Handicapping the Speechifier-in-Chief

By JC

Ok, if you pay attention to politics at all, you know that: 1) anything Obama supports publicly will be met with a big “NO” from the right; 2) the economy is in the tank, and there is no meaningful job growth happening; and 3) next week the President is giving another speech on jobs. And there’s a web full of speculation and commentary about it (276,000 search returns for “obama jobs speech” as of this writing!).

So let the armchair politickin’ begin. Consider this an open thread. Here are the rules:

  • What should Obama say?
  • What do you think he will say?
  • What do you see as politicly viable jobs proposals?
  • Do presidential speeches have any value, and if so, what ?
  • Place no blame and no personal attacks. It gets this debate nowhere.

If this feels like a PoliSci 101 first day of class essay/debate exercise, it sort of is — it is very similar to one I heard of this week, as college opened. Have fun!

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  1. Turner

    Whatever Obama says, I’m sure he doesn’t expect any short-term positive outcome. The R’s are dug in and won’t given an inch.

    It’s all about trying to embarrass the R’s by making them vote down proposals most Americans favor. It’ll hurt them in 2012.

    • shaming republicans into helping american families survive hasn’t worked so far mr turner. they just turn the dial up on their well organized sound machine supplied by corporate money.

      you can’t embarrass someone who keeps beating you at the message game. democrats are always a step behind.

    • JC

      Negative campaigning reduces turnout all the way around. We saw how well that worked in the ’10 election.

      Obama needs to start rallying voters if he is serious about reelection. I think this speech is going to be a campaign kickoff event.

      While most of us would like to hear good policy, and the President get honest about facts, I ‘m afraid that we are going to get thinly veiled politics cloaked in an attempt at moderate centrism.

      • lizard19

        it will be interesting to hear what they cook up. they put keynes in a shallow grave and spread their deficit hawk wings to battle crazy jesus vultures.

        beyond policy, we need something to stimulate our national imagination. but i wouldn’t go to a politician for that.

  2. Turner

    In anticipation of all the Obama-bashing that’s about to be unleashed, I wonder what people here think of the following article on the “Leftist Bath Water Party.”

    http://liberallamppost.com/2011/04/30/lefty-‘bath-water’-party-wrong-on-obama-9-facts-on-fdr-truman-lbj-show-why/

    • lizard19

      that’s an interesting article. here is how she sets the stage:

      These days, Obama-denial is almost hip. With only 27 months in the history books, some fair-weather liberals are letting their tunnel-vision focus on unfulfilled expectations cloud Obama’s historical accomplishments. These left-wing absolutists want to toss out Obama along with the Republican-polluted bath water. I call them the “Bath Water Party.

      Let me be crystal clear: There is a major difference between a rational person who criticizes Obama to encourage him to do better and an “Obama-denier,” who is marked with complete and utter contempt for the President and chronic disappointment even with his victories. The Bath Water Party is a small yet outspoken sect that does not encompass people who challenge Obama on fair ground.

      while i think there are some interesting points made in the article, like how in some cases focusing blame on Obama instead of congress may be a little unfair (something i’ve been a bit guilty of), the argument of “measurable gains” is simply a tough sell when too many people see a diminishing present, and a frightening future.

      but in making her case against the bath water absolutists (who she likens to the tea party, just like that one blogger likes to do when he hatin’), she puts FDR, Truman, and LBJ in a critical context that i find interesting, highlighting some of their shortcomings, hypocrisies, and appeasements.

      i’m not sure how that’s suppose to help Obama by basically saying: see, those other guys did disappointing things to, so quit being so harsh on Obama.

      anyway, back to the topic at hand.

      i don’t think there are any politically viable solutions for job creation. i like Steve W’s idea, but we know that will never happen.

      so since there are no politically viable solutions, Obama will do what he can to score political points for reelection, because we have 15 months of rhetorical bullshit to endure, where the only consideration will be retaining power.

      and if that sacred aim is not successful, then the bath party will make a handy scapegoat.

      • JC

        “some fair-weather liberals are letting their tunnel-vision focus on unfulfilled expectations ”

        Gotta disagree with this supposition. I’d offer that the author is looking at the problem with her own tunnel-vision.

        Most “fair-weather liberals” that I know are more concerned about their expectations that they are being sold out. I believe they have adjusted their expectations accordingly.

      • No president, be it Obama or the next guy/gal, republican or democrat, will be able to stem the tide of American decline.

  3. Steve W

    Obama should say that he’s declaring a national emergency because the degradation of our infrastructure, the man made changes in climate, and the rampant corruption spawned in large part by the war on drug are urgent national security issues.

    To correct the problems he’ll put an army of the unemployed to work, to repair, upgrade and install needed infrastructure, to develop produce and maintain an alternate energy infrastructure, and to ferret out corruption where ever it exists.

    He could divert money from Iraq, Afghanistan, Columbia, Sudan, Bosnia, Libya etc and use the money to meet the emergency head on.

    instead I predict Obama will give a ‘nothing to fear except fear itself’ pep talk with nothing in the way of government sponsored job creation. The military seems to be the sole government sponsored employer to be given the means to employ large numbers. They apparently don’t like a lot of competition for prospective employees.

    A Presidential speech can sometimes move the country, but they are most effective when large numbers have confidence in the presenter in chief.

    • Obama should say that he’s declaring a national emergency because the degradation of our infrastructure, the man made changes in climate, and the rampant corruption spawned in large part by the war on drug are urgent national security issues.

      That is precisely what the very loud and racist right wing have predicted he would do. They fear, more than anything, that the negro in the White House will put his minions to work fixing the country to his liking. Such a move would likely cause a guerrilla civil war in short order, (or at least more of one.)

      The problem many of us have been on about for a decade or more has been the seeming worship of a unitary executive, breathing fire and healing our ills with a wave of his dictatorial and magnificent hand. Declaring a ‘state of emergency’ grants very broad, sometimes scary and often loathsome legal powers. At the risk of nerding out too much, Barack Obama (or any President) should never become our Dr. Manhattan.

  4. “What should Obama say?”
    He should call for a massive public works program.

    “What will he say?”
    He will instead suggest tiny measures that will make school uniforms and the V-Chip look like the WPA.

    “What do you see as politicly viable jobs proposals?”
    Citizens w/pitchforks and torches in the streets.

    “Do presidential speeches have any value, and if so, what?”
    He’s been talking a lot lately. So each time he speaks, his words have less power.

    “Place no blame and no personal attacks. It gets this debate nowhere.”
    Ball of flames kids. We’re going down in a ball of flames.

  5. Hopefully he will call for higher taxes and massive increased government spending. That’s all he knows.

    And we all know how well it works…

    • yeah andy. we wouldn’t want anyone to come up with any solutions for americans out of work to find a job so they can house, clothe and feed their families……

      let’s just keep hoping for gridlock and politicized failure.

      • The solution that is proven to work is massive tax cuts. Let people keep their money and put it to work in the free market. Worked in the 60s under Kennedy and in the 80s under Reagan.

        If Obama and the Liberals will just compromise for once, we can get the economy roaring again.

        http://thehammondreport.blogspot.com/2011/08/obamanomics-vs-reaganomics-not-even.html

        • tax cuts for who andy?

          npr just reported that john boehner will not go for renewing the middle class tax cut. said it wasn’t stimulating enough.

          but republicans are ok with more tax cuts for the wealthiest 5%

          if the tax cut came with the requirement that the money be invested in the US the lie might work andy. but we both know that isn’t remotely true. the wealthiest 5% invest in companies who are moving jobs overseas. .

        • JC

          “If Obama and the Liberals will just compromise for once”

          Um, they are the only ones that have been doing any compromising andy.

          Unless your idea of a “compromise” is when “Ovama and the liberals” give the GOP the last 2% on top of the 98% they already got.

        • Andy…

          Tax cuts in the 60s and 80s had large effects because tax cuts were much higher than they are today. The marginal return on a 1% tax cut had a greater effect because we were going from tax rates that were over 75% in the 50s/60s for the top earners. So that same 1% tax cut will not generate as much of a return when rates are in the 25-35% to those who receive it.

          Example, someone earns $100,000 annually, going from a 75% to a 74% rate will generate an additional $1,000 in income that person gets to keep. That same $100,000 earner going from a 25% rate to a 24% rate will see the same increase of a $1,000.

          But as a percentage of their gross income, the first instance far outweighs the second. In the first example the person receives an additional 4% of income to spend, but in the second the person only receives and additional 1.33% of spending power.

          Same nominal increase in spending, but in real terms the boost to a person’s income is much greater when the tax rates are already very high and thus the wealth effect will be much greater

    • JC

      “massive increased government spending”

      Define “massive.”

      Does spending for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars qualify as “massive?” That was Bush’s answer to his recession and stimulus spending. Oh yeah, and his tax breaks and Medicare Part D were stimulus spending, too. Were they “massive?” I remember that job growth under Bush was rather tepid, in face of his ” massive increased government spending”.

  6. lizard19

    i think Obama should cut corporate taxes, because more wealth at the top will create more jobs.

    also, eliminate all regulations, because that hinders business.

    and we all know how well that works…

    • Just so everyone knows, lizard19 did that with a silent /snark at the end.

    • Just a question, Lizard, who actually pays corporate taxes? I’d like to know your opinion.

      • lizard19

        consumers.

      • So, would you agree that if economic inequality is your problem the corporate tax structure isn’t your issue?

        • lizard19

          yes, i would agree that the corporate tax structure isn’t the vehicle to address income disparity.

          but that won’t stop me from ridiculing the overly-simplified talking-point by the right that reducing corporate taxes leads to job creation.

        • I think it’s not nearly as oversimplified as ridicule is. Just my thought.

          There’s a great deal of literature showing that high corporate tax rates reduce workers income. There’s almost no literature that corporate taxes don’t hurt employees or employment.

          Now, that’s not to say that many Republicans don’t mindlessly parrot some talking points.I find most of them as economically illiterate as Democrats. But sometimes there’s something to an argument. Ridicule is pretty much self-serving. (and yes, I’m guilty of it at times – but I’m working on it.)

          • lizard19

            and ridicule is distracting a thread that JC suggested some simple rules for (my apologies, JC).

            so Dave, how would you answer the questions posed in the post?

          • Steve W

            We learned about corporate taxes and who pays them just recently when the airlines had their tax liabilities reduced. (though it would appear that some have already forgotten the lesson.) The stock holders pocketed the windfall, Dave.

            Remember?

          • From the perspective of what he can get done politically I think he should propose:

            A) Continuation of employee-side FICA tax breaks
            B) Match the employee-side breaks with an employer-side break.
            C) Make the reduction in employment taxes no less than two years.
            D) Reform and reduce corporate taxes
            E) Get the trade agreements to the Senate (that he has blamed Congress for not passing – dishonest fellow that he is.)

            To the extent that those would do much good in the near term I’m not very hopeful. But I think he can get that done.

            But he will bring up things like an Infrastructure Bank which, I think, will simply just add moral hazard to public works finance (think Fannie & Freddie for politicians.)

            And I’m sure he’ll pull out every retread of the last two years as well that have proven politically impossible.

            Now, if I were making the design I would:

            A) Eliminate corporate taxes and increase cap gains tax. Or, at least this.
            B) Create a program where extended unemployment benefits could be used as vouchers that employers could use to subsidize new employees.
            C) Design a negative income tax program that phased out unemployment, welfare and all other forms of maintenance payments.
            D) Fix the innovation killing intellectual property patent process.

            That’s just the tip of the iceberg. The regulatory regime must quickly be stabilized too. But that’s beyond the scope of his speech.

            That all said, I now there is no current road to Libertopia. But I can dream, can’t I.

          • Got Out

            Great deal of literature = confirmation bias, and an appeal to authority. Don’t let him get awa with this shit.

        • JC

          Got a solid jobs plan that is politically viable, Dave? If so, lay it out or give us a link if you’ve got one elsewhere.

          [nevermind… we crossposted and you answered my question]

        • Got Out

          Good point here liz. He cannot counter. Score point for you. He’ll sidetrack.

      • Pete Talbot

        “… who actually pays corporate taxes?” asks Mr. Budge. Well, not the corporations:

        http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/31/business/where-pay-for-chief-executives-tops-the-company-tax-burden.html?hp

        (For those of you who don’t subscribe to — that is, pay for — New York Times online and have passed their 20 article limit, the lede reads):

        “At least 25 top United States companies paid more to their chief executives in 2010 than they did to the federal government in taxes, according to a study released on Wednesday.”

        • And your point still has nothing to do with who pays corporate taxes. Do you honestly think that executive compensation is dictated by corporate tax rates?

          Pretty much a non sequitur I understand your complaint but it has little to do with corporate the tax structure.You issue is germane to individual tax rates.

          • Pete Talbot

            The New York Times article responds to your question, Dave:

            “Instead of sharing responsibility for addressing our nation’s fiscal challenges,” said Chuck Collins, a senior scholar at the institute who co-wrote the study, “corporations are rewarding C.E.O.’s for aggressive tax avoidance.”

            • For the sake of discussion, Pete, let’s assume that’s correct (I’m not so sure.) But, if the incentive for CEO comp is tax avoidance than that incentive has to be removed. Now, there’s a few ways that this can be done. A) Remove tax expenditures (or “loopholes” in the modern vernacular) and flatten the corporate tax rate of B) Eliminate the corporate tax altogether and increase marginal and cap gains taxes on high earners (say > $1MM/yr.) Bot of these are under discussion. Either of these I would support – at least for the intermediate term.

              Still, that issue is not tied to “who pays corporate taxes.” If a corporation engages in good tax avoidance than it’s customers pay a smaller share of collected taxes. If they don’t, consumers pay a higher share.

              But I think it’s delusional to expect corporations to embrace “shared responsibility” for taxes. The function in the economy is to compete and, to the extent that responsibility isn’t adequately shared, that should be done at the personal level. Otherwise we simply add friction to the efficient raising of tax revenues.

              • Pete Talbot

                So tell me Dave, I have to pay taxes on my earnings but corporarions shouldn’t have to on theirs? And here I thought corporations had the same rights (and responsibilities) as individuals, according to SCOTUS and the Citizens United ruling. Please explain.

              • No, I think the people who benefit from corporate earnings should pay the taxes on those benefits.

                But you’re changing the subject from tax policy, jobs creation to the 1st Amendment.

              • Dave –

                It’s one thing for the people who benefit from corporate earnings to pay taxes, and on that we agree…but what about the corporation itself that wants to be treated to all the rights and benefits of a person?

                I’m talking “corporate personhood” upheld by the SCOTUS.

                Shouldn’t “they” have to pay taxes?

              • Look, it’s a different issue. Regardless of how one feels about Citizens United (and one should note that it wasn’t a for profit corp that brought the case forward) there is nothing in policy that can be done to change that. It’s an issue that requires a change in the constitution.

                It seems to me that it has little bearing on how to most efficiently maximize revenue, create jobs and increase workers incomes.

        • presdigitation

          If you hit the stop button in your browser immediately after the text loads, and before the paywall code loads, you can get past the paywall at the Times (and the MIssouian or other Lee papers, for that matter).

          Simple as apple pudding. Or something like that.

        • Got Out

          In monopoly they can pass on taxes. In a competitive environment, they cannot. Ergo, Budge argues here for monopoly.

          If he does not know this, he is stupid,

    • Yes we do know how that works. Successfully. Try educating yourself, please.

      • reagan 1983 – 85 recession 8.5% unemployment*
        bush senior 1988-90 recession 7.9% unemployment*
        bush jr “bush-crash” 07 7.5%* unemployment. nosedived to current levels still not out of that yet.

        rewriting history only works if you are a fiction writer andy.

        *peak during term.

      • Got Out

        Hammond asks you to reach into the ether for those ideals tand principles that should somehow govern here on earth, but oddly don’t. He’s odd, agressively stupid but underneath, truly stupid.

  7. Ingemar Johansson

    With a overall disapproval rate of 55% and 25% of Democrats wanting him to step down it doesn’t matter what he says.

    Plan is dead, Jim.

  8. JC

    67 “progressive” organizations penned a letter from The Campaign for America’s Future to President Obama today.

    Here is an excerpt:

    A problem this serious needs a plan to match it in scope. Tax cuts and incentives for corporations have repeatedly failed to put Americans back to work. It is time to move beyond these halfmeasures designed to appeal to a narrow ideological minority who have repeatedly shown their unwillingness to negotiate and their disinterest in real solutions. History—and proven economics—tells us that any plan to solve our job crisis needs to be big, bold, and create jobs directly…

    Across the political spectrum, Americans are united in calling for the government to create jobs and on how we can pay for this investment in our economic recovery: Raise taxes on the wealthy, so that they pay their fair share again.

    • The problem, JC, is that corporate taxes haven’t been changed for over a generation except for the rent seeking crony capitalists – a truly bipartisan phenomenon. Repeated failure seems like a talking point instead of a thesis.

      • Got Out

        Itellectualizes the idea that wealth should be exempt from tax. somenone needs to stuff that argument. Only JC and Lizard are capable and they do not respond. I am capable, as I see throug the Budge as a complete Wizard behind curtain. But ifnhe faces me, he vamooses. also, I am banned. JC, Liz, step forward, stuff the munchkin!!! It is within your power.

  9. obama has the upper hand. he is playing it safe. there is no candidate out there who really is much of a challenge head to head against any sitting president. they all look like clowns.

    he has the big money of the insurance companies and the bankers in his hip pocket, (the aggregate worth of which miniaturizes the koch bros and the oil companies), along with most of the press of both coasts. he will do as turner says. talk about creating jobs and challenge the republicans to look small by fighting him.

    the herd is restless but mostly still convinced that obama has their best interest at heart compared to republicans. he is in a good position. obama doesn’t want to rock the boat by doing anything too radical that will hurt his backers.

    nobody on either side gives one good damn about actually doing anything about jobs as long as their backers are happy.

    • Got Out

      Problem bear here detach from partisan poltics. He is intellectually I capable of dealing in these matters, my biggest problem with him. Read some, pb.

  10. we could all pray for deliverance in these troubled times…..

    go packers!

  11. Your first question was “What should Obama say?”

    The answer is this – Nothing.

    Because nobody believes that he is truly capable of fixing anything.

    If he and his regime knew how to fix the economy, they would have done it during his first two years when the Dems controlled the Legislature and the White House.

    If he goes up there, and continues making excuses, and talks about more spending to fix the economy, his credibility bottoms out.

    • it’s super thunderdome.

      two parties enter and no party leaves.

      they are poised to nuke each other. to hell with finding jobs. it’s a race to the bottom. and nobody wins

      let the match begin!!!!!!!!!!

  12. JC

    @Dave Budge:

    “Still, that issue is not tied to “who pays corporate taxes.” If a corporation engages in good tax avoidance than it’s customers pay a smaller share of collected taxes. If they don’t, consumers pay a higher share.

    But I think it’s delusional to expect corporations to embrace “shared responsibility” for taxes. The function in the economy is to compete and, to the extent that responsibility isn’t adequately shared, that should be done at the personal level. Otherwise we simply add friction to the efficient raising of tax revenues.”

    By this logic, if you think consumers pay the corporate tax, then so do shareholders. So do workers who get lower wages.

    But why shouldn’t corporations be forced to embrace “shared responsibility?” They are being given more and more constitutional (human) rights, and being operated as proxies for free speech. Money equates speech in today’s political environment. Corporations wield money and speech constitutionally just as people do. Why should they not be asked to shoulder the tax burden too? And by tax burden I mean the costs of funding government and all it does.

    And who says that the function of the economy is “to compete?” The “economy” is an abstract concept used to describe the workings of an amorphous mass. The economy has many functions: provide goods and services and provide jobs.

    “Competition” is just one way among many for an economy to do so. To use that as the baseline by which we compare the failings of shared responsibility among the economy’s participants, and then have to do the fallback to “the personal level” in order to spread responsibility, then we have failed to build “one nation, indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all.” We have built a nation of 300 million islands all believing they have to compete for their basic needs, each trying to avoid the personal responsibility that has been thrust upon them by an intrusive government demanding its tithe.

    No wonder many of us looked fondly at works like “Mutual Aid.” Forcing the economy to reflect the mantra of “competition in a free market” destroys the communitarian nature of civilized societies in favor of Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” in ape societies.

    And as to the notion of “add friction to the efficient raising of tax revenues”, so what if we add friction? Especially if that friction reflects the externalities of a corporations doing business? I have no problem encumbering the Exxon’s of the world when their industry fills the atmosphere with CO2, the ground with fracking fluids, the ocean with millions of barrels of oil, our soils with acid rains, and whole societies with disruption and loss of culture.

    I’d add enough friction to their operations to grind them to a pace allowing alternative energy solutions to overtake them.

    But I digress, as none of this has anything to do with the President’s speech and my interrogatory. Or does it?

  13. JC, just a quick note (since I’m right now in the jaws of the market). I didn’t say that the economies job was to compete. I said it was corporations (and more generally businesses) job to compete. Ergo, there’s a fundamental problem in your response.

    Secondly, I didn’t say that anyone should get a pass on shared responsibility. In fact, I said that a reduction in corporate taxes should be offset by an increase in the personal tax rates and cap gains taxes.

    And I think you’ve also misinterpreted my use of the word “friction.” I use it in the sense of efficiency of collecting taxes. The tax code wastes a $trillion/ year in compliance whereas a VAT costs next to nothing.

    So, you’re missing my point. I’m not of a mind that anyone needs a “tax break” per se. I’m of the mind that there’s a better way to collect it that will raise more revenues, create a better environment for capital investment, increase wages, reduce the price of employment, and increase the national savings rate. But I just don’t have time to explain all of it in a blog comment.

    • JC

      ” I didn’t say that the economies job was to compete.”

      This is what you said:

      “The function in the economy is to compete”

      Maybe a function isn’t a job, but I don’t want to quibble semantics with you. I responded to what you seemed to be writing about.

      I didn’t misinterpret you use of the word “friction.” I just extended out the definition rather loosely to make a point. It is easy to get caught up in all-to-technical economic terms in order to confuse the layperson. As in brain surgery and lawyering, economists like to hold their talismans dear, in order to keep the secret society intact.

      “I just don’t have time to explain all of it in a blog comment.”

      I don’t expect you to explain all of it short order, or even reader’s digest. I just happen to think that while your prescriptions might make sense from a systems approach to tax theory, I worry about what washes out at the bottom.

      Poverty feeds off of the inability of our society to respond to basic human needs. I worry that theories like yours will increase poverty by hindering the government from responding exactly when needed (unemployment, foodstamps, medicaid, TANF). The current state of economic depression has shown that personal responsibility to the plight of the impoverished is diminished exactly at the time that it needs to be increased, i.e. giving by individuals and corporations decrease as the economy churns on in its inability to provide basic needs for an increasing number of people. Just look at the Montana Food Bank Network–with increasing need to feed people, it gets funding cuts from the government. And individual and corporate funding is decreasing as well.

      Don’t build new tax systems from the top down, and then try and figure out how it will impact the lowest rungs of our society, and then try and figure out how to take care of their needs (either through government intervention or “personal responsibility”). This is the approach that John Huntsman, the “traditional” republican in the race advocates, as his recently released economic plan lays out.

      Figure out how to solve the problems of poverty, and let the solutions trickle upwards. That’s what I’m interested in.

      • If I wrote economy instead of corporations I apologize. I meant the latter. After all, we might not even be able to agree on what “the economy” means.

        But, of course, that’s why I suggested the Negative Income Tax as to your worry about the poor.. I’ve been quoted saying “If I were God I’d get rid of SoSec and Medicare as an entitlement and replace them with food and housing as the entitlement.

        But I’m a radical and I think one problem with too much incrementalism is that nothing really ever gets done.

        • JC

          How does negative income tax apply to low (or no) income people with things like offsets and garnishes? It is another way of imposed servitude to pay your debts.

          And negative income tax is only is only handed out once a year when you file your taxes. How does the person who loses his/her job put food on the table next week if not for unemployment or foodstamps?

          The benefits of the ability of social safety nets to respond quickly to need cannot be lost in the desire to reform the tax code. But of course, I see that necessity falling by the wayside to do, as Jon Huntsman’s campaign says:

          “Once you have cleaned house and dramatically lowered the rate you are in a much better position to navigate any issues than we are now.”

          I take “cleaned house” to be code for eliminating the social safety net. But what do the poor do while the house is being cleaned and the redecorators are worrying about wall paper while people are still unemployed and unable to put food on the table.

          Negative income taxes may look good to some in theory, But their implementation can be destructive to households teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and homelessness. Look at the problem from the bottom up, instead of the top down, and look at the disruptions and anticipate the chaos that will ensue.

          How would you transition without completely disrupting the bottom two quints?

          I’m a radical too. Let’s just impose a wage cap on upper management of say 8:1 ratio highest to lowest worker and raise the minimum wage to a living wage with discounts for entry workers (high school kids at summer jobs). And I don’t care if this raises the cost of a big mac by 50 cents.

          • No, the negative income tax can be set up any way it is wished to be set up. Milton Friedman suggested that it be calculated and paid monthly as a replacement to welfare. So, what ever you’ve heard about it – such as the EITC is a surrogate – might limit your ability to think in more constructive terms. And I reject the claim that the administration of an NIT is any more complicated that other aid to poor families.

            Now, as far protection of those who have non-dischargeable debt (which are mostly only debts to the government) that is a problem. But do you think that it’s unique to the NIT? Think about this:

            If you default on your mortgage and live in a non-recourse state you get a 1099 for the deficiency balance which creates a tax liability which, if the damage is large enough, you won’t be able to pay. I certainly ads injury to injury. Under current law that debt is not dischargeable. I think you’re conflating issues here. And I would suggest that problem should be fixed first. It’s only the government that has the ability to enforce it liens immune from bankruptcy. I have to ask, then, does the tax code not now have a direct relevance to those families teetering on the edge?

  14. Oh, and yes, it has everything to do with the jobs speech.

  15. Ingemar Johansson

    I’m thinking maybe the speech will be about the seasons.




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