Report from a battleground state

We live in Virginia, which has been named a battleground state, a crucial source of lots of electoral votes that could go either way.  So we denizens of that state–sorry, Commonwealth–are being subject to lots of campaigning.

Every time we turn on the television, say, to watch a ballgame, virtually every commercial break includes an ad for Barack Obama.  These are just hammering Mitt Romney and are effectively made.  To be sure, some of them are ludicrous, repeating long-refuted charges that even liberal fact-checkers have debunked, such as Mitt Romney being responsible for businesses outsourcing jobs to China.  One Obama commercial is all about how Romney will raise your taxes!  Not on the basis of anything Romney has proposed but simply because Democrats are saying that “he would have to” raise middle class taxes to pay for his economic plan.  Obama attacking Romney for raising taxes!  But we don’t see any Romney commercials answering those charges or refuting those claims or taking the Democrats to task for their bogus ads.  There are actually relatively few Romney ads at all, and they are mostly bland and unmemorable.  The one that sticks out the most is a super-Pac spot that consists mainly of elderly small business owners carping about President Obama in a crotchety but not particularly inspirational way.

What the Romney campaign is doing in Virginia is robo-calls.  Last weekend, I got four in one hour.  Recorded calls featuring Mike Huckabee or someone else exhorting me to vote for Romney.  I hate robo-calls.  Even when they are on behalf of someone I might support.  They are an intrusion, an interruption of whatever I am doing, an annoyance.  Let me ask you:  Do you or anyone you know appreciate getting robo-calls?  Do any of you bother to so much as listen to them completely?  Don’t you hang-up as soon as you realize the call is a recording?  Do they make you more likely to vote for the candidate who is subjecting you to these things?  I have the sense that every time the robo-calls for Romney go out, thousands and thousands of Virginia voters are turning against him.   Which triggers more and more robo-calls for Romney.

An Obama volunteer knocked on our door.  He was an elderly gentleman, actually, but quite enthusiastic.  He said that he had a grandson who was going to college and that President Obama was making it possible.  He said that Obama started the Pell grants.  Uh, no, my wife explained.  Pell grants started in 1965.  We, nearly as old as he was, got Pell grants.  But that didn’t phase him.  He said Romney would ruin America, and we’ve really got to re-elect Obama.

No Romney volunteer has knocked on our door.  Does he even have volunteers?  Or just paid workers and party loyalists?  I haven’t come across any.

I live in a battleground state, but it seems like only one side is battling.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Carl Vehse

    “An Obama volunteer knocked on our door. He was an elderly gentleman, actually, but quite enthusiastic.”

    Did you ask him if Obama would give you a free phone or buy your gas or pay your mortgage?

    Hey, it works for Holder’s people.

  • Carl Vehse

    “An Obama volunteer knocked on our door. He was an elderly gentleman, actually, but quite enthusiastic.”

    Did you ask him if Obama would give you a free phone or buy your gas or pay your mortgage?

    Hey, it works for Holder’s people.

  • Tom Hering

    “Holder’s people.” But it’s liberals who are obsessed with race. Not Carl. Again and again.

  • Tom Hering

    “Holder’s people.” But it’s liberals who are obsessed with race. Not Carl. Again and again.

  • TE Schroeder

    The only good thing about robo-calls is how easy and guilt-free it is to hang up on them. But they are still a nuisance!

  • TE Schroeder

    The only good thing about robo-calls is how easy and guilt-free it is to hang up on them. But they are still a nuisance!

  • James Sarver

    “One Obama commercial is all about how Romney will raise your taxes! Not on the basis of anything Romney has proposed but simply because Democrats are saying that “he would have to” raise middle class taxes to pay for his economic plan. ”

    Right. And Democrats won’t have to do that to pay for their “economic plan” cuz they’re gonna get the money from all those evil rich people. Yup!

    As long as we have an electorate that has the mentality of six year olds and they vote for whoever promises them a pony there will be no hope.

  • James Sarver

    “One Obama commercial is all about how Romney will raise your taxes! Not on the basis of anything Romney has proposed but simply because Democrats are saying that “he would have to” raise middle class taxes to pay for his economic plan. ”

    Right. And Democrats won’t have to do that to pay for their “economic plan” cuz they’re gonna get the money from all those evil rich people. Yup!

    As long as we have an electorate that has the mentality of six year olds and they vote for whoever promises them a pony there will be no hope.

  • Tom Hering

    Didn’t we just read a post this week about the willingness of Republicans to raise taxes? If they’re willing to raise them in one circumstance, why is the argument that they’d raise them in another circumstance so “bogus”?

  • Tom Hering

    Didn’t we just read a post this week about the willingness of Republicans to raise taxes? If they’re willing to raise them in one circumstance, why is the argument that they’d raise them in another circumstance so “bogus”?

  • Carl Vehse

    “No Romney volunteer has knocked on our door. Does he even have volunteers? Or just paid workers and party loyalists?”

    If you live in a precinct that past election data have shown is strongly GOP (or have Romney sign or an empty chair in your front lawn), Romney volunteers may not knock on your door, but instead may be knocking on doors in precincts pollsters indicate may have “undecided” voters or where voters have flip-flopped between parties in past elections.

  • Carl Vehse

    “No Romney volunteer has knocked on our door. Does he even have volunteers? Or just paid workers and party loyalists?”

    If you live in a precinct that past election data have shown is strongly GOP (or have Romney sign or an empty chair in your front lawn), Romney volunteers may not knock on your door, but instead may be knocking on doors in precincts pollsters indicate may have “undecided” voters or where voters have flip-flopped between parties in past elections.

  • Cincinnatus

    Here in Wisconsin–another swing state–the airwaves are saturated with ads from both parties.

    One thing I have noticed is that commercials this year are full of outright lies. Just simple, factual untruths–especially in the Obama ads. While this isn’t unprecedented in American politics, I don’t remember a recent election when lying was so prevalent.

  • Cincinnatus

    Here in Wisconsin–another swing state–the airwaves are saturated with ads from both parties.

    One thing I have noticed is that commercials this year are full of outright lies. Just simple, factual untruths–especially in the Obama ads. While this isn’t unprecedented in American politics, I don’t remember a recent election when lying was so prevalent.

  • Tom Hering

    Lying should remain the exclusive privilege of officeholders.

  • Tom Hering

    Lying should remain the exclusive privilege of officeholders.

  • Kirk

    Dr. Veith, it’s because VA is a battleground state in name only. Obama won it in ’08 and will probably win it again, leading Romney to focus his campaigning in states where he has more of a chance, like Ohio and Florida. Plus, from what I hear, there’s no likely circumstance in which Obama could win reelection without carrying VA, so it’s central to his campaign’s strategy.

  • Kirk

    Dr. Veith, it’s because VA is a battleground state in name only. Obama won it in ’08 and will probably win it again, leading Romney to focus his campaigning in states where he has more of a chance, like Ohio and Florida. Plus, from what I hear, there’s no likely circumstance in which Obama could win reelection without carrying VA, so it’s central to his campaign’s strategy.

  • Julian

    Poll:

    Would you rather have Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons or Obama supporters come to your door?

    (I include Romney supporters in the “Mormons” category).

  • Julian

    Poll:

    Would you rather have Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons or Obama supporters come to your door?

    (I include Romney supporters in the “Mormons” category).

  • Cincinnatus

    Kirk@9:

    Is it really all that likely that Virginia will go for Obama again? Admittedly, I don’t live there anymore, so I don’t have an intuitive feel for the mood. But Obama’s Virginia victory in 2008 was an upset and an anomaly, and I don’t anticipate the conditions for such an upset aligning yet against in 2012.

    As for the rest of your comment, you’re right: Romney is focusing on state’s like Wisconsin where he perceives a chance of victory. However, I interpreted his relative absence from Virginia as a sign that he thinks Virginia is in the bag. It’s not like Virginia suddenly became a blue state in 2008 after many decades of redness.

    Also, my parents in Southern (i.e., Real) Virginia report that their phone landline and television is saturated with Romney ads. So maybe Romney is basically giving up on Northern Virginia–for obvious reasons–to focus on the television markets in Virginia that are still in play.

  • Cincinnatus

    Kirk@9:

    Is it really all that likely that Virginia will go for Obama again? Admittedly, I don’t live there anymore, so I don’t have an intuitive feel for the mood. But Obama’s Virginia victory in 2008 was an upset and an anomaly, and I don’t anticipate the conditions for such an upset aligning yet against in 2012.

    As for the rest of your comment, you’re right: Romney is focusing on state’s like Wisconsin where he perceives a chance of victory. However, I interpreted his relative absence from Virginia as a sign that he thinks Virginia is in the bag. It’s not like Virginia suddenly became a blue state in 2008 after many decades of redness.

    Also, my parents in Southern (i.e., Real) Virginia report that their phone landline and television is saturated with Romney ads. So maybe Romney is basically giving up on Northern Virginia–for obvious reasons–to focus on the television markets in Virginia that are still in play.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I know I do more than my fair share of coming-across-as-preachy-ness, but man, am I ever glad right now that we (1) don’t have a land line, and (2) hardly ever watch TV. I also have adblockers installed on my Web browsers.

    And you know what? I don’t think I’ve seen a campaign ad that I didn’t intentionally seek out on YouTube or whatever. I honestly have no idea what sorts of things people are sayig in order to get elected.

    If anything, this state of bliss has led to my being more ignorant than I should be (I thought the arrow of causality went the other way in that cliche). If it weren’t for this blog, I could probably forget altogether that there’s an election in a month or so.

    Not that Oregon is probably the most-targeted state, anyhow. I think. I guess I really don’t know. And isn’t that nice?

    …Actually, now that I think about it, a couple of nights ago, someone with a clipboard knocked on our door. Usually those people are asking for contributions to some environmental advocacy group. I don’t know what this guy wanted, because it was dark already, and I just feel that door-knockers should all go home when it gets dark. Sorry, Clipboard Guy.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I know I do more than my fair share of coming-across-as-preachy-ness, but man, am I ever glad right now that we (1) don’t have a land line, and (2) hardly ever watch TV. I also have adblockers installed on my Web browsers.

    And you know what? I don’t think I’ve seen a campaign ad that I didn’t intentionally seek out on YouTube or whatever. I honestly have no idea what sorts of things people are sayig in order to get elected.

    If anything, this state of bliss has led to my being more ignorant than I should be (I thought the arrow of causality went the other way in that cliche). If it weren’t for this blog, I could probably forget altogether that there’s an election in a month or so.

    Not that Oregon is probably the most-targeted state, anyhow. I think. I guess I really don’t know. And isn’t that nice?

    …Actually, now that I think about it, a couple of nights ago, someone with a clipboard knocked on our door. Usually those people are asking for contributions to some environmental advocacy group. I don’t know what this guy wanted, because it was dark already, and I just feel that door-knockers should all go home when it gets dark. Sorry, Clipboard Guy.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus said (@7):

    Commercials this year are full of outright lies. Just simple, factual untruths–especially in the Obama ads. While this isn’t unprecedented in American politics, I don’t remember a recent election when lying was so prevalent.

    Official Obama ads? Or those merely in favor of him? If the latter, wouldn’t this likely be the result of the Citizens United decision and all the many more PAC-run ads that are floating around this year? That’s my impression.

    The PACs certainly seem to feel more unhindered by anything resembling facts, compared to the official campaigns.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus said (@7):

    Commercials this year are full of outright lies. Just simple, factual untruths–especially in the Obama ads. While this isn’t unprecedented in American politics, I don’t remember a recent election when lying was so prevalent.

    Official Obama ads? Or those merely in favor of him? If the latter, wouldn’t this likely be the result of the Citizens United decision and all the many more PAC-run ads that are floating around this year? That’s my impression.

    The PACs certainly seem to feel more unhindered by anything resembling facts, compared to the official campaigns.

  • Kimberly

    During the 2008 campaign my parents got a 3AM robo-call from Obama while I was home on break. In annoyance I e-mailed the campaign to complain. After that my inbox got several campaign ads despite the fact that I had asked not to be added to any mailing list–and clearly stated I was a registered Republican. And to beat all, somehow volunteers crosschecked my name with address records and CAME TO MY PARENTS’ HOUSE to ask if they could count on me for support! I got a phone call from my mom asking me if there was anything I wanted to tell her about my political leanings. Needless to say, I hate all robo-calls.

  • Kimberly

    During the 2008 campaign my parents got a 3AM robo-call from Obama while I was home on break. In annoyance I e-mailed the campaign to complain. After that my inbox got several campaign ads despite the fact that I had asked not to be added to any mailing list–and clearly stated I was a registered Republican. And to beat all, somehow volunteers crosschecked my name with address records and CAME TO MY PARENTS’ HOUSE to ask if they could count on me for support! I got a phone call from my mom asking me if there was anything I wanted to tell her about my political leanings. Needless to say, I hate all robo-calls.

  • WebMonk

    No landline at my house, so no robocalls. Haven’t gotten any people coming around door to door either.

    For those of you who really want to screw with the robocalls, just set your phone down and let it run – it costs a bit more for them to do that than if you hang up.

  • WebMonk

    No landline at my house, so no robocalls. Haven’t gotten any people coming around door to door either.

    For those of you who really want to screw with the robocalls, just set your phone down and let it run – it costs a bit more for them to do that than if you hang up.

  • Kirk

    @11

    I think ’08 was surprising because of how influential NoVa ended up being on the vote tally. Southern VA, which accounts for the vast majority of the land, is rural and conservative. They elect conservative reps to congress and conservative governors. But NoVa tends to be more urban and liberal. It’s all a question of who shows up to the polls.

    From my viewpoint, it seems that Obama will take it. NoVa has only grown and is populated by people that are more likely to go to the polls (upper-class, well educated types). Unemployment in VA is low and the conservative in the Senate race has been losing ground, of late. Plus, every poll (including FOX News) has Obama ahead by 3-7 points. To me, everything points to VA swinging blue this time around.

  • Kirk

    @11

    I think ’08 was surprising because of how influential NoVa ended up being on the vote tally. Southern VA, which accounts for the vast majority of the land, is rural and conservative. They elect conservative reps to congress and conservative governors. But NoVa tends to be more urban and liberal. It’s all a question of who shows up to the polls.

    From my viewpoint, it seems that Obama will take it. NoVa has only grown and is populated by people that are more likely to go to the polls (upper-class, well educated types). Unemployment in VA is low and the conservative in the Senate race has been losing ground, of late. Plus, every poll (including FOX News) has Obama ahead by 3-7 points. To me, everything points to VA swinging blue this time around.

  • Robin

    I think Obama has it in the bag. The Republicans act like they aren’t entirely sure they want to win. I guess they figure if this ship is going to sink it might as well sink with a Democrat in power. Maybe they figure if he has eight years and things totally tank, they will have a better chance in four years.

  • Robin

    I think Obama has it in the bag. The Republicans act like they aren’t entirely sure they want to win. I guess they figure if this ship is going to sink it might as well sink with a Democrat in power. Maybe they figure if he has eight years and things totally tank, they will have a better chance in four years.

  • WebMonk

    Robin, that’s a strong possibility. I’m not a fan of the Republican party, and I’ve had that thought too. If President Obama gains a second term, and the US continues to slog along in an economic mire, then whoever comes after (Hillary?) will have a really tough fight.

    Not insurmountable, but very tough.

  • WebMonk

    Robin, that’s a strong possibility. I’m not a fan of the Republican party, and I’ve had that thought too. If President Obama gains a second term, and the US continues to slog along in an economic mire, then whoever comes after (Hillary?) will have a really tough fight.

    Not insurmountable, but very tough.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    And those (@17, 18) are pretty much the arguments one started to hear in 2004 from the Democratic side.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    And those (@17, 18) are pretty much the arguments one started to hear in 2004 from the Democratic side.

  • Cincinnatus

    Kirk@16:

    I agree with your general assessment to the extent that I won’t be surprised if Obama takes Virginia again, particularly given the unfortunate infestation of NoVa by carpetbaggers.

    But I don’t think it’s a sure thing, and it’s simply not the case that Romney has abandoned Virginia (again, if my parents are telling the truth). If you’re an accountant for the Romney campaign, why would you spend money on ads in NoVa anyway? The NoVa television market is the DC market, spanning DC, Maryland, and NoVa. DC and Maryland are absolutely not in play for Romney, so I suspect the campaign doesn’t see the value in buying expensive ads (in an expensive region) in hopes of mobilizing the few conservatives left in Fairfax, Arlington, and Alexandria–which themselves are heavily blue counties.

  • Cincinnatus

    Kirk@16:

    I agree with your general assessment to the extent that I won’t be surprised if Obama takes Virginia again, particularly given the unfortunate infestation of NoVa by carpetbaggers.

    But I don’t think it’s a sure thing, and it’s simply not the case that Romney has abandoned Virginia (again, if my parents are telling the truth). If you’re an accountant for the Romney campaign, why would you spend money on ads in NoVa anyway? The NoVa television market is the DC market, spanning DC, Maryland, and NoVa. DC and Maryland are absolutely not in play for Romney, so I suspect the campaign doesn’t see the value in buying expensive ads (in an expensive region) in hopes of mobilizing the few conservatives left in Fairfax, Arlington, and Alexandria–which themselves are heavily blue counties.

  • Kathy

    I got a live call on my cell phone from an Obama campaigner. At one point, years ago, my 23-year old son had used the same cell number; that’s my only explanation for the call. My husband gets mail from the Romney campaign. Other than that, we wouldn’t know it was an election year. We’re in PA, which I think has been a contested state in the past.

  • Kathy

    I got a live call on my cell phone from an Obama campaigner. At one point, years ago, my 23-year old son had used the same cell number; that’s my only explanation for the call. My husband gets mail from the Romney campaign. Other than that, we wouldn’t know it was an election year. We’re in PA, which I think has been a contested state in the past.

  • DonS

    I live in CA, so never see ads. We only see the candidates for fundraisers.

    VA is absolutely a swing state, and there is no way the Romney campaign would not be contesting it. It’s almost vital for Republican hopes, and trended strongly Republican in 2010. I think Cincinnatus hits the reason for Dr. Veith not seeing many Romney ads in NoVa. The D.C. media market is expensive, and neither D.C. nor MD are in play. He probably thinks his money is better spent in juicing downstate turnout. I do wonder where all of the Romney money is going. Obama got out early with his negative ads and has successfully defined Romney on his terms. Romney needs to respond, hard and quickly, and is also going to have to go sharply negative to win, unfortunately.

  • DonS

    I live in CA, so never see ads. We only see the candidates for fundraisers.

    VA is absolutely a swing state, and there is no way the Romney campaign would not be contesting it. It’s almost vital for Republican hopes, and trended strongly Republican in 2010. I think Cincinnatus hits the reason for Dr. Veith not seeing many Romney ads in NoVa. The D.C. media market is expensive, and neither D.C. nor MD are in play. He probably thinks his money is better spent in juicing downstate turnout. I do wonder where all of the Romney money is going. Obama got out early with his negative ads and has successfully defined Romney on his terms. Romney needs to respond, hard and quickly, and is also going to have to go sharply negative to win, unfortunately.

  • P.C.

    Forget about the current TV and radio commercials and the dinner disturbing robo calls. Just wait for the debates which will be the REAL commercials…the live commercials. No doubt the REAL Obama and Romney will have to come out and explain where they will lead this country in the next four years and personally say in front of millions of Americans (unless there is a NFL football game on), “I’m Barack Obama or I’m Mitt Romney and I approve of this commercial.”

  • P.C.

    Forget about the current TV and radio commercials and the dinner disturbing robo calls. Just wait for the debates which will be the REAL commercials…the live commercials. No doubt the REAL Obama and Romney will have to come out and explain where they will lead this country in the next four years and personally say in front of millions of Americans (unless there is a NFL football game on), “I’m Barack Obama or I’m Mitt Romney and I approve of this commercial.”

  • Trey

    Rasmussen poll is the most accurate and is not weighted toward Dems. Plus if independence go with Mitt he’ll win.

  • Trey

    Rasmussen poll is the most accurate and is not weighted toward Dems. Plus if independence go with Mitt he’ll win.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD@13:

    Good question. I’m not enough of a masochist to pay closer attention to these commercials to discover their source. The false claim that stands out to me most in these ads–and a claim that’s apparently being repeated by the actual Obama campaign–is that Romney wants to raise taxes. Now, unless the G.O.P. finally managed to divorce itself from Grover Norquist without losing the house and kids, this is blatantly untrue. Egregiously untrue. (For better or worse.)

    Apparently, the “grounds” for the claim–according to Biden, anyway–are that the Romney campaign doesn’t provide an explicit plan for reforming Social Security, so they must obviously be planning to raise taxes on the “middle class.” Seriously? I mean, really? Is that obvious?

    Of course, both sides most certainly are guilty of fabrications in this election. But in the ads being shown in Wisconsin, that claim in particular stood out to me. Oddly enough, Romney’s ads have mostly involved “something something China.”

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD@13:

    Good question. I’m not enough of a masochist to pay closer attention to these commercials to discover their source. The false claim that stands out to me most in these ads–and a claim that’s apparently being repeated by the actual Obama campaign–is that Romney wants to raise taxes. Now, unless the G.O.P. finally managed to divorce itself from Grover Norquist without losing the house and kids, this is blatantly untrue. Egregiously untrue. (For better or worse.)

    Apparently, the “grounds” for the claim–according to Biden, anyway–are that the Romney campaign doesn’t provide an explicit plan for reforming Social Security, so they must obviously be planning to raise taxes on the “middle class.” Seriously? I mean, really? Is that obvious?

    Of course, both sides most certainly are guilty of fabrications in this election. But in the ads being shown in Wisconsin, that claim in particular stood out to me. Oddly enough, Romney’s ads have mostly involved “something something China.”

  • Jimmy Veith

    The reason the Obama campaign is claiming that Romney will raise taxes on the middle class is because Romney promised an across the board 20% decrease in income tax rates for everyone, but said that it would be “revenue neutral”.

    An independent tax organization (I forgot which one), did a study and said that the only way you could reduce the tax rates by 20% and make it revenue neutral is to eliminate practically all the deductions (such as mortgage interest deductions and charitable deductions). If this was done, it would have a more negative impact on the middle class, and would result in an average increase in tax liability for a middle class family of 4 of approximately $2,000.00 per year. As Bill Clinton said, it is a matter of simple “Arithmetic”.

  • Jimmy Veith

    The reason the Obama campaign is claiming that Romney will raise taxes on the middle class is because Romney promised an across the board 20% decrease in income tax rates for everyone, but said that it would be “revenue neutral”.

    An independent tax organization (I forgot which one), did a study and said that the only way you could reduce the tax rates by 20% and make it revenue neutral is to eliminate practically all the deductions (such as mortgage interest deductions and charitable deductions). If this was done, it would have a more negative impact on the middle class, and would result in an average increase in tax liability for a middle class family of 4 of approximately $2,000.00 per year. As Bill Clinton said, it is a matter of simple “Arithmetic”.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jimmy,

    So that claim/tactic doesn’t seem at all disingenuous to you? Romney officially claims that he won’t raise taxes–which is probably true, given Republican policy of late–but an “independent organization” claims he will anyway? Therefore he will.

    Ok.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jimmy,

    So that claim/tactic doesn’t seem at all disingenuous to you? Romney officially claims that he won’t raise taxes–which is probably true, given Republican policy of late–but an “independent organization” claims he will anyway? Therefore he will.

    Ok.

  • DonS

    Jimmy @ 26: I think you meant “allegedly non-partisan”, not “independent”. As I recall, it was something like the Urban Policy Institute, which is an extremely left-leaning think tank.

    And, to arrive at their unsupported conclusion, they relied on an assumption that the deduction phase-out would apply to all income levels. When, in fact, Romney specifically states that he would only phase them out for upper income earners.

    Note that I disagree with deduction phase-outs based on income, as making the tax code extremely complex. But, Romney’s actual plan does not raise middle income taxes. Obama knows it, but does not care.

  • DonS

    Jimmy @ 26: I think you meant “allegedly non-partisan”, not “independent”. As I recall, it was something like the Urban Policy Institute, which is an extremely left-leaning think tank.

    And, to arrive at their unsupported conclusion, they relied on an assumption that the deduction phase-out would apply to all income levels. When, in fact, Romney specifically states that he would only phase them out for upper income earners.

    Note that I disagree with deduction phase-outs based on income, as making the tax code extremely complex. But, Romney’s actual plan does not raise middle income taxes. Obama knows it, but does not care.

  • Jimmy Veith

    I don’t know what he will actually do because he won’t state what deductions he would eliminate. However, I think he has made three mathematically inconsistent promises.

    1. He will reduce tax rates for everyone by 20%.
    2. The changes he proposes will be revenue neutral.
    3. He will not raise taxes on the middle class.

    I don’t know which promise he would keep, but he can’t keep all three.

  • Jimmy Veith

    I don’t know what he will actually do because he won’t state what deductions he would eliminate. However, I think he has made three mathematically inconsistent promises.

    1. He will reduce tax rates for everyone by 20%.
    2. The changes he proposes will be revenue neutral.
    3. He will not raise taxes on the middle class.

    I don’t know which promise he would keep, but he can’t keep all three.

  • DonS

    Wait a minute, Jimmy @ 29! Are you saying that Obama’s budget plan and promises are mathematically consistent? Please say yes, because the follow-up comments will be fun if you do.

  • DonS

    Wait a minute, Jimmy @ 29! Are you saying that Obama’s budget plan and promises are mathematically consistent? Please say yes, because the follow-up comments will be fun if you do.

  • Jimmy Veith

    The president’s promises are these:

    1. For those making more than $250,000.00 the Bush tax cuts will end, and they will pay the tax rates they did during Clinton Administration.

    2. Total Revenue will increase.

    There is nothing inconsistent with these promises, unless you believe in “supply side economics” which I do not. The Bush tax cuts did not result in an increase in revenue as was promised, but helped contribute to the massive national debt.

  • Jimmy Veith

    The president’s promises are these:

    1. For those making more than $250,000.00 the Bush tax cuts will end, and they will pay the tax rates they did during Clinton Administration.

    2. Total Revenue will increase.

    There is nothing inconsistent with these promises, unless you believe in “supply side economics” which I do not. The Bush tax cuts did not result in an increase in revenue as was promised, but helped contribute to the massive national debt.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jimmy@29:

    In case you don’t want to take DonS up on his tempting offer–I’m salivating myself–let me remind you: the issue here isn’t whether Romney’s campaign promises are “mathematically consistent” or even patently absurd. The question is whether the Obama campaign is lying about them, or at the very least being “generous” with the facts.

    I think it’s fairly clear that Romney is explicitly claiming that he won’t raise taxes on the middle class. You shouldn’t be surprised, then, that I question the veracity of an Obama ad that claims Romney wants to raise taxes on the middle class.

    Now, given his other promises, is Romney’s claim that he won’t raise middle-class taxes even viable? I don’t know; probably not. But that’s not what Obama’s response. Obama is outright asserting, without qualification, that Romney plans to raise taxes on the middle class. Can’t we just admit that this is dishonest?

    As I said above, I’ve no doubt that both sides are doing it. From my perch in Wisconsin, though, it was this particular Obama ad that obtruded as a particularly egregious violation of the truth.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jimmy@29:

    In case you don’t want to take DonS up on his tempting offer–I’m salivating myself–let me remind you: the issue here isn’t whether Romney’s campaign promises are “mathematically consistent” or even patently absurd. The question is whether the Obama campaign is lying about them, or at the very least being “generous” with the facts.

    I think it’s fairly clear that Romney is explicitly claiming that he won’t raise taxes on the middle class. You shouldn’t be surprised, then, that I question the veracity of an Obama ad that claims Romney wants to raise taxes on the middle class.

    Now, given his other promises, is Romney’s claim that he won’t raise middle-class taxes even viable? I don’t know; probably not. But that’s not what Obama’s response. Obama is outright asserting, without qualification, that Romney plans to raise taxes on the middle class. Can’t we just admit that this is dishonest?

    As I said above, I’ve no doubt that both sides are doing it. From my perch in Wisconsin, though, it was this particular Obama ad that obtruded as a particularly egregious violation of the truth.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jimmy@31:

    Well, you bit the bait. In that case, I’m curious as to how Obama plans to reduce the deficit by over “$4 trillion” over the next decade. What’s on the chopping block? Given his highly ambiguous promises (articulated on his campaign website) to “improve education,” “invest in clean energy,” and “strengthen Medicare,” for example, I’m gonna call his plans “mathematically inconsistent.

    Then again, Obama wasn’t foolish enough to propose specific policies or numbers. I guess mathematics is impossible without numbers.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jimmy@31:

    Well, you bit the bait. In that case, I’m curious as to how Obama plans to reduce the deficit by over “$4 trillion” over the next decade. What’s on the chopping block? Given his highly ambiguous promises (articulated on his campaign website) to “improve education,” “invest in clean energy,” and “strengthen Medicare,” for example, I’m gonna call his plans “mathematically inconsistent.

    Then again, Obama wasn’t foolish enough to propose specific policies or numbers. I guess mathematics is impossible without numbers.

  • Jimmy Veith

    I my the first to admit that raising taxes on people making over $250,000.00 will not, in itself, eliminate the national debt. But I never claimed that to be the case.

    We will probably need to reach some type of “grand bargain” in the lame duck session or early next year which will be similar to the Simpson-Bowls plan, with some tax increases, cuts in domestic and military spending and some entitlement reform. When the recession ends, we may have to raise taxes on people making less than $250,000.00, which is OK with me.

    When Romney promises tax cuts for everyone and a 2.1 trillion dollar increase in defense spending, I can’t take him seriously about his promise to reduce the national debt. His party has a very bad track record with this issue.

  • Jimmy Veith

    I my the first to admit that raising taxes on people making over $250,000.00 will not, in itself, eliminate the national debt. But I never claimed that to be the case.

    We will probably need to reach some type of “grand bargain” in the lame duck session or early next year which will be similar to the Simpson-Bowls plan, with some tax increases, cuts in domestic and military spending and some entitlement reform. When the recession ends, we may have to raise taxes on people making less than $250,000.00, which is OK with me.

    When Romney promises tax cuts for everyone and a 2.1 trillion dollar increase in defense spending, I can’t take him seriously about his promise to reduce the national debt. His party has a very bad track record with this issue.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jimmy@34:

    I’m putting my foot down: I refuse to discuss substantive policy issues with you until you admit–clearly, in black and white–that the Obama ad we were discussing is dishonest. Obama and Biden are lying when they claim, without qualification or explanation, that Romney wants to raise taxes on the middle class.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jimmy@34:

    I’m putting my foot down: I refuse to discuss substantive policy issues with you until you admit–clearly, in black and white–that the Obama ad we were discussing is dishonest. Obama and Biden are lying when they claim, without qualification or explanation, that Romney wants to raise taxes on the middle class.

  • Jimmy Veith
  • Jimmy Veith
  • Cincinnatus

    Jimmy, we’ve already discussed this study. The study is fine insofar as it shows that Romney’s campaign promises are a bunch of hot air–just like most of Obama’s promises, and most campaign promises in all of history.

    The study does not show that Romney actually plans to raise taxes on the middle class. The study does show that, if Romney actually wants to execute his plans, he would probably have to raise taxes eventually for the plan to remain revenue-neutral. But, again, that is not part of Romney’s actual plan.

    Obama is lying. Is that so hard to admit? I mean, if it would make it easier to you, feel free to find an instance of Romney lying in his ads. I will freely admit it because I’m not a partisan hack.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jimmy, we’ve already discussed this study. The study is fine insofar as it shows that Romney’s campaign promises are a bunch of hot air–just like most of Obama’s promises, and most campaign promises in all of history.

    The study does not show that Romney actually plans to raise taxes on the middle class. The study does show that, if Romney actually wants to execute his plans, he would probably have to raise taxes eventually for the plan to remain revenue-neutral. But, again, that is not part of Romney’s actual plan.

    Obama is lying. Is that so hard to admit? I mean, if it would make it easier to you, feel free to find an instance of Romney lying in his ads. I will freely admit it because I’m not a partisan hack.

  • mikeb

    Jimmy @ 31

    The Bush tax cuts did result in increased revenue according to Forbes and resulted in a “a 44% increase in revenues after the so-called ‘tax break for the wealthy.’”

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/beltway/2012/02/22/after-bush-tax-cuts-payments-by-wealthy-actually-increased/

  • mikeb

    Jimmy @ 31

    The Bush tax cuts did result in increased revenue according to Forbes and resulted in a “a 44% increase in revenues after the so-called ‘tax break for the wealthy.’”

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/beltway/2012/02/22/after-bush-tax-cuts-payments-by-wealthy-actually-increased/

  • mikeb

    I should add: You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.

  • mikeb

    I should add: You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.

  • Jimmy Veith

    When you look at how the bush tax cuts reduced revenue as a percent of GDP, the facts support my assertion that the Bush Tax breaks reduces the amount of revenue that would have been collected had they not occurred. See the table in this article:
    http://joelmathis.blogspot.com/2011/10/did-bush-tax-cuts-increase-or-reduce.html#!/2011/10/did-bush-tax-cuts-increase-or-reduce.html

  • Jimmy Veith

    When you look at how the bush tax cuts reduced revenue as a percent of GDP, the facts support my assertion that the Bush Tax breaks reduces the amount of revenue that would have been collected had they not occurred. See the table in this article:
    http://joelmathis.blogspot.com/2011/10/did-bush-tax-cuts-increase-or-reduce.html#!/2011/10/did-bush-tax-cuts-increase-or-reduce.html

  • Jimmy Veith

    P.S.: I think I just won this debate. I am now going to go watch a movie with my wife.

    Forward!

  • Jimmy Veith

    P.S.: I think I just won this debate. I am now going to go watch a movie with my wife.

    Forward!

  • helen

    I like “robocalls” so much that I took out my land line last year already.
    That’s about all I got on it, and I paid for the privilege! No more!

  • helen

    I like “robocalls” so much that I took out my land line last year already.
    That’s about all I got on it, and I paid for the privilege! No more!

  • mikeb

    Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy!

    You said that the Bush tax cuts “did not result in an increase in revenue as was promised, but helped contribute to the massive national debt.” You didn’t mention them as a percentage of GDP and it’s immaterial.

    As we see, actual revenue increased. The increase in debt is a result of too much spending, spending that increased much faster than revenue. The tax cuts were not the problem.

  • mikeb

    Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy!

    You said that the Bush tax cuts “did not result in an increase in revenue as was promised, but helped contribute to the massive national debt.” You didn’t mention them as a percentage of GDP and it’s immaterial.

    As we see, actual revenue increased. The increase in debt is a result of too much spending, spending that increased much faster than revenue. The tax cuts were not the problem.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jimmy,

    Which debate, exactly, did you win? Because it seems like you still haven’t conceded that Obama’s ad is deceptive–even though, as I’ve plainly shown, it is.

    As for the Bush tax cut thing, that would be a fun debate to have 8 years ago. The verdict is mixed regarding whether they raised revenue or contributed to the deficit. There’s actually some very good evidence showing that they raised revenue–for a while, at least. But there’s also evidence that, in the long run, they’ve decreased revenue. So can we drop it here?

  • Cincinnatus

    Jimmy,

    Which debate, exactly, did you win? Because it seems like you still haven’t conceded that Obama’s ad is deceptive–even though, as I’ve plainly shown, it is.

    As for the Bush tax cut thing, that would be a fun debate to have 8 years ago. The verdict is mixed regarding whether they raised revenue or contributed to the deficit. There’s actually some very good evidence showing that they raised revenue–for a while, at least. But there’s also evidence that, in the long run, they’ve decreased revenue. So can we drop it here?

  • Jimmy Veith

    Cincinatus @ 37 said:

    “The study does not show that Romney actually plans to raise taxes on the middle class. The study does show that, if Romney actually wants to execute his plans, he would probably have to raise taxes eventually for the plan to remain revenue-neutral.”

    This admission is good enough for me.

    I would also go one step further to show that I am not a complete “partisan hack” and admit that if I was writing the add, I would be more precise in my criticism of Romney’s tax plan and explain why it would have to raise taxes on the middle class as I did in my comments @26 and 29.

    The add itself states:

    “Now he has a plan that would give millionaires another tax break and raises taxes on middle class families by up to two thousand dollars a year.”

    There is a limit as to how much one can explain in a 30 second add, but I think that the brevity of the last half of the sentence resulted in a statement could be misleading.

  • Jimmy Veith

    Cincinatus @ 37 said:

    “The study does not show that Romney actually plans to raise taxes on the middle class. The study does show that, if Romney actually wants to execute his plans, he would probably have to raise taxes eventually for the plan to remain revenue-neutral.”

    This admission is good enough for me.

    I would also go one step further to show that I am not a complete “partisan hack” and admit that if I was writing the add, I would be more precise in my criticism of Romney’s tax plan and explain why it would have to raise taxes on the middle class as I did in my comments @26 and 29.

    The add itself states:

    “Now he has a plan that would give millionaires another tax break and raises taxes on middle class families by up to two thousand dollars a year.”

    There is a limit as to how much one can explain in a 30 second add, but I think that the brevity of the last half of the sentence resulted in a statement could be misleading.

  • Jimmy Veith

    Mikeb @ 43. I still believe that I am correct when I stated that the Bush tax cuts did not result in an increase in revenue. There are many factors that determine gross revenue. The biggest factor being the GDP, which is why the percentage of revenue to GDP is such an important statistic. If Bush had kept the Clinton tax rates, there would have been more revenue and a reduced national debt.

    Now I know what you are about to say. That the reduced tax rates caused the increase in GDP. I don’t think that is the case, but I suppose that is an argument for another day.

  • Jimmy Veith

    Mikeb @ 43. I still believe that I am correct when I stated that the Bush tax cuts did not result in an increase in revenue. There are many factors that determine gross revenue. The biggest factor being the GDP, which is why the percentage of revenue to GDP is such an important statistic. If Bush had kept the Clinton tax rates, there would have been more revenue and a reduced national debt.

    Now I know what you are about to say. That the reduced tax rates caused the increase in GDP. I don’t think that is the case, but I suppose that is an argument for another day.

  • fjsteve

    I have yet to see a campaign ad or speech–at least one that makes substantive claims–to which I can say without qualification, “Yes, that’s all true!” However, I have seen a great many where I can say “That’s false!” or “That’s misleading”. Therefore, since I’m not informed enough on every issue to know whether they are making true or false statements, I will continue to assume every claim made in a campaign ad or speech ranges from dubious to outright false until proven differently. That is, I believe, the only logical assumption to make regarding campaign claims. Thus, I see no reason to pay the least bit of attention to any of them except for the amusement value–which, by definition, requires to rational thought.

    Now, since both candidates have basically been campaigning for the last four years, this logic leads to some pretty disheartening consequences.

  • fjsteve

    I have yet to see a campaign ad or speech–at least one that makes substantive claims–to which I can say without qualification, “Yes, that’s all true!” However, I have seen a great many where I can say “That’s false!” or “That’s misleading”. Therefore, since I’m not informed enough on every issue to know whether they are making true or false statements, I will continue to assume every claim made in a campaign ad or speech ranges from dubious to outright false until proven differently. That is, I believe, the only logical assumption to make regarding campaign claims. Thus, I see no reason to pay the least bit of attention to any of them except for the amusement value–which, by definition, requires to rational thought.

    Now, since both candidates have basically been campaigning for the last four years, this logic leads to some pretty disheartening consequences.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    My dear brother: “Would have to” is not the same as “will.” An honest ad would say what you say, that Romney’s arithmetic is all off, that for his economic plan to balance out he “would have to” raise taxes on the middle class.

    But even then, I have noticed that Democrats have a problem of projecting their behavior onto Republicans, not noticing how Republicans have operated ever since the sainted Ronald Reagan. They believe, rightly or wrongly, in supply side (or “voodoo”) economics. They cut taxes, believing that the consequent stimulus in economic activity will raise revenue. If that doesn’t happen, they do not go back and raise the taxes they cut.

    If Romney gets elected and passes his economic plan, taxes will get cut. Maybe he “would have to” raise them to achieve revenue neutrality. But if the revenues aren’t neutral, he’s not going to raise them. The deficit will go up. But for supply-siders, that is a preferable outcome to raising taxes.

    It would be as if Al Gore ran ads saying “Bush will raise your taxes.” Or, to take an actual example, it is Walter Mondale running against Ronald Reagan in what has been rated as one of the biggest campaign blunders of all time: “Let’s tell the truth. Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won’t tell you. I just did.” Well, Reagan did cut taxes because Mondale didn’t get elected.

    Don’t worry, brother: I don’t think Obama is careless enough to say such a campaign-shifting blooper. Romney is the one prone to that kind of gaffe. But to run ads maintaining that Reagan or Bush or Romney “will” raise your taxes is a case of “there you go again.”

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    My dear brother: “Would have to” is not the same as “will.” An honest ad would say what you say, that Romney’s arithmetic is all off, that for his economic plan to balance out he “would have to” raise taxes on the middle class.

    But even then, I have noticed that Democrats have a problem of projecting their behavior onto Republicans, not noticing how Republicans have operated ever since the sainted Ronald Reagan. They believe, rightly or wrongly, in supply side (or “voodoo”) economics. They cut taxes, believing that the consequent stimulus in economic activity will raise revenue. If that doesn’t happen, they do not go back and raise the taxes they cut.

    If Romney gets elected and passes his economic plan, taxes will get cut. Maybe he “would have to” raise them to achieve revenue neutrality. But if the revenues aren’t neutral, he’s not going to raise them. The deficit will go up. But for supply-siders, that is a preferable outcome to raising taxes.

    It would be as if Al Gore ran ads saying “Bush will raise your taxes.” Or, to take an actual example, it is Walter Mondale running against Ronald Reagan in what has been rated as one of the biggest campaign blunders of all time: “Let’s tell the truth. Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won’t tell you. I just did.” Well, Reagan did cut taxes because Mondale didn’t get elected.

    Don’t worry, brother: I don’t think Obama is careless enough to say such a campaign-shifting blooper. Romney is the one prone to that kind of gaffe. But to run ads maintaining that Reagan or Bush or Romney “will” raise your taxes is a case of “there you go again.”

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    How about this alternative; the Republicans in Congress make Americans feel the full actual cost of the entitlement policies?

    Take Medicare, for example. The Dems say they will keep Medicare as is, which is fiscally unsustainable. Dems have the advantage here politically, because Americans haven’t been made to feel the pain of paying up front for the cost of the status quo. So, the GOP should make them feel it by passing a bill in the House called the Full Funding of Medicare Bill. The bill raises the payroll tax high enough to fully cover Medicare’s annual cost (which it doesn’t do now), and have the payroll tax increase automatically every year at the same rate Medicare costs rise.

    If Democrats block the bill, run commercials in Florida and other swing states asking why Democrats want to let Medicare to go bankrupt. If Americans have to choose between the status quo and some Medicare reform, they’ll pick the status quo; but if you make them feel the full cost of the status quo, then they’ll develop an appreciation for proposals to reform Medicare.

    The GOP could do the same thing with all other entitlements. After any bill is passed which includes spending, the Republicans should pass a bill raising taxes on all Americans to offset the cost of any additional government benefits the newly entitled.

    The key to all of this is to stop talking about tax cuts all the time, because that is just pandering, too, albeit to a different constituency. Instead, Republicans should be the responsible party, and allow the Dems to reveal themselves as irresponsible spenders.

    This would really get the attention of low wage taxpayers like my then thirteen year-old son when he had to pay his own payroll taxes.

    It is important to raise the payroll tax and focus on keeping that tied to the programs it is supposed to fund and focus attention on the interest paid on the debt.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    How about this alternative; the Republicans in Congress make Americans feel the full actual cost of the entitlement policies?

    Take Medicare, for example. The Dems say they will keep Medicare as is, which is fiscally unsustainable. Dems have the advantage here politically, because Americans haven’t been made to feel the pain of paying up front for the cost of the status quo. So, the GOP should make them feel it by passing a bill in the House called the Full Funding of Medicare Bill. The bill raises the payroll tax high enough to fully cover Medicare’s annual cost (which it doesn’t do now), and have the payroll tax increase automatically every year at the same rate Medicare costs rise.

    If Democrats block the bill, run commercials in Florida and other swing states asking why Democrats want to let Medicare to go bankrupt. If Americans have to choose between the status quo and some Medicare reform, they’ll pick the status quo; but if you make them feel the full cost of the status quo, then they’ll develop an appreciation for proposals to reform Medicare.

    The GOP could do the same thing with all other entitlements. After any bill is passed which includes spending, the Republicans should pass a bill raising taxes on all Americans to offset the cost of any additional government benefits the newly entitled.

    The key to all of this is to stop talking about tax cuts all the time, because that is just pandering, too, albeit to a different constituency. Instead, Republicans should be the responsible party, and allow the Dems to reveal themselves as irresponsible spenders.

    This would really get the attention of low wage taxpayers like my then thirteen year-old son when he had to pay his own payroll taxes.

    It is important to raise the payroll tax and focus on keeping that tied to the programs it is supposed to fund and focus attention on the interest paid on the debt.

  • Jimmy Veith

    To my big brother, “Dr. Veith”: I was about to say that I agree with most of what you said @ 48. However, on reflection, it appears that it is you who agree with me.

  • Jimmy Veith

    To my big brother, “Dr. Veith”: I was about to say that I agree with most of what you said @ 48. However, on reflection, it appears that it is you who agree with me.

  • mikeb

    sg @ 49

    Sounds like a nice approach.

    And let’s not forget that poll out this week that showed something like 79% believe all should pay income taxes. We’ve got to broaden the base — as more people feel the pain cause by these policies they’ll be more likely to look at reasonable alternatives because they’ll have skin in the game.

  • mikeb

    sg @ 49

    Sounds like a nice approach.

    And let’s not forget that poll out this week that showed something like 79% believe all should pay income taxes. We’ve got to broaden the base — as more people feel the pain cause by these policies they’ll be more likely to look at reasonable alternatives because they’ll have skin in the game.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @50

    lol,

    we sure can tell you are brothers!

    “I agree with you.”

    no, wait

    I meant, “you agree with me.”

    whew, much better.

    too funny

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @50

    lol,

    we sure can tell you are brothers!

    “I agree with you.”

    no, wait

    I meant, “you agree with me.”

    whew, much better.

    too funny

  • Other Gary

    SG (@49), your proposal sounds refreshingly honest and responsible. Kudos! Probably for that reason, no one in congress of either party would have the courage to have his or her name associated with the bill. But that would be a great way to start cleaning up the mess we’re in, instead of just kicking the can down the road.

    Maybe we can propose another piece of legislation to go with it, one requiring any bill the House passes that includes spending increases be “translated” into normal, 12th grade English, with the price tag at the top, and summarized into no more than 3 pages. (It can include 200 pages of end notes for anyone who wants to delve into the details.)

    Fat chance for either, sadly.

  • Other Gary

    SG (@49), your proposal sounds refreshingly honest and responsible. Kudos! Probably for that reason, no one in congress of either party would have the courage to have his or her name associated with the bill. But that would be a great way to start cleaning up the mess we’re in, instead of just kicking the can down the road.

    Maybe we can propose another piece of legislation to go with it, one requiring any bill the House passes that includes spending increases be “translated” into normal, 12th grade English, with the price tag at the top, and summarized into no more than 3 pages. (It can include 200 pages of end notes for anyone who wants to delve into the details.)

    Fat chance for either, sadly.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    We can’t even get the president’s own party to vote for a budget written by them. The vote on the budget was at one point 0-99 against. The Congress is required to pass a budget. It should be the first item on the agenda. Republicans should champion a balanced budget that includes tax increases to cover the entire budget with no borrowing.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    We can’t even get the president’s own party to vote for a budget written by them. The vote on the budget was at one point 0-99 against. The Congress is required to pass a budget. It should be the first item on the agenda. Republicans should champion a balanced budget that includes tax increases to cover the entire budget with no borrowing.

  • fjsteve

    sg,

    So the Dems just start running ads that say the Republicans want to raise your taxes so that the super-rich don’t have to pay their fair share. Why should they have private jets and luxury yachts and off-shore accounts (queue picture of Mitt with some evil snarl on his face) in place of your Medicare? Furthermore, we don’t pass this Republican tax hike on the middle class your children’s lunch money will go away and your grandparents will be kicked out of their homes.

    Who do you think will be more successful?

  • fjsteve

    sg,

    So the Dems just start running ads that say the Republicans want to raise your taxes so that the super-rich don’t have to pay their fair share. Why should they have private jets and luxury yachts and off-shore accounts (queue picture of Mitt with some evil snarl on his face) in place of your Medicare? Furthermore, we don’t pass this Republican tax hike on the middle class your children’s lunch money will go away and your grandparents will be kicked out of their homes.

    Who do you think will be more successful?

  • Other Gary

    fjsteve–”Who do you think will be more successful?”

    In the long run or in the short run? In the short run, you may be right, with Dems claiming they’re simultaneously preserving a liberal social safety net AND also protecting middle and working class folks from tax hikes. In the short run, spin like that could get more Dems elected to congress. So what?

    In the long run, sg has to be right. Whatever we as a country want in terms of safety nets, entitlements, and pork barrel projects, will have to be paid for by someone. That means _eventually_ the same Dems would have to raise revenues to pay for all that stuff (probably by raising taxes), and they’d have to own it, or else grudgingly curtail spending. Either or.

    The one strategy that CAN’T work in the long run for either party is for the Federal government to keep borrowing money to stay solvent, which is what we’ve been doing to keep up appearances of being able to afford what we do on the revenues we got. That eventually ceases to be an option when folks like the Chinese aren’t interested any more in buying our paper–something sure to happen when/if our credit worthiness gets downgraded further.

  • Other Gary

    fjsteve–”Who do you think will be more successful?”

    In the long run or in the short run? In the short run, you may be right, with Dems claiming they’re simultaneously preserving a liberal social safety net AND also protecting middle and working class folks from tax hikes. In the short run, spin like that could get more Dems elected to congress. So what?

    In the long run, sg has to be right. Whatever we as a country want in terms of safety nets, entitlements, and pork barrel projects, will have to be paid for by someone. That means _eventually_ the same Dems would have to raise revenues to pay for all that stuff (probably by raising taxes), and they’d have to own it, or else grudgingly curtail spending. Either or.

    The one strategy that CAN’T work in the long run for either party is for the Federal government to keep borrowing money to stay solvent, which is what we’ve been doing to keep up appearances of being able to afford what we do on the revenues we got. That eventually ceases to be an option when folks like the Chinese aren’t interested any more in buying our paper–something sure to happen when/if our credit worthiness gets downgraded further.

  • fjsteve

    Other Gary,

    Of course sg is right about funding. But I would ask you, so what?

    There is a gaping disconnect between the voting public’s desire to fund programs and their apparent knowledge of where that funding originates. Democrats can blast Republicans for wanting to raise taxes on the middle class but once elected, they don’t have any compulsion to curtail taxes themselves, as long as they can make it appear those taxes are “fairly distributed”. In other words, the top wage earners pay more, the bottom pays nothing, and we’ll throw a couple of exemptions in there that raise the percentage of people who pay nothing by a couple percentage points. As Medicare continues towards insolvency, they just need to stand strong on the message that we can’t save Medicare on the backs of working Americans. As long as you keep voting for Republicans, the rich will never pay their fair share.

    Then the short run, of which you speak, may very well dictate legislation that affects the long run.

  • fjsteve

    Other Gary,

    Of course sg is right about funding. But I would ask you, so what?

    There is a gaping disconnect between the voting public’s desire to fund programs and their apparent knowledge of where that funding originates. Democrats can blast Republicans for wanting to raise taxes on the middle class but once elected, they don’t have any compulsion to curtail taxes themselves, as long as they can make it appear those taxes are “fairly distributed”. In other words, the top wage earners pay more, the bottom pays nothing, and we’ll throw a couple of exemptions in there that raise the percentage of people who pay nothing by a couple percentage points. As Medicare continues towards insolvency, they just need to stand strong on the message that we can’t save Medicare on the backs of working Americans. As long as you keep voting for Republicans, the rich will never pay their fair share.

    Then the short run, of which you speak, may very well dictate legislation that affects the long run.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Let’s remember the fundamental problem in the Soviet Union; we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us. Now that system had all sorts of brutal abuses that our liberal (thank God) society doesn’t tolerate. Still the problem remains of how to motivate people to work. People work for necessities and luxuries and status etc. This is very important because that all improves quality of life and causes economic growth. Our tax and spend system does what it was designed to do. It motivates the talented to contribute optimally and it subsidizes the worst workers which ends up keeping the worst of them out of the workforce. All the folks in that big middle have to keep working to pay the taxes for the subsidies and because inflation will eat up their income and savings which pay no interest because the gov’t gives banks money to loan. We subsidize the poor to move to better neighborhoods which motivates better workers to move away to newly built neighborhoods increasing demand for new housing and creating new jobs. There are tons of gov’t induced conditions that keep people competing and competing and working and working.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Let’s remember the fundamental problem in the Soviet Union; we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us. Now that system had all sorts of brutal abuses that our liberal (thank God) society doesn’t tolerate. Still the problem remains of how to motivate people to work. People work for necessities and luxuries and status etc. This is very important because that all improves quality of life and causes economic growth. Our tax and spend system does what it was designed to do. It motivates the talented to contribute optimally and it subsidizes the worst workers which ends up keeping the worst of them out of the workforce. All the folks in that big middle have to keep working to pay the taxes for the subsidies and because inflation will eat up their income and savings which pay no interest because the gov’t gives banks money to loan. We subsidize the poor to move to better neighborhoods which motivates better workers to move away to newly built neighborhoods increasing demand for new housing and creating new jobs. There are tons of gov’t induced conditions that keep people competing and competing and working and working.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    That eventually ceases to be an option when folks like the Chinese aren’t interested any more in buying our paper–something sure to happen when/if our credit worthiness gets downgraded further.

    Not interested in buying our paper?

    Well then there will be more for us:

    http://old-photos.blogspot.com/2008/02/wheelbarrow-full-of-money.html
    :D

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    That eventually ceases to be an option when folks like the Chinese aren’t interested any more in buying our paper–something sure to happen when/if our credit worthiness gets downgraded further.

    Not interested in buying our paper?

    Well then there will be more for us:

    http://old-photos.blogspot.com/2008/02/wheelbarrow-full-of-money.html
    :D

  • Other Gary

    fjsteve @57: “once elected, they don’t have any compulsion to curtail taxes themselves”

    This may be true. But I’m not saying government should be COMPELLED to curtail taxes. Frankly, I don’t mind if the electorate wants big government to spend a lot to provide services. Nor do I morally object to Americans with higher incomes being taxed at a higher rate. My point was simply economic, not moral, that getting a bunch of stuff from the government is great until you can’t pay for it anymore. This is why we borrow as much as we do, obviously, but also is why I mentioned (@53) kicking the can down the road–not a sustainable solution, especially if your nation’s credit is getting worse.

    Sure, Democrats would probably raise taxes if they were in control of both houses and the executive branch. Yes, I suspect some of them would want taxes raised on the “rich” by a lot, on the middle class some, so they could keep or expand the number who pay nothing. But at least things would be getting paid for. Up in 49, Sg wrote: “Republicans should be the responsible party, and allow the Dems to reveal themselves as irresponsible spenders.” I agree. Were Republicans to follow what Sg proposed, it wouldn’t compel Democrats to quit being spenders, but they’d have to own up to their policies, i.e., become _responsible_ spenders, the party the electorate could hold responsible when they see how much is being withheld from their paychecks.

  • Other Gary

    fjsteve @57: “once elected, they don’t have any compulsion to curtail taxes themselves”

    This may be true. But I’m not saying government should be COMPELLED to curtail taxes. Frankly, I don’t mind if the electorate wants big government to spend a lot to provide services. Nor do I morally object to Americans with higher incomes being taxed at a higher rate. My point was simply economic, not moral, that getting a bunch of stuff from the government is great until you can’t pay for it anymore. This is why we borrow as much as we do, obviously, but also is why I mentioned (@53) kicking the can down the road–not a sustainable solution, especially if your nation’s credit is getting worse.

    Sure, Democrats would probably raise taxes if they were in control of both houses and the executive branch. Yes, I suspect some of them would want taxes raised on the “rich” by a lot, on the middle class some, so they could keep or expand the number who pay nothing. But at least things would be getting paid for. Up in 49, Sg wrote: “Republicans should be the responsible party, and allow the Dems to reveal themselves as irresponsible spenders.” I agree. Were Republicans to follow what Sg proposed, it wouldn’t compel Democrats to quit being spenders, but they’d have to own up to their policies, i.e., become _responsible_ spenders, the party the electorate could hold responsible when they see how much is being withheld from their paychecks.

  • Cincinnatus

    Other Gary@60:

    Are you that naive? Since when has a Democratic Congress “paid for” anything?

  • Cincinnatus

    Other Gary@60:

    Are you that naive? Since when has a Democratic Congress “paid for” anything?

  • Other Gary

    Cin, are you so naive as to believe a Republican Congress could ever play more honestly? In any case, my point remains: eventually things will have to come into line, either by raising taxes or adjusting spending, because we won’t be able to borrow like we have been to keep the circus running.

  • Other Gary

    Cin, are you so naive as to believe a Republican Congress could ever play more honestly? In any case, my point remains: eventually things will have to come into line, either by raising taxes or adjusting spending, because we won’t be able to borrow like we have been to keep the circus running.

  • Cincinnatus

    Other Gary@62:

    Of course I don’t assume Republicans are any more prudent. Apparently, you haven’t been around here long enough to know that I’m a fairly visceral critic of Republican policy in general.

    But that’s not the point. I’m just sitting here laughing that you actually believe Democrats would be/are more responsible than Republicans. That’s a good joke.

  • Cincinnatus

    Other Gary@62:

    Of course I don’t assume Republicans are any more prudent. Apparently, you haven’t been around here long enough to know that I’m a fairly visceral critic of Republican policy in general.

    But that’s not the point. I’m just sitting here laughing that you actually believe Democrats would be/are more responsible than Republicans. That’s a good joke.

  • Other Gary

    Actually, this all goes back to what Sg wrote @47. She was making a political argument that Republicans could conceivably gain ground by directly linking Democratic spending with the real pain which paycheck withholdings would inflict on the electorate.

    Although I conceded from the beginning that none of our politicians has the courage to do it, I was adding an economic argument, that somehow you have to pay for stuff. When you can’t kick the can down the road any more, you have to raise revenues, and that probably means raising taxes. Bills come due. If, on top of that, you wanted to add a moral argument, I think the electorate should demand the government show us what this is really costing us. We have a right to know.

  • Other Gary

    Actually, this all goes back to what Sg wrote @47. She was making a political argument that Republicans could conceivably gain ground by directly linking Democratic spending with the real pain which paycheck withholdings would inflict on the electorate.

    Although I conceded from the beginning that none of our politicians has the courage to do it, I was adding an economic argument, that somehow you have to pay for stuff. When you can’t kick the can down the road any more, you have to raise revenues, and that probably means raising taxes. Bills come due. If, on top of that, you wanted to add a moral argument, I think the electorate should demand the government show us what this is really costing us. We have a right to know.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Sure, Democrats would probably raise taxes if they were in control of both houses and the executive branch. Yes, I suspect some of them would want taxes raised on the “rich” by a lot, on the middle class some, so they could keep or expand the number who pay nothing.

    I think that overlooks the fact that it is very hard to outmaneuver the rich. They are generally a step ahead of the rest of the crowd. That is how they got rich, you know. Anyway, super high taxes are very high to collect because the people you would tax just move their stuff to where it won’t be taxed, or not as much. That is what Warren Buffet does to minimize his taxes. The only people you can really tax the living daylights out of are the upper middle class because most of their money is salary, not assets. High taxes make sure they don’t get rich and stop being productive and just live off their assets. I think that those who favor super high taxes hope that it will make high salaries so pointless that the people control those who control who gets the super high salaries will choose to just pay higher salaries to other employees or some such instead of funnel it to the top execs. At what point is it reasonable to question an exec’s compensation and concede that perhaps there is something untoward about these salaries?

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottdecarlo/2012/04/04/americas-highest-paid-ceos/

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Sure, Democrats would probably raise taxes if they were in control of both houses and the executive branch. Yes, I suspect some of them would want taxes raised on the “rich” by a lot, on the middle class some, so they could keep or expand the number who pay nothing.

    I think that overlooks the fact that it is very hard to outmaneuver the rich. They are generally a step ahead of the rest of the crowd. That is how they got rich, you know. Anyway, super high taxes are very high to collect because the people you would tax just move their stuff to where it won’t be taxed, or not as much. That is what Warren Buffet does to minimize his taxes. The only people you can really tax the living daylights out of are the upper middle class because most of their money is salary, not assets. High taxes make sure they don’t get rich and stop being productive and just live off their assets. I think that those who favor super high taxes hope that it will make high salaries so pointless that the people control those who control who gets the super high salaries will choose to just pay higher salaries to other employees or some such instead of funnel it to the top execs. At what point is it reasonable to question an exec’s compensation and concede that perhaps there is something untoward about these salaries?

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottdecarlo/2012/04/04/americas-highest-paid-ceos/

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The fact that the federal gov’t doesn’t tax personal property proves that they don’t want to soak the rich. They don’t tax capital, rather honest work. So, not that much has changed since we gained our independence from Britain. My great great etc grandfather worked for the lord who owned the land and paid him a tax for the privilege. The lord paid no tax. He collected it. Now the workers still pay the tax, only the states tax property. I wonder if you could the federal gov’t on the grounds that the federal income tax is a violation of states’ rights. Oh, I forgot, states don’t have rights or even representation since the direct election of senators. How many Republicans would be in the Senate now if legislatures still elected senators to represent their interests? Maybe 60?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_state_legislatures

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The fact that the federal gov’t doesn’t tax personal property proves that they don’t want to soak the rich. They don’t tax capital, rather honest work. So, not that much has changed since we gained our independence from Britain. My great great etc grandfather worked for the lord who owned the land and paid him a tax for the privilege. The lord paid no tax. He collected it. Now the workers still pay the tax, only the states tax property. I wonder if you could the federal gov’t on the grounds that the federal income tax is a violation of states’ rights. Oh, I forgot, states don’t have rights or even representation since the direct election of senators. How many Republicans would be in the Senate now if legislatures still elected senators to represent their interests? Maybe 60?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_state_legislatures


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