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The same people who want to cut public services have no problem with extending tax cuts for the rich.

Portrait, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, 06/15/09. (photo: Fred R. Conrad/NYT)
Portrait, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, 06/15/09. (photo: Fred R. Conrad/NYT)

Now That's Rich

By Paul Krugman, The New York Times

23 August 10

We need to pinch pennies these days. Don't you know we have a budget deficit? For months that has been the word from Republicans and conservative Democrats, who have rejected every suggestion that we do more to avoid deep cuts in public services and help the ailing economy.

But these same politicians are eager to cut checks averaging $3 million each to the richest 120,000 people in the country.

What - you haven't heard about this proposal? Actually, you have: I'm talking about demands that we make all of the Bush tax cuts, not just those for the middle class, permanent.

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+10 # Guest 2010-08-23 11:46
There is something fundamentally flawed with a system that penalizes the benefactors of said system when the facilitators of the system fail at their jobs! Do not cut benefits of any kind to any recipient of any program! We didn't screw this up, The Govt. did!
+9 # Guest 2010-08-24 14:27
Actually, the Republicans did ... for over 30 years they have been systematically undermining the American People, and promoting the corporate takeover of our government. It started when Gerald Ford first gave tax cuts to corporations.
+7 # Guest 2010-08-24 14:40
The Republicans screwed it up. They have spent over 30 years systematically dismantling the Middle Class and turning our government over to the corporations. Now, The People need to undo the mess they have created, starting with electing enlightened Progressives to Congress to replace the corporatists.
+22 # Guest 2010-08-23 11:59
If you want to know what the problem in this country is - When someone says, "The government isn't the solution. it's the problem." THATS THE PROBLEM!!
+22 # Guest 2010-08-23 13:35
A very limited government, as near anarchy even, would work well in a primitive pioneer society where most had little contact with the outside world, growing their own food, making their own clothes, etc., but that is not the case today. So those quoting wise political opinions from the past are making stupid noises for today's world.
+8 # Guest 2010-08-24 14:43
The "wise political opinions" that the government is the enemy, came from Ronald Reagan. He wasn't even that good an actor.
+26 # Guest 2010-08-23 12:13
Hey guys, the rich fund the elections and the poor do not. Get over it, or implement public funding of campaigns. At $5 per taxpayer per year it's be a bargain.
+11 # Guest 2010-08-23 13:09

You're absolutely correct, sorta. I see a bigger picture where the elected favor the rich by policy then reap the obvious benefits. You know, kinda like racketeering, but legal. Why else would there always be such a fuss over finance campaign reform, including something like what you suggest, which I'd support. The U.S. Congress is a major jobs program for 535 sycophantic greedy pigs. Well, perhaps there are a few honorable folks up on the Hill, but a handful. But you are essentially correct, the favored rich pay for the elections, but it sure a'int no sweat off their backs. Those with the gold make the rules.

0 # Guest 2010-08-23 21:10
Jack - I agree with you - but want to tell you I went to Ind. U. with Tom and AnnJane Funderburk - any kin of yours?
-1 # Guest 2010-08-24 17:49
The new Constitution was written by the elite of the fledgling country. It was written to favor the elite. That's why they put the Electoral College in there ... so the elite could control who actually got the presidency. They didn't want the masses electing someone who would not do their bidding. It never quite came down to them voting against a popular choice, although I remember that there was one time when there was no consensus in the EC and the House made the final decision.
+18 # Guest 2010-08-23 13:32
Good point. Politics should be about people, not about corporations or institutions or organizations, etc. Barry Goldwater wrote about this in his "Conscience of a Conservative" but that part seems to have found few readers. We have no democracy in America now. Both parties are owned by the same big bucks, so you will never have a real choice.
+5 # Guest 2010-08-24 00:21
I was saying this 40 years ago and was written off as a kook. Now the press is also owned by the same 'big bucks'.
+1 # Guest 2010-08-24 17:53
I favor re-instituting the law that required equal time for the opposition, which means that the guy with money gets no more ad time on TV than the guy who has very little money. Or put another way, the guy who's backed by $millions from big corporations gets no more ad time than the guy who is publicly funded.

People with money spend $millions of their own money on TV ads and drown out the guy who is depending on donations from the Middle Class.
+27 # Guest 2010-08-23 12:21
I just don't understand the seemingly impenetrable barrier in the minds of the [I assume] Libertarian-lea ning to simple reason. If you starve the poor and, more often every day, the middle-income(d ), how do they suggest the economy recovery if the vast majority of us don't have money to spend/buy and the super-rich have so much excess that will not be spent after all the luxuries have been "consumed." How do they think economies thrive? By tightening the screws and removing disposable income from the households of the majority?
+16 # Guest 2010-08-23 13:28
It doesn't taker a lot of intelligence to inherit wealth and position, nor to use political connections to get high appointment. So you can't expect any intelligent analysis from those calling for an end to taxation on themselves and an end to services for the majority of us. We should be taxed so they can be served. The fact that the economy isn't going to work so well when most of us can't buy eludes their dim wits.
+11 # Guest 2010-08-23 16:52
I can understand the rich making the argument not to pay their share. I just can't understand the poor suckers who are going to do without services and health care who are supporting it. The difference is going to come out of the hides of the working and middle class one way or another.
+10 # Guest 2010-08-23 16:46
These are the kind of questions that the tax breaks for the rich and small government advocates seldom are asked. Nope, I have never heard any answers that make sense. Just claims that only rich people create jobs. Not everyone can be a gardener, cook, nanny, butler or chauffeur. Besides, the rich hire illegals for those jobs and pay no SS or payroll taxes for them.
+15 # Guest 2010-08-23 12:47
The "Benefactors of said system" are rigging the “said system” to their total benefit and advantage and by so doing are disenfranchisin g more and more Americans. Their greed knows no bounds and their concern for anything but their own self-interest is non-existent. As this continues, the system, Capitalism is destined to break and Carl Marx will have been proven right. Within Capitalism are the seeds of its own destruction.
+16 # Guest 2010-08-23 13:23
It was classical greed that Brought the system down, but it was an abomination that bailed out those bankers who drove their institutions into bankruptcy. Capitalism is not supposed to reward failure. Yet they got big bonuses for their bad work, and there are no constraints on them to prevent their doing the same bad work again. We have been harmed in this country by several groups. Some are constantly trying to stir up animosity towards Muslims, but no Muslim has hurt the common American citizen as much as those highly rewarded and protected financial "experts." Enough of this neoCapitalism; let the failures suffer for their incompetence, not innocent working Americans.
+11 # Guest 2010-08-23 17:03
Karl Marx was right to a point. Capitalism is in our DNA except for a few primitive tribes that never left their trees to trade. Show me a time where there was no trade and no taxes. Not since the Garden of Eden was there such a place. There's nothing inherently wrong with capitalism as long as ethics and morality remain the rule and not the exception. When honesty, fairness, generosity, and compassion are considered signs of weakness and only for losers, the society will fail and fall into a dark age of some kind.
+12 # Guest 2010-08-23 13:09
Free TV ads for all contenders will eliminate the need for being bought by wealthy industrialists. We The People own the TV channels, and the FCC should make sure all networks give equal time to all contenders FREE.
+6 # Guest 2010-08-23 17:06
But who owns the FCC? Most of the votes are owned by the neocons.
+2 # Guest 2010-08-23 14:02
capitalism may well be the greatest political system available so long as we all don't get too greedy, too corrupt, and too dishonest. otherwise, it may be no better than the rest. mlr.
+6 # Guest 2010-08-23 17:22
Oranges and bananas. Capitalism is an economic system. You can have capitalism in a monarchy, a dictatorship or a democratic system. An emperor can decide who has the capital and who has to pay taxes on what....or he can claim it all and redistribute the wealth to whomever he thinks deserves it.

Look at China which is capitalism on a grand scale with a 'communist' government. We don't fear the Reds like we used to because they are beating us at economics. We fear them calling in the IOU's and buying up our land and companies. We fear becoming a colony of China in a few decades. But, that's okay as long as the taipans do not have to pay taxes.
+9 # Guest 2010-08-23 14:06
WANT NAMES........wh o are the Republicans and Democrats voting for this??

America is now a Plutocracy of the worst kind.
Eventually the poor will die off, the middle will be the new poor, the rich the new middle, and eventually the WEALTHY will die off too.....just like that extinct civilization in S. America!!

We never learn!! Thank God I will not be around to see it.
+6 # Guest 2010-08-23 15:01
I read somewhere that Capitalism has its flaws. These imperfections are significantly magnified when a large number of so called Representatives of the people are mentally challenged, greedy, dishonest and other descriptives of unfitness. Greece had its glory, Rome its Caesars, the sun never used to set on the British Empire and America has Capitalism.
+7 # Guest 2010-08-23 17:28
David Gergen was just warning of this in a Commonwealth Club speech. We are on the brink of a decline if things do not turn around fast. As he pointed out, decline can be fast and it is never pretty since it ends in a dark age which can last for centuries.
+6 # Guest 2010-08-23 16:05
It appears to me that one of the objectives of all this madness (probably beginning w WorldCom, Bernie Madoff, AIG, Big Auto, Big Pharma, monkeying w Social Security, healthcare, pension funds, etc., etc.) is to bankrupt the boomer generation and get rid of us all as quickly as possible.
+13 # Guest 2010-08-23 16:11
The plan is to bankrupt all levels of government. Then the legislatures will sell off to billionaires all property in the public domain. All the Roads, schools, and parks that was built by taxes on our income will be sold for pennies on the dollar to make up for budget shortfalls.

If you want to stop this, we have to implement banking reform: move the Federal Reserve under the Treasury and SPEND money into existence without borrowing; Create 49 new state banks that will spend money rather than borrow. As long as governments can limit their spending there will be zero inflation. Raise the reserve limits gradually until all fractional reserve lending is eliminated.

Read "Web of Debt" by Ellen Brown and/or watch the video: "The Secret of Oz" for FREE on youtube.

Educate everyone on banking reform. Banks are the source of all poverty in the world.

And stop the STUPID WARS.
0 # Guest 2010-08-23 16:16
Nero's got his fiddle out
the fire's about to start
The twitters twit and have a pout
the rest are shopping at the mart

the future is already history...etc
+7 # Guest 2010-08-23 17:13
Our next election will be a disaster for Democrats like myself. It's not that the Democrats will vote for Republicans; its just that most Democrats will not bother working hard like they did on the last election. It's kind of like: Who gives a darn, they're all corrupt. The Dems just happen to throw a few bones to the poor and working class. Is it really worth working to get candidates who just help the rich get richer?
+7 # Guest 2010-08-23 21:32
In Europe the governments fear the people because the people took to the streets to fight for what was best for the majority. In this country the government only fears the TEA Party and the rich! If we don't start making as much noise IN PUBLIC as the TEA Party folks do we will not get what we want!
+4 # Guest 2010-08-24 06:39
Please read The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein? It describes in great detail how all of this was planned from the very beginning by the "captains of industry". Globalization means you have no loyalty to a country, only to the bottom line. Workers are expendable. All that matters is making a profit for a select few. No ethics, no morality; just greed.
+5 # Guest 2010-08-24 07:45
BJW: Read Robert Reich's book Supercapitalism . If a CEO lets honesty, fairness, generosity, and or compassion lower the bottom line there will be a new CEO in the morning.

I think capitalism will have to be replaced. I don't know how or with what. It would be all too easy to get something worse.
+4 # Guest 2010-08-24 10:37
Most of our economic problems are the result of a very small percent of people owning most of the wealth. These people don't need most of their money, so they need a place to invest it -- driving bubbles of speculation.

In order to gain even more wealth, they refuse to pay a living wage to their employees. If you don't pay a good wage to your employees, they can't buy anything, so that drives down the economy.

In my lifetime the highest income earners paid 90% of excess income in taxes. Now they pay either 15% (capital gains and hedge funds) or 38%.

We need to restore balance by asking those with so much excess wealth to share the responsibility. Those who can afford it should pay more.
+3 # Guest 2010-08-24 11:03
It's really a simple equation: wealth is what counts in the United States. The government is geared to seeing the interests of the wealthy prevail. This is even at the cost of deep cuts coming down the road in Social Security and Medicare for the rest of us. We are all about to fund another raid on what little is set aside for us on behalf of the people who already have it all. They want MORE! The money flow in this society is now entirely upward. Eventually this will stop when the 98 percent of us below them have nothing. That at least is a comfort. Eventually the rich will tire of us when we are competely drained. The Vampire factor!
+1 # Guest 2010-08-24 18:03
The idea of making cuts in Social Security is absurd. It is NOT tied to the budget, and therefore is not tied to the deficits. The reason that the greedy rich (who barely paid anything into Social Security, in relation to their wealth) want to cut it is because the government has borrowed from it to cover the debt, and now that the bill has come due, they want to prevent themselves from having to pay for their folly. They'd have to borrow more money from the Chinese or the Saudis to pay back the loans.
0 # Guest 2010-08-25 06:07
The sad thing is that the problems facing mankind require cooperation and dedication on a monumental scale in order to equitably share the remaing resources of our planet, yet we continue to fight amongst ourselves. I just don't see how Capitalism can deliver but I am old enough to know that Communism would not go over well with Americans. Perhaps when unemployment reaches 20% socialism or the UN will no longer be a bad words or concepts.
+1 # Guest 2010-08-25 15:04
To grasp the essence of the issues of today one must be able to think critically. This is complicated by the so-called (by the right) "liberal media". To hear a cross section of 'news' and to average reality out of the fray, one must look at numerous sources (this leak is rapidly being plugged by the attackers of net neutrality). What we're looking at is a generational fix. Todays voters are brain dead and/or hooked on immediate gratification. They vote against universal health care, etc. Reps. attacked education 30 years ago, removed funding for Civics classes, etc. and now we're populated by a bunch of people who don't appreciate their American-ness because they don't have a clue of what we have (had), what their fathers/mothers sacrificed to achieve, and don't see any problem in losing it. The people get the government they deserve but those of us on this page get that government too. Which is why we should support Education, a REAL History Text, and a Reinstatement of Civics Education.

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