kari.

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    Well stated, Jason. A common sense explanation of budgeting and priorties in times of economic duress.

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    Chuck forgot to mention he would negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for better rates, to save billions for Medicare and its clients. But republicans made a point of preventing that from happening. They don't want Americans from getting the best possible value for our health care dollars.

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      The metaphor is accurate, it's Jason's lack of any purposeful attempt to compare the two that fell woefully short.

      (Glen) Do you really believe there are GOP members of congress who "don't want American's to get the best possible value for their health care dollars"? Do you even think about what you are saying before you say it? When you make invidious remarks like that, all you do is make yourself look simple minded, angry and hateful.

      It's just amazing to me all of the facts and evidence some people will ignore, trip over, walk around, fall over, and run from when it doesn't mesh with their own feckless and confused analysis. Well played.

      With that concept in mind I admit to being a little curious to read the post so I could see with my own eyes, proof!, there really was someone trying to convince other people that our 14+ trillion dollar national debt was no big deal,and not only that, didn't mean we were broke! BTW the page where I linked over to here from had nominated it for the distinction of being the Dumbest Post anywhere for the Month of May. For anyone who took this statement to heart I have some bad news. While the act of owing 14 trillion dollars doesn't in and of itself indicate insolvency. When the other factors are considered such as the population size, the cost of servicing this debt, the fact that had we adopted the budget Obama proposed this year the size of the debt would be growing by over 10% a year for many years. The real test, even in the brain of a 5th grader is the 'bad check' test. If you discover that the checks you are writing are bouncing then you are broke!. To put this into context, since November of 2010 the United States has been paying all of it's bills with money we had just printed up! In a fiat currency world that is tantamount to writing bad checks. Just like the little boy telling his mom as he holds up a box of unused checks "Mom look how rich we are" What a foolish and irresponsible for someone to write. You should have run from that one Chuck.Did you even read it? We are scaling back our expenditures because we are spending 1.6 trillion dollars more each year than we are bring in!

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    Which brings us back to Jason's "Comment of the Day"

    As you go into debt Jason the first areas of your budget that may be affected would be the things you mentioned ...meals out, 5 dollar coffees etc. Then your thinking leaves the track ... if things get worse Jason you don't have to sell your car ... the bank comes and gets it, you don't cut your utility services, you don't have too because the utility companies turn them off for you. If you don't make your house payment then guess what...the bank throws you out and sells it. Todays culture is built on debt and in the real world Jason, the decisions you make believe are yours to make really aren't. You don't sit at home in your bo it under bridge in your cardboard box. If the "market improves" then YES the situation does improve ...thats what the word improves means! When you say: "Improving your population and their condition" I am assuming you mean the government does something to make this happen, wrong. The popultion has to improve themselves and finally "our tax structure IS NOT making anyone wealthy! They are making themselves wealthy and if anything the tax structure keeps them from being able to continue to create wealth creating opportunities. Whether or not Bill Gates has 1 tube or toothpaste of 14 trillion of them isn't any of our business. it's their money to do with as they please right? They earned it! raising tax rates on the productive mmbers of society to give to the unproductive doesn't make anyone better makes everyone worse off. Why do you think that someone else owes you anything? Why do people think that they have no responsibility to themselves and the rest of us to work and pay their on way? I am all for a safety net but what you describe is the same lifestyle choice that has created an entire class of entitlement dependant people (and their children after them) Here is an idea ... why shouldn't we enforce the laws we have in place and put our own people who are here legally and who want to take responsibility for themselves by working into the jobs we lready have?

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      Good Call Kari! That was definitely

      "The Comment of the Day" On my score card it may ven be the comment of the year! And where better than in response to "The Post of the Monthy" to find such a credible treasure like this. (rolls eyes)

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      Hoo boy. Where to start with this?

      Okay. Lets talk the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg. I assume you know this? In it, a farmer discovers one day that one of his geese has laid an egg of solid gold. The next day, the goose does it again. Then, in a fit of greed, the farmer kills the goose to get to the gold he assumes is inside, only to find nothing that you would normally find inside a goose.

      This is exactly what I mean, and where your metaphor falls apart. The federal government does not go out and collect a paycheck. It does not need to pay an auto loan. It's sole income comes from itself. And unless it invests in itself, it will never generate more money. Should it begin selling off it's assets, then if things do externally improve, there is less and less to capitalize on that.

      Also - you are right in that taxes don't make people wealthy. People spending money makes people wealthy. By giving breaks to the wealthy, they do make jobs, sure. They make them in the FTZ in Mexico. They make tons of them over in China. And Taiwan. And India. We won't even go into the fact that the wealthiest have access to a lot more ways to not pay taxes, from offshoring, multiple locations with lower tax rates in the country, or simply hiring more and better (or more accurately, any) financial consultants.

      As for Bill Gates toothpastes, obviously you picked up on the words, but not the meaning. So I will walk you through it so you'll get it this time. Sure, Bill Gates could buy 14 trillion tubes of toothpaste. That's fine. But how many can he use at one time? Assuming he brushes like the rest of us, he may need a new tube every couple of months. So Mr. Gates goes out to the local store, and slaps $2 down for a new one. The store takes it's cut of the profit, and capitalism works. Everyone is a little richer, the shop owner and employees can go home and feed their kids. Hurrah.

      However, Bill Gates only needs to brush his teeth so many times in a month. So that means his toothpaste purchases are limited. And if he is the only one who can buy toothpaste, then soon the store shuts down, and the owner and employees no longer feed their children.

      Now, if we work to make sure that EVERYONE, from Bill Gates to Bob the Dumpster Diver can buy toothpaste, that is millions of purchases monthly. Even better, it is spread all across the country. So millions of shop owners go home to their millions of kids and everyone eats.

      This works with everything. It is simply more economically sound to have millions and millions of middle class people buying televisions and cars and shoes and toothpaste, then it is to have a single Bill Gates buying all the toothpaste in the world.

      As for the wealthy making themselves wealthy...that's a ridiculous bit of circular logic. It's a lot easier building yourself a mountain if you begin on a large hill. It is much harder if you begin standing in a valley.

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    If my household were analogous to my government, I sure as hell wouldn't spend half of my monthly budget on guns and ammo.

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    I nominate Hart Williams' comment as being the next "Comment Of The Day".

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