Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Nothing new to tell me how John McCain's plan would be any different from what got us here

What really stuck out to me from last night's debate is that in the face of the global economic crisis, Senator McCain couldn't suggest anything other than tax cuts (mainly oriented towards the wealthy) and his stale old economic plan that looks almost indistiguishable from George Bush's economic plan.

If tax cuts were the secret to prosperity then you'd think after the $1.3 trillion Bush tax cut plan that was passed in March 2001, we'd all be flying high by now. I guess you can judge how high you are flying (AIG execs attending their taxpayer funded 'retreat' and others with golden parachutes excepted, of course.) We will be paying for the Bush tax cuts for generations to come.

But in fact, even during the most prosperous years of the Bush administration 200,000 jobs created in a month was considered 'good.' But that was less than the monthly average during the Clinton years. So let's get this straight-- the best that George Bush's economy could do anytime during his term was below Clinton's average.

And Senator Obama was right-- real incomes have gone down. He offers a different plan, one that is oriented towards making sure that ordinary people have what they need to survive, whether it is help with their mortgages or whether it is health insurance they can afford.

Some may call that socialism. So be it. Call it what you want, but it's obvious that after trying conservatism and massive tax cuts for eight years and seeing where that led us, maybe a dose of European-style socialism doesn't sound all that bad anymore. They are having the economic crisis in Europe like they are having it here (inevitable in a global economy) but at least in Europe nobody is afraid they might get sick and not be able to afford the doctor.

5 comments:

wunelle said...

I just can't imagine a more thorough repudiation of the Republican ideal of unfettered free markets than the unfathomable mess we're in right now. Add in their hawkishness and their unwillingness to negotiate with everyone they don't like and you have the Trifecta of Bad Ideas.

I continue to hope for a rout against all this disastrous nonsense.

Karlo said...

I'm also hoping for a rout--something that seemed implausible a few months ago but is not increasingly likely. I like Obama's characterization of tax policy changes. He says it's about fairness. This is precisely the point. When American collectively work together to create a vibrant economy, it isn't fair that the wealthiest receive benefits that dwarf those of the rest of us. I'd actually go further and say that many of the wealthy do LESS than most of us and deserve less. I see absolutely no reason why we wouldn't tax income beyond about 100 grand a year at a 100% level. That's fairness.

wunelle said...

We seem to have reached a state where unearned income is sacrosanct: we are concerned about shareholders above all, the very people who do nothing but vote with their dollars in hopes of making many more dollars.

That just seems screwed up to me.

Eli Blake said...

karlo:

I don't know about taxing high income at 100% (in fact I do believe that the capitalist system does work, just not the complete lawless laissez-faire model that has been foisted upon us.)

I believe that the system in most industrialized countries-- where the system is capitalist but with strict oversight and regulation, and taxation rates such as to be able to provide basic necessities like health care for all) is the best one. If you completely take away the profit incentive from people then you have to replace it with something else (otherwise, once I've produced at a level sufficient to hit my 100 grand, as you say, why wouldn't I just sit at home and produce nothing until the next fiscal year starts?) And in countries where that has been done, the only thing they've found to replace it with that works is fear of some dire consequence, like death, for people who don't produce adequately.

I'm with you that the wealthy need to pay their share (something which did not happen with the Bush tax cuts) but I don't consider that share to be 100%, no matter how high the income bracket gets.

Eli Blake said...

wunelle,

That's why I and a lot of people support reinstating capital gains taxes.

Investors have their place in the economy but it is true that there is something fundamentally unfair about people who work for a living having to pay to support people who do nothing but shuffle numbers all day and then pay no tax at all for the roads they drive on, the food inspectors who check their meat or the police who protect them.