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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#14121 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-October-29, 04:56

Paraphrasing from Paul Krugman in his Master Class titled "Economics and Society":

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A number of countries with prosperous, well-functioning economies have higher tax rates than the U.S. The first question we should ask when designing a tax system is not how high taxes should be, but what services should the government provide and how best can we pay for them.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14122 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-October-29, 05:53

From Steven Shepard and Ally Mutnick at Politico:

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A North Carolina state court has ruled the state cannot proceed with next year’s House primaries under its current congressional map, temporarily setting aside the GOP-drawn districts in a potential boon for Democrats.

A three-judge panel in Wake County preparing to hear a case over whether the congressional districts are politically gerrymandered granted a motion Monday to put the map on ice. The court said Democrats are likely to prove the districts violate the state constitution, and preparing to conduct the March 3 primary under the current lines would be improper.

Democratic-linked plaintiffs in the case are likely to “prevail on the merits of this action by showing beyond a reasonable doubt that the … congressional districts are extreme partisan gerrymanders in violation” of the state constitution’s “Free Elections Clause,” the court said.

Because of the GOP gerrymander, Republicans currently hold 10 of the state’s 13 congressional districts.

Democrats celebrated the court's action. Marc Elias, the prominent Democratic election lawyer working on the case, called the ruling "a major victory for the voters of North Carolina," who "will finally be able to vote in constitutional districts for 2020."

Added Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee: "North Carolina just took an important step in the fight to ensure congressional maps are not drawn to protect politicians, but rather to ensure fair representation for the people living in each and every district.”

Members of the North Carolina GOP delegation seemed resigned to the fact that a new map would likely dwindle their numbers.

“Fundamentally, it would be very, very difficult to keep 10 Republican seats. Nine is certainly possible. Eight is probably the magic number with the redraw,” said GOP Rep. David Rouzer, who noted he’s run under two different maps during his three elections.

The surging growth of the state’s cities and suburbs, he said, could complicate the ability to create GOP-friendly seats.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14123 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-October-29, 06:26

In today's column at Bloomberg, Tyler Cowen asks: "Is America doomed to a future of complete incompetence?" Exhibit A is California, America’s biggest and probably most innovative economy, treating a power blackout as some kind of unavoidable natural event.

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Economists themselves have been of no great help. My Twitter feed includes plenty of the world’s greatest (or at least best-known) economists. They love to debate Elizabeth Warren’s plan for a wealth tax, an idea that probably isn’t going to happen (just ask Mitch McConnell or, for that matter, any moderate Democratic senator). When it comes to designing a better incentive model for California power utilities — a concrete problem for which economics is remarkably well-suited — there has been close to complete silence.

Economists are just reflecting a more general failing in American political debate. The old saying that all politics is local has been turned on its head: All issues are now national in scope and partisan in nature. People are less interested in the day-to-day mechanics of actual governance, including at the state and local level. The comeuppance for those ideological obsessions is now upon us.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14124 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-29, 06:53

From Michael Gerson

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If Trump survives the impeachment process, and somehow wins a second term, many explanations will be offered. It may be that the Democratic Party went too far left, or picked a nominee with a glass jaw, or couldn’t swim against the political tide of a good economy. But there will be one reason behind all of these reasons: because evangelicals lost their taste for character and gave their blessing to corruption. And this grand act of hypocrisy would mark them for a generation.


The only redeeming news is that younger members of evangelical denominations mostly reject their parents' xenophobia and approval of corruption and vengeful natures so that going forward these people over time will have less and less impact on the political landscape.

Now, if we could only get the Catholics to do the same.... :o

“It’s just so unfair that American companies aren’t allowed to pay bribes to get business overseas,” Trump whines
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#14125 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2019-October-29, 07:00

View PostZelandakh, on 2019-October-28, 20:53, said:

I recommend everyone to read Vindman's opening statement in full as it is not long.


Thank you. I did as you suggest. It is very useful to have such a document available to read and reflect on.

Ken
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#14126 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-October-29, 07:01

From David Leonhardt at NYT:

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While Nancy Pelosi was meeting with a group of columnists yesterday, she pointed to a portrait of Abraham Lincoln hanging on a wall of her conference room and paraphrased a famous line of his that has long been a favorite of hers.

“Public sentiment is everything,” she told us. “With it, you can accomplish almost anything. Without it, you can accomplish virtually nothing.”

Pelosi was meeting with us columnists, from several publications, to explain her thinking on impeachment. I asked her how she planned to make the case that this Trump scandal was different from all of the others that have failed to move public opinion; she said she would have an answer when the inquiry was complete. She promised that it would revolve around “simple and repetitive clarity about the Constitution of the United States.”

That will be a good way to judge the upcoming hearing: Are the Democrats giving the country a clear, succinct message about why Trump is unfit to be president — and are they hammering home that message every single day?

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14127 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-29, 07:03

Speaking of media bias: Krugman from NYT

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When progressives propose new or expanded social programs, they face intense media scrutiny bordering on harassment over how they intend to pay for these programs. Republicans proposing tax cuts don’t face anything like the same scrutiny; they are seemingly able to get away with blithe assertions that tax cuts will pay for themselves by boosting economic growth, even though every single piece of evidence we have says that this is nonsense.

We’re talking about big numbers here. As I said, the Trump budget blowout, overwhelmingly driven by tax cuts, seems to have raised the deficit by around $300 billion, or around 1½ percent of G.D.P. Over the course of the next decade, that would amount to something like $3.8 trillion — substantially more than, for example, the combined cost of all of Elizabeth Warren’s proposals other than Medicare for All, which we’re still waiting to hear about.


Yes, all we seen to hear or read about is the numbers involved with no consideration for the benefits received and what the value of those unseen benefits would be.
“It’s just so unfair that American companies aren’t allowed to pay bribes to get business overseas,” Trump whines
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#14128 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2019-October-29, 07:23

View Posty66, on 2019-October-29, 04:15, said:

What is the evidence for thinking most middle-class taxpayers oppose a wealth tax?

According to Morning Consult, 63% of voters think upper-income people currently pay too little in taxes and 61% support an annual tax of 2% on household wealth above $50 million and 3% on wealth above $1 billion.

According to Pew Research, 60% of Americans are bothered "a lot" by the feeling that some wealthy people don't pay their fair share of taxes.


My error! I listened to the video again and this one panelist was ridiculing people of modest means that are opposed to the wealth tax and I had erroneously thought that he was saying they were in a majority of the middle class. So I listened again and he did not make such a claim. He was definitely ridiculing such people but he did not claim that they were a majority.


As to why some might be opposed, he regarded it as impossible to understand. I don't, not at all, and I think the explanation that I provide
is reasonable. They don't like the idea that the government could not only take part of a person's earnings, but also part of a person's savings. They do not trust any assurances that of course the government would only take this from the rich, but never from you and me. Uh huh. I regard such skepticism as very understandable.

Ken
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#14129 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-October-29, 09:39

View Postkenberg, on 2019-October-29, 07:23, said:

My error! I listened to the video again and this one panelist was ridiculing people of modest means that are opposed to the wealth tax and I had erroneously thought that he was saying they were in a majority of the middle class. So I listened again and he did not make such a claim. He was definitely ridiculing such people but he did not claim that they were a majority.

And I simply assumed that you knew what you were talking about, and ran with it. The same thing we accuse Trump supporters of doing. OTOH, you don't have a history of telling an average of a dozen lies/day, AFAIK.

During recent elections a frequent question in the forum was why so many people seem to vote against their own interests. I've said it before, most people vote with their emotions and guts, not by doing careful financial analysis. Often it's based on policies that have little direct impact on themselves -- right-to-lifers presumably tend to vote Republican.

#14130 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2019-October-29, 11:13

View Postbarmar, on 2019-October-29, 09:39, said:

And I simply assumed that you knew what you were talking about, and ran with it. The same thing we accuse Trump supporters of doing. OTOH, you don't have a history of telling an average of a dozen lies/day, AFAIK.

During recent elections a frequent question in the forum was why so many people seem to vote against their own interests. I've said it before, most people vote with their emotions and guts, not by doing careful financial analysis. Often it's based on policies that have little direct impact on themselves -- right-to-lifers presumably tend to vote Republican.




I try to be straight!

Dwelling on this just a little more, there is a downside to polls. Often reasons are not asked for, and often there are subtleties. 23andme asks me to take various surveys and I cooperate. But maybe I should cooperate more carefully. The other day I took one on lifestyle. How many hours a day do I sit? Oh, maybe 8. How many hours a day do I stand? Oh, maybe 4. Wait! I don't sleep 12 hours a day! I don't run or dance 4 hours a day.


In the case at hand, I can imagine that many many people think the rich are getting away without paying their reasonable share of the country's needs. So they support a wealth tax or any tax that targets the rich. And then some people, not a majority, think that they themselves are already paying too much in taxes and so they reflexively oppose anything that has the word tax in it. Only a small number, definitely not including me, are prepared to give a learned analysis of the pluses and minuses of putting in a wealth tax.

One of my favorite answers to a question was from when I was 21. I had worked at NASA over the summer before starting grad school and I was perhaps coming back the next summer so they did a background check on me. An instructor that I had become casual friends with told me that they asked him if I was loyal. He responded "How the hell should I know if he is loyal?"

Pollsters ask us questions about matters that we have not given two seconds of thought to, and then take our quick responses as meaningful.

On the broader question of whether the rich should contribute more to the needs of the country, that I find obvious. Of course they should. If I can be grateful for the opportunities that I have had and not avoid contributing a decent share to keep things going, a guy with 50 million should be able to do so also. But then maybe that's why he has 50 million and I don't.

Ken
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#14131 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2019-October-29, 11:52

View Postkenberg, on 2019-October-29, 11:13, said:

23andme asks me to take various surveys and I cooperate. But maybe I should cooperate more carefully.

You should. "Surveys" of this type are precisely how marketing firms build up data about you and sell it around to various companies. If you spend almost all of your time sitting you might, for example, be in the market for a stair lift. The point of a survey might even be nothing more than to obtain active email addresses. Generally it is a good idea to be wise before going ahead. Does a genetic testing company really need the information they are asking for? If not, why are they going to the trouble and expense of trying to extract a response? If you treat every question, click and "free" offer on the internet with suspicion you will not be too far from the truth. There should be laws governing what companies can do with our data without giving prior warning. My understanding is that the limits of that are somewhat different in the USA than in Europe.
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#14132 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-29, 12:33

View Postbarmar, on 2019-October-29, 09:39, said:

During recent elections a frequent question in the forum was why so many people seem to vote against their own interests. I've said it before, most people vote with their emotions and guts, not by doing careful financial analysis. Often it's based on policies that have little direct impact on themselves -- right-to-lifers presumably tend to vote Republican.


Yahoo! news had an article today of a new poll that shows Trump still has support of 30-40% who seem unshakable regardless of what he does, which then leads to a near tie 47-46 on whether or not he should be impeached.

I find that kind of news both depressing and distressing. The gaslighting appears to be working as these people live in an alternative imaginary reality.

“It’s just so unfair that American companies aren’t allowed to pay bribes to get business overseas,” Trump whines
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#14133 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted 2019-October-29, 18:41

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-October-27, 20:34, said:

An outsider's view on Warren's wealth tax:




The argument, of course, is whether rich and super rich would move their capital to avoid these taxes. Perhaps a solution to that would be a double taxation penalty for capital gains earned outside the US by an US citizen?


Quote

“A tax of 2% on the wealth above $50 million and 3% above $1 billion."


This would substantially impact quite a few members (and ex-members) of Congress...both Democrat and Republican. I wonder how supportive they might be.

#14134 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2019-October-30, 03:28

View PostChas_P, on 2019-October-29, 18:41, said:

-

View PostZelandakh, on 2019-October-23, 07:05, said:

Any of our resident Reds want to suggest a defence they could get behind and believe in?

A week passed already and still no defence has been offered. Could it be that the actions are simply indefensible?
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#14135 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2019-October-30, 07:57

View PostZelandakh, on 2019-October-30, 03:28, said:

A week passed already and still no defence has been offered. Could it be that the actions are simply indefensible?


I believe the current defense is that Vindman came to the US when he was three and a half. He should go back to where he came from. I find this defense not only insulting but also some bizarre combination of idiocy and desperation. They truly embarrass themselves by offering it.

Ken
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#14136 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-October-30, 09:42

View Postkenberg, on 2019-October-29, 11:13, said:

Pollsters ask us questions about matters that we have not given two seconds of thought to, and then take our quick responses as meaningful.

Fuzzy data is better than no data. Good pollsters know how to adjust for this kind of thing. And if you have enough responses, the fuzziness fades into the noise. And poll results always come with a margin of error.

#14137 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-October-30, 09:44

View Postkenberg, on 2019-October-30, 07:57, said:



I believe the current defense is that Vindman came to the US when he was three and a half. He should go back to where he came from. I find this defense not only insulting but also some bizarre combination of idiocy and desperation. They truly embarrass themselves by offering it.


One of the pundits supported this by mentioning that he has Irish heritage, and still has an "affinity" for Ireland. So maybe we should send him back there, or at least discount anything he says on the topic of Ireland (which is a big issue in Brexit).

#14138 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-October-30, 12:08

Here's an update from Greg Ip at WSJ on the still yet-to-materialize boost to growth from the Trump tax cut:

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The cornerstone of President Trump’s domestic economic agenda is the tax cut he signed into law in late 2017. It would, he said, lift U.S. sustained annual economic growth to 3%, or even as high as 6%. His advisers said it would boost average household incomes by at least $4,000 a year. His Treasury secretary said it would pay for itself.

Nearly two years later, none of those things have happened, and there is scant sign they will. The U.S. economy did enjoy a burst of 3% annualized growth after the tax cut first took effect at the start of 2018. But it has since slipped. It grew at a 1.9% annual rate in the third quarter. In the past 12 months, the economy grew 2%, about the same as it averaged from 2011 through 2017.

This should not come as a surprise. The administration’s claims rested on the belief that cutting the corporate tax rate to 21% from 35% and allowing companies to immediately write off the cost of new equipment would boost business investment and thus worker productivity and wages. Yet numerous other advanced countries had already cut their corporate rates in the prior two decades without experiencing anywhere near the growth boost the Trump administration promised. Many experienced no boost at all.

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#14139 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-30, 15:29

The supply-side cultists are still drinking the Laffer Kool-aid, or more likely, pretending to sip some in order to get the masses to taste it.
“It’s just so unfair that American companies aren’t allowed to pay bribes to get business overseas,” Trump whines
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#14140 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-October-31, 09:19

Don't forget that they also promised that businesses would use the tax savings to increase hiring and wages. A handful gave one-time bonuses, but most of the savings was used to simply buy back stock, which only helps the rich investors, increasing the economic divide that has been growing for decades.

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