Just what the country needs right now: more tax cuts

A bill for hurricane relief passed the house at 422 to 0. This is all well and good, but tax breaks aren’t an efficient way of distributing goods to the needy. Economically, the only difference between giving a tax break for hurricane-related charitable donations and just raising taxes and giving the money directly is the fact that in the former case you can tax future generations through deficit spending. What ever happened to just giving them aid? I’m confused.

Is the problem really the lack of funds? After all, we are burning food aid from Great Britain and sending ice trucks in the wrong direction, it sounds like the problem has been due to too little logistics and too much red-tape.

Of course, I don’t know what a rich person can do with things like food and water. But a tax cut…

Guess what the South needs is more corporate welfare programs.

The Democrats seem to be testing a new frame:

“We need to make sure that federal contracts are awarded based on confidence and integrity instead of cronyism and greed. And at long last, we need to start putting the interests of the taxpayers ahead of the private contractor.”

—Henry A. Waxman (Rep. D CA)

This new frame—“putting taxpayers ahead of private contractors”—looks like an opening salvo in trying to reverse the tax cuts. It’s not likely to stick since Grover Norquist has almost half the house and senate (not to mention the President) in his back pocket.1

1 Grover Norquist said: “My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” Ironically, he sort of accomplished the second part (Got government to the point where Katrina could drown FEMA in the bathtub), but to do reach that goal, he had to get it larger, not smaller.

7 thoughts on “Just what the country needs right now: more tax cuts

  1. Here is another example of the Democrats coming up with their own Contract with America.

    Contrast this with the Republicans who suddenly find that they have lost theirs.

    The Democratic frame is to return the “power to people” and I think it may be a successful one. It is summed up in this talking point: “When you look at the energy bill, you look at the prescription drug bill, Congress has gone from the people’s House to the auction house…”

    The pendulum swings.

  2. On October 10, New York Times is hinting at a republican revolt against tax breaks for the wealthy as a solution to Katrina.

    Note that the fact that trickle-down economic policies like this don’t work is not the problem. It’s that the squeeze is going down on social programs like Medicaid and these people are worried about backlash from their constituencies.

    As this country is no longer in boom, it’s harder to sweep the wealth transfer of corporate cronies under the rug.

    The pendulum swings…

  3. The Right Wing reveals their frame for using Katrina as a way of putting in more tax cuts is finally apparent: The left has just talked up the old paradigm: “let’s expand what’s failed before.”.

    Personally, I think that’s a weak frame since it forces them to attack Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security: two programs that sit in a voting demographic, are very successful, and they have failed to attack successfully before.

    Tactically it is stupid. You aren’t going to convince anyone that you have that there are these bloated social programs. The bloat most people in America are convinced of is the one at the top: patronage and cronyism. Right now: the right wing is attacking their own Harriet Miers nomination with just such a frame.

    Strategically, it is very dangerous. The frame is based on a trickle-down theory of economics that has proven time and time again to dig this country into a deeper hole. The poor may not vote, but there is a huge middle that is getting poorer every day as the sand shifts under them when you apply trickle-down. You have to disenfranchise the entire population if you want to maintain power with that social system. Don’t believe it can happen? Look at Latin America or Russia.

    California often leads the way socially and politically. The “Left Coast” has led the conservative resurgence of the 80’s. Right now the government is in a financial spot: only two programs left to cut that don’t cause a reciprocating lost of federal matching funds: education and corrections. It is a zero-sum game between our universities and our prisons. On which the Sword falls in the next couple years will determine if America is swinging back to the center or is fixed to the “thirty years of Republican dominance” predicted by the Right Wing think tanks and lobbists.

    The other issue is on the income side of the state budget. State income tax is already the second highest which subsidies the low property tax and non-liquid market. (Did you know that when I became a state resident, I had to, by law, sell all my shares of CREF that were tied to property?) The Left Wing and the Right Wing both like this situation, but they’ve reached the point where increasing income tax results is approaching a net loss in income (by chasing away jobs and people who are renters and thus aren’t tied to the state). Something will have to give here too, but I am not sure what that means.

  4. Looks like I was right about the red-tape. Not that that was much of a step.

    I love this statement: “It is extraordinarily difficult to extract a clear understanding of everything that was going on from a single e-mail, or even a few e-mails…We’ll undoubtedly deconflict some individual accounts.”

    What is there to “deconflict”? You lied about how incompetent your response was and now your private e-mails show that. Haven’t you learned anything from Microsoft and the Valerie Plame investigation?

    Burn all the incriminating e-mail!

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