Viewpoint - August 3, 2011

Guest opinion: Republican takes on the debt-ceiling issue

by Nancy H. Lemer

The July 20 Guest Opinion piece by Rep. Anna Eshoo, a Democrat, requires a fair and balanced response. The title of her essay clearly shows the sanctimonious pedestal on which Democrats place themselves. Always "above the problem" while never realizing they are the problem.

First, let's get some facts straight. Rep. Eshoo and the Democrat leadership declare that if the debt ceiling is not raised there will be economic catastrophe including government default and failure of government payouts to senior citizens, among others. These are all lies.

In the past 40 years, Congress and the president have failed to agree on a debt ceiling increase nine times, yet there was no default. The truth is the 14th Amendment to the Constitution requires that debt payments come first before any other spending. In late 1996, there was a three-week period when some of the government shut down following a similar battle over the debt ceiling. There was no default.

President Clinton used the revenues that were coming in to pay the interest on the debt. Now, President Obama claims that he doesn't know if there is money to send out Social Security checks on Aug. 3. In truth, he knows very well that enough money will be available, not only to pay the interest on debt, but also to cover all Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, children's health insurance, defense, federal law enforcement and immigration, all veterans benefits and response to natural disasters. Terrifying older people may make good politics but it is unconscionable.

It is interesting to note that in March 2006, a similar debt limit debate raged in Washington. As the then junior senator from Illinois, Barack Obama expressed his view on raising the debt $781 billion to a new record of $8.965 trillion. He is quoted as saying: "The fact that we are debating raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. Increasingly, America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means 'the buck stops here. ' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today to the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. America deserves better!"

Today, President Obama's program includes a 28 percent spending hike since 2008 and more than $3 trillion in deficits plus a proposed budget that increases debt by $10 trillion over the next decade. Never once has he publicly proposed a single structural change to any entitlement.

It is time for President Obama, his administration and the Democratic politicians to stop scaring people and start cutting government spending as he promised during the 2008 campaign. Heeding fiscally sound Republican proposals, like HR 2560 "Cut, Cap & Balance," which passed the House but failed in the Democrat-led Senate, would have been an excellent start.

Nancy H. Lemer is past-president of the Peninsula Republican Women. She lives in Atherton.

Editor's Note: This article was written July 25 and edited July 29, before a possible resolution of the debt ceiling problem.


Posted by No Fan of Obama, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 7, 2011 at 6:22 am

Obama: Hey, my "singular focus" is on jobs!

Barack Obama has given a response to the jobs report Friday while speaking at the Washington Navy Yard. I'll bet most people have already guessed how the President sought to reassure Americans that:

"We are going to get through this. Things will get better. We're going to get there together," Obama told a crowd of veterans at the Washington Navy Yard Friday, where he was speaking about lowering unemployment among the nation's veterans. Neither he nor any member of the administration commented after the Dow plunged over 500 points Thursday, and Obama avoided addressing the market crash directly.

"There is no doubt this has been a tumultuous year," said Obama. "My singular focus is the American people. Getting the unemployed back on the job."

But even Obama's allies aren't buying the "singular focus" line any longer. Arianna Huffington told Lawrence O'Donnell earlier this week that no one believes Obama when he claims that jobs are his highest priority…

FACT: For all of this focus, Obama has yet to put forward his own plan to promote massive job growth, or any kind of private-sector growth at all. If that sounds familiar, it should;

Obama failed to put forward any specific plan to deal with deficit reduction and the debt ceiling, and the only specific demand he made — tax hikes — would have stunted job growth. In fact, he's still talking about tax hikes, which is a highly strange way to claim that job creation is one's "singular focus."

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 7, 2011 at 1:46 pm

stalling and fighting the approval of the raising of the debt level by the republicans, specifically the "it won't cause any problems if we don't" variety have just given the shaft to the American public. S&P has downgraded the US debt. This is the fist time in history that has occurred. We can all expect to pay higher interest rates thanks to the tea party idiots. Reagan had 17 debt level increses approved with no problem. The debt level approval was not the time to have this argument, the budget debate was. So, the republican tea partiers can claim nothing would have happened if the debt limit hadn't been increased all they want to. The proof is in the pudding. They held a gun to America's head and pushed it right out to the last minute and a downgrading of our debt was the result. Thanks for nothing tea partiers.

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 7, 2011 at 1:50 pm

No fan:

Obama hasn't put forward a jobs plan, but then again neither have the republicans. You know, the republicans, the ones who were swept into office claiming they would create massive amounts of new jobs? Those republicans. Hasn't happened. No plan. Nothing but obstruction. Republicans and democrats are opposite sides of the same coin. All that matters to them is garnering power in DC, the hell with the people that sent them there to represent them.

Posted by No Fan of Obama, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 7, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Liberals say that since Reagan raised the debt ceiling 17 times, and somehow that makes Obama look Good? [Portion deleted.]

Reagan did raise the debt ceiling 17 times, but for a total of $1.921 Trillion, and that was over 8 years. In slightly over 2 1/2 years, Obama has increased the debt ceiling a total of $2.971 Trillion.

And why don't liberals tell the whole truth?

Because it makes them look bad!!!

Posted by No Fan of Reagan, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 7, 2011 at 7:43 pm

"Liberals say that since Reagan raised the debt ceiling 17 times" not to make Obama look good, but to point out that playing politics was, in Reagan's own eyes, a very bad thing. You've already seen Reagan's warnings elsewhere.

Now, S&P has said the very same thing. They see the political brinkmanship as bad. They said nothing about any inability for the US to honor it's obligations otherwise.

Reagan tripled the national debt. Let me know when Obama gets there.

In November, the gop said jobs was their biggest reason for being elected. What have they done?

Posted by No Fan of Reagan, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 7, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Republicans were offered a much larger $4.7 trillion plan to reduce the deficit.

All they had to do was say yes in those meetings.

All they had to do was come to a podium to accept an almost $5 trillion deficit reduction package. No super duper congress panel that will deadlock.

They walked out because they wanted to protect tax loopholes for private jets. They're playing the same games as dems, only they are just protecting billionaires.

Posted by No Fan of Reagan, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 7, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Obama was the centrist in offering an almost $5 trillion deficit reduction package. The gop blinked.

A real lefty?

"I find it interesting to see S&P so vigilant today in downgrading the U.S. credit rating. Where were they four years ago when they, and other credit rating agencies, helped cause this horrendous recession by providing AAA ratings to worthless sub-prime mortgage securities on behalf of Wall Street investment firms? Where were they last December when Congress and the White House drove up the national debt by $700 billion by extending Bush's tax breaks for the rich?"

Web Link

Posted by No Friend of Obama, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 7, 2011 at 8:24 pm

President Reagan needed to restore the military from the dangerous neglect of Jimmy Carter. And, as everyone knows, his spending was small compared to Obama's.

More importantly, President Reagan was pursuing an economic policy (tax cuts) that successfully brought us out of Carter's "malaise." Obama is doing the opposite. He wants to raise the debt ceiling so he can continue his insane Keynesian spending, which will only make matters worse.

When President Reagan took office, the top tax rate was 70%. When he left office, it was 28%. It's sad that liberals have to rewrite history to discredit a great president.

Posted by R.Gordon, a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2011 at 9:57 am

R.Gordon is a registered user.

He smiled, signed papers, and made few decisions without the help of his wife.

He was a nice man to hang with.......ask his children who now make an attempt to take back all the things they said about him as liberals and are now just tired of being attacked by people like you.

Most every past President's children expressed differences against their father;just as the public, like you, does.

Did Dubya have children that lived? I cannot remember if he bred with Laura. And they were most certainly the focus of the press.
If Dubya did have children to articulate their feelings, do you know what they were? Or did drugs in early life render him impotent or perhaps Laura's killing that person hampered her reproductive system.

Why not mention Congress and the fact that the U.S. is now being degraded as a SuperPower, all with the high falootin ideals of Ronnie/Nancy?
Oh, I do seem to recall daughters in the White House who married and made no political statements...just like dad.

Posted by Gayon Reagan, a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2011 at 10:30 am

Boy you republicans cause a national crisis to look good, first it was Reagan who lowered the tax for the rich and then it was Dubya. Did you know under Dwight David Eisenhower the rich were taxed at nearly 90%. That's how I see it, let's put the country in default to make Obama look bad. Was it not under Dubya that this whole got thing started, but if you look back further it was Ronnie Raygun. He took credit for getting the Hostages home from Iran a week into his presidency, falling the Berlin wall(Gorbachev). Anything else maybe his Voodoo economics and the whole trickle down theory that if you give business and the wealthy a break they will create jobs. It still doesn't work that way. The only way to increase revenue is by higher taxes and job creation. Which the Republicans have quashed. Lies Lies thats all I ever here. Nuff Said (for a laugh).
Web Link

Posted by No Fan of Reagan, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 8, 2011 at 11:07 am

"President Reagan was pursuing an economic policy (tax cuts) .... It's sad that liberals have to rewrite history to discredit a great president. "

Do not have to rewrite history. Facts speak for themselves:

- Reagan brought us the largest middle class tax HIKE in history when he doubled payroll taxes; all the while lowering taxes on the wealthiest - where's the fairness?
- Reagan's other tax hikes

Tax Increases - - - - - - Billions of Dollars
Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 +57.3
Highway Revenue Act of 1982 +4.9
Social Security Amendments of 1983 +24.6
Railroad Retirement Revenue Act of 1983 +1.2
Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 +25.4
Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 +2.9
Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 +2.4
Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 +0.6
Continuing Resolution for 1987 +2.8
Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 +8.6
Continuing Resolution for 1988 2.0
Total cumulative tax increases: +132.7

Who's rewriting history? Beside you, the gop and fox?

Odd you compare him to obama.

Obama gave the middle class the largest TAX CUT in history using half the stimulus, something like a $350 BILLION TAX CUT targeted at middle class working Americans.

Dick Cheney said it: "Reagan taught us deficits don't matter."

Republicans only complain about deficits when a Dem is in charge.


Dick Cheney said it: "Reagan taught us deficits don't matter."

Unpatriotic, anti-American working family hypocrites.

Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 8, 2011 at 11:10 am

O. M. G.

People, are you really relitigating the Reagan and Carter years? Seriously?

Have you checked our economy today?

Posted by No Fan of Reagan, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 8, 2011 at 11:33 am

pogo -

if one lies about Reagan, using those lies to justify continued tax cuts for the rich, as the poor and middle class are asked to sacrifice more and more (such as Reagan's doubled payroll taxes,) those lies should be corrected.

it applies thus: (note the **'d highlight shows current application of Reagan principles)

"Indeed, a POLITICO review of Reagan's own budget documents shows that the Republican president repeatedly signed deficit-reduction legislation in the 1980's that melded annual tax increases with spending cuts just as...

***President Barack Obama is now asking Congress to consider.***

The Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 (TEFRA) is the most famous, because of its historic size and timing, a dramatic course correction that quickly followed Reagan's signature income tax cuts in 1981. But in the six years after were four more deficit-reduction acts, which combined to almost double TEFRA's revenue impact on an annual basis."

Read more: Web Link

Posted by Aaron, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 8, 2011 at 12:12 pm

It may be early in the campaign season, but the Communist Party USA already has seen fit to endorse Barack Obama for the 2012 election.

While noting he is disappointed with "some aspects" of the Obama administration's domestic and foreign policy, Sam Webb, chairman of the Communist Party USA, threw his support behind Obama's re-election bid.

Webb said that for communists there are major differences between Democrats and Republicans. He urged his supporters to continue to back the Democrats.

Posted by No Fan of Reagan, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 8, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Too funny!! A link to actual "endorsement"? Of course not!! Just a repeat of some wnd slime.

After having Reagan's tax hikes exposed, it's time to call obama a socialist marxist commie!! (pssst - I heard he had a couple black babies while in wedlock, too!!! OMG!!!)

If the CP was a real party and not a couple of loons - wouldn't they endorse their own candidate?

Like the joke about Obama being "the most liberal senator in the world!!!!!!" in 2008 (which followed the joke in 2004 about Kerry being "the most liberal senator in the world!!!!!!"

Doesn't even pass the sniff test.

Two of the most centrist Dem senators more liberal than Barbara Boxer?
Uh-huh. So silly.

More liberal than Sherrod? Than Frankin?

More liberal than Bernie Sandeers?!?!

Aaron posts this trash as a joke. Unless he seriously believes the wnd bile, in which case he should go see someone.

Makes ya wonder, though, who will the Klan endorse this time around?

Posted by No Fan of Reagan, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 8, 2011 at 1:00 pm

He's a COMMIE!!!!

A "commie" who threw an almost $5 trillion deficit reduction package on the table, including cuts to medicare and social security. The gop blinked. They couldn't take yes for an answer. So they took a trillion, with another trillion later.

Just to save loopholes for private jets for billionaires.

quick, change the subject

it's important to remember - OBAMA'S A COMMIE!!!!!

Posted by Central Menlo, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 8, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Nancy Lemer, are you for real?

First order of argue that it's the Democrat's fault (and of course, not the Republican's). Really? Are you wearing your Republican cap, or is this a true American's hat?

George Bush increased defense spending $1.8B and gave away tax $1.5B in tax cuts. Let's say these were for very good reasons. That doesn't excuse the fact that we're faced with $3.3B shortfall from these steps. Cut Cap & Balance is a great idea but unless we work together on both sides of the equation, there is no sense wasting may more of our time in the blame game.

Posted by Central Menlo, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 8, 2011 at 1:32 pm

"George Bush increased defense spending $1.8T and gave away tax revenue with $1.5T in tax cuts."

Posted by Environmentalist, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 8, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Ronald Reagan's environmental accomplishments as President
1982 – 1988 – Signed 43 bills designating more than 10 million acres of wilderness areas in 27 states. The wilderness areas established during Reagan's presidency account for nearly 10 percent of the National Wilderness Preservation System at its current extent. President Reagan signed more wilderness bills than any other president since the Wilderness Act was enacted in 1964.

1982 – Signed legislation establishing 110,000-acre Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument in southwestern Washington State for research, recreation, and public education.

1983 – President Reagan's EPA Administrator, William Ruckelshaus, banned the use of ethylene dibromide, a suspected carcinogen, as an agricultural soil fumigant.

1985 – President Reagan's EPA Administrator, Lee Thomas, ordered a 90 percent reduction in lead in gasoline.

1986 – Signed legislation establishing Great Basin National Park, covering 77,000 acres featuring bristlecone pine forests, glacial moraines, and cave formations in eastern Nevada.

1986 – Signed the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act, which increased funding and strengthened the federal program to clean up sites contaminated with hazardous waste.

1986 – Signed Safe Drinking Water Act amendments requiring stronger controls on drinking water contaminants and protection of source aquifers.

1987 – Signed legislation establishing El Malpais National Monument, covering more than 114,000 acres featuring lava tubes, cinder cones, and archaeological treasures in western New Mexico.

1987 – Signed into law the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act, which established efficiency standards for 12 types of residential appliances.

1987 - Signed into law Clean Water Act amendments of 1987, which broadened the Clean Water Act's reach to cover non-point source pollution and stormwater. The amendments established National Estuary Program to protect nationally significant estuaries, which now number 28, including Long Island Sound, Albemarle-Pamlico Sounds, Tampa Bay, San Francisco Bay, and Puget Sound.

1987 - Ordered U.S. diplomats to negotiate a strong treaty to begin phasing out ozone-depleting chemicals. The resulting Montreal Protocol was ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1988 and entered into force in 1989. The Montreal Protocol, which President Reagan called a "monumental achievement," has resulted in a 95 percent decline in production of the targeted chemicals. The atmosphere's protective ozone layer has begun to recover.

The Montreal Protocol has produced a significant climate stewardship benefit because ozone-depleting chemicals have heat-trapping properties. Thanks to the Montreal Protocol, emissions of heat-trapping gases equivalent to nearly 5 years of global carbon dioxide emissions have been prevented since 1990. President Reagan's leadership made that enormous climate stewardship achievement possible.

Posted by No Fan of Reagan, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 8, 2011 at 2:34 pm


So Reagan's a tax raising, no hostage taking on the debt ceiling, treehugger?

Even without the sarcasm, it's obvious the REAL* Reagan would be booted out of today's gop.

*REAL Reagan - opposed to the gop's history re-write of Reagan

Key to this thread: "tax raising & no hostage taking on the debt ceiling"

Posted by Ethan, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Aug 8, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Executive Summary: Lower taxes for me and the rest of the Atherton country club set, Medicare discount coupons for you and the other disagreeable proles. Hey, we're broke.

BTW: Ever wonder how much money was made on the short side due to the S&P downgrade? Which insiders knew, and when did they know it? The SEC could check it out... if they had the funding. But hey, we're broke.

Posted by Wally S. Johnson, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 9, 2011 at 9:53 am

[Post removed. Violates terms of use. Please do not post material lifted from other sources.]

Posted by No Fan of Reagan, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 9, 2011 at 10:48 am

Stolen article, cut and pasted, without attribution, the trolls strike again! Why so trolls love to violate terms and conditions of use?

Posted by No Fan of Obama, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm

[Post removed. See terms of use.]

Posted by And, a resident of Woodside High School
on Aug 9, 2011 at 1:17 pm

it's not just terms of use, it's really theft of (copyrighted) intellectual property.

Fwiw, a quick google reveals that Wally's posting was written by William McGurn for the Wall Street Journal.

Posted by No Fan of Reagan, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 9, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Nice to see "no fan" has admitted his position was so wrong that the best he's got is pulling some lame puns off druggie limbaugh's show.

This is your first post since you were shown how cons rewrite history (ie.. Reagan's 12 tax increases) and that's all you've got?

It's a well known fact that not only do facts have a liberal bias, but that righties can't do humor.

Check out Stewart and Colbert, even cons watch and laugh. No one's laughed at right wing humor in years, at least since Miller lost his touch a decade ago.

Posted by offended, a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Why do you Almanac people keep removing legitimate conservative retorts to liberal propoganda, while "no fan of Reagan" can blast his/her porn as much as desired? The last post by "no fan of Obama" was perfectly valid, and gave credit where it was due. I'm glad I was able to copy it to my word program before you deleted it, which is probably what will happend with this one.

Editor's note: Don't copy articles from other websites. You can link to them and then comment on them. Be sure to give credit to the author.

Posted by No Fan of Reagan, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 9, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Too funny!!!

The cons have lost the fact based debate, post some lousy puns ripped from another website, and get all prissy when it's deleted because it violates terms of use. The editor is still graciously allowing you violate the rule that says you can't post under multiple names.

Boys, boys, boys: the thread is about how Boenher bragged how got "98%" of what he wanted and the next day our credit rating was downgraded.

John Beohner took 98% responsibility for:
- not saying yes to Obama's $4.7 trillion deficit reduction package
- getting only a 2 trillion package instead, saving private jet loopholes (the tea baggers are SO proud!!)
- not obeying Reagan's commands of not messing with the debt ceiling (which Beohner voted for MANY times before)
- takes responsibility for 98% of the above losses AND 98% of the credit rating fiasco

Also, for his best trick, polls show he added another 10 points on his unfavorability rating.

He has a way to go though, before he hits 98% disapproval.

But he's clearly on a roll and trying!

What a week!

Posted by Stan, a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Aug 9, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Isn't it time we ALL start paying for our government?
With all the teeth gnashing going on about taxing corporations and the rich some more it might be wise to keep in mind the following:

-Of the about $1 trillion in personal income tax collected each year about 98% (yes that's $980 billion) is paid by by people in the upper half of income distribution.
-Of that 98% almost 90% is paid by people in the top 25% of incomes.
-Corporate income tax revenues are about $120 billion a year.
-While some corporate expenses and CEO salaries are clearly outlandish, increasing corporate taxes only detracts from the monies that corporations plow back into creating new business (when the opportunities are right)or return to shareholders through dividends.(including almost anyone who has any form of retirement income beyond social insecurity)
-Increasing the tax "TAKE" from corporations only decreases the amount of money that eventually gets fed back into the economy by grinding taxes through the inefficient and wasteful wheels of government.
Do you really want all the government you pay for?

Posted by No Fan of Reagan, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 9, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Stan: Show your math. And links to data. Your first claim is that a trillion is paid in income tax, and that's not accurate, so why should anyone believe the rest of it.

Web Link

As posted on other threads, the top 400 taxpayers, only 1/1000th of 1 percent of the top earners, average an income $271 million a year. They pay only 18% on that, an effective rate below the rate a plumber, nurse of doctor will pay. IRS: Web Link

Why should the poor and middle class, the working families and unemployed, the students and our seniors, all have to participate in shared sacrifice when the ultra wealthy aren't being asked to pay a couple percent more in a return to the rates we all paid under the great Clinton economy?

- doesn't the phrase "shared sacrifice" apply to those who have been given the most in tax breaks the last decade?

wsj: Web Link

"The top 400 U.S. individual taxpayers got 1.59% of the nation's household income in 2007, according to their tax returns, three times the slice they got in the 1990s, according to the Internal Revenue Service. They paid 2.05% of all individual income taxes in that year.

In its annual update of the taxes paid by the 400 best-off taxpayers, who aren't identified, the IRS also said that only 220 of the top 400 were in the top marginal tax bracket. The 400 best-off taxpayers paid an average tax rate of 16.6%, lower than in any year since the IRS began making the reports in 1992.

To make the top 400, a taxpayer had to have income of more than $138.8 million. As a group, the top 400 reported $137.9 billion in income, and paid $22.9 billion in federal income taxes.

- doesn't the phrase "shared sacrifice" apply to those who have been given the most in tax breaks the last decade?

Posted by Stan, a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Aug 9, 2011 at 10:39 pm

Regarding the distribution of the share of income tax paid by income level there are many sources of data.

Since I doubt you would stand still for data from the National Taxpayers Union you can look at the CBO data at Web Link Just click on the taxes paid PDF file. This is a different cut of data than I used but it gives the same story. It also only goes through 2006. It is quite notable that the share of taxes paid by the people in the lowest 50% of income levels has been steadily decreasing over the past several decades.

The NTU piece is at Web Link.
The point is that we should ALL share some of the burden. When 50% of the people don't have any of their bacon in the frying pan I suspect that they fail to appreciate the contributions of the other 50%.

Posted by Stan, a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Aug 10, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Subject: Bar Stool Economics

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. He said, "Since you are all such good customers, I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer 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 every body'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% savings).

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 $2 ? 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 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 any more. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics, University of Georgia

For those who understand, no explanation is needed.
For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

Editor's note: Stan: We are concerned about copying and pasting entire articles from others. Did you get this off the Internet? Please post a link and your comment, instead of copying the entire article.

Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 10, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Here's who pays income taxes (and how much)... at least according to the United States government as of 2007.

Web Link

The top 1 percent: Americans who earned an adjusted gross income of $410,096 or more accounted for 22.8 percent of all wages and paid 40.4 percent of total reported income taxes.

The top 5 percent: Americans who earned $160,041 or more accounted for 37.4 percent of all wages and paid 60.6 percent of the country's total reported income taxes.

The top 10 percent: Americans who earned at least $113,018 paid 71.2 percent of the nation's income taxes.

The top 25 percent: Americans who earned at least $66,532 paid 86.6 percent of the nation's income taxes.

The top 50 percent: Americans who earned at least $32,879 paid 97.1 percent of the nation's income taxes.

The bottom 50 percent: Americans who earned less than $32,879 paid 2.9 percent of the nation's income taxes.

I've heard the analogy of the ten patrons in the restaurant. Pretty apt.

Personally, I'd like to do away with ALL deductions (including home mortgage and charity) and lower and flatten tax rates - just as the debt commission suggested.

Posted by No Fan of Reagan, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 11, 2011 at 10:25 am

"taxes paid by the people in the lowest 50% of income levels has been steadily decreasing over the past several decades"

As have their incomes. Opposed to the top couple percent, who've been soaring, yet pay lower taxes than they ever have. In a time of war. In a time of economic crisis. During a decade when we went from surplus to massive deficit.

As posted on other threads, the top 400 taxpayers, only 1/1000th of 1 percent of the top earners, average an income $271 million a year. They pay only 18% on that, an effective rate below the rate a plumber, nurse of doctor will pay. IRS: Web Link

Bush cut taxes for the wealthiest and the economy tanked; the deficit soared after Bush was handed a surplus. Cutting taxes further is an absurd proposition.

Clinton created 23 million jobs. Bush was losing 700,000 a MONTH when he left.

Return to Clinton rates and spending. End the wars. Cut the pentagon. End Medicare part D unless they can pay for it & let Medicare negotiate better drug prices.

Expire the Obama middle class tax cuts, too.

Debt commission? Why is it the 6 GOP members of this new commission have all pledged fealty to an unelected "GOP God" over the good of our country?

Editor: of course Stan just copied the whole thing off the net.

Web Link

Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Aug 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm


You asked for the data. I provided it. You ignored it and repeated your prepared script. Very creative.

You talk about the Bush tax cuts and then conveniently cite deficits - which are the result of spending exceeding tax revenues. Revenues actually INCREASED after the Bush tax cuts (and Reagan's tax cuts for that matter) and (b) spending - which increased even more than revenues under both Bush and Reagan. And, no, I won't do your google search for you.

I had a friend who receive a huge promotion and big raise and quickly went bankrupt. It wasn't due to a lack of "revenue," I assure you.

As far as those horrific job losses in Bush's last few months, you ignore that we had seven pretty good YEARS before that disaster - including during the aftermath of 9/11 and two stupid wars. I'm still waiting for Mr. Obama's first good WEEK.

By the way, please spare me your anti-Bush rhetoric. I'm no fan of his, either.

Posted by David Dellinger, a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Obama is a narcisistic dilettante. He was woefully unprepared for the job but the American leftist press decided to not report the news but rather become boosters for a socialist neophyte. Hillary Clinton was far better qualified than Barack Obama. She might even be more qualified than her husband, who despite his misbehavior was actually a pretty good president.

So we get a guy who's claim to fame is being a community organizer who hung around racists and terrorists and voted present whenever possible. He has accomplished nothing! This country would have been better off if we had no president. He is puerile and immature and always blames others for his shortcomings. Harry Truman said "The Buck stops here". Obama seems to think that the Buck stopped with Bush.

Everyone is so tired of him bringing up Bush. Bush did rather poorly in his last two years as president; but compared to Obama he looks stellar.

I can't wait for the 2012 Democratic Primary. Because this feckless loser will be beat if Hillary Clinton decides to run. She may not have the best personality; but she is tough, smart, and knows how to get things done--qualities that Obama is sorely missing.

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