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Old 2013-02-23, 02:36   Link #241
willx
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^ I agree with much of this, but not about the what, why and how the financial collapse happened, what was done to resolve it and what it means now and for the future.
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Old 2013-02-23, 03:35   Link #242
Solace
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Originally Posted by willx View Post
^ I agree with much of this, but not about the what, why and how the financial collapse happened, what was done to resolve it and what it means now and for the future.
I'm not clear on what you mean. The financial collapse was predictable in the sense that it was a bubble waiting to pop. There were people warning about this years before it happened. There's a financial crisis every decade, on average, and it's generally because money in the system flows too fast and loose in speculative bubbles. No one was able to say "In 2008, this this and this will happen", but there were warning signs and an aftermath that isn't difficult to piece together.

The last two banking crises were the S&L scandal and the CDS bubble. Both were largely the result of relaxed or repealed FDR legislation that had previously erected barriers between savings and investment banking. It didn't help that the second crisis was compounded by two factors: the creation of the bundled loan product, and the push by government for home ownership. Ratings agencies were giving AAA credit scores to junk bundles, they swapped hands so many times no one really knew the true value of them, took out insurance to cover that, and the insurance companies never expected, or didn't care, about a possible run on them if people started to panic. Toss in bad business practices like robosigning and you have a property collapse were no one really knows who owns what (still true today), and a financial collapse brought on by an overvalued market in the trillions that can't be paid for.

We don't learn our lessons though, and we certainly haven't resolved this. We've actually made it worse. What that means going forward is that we've created a bigger future problem to temporarily alleviate a current one. The banking system will collapse again, and the next time the government cannot afford to bail it out. It has no monetary or political capital to do so. And the public certainly can't weather another financial crisis, because those assets are drained (the majority of Americans are one crisis from personal financial ruin). Compounded with real world problems, like the weakened worldwide economy, climate change, and the downslope of oil production, and we're in for serious problems that the government has so far refused to take seriously.

I can't predict when this will coalesce into "the big one", or what the trigger will be, but it won't be too long from now. The fallout will be immense.
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Old 2013-02-23, 04:27   Link #243
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Originally Posted by Solace View Post
But that's exactly what businesses are supposed to do. I have a business because I gain something from it; in particular, money. For the consumer, competition is great! But for my business, competition is bad. Why would I want another business taking some of my pie? The only reason I would try to outdo him is to drive him out of business so that I can have all my pie to myself.
There's nothing inherently wrong with trying to dominate and drive everyone from the field as a business. I'm not opposed to that. But when you go and lobby and try to make laws in your favor [while hypocritically claiming fair competition] this would be wrong because there is no respect for the laws of society. To me, this is no different from saying "This guy sells a better product than me; I'm going to burn his place down" Or popping someone's tire in a race. This is just violence, thuggery, and extortion.

But it is popular in our country to metaphorically burn people's places down and then claim that you are a self made person.
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Old 2013-02-23, 06:39   Link #244
DonQuigleone
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One issue could be is if companies try to use artificial competitive advantages like law changes to outcompete their rivals, rather then proper advantages like, say, making a better product.


A successful free market economy is dependent on their being a state of continuous competition, with no one ever "winning". If someone wins, then the government has to step into split the winner up.

It becomes really bad when governments get into the habit of "helping" private enterprises. Their needs to be a level playing field, and bad ideas have to be propped up. For instance, the world would be in better shape today if countries hadn't legislated against Japanese imports in the 80s. They instead should have forced their companies to adapt or die.

Bad companies need to go out of business.

I might make an exception for certain extraordinary circumstances though. For instance, the bailout of the Auto industry was probably a good idea, as that was an unusual drop in sales. A one time bailout isn't too bad, but continuous subsidies is (IE, the government should get those automakers into good financial health again, and then leave them to fend for themselves).
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Old 2013-02-23, 06:52   Link #245
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
It becomes really bad when governments get into the habit of "helping" private enterprises.
$8 billion in oil subsidies, when different oil companies who make at least $1 trillion in profits combined.

It's time for these subsidies to be shut down. If they threaten increased gas prices, the public will react to it; but the public will always adjust to it too.
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Old 2013-02-23, 08:47   Link #246
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Yeah, I'd cut all those subsidies. People will indeed adjust, and that 8 billion in subsidies is "saving" them money anyway...
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Old 2013-02-23, 09:18   Link #247
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Depends on how much the price of gas goes up. For example, gas prices in Japan back in 2008 were around $1.67 per liter. Note, liter, not gallon. That'd be about $6.32 a gallon. Gas in the US at least is around the same price now that it was back then, but I'm not sure if we're paying more in subsidies to bring it down comparatively. And unlike Japan, America does not have an alternative means of local mass transport. A lot of people wouldn't be able to afford doubling their monthly gas expenses.
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Old 2013-02-23, 12:11   Link #248
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Originally Posted by GDB View Post
Depends on how much the price of gas goes up. For example, gas prices in Japan back in 2008 were around $1.67 per liter. Note, liter, not gallon. That'd be about $6.32 a gallon. Gas in the US at least is around the same price now that it was back then, but I'm not sure if we're paying more in subsidies to bring it down comparatively. And unlike Japan, America does not have an alternative means of local mass transport. A lot of people wouldn't be able to afford doubling their monthly gas expenses.
In America, everyone drives, and so if you removed the gas subsidy, and lowered taxes by the equivalent amount, it shouldn't make a difference.
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Old 2013-02-23, 12:31   Link #249
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Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
In America, everyone drives, and so if you removed the gas subsidy, and lowered taxes by the equivalent amount, it shouldn't make a difference.
Last I checked, Americans paid next to no petrol tax at the pump compared to the rest of the world.




So if you want to lower taxes you are going to have to lower it somewhere else. You are paying massively cheaper gas/petrol than the rest of us in the Western world.
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Old 2013-02-23, 13:04   Link #250
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Nice posts, Solace.

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Originally Posted by Archon_Wing View Post
Until Americans can look in the mirror and be like "Well, if we're lagging behind the rest of the world, maybe, just maybe, we're doing something wrong?", we won't go anywhere. Nah. That would be too simple.
The first step to solving any problem is admitting that there's a problem. Despite being behind other countries in various metrics, many Americans choose to believe that we are #1 in just about everything. In areas where we're not #1 the reason is never because other countries have a superior method, but something else: the government is to blame, someone was corrupt, funds aren't being spent properly, the system is receiving too much money, the system is receiving too little money... it's as if admitting superiority of another country's system, culture, or way of life with regard to some particular aspect would be too painful.

The American identity is critical to many Americans. Maybe Europeans live longer, get more vacation, are happier overall (if you buy into those "happiness indices" that come into the news here and there), and are just as productive - if not more so - than Americans are. Well, we're America, which makes us better than those socialists in Europe. If we're not better, it doesn't mean that our system is at fault, it just means we need to tweak it and work harder to get better. It just means we need to elect better leaders, it just means that God is trying to tell us something. The general sentiment is "screw you if you want to make America more like Europe, go move there if you think it's so great." Nobody wants the perceived uniqueness of America to be touched.

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Originally Posted by GDB View Post
And unlike Japan, America does not have an alternative means of local mass transport. A lot of people wouldn't be able to afford doubling their monthly gas expenses.
Sure they could. Have you seen the vehicles that most Americans drive? It's definitely not hard to get a replacement vehicle with double - perhaps even triple - the fuel efficiency. Swap out the vehicles, double the gas prices, and their net gas expenditures remain the same.

Demand also creates new solutions. Carpool programs have become a bit more prominent in recent years. If the demand were there, train and bus service would increase and possibly be expanded. Worst-case scenario, people would move closer to their jobs. Bicycle lanes and parking could become more prominent. The interest in 100% electric cars would likely grow, and with it, lower prices on those vehicles and increased prominence of charging stations. It would be a very painful transition, to be sure, but there are plenty of options. We're headed that way anyhow, but the key to limiting the pain is to make the transition as smoothly and slowly as possible.
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Old 2013-02-23, 13:11   Link #251
kyp275
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vallen Chaos Valiant View Post
Last I checked, Americans paid next to no petrol tax at the pump compared to the rest of the world.

So if you want to lower taxes you are going to have to lower it somewhere else. You are paying massively cheaper gas/petrol than the rest of us in the Western world.
Eh, not sure why it matters how much other countries are taxing their gas. Correct me if I'm wrong, but looking at the list of countries, none of them are close to the US in terms of how essential automobiles are to the everyday lives of its citizenry.

TBH, the real reason that the gas tax can't really be lowered is that it's pretty much what states depend on for maintaining and fixing roads.

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Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
Sure they could. Have you seen the vehicles that most Americans drive? It's definitely not hard to get a replacement vehicle with double - perhaps even triple - the fuel efficiency. Swap out the vehicles, double the gas prices, and their net gas expenditures remain the same.
Gonna have to disagree with you on this one. While the rich and those that are doing well can certainly afford it, I doubt the majority of people can simply go out and just buy new cars whenever they want, I certainly can't. Doubling the gas bill for those who are already struggling would be devastating, you're gonna have people who would have to choose between food or gas, and some who would end up spending the majority of their take home pay on gas alone. Also, which car gives 45+ MPG in the city again?

Quote:
Demand also creates new solutions. Carpool programs have become a bit more prominent in recent years. If the demand were there, train and bus service would increase and possibly be expanded. Worst-case scenario, people would move closer to their jobs. Bicycle lanes and parking could become more prominent. The interest in 100% electric cars would likely grow, and with it, lower prices on those vehicles and increased prominence of charging stations. It would be a very painful transition, to be sure, but there are plenty of options. We're headed that way anyhow, but the key to limiting the pain is to make the transition as smoothly and slowly as possible.
Carpool is only feasible in the city provided you know someone well enough that lives close by and your work/whatever schedule allows you to carpool. In the suburb? forget it. Relocation is also not an option for everyone, nor are biking practical in all areas (certainly not in places that snows). Your ideas would probably work best in localized scenarios where the needs matches up favorably, but not as a broad policy for the whole country.

Last edited by kyp275; 2013-02-23 at 13:30.
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Old 2013-02-23, 13:11   Link #252
DonQuigleone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vallen Chaos Valiant View Post
So if you want to lower taxes you are going to have to lower it somewhere else. You are paying massively cheaper gas/petrol than the rest of us in the Western world.
I did not mean petrol taxes, but general income taxes. What money they lose at the pump, they'll gain in their paycheck.
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Old 2013-02-23, 13:16   Link #253
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vallen Chaos Valiant View Post
Last I checked, Americans paid next to no petrol tax at the pump compared to the rest of the world.




So if you want to lower taxes you are going to have to lower it somewhere else. You are paying massively cheaper gas/petrol than the rest of us in the Western world.
As you notice here in Mexico we pay even less taxes/the fuel is cheaper and some people still expect the government to continue subsidize it so its price will never increase.
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Old 2013-02-23, 13:40   Link #254
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
The first step to solving any problem is admitting that there's a problem. Despite being behind other countries in various metrics, many Americans choose to believe that we are #1 in just about everything. In areas where we're not #1 the reason is never because other countries have a superior method, but something else: the government is to blame, someone was corrupt, funds aren't being spent properly, the system is receiving too much money, the system is receiving too little money... it's as if admitting superiority of another country's system, culture, or way of life with regard to some particular aspect would be too painful.

The American identity is critical to many Americans. Maybe Europeans live longer, get more vacation, are happier overall (if you buy into those "happiness indices" that come into the news here and there), and are just as productive - if not more so - than Americans are. Well, we're America, which makes us better than those socialists in Europe. If we're not better, it doesn't mean that our system is at fault, it just means we need to tweak it and work harder to get better. It just means we need to elect better leaders, it just means that God is trying to tell us something. The general sentiment is "screw you if you want to make America more like Europe, go move there if you think it's so great." Nobody wants the perceived uniqueness of America to be touched.
Not gonna work. I tried this in the gun thread. Trying to compare our country to others using facts and figures, only gets you a "Well, our country is DIFFERENT! There are DIFFERENCES so you can't compare us to anyone else... ever!"

So, all I can do is try to reason and convince those around me, and hope it spreads. That we can have a "socialist" health care program that is cheaper and provides better care. That we can reduce guns by banning them and thus reduce gun death. That we can shift emphasis and funds to schooling and training and away from the military, and it will make our country stronger, healthier, and more free.

But American has too many selfish extremists, who would rather grab onto their guns, would rather shaft people into the ER, and would rather pump money into our military and worship the "free market" rather than follow real world evidence that shows what works and what doesn't.

America is one that relies on faith, not evidence, and that's the most damning, scary thing about our country. We put ourselves first, and screw anyone who isn't me. I don't care about anyone else who dies. THAT is the attitude you have to change. From a "ME ME ME! FAITH!" attitude, to a "we're in this together, so let's put belief aside when evidence contradicts it, and follow science."

And if you spent any time in the gun thread, you would have realized that is impossible.
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Old 2013-02-23, 13:43   Link #255
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
Nice posts, Solace.


The first step to solving any problem is admitting that there's a problem. Despite being behind other countries in various metrics, many Americans choose to believe that we are #1 in just about everything. In areas where we're not #1 the reason is never because other countries have a superior method, but something else: the government is to blame, someone was corrupt, funds aren't being spent properly, the system is receiving too much money, the system is receiving too little money... it's as if admitting superiority of another country's system, culture, or way of life with regard to some particular aspect would be too painful.

The American identity is critical to many Americans. Maybe Europeans live longer, get more vacation, are happier overall (if you buy into those "happiness indices" that come into the news here and there), and are just as productive - if not more so - than Americans are. Well, we're America, which makes us better than those socialists in Europe. If we're not better, it doesn't mean that our system is at fault, it just means we need to tweak it and work harder to get better. It just means we need to elect better leaders, it just means that God is trying to tell us something. The general sentiment is "screw you if you want to make America more like Europe, go move there if you think it's so great." Nobody wants the perceived uniqueness of America to be touched.
Part of this mindset is understandable. There are many ignorant criticisms that are done without context, or the realization of how federal/state laws work. (ie. laws in one state aren't indicative of the whole country). Though this arguably goes both ways too. But nobody likes to be lumped in and declared the people that voted in murderers, warmongers, etc especially when they voted against such people that promoted these policies.

On the other hand, I would hold the government accountable for much of the fearmongering and bad allocation of funds. As for the whole Socialism fear, where did that come from? Propaganda. Because people think it's a slippery slope towards communism. (MCcarthy still lives). Though as I've tried to post that little test, that taking a socialist policy does not mean we're sliding towards communism. Nor do people understand what communism is. [I don't want it either, but it's not the infamous stawman people label it as. And it certainly is not China or the former Soviet Union] The world doesn't work on a binary scale, and ultimately this black and white thing doesn't work. I mean to take things in perspective, some of the greatest flattering of capitalism comes from The Communist Manifesto. But much like Darwin, one's words get twisted by the extremists.

This doesn't necessarily mean we shall immediately be like "ban all guns" or "tax the rich into oblivion". Those aren't practical solutions, but some would have you believe these are the only alternatives. Which they are not.
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Old 2013-02-23, 13:51   Link #256
Vallen Chaos Valiant
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
I did not mean petrol taxes, but general income taxes. What money they lose at the pump, they'll gain in their paycheck.
It's going to be difficult to deduct it via other means though. At least with cutting petrol taxes you would know for sure that you are only changing the price of petrol. But income tax changes would be uneven. People who don't drive much would benefit while people who drive for a living might suffer, because the tax break wouldn't cover their price increase.
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Old 2013-02-23, 14:01   Link #257
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Originally Posted by Archon_Wing View Post
PThis doesn't necessarily mean we shall immediately be like "ban all guns" or "tax the rich into oblivion". Those aren't practical solutions, but some would have you believe these are the only alternatives. Which they are not.
Of course they aren't. That is the extremist talking. But we can talk about taxing the rich more, and banning/limiting some more guns. However, the instant you do, you get people screaming that taxing the rich is wrong, and that taking away any guns is wrong.

Especially when multiple societies and countries have shown us where the limits already are. We'd be doing nothing different than other countries have done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vallen Chaos Valiant View Post
It's going to be difficult to deduct it via other means though. At least with cutting petrol taxes you would know for sure that you are only changing the price of petrol. But income tax changes would be uneven. People who don't drive much would benefit while people who drive for a living might suffer, because the tax break wouldn't cover their price increase.
Taxes are also for shaping consumer behavior. If higher taxes lead to less gas used, then we can wean ourselves off foreign oil, and become energy self-sufficient with renewables. Especially since our electric car industry is getting off the ground. I'd tax gas higher, not to raise funds, but to gently nudge people towards electric cars.
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Old 2013-02-23, 14:40   Link #258
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Taxing the rich more? But we already have a progressive tax (taxes make up more percentage of your income the more money you make). Should the tax be even more ruthless on the rich?

I'm not criticizing, I'm interested in opinions.
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Old 2013-02-23, 14:57   Link #259
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Taxing the rich more? But we already have a progressive tax (taxes make up more percentage of your income the more money you make). Should the tax be even more ruthless on the rich?

I'm not criticizing, I'm interested in opinions.
Yup. I'd actually like a tax on wealth, but that is another argument, and is a bit more difficult.

But to the current subject, government must have funds to function. I think everyone can agree on that. It needs to collect that from it's citizens somehow, without putting undue hardship on people, ie, taking away money that someone needs to feed themselves. Thus, you have to exclude a certain minimum of income and declare it as needing to sustain basic living. Everything above that, is fair game.

Now, having gone that far, we have to realize one other aspect: the vast majority of wealth has concentrated into the hands of the few. Many more people have been forced down either below, or just above, that basic living wage, just barely able to sustain themselves. If we have a deficit, and cannot then extract more wealth from the poor and middle class (which are struggling to survive), then we must logically extract it from the rich, who can afford it. If we don't, our government gets further into debt(and thus beholden to third parties). We have no other choice. If we tax the poor and middle class, we actually cause a lot of harm. The rich are the only target.

And if the rich insist on having the majority of the wealth, then it is only fair that they pay the majority of the taxes.

There is, of course, the argument to reduce spending, and that holds some weight. But in times like this, people depend on government assistance to get them through. I, myself, needed government assistance for awhile after I lost my job in the recession. Without it, I would have lost my meager home, and perhaps turned to stealing to get what I needed. or just become homeless. Government assistance allowed me to stay a working, productive member of society. Society benefited by giving me help (as did Mitt Romney's parents and Paul Ryan).

So spending needs to stay as is. The only thing left to us, is to raise taxes. And the only place to do that, is on the rich.
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Old 2013-02-23, 15:51   Link #260
kyp275
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Not gonna work. I tried this in the gun thread. Trying to compare our country to others using facts and figures, only gets you a "Well, our country is DIFFERENT! There are DIFFERENCES so you can't compare us to anyone else... ever!"
Way to take unnecessary potshots, how classy of you.

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Originally Posted by Kaijo View Post
Taxes are also for shaping consumer behavior. If higher taxes lead to less gas used, then we can wean ourselves off foreign oil, and become energy self-sufficient with renewables. Especially since our electric car industry is getting off the ground. I'd tax gas higher, not to raise funds, but to gently nudge people towards electric cars.
Oversimplification of the issue. Taxes can shape consumer behavior, the cigarette tax is a good example. However, unlike cigarettes, gas is a necessity. You can choose to quit smoking, but you can't choose to not put gas in your car so you can go to work or get around.

The whole thing w/ "foreign oil" is just missing the point IMO. It's an international market, it's not as if the oil we produce are staying inside the country. Foreign oil, domestic oil, they all go into the same pile that is the international market. The only way to change that would be to nationalize the oil industry and/or severely restrict/ban oil exportation.

As far as renewables go, solar and wind are nowhere near advanced enough to replace coal in the US, and the only one that can - nuclear, gets all the bad press.

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It needs to collect that from it's citizens somehow, without putting undue hardship on people, ie, taking away money that someone needs to feed themselves. Thus, you have to exclude a certain minimum of income and declare it as needing to sustain basic living. Everything above that, is fair game.
Which ironically is something that an increased gas tax will do.

Quote:
There is, of course, the argument to reduce spending, and that holds some weight....So spending needs to stay as is. The only thing left to us, is to raise taxes. And the only place to do that, is on the rich.
You can't continue to spend $3,000 every month when your monthly income is merely $2,000 forever without having it coming back and bite you in the ass later. I'm all for a progressive tax code, but the idea that the US can tax its way out of trouble purely on the rich is not only ridiculous, but also mathematically impossible. You can tax their income at 100% and not do much than making a small dent in the annual deficit. That's not to say that there should be widespread and mindless budget cuts everywhere, the problem is that we're not spending our money wisely, or at least we're doing it with too much waste.

Ultimately what you need is growth, without which nothing else you do will be enough.

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