The safety net worked. While official poverty rates -- which exclude much of the value of the safety net -- increased from 12.5 percent to 15 percent, 2007-11, the alternative measure, though higher at a point in time (accurately measured, there are more poor people than the official measure reveals), was essentially unchanged. That's right -- the deepest recession since the Great Depression and poverty didn't go up, at least not when you measure it correctly. I'm not saying we don't have work to do when it comes to a functional, efficient government sector... there's a whole lot to improve. But folks really need to look at these issues with open eyes, minds, and non-jerking knees. You might be pleasantly surprised.
If Republicans want their political opponents to promise them something, the only promise we should make is this -- the Republican Party won't be rendered completely irrelevant until after the 2014 midterms. Deal?
One of the most troubling aspects of the current tax debate has been that policymakers have almost completely ignored the about-to-expire payroll tax cut. Not any more.
Promising the middle class -- and a good swath of the upper middle class -- that their taxes will never go up is politically cowardly, economically irresponsible, and a betrayal of the progressive belief in government.
I realize that all of the "wise men" of Washington are clamoring for a bi-partisan solution to fix the nation's deficit. But the plain fact is that the deficit is not a bi-partisan problem.
We should stop taking the flawed arguments of the rich seriously, and call it out for what it is. Greed.
Published in today's New York Times, the article by Binyamin Appelbaum and Robert Gebeloff establishes a powerful context for Democratic arguments that taxes on the wealthiest Americans must rise both for reasons of fairness and in order to sustain government.
Rarely has any tax cut in history shoveled more money to wealthy households than the 2003 tax cut for both dividends and capital gains.
In the hallucinogenic haze that is today's far right, apparently it's "radical" to promote ideas and policies supported by most American voters -- including, in many cases, most Republicans.
If there's one thing that unites conservative politicians, it's the economic value to all of society of tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the wealthy, such as those passed in 2001 and 2003 under President George W. Bush.
Despite the constant drumbeat of scary cliff talk, there is no such thing as a "fiscal cliff."
There's going to be pain all around in whatever deal is struck. Most Americans are going to be directly impacted in one way or another by whatever bargain is made between President Obama and congressional Republicans.
I'm sick of all the palaver about Obama's so-called gifts to poor and middle-class voters. Republicans are free marketeers. Romney was virtually breastfed on Adam Smith. These people are supposed to understand capitalism. Didn't they ever hear of the invisible hand?
There is a relatively simple proposal that the president make that could raise more money than the nominal rate increase he wants, be progressive in its impact, and produce a more equitable and widely understood tax system.
Allowing the nation to go over the fiscal cliff for a very short period of time will provide all the legitimate political benefits of such a policy dive -- with few to none of the menacing losses that are looming at the bottom. We can readily fly off the cliff on January 1st and be back on the top by January 2nd, 2013.
Every major event in the last decade has exposed Pax Republicana as a crumbling empire based on false ideologies, none more dangerous than believing in the Tax Fairy that magically grows the economy and fills the treasury when Congress cuts taxes on the wealthy.