mistersandman: (SHAME)
[personal profile] mistersandman
mistersandman: How would you feel if you had to put on a really stupid hat? (comical hat)
[personal profile] mistersandman

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's top adviser suggested to The Huffington Post late Wednesday that the administration is ready to accept an across-the-board, temporary continuation of steep Bush-era tax cuts, including those for the wealthiest taxpayers.
That appears to be the only way, said David Axelrod, that middle-class taxpayers can keep their tax cuts, given the legislative and political realities facing Obama in the aftermath of last week's electoral defeat.

"We have to deal with the world as we find it," Axelrod said during an unusually candid and reflective 90-minute interview in his office, steps away from the Oval Office. "The world of what it takes to get this done."

"There are concerns," he added, that Congress will continue to kick the can down the road in the future by passing temporary extensions for the wealthy time and time again. "But I don't want to trade away security for the middle class in order to make that point."

Read more... )


I suppose this shouldn't be surprising.  There are plenty of moneyed interests and individuals on both sides of the aisle. The Democrats talked a big game in the run up to the election, but had no problem waiting until afterwards to "compromise."

mistersandman: (watchmen)
[personal profile] mistersandman

BRUSSELS - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Pakistan on Thursday to ensure wealthy Pakistanis contribute to helping the country overcome the devastation caused by this summer's floods.

Some have estimated that flood recovery will cost tens of billions — a mammoth sum for a country that has relied on international loans. Aid groups have struggled to raise funds for the country because the disaster unfolded relatively slowly and the number killed remained low compared to other major disasters such as the Haiti earthquake.

"It is absolutely unacceptable for those with means in Pakistan not to be doing their fair share to help their own people while taxpayers in Europe, the United States and other contributing countries are all chipping in," Clinton said after meeting with Baroness Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign and security affairs chief.

Saying "the international community can only do so much," she urged the government in Islamabad to "take immediate and substantial action to mobilize its own resources" for the immense task of reconstructing schools, health clinics, bridges, thousands of kilometres of roads and repair new irrigation systems.

Her plea for more action from Islamabad came a day before an international conference is to hear from Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the Pakistani foreign minister, about his government's long-term economic and other reforms.

The "Friends of Democratic Pakistan" meeting in Brussels brings together 26 nations and international institutions. Established in late 2008, it enables Pakistan to regularly brief the international community on its security and economic challenges, which are acute and directly linked to the instability of neighbouring Afghanistan and its own struggles with Islamic insurgents.

Earlier Thursday, Qureshi told the European Parliament in Brussels that economic aid is key "if you want to help us fight extremism."

"When we are stable we will be able to address the issues of poverty. When we are economically stable we will be able to invest in the sectors that have been ignored in the past, like health and education," he said.

To date, the EU and its 27 member states have contributed nearly $450 million toward flood relief and recovery efforts. The EU has also extended trade benefits to Pakistan. The US has provided $388 million in aid so far and another $75 million in logistical and other support.

Donor nations have warned Pakistan that they cannot foot the entire recovery and reconstruction bill, which some have estimated could surpass $40 billion. U.S. officials have urged Pakistan to improve its tax collection to aid its long-term rebuilding.

After meeting with Ashton, Clinton insisted much remains to be done.

"The progress (the EU and the US) have made together toward fostering stability and prosperity in Pakistan is threatened by the catastrophic damage caused by the floods," she said.

Both she and Ashton stressed their commitment to help Pakistan rebuild itself, adding that a stable Pakistan is essential to the fight against terrorism and the security of Americans and Europeans. The U.S. government warned Americans earlier this month of new terror risks in Europe and focus fell on Pakistan, where U.S. drones have struck suspected al-Qaida targets and where Pakistani officials said eight German militants were killed.

The floods began in late July during unusually heavy monsoon rains, eventually covering one-fifth of the country and affecting some 20 million of its 175 million people. Nearly 2,000 people died, while millions were left homeless, according to the United Nations.

Dozens of bridges were washed away, while more than 1.9 million homes were damaged or destroyed. Around 5.9 million acres of farmland were damaged, a severe blow to agriculture, the most important pillar of Pakistan's economy.



This isn't even a question of tax rates.  Many industrialists and landowners use their government positions to avoid paying taxes entirely in Pakistan. 

It's one thing to offer a helping hand after an enormous tragedy.  It's another thing to build a country from the ground up.  Pakistan borders Afghanistan, you would think they'd know better than to trust the United States with something like this.

treesahquiche: (Default)
[personal profile] treesahquiche
Republicans have repeated the lie that tax cuts are always good for the economy so often that all of Washington seems absolutely convinced that it's true. The conventional wisdom is so established on this that all a Republican has to say is, "Everyone knows you don't raise taxes in the middle of a recession..." Or in good times or in mediocre times or ever. All tax cuts are always good.

Republicans add another layer of absurdity to this as they say that tax cuts always lead to more revenue for the federal government because of supply-side economics. The economy expands, people make more money and the government collects more in taxes even though it takes a smaller percentage. Great theory -- how about if we cut taxes down to 1 percent? Would the government still get more revenue?

The question isn't whether tax cuts or tax increases are always the right answer. The question is at what level of taxes do we stimulate the economy, collect enough revenue to run a functioning government and let people keep as much of their income as we can. No one, not even the world's biggest liberal, wants to pay more in taxes personally. We just want to find the right balance so that everyone wins.

Click for the full story. It's worth it. )



This isn't news to anyone who took AP Macroeconomics in high school or Introduction to Macroeconomics and got a passing grade. But for some reason, Americans fall for the "lower taxes = good" bullshit all the time. Even the smart ones, sometimes!

It isn't about low taxes or high taxes: it's about finding the right balance so that the government is able to maintain programs that everyone agrees are beneficial (like fire departments -- if you don't like getting taxed so that the fire department in your township can function, you can read about what happened to the Cranicks), and investment -- both public and private -- happens, while still making sure that private individuals and their families have enough to live reasonably comfortable lifestyles.

The fact is, tax cuts don't encourage us to spend, and our GDP lives and dies by how much spending happens. At least when we're taxed, we're forced to spend and do our part to keep our economy afloat. It may not be very pleasant, but those are the facts, unless you decide to renounce civilized society and become a hermit in the woods or try your hand at living in Somalia.
treesahquiche: (Default)
[personal profile] treesahquiche

Click here for the related article, which basically says the same thing as the video. )

Fareed Zakaria is editor of Newsweek International. His e-mail address is comments@fareedzakaria.com.


For all his thought-out opinions, approval of many of Obama's platforms, and mild disapproval of Republicans, it comes as a surprise that Fareed Zakaria is a) a conservative and b) not running for public office.

I agree with everything that he just said and wrote here. I also like how he very subtly called Bush out for not being a real conservative but mostly just someone really incompetent. Can someone please make me a "Fareed Zakaria is the man/a BAMF/really really awesome" icon? Oh wait, made one! :D


Rules are on the profile page.

Tag your posts! Contact [personal profile] treesahquiche if the tag you need doesn't exist.

Don't be afraid to attack others' positions. Be prepared to defend your own.


RSS Atom

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags