Tuesday, February 17, 2009

TaLkInG pOiNtS

So I was hanging out with some republicans over the weekend who knocked me over with a tidal wave of right wing talking points that i would like to address. I didnt fully address them at the dinner. I have a thing with explanations and justifications. I dont need to give them all the time. In fact I try to not give them most of the time. While most people feel the need to defend and justify their beliefs, especially political, when engaging someone with the polar opposite view, I enjoy learning more about their view. Where and why they adopted such a view. What they truly want. What they truly fear. But this time I could not stop debating in my head how I should have responded to these bogus talking points.

1.The is a partisian bill rammed through the legislation process.
President Obama held numerous meetings and dinners to talk with republican leaders in the congress. Some Democrats were upset because they could not get a sit down with the president while the opposition did.
And the bill could not have passed the Senate vote with winning over 3 centrist republicans. They voted for the bill because the Democrats gave in to some of their demands, less spending, more tax cuts.

2.Tax cuts are the answer because companies can use the extra money to hire more workers.
This is one theory. Yet bush gave out large tax cuts for 8 years and if we remove data from last years economic crisis, not that many jobs were created, and or economy went bust. Author Larry Beinhart writes at huffington post that tax cuts, especailly focused toward the rich, as the bush tax cuts were, tends to put too much money into the economy. All this money is looking for investment and after a slight increase to the overall economy a bubble insues followed by a crash. Larry sites four examples of this patter.

1. Herber Hoover,
 cut the top tax rate from 73% to 25% in 1925. 
The result the Great Crash of 29' followed by the great freakin depression.
2.Ronald Reagon,
 cut the top tax rate from a 70-92% tax down to 50%, resulting in the 
worst "recession since the great depression".
 In 87' Reagen chose to cut the tax even further to 38.5%, resulting in a boom that was a bubble that crashed. More banks crashed than during the great depression.
3./4. Bush I,II
They both followed the same pattern, cut taxes for the wealthy, 
cut capitol gains taxes, and cut the inheritance tax.
Both also resulted in a boom, bubble, crash.

Larry also sites the opposite is true. Tax increases on the wealthy has lead to sustained economic growth. He sites four example.
1.  WWII(41'-45')
2. Post war with Truman and Eisenhower
3. Clinton years
4.FDR's first two terms (33'-40')


You also have to take into account that over the past couple of decades the corporate companies have not been sharing their wealth. Executive salaries continue to rise as output rises, yet middle class pay has decreased since 1991. US corporate taxes are already some of the lowest in the world.

American corporations have moved a large part of there operations overseas to cut costs. Many tax breaks handed out for reinvestment have been spent outside of this country. One point to really hammer this home is that in the recent stimilus bill there was a fight to keep an ammendment forcing companies who recieved stimulus money to buy american products, like steel etc. Corporate america faught this hard and lost. But they would have not faught so hard if they did not have such large overseas operations.

Tax cuts do create more money for companies, but will they invest and hire more workers today? Many dont think so. The reason why companies are laying off workers has less to do with companies not having money to spend and more to do with no money coming in. People are not buying. No matter how many tax breaks you give a company and no matter how many workers they hire, people in this country are not buying. Wouldnt it be better to get money into the buyers hands, and once they buy more, the company has not choice but to hire more workers to keep up with the demand.

Ronald Reagon made popular the phrase trickel down economy. Meaning, give money and tax breaks to those atop the economic food chain and it will trickle down. This theory has proven to not work as can be seen by the fact that executive salaries have increased over 100x since reagon, while middle class salaries have either stagnated or decreased. And as i mentioned above his policies lead to a huge recession and more bank closures than during the great depression. There is no trickle down. The top keeps it all. There is no incentive for them not too. The wealth and levels of land ownership in this country have become more and more concentrated through right wing philosophy.

3. FDR's spending caused the great depression.
This is the best of them all. I have been reading David Sirota lately who has talked a lot about this issue, in the defense of FDR. David found that public spending created by FDR's new deal lead to the largest decrease in unemployment in the history of the country, from 1930 to 1940.

He also points out a clever trick the right wing has by pointing out 1937 as a year unemployment grew. But dont worry David responds that in 1937 conservative pressure grew for FDR to stop spending and start balancing the budget. He gave in to the conservatives and his successfull drop in unemployed began to turn around and get worse, until he went back to his spending policy.

There is also a chart floating around the internet that was created by John Mccain's economic adviser where he shows through data that for every doller spent on public spending and tax cuts, to jump start the economy, that public spending has a larger bang for the buck.

President Obama has chosen to spend, through public works projects, to create jobs, and get money into the hands of those that will buy. The more buying the more hiring.

4.The government is too big, this stimulus package just makes them bigger.
No it doesnt. This stimulus package gives money to states who are going to have to cut very important programs this year because they dont have enough revenue. The plan gives money to unemployment programs, medicare programs, public infastructure spending, increased money for education.

When people point out the government is too big they always point to program like medicare and social security, but these happen to be paid for by taxes every citizen pays. What they dont mention is how successful these two programs have been. They dont mention how successful other government involvement has been like the fdic insurance, like way they maintain roads and bridges, like the public education system.

They also dont complain about the bloated military budget. When it comes to the military, these same people that want a smaller government, love to expand the military. They have no problem bailing out the banking and finance industry. After 9/11 they did not say one word about the government expansion in security, new department (homeland security), illegally wiretapping our phones.

There philosophy is selective, and thus full of shit.
Whats the difference between right wing talking points in one hand, and a pile of shit in the other hand, at least the hand with the pile of shit is warm.

No comments: