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"Courage": Fox Lauds Ryan For Budget That Economic Experts Call "Grossly Irresponsible"

March 21, 2012 2:04 pm ET — 68 Comments

Fox News figures have hailed GOP Rep. Paul Ryan's "courage" for "heroically and gutsily tak[ing] on these enormous entitlement programs" in his most recent budget proposal. But economic experts have said that Ryan's plan is "grossly irresponsible" and "all smoke and mirrors." Fox's praise for Ryan's budget echoes the network's long history of touting him and his policy proposals.

Fox Figures Hail Ryan's "Courage" For Releasing Budget Proposal

Fox's Bill Hemmer: Ryan Releasing Budget Plan "Is Going To Go Down As The Single Most Important Event In Government History In Our Lifetimes." On the March 21 edition of Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends, Fox host Bill Hemmer said: "I think what happened yesterday is going to go down as the single most important event in government history in our lifetimes, and that is when Paul Ryan came out with his budget plan":

HEMMER: I think what happened yesterday is going to go down as the single most important event in government history in our lifetimes, and that is when Paul Ryan came out with his budget plan. And I'm not suggesting it's going to pass, but what I am saying is a year from now or five years from now or, god forbid, 10 years from now, when we address the problems that he talked about yesterday, there's going to be hell to pay in this country, and we're going to have to make enormous sacrifices. [Fox News Radio, Kilmeade & Friends, 3/21/12, via Media Matters]

Fox Host Brian Kilmeade: "I've Got To Give Paul Ryan A 'C' For Courage." On the March 20 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade said, "I've got to give Paul Ryan a 'C' for courage" for releasing a "forward-leaning budget proposal" that would be criticized by Democrats. From Fox & Friends:

KILMEADE: I've got to give Paul Ryan a 'C' for courage, and [Rep.] Dave Camp has a C in his last name already so I'm not going to give it to him. But together they went out and put together a forward-leaning - a forward-leaning budget proposal, which I'm sure is going to get people on the other side saying, "Look how mean they are, and look how partisan they are." But what I think he's doing - and you know would better than me, [guest co-host] Melissa [Francis] - but he's attacking the major problems that are facing this country, entitlements, and he's also attacking Medicare and our tax structure. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/20/21]

Fox Regular Steve Moore: "Hats Off To Paul Ryan" For Having "Heroically And Gutsily Taken On" Entitlements. On the March 20 edition of Fox News' Happening Now, Wall Street Journal economics writer and Fox regular guest Steve Moore said:

MOORE: First of all, hats off to Paul Ryan. This is a guy who has heroically and gutsily taken on these enormous entitlement programs and the enormous debt that's grown by $5 trillion over the last four years. You know, he's not a popular guy in Washington right now, because he does want to cut back on some of these sacred cow programs like Medicare and Medicaid and food stamps. But I think we all - but I think almost all Americans realize we can't continue on this debt path of borrowing a trillion-and-a-half dollars a year. So, he's the first politician in Washington in a long time Jenna - and I've been in this city a long time - that's actually been willing to take this bull by the horns and say, look, we've got to change, we've got to radically reform some of these entitlement programs and get this debt down. [Fox News, Happening Now, 3/20/12 via Media Matters]

Fox's Andrea Tantaros: "At Least Ryan Has The Courage To Start A Discussion About" Entitlement Spending. On the March 20 edition of Fox News' The Five, co-host Andrea Tantaros responded to co-host Bob Beckel's criticism of Ryan's plan by saying, "At least Ryan has some courage to start a discussion about it. ... You don't admire him for putting out something that's workable?" Watch:

[Fox News, The Five, 3/20/12]

Kilmeade To Ryan: "Everyone Respects The Work You're Doing." During a March 21 interview with Ryan on Fox & Friends, Kilmeade said to Ryan, "Whether you like it or not -- whether you agree or not -- everyone respects the work you're doing and how you're attacking the debt and deficit." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/21/12 via Media Matters]

But Economic Experts Have Criticized Ryan's Plan As "Grossly Irresponsible" And "Smoke And Mirrors"

Economic Policy Institute: Ryan's Budget Plan Is "Grossly Irresponsible." In a March 20 post, Economic Policy Institute (EPI) senior policy analyst Ethan Pollack wrote that Ryan's budget plan is "grossly irresponsible budget and economic policy":

Today's unveiling of the House Republican budget resolution sees House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) rehashing the same failed budget priorities that were met with widespread criticism last year. Tax cuts for people who don't need them and economic insecurity for everyone else is grossly irresponsible budget and economic policy.

[...]

His proposed cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and food assistance would all fall heavily on seniors, the disabled, and children. Ryan's budget is doubly bad for children because his proposed cuts to public investments (mostly infrastructure and education) would cause children to inherit a country with crumbling roads and bridges and to enter the labor market with fewer skills.

Reneging on commitments to seniors, the disabled, and younger generations because of an unwillingness--not an inability--to fund our social contract is a choice, not a necessity. Yet Ryan has once again unabashedly decided to aid the very fortunate at the expense of the rest of us--particularly the most vulnerable. [EPI, 3/20/12]

Citizens For Tax Justice Director Robert McIntyre: Ryan Budget Plan Is "All Smoke And Mirrors And No Deficit Reduction." In a March 20 post on his Washington Post blog The Plum Line, Greg Sargent quoted Citizens for Tax Justice director Robert McIntyre as saying that Ryan's plan is "all smoke mirrors and no deficit reduction":

Here's how McIntyre reached his conclusion. He compared the amounts the Ryan budget predicts in revenues and expenditures for fiscal years 2013-2022, with the same numbers the Congressional Budget Office projects under current law.

(The Ryan numbers are on page 87 of his budget; the CBO numbers are on page 20 of its recent fiscal outlook.)

Bottom line: By McIntyre's calculations, the Ryan budget cuts taxes by $4.3 trillion over 10 years; and it cuts spending by $4.2 trillion over the same period. Since the former is larger than the latter, the deficit would marginally go up.

[...]

"He thinks he can get the corporate and personal rate down to 25 percent and not lose money," says McIntyre, whose group is liberal leaning but nonpartisan and doesn't hesitate to criticize Democrats. "He waves his hands, and says, `There must be something to cover it.'"

McIntyre says the plan would proably result in a "huge" deficit increase, even though there isn't enough information in the proposal to calculate it.

"This is all smoke mirrors and no deficit reduction," McIntyre concludes. "Have you seen the cover? It's beautiful. That's the best part. But he is proposing to increase the budget deficit over the long term." [The Washington Post, 3/20/12]

CBPP: Under Ryan's Plan, "Most Of The Federal Government Aside From Social Security, Health Care, And Defense Would Cease To Exist" By 2050. From an analysis of Ryan's plan by Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) president Robert Greenstein:

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's new budget plan specifies a long-term spending path under which, by 2050, most of the federal government aside from Social Security, health care, and defense would cease to exist, according to figures in a Congressional Budget Office analysis released today.

The CBO report, prepared at Chairman Ryan's request, shows that Ryan's budget path would shrink federal expenditures for everything other than Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and interest payments to just 3¾ percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2050.  Since, as CBO notes, "spending for defense alone has not been lower than 3 percent of GDP in any year [since World War II]" and Ryan seeks a high level of defense spending -- he increases defense funding by $228 billion over the next ten years above the pre-sequestration baseline -- the rest of government would largely have to disappear.  That includes everything from veterans' programs to medical and scientific research, highways, education, nearly all programs for low-income families and individuals other than Medicaid, national parks, border patrols, protection of food safety and the water supply, law enforcement, and the like.  (In the same vein, CBO also notes that spending for everything other than Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest "has exceeded 8 percent of GDP in every year since World War II.") [CBPP, 3/20/12]

Nobel Laureate Economist Paul Krugman: [O]ver The Medium Term ... It's A Plan To Savage The Poor While Giving Big Tax Breaks To The Rich." In a March 21 New York Times blog post, Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman wrote:

[Ryan's] latest budget proposal has received some harsh critiques. It calls for huge tax cuts, supposedly offset by closing loopholes and ending tax expenditures -- except that in a long report he fails to name a single tax expenditure that he would cut. It assumes drastic cuts in discretionary spending, basically eliminating everything except defense. And over the medium term, of course, it's a plan to savage the poor while giving big tax breaks to the rich.

So actually two questions: are people finally willing to concede that Ryan is not now and has never been remotely serious? And -- I know this is probably far too much to ask -- are they going to do a bit of soul-searching over how they got snookered by this obvious charlatan? [The New York Times, 3/21/12]

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich: "Guiding Principle" Of Ryan Plan Is To "[R]eward The Rich And Cut Off The Help To Anyone Who Needs It." In a March 21 post on The Huffington Post, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich wrote:

The real contrast is over what the plan does for the rich and what it does to everyone else. It reduces the top individual and corporate tax rates to 25 percent. This would give the wealthiest Americans an average tax cut of at least $150,000 a year.

The money would come out of programs for the elderly, lower-middle families, and the poor.

Seniors would get subsidies to buy private health insurance or Medicare -- but the subsidies would be capped. So as medical costs increased, seniors would fall further and further behind.

Other cuts would come out of food stamps, Pell grants to offset the college tuition of kids from poor families, and scores of other programs that now help middle-income and the poor.

[...]

Not surprisingly, the Pentagon would be spared.

So what's the guiding principle here? Pure Social Darwinism. Reward the rich and cut off the help to anyone who needs it. [The Huffington Post, 3/21/12]

"He Might Be A Genius": Fox's Praise Of Ryan's Budget Follows Network's Consistent Praise Of Ryan And His Policies

Brian Kilmeade: "He Might Be A Genius." Following the release of Ryan's budget proposal in April 2011, Kilmeade said during the April 4, 2011, edition of Fox & Friends that Ryan "might be a genius, I'm pretty sure. He put together something that is so forward leaning, it's going to make people say, 'Wait a minute, we can't easily demagogue this, because it's so hard to define.' " [Fox News, Fox & Friends4/4/11, via Media Matters]

For more about economic experts criticizing Ryan's budget proposal in 2011, click here.

Sean Hannity: "I Love [Ryan's] Budget" -- These Are "Serious Cuts. These Are Serious Times." On the April 5, 2011, edition of his show, Sean Hannity said of Ryan's budget: "I love the budget -- $6.2 trillion is serious cuts. These are serious times." [Fox News, Hannity, 4/5/11, via Media Matters]

Fox Adopted GOP's "Mediscare" Talking Point To Defend Ryan Budget. In May 2011, Fox figures adopted the GOP talking point that Democrats were using "'Mediscare' Attacks" against Ryan's plan to replace Medicare with vouchers. [Media Matters, 5/25/11]

Fox's Dana Perino: Ryan "Stands Up On The Merits. He Knows More About" Medicare "Than Anybody." On the May 25 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, Fox contributor Dana Perino said that Ryan "stands up on the merits. He knows more about [Medicare] than anybody, and he says, 'I'm the only guy who's going to tell you the truth.'" [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 5/25/11, via Media Matters]

Fox's Huddy: Ryan Is "Breaking A Lot Of Hearts" By "Announcing That He Is Not Going To Be Running For The White House." On the August 23, 2011, edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, guest co-host Juliet Huddy said that Ryan is "breaking a lot of hearts, announcing he is not going to be running for the White House." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/23/11, via Media Matters]

Fox Gave Ryan A Cake For His Birthday. On the January 29 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace an interview with Ryan by noting that "it's your birthday ... your 42nd birthday." A Fox staffer then walked onto the set holding a sheet cake decorated with a large dollar sign. [Fox Broadcasting Co, Fox News Sunday, 1/29/12, via Media Matters]

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    • Author by drdavid600 (March 21, 2012 2:15 pm ET)
      12  
      A possible rephrasing like, "You have a lot of nerve to push this smoke and mirrors on a gullible electorate," is not praise.
      Report Abuse
    • Author by n'est-ce pas (March 21, 2012 2:16 pm ET)
      15 1
      Ryan's an idiot. Not because he's pushing supply-side pseudoeconomics, that's just Republican orthodoxy. No, Ryan's an idiot because he's not only pushing this garbage, but he's doing so openly in an economic climate that has most people reevaluating the fundamental principles of the Republican paradigm of wealth fetishization. NOBODY BELIEVES LOWERING TAXES CREATES JOBS. Nobody. Yet Paul Ryan and his rich patrons are pushing it despite the incredibly dire consequences his ideas would have for almost every American. That's stupid.
      Report Abuse
      • Author by CAL (March 21, 2012 3:08 pm ET)
        6  
        I completely agree Ryan and his plan are idiotic. Unfortunately, there still exists a significant percentage of our population that do believe lowering taxes on the already wealthy and corporate entities creates jobs. Bare in mind, FOXPAC relentlessly pushes this falsehood 24/7 to it's gullible audience, as does the entirety of Repub leadership and wingnut talking heads. Worse yet, the FOXPAC groupies that may doubt this fantasy, will still take the side of the Repubs who push it due to their hatred of the fantasy Obama FOXPAC and the Repubs have created to divert attention away an agenda that hurts all but the very wealthy who now own the Repub party.
        Report Abuse
        • Author by n'est-ce pas (March 21, 2012 4:31 pm ET)
          5 1
          I'll cede it's possible you're right, but I haven't run into anyone who's willing to defend the premise that lowering taxes creates jobs in a couple of years. Even our late and lamented tommy shifted the goalposts to "fairness," and explicitly rejected the supply-side notion of "job-killing taxes." I think Frank Luntz said something along about when supply-side had nearly destroyed our economy to the effect of, "Uh, guys? The entire world blames Republicans for doing Republican things, so stop saying that stupid thing I told you to say 10 years ago." And most of the GOP listened, for a while. But now the zombie has risen again, and Paul Ryan is its head.
          Report Abuse
          • Author by bilbo_dies (March 21, 2012 8:43 pm ET)
            6  
            Come work at my shop. There are people I work with who somehow believe that it would be possible to eliminate taxes altogether and, if they only did that everything would be wonderful in America again.
            Report Abuse
            • Author by Unreality (March 21, 2012 11:53 pm ET)
              5  
              What harmful mind-altering chemicals do you have in your shop?

              I realize that reading a graph is sometimes difficult for some people to comprehend, but if you drew 2 lines - one with top marginal tax rate and the other with the federal debt, the first line would go downward over time and the other would go upward.

              Should we put it into baseball or football terms?

              Report Abuse
              • Author by bilbo_dies (March 22, 2012 8:12 pm ET)
                2  
                Ah but; you just don't understand. If you lower taxes to zero the Laffer Curve says that you would have almost unlimited revenue coming in.

                OK. That is a joke. In general most of the people who I work with are "normal" intelligent people. However; when it comes to taxes and gun control they tend to fall off the dock and seem to lose most, if not all, touch with reality.

                I can't explain it and, mostly, neither can they.
                Report Abuse
            • Author by Bigtoe (March 22, 2012 2:17 am ET)
              1  
              I work with the same group of guys. Federal workers, no less, taking a 'socialist' paycheck and berating the 'gubmint' all at the same time.

              And I thought even the republicans had decided last year this Ryan budget was not such a good idea to be introducing at a time when the American electorate at large kinda figured out that the rich in this country were getting a free ride.
              Report Abuse
          • Author by CAL (March 21, 2012 9:45 pm ET)
            5  
            I reside in the most "conservative" sector of our nation's 2nd most "conservative" state. Most people here reside intellectually in their own fantasy reality where FOXPAC propaganda reigns supreme. Anything FOXPAC belches forth is lapped up as absolute gospel truth that cannot be debunked by any amount of reality or logic. While my home is an extreme example, the sad reality is that roughly a third of the voters nationwide buy completely into FOXPAC lies. These folks could care less about defending the falsehoods. To them it's irrelevent. They'll doggedly hang on to whatever garbage FOXPAC gives them, because sociopaths can never be wrong and it's their warped way of sticking it to the rest of us.
            Report Abuse
            • Author by regguy1 (March 23, 2012 12:06 pm ET)
              3  
              A LIBERAL WILL TELL YOU WHY YOUR ARGUMENT IS WRONG.
              A CONSERVATVE WILL TELL YOU WHY YOUR ARGUMENT IS LIBERAL.

              Fox news is proof that a 'free' press with the ability to freely and legally deceive its viewers...is a danger to stable democracy.

              Report Abuse
      • Author by NiceguyEddie (March 21, 2012 10:18 pm ET)
        7  
        You're spot on about economics, but I'm afraid to say sadly mistaken about the gullibility of the electorate. If half the world were as smart as you and I, Paul Ryan would be employed somewhere sweeping floors, wouldn't he?

        -----------------------
        IMHO
        Report Abuse
        • Author by Unreality (March 21, 2012 11:55 pm ET)
          6  
          He would have been fired because he'd be caught throwing dirt and mud on the floor and calling it cleaning solution.
          Report Abuse
          • Author by notsure5 (March 22, 2012 9:54 am ET)
            3  
            I was going to go with the food industry, but he'd pick his nose and put it in the food and call it nutritional supplements while trying to repeal the 5-second rule.
            Report Abuse
      • Author by mstrjcksn (March 22, 2012 11:19 am ET)
          9
        I think lower taxes often creates economic growth, and increases government revenue. How else would you plan for jobs to be created? You might think that the evidence that lower taxes create jobs, but there is even less evidence that higher taxes/more government subsidized industries creates jobs.

        The Senate doesn't have a plan, and Obama's plan is going to give us some 1.8 trillion in debt.

        I know you probably all disagree, but I'm gonna have to side with Ryan here. At least he has a plan, period. I'd love to be educated however.
        Report Abuse
        • Author by n'est-ce pas (March 22, 2012 1:47 pm ET)
          6 1
          Couple of things:

          1. The growth of government spending is lower under Obama than it was under Reagan, George H.W. and George W. Bush.

          2. Today's government spending is comparable to 1983's government spending, adjusted for inflation. So if you're going to lay everything on Obama, you also have to stop calling Ronald Reagan the patron saint of wingnuts.

          And actually, every period of high taxation has created more jobs than any period of supply-side ascendancy, so you're kind of absolutely wrong, wrong, wrong. Here's how:

          Companies compete for the best people, and proximity increases competition, such that the higher a position, the closer to the board of directors, the more inter- and intra-industry competition. Unchecked - as it is today - CEO salaries skyrocket (they're now getting paid an average of 400 times the salary of an average worker, up from 12 in the '50s), and executive compensation across the upper tier of a company spirals upwards to attract and retain quality people.

          Where tax policy curtails that trend is, high marginal rates make it unfeasible to compensate an executive with outrageous sums; the government simply takes it in taxes, which doesn't serve anybody, from the corporate point of view. So, quality executives are attracted by intangibles like fringe benefits, work atmosphere, brand prestige, etcetera. And corporations then have a bunch of cash sitting in their coffers that they HAVE to spend, or the tax man comes after them. So they hire people and they pay their rank and file employees more money (because those employees NEVER get close to paying marginal rates). They also invest in their infrastructure, which creates jobs, and they do more charitable giving to pad their writeoffs.

          This is proven economic practice. It's worked out EXACTLY this way every single time upper marginal rates are raised. And the reverse holds true, as well; every time upper marginal rates are lowered, unemployment rises, CEO and executive compensation rises, median incomes fall, and America is worse off than before. The data's there, the findings irrefutable, and this argument was won by peer-reviewed economists over the cranks.*

          There, you've been educated. Feel better?

          *Supply-siders do not publish peer-reviewed papers on their theory because they really don't HAVE a theory.
          Report Abuse
          • Author by mstrjcksn (March 22, 2012 5:14 pm ET)
            1 3
            can you explain the third paragraph in stupid people terms? xD
            Report Abuse
            • Author by n'est-ce pas (March 22, 2012 5:18 pm ET)
              6  
              Um, no. It's a declarative, unambiguous statement.
              Report Abuse
              • Author by mstrjcksn (March 22, 2012 6:00 pm ET)
                1 4
                okay, let me break down what i don't understand.

                Where tax policy curtails that trend is, high marginal rates make it unfeasible to compensate an executive with outrageous sums; the government simply takes it in taxes, which doesn't serve anybody, from the corporate point of view.
                Okay, of course it doesn't serve anybody. The higher taxes mean less profits for the company and theoretically more for the government. The government can't, it just can't, use money as efficiently as the private sector. Proven fact.

                So, quality executives are attracted by intangibles like fringe benefits, work atmosphere, brand prestige, etcetera. And corporations then have a bunch of cash sitting in their coffers that they HAVE to spend, or the tax man comes after them. So they hire people and they pay their rank and file employees more money (because those employees NEVER get close to paying marginal rates). Why do they have this magical money that they HAVE to spend? Where does it come from? I thought this was getting taxed? And what are "quality executives?" Aren't they getting paid a reasonable income already?


                So they hire people and they pay their rank and file employees more money (because those employees NEVER get close to paying marginal rates). They also invest in their infrastructure, which creates jobs, and they do more charitable giving to pad their writeoffs.
                So where's this money coming from?

                What's the incentive for these CEOs to cut their salaries instead of cutting someone elses, like the rank and file workers or firing some people who are not absolutely necessary?

                That's what I don't understand. Please explain.
                Report Abuse
                • Author by n'est-ce pas (March 22, 2012 6:25 pm ET)
                  6  
                  In wide-ranging debates like this, it's helpful to maintain numbering.

                  1) "Okay, of course it doesn't serve anybody. The higher taxes mean less profits for the company and theoretically more for the government." You're conflating personal and corporate taxes. I'm speaking about upper marginal income tax rates, i.e., paying an executive huge sums of money won't attract or retain people because the government will take it in taxes.

                  2) "The government can't, it just can't, use money as efficiently as the private sector. Proven fact." That's a myth. A study released just last year proved that Federal contractors cost twice as much to do the same work as Federal employees. I know this is true because I happen to BE a Federal employee. If my sense of duty weren't so ingrained, I could make about 60% more in the private sector with my education and experience than I can where I am.

                  3) "Why do they have this magical money that they HAVE to spend? Where does it come from? I thought this was getting taxed? And what are "quality executives?" Aren't they getting paid a reasonable income already?" It's the money they WOULD have paid in exorbitant salaries and benefits to executives, were it not made infeasible by tax policy to do so. Pay attention. And executives of major corporations are decidedly NOT making reasonable salaries, they're making incredibly unreasonable amounts of money that concentrates wealth. In a consumer economy (our economy is 75% consumer spending), if the money isn't spread around, recession is not far behind. Mass affluence is the key to strong democratic government.

                  4) "What's the incentive for these CEOs to cut their salaries instead of cutting someone elses, like the rank and file workers or firing some people who are not absolutely necessary?" The incentive is, the upper marginal tax rates. That WHY upper rates were 97% after the Great Depression, to discourage what Teddy Roosevelt called "economic royalism." These CEOs could pay themselves all they wanted, but if the upper marginal rate is high enough, they end up with the exact same paycheck they would have gotten for a lower salary. I benefits the corporation a great deal more to pay better wages to their workers, who would then, as Henry Ford put it, be able to afford the product they are creating.

                  So, to recap:

                  > CEO pay is out of control
                  > The disparity between workers and executives creates an economic imbalance that forces brutal market corrections
                  > Tax policy can force corporations to distribute capital more equitably
                  > The resulting mass affluence creates a more stable business climate and a more just society
                  Report Abuse
                  • Author by mstrjcksn (March 22, 2012 10:29 pm ET)
                    2  
                    Thanks for the explanation.

                    Now the trouble I have with these... (mostly just number 2)

                    1. makes sense now. Companies will pay CEOs exorbitant amounts of money, and a big part of it gets taxed out. So the company pays the CEO less, and use the money for R&D and hiring more/better workers. Then they give the CEOs other benefits/stock (which will increase in value because what would've been their salary is now invested in the company.) Right?

                    2. I'm not talking about federal contractors I'm talking about completely private sector, not being paid for by the government, and no subsidies or grants or anything. These companies bring the government tax revenue that is completely organic, as compared to contractors and Federal employees who bring in an "artificial" revenue. It's not entirely artificial, but it seems to me like government "profits" (paying off deficit/debt) go down when government involvement in industries goes up. No?

                    3. this makes sense now too. I didn't get this because I hadn't made the distinction between taxing the CEO's income and taxing the corporation. And the wealth concentration thing makes sense too.

                    4.okay, I think I'm following all of this now. High tax rates at the upper end force the corporation into a more productive form.

                    I'm going to think about this, but your explanation is very logical compared to some I've heard, which are usually like "well... derp derp derp... the rich people have too much money... derp... I'm jealous... derpa derp." Yours The clearest I've heard.
                    Report Abuse
                    • Author by n'est-ce pas (March 22, 2012 10:39 pm ET)
                      3  
                      2) Federal contractors are private companies. While the study doesn't breed confidence in a 1:1 comparison, it does highlight one fatal flaw in the "private sector is more efficient than public sector" meme: the public sector doesn't have a profit motive. If you define efficiency the way process analysis does, it's the ratio of inputs to outputs. That ratio in government always approaches 1. In the public sector, it NEVER will, because some of the output will be taken in a haircut.

                      That's not to say that government can do everything and there should be no private sector. I don't believe that, and I don't think any reasonable person does, either. I'm personally not motivated by potential wealth, but many people are, and those are the folks who should start businesses and get rich. But I can make the case for government provision of critical functions, such as care for the poor, the elderly, the very young, and the very sick. I do not think human services, such as healthcare and emergency aid, should EVER be subject to profiteering. Not only can the government provide these necessary functions more efficiently than can the private sector, but the people served get almost every single dollar they put in back out.
                      Report Abuse
                      • Author by mstrjcksn (March 22, 2012 11:22 pm ET)
                        1  
                        Thanks! The constitution makes little distinction between capital income vs. labor income. Could you explain the reasoning behind raising capital gains taxes (like Obama proposed during the State of the Union address)? Is it the same sort of thing as "regular" income?
                        Report Abuse
                        • Author by n'est-ce pas (March 23, 2012 8:14 am ET)
                          1  
                          The constitution makes little distinction between capital income vs. labor income
                          I'm not aware of the Constitution even speaking about personal income. The 16th Amend. authorizes direct taxes, which is the legal foundation of the Federal income tax. Capital gains is, in my mind, just another form of personal income, and should be taxes the same as labor income, else a class of citizens would arise (has risen, actually) that could bear a proportionally smaller burden for funding the country by placing their fortunes in investments, rather than spending it.

                          Mitt Romney being a 1/4 billionaire and yet paying a tax rate lower than a middle-class family of four is bad for the country. This is especially true since the wealthy, despite the protestations of FoxPAC, receive a great deal more from the government than does any other class of citizen. So they're taking more, but putting in less, which is fundamentally unfair even if we don't consider Adam Smith's words on the subject.

                          So President Obama's proposal to raise capital gains taxes is informed by the basic principle of fairness. People who work for their bread should not pay higher taxes than people who wait by the pool for a dividend check. Nobody begrudges the wealthy their lavish lifestyles, but it shouldn't be funded by the rest of us though tax expenditures or discount special tax rates for the rich.

                          By the way, this was Reagan's position in 1986 on the subject, as well.
                          Report Abuse
                          • Author by mstrjcksn (March 23, 2012 9:52 am ET)
                               
                            Yeah, the 16th. amendment authorized taxation based on income:
                            "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived"

                            So only direct taxes that are based on income, but it doesn't matter where the income comes from.

                            It feels almost like such a high tax on investment would punish investors, no? If the corporation fails, the lose, and if the corporation wins, they only get a tiny little return, and the rest of that money goes to the government... and what do they do with it?

                            Reagan in 1986 reformed the AMT, right? Obama's suggesting it be replaced with the "buffet rule." I think it would make more sense for the AMT threshold to be raised instead.

                            http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57401005/buffett-rule-would-garner-$31-billion-in-taxes/
                            Report Abuse
                            • Author by n'est-ce pas (March 23, 2012 10:16 am ET)
                              1  
                              Nobody's interested in "punishing" investors. Capital gains tax is currently 15%. Putting capital gains (also known as "unearned income") in the same category as labor income ("earned income") makes the system more fair. Why would work be taxed more than dividends?

                              As for the Buffett rule, it's merely another way to ensure that millionaires pay AT LEAST the same rates as janitors, which isn't the case right now. In fact, if you tally the total tax burden of Americans, that is, local, state, and Federal burdens, the bottom 50% pays an average 24% of their income to taxes; the top 400 income earners pay 16%. How could anyone ever see that as fair? Like Adam Smith said,
                              The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. They find it difficult to get food, and the greater part of their little revenue is spent in getting it. The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. A tax upon house-rents, therefore, would in general fall heaviest upon the rich; and in this sort of inequality there would not, perhaps, be anything very unreasonable. It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.
                              Report Abuse
                            • Author by n'est-ce pas (March 23, 2012 9:56 pm ET)
                              1  
                              By the way, I forgot to touch on this: I said "personal income." The 16th Amend. talks about ALL income. The Constitution never talks about personal income, specifically. See, you keep conflating corporate and personal income, which is why I keep restating the difference. The 16th Amend. isn't just the justification for the personal income tax, it's also the justification for business taxes. See, I'm the one who brought up the 16th Amend., not you. So it's kind of odd that you thought I hadn't read it before I cited it, considering it's not exactly a voluminous passage.

                              Just sayin'.
                              Report Abuse
                • Author by GL_Lee (March 22, 2012 7:08 pm ET)
                     
                  Sorry to pick on something innocuous but...

                  "Aren't they getting paid a reasonable income already?"

                  Find a single person that will tell whoever doles out their salary that it's too much money?!? Really? Seriously...

                  Maybe you haven't been in the workforce very long, or you work for the gov't and get step-raises (deserving or not), but we tend to try to negotiate the largest salary we can. If you've been in the workforce for more than 10 years and you're turning down raises, then you're not the brightest bulb in the box.
                  Report Abuse
                  • Author by n'est-ce pas (March 23, 2012 12:04 pm ET)
                    1  
                    Step raises, at least in the Federal system, are not automatic. You have to earn them.
                    Report Abuse
        • Author by jonimacaroni1 (March 22, 2012 2:10 pm ET)
          4 1
          Again, I believe this is "jamesB/right ON/tommy's" latest new screen name.

          But thanks for again confirming, "tommy", that you'll side with something that experts have declared would be "grossly irresponsible," because that's what we've come to expect from you!
          Report Abuse
          • Author by highlyunlikely (March 22, 2012 3:26 pm ET)
            5  
            Mr. Jackson? It does sound a lot like him, beginning with a conciliatory comment and daring the community to dispute him.
            Report Abuse
            • Author by mstrjcksn (March 22, 2012 5:40 pm ET)
                3
              not daring to dispute, asking to explain.
              Report Abuse
              • Author by n'est-ce pas (March 22, 2012 5:49 pm ET)
                3  
                Okay, so I explained general macroeconomic tax policy to you. I didn't call you stupid, nor did I imply that you were any of our resident sockpuppet trolls. I, in point of fact, showed you respect.
                Report Abuse
                • Author by mstrjcksn (March 22, 2012 6:02 pm ET)
                  1 2
                  Yes you did. Thank you. Other people are accusing me of being a troll and slapping names I've never heard of on me.
                  Report Abuse
                  • Author by n'est-ce pas (March 22, 2012 6:27 pm ET)
                    3 1
                    Yeah, I get it. You have to understand that we're the constant shooting gallery for a rotating cast of paid trolls. We have one, in particular, who's been with us for several years, and we keep catching him (?) using sockpuppets to bolster his arguments. So every new face gets scrutinized pretty closely.
                    Report Abuse
                    • Author by n'est-ce pas (March 22, 2012 6:58 pm ET)
                      1  
                      Oh noes! Now the LIBTARDS hate me? Whatever shall I do?
                      Report Abuse
                    • Author by mstrjcksn (March 22, 2012 9:53 pm ET)
                      1 1
                      Okay, that makes sense, and explains some of the aggressiveness here. Thanks for explaining this in a rational manner.
                      Report Abuse
          • Author by mstrjcksn (March 22, 2012 5:13 pm ET)
            1 4
            As much as you seem to love shoving everyone who disagrees with you into one ball of evil, I assure you that I am not any of these people. I came here to learn more about these issues and the media bias (I have said before, I'm still a minor). I'm homeschooled, as I have said before, and I am probably more right leaning than most people on here. My parents are conservative and have praised Reagan many times. I can't find any evidence that really supports their praise; except that he's very charismatic. I have been completely transparent about my background. Please stop the accusations.

            And when I said before "who the hell cares?" about Obama being a Muslim, I meant something like this: If Fox wants to push that idea, so what? Anyone who believes it is a) not going to vote for Obama anyway, and b) crazy. Hillary used it, look where it got her. She lost the election. So if Fox perpetuates that idea, its their loss. Even though I think the pieces here are slight exaggerations.
            Report Abuse
            • Author by highlyunlikely (March 22, 2012 5:25 pm ET)
              3  
              well now we know that whoever Mister Jackson isn't, this certainly isn't his first deployment here.
              Report Abuse
              • Author by mstrjcksn (March 22, 2012 5:39 pm ET)
                  2
                where do you get that?
                Report Abuse
                • Author by jonimacaroni1 (March 22, 2012 7:09 pm ET)
                  3  
                  Newbies here don't get their posts to show up immediately - they have to go through the moderation process, which holds up their posts until someone associated with Media Matters reviews them. That's how we can tell that it's an old troll using an existing email account and a new screen name - when their posts show up right after they type them.
                  Report Abuse
                  • Author by highlyunlikely (March 22, 2012 7:27 pm ET)
                    3  
                    of course Mr. Jackson also gave away the game by displaying his familiarity with you, joni. And no, the "lurker" excuse won't work.
                    Report Abuse
                    • Author by mstrjcksn (March 22, 2012 9:50 pm ET)
                      1 1
                      How have I displayed this familiarity with anyone? I've been here for something like 3 weeks. Jeez, you guys are obsessive.
                      Report Abuse
                  • Author by mstrjcksn (March 22, 2012 9:48 pm ET)
                    2 1
                    Ohhh okay. Well, I just got out of that moderation process. I didn't even realize you could change your handle... So, whatever you guys think I am, I assure you I am not and "old troll." To be honest, I got interested in this after I heard about the Media Matters/Daily Caller scandal. That's where I'm coming from.
                    Report Abuse
        • Author by n'est-ce pas (March 22, 2012 2:11 pm ET)
          6  
          Oh, I forgot to mention: Ryan's budget actually INCREASES the deficit, so you're wrong on that count, as well.
          Report Abuse
        • Author by congero6189599 (March 23, 2012 5:10 pm ET)
          1  
          Your're siding with Ryan here? Then your're not concerned about the deficit:
          Your text to link here...
          Report Abuse
    • Author by m.welker (March 21, 2012 2:20 pm ET)
      8  
      Paul Ryan is willing to sink this country back into a recession to toe a ridiculous party line. Courageous.
      Report Abuse
      • Author by neon desert (March 21, 2012 2:51 pm ET)
        4  
        Normally, I'd be inclined to agree that someone willing to flaunt their ignorance in public like that could be considered courageous, but I don't think he's smart enough to realize he's ignorant.
        Report Abuse
    • Author by foole (March 21, 2012 2:41 pm ET)
      4  
      Kilmeade called Michelle Malkin "courageous" last week for defending that idiot Limbaugh. Brian's understanding of the word is iffy at best.
      Report Abuse
      • Author by tfd829 (March 21, 2012 4:40 pm ET)
        2  
        And let's not forget Limbaugh's "courage" in taking on an hitherto unknown college law student...with lies and slander.

        "Courage" seems to abound in the GOP doesn't it?
        Report Abuse
        • Author by Unreality (March 21, 2012 11:56 pm ET)
          1  
          I'd prefer they call themselves "fierce" like they do on Project Runway. That would get a real laugh. Maybe Luntz will look into it.
          Report Abuse
    • Author by politeradical (March 21, 2012 2:44 pm ET)
      7  
      When did Medicare, Medicaid and other "entitlements" become things that had to be "taken on?"

      How about simply running these programs properly?

      Instead, the right delibeately mismanages, defunds and guts them, then declares they don't work and need to be radically reformed or done away with.

      How on earth could people trust republicans to make government work when their core belief is that it doesn't?

      Report Abuse
      • Author by nerzog (March 21, 2012 3:16 pm ET)
        5  
        Too bad the Teabaggers refuse to turn an equally critical eye toward the waste and abuse in the Defense Budget. Instead, Ryan is proposing giving them even more money.

        So much for "courage".
        Report Abuse
      • Author by bilbo_dies (March 21, 2012 8:47 pm ET)
        4  
        Instead, the right delibeately mismanages, defunds and guts them, then declares they don't work and need to be radically reformed or done away with.

        Don't forget that, ideologically, these are the same people who didn't want SS and Medicair enacted in the first place.
        Report Abuse
      • Author by Unreality (March 22, 2012 12:29 am ET)
        2 1
        QUIT repeating the "E_____" word.

        Those are insurance programs with premiums paid by American workers over decades. These are not the "e____" word.
        Report Abuse
    • Author by hoopvillain (March 21, 2012 3:58 pm ET)
      4  
      faux nooze, the offical news agency of the repubtard party.
      fuax nooze is no more a news channel than Tass was a news organization under the Soviets.
      Report Abuse
    • Author by terrapin53 (March 21, 2012 5:29 pm ET)
      2  
      but but but...he's the golden boy of the repubs isn't he?
      Report Abuse
    • Author by yoiksaway (March 21, 2012 6:07 pm ET)
      3  
      Ryan knows he's peddling a joke of a budget. What matters is that he propagates emotion. His constituents voted him in on emotion, not by reason. Most of the House and a lot of the Senate members will be elected by emotional votes.

      That is why the news reports so many "undecideds" up to the minute that they will vote, if they do vote. Eleventy-seven primary debates, and HOW MANY UNDECIDED VOTERS? The same as when they heard the first debate. Those R voters have no reasonable choice--they only have the chance to choose who they "like."

      Ryan knows this is how Congress gets elected. His "budget" is just another shiny thing to please emotional voters. It has nothing to do with responsible leadership. It doesn't need to be reasonable.

      The only thing that can counter that is education, as done by MMFA.
      Report Abuse
    • Author by jonimacaroni1 (March 22, 2012 12:00 am ET)
      5  
      As we intelligent, caring progressives have pointed out, the richest Americans have done well in the past 30 years - gaining a larger percentage of the nation's wealth over that timeframe, having their income increase over that time, while the middle and lower classes suffered and either lost ground or had stagnant wages when compared to inflation.

      And this all happened with the advance of computers making huge gains in productivity for almost all businesses!

      The only responsible thing to happen right now is for those who've done the best over the past 2 generations to pay the highest price now - that's why we talk about them doing what's "fair", and doing their fair share - they haven't been doing their fair share for the past 30-40 years, and so they need to catch back up.

      And instead, what Paul Ryan wants to do, is accelerate that widened gap between the wealthiest Americans and the rest of us. He wants to make us walk faster down a path that's already been proven to be a failed way to help our economy grow and thrive. He should be laughed out of town, and instead Fox News cheers him on!
      Report Abuse
    • Author by Evangelical Democrat (March 22, 2012 1:26 am ET)
      1  
      More tax breaks for the out-of-touch-with-reality wealthy and more gutting of programs that help the most needy? Mr. Idiot Ryan, are you dangerously insane or just pure evil?

      As for Kilmeade, he's just an idiot who should be locked away for the safety of society.
      Report Abuse
      • Author by jdkinpa (March 22, 2012 7:39 am ET)
        1  
        "Only one network talking about it, and that's FOXPAC"

        Well "DOH"

        Kilmy & Frauds have a script to follow.
        Report Abuse
    • Author by notsure5 (March 22, 2012 9:52 am ET)
      2  
      In a way they are right. It is pretty courageous to do something that everyone is saying you shouldn't. I also agree that it might be "the single most important event in government history in our lifetimes" as it would have a significant impact on everyone, but not in a good way.
      Report Abuse
      • Author by grmce (March 22, 2012 10:35 am ET)
        1  
        "the single most important event in government history in our lifetimes"
        Sort of like how the "Spanish" Flu outbreak of 1918 was probably the single most important event in global epidemiology since The Black Death.
        Report Abuse
    • Author by trojwl (March 22, 2012 9:56 am ET)
      2  
      It just continues to amaze me how the GOP (along with the tremendous assistance of Fox Spews) so successfuly convinced so many right-wingers to vehemently protest against their own best interests.

      This is definitely the second biggest example of the power of propaganda in modern history. The first should be obvious.
      Report Abuse
    • Author by grmce (March 22, 2012 10:18 am ET)
      2  
      I am continually bewildered that this ignoramus keeps turning up on television and the interviewers question him with a straight face. For any person to put forward such balderdash as a method of dealing with the current economic problems defies all reason.

      The drivel emanating from Ryan and the rest of the Republican asylum, particularly following the lessons of The Great Depression, is absolutely inexcusable. At least Andrew Mellon had the excuse that he hadn't encountered a crash as serious as 1929.

      Maybe they coud be brought to book with a few swift strokes of the Keynes.
      Report Abuse
    • Author by tman418 (March 22, 2012 8:51 pm ET)
      1 1
      Do Republicans EVER include a tax-cut proposal that DOESN'T include tax cuts for people that don't need them?
      Report Abuse

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