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October 09, 2016

Comments

My personal bet is that the GOP will try 'true conservative' at least one more time. Given that this year about anyone but Trump or Cruz would likely beat Hillary (maybe even Ryan), the argument will even sound halfway plausible. And if they keep Congress, their guaranteed 'no prisoners' approach will likely make Hillary look bad enough to pull it off. And the chances are good from their perspective that the next SCOTUS justice leaving the mortal plain will be from the sane side breaking the 4-4 in their favor (since no new justice will be confirmed).

I think a lot of how things plays out will depend on how large Trump's rump of die-hards remains, and how acrimonious the infighting gets between them and the establishment that can't abandon them fast enough. That will weigh heavily for the down-ballot effect; disavowing Trump currently doesn't look like it'll be free of consequences, though that's really squinting into the future.

The GOP down-balloters are in a no win position (and too damn bad for them). Disavow trump and his supports will hate it and not vote for them. Don't disavow trump and anyone on the fence votes for their opponent. A good argument could be made that disavowing Trump is more likely to jeopardize their chances at reelection than just staying the course.

I guess we will see.

My experience in California suggests that it will take at least a couple more utter disasters to convince a lot of Republicans that they have to change. Unfortunately.

But someday.... And when that day finally comes, how do they go about it?

So they're really going to have this thing. Amazing.

The Dem majority in the California legislature is overwhelming, so I don't see a big sector of the GOP learning anything much.

And the Dems are doing a pretty reasonable job of running the place.

What is the model of GOP governance? Brownback's Kansas?

If the Dems do well in 2020 at the state level they should just gerrymander to GOP out of existence. Goose, gander, all that crap.

Yeah, I hadn't gotten the impression that repeated electoral face-plants had caused the CA GOP to turn toward sanity.

The beatings must continue until rationality improves.

At least in California, after a quarter century in the wilderness for the GOP**, we are getting local mayors and occasional legislators who actually interested in governing. And for the good of the whole state, not some narrow segment of it. Which is by way of saying, there are Republican models of governance which are not the sort of insanity that Brownback (and others) have embraced with such fanaticism.

The Democrats have done a reasonable job of running the place. Partly because they have moved to absorb as much of the center as they can grab, rather than seizing the chance to drive home an ideologically pure agenda. (Which is smart politics long-term, if not ideological perfection.) But even so, and they already have better than 2/3 of the legislative seats, we won't see gerrymandering (pay-back or otherwise) here. Simply because we already ripped the authority to draw districts away from the legislature. And it's working as intended, I should probably add.

** Note that we went down the anti-(especially Hispanic) immigrant rathole in 1994 with the embrace of Prop 187 by the then Governor. With entirely predictable results. What is easily forgotten is for how long California Governors were reliably Republican (or named Brown -- father and son) the entire time since WW II. Reagan was by no means a radical departure when it came to party among our Governors. Ditto one of our two US Senators. No longer, of course.

Uh, WTF did Trump just do? Jesus.

Gave anyone with the slightest doubt clear notice about which gutter he would be aiming for. (Rather than, say, paying any attention to the actual voters present and their questions.)

Wow. She's going right at him...hammer and tongs.

Donald needs breath control.

"But what specific steps do they take?"

I thought that Rubio was well positioned for 2020, all he had to do was not try to win the fever swamp. But he went all in for this year, and ended up looking pretty bad.
I think the future is Paul Ryan, in '20 or '24, fronting the inevitable minority-friendly position the GOP should be in by then. That is, they'll toss the shrinking group of aging racists overboard in return for a shot at the growing Asian and Hispanic blocs- once it's clear that winning the racist vote means losing national elections.

I don;t know how Ryan can hope to get elected, given his repeated attempts to destroy the New Deal and the great Society and to totally rig the tax system so no one in his income bracket has to pay any. I realizt that al Republicans lie about their policies and try to run on irrelevancies but Ryan is so closely identified with his Ayn Rand agenda that I don't see how it could fail to be an important election issue.

I don't think Trump had really changed that much in terms of the GOP ideology. Theyll have to jettison their nativist baggage, but that was always going to have to happen. He's maybe added another cycle to the process. Or maybe speeded it up, who knows.
He had maybe changed the electoral process, but too early to know in what ways. The alt right certainly thinks he's helped their cause, but I think being associated with a buffoonish loser is not the windfall they're imagining.

wonkie- I think Ryan just has to 'evolve' into whatever looks like right wing winning formula at the time. Then he'll just say he wanted to 'save' those programs, and the only people who'll know he's lying will be 1)wonky types who don't make up enough of the electorate to matter and 2)journalists, who if today's patterns hold won't feel obligated to correct the record.

Ryan will have to go a long ways to overcome the stink of having stood by Trump so long. Not saying he can't manage to pull it off, but it won't be easy. There just aren't enough Trumpistas out there. And nobody else has much use for his approach of trying to be all things to all men either.

He, Trump so admires Vlad Putin that he proposes to emulate Putin's leadership tactic of jailing his political opponents.

Paul Ryan is either a charlatan or an ignoramus when it comes to economics and taxation. His only political asset is the gullibility of a mass media which treats him as a "policy wonk" in its desperation to pretend that there are Serious People on Both Sides. After his pirouetting around He, Trump in this election, it's hard to imagine Ryan holding on to even that.

--TP

The main problem is primary voters ? can they accept Nikki Haley, or even Marco Rubio ? i expect they still need several defeat before entire Trump voters started to die-off.

So the BBC essentially called this one a score draw, with Trump hitting Hillary on emails and Goldman Sachs. What's the view from your side of the pond, guys?

I'm not saying I like Ryan, just that he's staying far enough away from Trump that moderate Republicans and independents won't hold it against him (much) four or eight years from now.
Liberals will, but we're not likely to be voting for him anyway.

Philippe- I'm envisioning something more like a demobilization on the nativist part of the right wing of the GOP, in return for gains in the center (particularly among minorities). Diehard Trump voters who were not active politically before now will presumably go back into their topor.
I think the median GOP primary voter is pretty flexible- they were OK with Romney and McCain. Once the storm calms down they'll mostly remember 2016 as the year their right wing led them to a bloodbath.

If the GOP doesn't reform their primary process (to dial back on the winner-take-all states), the median GOP primary voter doesn't matter that much. Right now, the preferences of the modal primary voter are decisive and they want Trump (and probably Trumpism as well).

How can the Whigs make a comeback ?

What can the Shakers do to shore up their future prospects ?

What can be done to keep Titanic afloat ?

Nothing. They've doomed themselves. It'll take probably another 20 years to play out, but once they had eaten the fruit of the poisonous Southern Strategy tree, and prospered greatly thereby, their fate was sealed.

What's the view from your side of the pond, guys?

CNN's poll has it for Clinton, 57-34. their pundits agreed: http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/10/opinions/clinton-trump-second-debate-roundup/index.html

Josh Marshall, tho, thought it was a draw.
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/in-the-abusers-house

lost in the noise - last fiday was the 15th anniversary of the start of the afghanistan war.

'combat operations' ended in 2014, but shooting and getting shot have not.

On this side of the pond, CNN poll aside, the general reaction seems to range from "they tied" to "Trump won simply because the news cycle moved on from focusing exclusively the tape".

Quoting CNN's pundits is as valuable as quoting Fox News channel pundits.

But Trump has lots more problems than this debate.

"lost in the noise - last fiday was the 15th anniversary of the start of the afghanistan war."

We are in a permanent state of war. That should be news every day.

except for a couple of brief pauses, we've been at war since 1941.

The rightwing winning formula in the past has been to use fairly subtle hate and fear mongering dog whistles, and divisive slogans, combined with lies ( promises to cut taxes, blaming deficits on someone else) and a lot of bombast about being tough. That combined with a reasonably presentable presentation has been the formula. It has been a winning formula for House and Senate seats and even he PResidency a couple of times. Insiders knew that the real agenda was to promote the welfare of the elite at the expense of everyone else.

Trump has no legislative track record and doesn't use the standard pro-elitist signals, He doesn't talk about reforming Medicare. He opposed TPP. That made him a little suspect to the Republican party leadership. IN other ways though he is mainstream Republican in substance: he is a hate and fear mongerer. The difference is he doesn't dog whistle. He just opens his mouth and says what other Republican politicians have been implying.

There's always been a big streak of authoritarianism in the Republican party.

If Trump was winning, the rest of the Republican politicians would be licking his boots. It looks like he will lose (thank god).

So how will the Republican party go forward? I think they will try to find someone who is Trump with better manners. And that's basically what they have been doing for decades. The one thing I do not believe they will do is change their Ayn Rand authoritarian agenda and I don;t think the Republican voters will get any better at distinguishing between Republican slogans and dog whistles and actual policy proposals. So they just need someone presentable who supports the elitist agenda and dog whistles effectively.

In other words, I don't think the Republican party will make any adjustments except in style.

Just watched it. To someone like me (liberal, obsessed with this election so not needing to factcheck certain recurring claims, but determined not to be unthinkingly partisan) it is crystal clear that, completely unlike Trump, HRC has a thorough understanding of the issues, and has substantive plans to address them. Therefore, on the issues, it seems absolutely astonishing that Trump stands a chance with anyone apart from white supremacists and their ilk. So, as everyone has already understood, I guess, it is nothing to do with the issues.

But having just reread what I have written, it occurs to me that people like McKinney and Marty seem to have objected most bitterly to HRC because of a perception of her character/integrity, rather than her policies. So, for clarification, would any right wing or Republican NeverHillaryites be prepared to say whether, the Republican alternative being Trump, they would vote for someone putting forward all the same policy proposals that HRC is doing, but without her character "flaws". It would be most interesting.

Nothing about Yemen in the debate.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/10/world/middleeast/yemen-saudi-arabia-military.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

The US is still maintaining the pretense that the Saudis are only killing civilians by accident. It would be difficult to admit we are knowingly supporting people committing deliberate acts of mass murder, especially given what we are saying about the Russians, calling for war crimes investigations.

It seems the Saudis just needed to kill a larger number in a specific incident to change what is or isn't possible to do. Now even the Obama administration is " reviewing" its stance. Something about American values, whatever those are.

GftNC,

Well, answering only for me, no. Before any other consideration her policies are simply unacceptable. If you could believe what they are.

The answer to the SCOTUS question was, paraphrased "I want a judge that is not experienced in being a judge, or cares about the constitution, I want a judge that will support the policies I want whether they are constitutional or not".

One of the most honest things she has said, and completely unacceptable.

For three decades now the Democrats have a run on the platform that they will raise taxes on everyone making more than X. Hers is 200k, a decade ago it was 150k. Which doesn't raise all that much money, hurts people in the lower end of that range that live in say NY or SF, and is simply a dog whistle for class divisiveness. Again, not acceptable.

The list goes on, but no her policies aren't generally acceptable in a world where she was honest and trustworthy.

the US doesn't care about Yemen. and it won't, unless we get a substantial number of American soldiers directly involved.

Thanks Marty, although your paraphrase of her SCOTUS answer looks like the direct opposite of what she said, or even meant, with the possible exception of the rest of the sentence after the last comma. Also, I believe her tax threshold is $250k, not 200, for whatever that's worth. But still, your answer is illuminating: even someone snow white in character would not sway you when the alternative prospect is a Trump presidency.

The answer to the SCOTUS question was, paraphrased "I want a judge that is not experienced in being a judge, or cares about the constitution, I want a judge that will support the policies I want whether they are constitutional or not".

as wonkie noted, this bears no relation at all to what Clinton actually said:

CLINTON: Thank you. Well, you’re right. This is one of the most important issues in this election. I want to appoint Supreme Court justices who understand the way the world really works, who have real-life experience, who have not just been in a big law firm and maybe clerked for a judge and then gotten on the bench, but, you know, maybe they tried some more cases, they actually understand what people are up against.

Because I think the current court has gone in the wrong direction. And so I would want to see the Supreme Court reverse Citizens United and get dark, unaccountable money out of our politics. Donald doesn’t agree with that.

I would like the Supreme Court to understand that voting rights are still a big problem in many parts of our country, that we don’t always do everything we can to make it possible for people of color and older people and young people to be able to exercise their franchise. I want a Supreme Court that will stick with Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose, and I want a Supreme Court that will stick with marriage equality.

Now, Donald has put forth the names of some people that he would consider. And among the ones that he has suggested are people who would reverse Roe v. Wade and reverse marriage equality. I think that would be a terrible mistake and would take us backwards.

I want a Supreme Court that doesn’t always side with corporate interests. I want a Supreme Court that understands because you’re wealthy and you can give more money to something doesn’t mean you have any more rights or should have any more rights than anybody else.

So I have very clear views about what I want to see to kind of change the balance on the Supreme Court. And I regret deeply that the Senate has not done its job and they have not permitted a vote on the person that President Obama, a highly qualified person, they’ve not given him a vote to be able to be have the full complement of nine Supreme Court justices. I think that was a dereliction of duty.

I hope that they will see their way to doing it, but if I am so fortunate enough as to be president, I will immediately move to make sure that we fill that, we have nine justices that get to work on behalf of our people.

oops!

not wonkie; that was Girl from the North Country!

apologies.

I think I paraphrased all that pretty accurately. And I thought it was 250 but last night I thought I heard 200, I checked the transcript and it was 250, still not a meaningful difference in my objections. The higher it is the less it impacts the lower end, but since it also effects so many fewer people as you go up the actual amount collected become insubstantial.

The answer to the SCOTUS question was, paraphrased "I want a judge that is not experienced in being a judge, or cares about the constitution, I want a judge that will support the policies I want whether they are constitutional or not".

There is a current conservative majority on the high court. It's been in place for decades. Upon review of their decisions, it is quite clear they don't give one whit about the Constitution of The United States. Bush v. Gore anybody? Or how about the pull it out of your ass judicial activism known as Shelby County?

So it's pretty obvious that when a conservative bleats about judges who "revere the Constitution", it actually means they want the Court to rule in their favor on the pressing matters that come before it.

Minor correction....currently a 4-4 standoff, but prior to Scalia's passing....a conservative majority since the Reagan era.

The problem is, Marty, that after your first comma and Clinton's first paragraph, both the paraphrasing and the quote wander off into very subjective territory where what one defines as "judicial activism" becomes the most important criteria in judging the accuracy of your paraphrase.

Even for the first part, though she phrased it fairly badly, is a reasonable objection.

Marty's paraphrase only makes sense if you assume "experienced in being a judge" means "NOT understand the way the world really works, who DO NOT HAVE have real-life experience"

I wouldn't consider that an either/or question, but perhaps the RW does.

Marty,

Do you know why our revered Founders, peace be upon them, stipulated a supreme court and not a single supreme judge in Article III of the Constitution? It's because different people can look at the same text and come to entirely different judgements about its essential meaning. Witness your own curious interpretation of Hillary's words, compared with GftNC's.

Your paraphrase that HRC wants "a judge that is not experienced in being a judge, or cares about the constitution" is an interpretation you are pulling out of your "life experience", or out of your ass, but not out of the text. You'd make a helluva strict constructionist.

"... I want to appoint Supreme Court justices who understand the way the world really works ... I would like the Supreme Court to understand that voting rights are still a big problem in many parts of our country ... I want a Supreme Court that doesn’t always side with corporate interests ..."

Were YOU the Supreme Judge of the US, your judgement that statements like that amount to not caring about the Constitution would be infallible because they would be final. But don't fool yourself into thinking that it would be final because it is infallible.

I will never tire of pointing out that the Founders, in their wisdom, did not stipulate that Justices be appointed by seniority, or by competitive examination, or by lot. They made appointments an explicitly political process. They did that so your opinions and mine both would factor into the nomination and confirmation process -- through our votes in elections.

Go vote your opinions, and I'll go vote mine. And keep on trying to convince us that willingness to overturn Roe v Wade would be a constitutional criterion for selecting Justices but willingness to overturn Citizens United isn't. We can use the laughs.

--TP

The federal take as a % of GNP has been remarkably stable since WWII. Corporate taxes have tailed off a bit, but SSI, Medicare taxes are a much larger component. These taxes hit the lower and middle class hardest, as they are regressive in nature.

The point of taxing the rich at a higher rate is not so much to raise revenue (it would) but to rebalance the social contract, a contract they and their rabid whackadoodle conservative supporters want to tear up.

Let's face it, at $250K per year, even if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area (SF or Silicon Valley, both of which are expensive) the main impact of a tax increase such as those being talked about is on your ability to buy a hot new car every year or two. Or something of that kind -- luxuries which may be really great, but are hardly going to convince the rest of the population that you will suffer significantly if you don't get them in the quantity you would prefer.

I'll grant it's a better argument than claiming that the reduction will cause a drop in economic activity which will be result in a net decrease in tax revenue. (That's the flip side of "tax cuts will more than pay for themselves.") But that's a pretty low bar to be better than.

Your paraphrase that HRC wants "a judge that is not experienced in being a judge, or cares about the constitution" is an interpretation you are pulling out of your "life experience", or out of your ass, but not out of the text. You'd make a helluva strict constructionist.

In fairness to Marty, the "not experienced in being a judge" can be easily derived from Clinton's quote. I didn't see it at first, but on re-reading her phrasing does fairly readily suggest that she wants nominees with more experience in front of the bench than on the bench. Basically, the part suggesting that interpretation is the same part you replaced with ellipses when you quoted her...

"The point of taxing the rich at a higher rate is not so much to raise revenue (it would) but to rebalance the social contract,"

True, but any other reason than to raise revenue is punitive, stupid and essentially accomplishes the opposite of "rebalancing the social contract".

Gasp! Bobby P finds economist to agree with him!

Stop the presses.

Here's a great way to get started rebuilding the Republican brand:

Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway lashed out at the Republican lawmakers who are jumping ship by saying that “some of them” sexually harass women in the Capitol.
Further
some of the members are known for “rubbing up against girls” and “sticking their tongues down women’s throats uninvited.”
Suppose some voters in Congressional elections decide to believe her? After all, she is their Presidential candidate's campaign manager, so she must know things, right?

I'm torn between "Götterdämmerung" and "Sampson in the temple" at this point.

it seems to me that there are two reasons for raising taxes on high earners.

1. we need the money
2. they have the money

NV, are you referring to ...

... who have real-life experience, who have not just been in a big law firm and maybe clerked for a judge and then gotten on the bench, but, you know, maybe they tried some more cases, they actually understand what people are up against ...

perhaps? If so, how much would you weigh the word "just"?

It's fairly common knowledge that a number of Justices, some of them great or at least significant in the Court's history, were not "just" elevated from the Appeals Courts but had previous "real world" experience up to and including POTUS if I'm not mistaken. Marty surely knows this, and so do you, and I suggest that so does HRC.

--TP

2. they have the money

If raising taxes on the wealthy is punitive and "has no effect", then surely public policies that promote wealth distribution upward (trade, currency, intellectual property, labor mobility--to name a few) are also punitive (for the rest of us)and also "have no effect".

So, if that is the case, why did we adopt them?

Supremes: In my fevered dreams, HRC wins. The Senate flips Dem. She nominates Obama for the Court. GOP members balk, start filibuster. The filibuster is ended once and for all. Obama can look Roberts in the face and ask, "So do tell me about these balls and strikes, I don't see these terms in the Constitution."

(alas, not likely on several counts....but one can dream) ;)

Bobby, no, no, no! Obama doesn't look Roberts in the face. Because (following tradition -- see William Howard Taft) he is Roberts' successor as Chief Justice.

Queue heads exploding on the right....

some of the members are known for “rubbing up against girls” and “sticking their tongues down women’s throats uninvited.”

the party of family values continues to impress.

with its hypocrisy.

Tax arithmetic I have no time to do at the moment:

Suppose we made federal income taxes "flat" per the formula

TAX = (INCOME - EXEMPTION) * RATE .

Pick a number for total TAX revenue. Look up the distribution of INCOME in the US. Then you can calculate the RATE you need for a given EXEMPTION or vice versa. If you really nerd out, you can make a set of RATE vs EXEMPTION curves, one curve for each level of total revenue you want to raise.

Note that my formula is of exactly the same form as the Forbes flat tax formula. My question is about the numerical parameters. I'd like to know, for instance, what total tax revenue would be if we set EXEMPTION=$200K and RATE=60%, or if $100K/45% would raise less or more revenue.

--TP

Minor correction....currently a 4-4 standoff, but prior to Scalia's passing....a conservative majority since the Reagan era.

For some of the things liberals care about, Kennedy is now on the liberal side (in some cases, predating Scalia's death). He was the deciding vote on the question of whether CO2 is a pollutant under the CAA. He was the deciding vote on same-sex marriage. He was the deciding vote on taking redistricting power away from state legislatures. He has voted consistently to preserve the PPACA.

I'm probably wrong, but I attribute some of this to a new "I'm not going to let you f*ck up California" attitude.

So, for clarification, would any right wing or Republican NeverHillaryites be prepared to say whether, the Republican alternative being Trump, they would vote for someone putting forward all the same policy proposals that HRC is doing, but without her character "flaws". It would be most interesting.

Fair question. Probably not. The best I can do, given Trump, is not vote against her. Which, but for Trump, is something I'd really, really like to do.

Why? One example: HRC loves to talk about making millionaires pay their fair share in taxes. Then, having waived that bloody shirt, she actually wants to raise taxes on everyone making more than 250K. It's the kind of dishonest misdirection that I quickly grew tired of under Bill and I'm already tired of it under HRC.

And, on a personal level, she's talking about raising my taxes. My full tax load (federal, state & local) last year was pretty close to 40% of my income. That's plenty. Gov't can work just a little bit on being more efficient with the trillions it already has.

Second point: Putting someone on SCOTUS who does not have a judicial track record is highly problematic. I like the constitution--all of it, not just part of it--and that means living with stuff like Citizens United (which involved an attempt to suppress, i.e. censor, an anti-HRC movie, the essence of free speech). I don't like flag burning or putting crosses in bottles of urine, but it's all protected speech. Unpopular speech especially needs protection and the current generation of college lefties is all about censorship. So, hell no, I don't want someone who is an unknown being nominated. Not a chance in hell. And, being a trial lawyer myself, that is no qualification at all for the appellate bench.

Third, if she wants US corporations not to send their money and their jobs offshore, give them a reason to stay here: lower their taxes. The reason why they move their money offshore is to pay lower taxes. Fifteen percent of a dollar is 15 cents more than zero percent of a dollar.

HRC--and Democrats generally--would never lower corporate tax rates. For them, it's a matter of principle. Forget that every dollar taken in taxes is a dollar that could be spent growing the company and either raising salaries or adding new employees. Lefties here like to talk about right wing dog whistles. Here are some from the other side: corporations, banks, millionaires, profits, Citizens United, Bush v Gore, etc, etc.

Raising taxes and piling regulation on regulation isn't going to cause the economy to grow. Just the opposite. We have huge debt. We add to that debt every day. We have no plan whatsoever to address a stagnant economy and an ever-expanding government that *must* borrow to make ends meet.

I can't pull the trigger for Trump, but that doesn't mean I have to vote for HRC.

then surely public policies that promote wealth distribution upward (trade, currency, intellectual property, labor mobility--to name a few) are also punitive (for the rest of us)and also "have no effect".

BP, what public policies are you talking about? You've made this statement any number of times and I've always wanted to ask. Thanks.

Putting someone on SCOTUS who does not have a judicial track record is highly problematic.

you're in luck. because she never said she wanted to do that.

if she wants US corporations not to send their money and their jobs offshore, give them a reason to stay here: lower their taxes.

It's not quite that simple, is it? For example, suppose corporate taxes do go to zero. Sp I incorporate myself, putting my assets in the corporate name. Then I pay myself some minimal support stipend. And require me to live in what used to be my house . . . for the convenience of my employer, of course. Etc., etc., etc.

And don't tell me that a certain amount of that doesn't already happen with high net worth individuals. But if it could get their tax rate to zero, it would definitely be worth paying all the lawyers and tax acountants required.

Could we figure out ways around that? I expect so. Would we (at least without a huge amount of whinging from those making more than a couple hundred thousand per year, and maybe at all)? I doubt it.

Michael,
Well if you want to go all nuance on me, fine. You have a point. Perhaps Kennedy is shifting on some matters.

If the article's analysis is correct, his "liberal votes" reflect more of a reaction to conservative overreach than a change of heart, the affirmative action case notwithstanding.

And don't tell me that a certain amount of that doesn't already happen with high net worth individuals.

hell, it already happens with anyone who has an S-Corp. some accountants will encourage you to designate a room in your house to be an office so you can that room's share of your mortgage as a business expense.

need a faster computer to check FB? business expense! need a new wi-fi router for the house? business expense! need a new car? business expense!

Putting someone on SCOTUS who does not have a judicial track record is highly problematic.

Thanks for the response, McKinney. I'm glad it's now clear that, even without HRC's appalling character flaws (according to you, Marty and the rightwing noise machine), Snow White proposing her policies would not be enough for you, despite Trump being her opponent. While I agree, after some consideration, that what she said about SCOTUS was ambiguous, or at least capable of different interpretations, your quote in italics above seems to me a very unlikely version. She is a lawyer, I think she was taking it for granted that anybody who could be nominated would have a judicial track record. However, I am considering her words to be those of an intelligent lawyer, with no intent to subvert the workings of the highest court in her land, and I understand that this is not how you, or Marty, or millions of other Americans regard her.

What is the model of GOP governance? Brownback's Kansas?

Utah? They've maintained a marvelous credit rating. They had a state health insurance exchange pre-PPACA, although oriented towards different things. The governor favors Medicaid expansion and it looks like he'll have something worked out with the legislature for the next session. They worked out something, with the support of the LDS, for clerks with a religious problem about same-sex marriage. OTOH, the Republicans have gerrymandered things to keep SLC from electing a Democratic to the US House.

I've long said that conservatives and the Republican Party in the Mountain West (including eastern parts of Washington and Oregon, and the northern part of California) would find that in the long term their interests are not well-aligned with conservatives and Republicans in Kansas, or Indiana, or Louisiana.

Sp I incorporate myself, putting my assets in the corporate name.

Are you self employed? Because it's your income from your employer that gets taxed. You can incorporate tomorrow and none of your earned income as an employee is going to flow through your corp. If you are self employed , you can leave all of your money in your corp, but the minute you take it out, it gets taxed. So, good luck there, living off of nothing.


Then I pay myself some minimal support stipend.

See above.

And require me to live in what used to be my house . . . for the convenience of my employer, of course. Etc., etc., etc.

It better be in a different city than where you have your primary residence, or you get hammered in an audit.

And don't tell me that a certain amount of that doesn't already happen with high net worth individuals. But if it could get their tax rate to zero, it would definitely be worth paying all the lawyers and tax acountants required.

You're missing the point entirely. Corporate tax rates have very little, if anything, to do with high net worth individuals--they got their money as salary or bonus in cash or stock. They pay either cap gains or earned income tax. It has nothing to do with corporate tax rates.

It's a pretty straightforward proposition: Why would a company do business in a country that taxes it at 35% when it can go to a country that has a 10 or 15% bracket?

hell, it already happens with anyone who has an S-Corp. some accountants will encourage you to designate a room in your house to be an office so you can that room's share of your mortgage as a business expense.

need a faster computer to check FB? business expense! need a new wi-fi router for the house? business expense! need a new car? business expense!

Y'all have an interesting view of the tax code. Yes, you can expense an office at home, provided it's used as an office and provided you have a demonstrable need for one. If you're not self-employed or required to work at home, good luck. We have a home northwest of Austin where we plan to retire. I work out of an office their 3-5 days a month. I expense that office. It has a phone, fax, computer, printer, a dozen law books I use regularly and appropriate office supplies. I also have an office in our home in Houston. I do not expense that because it wouldn't survive an audit, or so my CPA tells me.

As for cars, you can put it in your company's name provided you own the company(and pay property tax on it, most likely), but you can't depreciate or expense more than you can document as legitimate business use.

And none of this has anything to do with corporate tax rates, as I tried to make clear above.

BP, what public policies are you talking about? You've made this statement any number of times and I've always wanted to ask. Thanks.

I listed them in general terms:
1. Trade. We expose one segment of the labor force to the full competitive price effects of world markets, but not others. This puts pressure on wage income.
2. Currency. We prop up the dollar in order to maintain reserve currency status. This protects some financial assets and creditors in general.
3. The apparently never-ending wider definition of what constitutes protected intellectual property. This is a creation by the state of monopolies and monopoly profits.
4. The differing tax treatment of certain kinds of income...carried interest, loopholes, etc.
5. Monetary and fiscal policies that act to maintain a "loose" labor market. Austerity policies which see.

You could read some of Dean Baker's writings on these matters for a basic primer. I have cited his work here rather routinely.

She is a lawyer, I think she was taking it for granted that anybody who could be nominated would have a judicial track record.

Perhaps I am wrong, given the suggestion above she might nominate Obama. Can anybody tell me, is there much/any precedent for nominating non-judges to SCOTUS?

is there much/any precedent for nominating non-judges to SCOTUS?

Yes, but not in recent decades.

OT - John freaking Bolton is on my people mover at Dulles right now. That is all.

Thank you McKinney.

Can anybody tell me, is there much/any precedent for nominating non-judges to SCOTUS?

It used to be common. Currently, only Kagan was never a judge prior to her nomination.

It also used to be common to nominate people with some geographic diversity. Of the current crop (including Scalia before he died), only Kennedy didn't get nominated out of a position in the northeast urban corridor. I believe firmly that ten years on the Ninth or Tenth or Eighth Circuit court gives one a somewhat different perspective than ten years on the First, Second, or DC Circuit. Ditto for where you get your law degree (only Ginsberg isn't Yale/Harvard, and she started at Harvard).

This may be the only subject in the world that Justice Thomas and I agree on :^)

Gosh, how wrong can a person be. I apologise for my ignorance. Thanks for the info, Michael Cain.

I forgot about Kagan. Good point.

GFNC,

Here's the list.

Putting someone on SCOTUS who does not have a judicial track record is highly problematic.

As others mentioned above, she didn't say this. About as far as I'd take what she said was that she wants to shift the pre-judicial and judicial experience of SCOTUS justices more heavily towards pre-judicial.

Less experience as a judge, not no experience.

Thanks for the list, bobbyp. Some very famous names on there, even to an ignorant Brit like me, and two Nixon appointees. Very interesting.

It would be nice if more justices didn't think of being arrested, or searched, or even just being pulled over by police, as some administrative function and minor inconvenience.

Heck maybe even suffered some of those things themselves so they know what it's like.

The Republican Party is threatening no nominees will pass muster for the Supreme Court. We could be down to five or six justices by 2020.

No one seems much more radical than someone .... anyone Clinton might put forward and get confirmed.

How does that threat sit with those who value experience in a candidate?

Given the anti-elitist, anti-credential, anti-expert, anti-incumbent-experience pro-know-nothing Zietgeist abroad in the heartland, my idea of a suitable judge would be Pa Kettle.

Or would he defer to Ma Kettle too much?

You do the math:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6blD-cfko1A

On taxes - lowering the corporate rate to, e.g., 15% while the top individual marginal rate is ~40% means the return of the corporate form as a tax shelter, as it was in (IIRC) the 50s, 60s, and 70s.

There are a whole slew of IRC provisions designed to combat this form of tax sheltering (e.g., putting all your dividend and interest bearing securities in a corporation and leaving them their to build up at low tax rates), but of course there is no one at the IRS that has experience in enforcing them because they haven't been relevant for 30+ years.

On taxes - lowering the corporate rate to, e.g., 15% while the top individual marginal rate is ~40% means the return of the corporate form as a tax shelter, as it was in (IIRC) the 50s, 60s, and 70s.

Anyone who does that gets taxed twice. It doesn't make sense. It's a shelter only as long as you leave money inside the company. Even if a corp pays a lower rate on dividends--call this Tax 1--(I doubt if GE owns a lot of dividend paying stocks, but whatever) it earns from other corp's stock (a weird concept), and even if it retains a lot or all of its earnings, the owners/investors get taxed when they eventually get paid, so there is Tax 2. Dividends are taxed as ordinary income just like salaries and bonuses, so assuming the owners are in the max-tax bracket, their effective rate is 55% plus. Yes, they can time their receipt for years in which they have large losses (good plan: lose a bunch of money to offset the big profits and avoid taxes), which means leaving money in accounts doing nothing for some number of years.

Corps pay a lower rate on dividends now via the dividends received deduction (section 243), which is intended to ameliorate the multiple layers of tax currently imposed.

If the corporate rate is zero, then there is not tax at either level. If the corporate rate is 15% and the upper tier corp does not receive a DRD the rate is 27.75% on the original earned income. Still lower than the individual rate if there were no preference for dividends and capital gains. And of course interest is deductible to the paying corporation.

Yes you still have to get the $$ out without paying another level of taxes, but that is what secured loans and the estate tax are for.

...which means leaving money in accounts doing nothing for some number of years.

Unless it's hidden in the mattress, money is rarely "doing nothing", and if it is retained in the corporation it could be doing quite a lot growing at some compound rate (assumes earnings) unencumbered by current taxes.

And there is also the old, but as far as I know, still true adage that a tax delayed is a tax not paid.

And I try not to argue with old adagers.

As for that old canard, double taxation...I give you, surprise, Dean Baker.

Yes you still have to get the $$ out without paying another level of taxes, but that is what secured loans and the estate tax are for.

Ok, so in your world, a sneaky, tax dodger person borrows a bunch of money, secures that loan with a lien on his corporation's cash, defaults on the loan and the bank levy's on the corp accounts and Sneaky Taxdodger keeps the loan proceeds, thus avoiding income. Hmmmm. Using company funds as his own to secure payment of a personal loan wouldn't be imputed income? I think not.

Sneaky Taxdodger Scenario Two is that Sneaky Taxdodger makes millions but lives the life of a pauper in order to pass his low-taxed dollars on to his heirs (who also lived life as paupers until daddy had the decency to die). Seems like a lot of trouble to avoid taxes.

Tell me, do you think your concerns would be such widespread practices that they would offset the straightforward--and unaddressed--notion that lower taxes would keep jobs and money inside the US? All of those jobs produce FICA and taxable income to employees. Good stuff, yes?

I just want to have a beer with Sneaky Taxdodger, I bet that is a riot.

As for that old canard, double taxation

BP, your link doesn't disprove the solid fact of double taxation. Dividends are not deductible from a corp's income. They are paid with after tax dollars and then taxed a second time as ordinary income (as high as 42%). So, a dollar is reduced by 35%, leaving 65 cents. Then, the remaining 65 cents is taxed at 42%, leaving just under 38 cents for the investor. All of the rest has gone to Washington. So, why isn't our economy booming with this kind of incentive?

Why would Sneaky Taxdodger #2 live the life of a pauper? While eliminating tax obligation is STd's dream, that's not really realizable and STd will settle for reducing their tax burden. So STd shelters the money they don't feel like they need to live a non-pauperous lifestyle IOT preserve it more or less intact until their passing, at which time STd's issue can have their way with the unravaged trove.

Since it's an open thread, please listen to that bigot, William Jefferson Clinton, on illegal immigration:

https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4351026/clinton-1995-immigration-sotu

Why would Sneaky Taxdodger #2 live the life of a pauper? While eliminating tax obligation is STd's dream, that's not really realizable and STd will settle for reducing their tax burden. So STd shelters the money they don't feel like they need to live a non-pauperous lifestyle IOT preserve it more or less intact until their passing, at which time STd's issue can have their way with the unravaged trove.

SDT pays tax twice on what he takes out. So does his issue, now that I think about it. They inherit the corp's stock. The stock is the ownership, the certificate of title if you will, of the company. That entitles the issue to access the funds. The only what they can do that is by salary or bonus or dividend, all of which are taxed upon receipt. So, SDT might kick the can down the road, but that accomplishes nothing.

Putting someone on SCOTUS who does not have a judicial track record is highly problematic...

For whom ... ?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl_Warren

For whom ... ?

For everyone. It's bipartisan. No one wants to be gulled by an unknown. If one side starts putting up 'unknowns', then the other side will do it and the rest of us will have no idea who or what we are getting.

Surely you're not still smarting from Ike's 'mistake' ?

:-)

i suggest a corporate tax rate of zero, along with unearned income being taxed at the same rate as income.

if the money stays in the corp, it's not taxed.

when an actual human being receives it as income, it's taxed. as income. no distinctions made between wages, cap gains, deferred compensation, or any other happy horsesh*t

any takers?

McTX: ... So, SDT might kick the can down the road, but that accomplishes nothing.

Nonsense. Deferring a tax bill is the next best thing to avoiding it altogether, because money today is worth more than money tomorrow. Deferring your tax bill until after you're comfortably dead is like living in Heaven before you actually die.

BTW, McKinney, where do you stand on the "death tax"?

--TP

any takers?

I'm okay with that except that retirees should have a some better deal: maybe that unearned income, above $20,000 per year (or so), should be taxed at a normal rate.

I would be open to arguments against that.

BP, your link doesn't disprove the solid fact of double taxation. Dividends are not deductible from a corp's income.

You can call it whatever you want. It is a tax. It is a tax like other taxes. As Baker points out, there is solid social and economic justification for this particular tax.

Unless, of course, you are advocating that the government provide special protections for certain kinds of "people" engaging in certain kinds of socially desirable, but risky activities for nothing.

Under generally accepted usage of the English language that would be called a subsidy.

What kind of conservatism is that?

SDT pays tax twice on what he takes out.

Unless SDT and the corporation are legally the same person, this is not true.

But they can both buy me beer any time they want.

I'm not advocating for anything. I'm just stating that if corporate income is taxed at a right significantly lower than individual income there will be (and has been) the temptation to use a corporation as a tax shelter. As I said, there are code provisions set up to combat the stashing of passive income inside a corporation to take advantage of the lower rate, such as the personal holding company regime, likely wouldn't work.

I would be open to arguments against that.

Distributions from IRA's, 401K's, etc., are taxable income.

Distributions from IRA's, 401K's, etc., are taxable income.

That's because it wasn't taxed as income tax in the first place, right?

any takers?

Me.

Nonsense. Deferring a tax bill is the next best thing to avoiding it altogether, because money today is worth more than money tomorrow.

Nonsense. A dollar sitting in a checking account is worth less the next day because of inflation. To avoid double taxation, the money has to stay in the company. It's pretty straightforward.

BTW, McKinney, where do you stand on the "death tax"

No tax on non-liquid, income producing assets, e.g. a farm or family business that is closely held--the basically eliminates the need for Family Limited Partnerships to protect a family farm or business. A 5M exemption on other assets, and a graduated rate up to whatever the top earned income rate is over 10M.

BP--Baker make the not-very-intelligent argument that double taxation is a fair trade for the limited liability a company enjoys. The trade off, which you do not acknowledge, is that companies don't like double taxation and they take their much smaller tax dollars and their jobs elsewhere. I'd rather have more 15% taxes and the jobs that come with them. No need to get all class warrior over this--if you could move across a city or county line and reduce your tax load by 60%, you'd do it. It's common sense.

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