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It's Halftime in Amercia...

Discussion in 'Anesthesiology' started by Narcotized, Feb 7, 2012.

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  1. Narcotized

    Narcotized

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    ...and after the first half we are down by 5 trillion dollars. Do we make a switch at quarterback? What if the untested new quarterback is no better? Could he possibly be any worse? Huge halftime adjustments needed to get back in this game.
  2. cincincyreds

    cincincyreds

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    How about the third string quarterback Dr. Ron Paul? At least we won't be running a deficit and will get some sound fiscal policy.
  3. jwk

    jwk AA-C ASA-PAC Contributor

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    Well of course we switch. The current quarterback is actually proud of his poor performance and wants to do even more of the same. Why anyone in their right mind would want him again is absolutely beyond my comprehension. At the rate he is going, his share of the deficit would be >$15T.
  4. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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  5. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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    The American public's dependence on the federal government shot up 23% in just two years under President Obama, with 67 million now relying on some federal program, according to a newly released study by the Heritage Foundation.
    The conservative think tank's annual Index of Dependence on Government tracks money spent on housing, health, welfare, education subsidies and other federal programs that were "traditionally provided to needy people by local organizations and families."
    The increase under Obama is the biggest two-year jump since Jimmy Carter was president, the data show.
    The rise was driven mainly by increases in housing subsidies, an expansion in Medicaid and changes to the welfare system, along with a sharp rise in food stamps, the study found.
    "You can't get around the fact that policy decisions made over the past two years, on top of those made over the past several decades, are having a large effect on the pace of growth of the index," said William Beach, who authored the Heritage study.
    Dependence on the government has climbed steadily since 1962, when the index stood at 19. By 1980, the index had risen to 100. It stood at 294 in 2010, the last year for which the data are available. The D.C.-based Heritage Foundation has produced the index for nine years.
    The report also found that spending on "dependence programs" accounts for more than 70% of the federal budget. That, too, is up dramatically. In 1990, for example, the figure stood at 48.5%, and in 1962 just over a quarter of federal spending went to dependence programs.
  6. GoodmanBrown

    GoodmanBrown is walking down the path.

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    Does the Heritage Foundation put this out for lots of countries?

    I bet I'd wanna live in the countries with the highest rating. You guys can have Nigeria and China. ;)

  7. GoodmanBrown

    GoodmanBrown is walking down the path.

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    PS: Here's a hint. The economy is on the rise, and your party is trying its damnedest to nominate 1 of 2 folks who are too right to have any shot in the general election. Romney's going to limp into the nomination worse than a 3 legged dog. Obama wins pretty easily in '12.
  8. Pooh & Annie

    Pooh & Annie Member

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    :thumbup:
    Read some Forbes. It's centrist, if not conservative leaning and has had a lot of positive articles about the recent markets & economy
  9. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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    Are you moving to Greece any time soon? How about Spain then?
  10. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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    Abstract: The great and calamitous fiscal trends of our time—dependence on government by an increasing portion of the American population, and soaring debt that threatens the financial integrity of the economy—worsened yet again in 2010 and 2011. The United States has long reached the point at which it must reverse the direction of both trends or face economic and social collapse. Yet policymakers made little progress on either front since the 2010 Index of Dependence on Government was published. Today, more people than ever before—67.3 million Americans, from college students to retirees to welfare beneficiaries—depend on the federal government for housing, food, income, student aid, or other assistance once considered to be the responsibility of individuals, families, neighborhoods, churches, and other civil society institutions. The United States reached another milestone in 2010: For the first time in history, half the population pays no federal income taxes. Related to these disturbing trends, publicly held debt continued its amazing ascent without any plan by the government to pay it back. As if those circumstances were not dire enough, the country is about to witness the largest generational retirement in world history by a population that will depend on currently bankrupted pension and health programs.
  11. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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  12. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.", - Alexis de Tocqueville (in "Democracy in America")



    "The trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money," said former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
  13. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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    An April 2009 Rasmussen Reports poll, conducted during the Financial crisis of 2007–2010 (which many believe resulted due to lack of regulation in the financial markets) suggested that there had been a growth of support for socialism in the United States. The poll results stated that 53% of American adults thought capitalism was better than socialism, and that "Adults under 30 are essentially evenly divided: 37% prefer capitalism, 33% socialism, and 30% are undecided".[95]Bernie Sanders, current U.S. Senator from Vermont, has described himself as a democratic socialist. Sanders served as the at-large representative for the state of Vermont before being elected to the senate in 2006.[96]
  14. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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  15. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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    A Lesson in Obama Economics

    December 20th, 2009 by Saul Anuzis
    An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had once failed an entire class.
    That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.
    The professor then said, "OK, 
we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan". 


All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.
    After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. 
The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.
    As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little. 
The second test average was a D! 
No one was happy.
    When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.
    The scores never increased as bickering, 
blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.
    All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.
    Could not be any simpler than that.
  16. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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  17. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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  18. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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    According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. gross domestic product reached $15.17 trillion at the end of the third quarter 2011. That number is higher today, though a formal report on fourth quarter 2011 growth still has yet to be released. But with the national debt currently at $15.23 trillion and set to go up with the president's latest debt ceiling increase, the 100 percent GDP-to-debt threshold has been reached.


    "It is like watching a horror movie," Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told WOKV-AM in Jacksonville on Monday. "You know those movies where the people in the audience are screaming, 'Don't go in that door!' because you know the killer is there? Well, it is the same thing with this debt. We know how this ends."
    What does 100 percent debt-to-GDP spell? Not quite Greece, though, it's not far off from what sank the European nation.
    "The Greek economy is broken. The U.S. economy is not broken," said former Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Holtz-Eakin, head of American Action Network.
    "But if we were so foolish to do things as we are now," the U.S. economy will break, Holtz-Eakin warned, noting that the debt is equal to the median income of Americans 300 million times over.


    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/01/09/republican-blasts-obama-after-national-debt-surpasses-economic-output/#ixzz1lpYp6Vqk
  19. leviathan

    leviathan Drinking from the hydrant Moderator Emeritus

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    What % of the deficit is coming from socialist policies vs. military engagments around the world and on bailing out a crashing economy from loose financial regulation? What % of the deficit is Obama's fault versus the people before him who set up the US economy to crash with their foreign and domestic policies?

    I'm not supporting Obama and don't pretend that I know much surrounding US politics, but I'd love to learn more if someone can enlighten me.
  20. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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  21. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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    http://www.skymachines.com/US-National-Debt-Per-Capita-Percent-of-GDP-and-by-Presidental-Term.htm
  22. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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    Record Setter Obama
    When it comes to spending the United States into penury, President Obama has been nothing if not a record breaker. “Yes, we can” in the administration’s motto when it comes to spending the taxpayers’ money.
    Among the milestones: it took a man of Obama’s prodigious spending to reach are a one-day spending record. Just hours after Congress raised the debt limit yet another $400 billion in August, Obama and his pals in Congress spent $268 billion of the total, or 60 percent. Theprevious one-day record was also Obama’s: $186 billion.
    Obama holds the record for the highest monthly deficit. In February, the federal deficit was about $222.5 billion on revenues of $110.7 billion against outlays of $333.2 billion. He also set a record in February 2010, with a deficit of about $221 billion on revenues of $107.5 billion against outlays of $328.4 billion.
    The national debt, Jeffrey reported, increased $63.7 billion in February, and in its first two years, the administration increased the debt per family $30,000.
    Since, 2008, just before the American people stupidly elevated Obama to the highest office in the land, the national debt stood at $10.5 trillion. The debt per family was about $132,000 per family, using debt clock figures.
    That means the national debt has increased about $4.5 trillion since the election of Obama, who took office in Jan. 2009. The debt per family has increased $50,000 per family.
    Neither the president nor Congress has plans to put the country’s fiscal house in order. In September, they raised the debt ceiling again, this time to $15.19 trillion
  23. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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    [​IMG]
    I could not resist posting this beautiful graph of the current state of the momentousness US debt. The graph is particularly useful for eyeballing the historical path of U.S. debt to GDP. Often pundits will say that our current debt-to-GDP ratio is not unreasonable because it is not too high relative to the period following WWII and the Great Depression.
    It is true that during the post-WWII era, government spending exceeded GDP. Never mind that FDR's New Deal actually prolonged the Great Depression, and ignore the fact that despite conventional wisdom, World War II did nothing to create prosperity. As Bob Higgs has argued extensively, no amount of money pumped into a depressed economy can bring about genuine economic recovery unless investors and business leaders feel secure in their property rights.
    But getting back to the graph above. This graph clearly shows that even if the US debt-to-GDP ratio is lower than it was at some previous point in history—the MAGNITUDE of the change is worthy of serious attention. Since the 1980s, the effects of a shift toward a dominant Keynesian view of economic policy are clear. The "old time fiscal religion" was gone and the debts began to pile up.
    Make no mistake. With the Keynesian deficit finance comes a rhetoric that in good times the budget eventually should be brought into balance (See section 8.4.35). Only not now, the Keynesians argue. Now is a time of crisis. Now is different. When the economy is "doing well," "recovered," or when war is over... then the enlightened statemen will know what is prudent and begin running surpluses to pay the debts.
    The fatal flaw? These arguments turn a blind eye to the basic incentives facing politicians. If they spend more on their special interests, they get elected. If they cut spending on special interests or constituents, the don't get elected. So don't be surprised to hear our presidential candidates pay lip service to fixing the debt. That's what they do. That's how they'll get elected. And without rules to change the incentives and limit the ability of statemen to spend, the red line is going to continue to go up.
    [​IMG]Featured Image:
    From http://www.taxbrackets.org
  24. Pooh & Annie

    Pooh & Annie Member

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    I did not read a single one of those. The mindless cut and pastes are RIDICULOUSLY tiresome. Is this your method of presentation when teaching?
  25. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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    Was the Graph too complicated for an Obama voter? ;) 4.5 Trillion added to our national debt and counting. Our debt will now pass our GDP for the first time since WW2.

    What is Obama's solution? More spending programs and higher taxes on just those people who are already paying their fair shair. I understand the need to reform the tax code and make everyone pay their fair share. Everyone. I'm more than willing to pay 30% of my income to the govt. for Federal taxes. No deductions. 30%.

    That won't solve the problem. Obama is the problem because he is spend-aholic who has never run a business. Obama has never had a real job.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012
  26. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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    Since Obama voters just like sound bites let me summarize:

    1. Obama spends too much money
    2. He has never seriously addressed our problems
    3. He spurned his own commission (Simpson-Bowles)
    4. No President has borrowed more money than Obama.
    5. We are on the path to ruin
    6. Obama will devalue the currency and keep printing dollars
    7. Obama wants to redistribute wealth and will never stop trying to raise taxes
    8. Only the ignorant, the racist, the poor, the lazy or a true socialist would ever vote for Obama. 33% of Americans call themselves Socialists!
    9. 4 more years of Obama and America will be Fundamentally transformed
    10. Socialism was not the intent of our founding Fathers; socialism leads to serfdom.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Road_to_Serfdom

    http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxtopics/Bowles_Simpson_Brief.cfm
  27. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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    Details of the Zero Plan:


    The Zero Plan in the Bowles-Simpson "Chairmen's Mark" would:

    • Eliminate all tax expenditures—for both income and payroll taxes—except for the child credit, the earned income tax credit, foreign tax credits, a few less common preferences (retain reduced preferences for mortgage interest, employer-sponsered health insurance and reitrement savings in the third variant listed above).
    • Eliminate the alternative minimum tax (AMT).
    • Eliminate the phaseout of personal exemptions and the limitation of itemized deductions.
    • Replace the current six-bracket individual tax rate schedule with a three-bracket schedule with rates of 9, 15, and 24 percent (12, 20, and 27 percent in the third variant listed above).
    • Tax capital gains and dividends as ordinary income.
    • Index tax parameters using the chained Consumer Price Index.
    • Increase the Social Security wage base by 2 percent per year more than the growth in the average wage (making the FICA cap $140,100 in 2015).
    • Phase in an increase in the federal excise tax on gasoline of 15 cents per gallon (13.5 cents per gallon on average in 2015).
    • Eliminate corporate tax expenditures and reduce the corporate tax rate to 26 percent (27 percent in the third variant listed above).
  28. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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    [​IMG]
    Republicans and Democrats have sharply different reactions to the government's taking such an active role in equalizing economic outcomes. Seven in 10 Democrats believe the government should levy taxes on the rich to redistribute wealth, while an equal proportion of Republicans believe it should not. The slight majority of independents oppose this policy.
    The question also provokes different reactions from men compared with women, whites vs. nonwhites, and upper-income vs. lower-income Americans. Consistent with their more Democratic political orientation, women, nonwhites, and lower-income adults are all more supportive than their counterparts of government redistribution of wealth via taxes.
    [​IMG]
    These findings are from Gallup's 2011 Economics and Finance poll, conducted April 7-11.
    According to the same poll, the majority of Americans -- 57% -- believe money and wealth in the country should be more evenly distributed among a larger population. About a third -- 35% -- think the current distribution is fair. Americans were slightly less likely to believe the distribution of wealth was fair from 2003 to early 2008; however, the current level is about the average for the full trend since 1984.
    [​IMG]
    .
  29. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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    The above graph/chart clearly show that many Americans are in favor of REDISTRIBUTING WEALTH.
    This means Obama can Openly state he is for this fair redistribution of money and still receive a majority of support from most Americans. Obama just needs to use carefully worded language. He is a master at doing just that.
  30. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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  31. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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  32. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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  33. leviathan

    leviathan Drinking from the hydrant Moderator Emeritus

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    Based on the graphs on that page, Bush doubled the debt from 5 to 10 billion, ie. 100% more debt. Obama has now added 3 billion, or about 30% more. He still has another term to catch up to Bush, though.

    You have not yet provided any information as to where that spending is going, or why he has had to spend that money. I don't know a lot about the US economy or politics, but I do know that it wasn't overspending by Obama that drove this country into a depression. Those were my questions. I wouldn't be surprised if most of the money spent has gone to fix the mistakes of Bush and prior presidents who drove the US into bankruptcy. Which presidents were involved with signing all the legislation that allowed the big banks to rob from the public and propagate the mortgage crisis? It wasn't Obama, was it?
  34. Pooh & Annie

    Pooh & Annie Member

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    Blade, you need to be more selective with your data. I hope you understand that you're NOT educating yourself if you're really relying on heritage foundation and fox news data. Posting their assessments, some unsourced graphs, some "Obama hates America" statements, and some political cartoons are not convincing IN THE LEAST. Post on a high school forum if you're looking for lambs.
  35. pgg

    pgg Laugh at me, will they? Moderator

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    This looks like garbage.

    Some PAC made a chart with a fabricated "Index of Dependence on Government" composed in some unspecified manner? And claims that in 1962 the "Index" was almost zero?

    If this was a chart in an medical journal, you'd probably throw it in the trash and cancel your subscription.
  36. yappy

    yappy

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    Okay, it's half time.

    Let me ask this one to the board. If we get down to Nov. and you have Obama vs X. (X cannot equal Ron Paul) Who do you think will make policy in the best interest of physicians. Or more likely, who do you believe will make policies that are less bad towards physicians or high income earners & why.

    My thought? Newt really annoys me as a person; but, I like what hes said about going to a flatter tax and seems to be about cutting back on entitlements that dont work towards people getting off of them. I have not heard him address medicare much (I would love it if they would push it up to age 70 till you start getting benefits, means test, and compensated at 100% of accepted insurances) but I do think he would attempt to repeal the health care reform bill. But... I'll say it again just to be clear - Newt kinda seems like an idiot to me. So partison - he's either a genius trying to get right of Romney on the issues or he lives in some sort of alternate universe lol. But he seems less bad than alternitives to me.
  37. Pooh & Annie

    Pooh & Annie Member

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    I'm not judging and I'm not a saint, but I will NOT be voting on who has "the best interest of physicians" in mind.
  38. yappy

    yappy

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    np. If you dont mind sharing what are your voting issues?

    let me ammend my previous posts. If Obama was doing Simpson-Bowles plan he would have my vote. He did not and that shows me he is not serious about the deficit. His health care reform was a joke. I like the guy but he is letting the wants of the population get ahead of the needs of the country (IMO).

  39. Trisomy13

    Trisomy13 ultra crook

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    Hello, urban legend...

    http://www.snopes.com/college/exam/socialism.asp


    And we now resume out regularly scheduled hyper-volume cut&paste post frenzy.
  40. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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    I'm still waiting on a response for points 1-10.
  41. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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    The ghost of the Bowles-Simpson commission and the specter of another lost opportunity for a major deficit reduction deal are hanging over the congressional Super Committee. On Monday, the committee formally threw in the towel and declared an irreconcilable impasse between Republicans and Democrats over drafting a long-term deficit reduction plan.
    Just a year ago, Obama's bipartisan fiscal commission, headed by Democrat Erskine Bowles and Republican Alan Simpson, defied naysayers by forging a major $4 trillion deficit reduction plan. Their proposal: $3 in cuts to government services, defense and entitlement programs – including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid – for every $1 of new tax revenue gained by eliminating loopholes. The Simpson-Bowles commission served as a guidepost to the White House, lawmakers and budget and tax policy experts in seeking a long-term deal.

    But President Obama's refusal to get behind his commission's plan in a timely fashion led to the debt ceiling debacle last summer and the sorry and ultimately unsuccessful deliberations of the 12-member Super Committee. The Simpson-Bowles exercise in futility threw a spotlight on unbridgeable differences between the two parties over taxes and reform of federal health care and retirement programs. That spotlight lit a fire during the Super Committee negotiations, and no one could douse it.
  42. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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    Explaining Income Taxes with Beer


    Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100.
    If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:
    • The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
    • The fifth would pay $1.
    • The sixth would pay $3.
    • The seventh would pay $7.
    • The eighth would pay $12.
    • The ninth would pay $18.
    • The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
    So, that's what they decided to do.
    The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. ‘Since you are all such good customers,' he said, ‘I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beers by $20. Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.'
    The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected.
    They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men – the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his ‘fair share?' They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.
    So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.
    And so:
    • The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
    • The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
    • The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
    • The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
    • The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
    • The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% saving s).
    Each of the six was better off than before and the first four continued to drink for free, but once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings. "I only got a dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, "but he got $10!" "Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got TEN times more than I!"
    "That's true!!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!"
    "Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"
    The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.
    The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something very important….they didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!
    And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works.
    The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.
    David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
    Professor of Economics
    University of Georgia
  43. GoodmanBrown

    GoodmanBrown is walking down the path.

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    I'll bite.

    1) Obama believes in Keynesian economics and has responded to one of the largest US recessions in history.
    2) By "our problems," do you mean the debt? If so, review answer (1). If not, let me know what other problems. He's successfully passed a variety of reforms measures. Some will work, and some won't work as intended. He shares the process with 535 other people who all have their own ideas as well.
    3) I don't disagree with this, and it was a disappointment. Congress bipartisanly ignored the "Super Committee." I think it's the nature of politicians to want to give their constituents stuff as long as possible.
    4) I can't find anything regarding this that shows Obama having produced more debt than Bush. I only found this graph. Either way, I think it's safe to say the increasing size of the debt has been a bipartisan effort.
    5) This is your speculation. America is still able to easily service its debt and pay down the principal if we get things in order.
    6) Obama actually doesn't have a huge amount to do with this, right? The Federal Reserve and Ben Bernanke have more power over this. Now that Bernanke is appointed, he has relative independence from Obama. The Fed has said it will keep interest rates low, but will not do any more QE for the time being.
    7) This is a non-issue for me. All presidents redistribute wealth to a certain extent. And Obama does not want to raise your tax rate to 100%.
    8) This is a silly statement. I am none of those things and will likely vote for Obama.
    9) What would a "fundamental transformation" look like? More people with health care? Doctors making less money? Or do you mean more reliance on the government? As the economy improves and people get jobs, my guess is food stamp rolls and unemployment benefits will decrease.
    10) Obama is not a socialist. Neither the finance reform and the healthcare reform bills cause the government to own the businesses that operate in that sector. Medicare will operate with a different payment structure, but the reform bill does not expand its scope or use it to drive private sector business out. The government nationalized several banks and two automobile makers in the financial crisis. These positions are already being sold off, and all companies involved have specifically said that the government is not pressuring the companies to follow specific paths or product lines. So, the government is not trying to control the means of production. Ipso facto, not socialist.



    As a note about all your posts on tax policy, I actually completely agree with you on that. The tax rates in the US are too high and filled with too many loopholes. I would much prefer a set of 3-5 tax brackets and very few exemptions, with capital gains and dividends counting the same as income. Corporate taxes would be substantially lowered as an overall rate, but the thicket of deductions and craziness would be cut away so that all corporations essentially paid the tax rate. No more GE getting tax rebates on substantial annual profits.

    I'm also for trimming of entitlements in the middle-term. Raising the soc. sec. age is a no-brainer to me. Medicare has to be pruned somehow as well, and I think soc. sec. disability could use some tinkering to reduce abuse in that system.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  44. Dejavu

    Dejavu ASA Member

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u24nH03NccI

    Bill Whittle might partially answer the economic questions for us in this video, but I don't know if it answers all of your Qs. Interesting take on the economic future though.
  45. leviathan

    leviathan Drinking from the hydrant Moderator Emeritus

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    Thanks. I like how medicare and social security and other social services are classified as vote buying or 'entitlements'. Interesting view on life that he has. It didn't really address the questions I had but still it was entertaining.
  46. pgg

    pgg Laugh at me, will they? Moderator

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    Do you have a proposal for getting things in order that doesn't rely on either
    - some paradigm-shifting tech breakthrough that alters economics (eg cold fusion producing unlimited cheap clean energy from sea water)
    - unrealistic growth projections

    With regard to growth, keep in mind that even supposedly impartial government economists have been lying about the growth we have now. Last quarter's claimed "healthy" growth of 2.8% was based on an annualized inflation of 0.4% ... clearly a fabricated number intended to overstate growth. Objectively, actual growth last quarter was probably closer to zero.

    A plan that anticipates and relies on long stretches of substantial positive growth in coming decades is an awfully naive plan in my view. Mainly because of energy costs. Oil will never be $20/barrel again, and we have no plan B.

    Nobody from either party has floated any ideas about paying down the principal, because everyone is basing plans on this notion of outgrowing the debt, which will still increase, but at a "manageable" level. This approach kind of worked, sort of, in the post WWII era when we were the WalMart of the world and had a massive industrial base while the rest of the world's infrastructure was rubble.

    I see few plausible outcomes (only solutions in the loosest sense of the word) to the debt problem
    1) default
    2) devaluation of the dollar (default)
    3) war or birdpigmonkey flu wipes out a couple billion people outside North America and we get to be WalMart Global Corp again

    None of those are particularly appealing to me, but even my facetious #3 seems a lot more likely than a rational balanced budget, austerity measures, and the crash energy independence program we'd need to actually become solvent.


    The sad irony is that while the Democratic Party gets emotional about not taxing the poor and the Republican Party derps about lower taxes for everybody, what both sides' policies ultimately guarantee is inflation, which is the most regressive and insiduous tax there can be. TANSTAAFL.
  47. pgg

    pgg Laugh at me, will they? Moderator

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    Disclaimer, I didn't watch the video.


    My paycheck is an entitlement; I'm entitled to it because I earned it.

    The word "entitlement" sure seems to have become a dirty word, with associations of shame and laziness. It's too bad, the last thing the debate needs are more emotionally charged arguments.

    The fact that most people probably deserve the benefits they get from medicare and social security doesn't alter the economic facts that neither program is sustainable in their current incarnations.

    I know quite a few old people who depend on social security; they're not bad people. They worked for most of a lifetime and are now retired. I don't want to live in a country where geezers live 4 to a room in a slum or have to bag groceries in order to scrape together 1500 calories per day.

    But life isn't fair and math is a cold cruel bitch. We can avoid the E-word but reform is still needed. Better controlled rational reform than collapse.
  48. yappy

    yappy

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    medicare fits the definition of a gov program that pays out more to the receipient than they ever put in. It's a "bad" thing because they're getting money they didn't earn on the backs of people who are getting taxed.

    I think people should basically be given an account that contains their amount of money they contributed adjusted for inflation. Then they could act as though they're just receiving what they put in for 'all those years of taxes'.
  49. GoodmanBrown

    GoodmanBrown is walking down the path.

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    Are you proposing that we allow people with mental health disorders or MS to be thrown out on the curb to die on the street? I'm sure this will be super popular...

    Private insurance doesn't work this way, and I don't see why the government insurance should either. We just need to find ways to bring spending in line with revenue. It's a relatively recent trend that social security and Medicare haven't been running in the black. It's just an uphill battle to change them such that they do again.
  50. GoodmanBrown

    GoodmanBrown is walking down the path.

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    My ideal plan would probably be surprisingly close to Blade's, actually. Some form of radical tax reform with only 3-5 tax brackets, few deductions, and capital gains counted as normal income. Corperate tax rates would be cut, but so would almost all loopholes.

    Add to that an increase to the SS and Medicare age qualifications and probably some sort of rationing for Medicare re: its most expensive treatment options such as biologics, chemo, and expensive ICU care for people with low QOL and life expectancy. Enact a slow but steady reduction in our military budget as well.

    In real life, I don't know what will happen. I think it's possible the Bush tax cuts will expire and Congress & the President won't be able to agree to any extension. Most Americans will see their taxes go up and more will get hit with the AMT. Military expenditures will continue to decline but will be offset by increases in social security and Medicare spending as no changes in the law will be passed. Default is not out of the picture, but isn't likely.

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