« A collection of enjoyable books | Main | Wednesday books: fic and non »

December 10, 2017

Comments

TP: At some point, patriotism can in fact require "shooting people". But you need guns for that, and the Americans who own the guns tend to be the suckers who back the crooks who pull off the tax heists.

Trotsky:(something like) The only revolutionary question is "Who has the Army?" (which was very specific and local in 1917 St Pete, and usually will be)

The forces of reaction and oppression will always have the guns, until the guns switch sides. The guns, understanding violence, will not switch sides until the revolutionary sides accepts them, and accepts violence, and can and will protect them. With numbers, solidarity, and support, like the women carrying ammo to the barricades in the Paris Commune.

The Army and Police will not join a side that will not fight, that will not kill or die.

A Revolutionary Left needs a Cause worth killing and dying for, and permission to use violence.

Violence can be preliminarily defined broadly, as "breaking the rules." Breaking the Law. Breaking Windows. Marching without permission. Occupying. Striking. See Sorel and Luxemburg on the General Strike.

Watch Gandhi make Salt. Part of the foundation of the State is to determine that certain pre-violent or extra-legal activity is not defined as violence. Cops shooting blacks non violence; drones not violent; breaking windows and property destruction violence.

Anyway, more more. Mao a little different. Sure the Left should get and learn guns, but they will never have enough. What the Left has to do is turn the Police and Army away from shooting us, but not by threat of State or Law. We will never have that.

put me in the Does Not Prefer To Die For Your Academic Theory column.

PS: #Metoo, and the outing, shaming, and expulsion of serial harassers and abusers is in a way an example of extra-legal non-state violence, of how radical social change works. Matt Damon desiring fairness and due process is entirely missing the point.

Part o what is going on is that women understand that violence is not only the hand meeting fanny, but the constant threat and atmosphere of possible touchings. Power mostly manifests in covert threats.

Metoo's threat is what, exclusion? Think about how they get what they want, and then think about how we cam make Police and Army fear it.

Revolutionary violence has a poor record. People on the far left sometimes like to imagine how things might have turned out, but it would be nice to have some actual unambiguous successes involving happy endings.

If you are talking about Me too or things like that, that is a nonviolent social revolution. Not the same thing as picking up a gun.

A general strike would also be nonviolent, though it could turn violent, probably because of a government reaction.

If you are talking about Me too or things like that, that is a nonviolent social revolution.

I disagree. We tend to define "violence and threat of violence" in ways that are flattering and comforting, and reinforce hegemonies. Exile and exclusion are non-violent?

Maybe I speak in metaphor and metonymy.

When you are facing the cop, always remember the cop has a (social, we all do) gun at the back of his head. Is the cop scared that he himself will get shot, or more scared that his partner will get shot? Are people motivated by self-protection, or protection of "families," and fear of exile and exclusion?

Apparently no women ever never slept with Weinstein to get a part. Streep is all defensive about what she didn't know. Solidarity is not only a joy, solidarity is a weapon. #Metoo is mostly about women looking at each other, and judging. The very worst thing for solidarity is betrayal, and that is why we never hear of the women that went along. It is unthinkable at this point in the movement.

Always remember, the Power you are facing has a gun at the back of its head. You can see both.

Exile and exclusion are non-violent?

they are less violent than actual physical sexual assault.

Remember doing violence to the language? Ah, the good old days...

Remember doing violence to the language?

t'was the first thing i thought of.

http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a14470051/paul-ryan-tax-bill/

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/pruitt-superfund-task-force-no-records

Don't fucking govern me. I'm warning you.

Back in the days of Reagan, it was plausible to see the Republican party as mostly well-meaning people who I disagreed with about stuff.

Not any more. It's now a coalition of the rich and their toadies, with a political strategy of gerrymandering, procedural cheating, and tricking enough stupid people into voting for them to put them in power under the USA's rather broken system. Which power they use to feed the rich, to bend the electoral system further in their favour, and to reward the states which vote for them by increasing transfers to them from the states which don't.

The Democrats need to stop ignoring this strategy. When next they get power, which they soon will, they need to be ready with constitutional reforms. I suggest the following:
- all electoral boundaries to be drawn by non-partisan commissions, following clear guidelines
- all adults to be issued with free ID (call it a driver's license if you like) which has to be accepted for voting
- exclude corporations from first-amendment rights
- reform the electoral college to make votes roughly proportional to state populations, i.e. take out the one vote per senator provision. The small states are helped enough by being overrepresented in the Senate.
- pass a budget undoing most of the current budget (if it passes), with the general aim of taxing rich individuals (corporations can keep their tax cut if you tax their distributions to shareholders). Make Mitt Romney and Donald Trump pay a fair tax rate.
- tighten up the laws on politicians conducting business for gain
- and more

Some of this would require changes to the constitution. Some of it would be challenged in the Supreme Court. I don't care, try to do what's right and make the Republicans and their judges explain why they want to do wrong.

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/942654866010361856.html

The conspiracy:

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/942654866010361856.html

Subhuman asshole lying scum come in all flavors and colors:

https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2017/12/19/fox-news-pays-contributor-kevin-jackson-push-blatant-lies-and-conspiracy-theories/218909

A nobody says nobody knows nuttin:

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/12/20/1726157/-Paul-Ryan-Nobody-knows-if-the-tax-cuts-will-pay-for-themselves

a nobody says nobody knows nuttin:

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/12/20/1726157/-Paul-Ryan-Nobody-knows-if-the-tax-cuts-will-pay-for-themselves

Is the clenched fist violence? Is the fist on its way one inch from the face non-violence, and only violence when it connects? C'mon, you the ones abusing language. The threat is violence, and how violence mostly works.

I also think causing violence by others is violence, "suicide by cop" for instance. Rioting, robbing, and rampaging. You can't divorce an action from its social setting and social expectations, and if you are sitdowning in the police station, you are causing the cops to grab and carry you.

Part of the liberal gig is to outsource their violence, in part with shifty definitions. By defining politics and law as non-violent, they make resistance and illegality violent. Or conversely, making supposedly non-violent actions complicit and supportive of the State and Society. MLK wasn't trying to break thing, but build things, amirite huh? Peace, brother.

Power is violence. Making and getting others to do what you want is violence. The State and society or subsets thereof are violent, as long as any kind of internal or collective power differentials exist.

I am ok fine with violence.

By denying that the threat of violence is violence, you are erasing women's and black's (and others, I am 5'2") daily experience and feelings. I thought we had learned something.

The 5 foot woman with the six foot stranger is justifiably scared, and his smile doesn't really relieve.

The answer is violence, to be the gun pointed at the back of that 6 footer's head. So she can see us.

If I make a distinction between violence and the threat of violence, does that mean I'm necessarily suggesting that the treat of violence is acceptable?

HSH,

This is a not-so-great thing to tell people. It doesn’t matter if your property taxes exceed $10K. If you aren’t going to itemize next year because you won’t exceed the standard deduction, there is no tax benefit in paying next year’s property taxes next year in any amount, but there very likely will be in paying that same amount before the end of this year (as your 2017 final tax is concerned).

Why "not-so-great?"

It makes sense to me. I just paid the estimated balance on my 2017 MA taxes, and will pay property tax as soon as that is clarified. This gets me the deduction this year and means that in 2018 I will probably be better off taking the standard deduction.

I'm beginning to think the very act of these ilk governing me is a capital crime and they should stop if they know what's good for them.

I think all of us here (including the real Count, if not the fake news Count -- love that meme, by the way) are basically non-violent. But that doesn't mean that I can't envision a history paper, some time in the future, entitled "The Defenestration of the (GOP) Congress".

However I suspect what we will actually see is a reaction involving:
a) voting out massive numbers of GOP Congressmen (and Senators), replacing them with folks who are as adamant as the "Freedom Caucus", albeit in the opposite direction.
b) reversal of the Trump Tax legislation.
c) as a reaction, a huge step to the left, involving substantial increases in taxes on corporations and on the wealthy.
d) a bunch of other "liberal" legislation (to the utter horror of the libertarians, even more than of any real conservatives).

In short, those who have been "seizing the moment" to slash their own taxes are going, I suspect, to end up in far worse shape than they would have been had they been willing to take a compromise victory. I'm not certain, but I think "hubris" may be the right term for their position.

In that link of the Count's (11:16), the author points out that Paul Ryan went to college on Social Security survivors benefits. And he asks:
"Why didn’t his Social Security payments discourage his entrepreneurial spirit?"

But obviously, they did. He has never started a business. Never been an executive or even a junior manager in someone else's business. He's just worked in the legislature his entire career (with, admittedly, some part-time jobs as things like a waiter or fitness trainer to make ends meet). Maybe he is against entitlements because he sees what a mess they have made of his life...?

Part of what I try to do is open up space, make room.

Pablo Iglesias of Podemos in Spain is pretty smart. Try reading something different today, other's experience.

"Ultimately, though, the maneuvers of the last few months have made this more difficult, with the pieces of the political chessboard now placed in a way that favors the Right. As we go forward, Podemos has to return to the type of intelligent strategies that allow for the creation of contradictions in our adversaries, taking advantage of internal tensions to break open the pro-regime bloc. Winning in politics is not merely about accumulating your own support, it is never a simple clash between two opposed forces. You have to be able to make other actors, who will continue to exist, move their positions and eventually become allies."

"Make other actors...move" does not involve begging or pleading, or even persuading.

However I suspect what we will actually see is a reaction involving: (list)

Not in my lifetime, I am afraid. 2009 was the last chance. Comments like this need to show me a path to 60+ center-left Senators. There is none. What we will get is Jones and Manchin, as long as progressives and conservatives want to live separately. Civil war, or neo-fascism much more likely.

In others news, Obama has developed a great relationship with Prince Harry. Just kill me. Outahere.

The biggest shift in how I view this country was after the implosion of the Soviet Union. It was heralded as the victory of capitalism.

Not democracy, not republican governance, not the rule of law. Not self-government of, by, and for the people, through responsive and transparent institutions. Not the affirmation of basic, fundamental human and civil rights.

Capitalism.

We have actually lost the plot. We have come to conflate freedom with the license to make shitloads of money. We have come to conflate liberty with a refusal to acknowledge any sense of common public good or mutual responsibility or obligation.

The values of self-reliance and initiative that conservatives tout - worthy as they are - have become a pretext for callousness and selfishness.

It was other than this, in my own living memory. But for anyone who was born or came of age after about 1980, the way things are now is the norm.

I actually do think it has significantly undermined our resilience as a nation, and may well be our undoing. Not that we'll be invaded by foreign hordes, just that we'll become increasingly half-assed and peripheral to the interests of everyone else in the world.

That's happening now.

Really, I think the country, as a political entity, is rotting. Too much money, too much self-dealing. Public service is now a path to getting really, really, really filthy stinking rich, and it's hard to not have your head turned by that even if your initial instincts were worthwhile. Even if you maintain your own integrity, you're always swimming upstream in a river of crass fucking lucre.

We have a POTUS who took the occasion of his inauguration to double to cost of membership at his private golf club. And nobody finds that worthy of comment, because it's just a speck, a single grain of sand, in the overall pit of corrupt self-dealing.

It can be turned around, the basic institutions needed to do that are still in place. But it will take a whole lot of people actually giving a shit. Showing up to vote, running for office, spending money. Getting involved.

I don't know if that will happen or not. So, I'm pessimistic.

I think "hubris" may be the right term for their position.

There's actually a hell of a lot of hubris flying around right now.

That's usually Nemesis' cue.

We have a POTUS who took the occasion of his inauguration to double to cost of membership at his private golf club.

and who spends his weekends at his golf clubs, which he then charges the public for. and who hosts Presidential events at his golf clubs, which he then charges the public for.

and the GOP is pleased as a pig in shit about it. not a whisper about it.

because the GOP is a cult.

not a whimper the scummy illegality of putting foreign heads of state up at his hotel (which he then charges the public for).

because the GOP is a cult.

By denying that the threat of violence is violence, you are erasing women's and black's (and others, I am 5'2") daily experience and feelings.

FFS, there's nothing violent about women outing sexual predators.

Comments like this need to show me a path to 60+ center-left Senators. There is none.

Bob, that's because your definition of "left" and "center-left" is way to the left of where I see it. Just as the reactionaries that make up a lot of the current GOP base call themselves "conservatives" when the furthest left of them is still way too far right to qualify. I guess it's hard to have perspective when one is way out on the fringes.

To your point, I don't have a problem seeing 60+ Democratic Senators (leaving aside, for the moment, the possibility of a couple of Republican Senators voting with them). Who, while they wouldn't remake the nation into your ideal, would still move us substantially to the left (actually, I would say, substantially back to the center) from where we are today.

Now if your problem was that you don't see a way to 60 Democrats, that would be different. But it seems like you are just unhappy with anything less than (your image of) perfect.

We have come to conflate freedom with the license to make shitloads of money. We have come to conflate liberty with a refusal to acknowledge any sense of common public good or mutual responsibility or obligation.

"What do you mean we...." [truncated for political correctness] ;-)

Not arguing that there hasn't been a lot of that. But I think that, while that view may generate a majority of the noise, it isn't really the view of a majority of the population.

it isn't really the view of a majority of the population.

I completely agree with this.

It is, however, and IMO, what drives public policy. To a degree far - very far - greater than what the actual humans who live here want.

It does raise a question of legitimacy.

Why "not-so-great?"

Because of the caveat that you should pay that portion in excess of the soon-to-be $10K limit. If you're still going to itemize when filing your 2018 taxes, then that makes sense. But that only applies to a small percentage of people.

It doesn't apply to me, nor apparently to you. You and I are doing exactly the same thing, if I read you correctly.

It is, however, and IMO, what drives public policy.

Sadly, it is. But I can see a future where, while the volume may remain, the politicians have discovered (in some cases to their horror) that letting it drive their actions is a fast route to retirement.

What that takes, of course, is a lot of folks who have been conned figuring out that they've been had. They may not even have to admit it to themselves; they just need to decide that they want something different -- or, at least, someone different to get it.

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/12/20/1726191/-How-do-Republicans-plan-on-helping-Puerto-Rico-By-raising-taxes-on-the-island-of-course

Russia, China, Cuba, North Korea, and Iran need to step in on the Puerto Rico question.

Nothing like an American military invasion to bolster an island economy and rebuild.

Who, while they wouldn't remake the nation into your ideal, would still move us substantially to the left (actually, I would say, substantially back to the center) from where we are today.

Your program, your center:

b) reversal of the Trump Tax legislation.
c) as a reaction, a huge step to the left, involving substantial increases in taxes on corporations and on the wealthy.

And you really think 10 more Jones and Manchins will enact those?

We saw what happened in 2009 and 2012. Massive tax cuts, and making the 80-90% of Bush cuts permanent.

Pro Bono: ... try to do what's right and make the Republicans and their judges explain why they want to do wrong.

Imagine that the Democrats had demanded raising the standard deduction to $50K over the past few months, instead of harping on the $1.5trillion-over-10-years bit. We all know that such a demand would not be "what's right".

But the point would be to make the Republicans explain why. Make the Republicans explain, to people with median-and-below incomes, that they need to pay for the government so the rich won't have to.

Make the damned GOP explain that CHIP, or LIHEAP, or the goddamn Air Force, need money -- but not rich people's money. Make the Tea Party kooks explain why median-income Americans don't deserve immediate "tax relief" -- but the rich do. Even the "white working class" might have trouble swallowing the "explanation".

--TP

I don’t think GOP politicians are ia cult. They are getting exactly what they want for their donor class. They might prefer someone mentally stable as president, but everyone is a lesser evilist. If Trump starts to become more of a liability and if it becomes less risky for their own future to come out against him, they will dump him for a Pence or a healthy version of McCain, someone who favors most of the same policies without the Trumpian eccentricities.

And some Democrats will be with them.

Oh, it's a cult:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/beyond-belief-3

Harvey Weinstein wishes he could get some of that Pence mouth love.

Who needs Monica when Mike Pence has inherited the kneepads.

Next week, the rump White House will re-enact key scenes from the movie "Deliverance" in the Lincoln bedroom.

And you really think 10 more Jones and Manchins will enact those?

Actually, yes I do. The deficit is going to shoot up sufficiently as a result of the Trump Tax change that it will be a choice between (Ryan's Hope) slashing entitlements, or (sanity) kicking taxes back up. And I doubt anybody thinks that the Democrats will go for slashing Medicaid, let alone Medicare or Social Security.

More cult:

https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2017/12/this-is-not-normal-people-not-normal-at.html

Unfortunately, they didn't pass around vials of cyanide a la Jonestown after the prayers.

One of the stupid gets whose Daddy and Uncle bought off the utterly unrepresentative government for tax relief:

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2017/12/20/thank-you-repubs-open-thread-poster-boy-for-the-gop-tax-scam/

Ladies and gentleman, the next Treasury Secretary of the United States of Gimmeitall:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/this-professional-dominatrix-made-men-mine-1-million-in-cryptocurrency-for-her-2017-12-20?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

And I doubt anybody thinks that the Democrats will go for slashing Medicaid, let alone Medicare or Social Security.

Ever heard of the "Grand Bargain"?

It was conservative Dems that killed the Public Option and iirc quite a few joined the GOP chorus concerning the stimulus, so it became more and more tax-cutty. 60 Dem senators mean nothing, if there are blue dogs among them.

As for 'forcing the GOP to explain', those who we would need the GOP to explain it to don't read SCOTUS decisions or consume media that would give them an honest translation of the legal gobbledegoo.
Roy Moore lost only because the number of write-ins slightly exceeded Jones' margin of victory and that in a situation where opinion leaders openly said 'better a child molester than a Dem' (i.e. even assuming every charge against Moore was valid).

I think the test case will be how the current SCOTUS will rule in the next voter suppression/gerrymander case. My bet is a 5-4 green light in time for the next election for some new and improved 'vote integrity' scams.
An all of this supposes that nothing nasty happens that will drive the people to the 'strong on national security' GOP and away from the 'appeasers' (Dems).

speaking of rural broadband, have y'all heard about the FCC's latest big idea?

classify cell data as broadband internet!.

problem solved!

when we moved into our last house, it took months for us to get a working internet connection. so we had to use cell data for the internet. lemme tell ya: it sucked.

if you're in the country so far that you don't have cable, you're probably not going to be getting great cell service either.

Well-known actress politician puts out for her male colleagues but doesn't get the choice role she was promised in exchange for her favors.

Then she calls the reporting on it sexist:

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2017/12/rare-actual-example-identity-politics-pejorative-sense

Hartmut: As for 'forcing the GOP to explain', those who we would need the GOP to explain it to don't read SCOTUS decisions or consume media that would give them an honest translation of the legal gobbledegoo.

"The Republicans gave you a tax cut worth $20 a week. We Democrats demanded that it should be $100 a week. The Republicans refused. Ask them why."

Where's the "legal gobbledegoo"?

--TP

Just a little something for those who feel like all Republicans at every level are irredeemable:
https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2017/12/20/opinion-protect-poor-kids-health-care-gop-lawmaker-tells-congress/
This from my local Republican state Assemblywoman.

"those who feel like all Republicans at every level are irredeemable":

Truth be told, and just between we two, there were a few good Comanche too. But, in America, as we've been preached to these many years, inclusivity is "politically correct". It makes it easier to take what you want, including the land out from under, if you demonize entire groups of people. You want to get rid of the riff, you need to do away with the raff too. No getting around it in America.

It hadda be done.

Republicans made themselves and all of their fellow travelers the "Other" by purposefully labeling everyone else the "Other" all these years.

But I'm gratified to hear about the Assemblywoman.

As is suggested to shit-outta-a-luck everyone by conservatives and neo-liberals when, for example, their coastal abodes are flooded by global warming, their manufacturing jobs move overseas, or their rent-controlled apartment building are gentrified, the Assemblywoman can always move out of the republican party to more affordable and drier digs where jobs might be available.

Otherwise, tough luck.

In this vein and since we were talking the other day about superior attitudes toward the west and south by them elites on either coast, but especially the Northeast, here's a little back at ya (quoted from "Vanishing New York" by Jeremiah Moss):

"When Al Smith. the Italian-Irish Governor of from the Lower East Side, campaigned for U.S. president in 1928, the Heartland rose against him as a Catholic, the son of immigrants, and a New Yorker. The Ku Klux Klan burned crosses on the tracks when his train came to their towns, and they warned constituents to be ready for Smith's arrival, crying "America for Americans!" In publications, they howled about the Roman Catholic "alien hordes" that has "invaded America", determined to destroy democracy. "Already they have captured many large cities." And no city had been more corrupted by alien hordes than New York. From his radio pulpit, Rev. John Roach Straton denounced Smith, accusing him of everything the Protestant American Heartland believed was wrong with New York: "card-playing, cocktail drinking, poodle dogs, divorce, novels, stuffy rooms, dancing, evolution, Clarence Darrow, overeating, nude art, prize-fighting, actors, modernism."

Sound like a list Pat Buchanan and Rod Dreher drew up yesterday.

novels?

FFS, there's nothing violent about women outing sexual predators.

Okay, they are angry, they intend to hurt, they take action, assholes are hurt, the initiators enjoy the hurting. It may or may not be a just or justified violence, but saying as an observable action it is entirely different from a comparable action is just Orwellian. It's pretty weird to define a punch in the face as a kiss because it comes from the good guy.

Watched Liliom this year that ended with that line, or close to it. "He punched me in the face and it felt like a kiss."

...but saying as an observable action it is entirely different from a comparable action is just Orwellian. It's pretty weird to define a punch in the face as a kiss because it comes from the good guy.

Entirely different? Or just appreciably different? I don’t see anyone defining a punch as a kiss. “Not a punch” doesn’t equal “a kiss.”

"Novels"

Hidden in the corn crib, no less!

Yer out-a-town jasper writers tend to sneak in a joke or two from Captain Willy's Whizbang too, if you don't watch 'em with an eagle eye.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LI_Oe-jtgdI

Meredith Wilson, the genius, grew up in Mason City, Iowa, and being a quintessential American he took the train thru flyover heartland country to both coasts and made his success, and the heartland didn't seem to mind, given the box office receipts.

Now, of course, he'd be a suspect and accused darkly of contempt for his upbringing and a traitor to his class.

Immigrants like Michelle Malkin and Pat Buchanan would question his American bonafides and want to inspect his countertops.

He wrote the score to Charlie Chaplin's "Great Dictator".

Hum a few bars. It fits the current moment.

This seems to be a pretty good synopsis of the bill. It's CNN, so it's obviously fake news, but whatever.

Just to run some simple numbers:

A bog standard family of four with parents filing jointly gets double the standard deduction. $24K, up from $12,700, so they're up by $11,300.

They lose the personal exemption. At $4,050 each, times four, that's $16,200, so now they're actually down $4,900.

But the per-child tax credit is doubled from $1K to $2K, so they're only down by $2,900.

All of this comes off the top of taxable income, so discount it by whatever their overall rate is.

Lather rinse and repeat for all of the permutations of itemize vs don't itemize, new deductions vs deductions that go away, minor changes in the rates, and for Middle Class America it all basically seems kind of.... meh.

It's actually not clear to me that anybody who works for a wage has anupside at all, but I'm extending the benefit of the doubt.

Some folks will get a little bump, some folks will pay more. Most folks will be not that different from where they are now.

Meh.

Corps get drop in tax rate. Depending on industry, maybe quite a large drop.

Folks who derive their income from S corps, LLCs, or other pass-throughs get, I think, a 20% reduction in rate.

Tax preparers can expect a good year in 2019. Accountants and attorneys can expect a good year in 2018 as anyone working as an independent professional who hasn't already structured themselves as an LLC or S corp does so.

Large corps are already sitting on piles of cash. They'll take the windfall and buy back equity. Some may make some capital investments.

Small corps may hire some folks, or their owners may just take a nice vacation.

The nation will collectively absorb another $1T or so of debt. That will place increased pressure on entitlements, which are already being queued up for a haircut.

The donor class got what it paid for.

novels?

My mother's side of the family is from a rural (and very Protestant) part of Eastern Germany. At least for girls reading was seen as sinful idleness per se. And novels (not just dime novels*) were by definition a tool of the devil (immoral and seducing towards immorality). We are talking about the same time (late 1920ies).

*dime novels were the target of actual laws intended to protect the youth. The argument was the same as with violent media today: consuming them would lead inevitably to a life of depravity and crime.
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gesetz_zur_Bewahrung_der_Jugend_vor_Schund-_und_Schmutzschriften

From the CNN article:

If you take out a new mortgage on a first or second home you would only be allowed to deduct the interest on debt up to $750,000, down from $1 million today. Homeowners who already have a mortgage would be unaffected by the bill

Bold mine,

So will people who can afford a $1.5 million home not buy it because the interst on the debt for the second $750k won't be deductible? Will we start writing mortgages with 8% rates on the first $750k but the next $750k is interest free?

I owned a home in MA for 26 years and never had a mortgage more than 250k (nor could I ever afford a million dollar house) so I dont know what people that can afford those houses might do. But I suspect that most of them aren't the target for middle class tax cuts.

It's pretty weird to define a punch in the face as a kiss because it comes from the good guy.

when your wordplay leads you to a situation where you classify the actions of the victim into the same category as the actions of the perpetrator, your wordplay no longer mirrors reality - even if you had fun getting there.

try again. proceed with more care.

I can't see why mortgage interest should be tax deductible at all (this tax relief was abolished in the UK in 2000). I suppose rent isn't.

I can't see why income from pass-throughs shouldn't be taxed at the same rate as salaries.

Generally, in a good tax system all income from whatever source is taxed at the same rate.

to me, a cap on the mortgage interest deduction makes sense. I'd go this bill one further and limit it to primary residence only. In principle, I don't mind if it's eliminated, however I have no idea how you'd go about that without gutting a lot of folks' personal wealth and massively depressing the building industry.

as far as homes in MA, you would likely not get into the housing market here for $250K. the house my wife and I own sold for about that (not to us, sadly) in '95. now it'd go for more than twice that. we probably couldn't afford to buy it if we were buying it now.

it's not a big house. it's a starter home, a condo alternative.

median home price in my county is about $413K. that's about 6 times the median household income. it's worse in some neighboring counties. lots of young families are moving away, if they can. central or western MA, CT, NH.

not much room left to expand here, people are already regularly driving 60 or 90 minutes to work, each way. plus, if you expand east, you get wet.

a million dollar house here is still kind of a big deal. a $750K house, less so. half a million gets you a pretty good house, not everything you want but not too bad either.

different places have different issues.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/what-the-tax-bill-fails-to-address-technologys-tsunami/ar-BBH4TzX

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/meet-victims-trump-tax-bill-180523129.html

Off topic, but take some time to read this article about the country of Estonia, which, if it could scale up what it is doing, would make the United States look like the big creaky, corrupt, dispensable, technological Rube Goldberg mess it really is:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/12/18/estonia-the-digital-republic

You can move there, digitally.

from the yahoo finance link:

They’re all under the impression that they’re going to receive a tax cut.

surprise!

But the per-child tax credit is doubled from $1K to $2K, so they're only down by $2,900.

Not exactly. Tax credits reduce your tax. Exemptions and deductions reduce your taxable income. Dollar for dollar, tax credits are worth much more.

General Electric has been a dismal stock to own these last two years. Change it's name to General Blockchain and it will be money for nuttin:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/long-island-iced-teas-stock-rockets-nearly-500-after-changing-name-to-long-blockchain-2017-12-21?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

How bout a little plague to go with that tax reform rash?

http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a14473203/trump-tax-celebration/

Thank you, Mr. President, for "allowing" us to have you as President!

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/12/21/1726507/--You-re-one-heck-of-a-leader-Republicans-line-up-to-fluff-Trump-s-fragile-ego

Yeah, thanks, President Putin.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-threatens-to-end-us-aid-to-critics-in-un-jerusalem-vote?via=newsletter&source=CSAMedition

America, the Pariah.

Here's where I am with this tax bill. I have 4 kids and a wife - family of 6. I'm losing $24,300 in personal exemptions. I used to itemize, but my itemized deductions amounted to a bit over $20K. The new standard deduction is about equal to my lost personal exemptions, so, in effect, it's as though I'm simply losing all of my previous deductions. But the doubled child tax credit more or less makes up for it. As soon as my kids start hitting 17 [To qualify, a child must have been under age 17 (i.e., 16 years old or younger) at the end of the tax year for which you claim the credit.] my annual tax bills start going up in increments of $2K (all other things being equal). My first kid hits that mark in 2020.

As rants go, this one ain't bad, in a kitchen sink sort of way. A pox, he says.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/beyond-cynicism-america-fumbles-towards-kafkas-castle/

References both Kafka and Thomas McGuane.

Marty: So will people who can afford a $1.5 million home not buy it because the interst on the debt for the second $750k won't be deductible? Will we start writing mortgages with 8% rates on the first $750k but the next $750k is interest free?

To Marty's 1st question:
Would people who could make $1.5 million next year not do the deal because the second $750K would be taxed at 40% instead of 37%?

To Marty's 2nd question:
Assuming (until informed otherwise) that mortgage interest on rental property continues to be deductible without limit -- it's a business expense, after all -- what's more plausible is that two people, each looking to buy a $2M house, would form a real-estate partnership and buy each other's house. Problem solved.

--TP

Dollar for dollar, tax credits are worth much more.

Thanks for the correction!

Most folks are going to get a little bump out of this. $1K or less. They'll spend it, maybe pay down credit debt, maybe buy new tires or a washing machine, maybe take a vacation.

Some folks will take a hit. Again, probably not dramatic, at least relative to their overall income.

Folks who derive income from professional services via pass-throughs will get a big payday. Don't know what they'll do with it, probably spend some and invest some. Maybe roll some back into their business, although that's hard to say.

Corps will get a big payday. Some of that may go to capital investment, most will probably go to equity buy-back and/or dividends.

So if you own equity you'll probably get a nice upside. If you participate in an LLC you'll probably get a nice upside, depending on details. If you work for a living, you'll be a little ahead or a little behind.

Most folks will get their $100, or $500, or $1K bump and be totally happy. What happens five or ten years down the road when the stuff that helps them expires (or doesn't) is, understandably, noise.

Nobody will be filling out their taxes on a 3x5 card as promised, but I think everyone knew that was horseshit anyway.

This will put a big hole in the federal budget. Most folks don't pay that much attention. They'll feel it, eventually, in lost or reduced public services, but they will probably not make the connection.

The (R)'s - at least some of them - will most definitely be coming after Medicaid, Medicare, and SS, and the increased federal debt will be used as a lever.

But net/net, most folks will spend whatever they glean from the changes and will be totally fine with all of it. It's a bird in the hand.

I don't see the (R)'s paying any price for this, to be honest.

What I'm curious about, somewhat echoing Marty, is how the mortgage-interest deduction plays out, but not so much because the cap was lowered.

The number of people who itemized worked out to be about 30% of filers. I would guess that the overwhelming majority of them claimed mortgage interest. They're saying the percentage of people who itemize should go down quite a bit, maybe to as little as 6%.

What this means is that for only very few people will there be any tax advantage to paying interest on a mortgage. How much that factored into people's home-buying decisions I don't know. Depending on your top bracket, your interest was subsidized by, for most people, at least 15%. (I can't imagine there were too many people itemizing in the 10% bracket.)

Beyond home buying, there's also refinancing or otherwise borrowing against the value of your home. How much does the loss of tax advantage affect that, and how does that affect investment and consumption? What happens if interest rates go up, amplifying whatever effects this has?

You got me....

I will just say this and then be silent. During any discussion of tax increases on the middle class, particularly the lower middle class. Over the years the discussion has always gonelike this.

Why don't we raise taxes on everyone, it's graduated so that makes it fair.

No the impact of 1000 a year on lower middle class folks is much more than 10k on people making more because they spend every penny to survive.

So, now, let's give those folks a higher standard deduction and double their tax credit?

We that only gives them 100 bucks a year, big deal.

Huh?


Last line should be 1000 bucks a year, either way. The child tax credit and standard deduction combine ensure most people who need money the most get a cut.

We that only gives them 100 bucks a year, big deal.

Huh?

I think it's great that folks will get a $1K tax break. I'm sure they'll put it to good use. It may even drive a little consumer spending, which won't be a bad thing.

In return for their $1K tax cut, they federal budget is going to be down by about $1T over ten years. That's going to mean other services that those same folks rely on directly or indirectly are going to come under the axe.

951 years of CHIP, right?

Plus, their nice $1K tax cut may go away.

TANSTAAFL

Unless you're an equity holder, then you get a free lunch, courtesy of the federal budget. No particular obligation to spend it on capital investment, or hiring, or wage increases, use it as you will.

That's the "Huh".

Last line should be 1000 bucks a year, either way. The child tax credit and standard deduction combine ensure most people who need money the most get a cut.

I don't think anyone has a problem with those things or giving people at the bottom another $1000. The "big deal" is more in reference to how it plays out relative to, say, giving people who inherit $22M a huge tax break or giving already highly-profitable corporations as big tax break or leaving carried interest the way it is, continuing a huge tax break for very wealthy people.

That aside, what you, and a lot of other people it seems, are leaving out is the elimination of the personal exemption. That effectively negates a large portion (or all of or more than, depending) the increase in the standard deduction.

And credit where credit is due, Marco Rubio pushed for the $2K child tax credit as well as an increase in the refundable portion of it (i.e. how far it could effectively give you a negative tax bill for the year, given a credit in excess of your total tax).

Tax credits, in a progressive tax system, are inherently progressive in the relative sense that their equivalence to deductions is determined by multiplying them by the inverse of the highest bracket your income reaches (though, technically, it could straddle a couple of brackets, but still). The lower the bracket, the greater the inverse.

what you, and a lot of other people it seems, are leaving out is the elimination of the personal exemption.

$4050 per person.

Fine print. Oops.

What all of this amounts to is nothing like "tax reform". What it is, fundamentally, is a cut in the corporate tax rate. The rest is farting around at the margins.

A cut in the corporate tax rate is not necessarily a bad thing. It's just not that likely to be especially stimulative at this point in time.

It's just a big tax cut, for corps, funded by a federal deficit.

For most families the standard deduction raise is larger than the loss on the individual, the cold credit more than makes up for each of their deductions, for most lower middle class families.

No one, or not me I guess, is leaving it out, the double standard is a wash for a family of four and the credits automatically add money back.

For a lot of lower middle income families of 4 it's about a 2k gain on a short form.

That's real money.

Most people pay FICA. Most people pay it through withholding. Most people think of the money withheld from their paycheck as "taxes".

I sincerely hope the Republicans keep telling people what Yertl just said on TV: that a family of 4 making $41K will see a 73% reduction in its "taxes".

--TP

that family is also somewhat more likely to see their health insurance rates go up, or to lose health insurance entirely. want to spend $2K in a flash? get sick.

that family is also somewhat more likely to see their health insurance rates go up, or to lose health insurance entirely.

Yup.

Nobody will be filling out their taxes on a 3x5 card as promised, but I think everyone knew that was horseshit anyway.

seems that nobody has told Princess Complicity about that.

Pro Bono: I can't see why income from pass-throughs shouldn't be taxed at the same rate as salaries.

The reason is the same as the (real) reason that capital gains are taxed lower. The folks getting the benefit are big political donors.

After all, we already demonstrated that cutting the capital gains tax had minimal to no benefit when it comes to growing the economy. But hey, why bother with facts when there are campaign donations at risk?

What it is, fundamentally, is a cut in the corporate tax rate. The rest is farting around at the margins.

And Trump, to his credit (although probably not deliberately or thought through), said exactly that yesterday. It was all about the corporate tax rate. (He also said that everybody was told not to admit that before the bill was passed, lest the public notice and take exception.)

Hey, if you can't trust Trump, who can you trust? ;-)

For most families the standard deduction raise is larger than the loss on the individual, the cold credit more than makes up for each of their deductions, for most lower middle class families.

A family usually means at least 3 people. The standard deduction wasn't quite doubled. It went up, for a family, by $11,300. Technically, it was already supposed to go up to $13K next year under the existing tax regime, so it's really only going up by $11K compared to what it would have been.

The personal exemption was supposed to be $4150 in 2018. For three people, that would be a $12,450 exemption.

As personal exemptions and standard deductions go, that family of three is worse off by $1450 in additional taxable income. If their kid turns 17 anytime soon, they can say goodbye to the extra $1K in the child tax credit (as well as the original $1K).

The fact remains that this is going to blow up the deficit. The corporate tax cuts aren't going to pay for themselves. People at the bottom will save some money in taxes, but likely have assistance gutted as soon as the GOP starts crying about deficits again (which, really, as already started, depending on which side of their mouths they're talking out of).

The fact remains that this is going to blow up the deficit.

deficits don't matter when the GOP is in charge, except when the GOP wants to use them as an excuse for cutting something, in which case they'll create larger deficits and dare the public to notice how phony they are.

for example: CHIP.

the Stupid Party won't fund a fncking children's health insurance program because it will add to the deficit.

but Apple needs a tax cut, immediately, forever.

ok ok. fair's fair. they are now looking to fund CHIP through March.

merry Christmas, Tiny Tim.

On CHIP, I'm sure if they won't fund it. Or if it's just that they can't be bothered to get around to a bill to do so.

I actually suspect that, for most of them (although not the "Freedom Caucus" of course) it's more a matter of "can't be bothered." Which also says something about them, just not quite the same thing.

But the per-child tax credit is doubled from $1K to $2K, so they're only down by $2,900.

Some Republicans, including Paul Ryan, are moaning about the declining birth rate and the need to do something to encourage people to have more children. Yet, some of those same politicians are prepared to kick thousands of young people out of the country.

A pox on all of their houses.

Of course, it's not hard to divine what the Republicans really want.

1) Reward their donors (and Trump personally)
2) Shrink the state

Shrinking the state directly is too hard. Much easier to cut taxes - who's against tax cuts? - and leave it till later to cut spending accordingly.

Poor people will suffer, which is ok, it's their own fault for being poor. Rich people will have more money than they know what to do with, that's good too, being born to wealthy parents is a laudable achievement.

meanwhile, yes!

Some Republicans, including Paul Ryan, are moaning about the declining birth rate and the need to do something to encourage people to have more children. Yet, some of those same politicians are prepared to kick thousands of young people out of the country.

Thanks for this one, CharlesWT.

From russell's link:

"This first batch of six protesters served partially as a test case for the government’s strategy."

This is good news for the protests yet to come. I'm hoping that everyone will be in the streets when Trump starts messing with the Mueller investigation (by firing Rosenstein, for one possibility).

So, control of the VA legislature will be decided "by lot". Is this a great country or what?

I mean, where else could lick-spittles like Ryan, McConnell, Hatch, and Pence coo and purr at Dear Leader and still be treated like Serious People by ... well, anybody?

Where else could you find a political system that provides so much harmless entertainment to the rest of humanity?

--TP

So, control of the VA legislature will be decided "by lot".

Yeah, and we have to wait until Wednesday. Well, at least there's a chance - to put it literally.

I do wonder why they are picking a name out of a hat. Rather than, say, just flipping a coin.

"I do wonder why they are picking a name out of a hat. Rather than, say, just flipping a coin."

More opportunities for shenanigans.

We need a ballot initiative to replace it with Trial by Stone!
( http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Trial_by_Stone )

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad