February 12, 2009

"The domestic issues Mr. Obama ran and won on — health care, education, climate change, rebalancing the distribution of wealth..."

From a NYT article called "Obama’s Battle on Stimulus Shows Threats to His Agenda."

Obama ran on a redistribution of the wealth agenda? So, back when he was campaigning, and his opponents characterized things he said as meaning that he wanted to redistribute the wealth, and his supporters shouted that down as typical right-wing distortion, Obama was really laying the groundwork for claiming that he had won a mandate to redistribute the wealth? Incredible!

BUT: The redistribution will be $13 a week.

AND: David Weigel responds:
Err, yes. Sen. John McCain’s campaign spent the last three weeks of the presidential race accusing Obama of “socialist” tendencies because Obama told Sam Wurzelbacher that “if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

Obama didn’t really back down on this — he mocked it: “By the end of the week, he’ll be accusing me of being a secret communist because I shared my toys in kindergarten.” But he didn’t deny that he planned to cut taxes for middle- and lower-income Americans while raising taxes on the rich.

If Republicans didn’t want to give Obama a mandate for “spreading the wealth,” they probably shouldn’t have made that their message and then lost the election to him.

I think Obama's mockery was a denial of the accusation. If Obama had said, "I didn't just accidentally say 'spread the wealth around,' I really believe in the redistribution of the wealth, and I want you to vote for me because you do too," he would have lost.

183 comments:

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The redistribution will be $13 a week.

Yea. Don't spend it all in one place....suckers.

former law student said...

redistribution of wealth

Instead of a country dominated by a broad middle class, the US was on track to becoming a Latin American country, with a few wealthy people living in walled compounds, venturing out only in their armored limousines guarded by armed outriders, and a great mass of poor people, picking through dumps to find something to eat or trade.

The middle class would be limited to lawyers and dentists.

PatCA said...

"Rebalancing the distribution of wealth..."

Here's an idea: why don't we distribute wealth based on how much each person did to earn it?

PatCA said...

"Rebalancing the distribution of wealth..."

Here's an idea: why don't we distribute wealth based on how much each person did to earn it?

LarsPorsena said...

"Instead of a country dominated by a broad middle class, the US was on track to becoming a Latin American country, with a few wealthy people living in walled compounds, venturing out only in their armored limousines guarded by armed outriders, and a great mass of poor people, picking through dumps to find something to eat or trade.

The middle class would be limited to lawyers and dentists."

Yep!! So what has Bo changed?

eimerej said...

rebalancing ≠ redistributing

mcg said...

You right-wing shill, you. The article does not say "redistribution of wealth", it says "rebalancing the distribution of wealth." If you can't see the difference then you're just too stupid to vote. Thank goodness Obama won despite the ignorance of people like you.

mcg said...

rebalancing ≠ redistributing

Oh really? How do you suppose the former is accomplished without the latter?

mcg said...

Instead of a country dominated by a broad middle class, the US was on track to becoming a Latin American country,

You're right about one thing; the US was on track to become a Latin American country.

Trooper York said...

Can we be Brazil where all the girls wear thongs and we all hang out at the beach and drink capirina's all day?

AllenS said...

My social security check was supposed to be $1388 a month, but my first check was for $1469. $81 dollars more a month, $20.25 a week more. It's crazy.

EDH said...

Damn it Althouse, don't you know the difference between "redistributing" wealth and "rebalancing the distribution" of wealth?

The Obama distinction, or fig leaf, is to spin it that they'll better equalize the allocation of income as it is earned in the market, not so much redistribute huge disparities of wealth after it has been earned. This is based on Reich-type arguments about "investments" in education, unionization, etc.

Of course, the question is will Obama's policies result in a more equal market distribution of a growing income pie, or just share the misery of a stagnant or shrinking pie, a condition that itself will have to be remedied by redistribution through transfer payments?

Curtiss said...

What wealth?

You mean the former wealth. The new wealth is yet to be defined. By Obama.

But when he does, he will be perfectly clear and it will be completely consistent with what he said before. I hope.

Shanna said...

The redistribution will be $13 a week.

That's only if you're married, right? Probably it'll be less for me.

former law student said...

why don't we distribute wealth based on how much each person did to earn it?

That's never been the case, unfortunately. What did investment bankers do to earn the shiploads of money thrown at them? Anybody who thought that paying a bar $1000 for a bottle of vodka (so that they could mix their own drinks) was a good deal, is not someone I want handling my money.

mcg said...

FLS is right. If the system were set up to reward purely on the merit and intensity of their work, Congress would be on food stamps.

Paul Zrimsek said...

What did investment bankers do to earn the shiploads of money which continues to be thrown at them?

Fixed.

traditionalguy said...

The private ownership of property is the only key to our freedoms.The Obama family gurus, Chavez, Castro, Lenin, Marx, all have that clearly in focus. Public ownership of property means no one owns anything so no one will work and no one will be paid, but the rulers with the police state powers will kill you at their pleasure. Someone alert the confused people that think the government means them no harm.

Synova said...

I know why you voted for him, now.

Four years of blog posts. ;-)

Richard Fagin said...

Prof. Althouse said, "Obama ran on a redistribution of the wealth agenda?"

Obama said, "I just wanna spread the wealth around."

Yes. To anyone paying attention.

Richard Fagin said...

The kind of willful blindness to Obama's clearly expressed sentiments that was shown at the ballot box last November is exceeded only by the willful blindness of people who think we have no real enemies, only friends whose grievances haven't yet been accommodated.

What's it going to take, a nuke in Times Square? Complete government takeover of the economy? Reapportionment based on census figures generated by ACORN? Union goons visiting Wal Mart employees at their homes at night to sign union cards?

joewxman said...

"What's it going to take, a nuke in Times Square?"

Will be blamed on George Bush somehow.

We might as well acknowledge that we are well on our way to become slaves to the state where they will decided everything including the day you die.

EnigmatiCore said...

"What did investment bankers do to earn the shiploads of money thrown at them?"

Gave others the right to use the money they controlled, at a risk, in return for interest.

Can you ask harder questions, please?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Obama ran on a redistribution of the wealth agenda?

Um. Yes. Weren't you listening? Or was is selective hearing?

La la la la la...I won't hear that part.

MayBee said...

Surely people are saving about $13/week on lower gas prices alone. Yet he supports high gas prices, and this summer thought a gas tax holiday to save people money was just a preposterous idea.

Why doesn't he come up with a gas-gauge quality idea for people to save their own $13/week and skip the tax redistribution altogether?

CarmelaMotto said...

Former Law Student - you have to stop drinking the Kool Aid

You obviously have never worked on wall street or you would not have this fantasy about what the people who work on Wall Street are like and how much they are paid.

Blue@9 said...

"What did investment bankers do to earn the shiploads of money thrown at them?"

What everyone else does--convince someone else to pay them that much.

Seriously, are you still under that bizarre illusion that people get paid or should get paid according to some objective measure of utility? There's no such thing. If you can convince your boss to pay you a $1 million salary, congratulations, because you've just earned a $1 million salary.

rdkraus said...

Blue

If you try to explain to people that value is based on what others will voluntarily pay, most people's heads will explode.

There are a million examples, but, why bother.

holdfast said...

"The middle class would be limited to lawyers, dentists and the ever-growing class of government workers"

There - I fixed it for you.

In all seriousness, the strangulation of the middle class has been helped along by both parties, but it is the Dems who want to put them on the dole permanently.

former law student said...

Gave others the right to use the money they controlled, at a risk, in return for interest.

Then how come so many of their employers have gone belly up, and the rest are in denial about their worthless "securities"? Nothing succeeds like failure.

under that bizarre illusion that people get paid or should get paid according to some objective measure of utility

That was patca's thought, which I gently disagreed with.

you would not have this fantasy about what the people who work on Wall Street are like and how much they are paid.

You mean it wasn't all "Models and Bottles," like the video on this page?

http://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/why-not-investment-banking/

Greg Toombs said...

"and the ever-growing class of government workers"

Here in NJ government is the largest employer and workers get lifetime pensions larger than middle class incomes. Don't you know the cost of living in NJ is sooo high?

Of course the retirees leave the state for lower-tax states like NC or SC.

Unless they get a second job in government here.

Deirdre Mundy said...

I've known I-bankers. They work crazy hours, have an incredibly high stress job (produce or you're out) AND have to live in manhattan, eat out alot (no time to cook) and wear expensive clothes (can't look poor, after all...)

They may make alot, but they also have a higher baseline cost of that.

Contrast with Librarians, who get paid MUCH less... Librarians can wear business casual, never work more than 40 hours a week, have job security and lots of vacation time, can live in less expensive areas (if they choose to work somewhere with a lower cost of living) and have a pretty low stress job (buying books and answering reference questions!)

If you actually look at things like hours spent on the job, local costs of living and stress levels, these disparities in pay start to make sense.......

Not only are you worth as much as someone will pay you, but a job must pay enough that SOMEONE thinks it's worth the inconvenience....

Henry said...

I've heard that a big reason corporate lawyers are paid so much is that it's such a lifeless and thankless job that no one would do it otherwise.

Coal mining is more fun.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Instead of a country dominated by a broad middle class, the US was on track to becoming a Latin American country

I'd say with 20 million illegals currently in country with millions more who cross the border at will and the Left blocking any attempt to stem the flow you're absolutely correct.

Beth said...

Thirteen bucks a week - that's almost exactly what I got from the big Bush tax rebate stimulus. I'm no more stimulated than I was then.

Beth said...

Trooper, I had a caparinha last night. Key limes were on sale at the grocery; it was fate.

former law student said...

the Left blocking any attempt to stem the flow

Are you familiar with the concepts of Supply and Demand?

It's the Right that hires them. They work cheap, they accept unsafe working conditions, and if they ever dared to complain, they'd be on the next bus to Mexico. A steady supply of illegal aliens is essential to Right-wing policies of unionbusting and wagebusting.

The Left has resigned themselves to their continued presence, and is working to keep them from being exploited.

LarsPorsena said...

"Thirteen bucks a week - that's almost exactly what I got from the big Bush tax rebate stimulus. I'm no more stimulated than I was then."

The $13 bucks is for new batteries to put in your stimulator.

LarsPorsena said...

"Are you familiar with the concepts of Supply and Demand?"

Are you familiar with the foremost proponents of 'immigration reform' and opponents of building a border fence? How long before BO gets all the illegals a driver's license to 'protect' us.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trooper York said...

Well Beth, a few capirinas and a nice filet mignon and a few more capirinas and maybe the Sports Illustrated swim suit issue and I bet we can get you stimulated.

So to speak.

Trooper York said...

Plus I bet that capirinas go great with the fish taco.

I know they are great with a hot steaming pot of mariscada which is the Brazilian fish stew. Yummy.

Hoosier Daddy said...

The Left has resigned themselves to their continued presence, and is working to keep them from being exploited.

I suppose if they really cared, the best way to keep them from being exploited would be to demand strict immigration enforcement but that means they wouldn't have a ready made constituency now would it?

Keep it coming. I can do this all day.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Thirteen bucks a week - that's almost exactly what I got from the big Bush tax rebate stimulus.

Yet more evidence that Obama is just Bush's third term.

k*thy said...

Yeah, it might by me a dinner at Applebee's

Michael H said...

Obama's rebalancing/redistribution of wealth is to take money from future generations and redistribute it to the government and special interests between now and the next election.

He doesn't care when the bills come due - he'll be long gone.

former law student said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
former law student said...

demand strict immigration enforcement

I admit the Left contains some mushyheads who think we're all God's children. But eliminate the demand -- by enforcing the laws requiring employers to obtain proof of legal residency -- and you will eliminate the supply. Consider that, for the moment at least, you don't need a fence to keep Americans out of Mexico, because life is so much better here.

Synova said...

It's the Right that hires them. They work cheap, they accept unsafe working conditions, and if they ever dared to complain, they'd be on the next bus to Mexico. A steady supply of illegal aliens is essential to Right-wing policies of unionbusting and wagebusting.

You know... I hear this. It even makes logical sense.

BUT when I hear news reports of an INS raid on a factory somewhere, it's not the conservatives who are crying over it. If what you said were actually *true* instead of just sounding logical, wouldn't conservatives fuss when a factory or pork processing plant got raided and closed down?

When Oklahoma and, IIRC, Arizona started cracking down on employers, they started really *effectively* cracking down on the employment side of the problem, who fussed? I don't recall conservatives fussing over that. I recall fussing on the news, sad stories about how illegals were moving away, going elsewhere, because they couldn't find work. I don't think that was conservative fussing. What I heard was conservatives praising the employer based enforcement.

Not even nasty selfish Republican business owners are going to fuss because they are actually in competition with those owners who hire illegals. Anyone who *doesn't* hire illegals is going to welcome enforcement against their competitors.

I think your theory sounds good on paper. I just don't see it in RL.

LarsPorsena said...

"But eliminate the demand -- by enforcing the laws requiring employers to obtain proof of legal residency -- and you will eliminate the supply."

I call bullshit. The Dems struck every provision out of the porkulus bill that would have required E-verify for recipients of direct aid and the employees of any projects created by this piece of crap.

Trooper York said...

I remember in the Wall St boom of the 1980's I would go drinking in the Seaport and then we would meet some girls and jump in cabs and go to Via Brazil for some capirina's and filet mignon and dancing to the hot Brazilian jass band they had there. The investment banker guy would often pick up the tab for everybody. The bastard. I mean the cab drivers and waitresses and chefs and musicians what the fuck they want to make a freakin' living? Those lousy bastards.

Hoosier Daddy said...

But eliminate the demand -- by enforcing the laws requiring employers to obtain proof of legal residency -- and you will eliminate the supply. Consider that, for the moment at least, you don't need a fence to keep Americans out of Mexico, because life is so much better here

Well I hate to tell you this but the Left has a lot more mushyheads who stand in the way of doing exactly what you propose. Unless you're being willfully blind, every time immigration raids would take place on businesses, the Left along with every Hispanic rights group under the sun would come out screaming....yes you guessed it...RACISM.

The minute someone starts talking about doing exactly what you stated, enforcing the laws on the books they're denounced as a racist.

And yes I blame the Left for that.

Trooper York said...

A jass band is where they have hot jazz music that makes you shake your ass. Just so you know.

Synova said...

But eliminate the demand -- by enforcing the laws requiring employers to obtain proof of legal residency -- and you will eliminate the supply.

We agree. It would be really great if both sides could really push this. People who want a fence built are *not* secretly hoping to keep a steady stream of illegal workers entering the country. Those people might not give up fence ideas, but they most surely would lend their voice to enforcement on the employer side of the issue. This is nearly a custom-made opportunity for a bipartisan effort.

So, is the question actually, are the liberals who say they want to crack down on evil employers more concerned with doing that, or more concerned with avoiding ideological minuteman cooties?

Consider that, for the moment at least, you don't need a fence to keep Americans out of Mexico, because life is so much better here.

And the real solution becomes doing something to encourage better economic policies in Mexico and more work opportunities there... something other than relying on a whole bunch of illegals in the US wiring money home to their families.

JAL said...

Obama ran on a redistribution of the wealth agenda?

DBQ: Um. Yes. Weren't you listening? Or was is selective hearing?

Too busy looking up Joe the Plumber's personal info to remember what sparked that whole invasion -- I believe Joe was having trouble with BHO's pitch.

BHO (with editorializing) "So all I want to do is – I’ve got a tax cut. The only thing that changes, is I’m gonna cut taxes a little (!!) bit more for the folks who are most in need and for the 5% of the folks who are doing very well - even though they’ve been working hard and I appreciate that (HA! I am not sure BHO knows what hard work is) – I just want to make sure they’re paying a little (!) bit more in order to pay for those other tax cuts. Now, I respect the disagreement. I just want you (? see -- it's JTP's fault he doesn't understand) to be clear – it’s not that I want to punish your success (heh) – I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you – that they’ve got a chance at success too.” (?)

BHO "...I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody."

Nice. "you" spread ... not "I" spread or "we" spread ... This man does not take responsibility for anything.

Bruce Hayden said...

Are you familiar with the concepts of Supply and Demand?

Apparently, supply and demand only works for FLS when those in demand are here illegally. But apparently he doesn't want it to apply to investment bankers who are, unfortunately for them, here legally.

That's never been the case, unfortunately. What did investment bankers do to earn the shiploads of money thrown at them?

For the most part, they made money for others. A lot of it.

The problem is not that they were paid when they made a lot of money for others, but rather, that they didn't lose it when they lost the money. Heads I win, Tails I break even.

But, contrary to the apparent wishes of FLS, much of wealth these days is made in making man and markets more efficient. Bill Gates created far, far, more wealth with his PCs, etc. and the productivity that they have brought than he would have if he had gone to work on an assembly line making cars, or, even, going to work in his father's law firm. Making hundreds of millions more productive is far more useful than making a couple more cars. And that is why he made so much money.

garage mahal said...

And yes I blame the Left for that.

Teh Left is like duct tape. It can be used for almost anything.

Bruce Hayden said...

Let me add that I, for one, was not preventing FLS from going into investment banking and making so much money that he could afford a $1,000 bottle of Vodka. I would suspect that either he couldn't get such a job, or decided that he didn't want the lifestyle that goes with it.

Alex said...

What I want the leftist to do is define what "earning one's wealth" means, since they obviously mean anyone in the top 5% didn't do so.

Bruce Hayden said...

Getting back to the original quote - the reality is that Obama did NOT run on those issues. Rather, to a very great extent, esp. the redistributing the wealth, he hid the issue, and pretended that he was misunderstood when he was caught talking about spreading the wealth around.

Indeed, most of these issues were played down as much as possible with the general electorate. The big thing that Obama ran on was that he was running against the war and President Bush.

Yes, if you actually looked at his policy positions on a lot of these subjects, often available (at some time, except when too inconvenient) on his campaign's web site, you would know where he stood.

But these issues are not what he pushed with the voters. Instead, I suspect a lot of them read into him a moderation that those who read where he actually stood on these issues, knew he didn't have.

MayBee said...

But eliminate the demand -- by enforcing the laws requiring employers to obtain proof of legal residency -- and you will eliminate the supply

Lars beat me to it. There was a proposed amendment to require any employer receiving stimulus money to use e-verify to check legal residency of workers, but the Dem Senate didn't allow it. They even blocked debate about it.

Alex said...

Another question for the left - do you believe businesses are virtuous?

Trooper York said...

The investment banker guys are the ones who pay for all the Brazilian Bikini waxes for all the girls at Privilege, the Doll House and Flashdancers. It looks like Oscar Gamble is going to make a big comeback.

Richard Fagin said...

I used to gripe that with so many people coming into Texas illegally, Texas would eventually revert to Mexico. After November's election, I say, "Hurry up, will ya?"

Felipe Calderon knows a crapload more about a modern economy than Prsident Obama.

onparkstreet said...

Blue said: "Seriously, are you still under that bizarre illusion that people get paid or should get paid according to some objective measure of utility? There's no such thing. If you can convince your boss to pay you a $1 million salary, congratulations, because you've just earned a $1 million salary."


Note to self: learn to be more convincing......

Hoosier Daddy said...

Teh Left is like duct tape. It can be used for almost anything.

Damn straight. I find it's use as toilet paper most satisfying. The double ply Steisand rolls are much better than the coarse Baldwin single plys.

Only the best for my bum.

Synova said...

Speaking of Dollhouse (and I'm happy enough not to know what Trooper was talking about) there's been ads on for a new show starting this Friday on Fox (?) with the new Sarah Conner/Terminator episode.

Pretty standard Joss Whedon "tiny female kicks butt"... the set up seems to be either that they're androids or are humans who are hired and programmed for specific jobs and then memory wiped.

One of the clips has me chuckling, when asked if she knows how to use a gun the tiny-female says, "Four brothers... none of them Democrat."

Which isn't probably *fair* but is funny anyhow.

Revenant said...

The redistribution will be $13 a week.

That's almost $700 a year. Sounds like a lot of money to me.

More importantly, the people the money is being redistributed FROM are losing a lot more than that. The leeches outnumber the producers.

Revenant said...

Pretty standard Joss Whedon "tiny female kicks butt"

Yes, but all those shows have been awesome. :)

Revenant said...

What I want the leftist to do is define what "earning one's wealth" means

It means "voting for Democrats".

BJM said...

While Barney Frank is performing Kabuki theater denouncing private jets, have the Dems thought this through?

From the January 31 edition of New York Times.

BUSINESS jets are a force for good. Really.

Consider this: The General Aviation Manufacturers Association estimates that more than one million people are employed manufacturing, maintaining, flying and managing business aircraft.

Who will lose when corporations park or sell their private planes? American workers, most likely unionized Dem voters, not CEOs.

Are the Dems about to do to the general aviation and aircraft industry what they did to the American boat building industry in 93?

mcg said...

I wish I could blame Teh Left for a failure to achieve effective immigration enforcement, but then I look at folks like Bush, McCain, and Grahamnesty, and editorialists at the WSJ... :(

Original Mike said...

The redistribution will be $13 a week.

That's what happens when you take from the few and give to the many.

MayBee said...

BJM-
Who will lose when corporations park or sell their private planes? American workers, most likely unionized Dem voters, not CEOs.


No problem. We'll put them to work winterizing homes, building school science labs, and making windmills.

Trooper York said...

The Doll House is an emporium on Murray Street where young single mothers can earn the money that will help them obtain an advanced degree at Passaic Community college by reenacting the artful dances they dimly remember from ballet class for very polite men in suits from Wall St. who are reenacting a dimly remember ritual from their childhood in which they felt safe and comforted by the beauty and succor of the human breast. This way of life has been endangered by the current unpleasantness and both the buxom young mothers and the generous young men will soon become an endangered species much like the sand plover or the snail darter.

Attention must be paid!

Alex said...

Not to mention we need to build more "eco villages".

CarmelaMotto said...

No FLS - I actually don't know any one like that. Wow, you really do drink the Kool aid! Who comes up with this stuff? Is that that Wilder Walderama guy from that 70s show? Are you that easily duped by the internet?

I am sure a-holes exist. They exist in ever industry.

All the guys I work with (went back to the same firm I started with in 88) either have steady girlfriends/boyfriends (and are repectful partners) or are family men. They are so average, socially, they are boriing. They rarely go out because they have to so much for business and the young ones in the age group of the idiots in the video are at the office practically 24/7!

Yeah, the older MDs have nice weekend houses, but they spend them with their kids, not models.

They also donate a tremendous amount of time and money to schools, charitable, community organizations.

Sorry to disagree with your very skewed view of greedy wall street, maaaaaaaaan

TitusJustHadAGreatPump said...

I am pretty happy with the stimulus package. Individuals within the 250-500k salary are getting a nice tax cut.

Alex said...

TitusJustHadAGreatPump said...

I am pretty happy with the stimulus package. Individuals within the 250-500k salary are getting a nice tax cut.
1:43 PM

Proof?

jcr said...

My money wasn't "distributed" to me, I earned it by working for my employers over the years.

One important thing to point out is that wealth isn't "distributed" in the first place, it's earned. Describing it as "distribution" disparages the right we all have to the fruits of our own labor, thought, and initiative.

Alex said...

Blogger jcr said...

My money wasn't "distributed" to me, I earned it by working for my employers over the years.

One important thing to point out is that wealth isn't "distributed" in the first place, it's earned. Describing it as "distribution" disparages the right we all have to the fruits of our own labor, thought, and initiative.
1:46 PM

You only "earned" it because you say so. If I can convince enough people that think otherwise, we can vote in the right politicians to take it away from you because we will decide you didn't "earn" it. That's Barack Obama's campaign in a nutshell!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Are the Dems about to do to the general aviation and aircraft industry what they did to the American boat building industry in 93?

The answer is YES.

BTW: the barter system is working very well. The underground economy will become ever more popular with all of Obama's attempts to force the working to pay for the benefits of the leeches.

Alex said...

The entire jihad against private aviation is nothing more then envy and hate. There is no rational reason to be against any particular industry except for such capriciousness. So we'll destroy the private jet industry, what's next destroy Car Toys? After all, who really needs a fancy new car stereo with 5-CD changer and I-Pod plug?

TitusJustHadAGreatPump said...

Go to taxpolicy.org. I am not interested in cutting and pasting shit for anyone.

I am horny.

Curtiss said...

$13.00 a week ...and then you go out and you buy a pair of earrings.

Aloysius said...

former law student makes it clear why he was a former law student: Latin America is where is is because of Obama like policies.

Of course Ann remind us now who you voted for? Why?

CarmelaMotto said...

"The problem is not that they were paid when they made a lot of money for others, but rather, that they didn't lose it when they lost the money. Heads I win, Tails I break even. "

Bruce, that's just not true. First of all, not every part of a bank did poorly. There are funds who weren't affected by the crisis (and they didn't contribute to it - most of wall street didn't).

Even still, those bankers who did not contribute to the down turn (and even if you were a part of that side of the bank, most people are the decision makers) if they worked for a big bank - still had to lay people off and take huge pay cuts. HUGE. One person I know, 85%!

5,000 laid off last year and more on the way according to the some public statements...I think we are paying a big price...there are the John Thain's and there are the rest of us who have taken it on the chin.

Even someone like me, in administration, just someone back office making less than 6 figures, no raise, no 2 week pay at xmas. I am just glad to still have my job.

CarmelaMotto said...

typo - I meant to say most people are NOT the decision makers.

And by the way, those that were, lost their jobs back in 2007 and early 2008. They just don't yell about that on MSNBC

Pogo said...

Obama has now made the politics of envy the cornerstone of the 2nd New Deal.

Milton Friedman had the best response to the many-headed hydra of socialism:

Friedman: "The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat! Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way! In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you are talking about, the only cases in recorded history are, where they have had capitalism and largely free trade.”

Donahue: "But it (greed) seems to reward not virtue as much as the ability to manipulate the system"

Friedman: “And what does reward virtue? You think the communist commissar reward virtue? You think a Hitler reward virtue? You think, excuse me, if you pardon me, do you think the American presidents reward virtue? Do they choose their appointees on the basis of the virtue of the people appointed or on the basis of their political clout? Is it really true that political self interest is nobler somehow, than economic self interest? You know I think you are taking a lot of things for granted… Just tell me where in the world you find these angels, who are guide to organize society for us? I don’t even trust you to do that …"

Alex said...

I think what Milton Friedman's point was not that capitalism is perfect and cronyism-free, but that it is much better then a command-economy which is 100% cronyism.

Pogo said...

Exactly. Cuba, USSR, Maoist China, and now Zimbabwe show the end result of total government control of the economy. An effing disaster every time.

Lesser control is less disaster, but the desire for more and more control is unrelenting.

And that is where we are headed.
Hyperinflation is next.
Shit shit shit.
Why are we so stupid?

jussnb said...

so let's see if i get this right .......
you're upset that the "redistribution of weath" hasn't been tallied to a larger amount and using that as an excuse to Obama-bash ??

lol... you anti-Obama crowd really are desperate for something to whine and complain about.
wouldn't it be much easier to just admit that he's not as bad as the right-wing-nuts had led you to belive by their dishonest propoganda ?

LarsPorsena said...

Pogo:

Where did you get the Freidman interview?

mbabin said...

Pogo said:

Why are we so stupid?

History lessons. Failure to learn. Human nature. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Freeman Hunt said...

so let's see if i get this right .......

You didn't.

Synova said...

"His heart was in the right place," is something people only say in response to failure.

Think about it.

Curtiss said...

Pogo: "Hyperinflation is next."

It is the rabbit that the free market will pull out of Obama's Abe Lincoln hat.

And then for it's final trick, higher interest rates.

What's Obama's next move after that - price controls?

Maybe he'll wear a sweater.

Pogo said...

the Freidman interview.

LarsPorsena said...

Pogo:

Many thanks.

former law student said...

most of wall street didn't

Only the companies that were in the mortgage-backed security scam. Who does that leave out?

How we got into this mess:

Mortgage loans made to dubious credit risks carried attractive interest rates to compensate for the risks, and attractive commissions for the loan originators -- generally independent mortgage brokers. Wall Street firms bundled such loans together and arbitrarily sliced into tranches and given ratings by the bond rating agencies, using risk of default models devised from the performance of conventional loans. Credit derivatives were created to spread the risk of default. Then derivatives were made of the derivatives. And derivatives were made of those derivatives. None of the i-bankers or hedge fund gurus knew the risk they (and us) faced.

I have to think that all the lenders, bundlers, slicers, and investors underestimated the risk, because the underlying loans were secured by real estate. However, the everincreasing number of foreclosures has shoved down market values far below the outstanding loan amounts. If the real estate death spiral is further accelerated by an unemployment death spiral, the pain will keep continuing.

The default in the underlying loans caused the hit to the credit derivatives that, for example, Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Wachovia, and UBS created and sold, taking their parent banks down with them. Those looking for a villain must remember that Republican Senator Phil Gramm slipped anti-credit derivative regulation legislation through as part of the spending bill in December, 2000, at the height of the Bush-Gore legal battle.

Cedarford said...

EDH said...
Damn it Althouse, don't you know the difference between "redistributing" wealth and "rebalancing the distribution" of wealth?


Pretty true, as FLS and others pointed out, America was slowly headed for Latin American territory with the Gulf between the Rich and everyone else growing. As America's Ruling Elites became to believe they Existed solely for the purpose of enriching other members of the ruling Elites. Daschle lost his job? Well, lets take care of him. Give Tom 3 million a year to schmooze other Ruling Elites to see it from the perspective of us Plutocrats on the other side...One Rich guy has to scratch the back of another Club Member, you know.

Blue said: "Seriously, are you still under that bizarre illusion that people get paid or should get paid according to some objective measure of utility? There's no such thing. If you can convince your boss to pay you a $1 million salary, congratulations, because you've just earned a $1 million salary."

Except the way it came to work under Corporatism was one younger member of the privileged classes by school or breeding talking to a more senior member of the company about a big fat bonus for the young lad on the country club golf links. An entitled lad who BTW, had friends who had friends who Daddies sat on the Boss's own executive compensation committee.
And a million dollar raise or "performance bonus" even for the inner circle members of a company headed for straight for the La Brea Tar Pits became a lot easier to get than a modest pay increase for "ungrateful" engineers, salesmen, secretaries even at prosperous firms.

And those in "lesser jobs" saw the job security their parents and grandparents have disappear and were told any resistance to decreased benefits and longer work hours for salaried at the same pay was the way things were and how "lucky they were to have jobs foreigners hunger for" as the pay and bonus increases at the top accelerated. And few things make a lifelong skilled professional or worker told by society that if they bust ass and did well at work that they would have a good life for their families madder than suddenly being lectured...As natural conservative, Reagan Democrats or multigenerational Republicans that it is "their fault" they chose to be an engineer, an accountant, a cop, a scientist - instead of being a banker.

The pendulum between Robber Baron thieves and excess of egalitarianism swings. But also a pendulum that swings too far in rewarding or over-rewarding those at the top or in the parasitic underclass who create no wealth - and the people of true productivity that you can qualitatively assess the amount of wealth or contribution of the US infrastructure necessary to create wealth for others.

When you look at societal contribution that way, a manager of agricultural or heavy equipement barge traffic on a 200-mile stretch of the Mississippi or the barge pilots themselves create more new wealth for our society than an executive compensation committee lawyer who himself gets a 700K paycheck and 380K in options in a bad year.

The 20 people at an industrial fire alarm company each paid under 80K and the Owner with a higher wealth - who save 90 companies in a Metro area over 78 million in insurance costs? The firefighters who respond so well, the firms and over 3,000 landlords get another
90 million cut in insurance costs?

Wealth added, but under the Corporatist "mutual backscratching" Club, the actual contributors to wealth gain have been screwed.

And lets add that the richer you get, after around a 95-125K annual compensation, the less total government taxes and fees you pay on each dollar earned.

Shanna said...

... you anti-Obama crowd really are desperate for something to whine and complain about.

I find it amazing that people think complaints about 1 trillion dollars added to the debt for random shit that won’t do jack for stimulus is just a bunch of Obama haters picking nits.

Dan said...

"It's the Right that hires them. They work cheap, they accept unsafe working conditions, and if they ever dared to complain, they'd be on the next bus to Mexico."

Well, THAT's certainly a load of crap. I grew up in sugar beet country in NW MN. The farmers were the ones hiring the illegals to work in the fields, and the farmers (due to CRP and other subsidies) were almost monolithically Dems.

LarsPorsena said...

"But also a pendulum that swings too far in rewarding or over-rewarding those at the top or in the parasitic underclass who create no wealth - and the people of true productivity that you can qualitatively assess the amount of wealth or contribution of the US infrastructure necessary to create wealth for others."

Who is the arbiter of rewards?
Who is the issuer of the metrics of productivity?
What economic pope blesses the truly productive?
Show me the qualitative assessments of contribution?
What bureau or board will make such decisions?

Eric said...

Alex:
What I want the leftist to do is define what "earning one's wealth" means, since they obviously mean anyone in the top 5% didn't do so.
Yeah, I've always wanted to know that. Especially since I'm in the top 5%. I didn't use to be. I used to be in the bottom 20% when I was a young soldier. Then I worked hard and over the years earned more money as I became more valuable to my employers. Along the way, I earned my income according the leftist types. Until one day I magically became part of the top 5%. The day before I was in the top 5.1% and I was still hard working, a darling of the left. Then I crossed that magical line, how dare I!, and became one of the evil blood sucking wealthy who need to have their wealth distribution rebalanced.

Apparently I now live a life of wealthy leisure!

Alex said...

Forgetting the leftwing moonbats for a second, I think a lot of Americans have a certain view of rich people shaped by movies(i.e., Wall Street). Also lots of rich people are trust fund babies which most people don't like either. Bottom line is that being rich was never loved in America if you look back at the history. Basically you just have to put your head down and soldier on despite the hate from society.

Eric said...

Cedarford:

Except the way it came to work under Corporatism was one younger member of the privileged classes by school or breeding talking to a more senior member of the company about a big fat bonus for the young lad on the country club golf links.

What world do you live in? I live and work in the corporate offices of a very large company, the third such I have worked for. I rarely see that sort of thing occur in real life. But, I do see it happen a lot in the movies and in political institutions. Hmmmmm

sirpatrick said...

NOW According to the LA Times: "The president, who ran as a liberal, has filled out his government with appointees more in the political center".

This is the same F'N paper that kept painting him as a centrist while he was running..

They were/are all liars and did anything to get him elected...It makes you sick that they can now print the truth after they are out of campaign mode...

http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-na-obama-advisors11-2009feb11,0,2194969.story

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"The problem is not that they were paid when they made a lot of money for others, but rather, that they didn't lose it when they lost the money

No. The problem is the disingenuous (big word for liars) media, the idiots who report and the ignorant public....all of whom don't understand the difference between compensation as dollars, real money and compensation in the form of stock or stock options. The taxation and reporting as income of stock options is very complex and depends on what kind of option or what kind of stock the employee is given.

Much of the executive compensation is in stock options which are calculated as a dollar value, fair market value, when reported by the Corporation in the compensation package. Also restricted stock that can't be sold before a certain time. Or vested shares of common stock which they also can't sell before a time limit.

It isn't all cash. So when they say that the CFO of BAC got 1.2 million in compensation, realize that much of it is in illiquid stock options or stock that has declined since the compensation was reported.

Think about it. Hypothetically; The executive of BAC was given stock options in December of 07 to be able to buy BAC at a price of $30 when the shares are trading at $42. HOWEVER, he can't exercise his option until December 08. What a deal. How valuable is that stock option to be able to buy BAC at $30 when the price in 08 was about $14. Think the executive is making out like a fat hog on that one?

Think the executive made out big time on that restricted stock that he was given in 07 that he can't sell until 09?

PatCA said...

"That was patca's thought, which I gently disagreed with."

That's not what I said at all. I said people should earn their wealth, as all the other posters have reiterated.

Are you going to condemn Alex Rodriguez now for being paid $25 million per year? What did he do to "earn it"?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

So, are the executives making a lot of money. Hell yes and so what?

Up until we became a socialist country, how was it anybodies business other than the stock holders of the company how much the employees are paid? It wasn't.

Of course now that the Government owns industry and we are being raped by the Government to pay for all of this....I guess we should have a say so now. Now we can tell everyone just how much money they are allowed to make and how much they are allowed to keep and even what they are allowed to spend the remainder on.

Everyone feel better now. Keep people from being any better than the rest of the herd. Keep your head down. Don't stand out from the crowd and by all means do NOT try to be better than the drone next to you in line for your monthly allotment of Soma.

John Stodder said...

Instead of a country dominated by a broad middle class, the US was on track to becoming a Latin American country, with a few wealthy people living in walled compounds, venturing out only in their armored limousines guarded by armed outriders, and a great mass of poor people, picking through dumps to find something to eat or trade.

Well, I don't see anything in the stimulus or anything Obama's pledged that would address such a gross imbalance. It's all pretty small beer. $13 a week? Maybe you could use that to take a cab to a better class of dumpster.

I hope someone runs for office on the idea that wealthy people should be taxed at a, mmm, 85 percent marginal rate on income above, ohh, $200K, with all the money thus raised to be sent as a check to anyone earning less than, ohh let's say $40,000, with the most going to the people who need it most, those who earn nothing.

If so many of you have this banana republic vision of the US, we really need to debate this and have an election about it. Let's see how many people agree with you.

Eric said...

Cedarford:

And lets add that the richer you get, after around a 95-125K annual compensation, the less total government taxes and fees you pay on each dollar earned.

Where did you get your crack at? I want some, it must be really good. If what you claim is true, then the fact that the top 5% pay 50% of all taxes in this country would not be a fact. Actually, to quote the IRS (indirectly):

... the Internal Revenue Service released data on tax year 2003. The data show that the top 1 percent of taxpayers, ranked by adjusted gross income, paid 34.3 percent of all federal income taxes that year. The top 5 percent paid 54.4 percent, the top 10 percent paid 65.8 percent, and the top 25 percent paid 83.9 percent.

If you doubt this single source, try a google search on what the top 5 % pay in taxes.

Your claim simply doesn't work, although it is great left wing populist rhetoric. If you like, you can try my "effective tax rate" on for size, it's over 20%. Folks earning around 100K/year pay an "effective tax rate" between 12 and 15%. I pay enough taxes to employ someone at a middle class wage on an annual basis.

Now, I really am not bothered too much by how much I pay in taxes. After all, I earn a whole lot of money too. What I'm bothered by is this notion that I live a life of leisure, don't deserve my income and totally walk on the backs of the middle class. I'm bothered by the notion that "the top 5%" got over under Bush, as well. In fact, we pay more of the total taxes paid in this country now than we did under Clinton.

Interestingly, most of the lefty types have figured out that spending money and buying things is needed to keep people employed in our economy. They just seem to not have grasped that not only do I pay 50% of the country's taxes, I also do 50% of the country's spending. If you tax me more, I will have less money to spend. Me spending less means that less products and services will be purchased which means less employment. That's bad for those bottom 95%, don't you think?

CarmelaMotto said...

Cedarford says "Except the way it came to work under Corporatism was one younger member of the privileged classes by school or breeding talking to a more senior member of the company about a big fat bonus for the young lad on the country club golf links."

Are you and FLS the same person?

In my 20 years, I have known one guy who came from money (and dad was a fed judge). All others had very middle or working class up bringings and put themselves through school. They didn't get into the Ivy League on legacy, but on scholarship. The success stories I know almost all come from non-priveleged backrgounds. Their children on the other hand...not so successful. In the last 10 years, many come from recent firs generation immigrant families including one guy I worked with 5 years ago who was from a Vietnamese "boat family" - a refugee - and one of 13 children. I think they were so successful precisely because it wasn't handed to them.

I suppose the charcterization of people gives some people relief. It's just not true of most.

Synova said...

I think Obama's mockery was a denial of the accusation.

I think it was meant to be perceived as one. Even you, Althouse, pointed out how he didn't accidentally use words but would hedge what he said in language that wasn't nearly as clear as it seemed to be.

He *didn't* deny the redistribution, but he sure wanted everyone to think he did. He didn't say that Joe the Plumber got it right, he mocked him. His followers mocked him, investigated him, and drug him through the mud. And yes, shouted it all down as typical right-wing distortion, lies and fear-mongering.

We *absolutely* were supposed to believe that any suggestion that Obama wanted to redistribute wealth was not only wrong, but a malicious lie.

And now we're being told that was what he was about all along and what we elected him to do?

TRundgren said...

It's clear from these comments a new generation of wealth redistribution morons is about to get a lesson in 70's style über inflation, price controls and atmospheric interest rates.

Synova said...

Do you suppose the "paling around with terrorists" is the same?

We're going to be told next, that his election was a mandate to pal around with terrorists.

Bah.

Eric said...

TRundgren:

It's clear from these comments a new generation of wealth redistribution morons is about to get a lesson in 70's style über inflation, price controls and atmospheric interest rates.

Yeah, when you borrow 3.27 trillion, you cause inflation. Between raising my taxes and squeezing me with inflation, I won't be spending as much. Someone has to make the goods and services I purchase. If I purchase less, then there are less someone's employed. This is very basic economics. FLS and Cedarford appear to not understand, though.

Stagflation here we come!!!

former law student said...

I said people should earn their wealth,

No, you said:

why don't we distribute wealth based on how much each person did to earn it?

Which I took to mean a quantum of wealth corresponding to a quantum of effort. That doesn't exist in our society. An equal amount of effort exerted in various disciplines does not yield the same amount of reward for each.

Nor is a quantum of wealth matched to a quantum of accomplishment. The i-bankers were actually being rewarded for wrecking the economy, which indicated to me that their compensation scheme was poorly devised.

Some commenters seem to think I'm taking the point of view of the delivery men in the Dire Straits song. No.

Now look at them yo-yos thats the way you do it
You play the guitar on the mtv
That aint workin thats the way you do it
Money for nothin and chicks for free
Now that aint workin thats the way you do it
Lemme tell ya them guys aint dumb
Maybe get a blister on your little finger
Maybe get a blister on your thumb

We gotta install microwave ovens
Custom kitchen deliveries
We gotta move these refrigerators
We gotta move these colour tvs

See the little faggot with the earring and the makeup
Yeah buddy thats his own hair
That little faggot got his own jet airplane
That little faggot hes a millionaire

Seneca the Younger said...

I think Obama's mockery was a denial of the accusation.

I'm not sure I agree. It clearly was an attempt to put the accusation out of the bounds of discourse. There was certainly a pretty strenuous attempt by Obama partisans to harass Joe Wurzelbacher for having brought it out, which could certainly be seen as an attempt to intimidate anyone else who might dare to bring it up. But it doesn't seem as if that's strictly a denial.

Pogo said...

geez, fls, so what in the hell do you believe?

Apparently you're pretty cool with the state confiscating wealth to cause the greatest deficit in US history, less Keynesian than Ponzian.

former law student said...

Between raising my taxes and squeezing me with inflation, I won't be spending as much.

If the loss of 2% of that part of your income which exceeds $250K will be a hardship for you, consider those more numerous folks who will be earning nothing at all.

fcai said...

Obama is achieving his lifelong dream of killing capitalism in the US and those that voted for him are very happy with that outcome. Even if he had said "I am a communist, anti-American, a muslim (ok, he did say that), he still would have won - his supporters in my area are just that rabid - they hate the United States with the same fervor he does.

So, get on with it, Fidel Jr. - your task is a noble one.

LonewackoDotCom said...

Here's more on Dave Weigel. He wrote a post about me, and then refused to approve a comment I left showing how he's wrong. Not exactly a credible source.

As for Weigel's comment, that confuses progressive taxation with redistribution for the heck of it. What BHO's statement to Joe was supporting was the latter, an evening out of incomes rather than simply everyone paying their fair share. It was at heart a Marxist concept. It's a subtle distinction, and therefore one that hacks seize on in order to mislead.

Shanna said...

Can I tell you how much it irritates me that they refuse to call Mr. Wultzelbacker “Joe”.

Like, they are still so petty about an election THAT THEY WON that they have to make an issue of something so completely innocuous as a private citizen going by his middle name. I mean, is that what passes for a joke over there? Really?
God.

Curtiss said...

Will Bernie Madoff begin to look like petty criminal in a few weeks?

former law student said...

they hate the United States with the same fervor he does.

What is the United States but 300 million of your fellow Americans?

former law student said...

geez, fls, so what in the hell do you believe?

Think about the consequences of what you will be doing, then take as much as they will give you.

EDH said...

Cedarford said...

"EDH said...
Damn it Althouse, don't you know the difference between "redistributing" wealth and "rebalancing the distribution" of wealth?


Pretty true..."

Yikes, when I wrote that I was being facetious, simply to point-out the intellectual "fig leaf" that is used as cover to deny the redistributionist imperative.

Althouse's reply to David Weigel that "Obama's mockery was a denial of the accusation" shows me that she understands the Three Card Monty that is being played here by Team Obama, and hopefully recognized my playful sarcasm better than did Cedarford.

fcai said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fcai said...

To the people around here the US is evil incarnate. A country that fights wars, tortures terrorists, and otherwise is an unsavory institution that is mean to dark people.

It is also a government that condones rendition, operates Gitmo, bombs civilians and so on.

Thankfully all that changed on January 20th. Now we do none of those things. Like many who post here, the locals aren't just anti-American, they are pro-Hamas, pro-al Qaeda and in love with communism.

We had a good run. Living in a shack on the edge of a dump really isn't that bad.

Synova said...

If the loss of 2% of that part of your income which exceeds $250K will be a hardship for you, consider those more numerous folks who will be earning nothing at all.

Or consider the cleaning service that is now asked to come in only once a month instead of twice... multiplied by the number of total clients, and resulting in one or more of the Merry Maids who used to be employed earning nothing at all.

garage mahal said...

I just wish GOP Strategist and Economic Consultant Joe the Plumber would explain what this all means.

Joe said...

I love how in all these discussions that the only rats are bankers. Ignored are the hundreds of thousands of home owners who knowingly lied on their loan applications, who borrowed down payments and claimed they'd earned it themselves, who bought houses on ARMS without bothering to read the contracts.... These people weren't ignorant or scammed; they knew they were getting something for nothing. Many didn't care, others cheers, believing they were sticking it to the man, so to speak--getting what was "owed" them.

This mess is due to dishonest people from all walks of life and levels of income and the politicians who cater to them, including Obama.

former law student said...

resulting in one or more of the Merry Maids who used to be employed earning nothing at all.

Well, she can always move back to Mexico.

JAL said...

It's going to be a long four years.

AJ Lynch said...

Garage;

You are free to believe whatever you want.

But a fair observer would agree Joe The Plumber is pretty smart and has a very good grasp of economics especially as it affects human behavior.

paul a'barge said...

EDH: Damn it Althouse, don't you know the difference between "redistributing" wealth and "rebalancing the distribution" of wealth?

Let me help.

Redistributting wealth (note the lack of "scare" quotes) is what socialists call it when they're speaking honestly.

"Rebalancing the distribution" of wealth is what socialists call it when you catch them in the public park with their pee-pee in their hands, trying to act like they're not doing anything wrong.

AJ Lynch said...

BTW I nominate FLS for Secretary of Commerce. He will be glad to politicize the census.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

consider those more numerous folks who will be earning nothing at all.

Fuck'em. Get a job!

There is no excuse for not earning anything unless you are in a coma or a quadruple amputee. Maybe not even that. Look at Stephen Hawkings.

Bruce Hayden said...

DBQ

I am not complaining about stock options that crash when the company goes into the tank because of those at the top screwing it up. And I know a number of people who have lost all their value in such as a result of the recent stock market crash.

My complaint is that there appear to be a number at the very tops of their large companies, and in the parts of the banking and securities industries that crashed walked away with huge amounts of money, leaving their stockholders holding the (now empty) bag. Some of this was in stock and stock options, of course, and some of those were cashed out before their companies crashed. And some was in what many consider to be obscene bonuses.

Contrary to FLS, et al., I have no problem with paying a CEO millions if he makes billions for his company - long term. It is the fudging earnings and doubling down when investments start to tumble that result in short term bonuses, etc. and long term failure that I fault.

My complaint is more that of corporate governance than redistribution.

Bruce Hayden said...

If the loss of 2% of that part of your income which exceeds $250K will be a hardship for you, consider those more numerous folks who will be earning nothing at all.

Ignored here is that 2% of all incomes above $250k is likely not to even cover the interest on the borrowing required for the "stimulus" bill.

Shanna said...

My complaint is more that of corporate governance than redistribution.

That is a concern for the shareholders. That is who should be ensuring good corporate governance. Doesn't work if everybody gets bailed out at the end.

Pogo said...

For DBQ:
"...every day about one-fifth of the workforce stays home in Sweden . These “potential” workers are receiving disability benefits or are on sick leave. “Almost everyone who requests sick leave is granted it...

The Swedish government’s aim is to help bridge the gap between sickness and work. But many take advantage of these benefits and use them as permanent income, as evidenced by the increase in disability and sick leave over the past decade. “The sickness rate of a Swede in his or her twenties, for example, is higher than the overall absence rate in all but four European countries...

Sweden ’s tax burden was 50.5 percent of GDP in 2004. The OECD notes that some Swedes avoid taxes by working fewer hours or “operating in the black economy.”
source


Why work?

Cedarford said...

Eric

Cedarford - "And lets add that the richer you get, after around a 95-125K annual compensation, the less total government taxes and fees you pay on each dollar earned."

Eric responds - Where did you get your crack at? I want some, it must be really good.

Funny, you must be one of the few that has not accepted the validity or failed to disprove the simple Warren Buffet Paradox.

In which he notes he pays less taxes on each dollar he makes then his 90K a year executive secretary. Warren explains it with some simple observations and explains it isn't magic.

1. People don't care what government tax or fee they pay. They want disposable income. If it is lost to sales taxes, sewer fees, FICA, Fed Income tax..its all the same from a personal or economic perspective.

2. He gains his advantage over the Secretary because most of his money comes from capital gains, options taxed at capital gains rates vs the higher taxes a 90K worker pays on income earned. He compounds his advantage because all regressive taxes take a smaller bite out of each of his dollars than his workers. And except for a medicare residue, all his money is FICA-tax free after his 1st day at work each year, while each dollar the Secretary gets has a big chunk of FICA taken away from it.

3. Buffett notes he doesn't use the shelters and trusts only available to the super-rich to lower his taxes even further.

4. And notes that the inequities increase even more and settle on middle-income and lower Americans when you look at discretionary income left after not just total taxes, but when necessities, defined by economists as the poverty line - are factored in. Which means even less of each dollar of middle class and below is available to spend as one chooses, for the very wealthy, their discretionary part remains at 70-80%.

Eric - the fact that the top 5% pay 50% of all taxes in this country would not be a fact.

No Eric, unfortunately for you, your fact is not a fact. People care about total taxes. Ball lickers for the Corporatists pretend to say the debate is ONLY about the Federal Income tax. After all the regressive taxes, fees, corporate, and state taxes and fees on 3rd parties (business, renter, foreign revenue sources) are factored in your poor persecuted private jet owner crowd is slightly 20% of Total Taxes & fees levied by Government, on American citizens.

Eric - "I pay enough taxes to employ someone at a middle class wage on an annual basis."

Cry me a river. If you want sympathy that people with 28% of the total wealth pay 20% of the Total Taxes and fees levied, you won't find any pity here.

As for the duplicitous claim that the Noble Fatcats pay out 50% (excluding all taxes but Fed income) and that on their wonderful shoulders they sacrifice all too much...It is like a dictator's family and relations and loyal generals in Africa or Latin America complaining the few thousand of them have 90% of their nations wealth yet suffer by paying 70% of taxes...You won't win many allies by saying the people you worship at the top of the Pyramid suffer so by being so rich they are forced to fork over more tax money than a school teacher does.

I'll cut a deal, Eric... We go back to the concept that each citizen should contribute their fair share to the country out of each dollar they make.

Tell it to your idols Hannity and Rush, the premiere Corporatist and Wall Street banker apologists.
When the simple Warren Buffet Paradox comes up, those guys have conniptions explaining it away.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

My complaint is more that of corporate governance than redistribution.

Corporate governance is a legitimate complaint. But it is one that should be brought by the stockholders in the company and the Board of Directors of the company. It isn't a function of government to decide who makes too much or put a cap on what companies can pay their employees. The market forces will decide.

If a company is failing because managment and oversight by the Board is lacking. Stock prices will reflect the health or sickness of a company and the shareholders dumping their interest in a company. As the total market value of the shares drop, competent management or the Board will/should change executives and bring the company around. IF they can't or won't do that then the firm dies a natural death or is aquired by a healthy company.

When the government gets in the middle and props up these sick companies they are making everything much much worse and prolonging the agony. They should have let companies like GM go Chapter 11 and sell off assets and restructure debt. Same thing for Banks and Investment Banks. Some other healthy company would have bought those "toxic assets" at a bargin price. Now we the tax payers are stuck on the hook instead of letting free market principles work.

Mark to Market rules are what have artifically devalued the securites which have an actual intrinsic value much higher than the current market. But we can't expect our Congress loons to understand this....it takes a couple of brain cells rubbing together to accomplish that.

Cedarford said...

Eric - If you tax me more, I will have less money to spend. Me spending less means that less products and services will be purchased which means less employment. That's bad for those bottom 95%, don't you think?

Nope, it just shifts the discretionary income broader and to more people if you or more likely the fatcats you worship, pay the same total taxes on each dollar earned as a hard-woking middle class us citizen.

**************
EDH said...
Damn it Althouse, don't you know the difference between "redistributing" wealth and "rebalancing the distribution" of wealth?

Pretty true..."

Yikes, when I wrote that I was being facetious, simply to point-out the intellectual "fig leaf" that is used as cover to deny the redistributionist imperative.


The distinction is clear to me. Redistributing wealth is taken what Peter earned to give to Paul.

Changing the structure of distribution is saying going forward, if Peter and Paul earn a buck, they pay the same amount of each buck to the government.

Or, "in the future" people who volunteer for the military get 3% lopped off their taxes and get 1% taken off as Vets. That is "redistributionist" as well. It is letting people know that the structure has changed and they can adjust...

And if the people conclude that it isn't right that welfare mammies now can get free plastic surgery in Cali, or that Wall Street Execs stock options should be taxed as regular income instead of a lower rate, or want the hedge fund manager loophole closed?

Well, all those actions are ultimately "redistributionist" but calls we theoretically can do as a democracy - unless the Ruling Elites in DC subvert it..

Dust Bunny Queen said...

In which he notes he pays less taxes on each dollar he makes then his 90K a year executive secretary

He was talking about Social Security wage cap. "The wage base for the Social Security portion will rise to $106,800 for 2009, up $4,800 from last year". So yes. For every dollar of EARNED income over 106,800 Warren Buffet doesn't pay his employee share of SS. There is no cap on Medicare.

However, I doubt that Warren Buffet is collecting W-2 wages. Besides if he is so concerned about it.....he is perfectly free to not use all of the tax loopholes and voluntarily pay more.

He doesn't do that. Hypocrite.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

For every dollar of EARNED income over 106,800 Warren Buffet doesn't pay his employee share of SS. There is no cap on Medicare.

And for every dollar his secretary earns I pay TWICE what she pays in payroll taxes. I bet she also doesn't have to pay for her own health care either.

Boo hoo for his secretary. Cry me a freaking river.

Clayton said...

"The entire jihad against private aviation is nothing more then envy and hate."

Envy? Wasn't it something like 600 private jets that flew into DC for Obama's transfiguration? Isn't it Laurie David that gave us the term "Gulfstream liberal"? In my experience, billionaiares and multimillionaires are grossly overrepresented among the Obama backers. They spent $584 million getting Obamessiah elected. I think they just want the corporate jets out of the way, so that they aren't delayed so much taking off.

Synova said...

They spent $584 million getting Obamessiah elected.

And I'm suddenly wondering what the combined election year campaign budgets put into the economy that ended abruptly on November 4th.

AJ Lynch said...

Patca:

Do you know you got quoted on Instapundit?

Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dust Bunny Queen said...

"The entire jihad against private aviation is nothing more then envy and hate."

True and this jihad is going to put people out of work.

One of my husband's clients has a G5 at his personal disposal.

He's big muckety muck on several Boards of companies prominently in the news lately and the nicest man you would ever want to meet. He grew up on a ranch in a western state and was not from a wealthy family and earned his positions through hard work and brains. That's beside the point, however.

The point of this is that if he can't fly at least this many people will be unemployed. The 4 pilots that are assigned to his plane. Two who are flying and two on standby. The numerous people who service the plane. The people who make the planes. Who work at the airports and provide fuel and field maitenance. Who market and advertise the planes. Multiply this one case by thousands.

I know. A luxury item. Nevertheless it is a segement of the economy that will be eliminated by the envy. Remember the economic fiasco when the government decided to put a luxury tax on boats? They're at it again, talking about briging back the luxury tax on larger cars or non "green" (puke) vehicles and wanting to punish industries that the government (socialists) don't approve of.

They never learn.

Alex said...

DBQ: You could argue that anything past basic sustenance and a warm fire is a "luxury item". I think any liberals talking about the evils of luxuries should immediately throw away their IPods and disconnect their cable/internet connections to prove how virtuous they are!

fcai said...

FLS conflates Mexican women and maids. Nicely done - I got called a racist for suggesting that a Mexican woman might be in the US to clean houses. So, let me return the favor - FLS - you are hereby, officially, by your own standards, a racist.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Obama ran on a redistribution of the wealth agenda? So, back when he was campaigning, and his opponents characterized things he said as meaning that he wanted to redistribute the wealth, and his supporters shouted that down as typical right-wing distortion, Obama was really laying the groundwork for claiming that he had won a mandate to redistribute the wealth? Incredible!

Wait a minute, Mom, where are you getting this from? I don't remember Obama ever denying he's in favor of redistribution of wealth.

He said he wants to "spread the wealth around." That's synonymous with "redistribute wealth."

Then McCain ridiculed him over and over for saying he wants to "spread the wealth around" (though McCain himself used to want this back when he was against the Bush tax cuts on the grounds that they favor the rich). But did Obama contradict McCain on this point? Not that I remember. You can read the debate transcript, where this came up over and over.

It seems like you're assuming that surely Obama would never admit he wanted to redistribute wealth; surely he must have excused his "spread the wealth" comment as a slip of the tongue. But is that what really happened? Again, I just don't think that's accurate; he said he wanted to redistribute the wealth, though maybe not in so many words. (Many liberal commentators made this point at the time.)

Also, did anyone really have any doubt from looking at his official campaign platform that he was in favor of making taxes more progressive? That's redistribution of wealth.

Democrats are generally for redistribution of wealth. I'm for redistribution of wealth. Presumably you're for redistribution of wealth since you usually vote for Democrats. If you're not for redistribution of wealth, what were you thinking when you voted for liberals like Obama, Gore, Dukakis, Mondale, or McGovern for President? (Obviously Bill Clinton was more centrist, though you could probably add him to that list too.)

Anyone whose main policy goals are minimal taxation and ending social programs that are slanted to the less-well-off should vote Republican, end of story. I don't see how any Democrat could be flatly opposed to redistribution of wealth.

Of course, most Republicans are for some kind of redistribution of wealth -- they're just less willing to admit it. Any humanitarian war by the US, for instance, redistributes wealth from rich Americans to poor people in foreign countries -- at best. Government funding for faith-based programs. And so on.

Eric said...

Cedarford, the vast majority of those people in the "top 5%" are not Warren Buffett, nor are they part of his paradox. Those in that paradoxical area are perhaps .5% of the total of all income earners.

Both you and FLS clearly do not understand that spreading discretionary income out equates to less spending. 1000 people will not spend all of the $13,000 per week in tax break they are getting. Likely they won't even spend half of it. One person, on the other hand, with that much discretionary income, would spend as much as 80 or 90 percent of it. That money would re-enter the productive economy.

I could continue on, but it's probably pointless. We are heading for the stagnant, negative economies and cultures of Sweden, Germany and France. Which is far worse for the average joe.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Of course, most Republicans are for some kind of redistribution of wealth

Most Republicans see the need for limited government and some limited social services.

Most Republicans are for voluntary giving, charitable giving, targeted giving: instead of involuntary taking (robbery) and redistribution to programs that are morally objectionable, wasteful, stupid or just not necessary, like Pelosi's mouse stimulus plan. I think you will find that Conservatives are statistically the most generous of all groups in their "voluntary" charitable giving.

Please note I make the distinction between Republican and Conservative. The two are not synonymous. There are liberal Republicans and conservative Republicans. Just as there are the same shades of grey on the Democrat side.

AlphaLiberal said...

Newsflash: Republicans are always redistributing the wealth. Except it's to give as much of it to the rich as possible.

Because, as conservatives assume, if you are rich then you must be hard working and virtuous. Just ask Bernie Madoff or any banking executive of our many failed and corrupt banking institutions.

Ralph said...

I'll bet JAC's inheritance is going to get redistributed--without any help from BO.

garage mahal said...

like Pelosi's mouse stimulus plan.

Winger websites really should give a disclaimer on this silly crap they come out with every day. Like, "not really true, proof of claim not available, use only in like winger websites". You guys are friggin retarded.

Ralph said...

Obama promised change, but we're getting Washington business-as-usual, in spades.
Can I say that?

mcg said...

Of course, most Republicans are for some kind of redistribution of wealth -- they're just less willing to admit it.

You may be right about Republicans in general but I think the smaller government types see a distinction between true wealth redistribution and simply placing a larger fiscal burden for the government's basic function on those with the highest incomes. After all, even the most ardent big-government conservatives or libertarians would jump for joy if we implemented a true flat tax, would they not? And yet that still causes most of the cost of government to be borne by the wealthy.

The key is in the definition of "basic" function of government. In effect those basic functions would be enjoyed roughly equally by all citizens, whether it is national security or basic infrastructure and regulation.

mcg said...

Oops, I meant "ardent small-government conservatives" above.

BJM said...

Cedarford:
And lets add that the richer you get, after around a 95-125K annual compensation, the less total government taxes and fees you pay on each dollar earned.


WFT are you smoking? We paid 52% of our gross income in taxes last year and have paid that much or more for the last ten years. We're certainly not "rich".

DBQ, according to that winger publication the NYT:

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association estimates that more than one million people are employed manufacturing, maintaining, flying and managing business aircraft. In addition to keeping legions at work in top-paying jobs, business aircraft facilitate and expand commerce for their users and contribute $150 billion to the American economy annually.

Here’s another thing: The aircraft and their systems are, for the most part, made here in the United States, by union and non-union workers, in places like Indianapolis and Cincinnati; Wichita, Kan.; and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

And with their impressive performance and construction, they’re prized throughout the world. In 2007, about half the business jets delivered by American manufacturers went to foreign buyers that paid more than $3 billion for them. Manufacturers elsewhere, including in Japan and Germany, once tried to compete, but they were so utterly trounced by American ingenuity and craftsmanship that they simply gave up.

There are foreign-made business aircraft, to be sure; for example, Citigroup had planned to buy a Falcon, made by the highly regarded French company Dassault. But even those are stuffed with American-made avionics, engines, subsystems and interiors. Indeed, Dassault’s largest plant is in Little Rock, Ark., where some 2,000 workers complete Falcon interiors and ready them for delivery.

Hershblogger said...

Ann. You voted for the smooth pragmatic redistributionist, did you not? You were sucked into the universal field distortion, were you not? You believed his supporters' denials during the campaign? Incredible!

Revenant said...

Of course, most Republicans are for some kind of redistribution of wealth -- they're just less willing to admit it. Any humanitarian war by the US, for instance, redistributes wealth from rich Americans to poor people in foreign countries -- at best.

I wasn't aware that Republicans were famous for supporting humanitarian wars. Ok, yes, Iraq, but what's the OTHER example?

MayBee said...


Because, as conservatives assume, if you are rich then you must be hard working and virtuous. Just ask Bernie Madoff or any banking


What does Bernie Madoff have to do with conservatives?
His biggest donations went to Chuck Schumer and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Revenant said...

But did Obama contradict McCain on this point? Not that I remember.

He did the Nixonian "non-denial denial" thing. He ridiculed McCain for saying "Obama wants to redistribute wealth" but he didn't actually come right out and deny it was true.

A guy you know is cheating on his wife. You publicly accuse him of cheating on his wife. His response is to laugh and say "ha! John thinks I cheat on my wife! Can you believe this guy?".

Has he denied cheating? Nope. Will pretty much everyone THINK he denied cheating? Oh, heck yes.

Revenant said...

if you are rich then you must be hard working and virtuous

There are no conservatives who think the rich are all hard-working and virtuous. We own televisions. We've seen Paris Hilton.

The point is that hard work and virtuous behavior will increase your wealth. If you're born poor, that's rough. If you're STILL poor at age 40 it is almost certainly because of your own behavior and lifestyle choices.

George said...

Illegals
FLS says
---It's the Right that hires them. They work cheap, they accept unsafe working conditions, ---

Bwhaahahaahahaaa Who has all the nanny problems. Not the right. Caroline Kennedy, Zoe Baird, that is a problem in the upper east side of New Yawwwwkk. That's not conservative territory.

You lefties are drooling and raging at made up booogey men.

former law student said...

Mark to Market rules are what have artifically devalued the securites which have an actual intrinsic value much higher than the current market. But we can't expect our Congress loons to understand this

My real estate broker doesn't understand this either. I tell him the actual intrinsic value of my house is much higher than the current market. But he simply points to the sales prices of the "comps," and tells me I have to face reality.

Similarly, my stockbroker didn't understand that the actual intrinsic value of my portfolio is much higher than what buyers are willing to pay for it today.

Those fools! I'm rich, I tell you, I'm rich1

Amos said...

former law student:

Perhaps you'd have been better off being a former history student. How exactly did those Latin American countries get that way?

From too much capitalism? Seems to me, they got that way from too much collectivism. Latin American countries have a habit of going back to socialism like a dog after its vomit.

You're focusing on the wrong end of the equation. It's not the top you have to break down. It's the lives of the bottom you have to work to bring up.

Unfortunately, Progressivism doesn't have too many ideas on how to do that, other than to pillage the top. (The obvious problem is that the bottom is the natural state. So unless you figure out how to get the bottom up to the top in the first place, you're going to run out of top soon enough.)

Cedarford said...

DBQ delivers the classic "Fuck You!" answer to those pointing out structural inequities in America.

However, I doubt that Warren Buffet is collecting W-2 wages. Besides if he is so concerned about it.....he is perfectly free to not use all of the tax loopholes and voluntarily pay more.
He doesn't do that. Hypocrite.


"1933 version of DBQ.
Dustbowlers. Fuck 'em. If anyone is really concerned about their fellow citizens, let them pay..I got mine, it's all mine! I have no obligation to others screwed by the system or their own f*cking bad luck!
2001 version - Explain to me axactly why people so concerned about the families of victims of 9/11 cannot take care of them. No, they talk of involving me in something I take no responsibility for. Hypocrites!
Present Day Structural version of DBQ -
" And for every dollar his secretary earns I pay TWICE what she pays in payroll taxes. I bet she also doesn't have to pay for her own health care either.

Boo hoo for his secretary. Cry me a freaking river."

Magnitude of net amount of taxes paid means little, DBQ. Otherwise, Obama is nobler than you, Gates and Buffet...exponentially better a person on the DBQ-Warrens secretary scale of things.

You pay the same as him, Octo-mom, Buffets secretary on each dollar earned..maybe we can call it even-steven.
The rest of the country is now migrating to a fair deal, not rule of the rich for the rich...

Alex said...

Cedarford - as usual you'll come up with any excuse to justify your theft of other peoples' money.

PatCA said...

Thanks, AJ, I just found it on Insty!

Xmas said...

As per Warren Buffett. If he is earning his money from dividend payments, then taxes have already been paid on those earnings in the form of corporate taxes. He then pays additional taxes when the money gets into his hands.

That's the reason why taxes on dividends are smaller than taxes on other income. Increasing those dividend taxes creates a perverse incentive for companies to hold on to earnings, as the major stock holders would rather take their winnings in the form of more cash in the hands of the company and the resulting higher stock prices.

Buffett is a political creature too. He's been pushing for higher taxes on high earners, for God knows what reason. He can definitely frame his argument to make it appear that he's paying less in taxes than his secretary. But he's artificially drawing a line between his personal taxes and the taxes paid by the 38% of B-H he owns.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Winger websites really should give a disclaimer on this silly crap they come out with every day. Like, "not really true, proof of claim not available, use only in like winger websites". You guys are friggin retarded.

Maybe if you didn't have your lips vaporlocked on Obama's ass you might be able to read somthing once in a while.

Pelosi wants to spend 30 million on habitat preservation for some endangered mice

How does THAT stimulate the economy? A million here a million there. Pork flying everywhere. And they said that pigs couldn't fly.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

My real estate broker doesn't understand this either. I tell him the actual intrinsic value of my house is much higher than the current market

You are an idiot. There is no comparison to the flucuating value or current market value of your house and a portfolio of assets that have a set value in the future. i.e. the maturity value of the bond at par.

" The actual value of a company or an asset based on an underlying perception of its true value including all aspects of the business, in terms of both tangible and intangible factors. This value may or may not be the same as the current market value"

No wonder the Democrats and Liberals like FLS are hell bent on destroying the economy. They don't have the first clue about finance.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

You pay the same as him, Octo-mom, Buffets secretary on each dollar earned

No....I pay twice.

former law student said...

There is no comparison to the flucuating value or current market value of your house and a portfolio of assets that have a set value in the future. i.e. the maturity value of the bond at par.

The issue here is the value of mortgage-backed securities -- those are what brought down Lehman Bros, Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, etc. -- not some hypothetical bonds.

Moreover, what is the set value in the future of a junk bond?

No....I pay twice

Funny, I thought self-employment tax is only 1.5x an employee's share.

jaed said...

You thought wrong, fls... self-employment tax is the employer share plus the employee share. Around fifteen percent total.