Balancing the Budget by 2015 In an Hour

Using the NYT budget simulator, James Pethouikis gets a trivial deficit by 2015 and a surplus by 2030 with an hour's worth of work.

It took Instapundit 2 hours.

I've been playing with this for a while, and I found it pretty easy to check the boxes. Whether or not there's the will to do this stuff is highly doubtful.

In fact, exercises like this might delay necessary reforms by suggesting it's so easy to accomplish the goal of balancing the budget -- if it's so easy, hey, can't we wait another 15 years for all this stuff?

The stuff that would be considered contentious among conservatives, which I chose to do anyway, included the following:

* Reduce the Number of Navy Fleets and Air Force Wings. This is one of the ones I have the most problem with, because power projection is so important, and sheer numbers do count. But the suggested cuts seemed not all that deep; 286 ships reduced to 230, and two tactical air wings elminated. Actually my preference would be to fudge on this one and do half that.

* Reduce Space Spending and the Nuclear Arsenal. Going from almost 2000 nukes to just over 1000 seems like a fairly painless cut. The surplus nukes seem to only have value as bargaining chips to trade away in exchange for Russia cutting its own stock; the odds of so many of our nukes being taken out in a first strike as to leave us without an apocalyptic retaliatory strike -- with all those nuclear subs at sea -- seems remote.

* Gradually Escalate the Age of Medicare and Social Security Eligibility to 70. Seems like a no-brainer.

* The Lincoln-Kyl Plan for Estate Taxes. To be honest, I've never been on the bandwagon about reducing estate taxes to zero. The only clear advantage to this I can see is that I have heard estimates that mere enforcement of this tax -- with all the lawyering and expert appraisals and so on and so forth -- actually consumes nearly as much as the tax itself collects. I don't know if that's true. If it is true, then this is a bad tax. But I sort of doubt it.

I guess my problem with reducing it to zero is that almost everyone has to pay tax on every dollar received -- and I have trouble excluding this one tax from that general understanding. (Yes, people will say they're double-taxed, once in life and once in death, but that's not true, in the sense that it understates the situation; in fact every dollar received is taxed dozens of times as it's converted from one use or one person to another.)

To me it's a question of which sort of income do I want to tax more, and which do I want to tax less: Do I want to have to tax regular income more to avoid taxing estates? I can't think of an equitable reason or moral reason to justify that; it seems to me, all else being equal, regular wage-type income should be more privileged than inherited wealth, not less.

Ending the tax for all estates smaller than $5 million sounds reasonable. If not, hey, $8 million. But that's just me.

A friend of mine says he likes this particular tax because it's some sort of impediment to a permanent aristocracy. I don't know if I buy that but I can't dismiss it out of hand.

* Eliminate Loopholes But Reduce Rates Slightly. This actually would be a net tax increase because the value of the loopholes closed would be a bit higher than the value of the reduced general rates. But as a general proposition, I'm in favor of lower rates and reduced loopholes and shelters, which tend to distort economic behavior and furthermore tends to divert a lot of wealth into the tax-avoidance industry, which doesn't actually produce anything.

* Reduce Mortgage Interest Deduction By Converting to Credit. The mortgage interest deduction is supposed to be an encouragement to home ownership. This change would apparently keep the deduction, but make it less valuable for the very wealthy. Which is fine, by me, because the wealthy are going to buy homes anyway, so why subsidize an activity that is already 99% guaranteed?

At any rate, my final numbers put me in the "RINO" category of 86% reduction through spending cuts and 14% through increased taxes; on the plus side, I'm so over the mark for closing the budget gap I can play around with changes (like restoring weapons programs delays, un-cutting the size of the Navy and Airforce, only escalating Medicaid and SS eligibility to 68 instead of 70) and still remain balanced.


Posted by: Ace at 02:46 PM



Comments

1 I looked at it earlier.

It's like a push poll -- it wants you to consider certain choices (cutting the military) by ignoring others (like eliminating the Department of Education or HUD).

Finally, it's assumptions are wrong -- economic activity is not a constant stream; once you hit about 20% of GDP in federal revenue, you won't go any higher. The economy will contract instead. (Google "Hauser's Law" to see what I'm talking about.)

Posted by: Meiczyslaw at November 15, 2010 02:50 PM (vEhUz)

2 I hate to say it, but the sacred cows of SS and Medicare have to be reined in hard. The current receipents are going to fight that tooth and nail, but it has to be done.

Posted by: Katy Beth at November 15, 2010 02:51 PM (PzHdj)

3 Make the 50 percent of the population who pay no federal income taxes start paying them.

Posted by: Cicero at November 15, 2010 02:51 PM (QKKT0)

4 Thirst!

Posted by: Guy in the desert at November 15, 2010 02:51 PM (G5JPI)

5 NYT is a POS.

You take $100 Billion from building warships and you can kiss $300 Billion in tax revenue associated with a better economy gone.
Hasn't anybody anywhere hear of the multiplier effect? Building warships = 3 times more than unemployment benefits.

Posted by: Doug at November 15, 2010 02:51 PM (gUGI6)

6 Oh, and first?

(For those noticing, replace it's assumptions with its assumptions.)

Posted by: Meiczyslaw at November 15, 2010 02:52 PM (vEhUz)

7 You could probably do better on the military one by reducing admin crap rather than cuts at the sharp end. There is the line troops, essential support, not so essential support and then a lot of 'why the hell are we doing that', just like in any large organization.

I read the other day that the Navy has more admirals than ships. This hardly seems necessary, and each would have staff, offices, etc. ripe for the cutting. In the old British navy these extra guys would be on half pay.

Posted by: Oldcat at November 15, 2010 02:52 PM (z1N6a)

8 >>> by ignoring others (like eliminating the Department of Education or HUD).

Right, but there was a category called "other cuts in federal spending;" some might be included there.

I am really sort of not willing to entertain "eliminating the Department of Education" because that's not going to happen and people suggesting that might as well say "We should go into a dungeon and kill monsters and collect treasure and +3 swords to make up the shortfall." Both are fantasy solutions.

I would like to cut the Department of Ed a fair amount, though. I could see cutting a good 25-30%.

Posted by: ace at November 15, 2010 02:53 PM (nj1bB)

9 Where's the "eliminate the Departments of Energy and Education" option?

Posted by: Waterhouse at November 15, 2010 02:54 PM (WDYCv)

10 >>>You take $100 Billion from building warships and you can kiss $300 Billion in tax revenue associated with a better economy gone.

True... playing around, in my second go, I restored all the military cuts and was still balanced.

Posted by: ace at November 15, 2010 02:54 PM (nj1bB)

11 I guess my problem with reducing it to zero is that almost everyone has
to pay tax on every dollar received -- and I have trouble excluding this
one tax from that general understanding. (Yes, people will say they're
double-taxed, once in life and once in death, but that's not true, in
the sense that it understates the situation; in fact every dollar
received is taxed dozens of times as it's converted from one use or one
person to another.)
Ace, you are TOTALLY missing the point.

An estate tax is a tax on SAVINGS!

You need SAVINGS to create capital, to create jobs.IT IS A PUNISHMENT FOR SAVINGS.

So spend you income like a drunken sailor and have no savings. Buy some rims, go take a cruise.

IS THAT GOOD TAX POLICY?
NO, NO, NO.

Posted by: Kemp at November 15, 2010 02:54 PM (JpFM9)

12 And if you receive a government benefit, you should have to contribute in some way - either via taxes, or some kind of work program. No more free rides. I understand that there are some who can't do either, and the states can decide what and how they are helped, but the majority getting help now can certainly participate.

Posted by: Katy Beth at November 15, 2010 02:54 PM (PzHdj)

13 Eventually, we're going to have topropose something.

Posted by: CJ at November 15, 2010 02:54 PM (9KqcB)

14 Shit, after going through that laundry list, it seems terrifyingly simple to do-- and they're not even talking about radical ideas such as lowering the income tax, repealing Obamacare, or cutting off crimmigrants from welfare.

Posted by: Guy in the desert at November 15, 2010 02:55 PM (G5JPI)

15 >>>Where's the "eliminate the Departments of Energy and Education" option?

Like I said above, it's right next to the "find a genie lamp and use your first wish to balance the budget" option.

Posted by: ace at November 15, 2010 02:55 PM (nj1bB)

16
A problem with the estate tax is that it can make transferring a family business almost impossible. Dad dies, son inherits and has to pay a gigantic tax on the value of the business. This often leads to the business being sold under pressure. Lots of disruption can follow (layoffs and such).

-------

Also, what Meiczyslaw said. It's a push poll.

Posted by: Comrade Arthur at November 15, 2010 02:55 PM (3CQYV)

17 My Budget. and it's in surplus by 2015.
But it reality I would do more cuts and less taxes then they offer.

Posted by: Rocks at November 15, 2010 02:55 PM (Q1lie)

18 I don't disagree that we might need to cut some things that we support, but let's focus on cutting things that benefit the Democrats first, then things that benefit us like defense and tax cuts.

Dem idiocy needs to go first before we touch our stuff, otherwise we're just idiots that are cutting our spending so the Democrats can piss away money.

Democrats use the government to buy votes. This is the thing we need to stop above and beyond all things because it is the root of all our current problems.

Posted by: Bevel Lemelisk at November 15, 2010 02:56 PM (TpXEI)

19 Privatize the Post Office. Eliminate the PBS, NEH and the NEA. Dismantle public employee unions (okay, yes, that will never happen). Perhaps trivial but every bit counts.

Posted by: BeckoningChasm at November 15, 2010 02:56 PM (bvfVF)

20 A friend of mine says he likes this particular tax because it's some sort of impediment to a permanent aristocracy.

Nope!

Posted by: Kennedy Cuomo Dingell Bush Clinton III at November 15, 2010 02:57 PM (A/iZj)

21 I would like to cut the Department of Ed a fair amount, though. I could see cutting a good 25-30%.





Posted by: ace at November 15, 2010 02:53 PM (nj1bB)

I don't think there is the will to eliminate those but I would definitely cut down the bureaucracy associated with them. How many people do you need exactly to give out money?

Posted by: Rocks at November 15, 2010 02:57 PM (Q1lie)

22 A friend of mine says he likes this particular tax because it's some
sort of impediment to a permanent aristocracy. I don't know if I buy
that but I can't dismiss it out of hand.

Its a tax that keeps new fellas from joining the permanent aristocracy, like a lot of these 'tax the rich' schemes. The really rich have it handled already, the ones on the edge have to have their father's life work broken up and destroyed to pay the taxes. So in wealth category its regressive, punishing the 'poor' more than the 'rich'

Posted by: Oldcat at November 15, 2010 02:57 PM (z1N6a)

23 Where is repeal Obamacide?
Would also like the option to increase military spending... I don't like how much the Army and Navy have shrunk the last 20 years.

Posted by: Zharkov at November 15, 2010 02:57 PM (GRoWk)

24 Kemp,

Bold face and capital letters aside, you are being an idiot. Just about every tax taxes something useful and vital -- taxing income provides a disincentive to WORK, which last time I checked, was "NECESSARY" (add bold in your mind) too.

The question is not whether this or that thing is necessary, useful, or vital and thus that we should be careful about taxing it and therefore having less of it. The question is, given ALL the things typically taxed, which is the MOST necessary, useful, and vital.

Work is vital. Investment is vital. These things are taxed. But the one thing we cannot tax is a dead multimillionaire's estate as it passes on to his likely slovenly heirs?

Posted by: ace at November 15, 2010 02:58 PM (nj1bB)

25 Gut the damn EPA and the Department of Energy. Until they start drilling off the California coast and severly decrease our dependence on ME oil, they should be having bake sales and car washes for funds.

Posted by: Katy Beth at November 15, 2010 02:59 PM (PzHdj)

26 "A friend of mine says he likes this particular tax because it's some sort of impediment to a permanent aristocracy."Ha! My half witted heirs are still living like kings!

Posted by: John D. Rockefeller at November 15, 2010 02:59 PM (jmf9+)

27 Loose Shit Alert:

It took them one and two MINUTES to cut the deficit/debt.

Posted by: Nom de Blog at November 15, 2010 02:59 PM (0LABp)

28 I'm worried that if we don't balance the budget... something, I don't know what, is going to tip over.

Posted by: Hank Johnson at November 15, 2010 02:59 PM (f3dlM)

29 For all their love of rolling taxes and military spending back to Clinton years you'll notice that option isn't available for domestic spending or gov't workforce.

Those numbers won't get you to a balanced budget but it shows how skewed the options are.

Posted by: DrewM. at November 15, 2010 03:00 PM (HicGG)

30 As to the dept of ed. What we need is a voucher or better a education credit that people spend on their own. This plus a freedom in education act to protect private schools from the dept of ed. Then just let the dept of ed wither on the union vine.

Probably as big a fantasy because of the power of the teachers unions but a guy can dream of freedom can't he. (they don't tax dreams yet do they)

Posted by: Buzzsaw at November 15, 2010 03:00 PM (tf9Ne)

31 This is one of the ones I have the most problem with, because power
projection is so important, and sheer numbers do count. But the
suggested cuts seemed not all that deep; 286 ships reduced to 230, and
two tactical air wings elminated. Actually my preference would be to
fudge on this one and do half that.

I'm loathe to cut any military vehicle numbers, given the subsequent downgrade of our power projection and logistical capabilities. If we must cut the military, I'm with Oldcat - cut the fat at the administrative level.

Also, we need weapon systems and vehicles that serve multiple roles, not making specialized things for one or two situations.

"Jack of all trades, master of none, though oftentimes better than master of one"

Posted by: Kratos (Ghost of Sparta) at November 15, 2010 03:00 PM (9hSKh)

Posted by: Dr Spank at November 15, 2010 03:01 PM (LLZiU)

33 >>>I don't think there is the will to eliminate those but I would definitely cut down the bureaucracy associated with them. How many people do you need exactly to give out money?

Yah, my thought is to make the department basically a pass-through and pretty much just return 50% of all money to the states (just cut a check based on each state's tax contributions), cap student loan guarantees, elminate all pedogogical functions (that is, paying "educators" to do 'studies" about how to teach the multiplication tables and etc.)

Basically half-way gut it out, eliminate 90% of its current functions (and workforce) in favor of just directly returning money to the states and reducing a lot of the other stuff it does.

Posted by: ace at November 15, 2010 03:01 PM (nj1bB)

34 Right, but there was a category called "other cuts in federal spending;" some might be included there.

Yeah, but what were those cuts? Were those all that could be made?

Seriously -- go through all the NYT's offered choices, and see if you can balance the budget without cutting defense spending or raising taxes. You can't.

(I did it by choosing all the domestic options, but had to raise taxes. I concentrated on the loopholes -- which I'm not fond of for philosophical reasons -- but still had to raise estate taxes.)

NYT wants you to do one of the two -- never mind that defense spending is the smallest share of the budget in years.

Posted by: Meiczyslaw at November 15, 2010 03:01 PM (vEhUz)

35 power projection is so important, and sheer numbers do count

No they don't.

Unrelated, wanna buy a bridge in Brooklyn?

Posted by: Robert Gates at November 15, 2010 03:01 PM (HicGG)

36 Of course estate taxes are popular. Like the income tax, better than half of the population will never pay them.

So yes, let's take the wealth that you've amassed over a lifetime of hard work, and give 55% of that to the government.

Because not only is that FAIR, it's a much more efficient use of that capital, rather than letting it continue to remain invested, crwating more jobs and wealth. No, let's give it to our politicians. After all, they'll spend it more wisely.

Posted by: Empire of Jeff at November 15, 2010 03:02 PM (Idoz0)

37
NYT is a POS.





You take $100 Billion from building warships and you can kiss $300 Billion in tax revenue associated with a better economy gone.


Hasn't anybody anywhere hear of the multiplier effect? Building warships = 3 times more than unemployment benefits.


Posted by: Doug at November 15, 2010 02:51 PM (gUGI6)


Sure, Krugman.

Posted by: I ain't no drunk kitty at November 15, 2010 03:02 PM (n4P+/)

38 Big problem with the NYT calculator is that it assumes no impact on economic growth from these choices, and economic growth is key to the whole business. So, decrease spending and regulation, and keep taxes low. There, I just solved the federal budget crisis. I'll go have a sandwich now.

Posted by: Ken at November 15, 2010 03:02 PM (3ar4L)

39 Work is vital. Investment is vital. These things are taxed. But the one thing we cannot tax is a dead multimillionaire's estate as it passes on to his likely slovenly heirs? Why would you want to tax that money, potentially, for the third time?

Posted by: Comrade Trumanski at November 15, 2010 03:02 PM (G5JPI)

40 I believe they took minutes, not hours. It only took me a minute or so.

Posted by: Stan at November 15, 2010 03:03 PM (38AEO)

41 Estate tax is double-taxation, and should be eliminated. Same with capital gains.

Posted by: an erection lasting longer than four hours at November 15, 2010 03:03 PM (ao9DD)

42 First: A flat tax. Make everyone pay. Second: If no one wants to cut depts as I saw upthread, then start cutting them 50% in the next five years. Third: I'm surprised at you Ace. No estate tax. Money that people inherit is spent or invested. Keep as much money in the private sector as possible. And last but certainly not least: Cut federal wages to a point where pay is commisserate for each job in the private sector. But, alas, I dream. I think this nation is too far off course to do anything that'll really make any difference. In other words, we're buttfucked. It's just a decision whether it's with lube or not.

Posted by: Soona at November 15, 2010 03:03 PM (xM8Uq)

43 We do NOT need a tax hike at all. What they should do right off the bat is cut spending to ev4ry department back to the 2007 budget year first.

Second, start wholesale elimination of entire departments starting with the EPA, Dep of Ed, OSHA, and every department that spends money on any kind of welfare.

After they eliminate ALL other unconstitutional agencies then they can look at SS and Medicare.

Posted by: Vic at November 15, 2010 03:04 PM (/jbAw)

44 Holy crapola, there's, like, 5 or 6 photos of Janet Napolitano on the sidebar. Can we string up rdbrewer now?

Posted by: OregonMuse at November 15, 2010 03:04 PM (6Q6yL)

45 Why would you want to tax that money, potentially, for the third time?
Envy.

Posted by: Kennedy Cuomo Dingell Bush Clinton III at November 15, 2010 03:04 PM (A/iZj)

46 >>>Seriously -- go through all the NYT's offered choices, and see if you can balance the budget without cutting defense spending or raising taxes. You can't.

Yeah that's probably the magician's trick of forcing a card.

That said, "additional cuts" to current operating costs of government will not be all that vast. Seriously, the big-ticket items are military, medicaid, and SS. Those and debt-service on current debt amount to, I believe, something like 65% of all spending.

So yeah, you should cut these things (just on principle, if nothing else) but they are not going to make a drastic change to the budgetary problems. Certainly you will make *some* difference. But these items are marginal, in terms of overall effect. you cannot cut them enough to avoid looking at the big-ticket items.



Posted by: ace at November 15, 2010 03:04 PM (nj1bB)

47 And the point of nuclear weapons is to quickly and effectively take out an enemy's offensive military capability and industrial capacity to make more.

There is a real difference between 2000 and 1000.

Posted by: I ain't no drunk kitty at November 15, 2010 03:04 PM (n4P+/)

48 I did it yesterday, took about 3 minutes, got there with 87% cuts, 13% taxes. But the exercise has some serious limitations and one serious problem: assumes tax rate increases will give a tax revenue increase. Doesn't always work that way, but guess what? Spending less always works.

Posted by: Guy Fawkes at November 15, 2010 03:05 PM (JcRgg)

49 39 Work is vital. Investment is vital. These things are taxed. But the one thing we cannot tax is a dead multimillionaire's estate as it passes on to his likely slovenly heirs? Why would you want to tax that money, potentially, for the third time?
Posted by: Comrade Trumanski at November 15, 2010 03:02 PM (G5JPI)
Because it isthere.

Posted by: Sir Edward Hillary at November 15, 2010 03:05 PM (oVQFe)

50 I got a budget surplus and didn't cut any military spending, however i chose the cut troops in theater down option.
also The estate tax is crazy. It should be zero.
Let's say you make 10 million and its taxed at 35%.
That leaves you with 7.5 million.
Then you die and the rates are back up to 55%.
That leaves you with 3,375,000.00. That may seem like a lot of money, but it's just 33.75% of what you earned.
What right does our government have to do that? How can dying ever be considered a taxable event by a rational person? It's just beyond me.

Posted by: Ben at November 15, 2010 03:05 PM (wuv1c)

51 "We should go into a dungeon and kill monsters and collect treasure and +3 swords to make up the shortfall." Damn, there goes my idea.

Posted by: Jean at November 15, 2010 03:05 PM (aemFw)

52 >>>Estate tax is double-taxation, and should be eliminated.

thanks for taking the time to read my post and address my response.

Posted by: ace at November 15, 2010 03:05 PM (nj1bB)

53 Going from almost 2000 nukes to just over 1000 seems like a fairly
painless cut. The surplus nukes seem to only have value as bargaining
chips to trade away in exchange for Russia cutting its own stock; the
odds of so many of our nukes being taken out in a first strike as to
leave us without an apocalyptic retaliatory strike -- with all those
nuclear subs at sea -- seems remote.

I wasn't too fond of this idea when I first glanced over it, but again, if we had to cut something on defense, reducing our nuclear arsenal (in terms of total numbers) isn't that bad of idea. However, we need to have an absolute floor of "just over" 1000 nukes and we need to continue to maintain and upgrade the nuclear deterrent. We are never (at least for a long, long time) going to have a world free of nuclear weapons.

Posted by: Kratos (Ghost of Sparta) at November 15, 2010 03:05 PM (9hSKh)

54

Balancing the budget is not hard from a zero based, everything on the table perspective.

But since we do not have teh political position of Roman Dictator anywhere in our constitutional structure, we are not going to have a balanced budget.

Face it: the USA creates a phenomenal amount of wealth that must be squandered or else the people will demand that their taxes be reduced. Government is inefficient on purpose, so it will not have to shrink under political pressure generated by surplusses. Both parties are so afraid of generating a surplus that any proposal with get shot down if it has the slightest chance of success.

Posted by: Janet Napolitano's Cavity Searching Finger at November 15, 2010 03:05 PM (UaxA0)

55 Like I said above, it's right next to the "find a genie lamp and use your first wish to balance the budget" option.

Yeah, government bureaucracy, once created, may never ever be eliminated. I forgot that cardinal rule. Gee, why is the US in such sorry fiscal shape again?

Posted by: Waterhouse at November 15, 2010 03:06 PM (WDYCv)

56

Work is vital. Investment is vital. These things are taxed. But the one
thing we cannot tax is a dead multimillionaire's estate as it passes on
to his likely slovenly heirs?






Hell! Why wait? Just socialize, um.. have the government take it now.

Posted by: Maxine Waters at November 15, 2010 03:06 PM (9KrgX)

57 I don't want the military cut either, maybe a restructing? Lots of brass out there in all branches with their staffs, etc.

Posted by: Katy Beth at November 15, 2010 03:06 PM (PzHdj)

58 How does anyone with a more then meager estate manage to avoid hordes of estate planners telling them how to setup trusts to avoid the tax?

Posted by: Jean at November 15, 2010 03:07 PM (7Jipo)

59 I got a real chuckle out of the options to cut federal civilian workers' pay and reduce their number.

Yeah, like that could really happen.

Posted by: A Balrog of Morgoth at November 15, 2010 03:07 PM (Snu7z)

60 >>>Those numbers won't get you to a balanced budget but it shows how skewed the options are.

Yup. Like I said, magician's trick.

Still, that stuff alone is helpful but will not get us there.

Posted by: ace at November 15, 2010 03:08 PM (nj1bB)

61 There's a really big chunk NYT included which is capping Medicare, pinning it to GDP or something. Like 500+ billion. I solved the budget crisis with that calculator several times, not once did I have to raise or reform taxes.

I think you're ceding too much ground to the left on this so early in the game, Ace.

Posted by: Stan at November 15, 2010 03:08 PM (38AEO)

62 >>>got a real chuckle out of the options to cut federal civilian workers' pay and reduce their number.

>>>Yeah, like that could really happen.

I actually have hopes for that one.

Posted by: ace at November 15, 2010 03:08 PM (nj1bB)

63 I couldn't disagree more with the estate tax. My dad spent my youth working 18 hour days starting up his own construction business while I ate ramein noodles and cereal for dinner. Fuck giving that shit to the government.

Posted by: Mr Pink at November 15, 2010 03:09 PM (eSG2c)

64 it seems like just making the common sense Social Security and Medicare reforms almost eliminates the entire deficit.

Posted by: Ben at November 15, 2010 03:09 PM (wuv1c)

65 Estate taxes are a silly rubric. If you change it, Mr. Buffet and Mr. Gates are still protected. They will pay no more.

Posted by: Guy Fawkes at November 15, 2010 03:09 PM (JcRgg)

66 >>>I think you're ceding too much ground to the left on this so early in the game, Ace.

My negotiating position would be different if I were negotiating. But I'm not. Here I'm just saying "This is what I think an end-solution I would support would look like."

I can mention my end-solution here because I am not negotiating and do not have to worry about a first bargaining position.

Posted by: ace at November 15, 2010 03:09 PM (nj1bB)

67 A friend of mine says he likes this particular tax because it's some sort of impediment to a permanent aristocracy. I don't know if I buy that but I can't dismiss it out of hand.

Yeah, so instead of one parasite who is the child of a producer, lets let the government create thousands of parasites with that money.

Posted by: Ben at November 15, 2010 03:10 PM (wuv1c)

68 You don't eliminate an agency with a single stroke of a pen - first you move the programs with a core constituency out - say over to Commerce, then you start reducing the senior management slots available - so the good managers move out, leaving the agency weak and indecisive. Then you let it rot for decade or so. Then you can take a shot at eliminating it.

Posted by: Jean at November 15, 2010 03:10 PM (G5WHn)

69 Estate tax is double taxation except for unrealized gains. The solution is to have a carryover of the deceased's cost basis for the heir, rather than allow the heir to claim the fair value on date of death as his/her new basis. The gain would then be fully taxed if/when realized by the heir. This shouldn't be a problem with modern accounting tech.

Posted by: Ken at November 15, 2010 03:10 PM (3ar4L)

70 Basically half-way gut it out, eliminate 90% of its current functions (and workforce) in favor of just directly returning money to the states and reducing a lot of the other stuff it does.
So we would be paying money to people to keep track of how much money a state gives so it can be returned? Gov. at it's absolute best. I think once you have gone that far justcut the damned thing.

Posted by: Roadking at November 15, 2010 03:11 PM (uNgbA)

71 The estate tax is a bullshit tax simply because the people who supposedly pay it never pay it.

It hits the small businessman again and again just like all the so-called tax the "rich" schemes.

The really rich have lobbyists writing loopholes into the law so their tax lawyers can weasel out of it.

Posted by: Vic at November 15, 2010 03:11 PM (/jbAw)

72 lets not forget the "baseline" 2015 budget is the inflated Obama budget ...
how about we drop down to 2008 as the starting point on spending ... heck, you wouldn't have to cut anything to balance the budget in 2015 ...

Posted by: Jeff at November 15, 2010 03:11 PM (A3tpD)

73 >>>it seems like just making the common sense Social Security and Medicare reforms almost eliminates the entire deficit.

Yeah but what is common-sense to you (and me) is not common-sense to a senior.

This is why I think taxes would ultimately end up as part of the mix -- seniors would demand that if they're going to have to tighten their belts some, then the current-income-earning rich can't be spared.

I think this is a spread-the-pain situation. Or would end up being that way.



Posted by: ace at November 15, 2010 03:12 PM (nj1bB)

74 Energy and Education can be cut or eliminated - if SS and Medicare go on the block, nothing says they can't either. Both are just as bloated. What needs to happen is what is hapening here, but on a big nation wide scale. Get the populace involved. The majority of Americans live on a budget and and can understand the concept of an overdrawn bank account or an empty piggy bank. The rest should be told to sit down and shut up. If you don't have a financial stake in the economy, your 2 cents doesn't count as much as the guy who is working, paying taxes and /or running a business. ( and no, drug dealers, hookers and bookies don't count either. It has to be taxable income)

Posted by: Katy Beth at November 15, 2010 03:12 PM (PzHdj)

75 #24

Ace,

This could be a long lecture. I will try to be short. Tax policy should be neutral. We as conservatives don't believe in punitive taxes. The more neutral a tax, that is the less it affects economic decisions, the better for a capitalist society.

That is why so many conservatives can support a VAT, it is pretty neutral, but encourages savings.

Discouraging savings is the best way to destroy wealth.

The accumulation of wealth is the goal of all productive workers, that are not priests. See "Wealth of Nations" Adam Smith, 1776, http://tinyurl.com/7xlvy

So tell me what public policy is served by taking a third or fourth generation farmer's land away from his childern, because they can not afford the estate taxes?

NONE, unless you are a democrat that wants to destroy wealth creation and preservation.

Morally, the estate tax is stealing from the dead. It can not be called anything else but that.

Posted by: Kemp at November 15, 2010 03:12 PM (JpFM9)

76 the one issue I have with it is that in the way they structured it:
your only option to do it (short-term balancing) through spending cuts solely is to gut the military and end the GWOT in the next year. And alternatively, for long-term budget balancing with taxation only, it requires restoration of clinton-era tax rates (income, investment, and estate), eliminate loopholes, and create a VAT.

IOW, if you are conservative, you have to gouge the military; if you are liberal, you have to gouge the lower/middle class. Otherwise, you must blend the two. Essentially, it is a subtle lesson in compromise.

Posted by: A.G. at November 15, 2010 03:12 PM (oAVyq)

77 I got 86/14 as well with only 2 tax increases.

Posted by: Dr Spank at November 15, 2010 03:12 PM (LLZiU)

78 I actually have hopes for that one.

Posted by: ace at November 15, 2010 03:08 PM (nj1bB)

I guess we all have our own personal genies, then. Oh, I don't claim it would not poll very well. Nor am I saying I would not like to see it done. I just don't think it will. YMMV.

Posted by: A Balrog of Morgoth at November 15, 2010 03:13 PM (Snu7z)

79 This option would cancel the purchase of some expensive equipment, like
the F35 fighter jet and MV-22 Osprey, with less expensive equipment that
the bipartisan Sustainable Defense Task Force judged to have similar
capability. It would delay other purchases. Research and development
spending, which the task force considered a relic of the cold war arms
race, would be reduced.

You know, we wouldn't have to buy F35s if we bought some F22s, a plane that was already pretty much ready to go a year or two ago, when we had the chance.

Posted by: Kratos (Ghost of Sparta) at November 15, 2010 03:13 PM (9hSKh)

80 >>>lets not forget the "baseline" 2015 budget is the inflated Obama budget ...

how about we drop down to 2008 as the starting point on spending ... heck, you wouldn't have to cut anything to balance the budget in 2015 ...


The first part is a good point but the second part is wrong. There was a big deficit in 2008, like 450 billion.

Posted by: ace at November 15, 2010 03:13 PM (nj1bB)

81 I would love to see Boehner build a better version of this and bring it to the floor in a Power Point. And then take it line by line on C-Span.

Posted by: Roadking at November 15, 2010 03:14 PM (uNgbA)

82 80/20.
Two minutes.
No lie.

Posted by: Circa (Insert Year Here) at November 15, 2010 03:15 PM (B+qrE)

83 Here is my setup using the NYT's (definitely flawed) assumptions: http://tinyurl.com/2fh963p

I hate to say it but everybody is going to have to suffer some. I left troop levels in theatre the same but cut procurement and nuke arsenals, and reluctantly agreed to a national sales tax. Massive cuts in the federal bureaucracy made up the rest, such that my balance was 65 percent cuts and 35 percent taxes. I need to play with it for a while to get a better ratio.

Posted by: joncelli at November 15, 2010 03:15 PM (RD7QR)

84 We should just invade Canada and take all their stuff.

Posted by: Cicero at November 15, 2010 03:15 PM (QKKT0)

85 >>>Morally, the estate tax is stealing from the dead. It can not be called anything else but that.


yes and tax on income and investment is stealing from the living.

In what world is stealing from the living morally preferable to stealing from the dead?

Furthermore you can't really take from the dead at all. They're dead. You can't bring it with you.

What we are really stealing from is their heirs, which, fine, isn't like the best thing in the world, but then it's really not the best thing in the world to take 20% of a construction worker's take-home income, either.

Please explain why the latter is permissible but the former -- stealing from the dead's delinquent, dilettante heirs -- is so horrible.

Posted by: ace at November 15, 2010 03:16 PM (nj1bB)

86 Yeah but what is common-sense to you (and me) is not common-sense to a senior. This is why I think taxes would ultimately end up as part of the mix -- seniors would demand that if they're going to have to tighten their belts some, then the current-income-earning rich can't be spared. I think this is a spread-the-pain situation. Or would end up being that way.
oh i agree. It's unlikely that it would ever happen. The answer is simple, but not easy, therefor it won't happen any time soon.

Posted by: Ben at November 15, 2010 03:17 PM (wuv1c)

87 A friend of mine says he likes this particular tax because it's some sort of impediment to a permanent aristocracy.

Warren Buffet is said to love this tax because many of the businesses he targets wouldn't be available to purchase if there were no estate tax to push the next generation out.

The estate tax forces many to sell. Goody for Warren.

Posted by: Derak at November 15, 2010 03:17 PM (CjpKH)

88
How about just raise the taxes on everyone who voted for obama. We knew better and should not suffer for their mistakes.

Posted by: tax the Dems at November 15, 2010 03:17 PM (yi+Bl)

89 You can see from the comments how difficult it'd be to slash here or there, and it gets even worse because the politicians rely on donations/bribes from special interest groups to get re-elected.

So let's make it simple: 10% across the board cuts to every single budget item. Period. There's not a single government agency that would even miss the 10%.

Oh they'd all scream about it but that would make it worthwhile all by itself, no?

Posted by: cali grump at November 15, 2010 03:17 PM (hL0k8)

90 Throughout the late thirties. Life expectancy was about 65 years old.

Current life expectency is 78.

Social security started giving full benefits at 65 years old when it was first passed.
It now gives full benefits for those born after 1960 at 67 years old.

We ought to be shooting for 78 and beyond. SS is supposed to be a fallback for not having a retirement plan. Not an entitlement. Push both SS and medicare back to life expectancy, people should take care of themselves till then.

Posted by: MikeTheMoose at November 15, 2010 03:18 PM (0q2P7)

91 Anybody who advocates for a national sales tax or a VAT should be put in a gimp suit.

Posted by: A Balrog of Morgoth at November 15, 2010 03:18 PM (Snu7z)

92 What nitwit at the NYT floated this proposal?

Carbon tax
This option would tax carbon emissions, starting at $23 per ton of
CO2. The tax rate would increase at a constant annual rate of 5.8
percent, from 2012 through 2050.
Dumbass, given the economic-killing properties of such a tax, you wouldn't be "saving" 70-some billion by 2030 - we'd have no economy thus it would be a net addition to the deficit.

Posted by: Kratos (Ghost of Sparta) at November 15, 2010 03:18 PM (9hSKh)

93 The other thing that bothered me about their exercise was only a 5% reduction choice in federal salaries. Why not an option for 10%? are they afraid too many people would choose it?

Posted by: Guy Fawkes at November 15, 2010 03:18 PM (JcRgg)

94 So yeah, you should cut these things (just on principle, if nothing else) but they are not going to make a drastic change to the budgetary problems. Certainly you will make *some* difference. But these items are marginal, in terms of overall effect. you cannot cut them enough to avoid looking at the big-ticket items.

Why don't we bring the spending back as much as possibleto that proposed by the US Constitution. We'd have torepeal an ammendment and change the Interstate Commerce clause, but I know of no better time to start doing it than now, what with the national political climate the way it is.

Posted by: Soona at November 15, 2010 03:18 PM (xM8Uq)

95 A lot of people have superfluous kidneys which we could sell.

Posted by: Dr Spank at November 15, 2010 03:19 PM (LLZiU)

96 84
We should just invade Canada and take all their stuff.
BINGO! Hydro power, Shale Oil, hot Eskimos, or forget that, Hockey teams, oh, forget that.

But, they have strong beer, they have that going for them!

And, shit, they're the second biggest land mass county in the world.

Posted by: Kemp at November 15, 2010 03:19 PM (JpFM9)

97 >>>The estate tax forces many to sell. Goody for Warren.

This "small business" thing is the only part of it I buy into. But I have to ask -- and this is not rhetorical; this is an honest, straight question from ignorance -- is there not some way to separate/distinguish small business "estate" transfers from more typical dead guy's stuff estates?

Is there no way to fashion a method to treat the small-farm-passes-to-kids differently than Doris Duke leaves her cats $500 billion?

Posted by: ace at November 15, 2010 03:19 PM (nj1bB)

98 >>and sheer numbers do count

The Israelis beg to differ.

Posted by: railwriter at November 15, 2010 03:19 PM (BsK3p)

99 ace,
Dunno if you read this far down but many years ago, long before the GOP redid the estate tax, it was well below the million dollar mark and my grandfather passed away I was an heir. The guy never traveled outside of his home state, had a closet full of suits, 100% of which were polyester, and his best paying job was insurance salesman. He was a complete miser. However, he was a business genius and over the course of his life purchased worthless land (mostly hilltops w/trees) and sat on it. After 50 years of doing this, his net worth exploded as the land he purchased for $100/acre was now worth $2,000 an acre.

When he passed, our family had to fight the local gov't tooth and nail because they were trying to overvalue everything in order to get their hands on my grandfather's property, which he willed to us. The only way I got any "money" (~ 10K) was to sell some land to another relative, as he really didn't have any cash saved. In the end, all the family members worked out the land deals all the property, 90% of which is now farm property, is still in the family.

If the gov't had been able to win its case, we'd have had to sell some of our family's land just to pay the taxes.

Maybe we need to look at how much of the estate taxes are actually in LAND versus CASH? Cuz my sister ended up getting my grandfather's house, the one he lived in the last 40 years of his life the entire plot of land, house all, that this guy who was darn near privy to the estate, was worth all of forty thousand dollars. He lived the life Charles Ingles.

It shouldn't be a payday for the government if your dad/grandad/mom/grandmom dies. If you SELL the land, then, yeah, a sales tax on the transaction.

Posted by: Cam Winston at November 15, 2010 03:19 PM (5L9k4)

100 The moronosphere can do better than that crappy NYT thing. The simulator should as a minimum offer the kind of draconian cuts needed to reach a surplus on the very first year, and project future debt levels.

Posted by: John Galt at November 15, 2010 03:19 PM (F/4zf)

101


The dead don't need it anyway.


Posted by: Conan's sword at November 15, 2010 03:20 PM (UaxA0)

102 This should be easy to turn into a flame war, especially since balancing the budget in a few years is a meaningless exercise in the first place since servicing the debt will make it impossible.

Posted by: Hussein the Plumber at November 15, 2010 03:21 PM (RkRxq)

103 I have to be honest. The raising SS age I do not like. Yes it is a broken system. Either end the program and return the money to people who have not begun to get it and keep those who are currently on it, on it or leave it alone. I do not like thinking that I will be paying more into it knowing that I will get less out when it is my turn (and i'm 40) so I can only imagine what a younger person is thinking when we start saying you will be paying more in ,for a longer time and when it's your turn 'up yours'.

Posted by: SkyWatch at November 15, 2010 03:21 PM (QT5VX)

104 I'd be for this, but maybe tweak it a bit; the estate tax definitely needs to be reworked (it could be kept, but it definitely needs reworking), so does the mortgage deduction, SS and Medicare (what about half payout on those, starting at 66, then you get full payout at 70?). Defunding some programs and agencies is a must (as well as de-unionization). As for the DoD -- well, there are some things that could be trimmed from their budget, but the problem is that a certain political party likes to gut rather than trim, and in all the wrong areas.

Posted by: unknown jane at November 15, 2010 03:21 PM (5/yRG)

105 >>>So let's make it simple: 10% across the board cuts to every single budget item. Period. There's not a single government agency that would even miss the 10%.

Pence proposed 5%; I'm thinking 10% is too high to pass; would you accept 8.5%?

Bear in mind I'm already counting reducing pay by 5% (actually-- 6.5% in my mind) and cutting the workforce by 10% so my 8.5% is beyond that, you know.


Posted by: ace at November 15, 2010 03:21 PM (nj1bB)

106 the rich do pay estate taxes, unless they give the money away a la Bill Gates. the rich, though, do benefit more from the expensive estate tax planning available from lawyers and CPAs, so they are more likely to keep the family business in the family. The trust and estate rules are so arcane as to be reason enough to end the estate tax forever.

Posted by: Ken at November 15, 2010 03:21 PM (3ar4L)

107 ...by ignoring others (like eliminating the Department of Education or HUD).

Or the EPA. That department could use a nice, close haircut, in addition to stripping it of some of its authority.

Posted by: Blacque Jacques Shellacque at November 15, 2010 03:22 PM (fxACH)

108 I have a simple solution to all or budget problems. All spending bills will be brought to thunderdome. The politician who proposes the bill will go up against a gladiator chosen by the people. Put it on pay per view and we will have the deficit payed off the first time Nancy Pelosi enters the ring.

I know not really helpful but the thought makes me smile

Posted by: Buzzsaw at November 15, 2010 03:22 PM (tf9Ne)

109
Who here believes the heirs of multi-millionaires billionaires actually pay estate taxes?

Estate taxes, capital gains taxes, and even luxury taxes affect the barely-affluent, not the super-rich.

Posted by: Senator Soothsayer (R-AoS) at November 15, 2010 03:22 PM (uFokq)

110 I'm not in favor of the Estate Tax either but the budget I posted is meant to be one that would pass. It could be eliminated in my budget but if we are going to be stuck with one then "exempt the first $5 million from any taxable estate and index
this level to inflation over time. Any estate value above $5 million
would be taxed at a 35 percent rate." seems pretty good especially the indexing. I would add some sort of caveat though that business property, like farms and buildings used by a business, would be counted at a % on the dollar basis and not dollar for dollar.

Posted by: Rocks at November 15, 2010 03:22 PM (Q1lie)

111

A friend of mine says he likes this particular tax because it's some
sort of impediment to a permanent aristocracy. I don't know if I buy
that but I can't dismiss it out of hand.
God forbid people be able to pass their lives' work onto their children.

(Hint: We've had an estate tax, and had to put up with the Kennedy's for 60, 70 years. It doesn't block a "permanent aristocracy" nearly so well as our tradition of electing people to offices, rather than passing them by inheritance. What the estate tax does is put yet another land mine in the path from poverty to affluence, because the left hates people accumulating wealth through their own labor. It's hard to convince people to hand their fate to government when there are obvious examples of self-starters and builders around.)

Posted by: Zombie Taft at November 15, 2010 03:22 PM (IuKAf)

112 What we are really stealing from is their heirs, which, fine, isn't like the best thing in the world, but then it's really not the best thing in the world to take 20% of a construction worker's take-home income, either. Please explain why the latter is permissible but the former -- stealing from the dead's delinquent, dilettante heirs -- is so horrible.
Because the formerly living already paid the taxes on the money earned, in the same way the construction worker is currently paying on the money he is earning.
It's not like the dead person got away without already paying his taxes.
More importantly, simply because you feel that the man's children, or whoever he leaves his money to, are underserving does not make it so. Envy doesn't make great tax policy.
Following your logic, or taking it to the extreme, why let the dead keep any money? They're dead. Who cares what they wanted to do with their money upon their passing. It's not like they earned it. Wait. Yes. Yes they did.
I simply don't understand how death can be a taxable event.

God willing I make a few million in my life, why the hell can't i leave every dime to my kids? The recently deceased pay taxes up until their death as do you.
I think the death tax should be abolished, or let's make it across the board, everyone who has any money should get taxed at the same rate.
God knows the billionaires aren't paying it anyway. Taxes like this always end up screwing the moderately successful, not the super rich anyway.

Posted by: Ben at November 15, 2010 03:22 PM (wuv1c)

113 screw that. you can't make money by not making money. Low taxes and incentives need to be kept in. Ban public sector unions, outsource everything, cut pensions we already owe, fire everyone else. Keep the military.

Posted by: joeindc44 at November 15, 2010 03:23 PM (QxSug)

114 This should be easy to turn into a flame war, especially since balancing the budget in a few years is a meaningless exercise in the first place since servicing the debt will make it impossible.
Hey, buddy, I have some quantitative easing to sell you.
What can possibly go wrong?

Posted by: Circa (Insert Year Here) at November 15, 2010 03:23 PM (B+qrE)

115 my point being low taxes and other incnetives lead to growth which lead to money which lead to tax revenues.

Posted by: joeindc44 at November 15, 2010 03:24 PM (QxSug)

116

Like I said above, it's right next to the "find a genie lamp and use your first wish to balance the budget" option.

Yeah, so cutting the most useless federal departments are off the table, just 'cause.

Keep cringing, Ace. Someday your leftist friends will accept you for who you are.

Posted by: Zombie Taft at November 15, 2010 03:24 PM (IuKAf)

117
God knows the billionaires aren't paying it anyway. Taxes like this
always end up screwing the moderately successful, not the super rich
anyway.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Posted by: Senator Soothsayer (R-AoS) at November 15, 2010 03:25 PM (uFokq)

118 Who here believes the heirs of multi-millionaires billionaires actually pay estate taxes?Maybe, but the sailboat taxes alone enough toreduce you to eating Wagyu no more than four times a week.

Posted by: Sen. Jean-Clod Kerry (D) Assachusetts at November 15, 2010 03:25 PM (QKKT0)

119 Has anyone ever thought of the absolute fucktardedness it is to give the government the ability to now decide what medical treatment you get at the same time they are allowed to profit off your death?

Why did that just pop in my head.

Posted by: Mr Pink at November 15, 2010 03:25 PM (eSG2c)

120 Is there no way to fashion a method to treat the small-farm-passes-to-kids differently than Doris Duke leaves her cats $500 billion?
And what business of yours who (or what)Doris Dukes gives her money to. It's her money. Besides, the cats can probably spend it better than the government can. You've got a bad case of class envy, Ace.

Posted by: Soona at November 15, 2010 03:25 PM (xM8Uq)

121 A couple of days ago I posted a link to an article from some guy Instapundit had linked to.

His premise was that by merely holding spending steady (not adjusted for inflation) the budget could be balanced within a decade. I thing he's probably correct.

My modest proposal:

No new programs.No increases in existing programs.Repeal Obamacare.Cut spending on worthless bureaucracies like Department of Education, EPA, DOE, NSF and others.Eliminate funding of cultural bullshit like NEA, PBS and NPR.Cap SSI.Cut taxes.Let the economy grow (especially the energy sector).
Bingo! A totally painless (except to leftards) way to balance the budget.

Posted by: Ed Anger at November 15, 2010 03:27 PM (7+pP9)

122
Speaking of John F'n Kerry and how the rich really don't pay taxes...

You know he paid $7M for his sailboat, right?

Well, guess how much the value of boats are capped at for taxes in MA?


$75K.

Posted by: Senator Soothsayer (R-AoS) at November 15, 2010 03:28 PM (uFokq)

123 Estate Taxes: The only ones who win from Estate Taxes, are lawyers, who are paid to protect the truly rich.
Defense: The two cuts they speak of are both those that allow us to actualy WAGE WAR, vice do anti insurgency ops... if we were not invading and trying to recreate countries governments, we would have plenty of cash... and those Air Wings and Ships are the ones who can actualy help defend AMERICA.
Government Wages: Federal Law that there will be NO Federal Employee Unions, and an immediate 25% pay cut for all Federal Employees over 40K in Wages per year... (ie, 25% cut of the amount OVER 40K).
National Sales Tax, administered by the States, and abolish the IRS.
Abolish all Farm Subisidies.
No Foreign Aid, until we have a balanced budget here in America.
No Arts spending, until and unless the budget is balanced.
Abolish Dept of Education.
Drill, Drill, Drill, with a large Alaska like fee for oil and Natural Gas.
Samll Business Administration gets Expanded, and can draw Loan funds at the near 0% interest rates that big banks now get...

Posted by: Romeo13 at November 15, 2010 03:28 PM (AdK6a)

124 This "small business" thing is the only part of it I buy into. But I have to ask -- and this is not rhetorical; this is an honest, straight question from ignorance -- is there not some way to separate/distinguish small business "estate" transfers from more typical dead guy's stuff estates? Is there no way to fashion a method to treat the small-farm-passes-to-kids differently than Doris Duke leaves her cats $500 billion?
Nope, all income or assets, including businesses fall under the tax. This also includes homes.
So lets say you have a family home thats 750K and you want your kids to live there. Well the goverment wants 55% of the 750K value of that hours which is $412,500.00 Your kid has to come up with that cash to pay to the government so that they can live in their family home that their parents already paid for.

more importantly, what does it matter how much money the person has. I still don't get the justification as to why the government is entitled to more of it after death. The person was already penalized for making the large sum of money through a higher tax rate at every level.

Posted by: Ben at November 15, 2010 03:29 PM (wuv1c)

125 Really how can the government accurately decide your healthcare when they get 50% of ur shit when u die?

Posted by: Mr Pink at November 15, 2010 03:29 PM (eSG2c)

126 Yeah I noted that simulator didn't include any way to push SS retirement and MC enrollment beyond 70. If you want to get out of this without pretending that you can make money by raising taxes, we need to starting cutting down the average number of years we are expected to support each and every Citizen in their old age. You want to retire early, save your money, otherwise don't expect an average of 10 years of taxpayer funded retirement.

Posted by: MikeTheMoose at November 15, 2010 03:29 PM (0q2P7)

127 Yeah, so cutting the most useless federal departments are off the table, just 'cause.Keep cringing, Ace. Someday your leftist friends will accept you for who you are.Will you fucking stop it. Let's see...Democrat in the White House. Senate controlled by Democrats and 240 House seats.
Yeah, abolishing Cabinet agencies is going to happen. Just stop it.
I thing Education is the most useless thing ever, but itsdeath is a dream, not a policy. At the core we're doing math here and for all who suggest that the deficit is impossible to deal with, well, bullshit and dealing with it does not require pipe dreams.

Posted by: Circa (Insert Year Here) at November 15, 2010 03:30 PM (B+qrE)

128 Military spending could stand serious cuts, too. Yeah, I know, I grew up during Carter years and I saw the Reagan reinvestment. I get it.

But I'm telling you that the amount of taxpayer money that is absolutely pissed away on a) garrisoning of nations that ought to do at least as much as we do to protect them (IRQ, ROK, JPN, I'm looking at you), and b) the incredibly overpriced, underutilized "systems" on the books.

I get the need for a strong defense. I support that. I also know, from being up-close-and-personal to it, that there are billions of dollars wasted in the DoD budget, and taking a sober look at where the money is going and to whose district for what would be a principled, mature, fiscally conservative thing to do.

Posted by: railwriter at November 15, 2010 03:30 PM (3qItU)

129 There is a bug in the simulator. Where is the "Get The Fuck Out Of The Way!" button?

I don't want to choose from a list of preferred liberal options and their fantasy outcomes. I want to choose real stuff.

Posted by: t-bird at November 15, 2010 03:30 PM (FcR7P)

130 Allow me to put it this way - Idon't care to specify where the spending is reduced. I won't be making the decisions ayway, that is THEIR (Congress') job, which they are getting well paid to do. Do your goddamn job!
Just STOP SPENDING! STOP SPENDING! STOP SPENDING! STOP SPENDING! STOP SPENDING! STOP SPENDING!
How f-in complicated is that?

Posted by: The M & M Pretzel at November 15, 2010 03:30 PM (1Rgee)

131 * Reduce Space Spending and the Nuclear Arsenal. Includes missle defense if I read it correctly and that is a complete no-go in my mind.

Posted by: Dawnsblood at November 15, 2010 03:30 PM (peLQd)

132 But the one thing we cannot tax is a dead multimillionaire's estate as it passes on to his likely slovenly heirs?


Please explain why the latter is permissible but the former -- stealing from the dead's delinquent, dilettante heirs -- is so horrible.

Yeah, can't argue with that dispassionate logic. Fucking. Air. Tight.

You decide who is deserving. THAT'S the conservative way.

Posted by: Empire of Jeff at November 15, 2010 03:31 PM (B7dyo)

133 *sigh*

The rich do pay the estate tax, unless they give the money away. The "Rich Man's Estate Tax Credit" is a myth.

BTW, policy discussions are the shell game of modern politics.

Posted by: Ken at November 15, 2010 03:31 PM (3ar4L)

134 #85

Ace,

You seem to not understand how economic decisions are made.

I work, I make X. I have a choice of what to do with X. Spend it all? Save some? If I save some, what will I do with it?
I make those decisions with the future in mind, I am assume we are talking about a rational worker.

As a parent, I want to help my family, you will to when you have kids. How do I help them?

Good schools, being there and not being an absent parent and SAVING money to look after my family.

In a free society, we expect every family to be self sufficient, that requires saving for rainy day or illness, etc.

We encourage saving so that families look after themselves and do not become wards of the state.

Having capital to pass on to your childern, without be punished for being a good citizen, is a basic right of a free society.

Why save anything, if I am going to lose it all when I die.

It is a straw man to compare taxes to a current worker to a dead person.

The dead person PAID all those taxes when he was ALIVE.

It is his money free and clear.

I say again it is morally wrong to steal from the dead.




Posted by: Kemp at November 15, 2010 03:31 PM (JpFM9)

135 Yeah, can't argue with that dispassionate logic. Fucking. Air. Tight. You decide who is deserving. THAT'S the conservative way
+1

Posted by: Ben at November 15, 2010 03:32 PM (wuv1c)

136 Includes missle defense if I read it correctly and that is a complete no-go in my mind.
I didn't notice that--because if you cut a Mintueman wing, you just HAVE to cut missile defense.
Sheesh.

Posted by: Circa (Insert Year Here) at November 15, 2010 03:32 PM (B+qrE)

137 EPA? Worthless. Show me one positive impact that agency has created for the U.S. taxpayer.

Federal Railroad Administration? Worthless as tits on a bull. The only real work done in that regard happens on the STB and the Commerce committee. The FRA is a total boondoggle.

I'd argue that NOAA is an overpriced weather.com, but I have a friend who works there...who tells me she's doing worthless work on the oil spill. Okay, end NOAA, too.

Posted by: railwriter at November 15, 2010 03:33 PM (WovsE)

138 Also, i don't want it to seem like I am for no taxes. I would be willing to pay more taxes if there were massive cuts. However, I want what i earned over a lifetime to remain whole because I already paid the government their cut.
However, I think we all know what would happen if we paid more taxes on the promise of spending cuts, don't we?

Posted by: Ben at November 15, 2010 03:33 PM (wuv1c)

139 Neat little calculator, except I don't believe for a NYT's minute that the 2015 deficit will be as low as $418 billion.

Posted by: FreakyBoy at November 15, 2010 03:34 PM (YU9IY)

140 The Lurk Plan:
http://tinyurl.com/298n6r2

Posted by: Lurk Ness Monster at November 15, 2010 03:34 PM (dUunI)

141
> 85 ...
Please explain why the latter is permissible but the former -- stealing from the dead's delinquent, dilettante heirs -- is so horrible.


Posted by: ace

You keep throwing out that strawman argument. As if every estate was a big fat savings account. Some estates are piles of cash and liquid assets that go to spoiled kids. Some. Some are small businesses with 50-100 employees and a factory. Some are farms that do a million bucks a year in sales. Estates like the last 2 examples get HAMMERED by estate taxes. Where's that farm going to raise the CASH the IRS wants to pay the tax? Either they take out a giant loan (that's not very productive!) or they sell the farm. And that small business? If it gets sold the highest bidder might just want the factory and equiptment in order to ship it somewhere else and the 50-100 employees get laid off. But it's all good so long as the lazy children don't get free money!

Posted by: Comrade Arthur at November 15, 2010 03:35 PM (3CQYV)

142 1. Find out amount of deficit.
2. Print that many dollars.
3. Done!

Posted by: Timothy Geithner at November 15, 2010 03:35 PM (FcR7P)

143 The Lurk Plan:
Link fail.

Posted by: Circa (Insert Year Here) at November 15, 2010 03:35 PM (B+qrE)

144 #73: Essentially, it is a subtle lesson in compromise.


Yeah, but it is a push-poll and lumps together several categories that should be kept separate, starting with #1 in the military - nuclear warhead reduction and missile defense. Yes to the first, no to the second. So I just cut away at what I could (military and miscellaneous as proxy for HUD, DOE and DHS) while keeping the GWOT intact. 11% from tax, 89% from spending cuts. In reality, it isn't politically palatable to not increase taxes on high earners - it is a spread the pain situation. But it is doable. Theoretically.

Posted by: Skookumchuk at November 15, 2010 03:35 PM (btzPD)

145 CUT GOVERNMENT SPENDING! AND CUT IT DEEP!
The only thing we should not scrimp on, especially in these days and times, is defense. Everything else is on the table as far as I'm concerned. Oh, and one more thing: LET ME KEEP MY HARD-EARNED MONEY AND PROPERTY!

Posted by: Soona at November 15, 2010 03:36 PM (xM8Uq)

146 Throughout the late thirties. Life expectancy was about 65 years old. Current life expectency is 78.

That old saw has very little (virtually nothing) to do with SS payouts. Those life expectancy numbers are about as valid as the "infant death rate" in Cuba. People who do not kill themselves with risky behavior at a young age lived about the same lenght in the 30s as they do now. Don't believe me? Go to the census site and look at their numbers.

The only real difference is a short life extension due to heroic medical interventions.

BTW, the first payments were lump sum payments made on "retirement". The first one was 17 cents. The first "monthly payments were made to Ida May Fuller of Ludlow, VT who "contributed 24.75 and who received 22.54 monthly from 1940 until her death at age 100 in 1975.

Posted by: Vic at November 15, 2010 03:36 PM (/jbAw)

147
Aim high low, my friend.

Because we can't change nothin.

Posted by: Senator Soothsayer (R-AoS) at November 15, 2010 03:36 PM (uFokq)

148 And if you receive a government benefit, you should have to contribute in some way - either via taxes, or some kind of work program. No more free rides. I understand that there are some who can't do either, and the states can decide what and how they are helped, but the majority getting help now can certainly participate.
What 42 years in the job market paying taxes and SS/FICA deductions plus 26 years of active duty military service isn't enough to count as contributing, you want more? Okay, how 'bout the $130 a month that comes off the top of the small SS benefit received to pay the monthly Medicare fee? Still not enough to count as contributing in some way, then add in the income tax that has to be paid on the small retirement income received which amounts to another few thousand a year. I keep reading how 50% pay no taxes. I'd sure like to know how they do this, because my retirement income is below the gov't. poverty level and I get hit every year big time.
Would I like to have a paying job so I could leave my SS/Medicare untouched. You betcha! Will anyone hire someone 65 or older in this economy (or even a good economy), not very good odds on that. Do seniors "contribute" through volunterrism, yes, probably in greater numbers than any other segment of the population, but does that count, no, nor does it pay the taxes or Medicare fees due. I guess it doesn't count as "contributing" to pay for kids' college educations, help buy first houses, or subsidize granddchildren getting ready to enter college, not to mention all the general spending over 40 years so kids could eat and have a roof over their heads.
Tell me, what would satsify you as far as contributing is concerned? And tell me how much more I should contribute out of agross retirementincome of $22,000. That's gross, before taxes or existing Medicare fees. Perhaps pushing a shopping cart around downtown would suit you better? Reducing my housing costs by living in my 6 year old car that is paid for?Or how 'bout doing my patriotic duty and dying?

Posted by: Sara at November 15, 2010 03:36 PM (PJC8d)

149 Incinerate Washington DC with our nuclear arsenal. This lowers our nuclear inventory by (at least) one while serving to eliminate several government departments.
The cleanup will also produce a multiplier effect, while the construction of a new capital will generate good jobs for our architects, engineers, and construction personnel.

Posted by: Big Fat Meanie at November 15, 2010 03:37 PM (3iMgs)

150 1. Find out amount of deficit. 2. Print that many dollars. 3. Done!
Posted by: Timothy Geithner at November 15, 2010 03:35 PM (FcR7P)
Ixnay on the intpray. It's "quantitative easing."

Posted by: Ben "Ben" Bernanke at November 15, 2010 03:37 PM (B+qrE)

151 Unless we can drastically reduce the size of our government, economic realities will leave onlya couple ofquestions to be answered;What happens to a country that owes this much when it defaults? How practical is it to tell a country's debtors that they will not be paid back? How practical is it to tell people who have been promised through the course of their careers that they will be taken care of, that they won't?
It is so freaking amazing to me that less than five years ago, the U.S. could not be named without pointing out that she was the lone super power in the world.

Posted by: Hussein the Plumber at November 15, 2010 03:37 PM (RkRxq)

152 Is there no way to fashion a method to treat the small-farm-passes-to-kids differently than Doris Duke leaves her cats $500 billion?
Actually... interesting Idea... currently any asset is taxed... but if you only taxed stocks, bonds, or cash... not physical assets like a company or its assets... it would be profitable to keep Money invested in REAL companies, not the virtual Vegas which is the current stock market funds...
Thus, the transfer of the family farm, or small business would not be taxed... but MONEY or stocks... would be...

Posted by: Romeo13 at November 15, 2010 03:37 PM (AdK6a)

153
I don't think there is the will to eliminate those but I would
definitely cut down the bureaucracy associated with them. How many
people do you need exactly to give out money?




If these social-worker government jobs weren't available, it'd be unfair for people with post-grad degrees in sociology/chicano studies/african-american studies/women's studies/peace studies, because they'd have no way to repay their student loans. *snort*

Posted by: IllTemperedCur at November 15, 2010 03:38 PM (DZVrI)

154 So lets say you have a family home thats 750K and
you want your kids to live there. Well the goverment wants 55% of the
750K value of that hours which is $412,500.00 Your kid has to come up
with that cash to pay to the government so that they can live in their
family home that their parents already paid for.
Posted by: Ben at November 15, 2010 03:29 PM (wuv1c)

This one what doesn't help really. Even back under Clinton not a dime of that $750,000 house would be subject to the Estate Tax as the first million was exempt. So unless you had 250K more in cash and assets you're fine. If we want to sell no estate taxes then we have to come up with better examples like farms and small businesses. The Dems will simply counter with an exemption for the home up to a certain amount.

Posted by: Rocks at November 15, 2010 03:38 PM (Q1lie)

155 O/T:
Thatchic on the sidebars is teh hawt!!

Posted by: SnowSun at November 15, 2010 03:38 PM (UAUr6)

156 Screw your quantiative easing. Especially since the union thugs and seniors get COLA to their gov't provided income. Us, in the real world? Not so much.

QE will squeeze non govt workers.

Raise the retirement age of social security to 85. Let the fuckers live on their IRAs and 401Ks until then.

Posted by: joeindc44 at November 15, 2010 03:39 PM (QxSug)

157 Romeo13, Samll Business Administration gets Expanded, and can draw Loan funds at the near 0% interest rates that big banks now get.. - you are a true revolutionary, the SBA could have handed out the stimulus cash via a capped AMEX card to employers based on the number of employees on their payroll submittal. Employees go up, near 0% loan cap goes up too.

Posted by: Jean at November 15, 2010 03:39 PM (judfL)

158 Also a little known fact is that there is currently 1.7 trillion (with a T) dollars in that so-called "trust fund" that LBJ took off the books and made directly spendable.

Posted by: Vic at November 15, 2010 03:39 PM (/jbAw)

159 Screw the doors shut on the White House with B+rry inside. Save billions!!!! win.

Posted by: torabora at November 15, 2010 03:40 PM (1A70x)

160 Where's the "eliminate the Departments of Energy and Education" option?

Word up!

Instapundit said: I also would have cut more federal spending in other areas if allowed.

Both those departments are `epic fails', as the kids say now-a-days.

Posted by: fluffy is down with cutting the budget at November 15, 2010 03:40 PM (4Kl5M)

161 What astounds me is how much you save just by capping medicare growth. I had no idea that much could be done just with one action.

Posted by: joncelli at November 15, 2010 03:41 PM (RD7QR)

162 The whole thing totally dismisses the idea of the Laffer curve. At current tax rates, tax cuts will increase tax revenue, and tax rises will reduce revenue i.e. increase the deficit. The world seems a lot simpler when you realize that. It's a great case of having your cake and eating it too.

And by the way, the fact that increased taxes reduce revenue tell you something about the goal of those that would increase taxes: they don't want revenue, they want confiscation.

Posted by: shillelagh at November 15, 2010 03:41 PM (Oz4Bj)

163 My feelings about the estate tax can be summed up in one short phrase, don't touch my junk.

For many of the reasons listed above I am totally against the estate tax. Why should my heirs, my family be taxed on the things I have earned and paid taxes on? The only justification I have ever heard runs along the line of "fairness". Fair to whom? Who makes the call? President I Think At A Certain Point You Have Made Enough Money?

I buy a home, pay off the mortgage, own it free and clear and then my heir is forced to either come up with a huge tax payment or sell it? How is that fair?

The capital gains tax is similarly heinous but not nearly as bad as the estate tax. I'd like to see both of them eliminated but if I only get one the estate tax is a goner.

Posted by: JackStraw at November 15, 2010 03:41 PM (TMB3S)

164 Ace,
As someone who comes from a family just wealthy enough to deal with Estate Taxes in a big way (my grandmother lost her house to keep from selling off or breaking up the business), you need to understand the really pernicious effects of this tax.
To me, the worst taxes are those that encourage behaviors that go against the economic interests of the taxed (absent said tax). These do the most damage tot he economy as a whole.
Estate taxes encourage business owners to spend their money on themselves, on ephemera. They actually enforce the ethos of "Those who die with the most toys, win."
The lower the impact of ETs, the more the wealthy concentrate on building wealth. Parents have strong interests in passing on their legacies, and subsequent generations have a greater interest in learning to manipulate and manage that legacy, rather than have Daddy spend as much on them as possible before Uncle gets his cut.
I understand the idea that ETs are less odious than Income Taxes, and they are. But I'd bet that they produce more action contrary to the best interest of the economy as a whole than more viscerally distasteful taxes.

Posted by: Doug Winship at November 15, 2010 03:42 PM (gYmf+)

165 The problem with Estate taxes is that the taxes are on THE ESTATE! Their are taxes that are levied through the STATES on those who inherit. (and they're not too bad)

What we're talking about here is taxes levied on the estate that are so large that the estate has to be sold to PAY FOR THE TAXES. So we're not talking about the aristocracy (who can afford lawyers to shield their estates) we're talking about mom/pop who own their house and some personal property and when they die (many times wo a will) junior or juniette inherits. Thing is property usually gains in value over the years so with relatively low thresholds, the estate is hit with a tax worth 20-50% of it's value. Junior or juniette can't afford to pay that money so the estate is sold to pay the taxes. These sales don't usually result in top dollar being paid (they're auctioned) so many times the estate pays the taxes and there's little or nothing left. Is that fair to mom/pop who thought they would be giving their heirs a gift not an onerous and painful aggravation? I don't think so.

If the threshold were set at some reasonable value like 10 million then I'd say fine. Don't do what so many do, think only of your situation now and forget that one day YOU might want to pass on your property/business to your son/daughter but never get around to doing it right and die intestate and the fed comes in a gobbles up the whole thing.

Some cases even have resulted in the heirs PAYING on top of selliing and having no inheritance. It's a class warfare tax. Look at who it most in favor of it --- Democrats!

Posted by: jakee308 at November 15, 2010 03:42 PM (fhTf7)

166 The essential problem with the estate tax is that its existence gums up the works and forces unproductive allocation of resources. When most people complain about it, they address the symptoms of this -- that it makes family businesses difficult to pass on, that estate planning maintains aristocracies, that a substantial portion of the tax is lost to the expenses of levying it....

Interestingly, Ace puts his finger right on it under the next topic: "....divert a lot of wealth into the tax-avoidance industry, which doesn't actually produce anything."

If there is a time and a place for government to worry about personal fortunes becoming too large, it's at the point where government power is co-opted into creating and maintaining those fortunes. Picking winners and losers in the marketplace, erecting barriers to entry, thwarting competition, granting monopolies or turning a blind eye to monopolistic behavior....it's not unusual for great fortunes to be the direct result of government action.

Posted by: cthulhu at November 15, 2010 03:42 PM (kaalw)

167 Pat Caddel's calculator could do it in .27 seconds. And as a bonus it would soul punch Barney Frank while it waited on you to hit the "=" sign.

Posted by: Rickshaw Jack at November 15, 2010 03:43 PM (aLCAR)

168 Thus, the transfer of the family farm, or small business would not be taxed... but MONEY or stocks... would be...
Posted by: Romeo13 at November 15, 2010 03:37 PM (AdK6a)

It's an idea well recieved by all class-envy maggots.

Posted by: Soona at November 15, 2010 03:44 PM (xM8Uq)

169 This one what doesn't help really. Even back under Clinton not a dime of that $750,000 house would be subject to the Estate Tax as the first million was exempt. So unless you had 250K more in cash and assets you're fine. If we want to sell no estate taxes then we have to come up with better examples like farms and small businesses. The Dems will simply counter with an exemption for the home up to a certain amount.
obviously if someone owns a 750K house they have other assets. I think the cap next year is 2.5 mil. My point was, let's say someone home was part of their assets, which totaled over the 1 million dollar clinton amount, then the kids would almost certainly have to sell the house that was already paid for.
I think the government putting people in a position where they have to sell family homes that are owned outright to be a convicning argument.

Posted by: Ben at November 15, 2010 03:45 PM (wuv1c)

170 err, get of my lawn, you lousy Feds!

Posted by: Radioactive Satellite Of LOVE at November 15, 2010 03:45 PM (LdYLm)

171 I'd sure like to know how they do this, because my retirement income is
below the gov't. poverty level and I get hit every year big time.

All it takes is a few "kids" and those taxes then become negative taxes (EIC).

And that is on top of the welfare and WIC payments you will get to help "raise" those kids.


Posted by: Vic at November 15, 2010 03:45 PM (/jbAw)

172 Repeal Bacon-Davis about "prevailing wages". That would reduce the cost of government.
I'm sorta down with an estate tax set at a VERY high level. Ask yourself, why should the granddaughter of Bill Gates be one of the wealthest people in the country? Thishas intuitative appeal.
But of course, the only way for the grandaughter to get that rich is for the sons and daughters of Bill Gates to PRESERVE the capital bequeated to them by the Founder.

Posted by: Whitehall at November 15, 2010 03:46 PM (FmPSC)

173 This one what doesn't help really. Even back under Clinton not a dime of
that $750,000 house would be subject to the Estate Tax as the first
million was exempt.

In ancient Rome they used to kill wealthy people to generate revenue.

You really don't think our current government would perhaps over-value property if it needed to generate some funds?

Posted by: Bevel Lemelisk at November 15, 2010 03:46 PM (TpXEI)

174 obviously if someone owns a 750K house they have other assets.

In my old neighborhood in Castro Valley, CA 1950s track houses that sold for 16K originally are now going for 750K on postage stamp size lots that are not much bigger than the 1000 - 1200 sq ft houses that are sitting on them.

Posted by: Vic at November 15, 2010 03:47 PM (/jbAw)

175 I see nothing on that list about "Stop Listening to the Clueless Fuck in the White House- 2010: $1.7 trillion"

Posted by: t-bird at November 15, 2010 03:47 PM (FcR7P)

176 My family were farmers. There are tombstones in the family marble orchard that date back to the mid 1800's. My grandmother sold the farm several years before she died, after she found out it would need to be sold anyway, when she died, to pay estate taxes. That is what has happened with most family farms.

Posted by: highlander 707 at November 15, 2010 03:48 PM (74QJW)

177 128 Having served in the period right after Carter, and having dealt with the Clinton "peace dividend"I can vouche that while indeed, the military could stand with some things cut, with you know who in charge there would be every danger that the wrong things would not just be trimmed but bludgeoned.
And at that period we were not actively fighting a war. The take away from my life has been: never, ever let Democrats get ahold of the military budget. (well, hell, just don't let them near any budget, but especially for the military)

Posted by: unknown jane at November 15, 2010 03:48 PM (5/yRG)

178 Oh, did I mention I was the sponsor of the bill that abolished the Estate Tax in NC?

Yep! Passed too!

Posted by: Kemp at November 15, 2010 03:48 PM (JpFM9)

179 This took me about 3 minutes, as long as it took to keep reading and checking boxes, until I got down to where we are imposing more taxes.
I moved the estate tax back to Clinton Levels, and ended the Bush Tax cuts for those >250K.

Posted by: headhunt23 at November 15, 2010 03:48 PM (Q08aV)

180 If SS and Medicare are the main problem (which they are), lets just pick a birthdate to end it. Say anyone not 50 as of Jan 1, 2011 is out. Or 40, whatever. Rather than raising the eligibility age, which stealthily does the same thing

Its not going to be there anyway. If you believe the opposite, we'll just have to agree to disagree.

Posted by: Guy Fawkes at November 15, 2010 03:48 PM (JcRgg)

181 A friend of mine says he likes this particular tax because it's some sort of impediment to a permanent aristocracy.
Oh, give me a break.

Posted by: Soap MacTavish at November 15, 2010 03:48 PM (vbh31)

182 What astounds me is how much you save just by
capping medicare growth. I had no idea that much could be done just with
one action.

Posted by: joncelli at November 15, 2010 03:41 PM (RD7QR)
Actually capping it and indexing it to GDP growth will save even more then they suggest because less people will be claiming it. Why? It's won't even be spent because patients won't be able to find a doctor or hospital that will take Medicare after a few years because it won't be keeping up with inflation in the health industry which has been higher than GDP growth for awhile now.

Posted by: Rocks at November 15, 2010 03:48 PM (Q1lie)

183 This one what doesn't help really. Even back under Clinton not a dime of that $750,000 house would be subject to the Estate Tax as the first million was exempt.In ancient Rome they used to kill wealthy people to generate revenue. You really don't think our current government would perhaps over-value property if it needed to generate some funds?
Are you kidding? Why wait until we are dead. The local government already over estimates the value of my home for taxes.
I am willing to bet 50% of people are paying taxes on a estimated value that is well above what they could get for selling it.

Posted by: Ben at November 15, 2010 03:48 PM (wuv1c)

184 Of course, one of the biggest savings is eliminating farm subsidies. Can you imagine the howling that would initiate? The more I look at this simulator the more I think it's an exercise in computerized fantasy, at least from a political perspective.

Posted by: joncelli at November 15, 2010 03:49 PM (RD7QR)

185
It's like Abbott Costello's Who's On First bit.

In MA, the stupid voters rejected a ref to cut the sales tax. They said we can't cut the sales tax because it pays for teachers, firefighters, cops, roads, etc.

Okay, then, let's cut the Meals Tax. They said no we can't cut the meals tax because it pays for teachers, firemen, police, roads, etc.

Okay, let's cut the income tax...No, no, the income tax pays for teachers, roads, ...

Okay, can we cut the double tax on liquor? No. Why? Because it pays for teachers, shcools, roads, police...

IT NEVER FUCKING ENDS

Gas Tax, Excise Tax, Soda Tax, Cigarette Tax, Ass Tax, Poop Tax, Dog Tax, Cat Tax, just create a new tax and call it whatever tax!

Posted by: Senator Soothsayer (R-AoS) at November 15, 2010 03:49 PM (uFokq)

186 "But as a general proposition, I'm in favor of lower rates and reduced
loopholes and shelters, which tend to distort economic behavior and
furthermore tends to divert a lot of wealth into the tax-avoidance
industry, which doesn't actually produce anything."

Don't forget that tax loopholes are the actual and real tools politicians use for social and economic engineering. It's specifically how politicians play favorites. If a pol in DC has one less tool to manipulate action that's a plus.

Get rid of them.

Posted by: Hoss at November 15, 2010 03:49 PM (mjhYn)

187 Please explain why the latter is permissible but the former -- stealing
from the dead's delinquent, dilettante heirs -- is so horrible.

There comes a point at which it is obvious that you've watched too many John Hughes movies. You know, where the poor kids are really noble and good hearted and the rich kids are a bunch of spoiled fuckfaces. The poor kids have really caring and attentive parents while the rich parents are too caught up in their own lives to realize what shenanigans their prick kids get into when they throw huge parties at their mansions.

Hardy Jens is a fucking asshole!!

Posted by: Ted Kennedy's Gristle Encased Head at November 15, 2010 03:51 PM (+lsX1)

188 Closing loopholes won't bring in as much as you think. I have a professional position and made around $510K last year; married w/no kids, wife stays at home.

I am entitled to nearly no deductions or exemptions other than the mortgage deduction and home taxes credit (everything else having phased out as I climbed through the income brackets), and paid ~ $162K, or 31-32% real time for those scoring at home. I may drink hemlock if the Bush cuts expire for us evil one-percenters, as I assure you I am not rich, just comfortable.

For guys like me, there aren't any more loopholes left to close.

Posted by: Bust of an Overburdened Taxpayer at November 15, 2010 03:51 PM (8/DeP)

189 Of course, one of the biggest savings is eliminating farm subsidies. Can you imagine the howling that would initiate? The more I look at this simulator the more I think it's an exercise in computerized fantasy, at least from a political perspective.
you're just mad cause you got pawned noob!

Posted by: Ben at November 15, 2010 03:51 PM (wuv1c)

190 If I'm not mistaken, the estate tax enabled Warren Buffett to amass his fortune--he acquired family businesses that were to be forced intoselling to pay off estate taxes.
The Estate Tax should go the way of Poochie, and die on the way back to its home planet.

Posted by: Big Fat Meanie at November 15, 2010 03:51 PM (3iMgs)

191

Just STOP SPENDING! STOP SPENDING! STOP SPENDING! STOP SPENDING! STOP SPENDING! STOP SPENDING!How f-in complicated is that?
Posted by: The M M Pretzel at November 15, 2010 03:30 PM (1Rgee) Works for me.

Ending farm subsidies and eliminating foreign aid will also help.

Slashing spending and cutting taxes is the recipe.

-------------

Will you fucking stop it. Let's see...Democrat in the White House. Senate controlled by Democrats and 240 House seats.Yeah, abolishing Cabinet agencies is going to happen. Just stop it.I thing Education is the most useless thing ever, but its death is a dream, not a policy. At the core we're doing math here and for all who suggest that the deficit is impossible to deal with, well, bullshit and dealing with it does not require pipe dreams. Posted by: Circa (Insert Year Here) at November 15, 2010 03:30 PM (B+qrE) It's almost impossible to abolish federal agencies, but it's a dream we can't abandon.

It won't happen in the next Congress, but if we ever get the House, Senate (filibuster proof) and Presidency we have to do it. Ram it right down their throats like they did with Obamacare to us.

Posted by: Ed Anger at November 15, 2010 03:52 PM (7+pP9)

192 Don't forget that tax loopholes are the actual and real tools politicians use for social and economic engineering. It's specifically how politicians play favorites. If a pol in DC has one less tool to manipulate action that's a plus. K Street as an entity exists for just this purpose. Yet another reason to close loopholes: Because it would make lobbyists sad.

Posted by: Ben at November 15, 2010 03:53 PM (B+qrE)

193 I find it hard to understand why conservatives want to permanently kill the estate tax. If you're concerned about small businesses then start it at $50M or something. This double-taxation nonsense is ridiculous with all the tax loopholes the rich can - and do - take advantage of.

Posted by: JEA at November 15, 2010 03:54 PM (lP8dE)

194 For guys like me, there aren't any more loopholes left to close.

Yet the Democrats continue to lie and insist that you are the "evil rich" and aren't contributing your "fair share".

Posted by: Soap MacTavish at November 15, 2010 03:54 PM (vbh31)

195 Remember that DOCUMENTARY about RICH PEOPLE with Dudley Moore? He was RICH AND DRUNK like most rich people and Liza Minelli made him a TUNA SANDWICH?

Posted by: acewing plover at November 15, 2010 03:55 PM (B7dyo)

196 Closing loopholes won't bring in as much as you think. I have a professional position and made around $510K last year; married w/no kids, wife stays at home.you want to adopt a young man in his mid 20s?

Posted by: Ben at November 15, 2010 03:55 PM (wuv1c)

197 If I'm not mistaken, the estate tax enabled Warren Buffett to amass his fortune--he acquired family businesses that were to be forced intoselling to pay off estate taxes.
And George Soros made his by currency raiding.
Such productive members of the economy. Emphasis on "members."

Posted by: Ben at November 15, 2010 03:55 PM (B+qrE)

198
JEA, you dunce, if you think the rich aren't paying it because of loopholes, what's the sense of keeping it?

Posted by: Senator Soothsayer (R-AoS) at November 15, 2010 03:56 PM (uFokq)

199 Sock off.

Posted by: Circa (Insert Year Here) at November 15, 2010 03:56 PM (B+qrE)

200 I think the government putting
people in a position where they have to sell family homes that are owned
outright to be a convicning argument.

Posted by: Ben at November 15, 2010 03:45 PM (wuv1c)

It would be if anybody was using the Clinton era rate. Even Obama isn't so that is dead on arrival. Obama's plan exempts the first 3.5 million. There are not many people who can claim a home and assets worth more than 3.5 million that don't include a business or farm. The ones that can I think most people would be fine with taxing. Why? Let's face it. That's rich.You want to eliminate the Estate Tax? Show how forcing them to sell the farm or business puts people out of work. Nobody is going to cry over somebody with a 2 million dollar house and another 2 million in cash and toys having to pay some taxes.

Posted by: Rocks at November 15, 2010 03:57 PM (Q1lie)

201 This is all well and good, but at some point you have to address the fundamental issue. What should the federal government be doing and what is outside its authority?

As long as the bulk of politicians (and perhaps of citizens too) believe there is no limit on the provenance of the federal government, the Left need have no fear. Every now and then the fiscally sane may take over and rescue the game, but in the long run Caesar will win out.

This is why the focus should not only be on reducing spending across the board, but on reducing the role of the feds. Start small and with one category. Should we have a Ministry of Culture? NO. Then abolish its various branches, from NPR to the NEA.

If you succeed, move on to another category. I'm talking about a Long March.

Posted by: Marilena at November 15, 2010 03:57 PM (0ldho)

202 Just a quickie, back later:
Our submarines have become one of the louder things in the ocean, are almost certainlydetectable, and may be being tracked.Any determined foe with time to plan would know where they are, and have a quieter craft within striking range before initiating reasoned discourse. Do you want to bet we have no determined foes?
This means we have arrived, at sea, at the point we were 50 years ago on land. We need massive redundancy in nuclear capability to avoid being dry-gulched.
Also, not one cent for tribute. There. Navy, you owe me one.

Posted by: comatus at November 15, 2010 03:57 PM (hrwMe)

203 another liberal with false assumptions. first of all, why only cut spending by the small % offered? they do this so they can show you morons that spending isnt the problem. they want you to think that there just isnt enough to cut unless you cut military etc..that is just not true. you just have to make deeper cuts than they are allowing in the nyt crap peice.

Posted by: i call BS at November 15, 2010 03:57 PM (gjUaP)

204 Our submarines have become one of the louder things in the ocean, are almost certainlydetectable, and may be being tracked.Any determined foe with time to plan would know where they are, and have a quieter craft within striking range before initiating reasoned discourse.
You are going to have to prove that one to me.

Posted by: Circa (Insert Year Here) at November 15, 2010 03:59 PM (B+qrE)

205 If you succeed, move on to another category. I'm talking about a Long March.
Posted by: Marilena at November 15, 2010 03:57 PM (0ldho)

Heh. The long counterattack through the institutions!

Posted by: joncelli at November 15, 2010 04:00 PM (RD7QR)

206 The capital gains tax is similarly heinous but not nearly as bad as the estate tax. I'd like to see both of them eliminated but if I only get one the estate tax is a goner.
To play Devil's Advocate (again)... your wealth isn't being taxed under the estate tax- you're dead. It's your heirs that are being taxed on income they recieved. Why should estates be the only form of income / wealth gain not taxed?
Yeah, it's a double-tax, how many taxes aren't? Income taxes are paid by a business or individual after that employer has already been taxed in ways almost too numerous to count.
Over 50% is too high, but in principle the estate tax isn't terribly out of the ordinary- there aren't many forms of untaxed income.

Posted by: Hollowpoint at November 15, 2010 04:01 PM (plsiE)

207 You are going to have to prove that one to me.
Yeah, I didn't quite buy that one either.

Posted by: Soap MacTavish at November 15, 2010 04:01 PM (vbh31)

208 Its not the damn taxes people, why are we discussing taxes? the govt is spending more than it takes in or can ever take in.

Unfunded liabilities are between 50 and 200 trillion depending upon who you believe, does this country have that?

Posted by: Guy Fawkes at November 15, 2010 04:01 PM (JcRgg)

209 I don't want to choose from a list of preferred liberal options and their fantasy outcomes. I want to choose real stuff.
Posted by: t-bird

This. Why don't we just replay the 2008 Presidential election and be done? The only choices we have are what the NYT deigns to afford us?

And if the estate tax is so wonderful, why not ban some funeral expenses, such as brass handled coffins? That money could be put to good government use as well.
Mark Steyn covered this years ago, when he related how Paul McCartney fought for years to have his first wife's will probated in NY. They have perhaps the worst laws in the US. But they are miles better than England. In the end, he won, and the estate shelled out less. Second example would be Kerry literally sailing that fricking boat across the bay to dodge taxes. This issue isn't new, isn't onfined to the United States, and is not confined to estate taxes. Think of sales taxes. Think about any family filling out financial aid forms for a child going to college, or placing an elder in assisted living.

Posted by: Blue Hen at November 15, 2010 04:02 PM (R2fpr)

210 I'm neither a virgin nor a spring chicken, but that "old ho" is pretty cold, folks. Ice cold.
Coincidence? Yeah, right.

Posted by: Marilena at November 15, 2010 04:03 PM (0ldho)

211 return budget to pre-Iraq war levels.
how about that base line?
Shit, return it to september 10, 2001 levels. If we aren't going to torture or profile, then why bother wasting $$$$ to pretend to defend?

Posted by: joeindc44 at November 15, 2010 04:03 PM (QxSug)

212 @Whitehall "I'm sorta down with an estate tax set at a VERY high level. Ask
yourself, why should the granddaughter of Bill Gates be one of the
wealthest people in the country? Thishas intuitative appeal."

Ask yourself, why should Bill Gates work his arse off building a successful company and building great wealth (which is taxed at the top rate) only to see half of that net wealth pissed away to politicians in DC (taxed yet again) when he dies? What did those pols do to deserve it?

Posted by: Hoss at November 15, 2010 04:03 PM (mjhYn)

213 especially when patriot act allows spying on doctors to prevent them from responding to obamacare. IIRC, Iowa was doing that.

Posted by: joeindc44 at November 15, 2010 04:03 PM (QxSug)

214 This double-taxation nonsense is ridiculous with all the tax loopholes the rich can - and do - take advantage of.
Good for them. I'd do it too.As a matter of fact I'd doeverything possible to keep the governments hands off my money. I'm not rich and I still look for ways to keep more ofmy money.

Posted by: Soona at November 15, 2010 04:04 PM (xM8Uq)

215 Posted by: Bust of an Overburdened Taxpayer at November 15, 2010 03:51 PM (8/DeP)

LOL, I know what you mean. Way back a long time ago I was offered a new position in the company I was with taking over a project that was "in trouble". My boss, at the time "counseled me" because it was actually a demotion and would result in a "pay freeze" for several years as my pay raises would be halted until I got back into the actual scale for the new job.

When he found out though that I would be going into a non-exempt slot though and working 60 to 100 hours a week and getting overtime he changed his mind.

My wife was working at the time as well so our combined federal taxes were in the "Clinton Penalty region" and I paid more federal taxes that year than the median income for our State.

A few years later the company "fixed" that though. They made the position exempt.

Posted by: Vic at November 15, 2010 04:05 PM (/jbAw)

216 Posted by: Hoss at November 15, 2010 04:03 PM (mjhYn)

Great point. The "politics of envy" runs hot even among some conservatives, I guess.

Posted by: Soap MacTavish at November 15, 2010 04:05 PM (vbh31)

217 I have to admit that it wasn't even all that hard.

I'd much sooner walk away from Afghanistan tomorrow than cut future weapons development or standing force size. That's not even open to debate.

I ended up in most cases around 15% tax increases by their calculator. I can juggle this a few different ways but given the current situation I don't consider that evil. I didn't find it particularly hard to get to a very sizable surplus by the end.

On the other hand, there's a lot of cuts they don't really give you a swing at. What they should be doing is putting up every federal agency with a budget over $50M and let you pick 2010 budget level, 2008 budget level, 40% cut, or complete elimination. I know I could have a lot of fun with that one.

Posted by: JEM at November 15, 2010 04:06 PM (o+SC1)

218 I disagree with Ace on a few of these things:

Reducing Navy fleets and AF Wings - NO! the world is currently smoldering at the moment and it is going to go up in full flames in the near future. We will need (or I should say, Europe will need, those ships and planes)

Space Spending/Nuclear Arsenal - I agree and disagree. We need to continue space/nuclear/scientific research. In fact, we need to up the amount of money we spend on research. The chinese is going to be kicking our butts in about 20 years and the only thing we will be qualified to be the leader of is Barnum and Bailey circus. Look at the attitudes of the world leaders towards Obama this past week. And you can't blame all of it on Obama...USA is not what it once was and getting rid of the things that made us great and prosperous is a mistake.

Medicare and SS - I agree 100%. We are living longer and should work longer.

Estate tax - disagree with Ace. People have already paid taxes on that money when they made it. They should not have to pay taxes, again on the same money, when they die.

The rest I agree with Ace.

Posted by: tinkerbella at November 15, 2010 04:06 PM (4oJw4)

219 71
The estate tax is a bullshit tax simply because the people who supposedly pay it never pay it. It hits the small businessman again and again just like all the so-called tax the "rich" schemes.Posted by: Vic at November 15, 2010 03:11 PM (/jbAw)
Didn't know you could die more than once. :-)

Posted by: pbrown at November 15, 2010 04:07 PM (vUpp0)

220 FWIW, I have a friend who works for AEP and he told me that the application process to build a new nuclear power facility alone takes roughly ten years and costs $200 million. And even then the application is likely to be rejected on environmental grounds.

Posted by: ErikW at November 15, 2010 04:08 PM (p/5hp)

221 This actually would be a net tax increase

I pay way beyond feudal level of taxes right now. I work until well into April for the government. We should be scaling back till the government till we can get that freedom day to be no more than the Ides of March.

Posted by: MikeTheMoose at November 15, 2010 04:09 PM (0q2P7)

222 Instead of an estate tax, why not an inheritance tax?

Susie leaves her estate of $10 million to her 100 maids, each receiving $100,000.
Mary leaves her $10 million estate to her cat, so Fluffy gets $10,000,000.
Why should Fluffy and the servants pay the same tax rate?
With a deductible of, say, $2 million, the peasants would pay nothing. Fluffy, OTOH, would have to cough off some serious hairballs for that $8million bonanza.

Posted by: Marilena at November 15, 2010 04:11 PM (0ldho)

223 And even then the application is likely to be rejected on environmental grounds.
Everything is rejected on environmental grounds.

Posted by: Soap MacTavish at November 15, 2010 04:11 PM (vbh31)

224 First and foremost eliminate the big ticket item ObamaCare, and don't stop there. Defund DoEd, DoE, DoInt, NLRB, DoEPA, across the board freeze of discretionary spending and reduce the level to 1980 levels(will require reduction in force at all levels of govt.)

change the age when federal employees can start collecting retirement..same age as the rest of us. Hint: If the states did this they wouldn't be in quite as bad of shape as they are. They also need to get out of the lucrative retirement business.

There are a lot different things that could be cut, like starting with kicking the UN out of the US and then telling the UN "we're out".

Next, start reducing our military presence in Europe, So. Korea, Japan and other foreign installations. It's great for the host country's economy but costs us a lot of money.

Rescind the EO that allowed collective bargaining for federal workers.

Privatize the USPS and allow regular mail by UPS/FEDX/...

Get the federal gubmint out of the Charity business.


Posted by: DBinNJ at November 15, 2010 04:12 PM (Ur8U0)

225 Soap - some of those rejectors need to be on the cut list.

Posted by: JEM at November 15, 2010 04:13 PM (o+SC1)

226 I forgot to add:

Eliminate HHS and HUD and get out of the mortgage business.

Sorry.

Posted by: DBinNJ at November 15, 2010 04:14 PM (Ur8U0)

227 It is telling, and sad, that a nation with a near plurality that pays no income tax would cheer on a tax which is triggered solely by a transfer in wealth as a result of death. It is presumed that in most cases, the estate was the result of wealth produced. Thus we are clearly signalling that not only is soaking the rich chic, but 'soaking theslovenly decendents' of the rich' is also the right thing to do.

I'm reminded of the former Governor of Delaware, or rather one of her creatures, whining that the liquor distributors here raised all of their prices to match yet another tax increase. To them, it was unseemly that their latest raid on commerce be displayed for what it was.

Posted by: Blue Hen at November 15, 2010 04:15 PM (R2fpr)

228 If taxes are so important to some of you "conservatives" then why didn't the the founding fathers incorporate them into US Constitution? I know they had tariffs, but those are a long shot from being the confiscatory taxes we have now. Let's repeal the income tax ammendment. Then the fed would have to cut spending.

Posted by: Soona at November 15, 2010 04:16 PM (xM8Uq)

229 The capital gains tax is similarly heinous but not nearly as bad as the estate tax. I'd like to see both of them eliminated but if I only get one the estate tax is a goner.
Absolutely right. I have four kids, they will get everything when my wife and I are gone. I want them to have it, not the government.
Also, I would bet that a lot of folks who post stuff about putting a cap on Medicare and cutting Social Security aren't drawing Social Security, and are not on Medicare. If you are, and I am, then you sort of tend to think that after paying in all those years, you should be able to draw the benefits. And I know a lot of folks that are my age that are not real happy about getting screwed out of their benefits after paying into the programs for so long. (Most of those same people just finished making their feelings known in the recent election) Some people advocating the cuts seem to have forgotten that the money was stolen from Social Security to pay for lots of government shit over the years.
I thought Bush had the right idea about private investments when he proposed changing Social Security. I still do. But I'm not in favor of cutting older folks off their Social Security. In the future, means testing might be the way to go.

Posted by: mikeyslaw at November 15, 2010 04:16 PM (QMGr1)

230 There's any number of areas where the federal government acts as a wealth-transfer agent.

Now, I have no trouble at all with the idea that if we managed to get federal taxes cut, and get the federal deficit under control, states may need to make decisions as to how much they want to spend on roads and schools and police and other things that should be primarily or entirely a state and local function.

And if they want to raise taxes that's their business, but they ought not be running around expecting federal tax dollars to rain on their heads.

Posted by: JEM at November 15, 2010 04:17 PM (o+SC1)

231 Please explain why the latter is permissible but the
former -- stealing from the dead's delinquent, dilettante heirs -- is
so horrible.







Posted by: ace at November 15, 2010 03:16 PM (nj1bB)

What the fuck!! Did some trust fund asshole assault you at some point in your life Ace?
As has already been said in this thread, small business and family farms are the ones being killed by the Estate tax. The last thing on earth I want to have happen is another asshole in DC deciding how much is "enough" to pass along to one's children. The super rich (buffet Gates) shield their wealth. The fucking Kennedy's seem to have perfected the art of not paying estate taxes as well. These taxes don't prevent people from "being" rich but they sure as hell make it harder to "get" rich.

Posted by: Hedgehog at November 15, 2010 04:18 PM (Rn2kl)

232 Everything is rejected on environmental grounds.
Posted by: Soap MacTavish at November 15, 2010 04:11 PM (vbh31)
The day the EPA is dissolved is the day that I laugh maniacallyas I burn tractor tires in my front yard.

Posted by: ErikW at November 15, 2010 04:19 PM (p/5hp)

233 But I'm not in favor of cutting older folks off their Social Security. In the future, means testing might be the way to go.
Posted by: mikeyslaw

But what essentially is the difference here? I've been paying in since I was 15. The chance of this existing in any form is doubtful. And the fact that the goal posts have been moved and are likely to be moved again don't help. And then in the future, we might have to undergo means testing? Try researching the British military pension system after World War I. Or look at the VA and its ever changing eligibility rules. Or prison officials making the pitch to turf older, sick inmates. It's all about reducing numbers to ease their position; it has nothiing to do with equality or fairness.

Posted by: Blue Hen at November 15, 2010 04:22 PM (R2fpr)

234 Work is vital. Investment is vital. These things
are taxed. But the one thing we cannot tax is a dead multimillionaire's
estate as it passes on to his likely slovenly heirs?





Posted by: ace at November 15, 2010 02:58 PM (nj1bB)

The problem is you see the estate tax as only hitting those lazy, coke addled kids of millionaires. I see it as destroying small businesses that don't have a surplus of cash on hand. Most small businesses are always cash strapped; the estate tax forces the heirs to sell the business to pay the tax.If you want to tax estates over 10 million dollars that don't include any businesses, that's your business. Taxing someone who inherits a print shop or small grocery store is anti-business, anti-prosperity, and just insane.Taxes have to come from somewhere, I agree, but as onerous as an income or sales tax is, a wealth tax (like estate taxes) is the worst of ideas. It cuts the muscle out of the economy, and discourages investment and entrepreneurship. There has to be a better way to fund (the limited purposes of) government.

Posted by: Josef K. at November 15, 2010 04:22 PM (7+pP9)

235 Hmmm, here's a thought -- along with some program cuts, extension of SS/Medicare, how about we expand our military spending...and start forcing the countries that rely on our military shield to pay a tribute? You know, finally be that imperial power they are always accusing us of being.
This of course would also include tribute for foreign aid packages -- they could pay in resources if they could not pay in money...I believe in being a gentle despot.

Posted by: unknown jane at November 15, 2010 04:24 PM (5/yRG)

236 The day the EPA is dissolved is the day that I laugh maniacallyas I burn tractor tires in my front yard.

Amen, brutha'!

Posted by: Soona at November 15, 2010 04:24 PM (xM8Uq)

237 The "permanent aristocracy" of the super-rich already avoid estate taxes through trusts, family corporations (do not confuse this with businesses that make or produce things) and foundations.

It's the middle-rich, the kind that work hard and make good in life, who get suckerpunched - all that they accumulated is now no longer their own property to dispose of as they wish.

Estate taxes are nothing more than theft, and that is why it is wrong.

Posted by: SarahW at November 15, 2010 04:24 PM (Z4T49)

238 236
The day the EPA is dissolved is the day that I laugh maniacallyas I burn tractor tires in my front yard.

Amen, brutha'!

Posted by: Soona at November 15, 2010 04:24 PM (xM8Uq)

I'm pretty sure that I'd have an erection lasting longer than 4 hours.

Posted by: Hedgehog at November 15, 2010 04:26 PM (Rn2kl)

239 I can do it in 5 minutes:

- Stop cutting from military spending. Our Air Force and Navy are going out of business. And military spending even with two wars is a minor fraction of total spending. It's also one of the few actual constitutional duties of the federal government.

- Encourage private sector space exploration and leave the nukes alone. The government sucks at everything. The only reason NASA succeeded by the skin of their teeth was the can-do American spirit which seems largely dead at the current day NASA. Use the billions going as prizes for the first to reach milestones in space exploration. And property rights to whatever they find out there. Minerals, land, energy, exploration, science. Let America and innovation expand through the free market. And you can never have enough nukes.

- Completely eliminate entitlements including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. The government should not be in the business of welfare. It's creates weak people and a weak economy.

- Eliminate all estate taxes The confiscatory double-taxation schemes need to end now.

- Reduce all tax rates to a flat rate of between 10 and 13 percent to meet the Laffer curve. Ends all loopholes and will lead to explosive growth in the economy. It will also lead to an increase in federal revenues while neutering the IRS.

I've just saved you trillions of dollars. Now it's time for pizza rolls.

Posted by: Chicago Jedi at November 15, 2010 04:26 PM (WZFkG)

240 Ace @ 85




"Please explain why the latter is permissible but the former -- stealing
from the dead's delinquent, dilettante heirs -- is so horrible."

Use a family farm as an example. It's high in perceived value. Land is expensive, but low in income. All the value is tied up in assets, again primarily in the land.

Dad dies and the farm gets auctioned because nobody can pay the estate tax otherwise.

That's just a single example. The estate tax primarily impacts assets, not cash. That's the problem. There's plenty of paper millionaires. People who have over a million in assets, but don't have the tax man's cash in the bank.


Posted by: not neo just conservative at November 15, 2010 04:27 PM (01RS2)

241 >>and start forcing the countries that rely on our military shield to pay a tribute?

The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.

You know your plan would lead to an administrative office mandated to "collect, account, distribute, investigate, and analyze" the tribute collected.

How about we just let them defend their own lands and not create another layer?

Posted by: railwriter at November 15, 2010 04:28 PM (3qItU)

242 wtf

i got a surplus without touching tax rates in a matter of 2 minutes and didn't scrimp on new defensive weapons systems.

Posted by: matt at November 15, 2010 04:28 PM (2WDMC)

243 While asking for more options on this NTY application:

Rescind unspent "Spendulus" dollars. Quick math at recovery.org says $221B unspent right now. You could reduce Navy Air Force fleets at NYT's stated level... 10 times over to match those savings.

That's half of the app's short term 2015 shortfall.

Is my math off?

That's one option that's politically attractive too...

Posted by: Hoss at November 15, 2010 04:28 PM (mjhYn)

244 Estate taxes are nothing more than theft, and that is why it is wrong.

Posted by: SarahW at November 15, 2010 04:24 PM (Z4T49)

Preach it, sister! Wealth taxes went out with the Domesday Book. They are an instrument of class warfare now, and hurt every economy where they are applied.

Posted by: Josef K. at November 15, 2010 04:29 PM (7+pP9)

245 Please explain why the latter is permissible but the former -- stealing
from the dead's delinquent, dilettante heirs -- is so horrible.<<<

Because I don't suffer from class envy. I know money is not a zero-sum game, and I don't give a crap if people inherit vast wealth. If they're actually dilettantes they'll piss it away quickly enough. I don't get why anyone who considers himself a fiscal conservative would want to redistribute some people's money but not others'. Either you're a social justice type or you're not; I'm not.

Posted by: Kerry at November 15, 2010 04:30 PM (a/VXa)

246 Whoops, sorry Ace. Disregard my #240. It was covered extensively up above.

Posted by: not neo just conservative at November 15, 2010 04:30 PM (01RS2)

247 If any of you "taxation conservatives" haven't readAtlas Shrugs, then read it. If you've read it in the past, pull it down and read it again.

Posted by: Soona at November 15, 2010 04:32 PM (xM8Uq)

248 Social security can longer be the thrird rail: Politics aside the potential savings are too large to remainoffl limits- so
1) increasethe number of work quarters required to qualfy for SSin 2 steps. Step 1immediately increase the number of quarters from 40* to 50. Step 2 (in about 5 years) increase quarters to 60(*40 work quarters = 10 years of work)
2 Do one of the following but not both
a) means test
b) no upper salary limit on "contributions" - everyonepays the same percentage every pay period regardless ofincome. Yeah I know this will destroy a few myths aboutSS.
3) Raise SS retirement age to 70 (same asAce, but I don't agree with raising medicare age to 70)

Posted by: ADK46er at November 15, 2010 04:33 PM (G7o8A)

249 If any of you "taxation conservatives" haven't readAtlas Shrugs, then read it. If you've read it in the past, pull it down and read it again.
Posted by: Soona at November 15, 2010 04:32 PM (xM8Uq)
I still haven't pulled the trigger on that one yet. The length is a tad intimidating.

Posted by: ErikW at November 15, 2010 04:35 PM (p/5hp)

250 Okay, let me lead off by saying I'm an idiot professional.diver with a hs diploma. That said, any targeted cuts are going to elict shrieks of protest from someone or other. So let's do what Obama claims to want, and spread the wealth-- cut everything.

Every single line of the federal budget gets sliced by ten percent ( or so). No exceptions, because if you make one you'll make a million. Nobody gets fired, nobody gets there SS or welfare cut off, no programs get cancelled, you just GET LESS. Pay and benefits cut by the same percentage, from the President down to the window washers. Give everyone a paper cut so nobody's intestines end up on the floor.

And while I'm dreaming, I'd like a Ferrari...

Posted by: Secundus at November 15, 2010 04:39 PM (kx1pE)

251 I still haven't pulled the trigger on that one yet. The length is a tad intimidating.
Posted by: ErikW at November 15, 2010 04:35 PM (p/5hp)

That's what I thought too. But once I started, I found it hard to put down. It is the bookthat precisely describes ourpresent time. (Although it was written in the mid-fifties)

Posted by: Soona at November 15, 2010 04:41 PM (xM8Uq)

252 Fuck, I wrote 'there', should be 'their'.

Posted by: Secundus at November 15, 2010 04:43 PM (kx1pE)

253 A friend of mine says he likes this particular tax because it's some
sort of impediment to a permanent aristocracy. I don't know if I buy
that but I can't dismiss it out of hand.

Meh.

There's always an idiot, drunk or druggie in the family to lose it.

The super wealthy always find a way around the rules anyway. Plus, an entrenched aristocracy trades on favors as much as it does money. Tax 'em all you like--as long as they make room for each other (and their family) at the top of the food chain, they'll always be running the show.




Posted by: Warden at November 15, 2010 04:43 PM (HzhBE)

254 #233, when my wife was told by two of her doctors to apply for disability, she balked. "I'm a Libertarian, I don't believe in Social Security."
"Honey, it was mandatory insurance. You paid into it. I paid into it. You collecting now is the only wayeither one of uswill ever see a dime. Plus with you out of work we need the money."

Posted by: SGT Dan at November 15, 2010 04:44 PM (GgXZc)

255 247 I have read it (dreary stuff, the syntax and characterization are wooden as hell), didn't much care for it -- because while on surface reading it sounds just wonderful, if you get down to the nitty of the gritty Rand's ideas are just as Nietzchean, totalitarian utopia as anything on the left (it's really some ugly, ugly stuff); no thank you. If that's what "true conservatives want", then consider me your enemy. AS is a pretty far cry from the Constitution.
Of course the estate tax as it stands is a bogus tax (so is capital gains) -- as they are, they are horribly flawed. In regards to keeping them...well, I don't know enough about them to suggest more than just "they need to be tweaked at the very least".

Posted by: unknown jane at November 15, 2010 04:44 PM (5/yRG)

256 Every single line of the federal budget gets sliced by ten percent ( or so).
Doesn't work. Would have worked 15 years ago.
2009 Budget Outlays were about 3.4 Trillion Dollars.
2009 Budget Income was about 2.4 TrillionDollars.
10% across the board leaves you with 3.1 Trillion Dollars in outlays and 2.4 Trillion in Income.

Posted by: Mallamutt at November 15, 2010 04:45 PM (OWjjx)

257
But the one thing we cannot tax is a dead multimillionaire's estate as it passes on to his likely slovenly heirs?

Yes, Ace, that's true.

The multimillionaire's estate has a small army of accountants, employed to keep the tax liability as small as possible. They'll have probably set up a charity of some sort, to dole out monies to charitable projects, but those slovenly heirs will sit on the board and draw a salary that the charity will pay the taxes on.

As others have pointed out, it's the small business - the guy who's worth a lot on paper, but can't pay the lump sum taxes. Assets != money.

Posted by: I R A Darth Aggie at November 15, 2010 04:45 PM (1hM1d)

258 #256
Fuck. Don't suppose I could sell anyone on 33% across the board, plus shitcan Obamacare and cap-n-trade, could I?

Posted by: Secundus at November 15, 2010 04:51 PM (kx1pE)

259 This Budget Balancer is flawed in that it conflates and co-mingles budget items.

Social Security should stand on its own. Medicare should stand on its own.

The rest of the budget should be balanced.

Posted by: ingenus at November 15, 2010 04:52 PM (+sBB4)

260 Re: Change Mortgage Interest Deduction to a Credit: "This change would apparently keep the deduction, but make it less valuable for the very wealthy."
I don't understand this. A credit is a dollar-for-dollarcredit, a deduction reducesone's adjusted gross income. Wouldn't a rich guy like an actual dollar-for-dollar credit over a deductionwhich may or not push his AGI into a more beneficial bracket?
Imay just not be "gettingit." I'm not a tax expert or anything.

Posted by: JKTH at November 15, 2010 04:52 PM (xJDlm)

261 Where is the option to "Make the Democratic Party reimburse the US for the failed Stimulus - $1 Trillion"?

Posted by: ingenus at November 15, 2010 04:55 PM (+sBB4)

262 Darth Aggie, that's exactly what the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is: an estate tax avoidance vehicle. Why do you think Warren Buffett donated billions to it? So he can have whoever he wants appointed as a director.

All these motherfuckers are on board with taxes they'll never pay.

Posted by: Empire of Jeff at November 15, 2010 05:01 PM (tappe)

263 I gotta tell you guys, I don't blame Warren Buffet or Bill Gates either one for avoiding every dime of tax they can get away with. I do have a problem, though, with the fact that they are Democrats and so therefor do not practice what they preach.

Tax avoidance? SooperDooper. Hypocrite douchebag? Not so much.

Posted by: not neo just conservative at November 15, 2010 05:05 PM (01RS2)

264 "Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one's taxes. Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands."

- Judge Learned Hand

Posted by: Empire of Jeff at November 15, 2010 05:16 PM (tappe)

265 Fully half the staff at my company was laid off. The rest got a 10%-50% pay cut. Lots of companies are totally gone. There's a lot of pain out there that federal, state and local employees are not sharing in. Government pay should reflect public salaries. The gravy train of guaranteed raises and bonuses and overtime and pensions, on top of job security, at the expense of Joe Sixpack and his family, needs to come to a halt.

Government payroll should be cut 50%, either in salary cuts, staff cuts, or a combination of the 2.

Illegals should not be getting welfare. (They can stay as long as they like, in my book, if they work. And they need to pay taxes, and not steal identities. I would be fine with letting any non-criminals come for as long as they like. But I think anybody who uses this option should be disqualified from citizenship.)

Government regulation should be limited to areas where the government is needed, and that is probably 5% of its current level. And the staffing levels should reflect this. The government is simply too large. Cut the scope and intrusive nature of government, and that will be your guide to cutting the deficit.

Posted by: Korla Pundit at November 15, 2010 05:30 PM (FHlAi)

266 Reduce oue nuke arsenal to only 1,000 warheads?

Ace, remember that under Reagan we had 50,000 nukes and the Russians, 30,000. One Trident submarine carries over 200 warheads, 8 on each onboard missile. Do you really want America's entire arsenal reduced to 5 subs, half of which are in harbor any given moment?

Thr Russians are still out there. China is arming. India and Pakistan have nukes, Iran and even Venezuela want them. I think our current arsenal is shockingly small, quite honestly.

Posted by: CoolCzech at November 15, 2010 05:36 PM (tJjm/)

267 Death tax: So if I own a house worth 1 million, which in New York City wouldn't even buy you a refrigerator box on a subway grate, and I die, and I leave that house to my son, who has lived in that house his entire life, he suddently has a tax bill of $500,000.

He would have to sell the house, and move from his childhood home. Unless he happened to have 500 thousand in his freezer. What, you think he's a Congressman?!

And why? To pay for ObamaCare? To send funds to Hamas and Hezbollah? To fund the UN? To keep union thugs swimming in gold trinkets? To fund the Bill Ayers School for Ghost Writers?

Screw that. I already paid lots of taxes on my assets. The government is double dipping with the estate tax, and families (and lots of small businesses) are devastated as a result.


Posted by: Korla Pundit at November 15, 2010 05:39 PM (FHlAi)

268 I ended up with 24% tax increases, 74% spending cuts, so no doubt I will be crucified as a RINO.

RE: the military, I wouldn't cut numbers, but I would reevaluate priorities. First thing to die is the F-35. The Navy and Marine Corps would get their variants, but the AF variant dies. I calculated a savings of roughly $267 billion. Instead, I would purchase 2000 upgraded and modernized A-10s, 50 AC-130s, and 200 more F-22s. I estimated a cost of $30 million per A-10, $200 million per AC-130, and $150 million per F-22. Total cost, $100 billion. This gives the Air Force 500 F-22s for control of the airspace, and shifts a lot of their combat power to dedicated ground support.



Posted by: Alex at November 15, 2010 05:42 PM (yY28H)

269 Estate taxes are grave robbing, plain and simple. They're as disgusting as they are destructive.

Posted by: Optimizer at November 15, 2010 05:46 PM (2lTU+)

270 Do you really want America's entire arsenal reduced to 5 subs, half of which are in harbor any given moment?

When did they do away with the Gold Crew/Blue Crew deal?

Posted by: Vic at November 15, 2010 05:52 PM (/jbAw)

271 Reduce Mortgage Interest Deduction By Converting to Credit

When Regan cut the income tax rates in the 80s, he agreed to eliminate lots of tax writ offs, such as interest on credit cards . Bush 1 raised the income tax rates back up and so did Clinton but, we never saw the tax deductions again.....net loss... be careful what you give up.

Some suggestions, departments of labor, commerence, HUD, agg. education. You get the picture.

Posted by: Big Ed at November 15, 2010 05:53 PM (riCCl)

272 Not that I agree with cutting the number of nukes.

Posted by: Vic at November 15, 2010 05:53 PM (/jbAw)

273 A great (and maybe practical) way to wean ourselves off Social Security is simply to not stop at 70. Also, slow down the increases in benefits. Eventually, it would become a program that becomes less and less likely that the average Joe will collect anything from, and when they do collect, it won't amount to much. Ultimately, SS taxes could be slowly decreased, decreasing "Joe's" stake in it, too.
In other words, slowly starve it first, then kill it.

Posted by: Optimizer at November 15, 2010 05:54 PM (2lTU+)

274 Posted by: Alex at November 15, 2010 05:42 PM (yY28H)

The A-10s are maintenance hogs. That big gun literally shakes them to death.

Posted by: Vic at November 15, 2010 05:55 PM (/jbAw)

275 From the other thread:

Oh yes, I fully expect another SS reform (the 4th) next year. It will
take the form of both a tax increase AND eligibility increase through
age and means testing which is just another tax increase on the rich
except that it will not be indexed to inflation (even if it was counted
correctly).

After that, just like the first 3 SS reforms they will spend 125% of the tax increases and the "reforms" will reform nothing.

The only reform that I will support is to allow it to fail and die.

Posted by: Vic at November 15, 2010 05:56 PM (/jbAw)

276 I estimated a cost of $30 million per A-10, $200 million per AC-130, and $150 million per F-22.
Posted by: Alex at November 15, 2010 05:42 PM (yY28H)
Are you sure those numbers are right?
They seem awfully high.

Posted by: ErikW at November 15, 2010 05:56 PM (qg3IW)

277 The only thing I would cut in the military is "non-military" spending the Dems like to hide in that budget.

Posted by: Vic at November 15, 2010 05:57 PM (/jbAw)

278 @272: I'm not a sub expert and I don't know the exact deployment ratios. But I do know
that one Trident sub carries over 200 warheads, and not all of them are out at sea. Add to that the fact we haven't tested a real nuke in ages, and the whole security position looks security: we can't be totally certain how many of our nukes actually work!

Not to mention that the Tridents are rapidly aging too, basically Reagan Era weapons systems.

Posted by: CoolCzech at November 15, 2010 06:01 PM (tJjm/)

279 @278: scratch the second "security" in that post and substitute "precarious.". Sorry - pecking away at an iPod...

Posted by: CoolCzech at November 15, 2010 06:07 PM (tJjm/)

280 I can't imagine the nation's nukes cost enough to really even figure into the discussion. Sounds like Leftist accounting - the kind that's twisted all 'round, with an agenda. In general, I wouldn't trust a NYT model of anything, further than I could throw it.
Beyond that, you should keep in mind that the nation's nukes are not likely to be all ICBMs. We probably have a variety of nukes, for various potential purposes, and not all of them can be instantly launched to whatever point on Earth we need. So there's the matter of having a stockpile with a wide geographicdistribution for the purpose of delivery, not just survivability.
You also need to figure in the possibility that some adversary might find a way to find our Boomers. You don't want all your nucleareggs in the one proverbial basket.
So 1000 nukes sounds pretty low to me. That isn't a heck of a lot more than the bigger second-rate nuclear powers have.

Posted by: Optimizer at November 15, 2010 06:08 PM (2lTU+)

281 Regarding rich families:
I wish to tell you a true story of a small business man. There was a man who came from Tx and worked his WHOLE LIFE inventing things. He made drill bits and equipment that made it possible to drill deeper and at higher pressure so we could get more oil. He had a 4th grade education and his wife was given to an orphanage by her parents because they were so poor, when he met his soon to be wife he had to buy her shoes so they could go dancing since she shared her with her sister. He worked long and hard. He self educated. He worked his way up. He worked for Standard oil and he sold used oil pipe on the side to finance starting his own business.

They lived in their warehouse, where they stored used oil drilling pipe, in a couple rooms behind the office, in a tiny town called Avenel. If you know what used oil pipe smells like ,you would pity the wife. They live in that tiny place in the warhouse for 20 years. But her man became rich. Then they had a son, every bit as worthless as you imagine.
He was married 3 times.
Had 2 daughters and two stepsons.
He died.
Now this rich grandpa died leaving all to his wife who lived with him in the warehouse, supported him as he became a self made man. Washed his white shirts by hand in a washtub. Typed up his contracts while waiting in the truck, as he had business meetings. She left what she could in trusts and such trying to give as much to those grandkids. But the Taxes did get her, too.

One of the Stepsons was kinda worthless. Lives with his mom.
One was in a motorcycle accident and is brain-damaged and in a wheelchair.
One daughter has chronic illnesses, is a rape victim with PTSD, and somewhat milder brain damage than her stepbrother.
One daughter is an attorney and a bitch.
Should those handicapped and rather nice grandchildren get less from Grandpa to support them, since they will never be able to work again, Just because their siblings suck?
Because their young wastrel dad couldnt protect them by figuring out how to plan things, so they were provided for after his death?(which he could never imagine was coming)

Postscript: the trustees raped the trust, and only a fraction of what was held will ever be seen by the intended recipients. So if you think trusts are foolproof think again.
Think about the boy in the wheelchair and his Stepsister who will never be able to have normal lives, and ask yourself if just a little more of grandpa's money could keep them off the public assistance? Would grandpa have wanted that? would you want that for your kids?

This is a true story about how the way things are in rich families. I know these people.

Posted by: Gushka at November 15, 2010 06:10 PM (93zw2)

282 It is one thing to reduce the nuclear arsenal - having the only ballistic missiles in the US inventory being the ones on the SSBNs is a proposal I like, since the boomers arealot less vulnerable when they are at sea than the land-based missiles.
But the US military right now needs more money to maintain and increase their capabilities in a dangerous world. Cutting the Navy's fleet, the Air Force's fighter wings, or the Army's brigades/divisions are really bad ideas given the increasing threats to the US around the world. The Navy probably has less ships than it needs right now - cutting more would make things worst.
The blunt truth is that no matter how little you want to spend on defense, the dangers in the world will not care. They will only care if you have, or have not, the capabilities to deter and/or fight them. If the US does not, then all the defense spending cuts in the world will pale compared the cost of actually fighting a real war.

Posted by: cxt217 at November 15, 2010 06:14 PM (jH6U8)

283 Are you sure those numbers are right?
They seem awfully high.Well, I pulled them from Wikipedia, so I guess take them with a grain of salt. The A-10 unit cost was ~$11.8 million in 1994 dollars, or ~$17 million in 2009 dollars. I went to $30 million to consider the cost of restarting a production line and upgrades to the system.

Posted by: Alex at November 15, 2010 06:14 PM (yY28H)

284 So 1000 nukes sounds pretty low to me. That isn't a heck of a lot more than the bigger second-rate nuclear powers have.

Posted by: Optimizer at November 15, 2010 06:08 PM (2lTU+)

Yeah... well I'm sure Obama actually LIKES that fact.
Anyway, is Ace correct that we're down to only 2,000? I thought Obama's White House (quite atrociously) said we had 5,000?

Posted by: CoolCzech at November 15, 2010 06:18 PM (tJjm/)

285 Another thing defense budget cut fans should keep in mind: as a percentage of our GDP, we are now spending less on defense than any time since the 1930's.

And that is with two wars going on, meaning more of the budget is spent on operations than armament development.

Posted by: CoolCzech at November 15, 2010 06:21 PM (tJjm/)

286 The A-10s are maintenance hogs. That big gun literally shakes them to death.

I've considered whether it would be worth it to downgrade the gun. You'd lose some firepower, but would probably make up for it in magazine capacity and, like you said, maintenance.

Posted by: Alex at November 15, 2010 06:25 PM (yY28H)

287 " impediment to a permanent aristocracy" - stated like a true Class Warrior.
In point of fact the top 20% and bottom 20% of income earners churn every year. While some folks remain in those categories the bulk of them move up and down. For instance, I was in the top 10% last year. I retired. Now, no so much anymore as my income got cut in half. Etc., etc., etc. [now, if I could just win the lottery... or steal Ace's wallet while he's passed out on the curb from too much Value-Rite vodka... hmmm]
And... what's wrong with a parent deeding his lumber yard or pharmacy to his kids intact and without a huge debt hanging over from death taxes? Nothing, except to the jealous and the lazy.

Posted by: Hoper for Change at November 15, 2010 06:36 PM (EhYdw)

288 Like I said before, new weapons development and maintaining forces matters more than Afghanistan.

We need to maintain the institutional and industrial capability. We're losing it even at the current rate.

Got to look past where we are now and look at where we need to be in ten years.

Posted by: JEM at November 15, 2010 06:40 PM (o+SC1)

289 Well, I pulled them from Wikipedia, so I guess take them with a grain of salt. The A-10 unit cost was ~$11.8 million in 1994 dollars, or ~$17 million in 2009 dollars. I went to $30 million to consider the cost of restarting a production line and upgrades to the system.
Posted by: Alex at November 15, 2010 06:14 PM (yY28H)
Ah, okay. The FAS quoted a $17 million figure as well.
It still sounds too damned high but it is the gubmint, after all.

Posted by: ErikW at November 15, 2010 06:44 PM (qg3IW)

290 BTW, we already tax wealth in this country with cash payments due EVERY year. It is called real estate taxes.
Of course, these are at the state and local levels, not by the federal government.
Land has to pay the government, shouldn't non-land wealth also support the government too? BTW, I will support any argument that current rates are too high for all taxes.

Posted by: Whitehall at November 15, 2010 06:49 PM (FmPSC)

291 The thing about the estate tax is that it never hits the intended target, ie people who inherited vast amounts of wealth. Any truly rich person is going to have accountants who set up trusts and shelter the money; since it doesn't belong to the person but rather to the trust, no one will ever pay an estate tax on the bulk of the fortune, just on whatever's lying around in the bank at the time for current investment/expenditure.

The people who get seriously boned on the estate tax are farmers, and then business owners. They base it on the total value of holdings, so if your family owns a farm right next to a chichi suburb, when you die your kids will not be able to keep the farm, because there is no way for them to pay the tax on the entire value of the land. To you it's your home and your birthright; to the state it's millions of dollars of property to be taxed. To you it's the gas station your parents bought in the 1950s, where you've worked as a mechanic all your life; to the government it's prime real estate and you need to pay more than three years' worth of gross income immediately or they'll seize it.

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I see a Federal research institution that, if this is typical of the quality and direction of their work these days, could probably stand to give up 20% or so of their $6B-and-change funding.


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Posted by: jsswg at November 15, 2010 07:37 PM (XDiCn)

294 A friend of mine says he likes this particular tax because it's some sort of impediment to a permanent aristocracy. I don't know if I buy that but I can't dismiss it out of hand.

Ever heard of the Ford Foundation? Because you should dismiss your friend's claim out of hand.

The super rich put their money in foundations, and other tax dodges (and then have their family members "work" for the foundations, and get "business trips" paid for by teh foundations, etc.). You want to avoid an aristocracy? Nuke the inheritance tax, and then nuke all those (left-wing funding) "foundations".

Posted by: Greg at November 15, 2010 07:39 PM (T/jb3)

295 I balanced our budget in about ten minutes. I swing a mean axe. Damn politicians don't have the guts to tell people to support themselves.

Posted by: NC Ref at November 15, 2010 07:44 PM (OWvr/)

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Posted by: jsswsg at November 15, 2010 07:58 PM (XDiCn)

297 If the death benefit paid by my life insurance policy isn't taxed, I don't see any reason to tax the transfer of other money upon my death. To me, it's like the medical insurance debate. They want me to pre-pay another entity that can be tightly regulated by the government in order to take care of my kids. How about letting me just invest my own money, if I think I can make better decisions?

Posted by: Paul at November 15, 2010 08:05 PM (2LHRN)

298 The inheritance tax preserves fortunes by making the rich establish trusts, their grandkids get a payout from the trust but can not blow the money. Give it to them free and clear and the money will soon be spent. The other option is to have a large deductible say 10 million, inflation adjusted, then set the tax at 10% and eliminate trusts for inheritance, except for minors.

Posted by: Bill at November 15, 2010 08:35 PM (LZSir)

299 I'm back.
Assertion: US subs are detectable, therefore we should not reduce our nuclear redundancy.
Challenge: "You're going to have to prove that."
The proof would consist ofa thousand or sodead sailors and a couple of nuked population centers. Fuck you, you prove it.
Honest to Christ, are some of you guys from Kos, or what? What the hell does it mean to be a conservative in this day and age, anyway? What, were you born yesterday?

Posted by: comatus at November 15, 2010 09:00 PM (hrwMe)

300 300
The inheritance tax preserves fortunes by making the rich establish
trusts, their grandkids get a payout from the trust but can not blow the
money. Give it to them free and clear and the money will soon be spent.
The other option is to have a large deductible say 10 million,
inflation adjusted, then set the tax at 10% and eliminate trusts for
inheritance, except for minors.Posted by: Bill at November 15, 2010 08:35 PM (LZSir)


See my above post about the disabled kids of the wastrel father. when he died he had no idea what would happen to his unprotected family. the grandmother tried to set up a trust and all that happened was that it was raped by the people who were supposed to protect the money.
The bank got rich on management fees.
The lawyers got rich.
The handicapped grandkids got boned.
the govt shrugged and said "too bad. go on disability."
which is 900 bucks a month.
let families keep the money. the man who earned it meant for those kids to have it for their futures.

Posted by: Gushka at November 15, 2010 10:46 PM (93zw2)

301 We have already reduced nuclear weapons from over 12000 deployed strategic weapons to 2200 or so. Also, the strategic weapons budget has been reduced by about 80% as well.

Let's reduce everything else by 80% just to keep up with nuke reductions. Besides nuclear weapons are a cheap form of defense and our extended deterrence policy has kept the peace (no major superpower conflicts) for 70 years. Remember the first half of the 20th Century, remember WWI and WWII and about 100 million dead.

Posted by: bobbymike at November 16, 2010 01:29 AM (WWQLs)

302 Social Security is NOT an entitlement! I have been paying into SS for 40 years. What, you want people to DIE first so they never collect? Stop the government from stealing from SS! Bullshit.

Posted by: gonzotx at November 16, 2010 02:22 AM (0E6uF)

303 I hate the estate tax idea in total due to it being confiscation of money that has already been taxed during the dead persons live.
As far as the "built in" aristocracy busting aspect is.....well....A good many of Kennedy's have bit the dust and it hasn't phased them a bit.
We go down the double taxation road willingly and all is lost.

Posted by: Drider at November 16, 2010 05:58 AM (wtDSn)

304 Posted by: Alex at November 15, 2010 06:25 PM (yY28H)

re: A-10's-

They are a terrific, very effective tool. Downgrade the gun and you run the risk of making them less effective.

My husband worked with the guy who figured out the offset for the gun. The planes used to be almost impossible to handle before that. My understanding is the canted gun all but fixed that vibration problem, and there is almost no shaking now. I'd be curious where you get your data.

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