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February 10, 2009

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Forty billion to the states to prevent cutbacks is a lot of money. Forty billion to let companies off the hook for bad decisions and to give people that buy houses a modest discount is not. Ditto unemployment, food stamps, health insurance vs. the AMT.

Somehow they have managed to create a bill that has hundreds of billions of dollars that will turn out not to be a lot of money while ignoring the parts where it would be way more money than is ever needed.

The whole bill is unreasonable. Ditch the whole thing.

//If you think either side is being unreasonable, I think you have to concede – at minimum – that they’re both being equally unreasonable.//

Nope. Not everyone agrees a stimulus must occur. In fact polls show there are alot of people against it.

Why not pass the Senate version now and then put what was cut out into a separate followup bill? If that additional spending stands on its own merits (IMHO it does) then let's have that debate, but don't hold the larger bill hostage to it.

The reality here is that the GOP has a 30 year head start demogoging against the theory behind Keynesian stimulus ("Pork! Big govt!"). Dems need to get out there and educate the public better to get everything they wanted in this bill, but we don't have that kind of time to waste. Every day that we delay the larger bill to fight this battle is another day that an additional 20,000 people lose their jobs at the current pace. Speed matters in this case. Pass the bill now and fight this battle another day.

"If it’s not worth opposing the stimulus because $100 billion is cut, then it’s equally not worth opposing if $100 billion gets added. If you think either side is being unreasonable, I think you have to concede – at minimum – that they’re both being equally unreasonable."

Nope. Not if you start out with a presuption against spending $100 billion dollars, which you certainly should if you have even the slightest fiscal sanity.

// Dems need to get out there and educate the public better to get everything they wanted //

Yeah, educate us, like publius does. He just reverses the definitions. He calls a failure to increase spending on the poor a tax increase on the poor. He calls a tax change that is more progressive a redistribution of wealth to the rich. He might as well say rich is poor and poor is rich. Or good is bad and bad is good.

Yeah, educate us, like publius does.

d'd'd'dave, I'm going to go out on a limb here and speculate that as a right-leaning person who spends an inordinate amount of your free time posting snarky comments on a left-leaning blog, you aren't really very representative of the group that is normally referred to as "reachable", at least not in this particular instance.

But YMMV.

I want to try out my new vocabulary by using it in a sentence.

Publius' statement // If you think either side is being unreasonable, I think you have to concede – at minimum – that they’re both being equally unreasonable.// begs the question because it assumes that all reasonable people agree that there should be a stimulus at all.

dddave - i think you can put aside that question. Here, ONCE YOU HAVE CONCEDED that we're going to spend 800B (plus a lot more as kevin notes), then it's equally unreasonable oppose to kill a bill over 100B.

That's what i meant. YOu may think the stimulus is bad. But if you're willing to vote for 800B, I don't see the point in killing it for another 100B either way

TLABQ
That i am un'reachable'. Ha, yes.
'inordinate'. Perhaps.
But i'll tell you what, while the left leaners are whining and begging the government to create jobs, I'm personally creating 20-30 new jobs this year. What does Obama hope he'll be paying per new job? $200k? I guess that makes my efforts worth $4 - $6 million while I get to snark at lost sheep.

Yeah, but suppose you were willing to vote for $700B, and $800B was already $100B over your idea of reasonable?

Gotta draw a line someplace, don't you?

Indeed, given that the general consensus among (expert) stimulus supporters seems to be that the bill may be somewhat too small to do enough good, if you support the bill at all (meaning you support stimulus in principle) you should probably lean toward making it bigger rather than smaller.

I'd like to see the House say, "OK, we see that the centrists are concerned with the size. So we'll take $100B of tax cuts out, and put $100B of projects back in. That way it will be the same size. No sense keeping those tax cuts when the Republicans are going to vote no anyway"

publius.
In real world negotiations there is a breaking point. People from stretch from their comfort zone stretch to reach a tentative deal. Then when the lawyers are drafting everything up prior to signatures both sides experience buyers remorse. If either side tries to add something, the other party will take two steps back. When a deal 'snaps' it springs backwards a long way.

There is always someone who says "but it is just one more dollar. Please come back to the table." But it is no good. The spell is broken.

should be "people from both sides stretch..."

Publius
In my opinion, you always argue from theory rather than experience. I don't think your theories are well grounded in workable reality.

Ha. They are already narrowing the field of people who are for it:

//the general consensus among (expert) stimulus supporters //

Gotta draw a line someplace, don't you?

Posted by: Brett Bellmore

okay, take out a hundred billion in tax cuts, too, and we can get it down to a mere $700Bn, howzat, brent?

Ha. They are already narrowing the field of people who are for it:

//the general consensus among (expert) stimulus supporters //

They?

And for the record, I of course think non-expert supporters would generally like it larger too. After all, they follow the lead of the experts, hopefully.

The major exceptions are obviously the Ben Nelson types, who don't appear to have any coherent thought process at all, just their "guts". They're the very folks whose hypocrisy publius was pointing out.

He calls a tax change that is more progressive a redistribution of wealth to the rich.

No dave, that's you, with your own personal definition. A definition, furthermore, which elementary math texts say is impermissible. I'm guessing that you think math has a 'liberal' bias as well. Not just history, facts, and logic.

To the rest of you, I apologize for harping on this point. But I do take exception to someone trying to politicize basic math.

I agree SOV.

The human side: I got an email from my union warning me that there is no money in the proposed budget to underwrite my health insurance. Without the health insurance I cannot keep my job. I will have to find something else with insurance or more pay or more hours--something. At any rate I will not be able to afford to keep my job because my COBRA payment will be six hundred a month, or two week's pay.

I wrote my State Senator and got an email back. He says it all depends on the stimulus: if the states get money, I will keep my insurance.

Does my job matter? Do I matter? Not to Congressional Republicans, obviously. I matter to my Sunday morning client who is paralyzed and cannot get out of bed or empty her catheter bag by herself. I matter to my Thurs-Fri-Sun client who is a quadraplegic: I change his poo bag, give him baths, help him get into his chair, cook for him, clean the house, and play endless games of checkers. I matter to my Sunday evening lady who lost most of her muscle use on one side from a stroke. I help her go to bed which includes wiping her butt. But I guess none of those people matter to Republicans any more than I do.

None of my clents are rich so they don't deserve tax cuts. All of them worked all of their lives until their disabilities got too bad so they don't deserve billions in subsides like the Republicans give to the timber industry or the cattle industry or a whole bunch of other red state corporations and big businesses. They don't deserve to have limitless amounts of tax dollars sent their way like Halliburton or Blackwater. It doesn't matter to the Republicans who are ideologically opposed to Medicare and Medicaid that it is actually cheaper to employ me to assist them than it is to use Medicaid or Medicare to pay for nursing home placements. Or maybe Congressional Republicans think it would be best if my clients just died?

The only thing that matters to Congressional Republicans is playing their stupid power games.

I agree as well, SoV, and if you hadn't harped on it I would have anyway.

SOV
You have not proven your point in any way. My method works every time with regard to changes in rates. You have tried to point at changes in income distributions or changing bracket amounts as if they disrupt the logic in some way. But they do not because they vary separately. I notice also that you switched to that tack from your ratio of ratio's argument after I posted my 'proof'. You saw that I have a point. Your $1 on 1 million people and $90,000 on one IS a regressive change. It is only obfuscated because you've raised total tax revenues so much. You have not once shown that my conclusion is wrong. If you want to keep pounding on this point we should do it on the other thread.

And I am not politicizing this unnecessarily. Publius himself has been on a crusade to flip the meaning of words in his posts in his efforts to obfuscate the issue. I pointed out the specific details above and don't need to repeat them. I am merely calling him on it.

Not if you start out with a presuption against spending $100 billion dollars

US GDP last year was about $14 trillion.

US federal budget for 2009 is gonna be $3.1 trillion, against receipts of $2.7 trillion.

What, exactly, would be worth spending $100B on, in your view?

My method works every time with regard to changes in rates.

dave, I don't mean to be rude, but other than SOV who appears to have a personal or professional interest in preserving a basic level of public numeracy, nobody gives a crap about the 'more or less progressive' argument.

Enough already.

What do the stimulus bill naysayers propose to stop the slide?

Is it only tax rebates? and if so, what do they propose to cut in the federal government?

I tell ya, I find these Post-Goldwater Republicans maddening in their evasiveness.

I'm fine with the federal government buying a new fleet of hybrid cars, etc.

what specifically is so unreasonable or so whacked?

d'd'd'dave:
You have not once shown that my conclusion is wrong. If you want to keep pounding on this point we should do it on the other thread.

Um. That's kinda irrelevant, though, since you've never demonstrated that your home-brewed progressivity measure is one we should accept, let alone in preference to some of the other (commonly-accepted) measures you dismissed out of hand as (*gape*) ignoring commonly-held definitions of terms.

Publius himself has been on a crusade to flip the meaning of words in his posts in his efforts to obfuscate the issue.

...says he who deems his self-made measure of progressivity of a tax code to be more meaningful than those used by economists...

Look, d'd'd'dave, you hardly proved your point in the other thread, and you conducting yourself quite unbecomingly in any case. On the surface, even: your "grand argument" that you expended so many electrons to make quite unconvincingly is a semantic quibble even if we accept it (which we have no reason to, because, ya know, words mean something). Even if we did accept your redefinition of how to quantify a tax code's progressivity, it wouldn't mean anything. We don't argue for progressive taxation just because we love the ring of the phrase, after all.

But I digress in the worst possible way. Russel has the right of it. Enough already. Let it go.

while the left leaners are whining and begging the government to create jobs, I'm personally creating 20-30 new jobs this year.

Dave, that is great. Too bad there aren't lots more folks like you.

But, unfortunately, everyone isn't in the same position you are in.

Upthread you criticize publius for not arguing from experience. There may be something to that.

You, however, seem to be able to hear any argument that isn't from an experience like your own.

The economy lost 600,000 jobs in January. If there were two or three thousand more daves, we'd make those jobs up.

But guess what? Maybe the current situation doesn't support two or three thousand more daves. Maybe other folks are doing poorly enough that two, or three, or ten thousand daves aren't enough to make up for it.

It's great that you've been successful, and that you're creating jobs for other people. It really is. The world could use more daves. Other folks, however, are facing a freaking disaster, and it's not just because they aren't wonderful supermen like you.

Nobody likes going into debt or paying taxes. Not even us lefties.

Unfortunately, somewhere out there beyond the circle of your personal world, the shit is actually hitting the fan for a lot of people. And if the government doesn't step in, it will get a lot worse.

I know that last sentence just bugs the shit right out of you, but it is, simply, true.

So, good for you, we applaud your success and your ability to create jobs for 20 or 30 people. Sadly, not everyone is in that position.

If you can stretch your mind to imagine their circumstances, maybe the need for public intervention will make more sense to you. Maybe not.

Either way, the rest of us are going to go ahead with it, because it needs to be done.

SOV says: ''No dave, that's you, with your own personal definition."

My own definition? No one else in the universe uses it? Google 'how to measure progressivity' and what comes up first?
http://www.taxfoundation.org/blog/show/22537.html
and they are using my method. You may not like the political point of view of the organization is in the link but it serves to show the definition IS in common use.

NV says: "you conduct[ed] yourself quite unbecomingly in any case."

Let's look at the context. Publius used these characterizations in his original post: 1. silly. 2. trivial. 3. urge to dropkick people. 4. false theories. 5. not in good faith. 6. idiot. 7. parody at best. 8. object of national ridicule. 9. comically skewed. and 10. "It's about time" in reference to Obama openly mocking his GOP opponents. (see publius' link) Ergo, openly mocking is good in Publius' eyes.

I responded directly to publius saying: "I wonder if you did the math before you started frothing." Is that unbecoming?

Next, Anonymous said he was peeved and shouted 'MAKES NO SENSE'. Then before I answered Anonymous SOV said "This is sheer nonsense at best, malicious innumeracy at worst:" and " either this Dave character is simply regurgitating talking points with no sense of how absurd they are, or he knows damn well just how nonsensical it is, but is hoping someone will swallow the bait."

WHO, I ask you, introduced 'unbecoming' behavior?

AFTER that, I responded to Anon and SOV in kind.

d'd'd'dave:
My own definition? No one else in the universe uses it? Google 'how to measure progressivity' and what comes up first?
http://www.taxfoundation.org/blog/show/22537.html
and they are using my method.

Two points:

First, no, they're not. Their method is calculating the ratio of an income group's income tax burden (including two tax credits looking to skew the numbers towards a lower tax burden for the poor, but making no mention of any other credits or deductions, thus making it unclear whether their numbers reflect non-nominal tax rates (...though it seems fairly clear that they're ignoring non-income taxes, which undermines their conclusion)) to their income. Aside from the fact that this is also a ratio involving income taxes, it has nothing in common with your method, which is examining the ratio of nominal marginal tax rates before and after a cut, which you present as being graphically expressed by the concavity of curves described by plotting nominal marginal tax rates.

These to measures are not the same. You fail to address income in any way, shape, or form; your method relies entirely on nominal marginal income tax rates.

Second, you've cited 1 organization using this measure. Even if it was the same as your method, which it is not, one organization using a measure (and exhibiting transparent bias in doing so, natch) does not make something "in common usage". I'll stick to the economist's measures, thank you very much.

WHO, I ask you, introduced 'unbecoming' behavior?

...and somehow they forced you to apply different standards of judgment to your errors versus theirs? They held a gun to your head and demanded you petulantly lash out with schoolyard taunting?

d'd'd'dave, at the very least take responsibility for your own actions. You decided to behave badly. You and you alone are responsible for that. Don't try to blame others for your actions. You chose to behave as you did. No one else made you.

AFTER that, I responded to Anon and SOV in kind.

Um. One of your most egregious misdeeds as in your condescending, out of hand dismissal of anon for using a commonly-held measure of progressivity instead of your ad hoc measure. You have subsequently backpedaled from claiming the exclusive right to define progressivity measures; oes this mean you'll be conceding that anon's 2009/02/06:09:21 comment was not in error, and in fact drew perfectly reasonable conclusions, albeit ones wholly at odds with your claims?

Think carefully before you answer. I'll remind you that the link you cited in your most recent comment admits not only that there are multiple viable measures of progressivity (without, I further remind you, endorsing your method as such), but explicitly cites the measure used by anon as one such measure.

Better still, don't answer. Let the whole discussion softly and suddenly vanish away, and never be met with again. That's the course of action that would be the most productive for all parties involved.

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