Gutting the 90’s

The biggest accomplishment of the Clinton presidency was a good economy. And it was healthy because of two important related accomplishments that Republicans had a big hand in: balancing the budget and reforming welfare. Well, Bush and Obama have thoroughly abandoned the former accomplishment. Looks like Obama is going after the latter too:

Republicans are accusing the Obama administration of unilaterally gutting welfare reform after the Department of Health and Human Services quietly notified states that they may seek a waiver for the program’s strict work requirements.

How exactly the HHS change will play out is unclear. In Thursday’s policy directive, the department said the states may seek a waiver from the work component of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program, in order to “test alternative and innovative strategies, policies and procedures that are designed to improve employment outcomes for needy families.”

The pravda from HHS — which is rapidly becoming the most destructive of our federal departments — is that they are just creating flexibility in a time when jobs, especially jobs for poor people, are hard to come by. But the whole reason welfare reform worked in the first place was because of its inflexibility.

Now perhaps you could justify this under the “times are tough” argument. But — show of hands — how many of you think those waivers will disappear once times aren’t tough? Yeah, I thought so.

The fundamental problem with government spending on anything — welfare, military, education — is that it is ridiculously easy to start or increase and nigh impossible to roll back. The welfare state was built up with little resistance for thirty years. Rolling it back required a Congress and a President with enough spine to take he abuse and criticism of the Left, who all claimed it would leave poor people dying in the street (note: it didn’t).

You want to help poor people? Make it easier to hire them. And I don’t mean with subsidies and special tax breaks catered to powerful interests. Cut or eliminate business taxes, simplify regulations and suspend some of the Obamacare regulations. I realize that doesn’t buy as many votes. Hell, if poor people get jobs, they might start voting (gasp!) Republican, if you can imagine. But it will work. We only need look at the last 50 years of American history to see that.

(H/T: Jim)

Comments are closed.

  1. tomchamberlain

    Except for one thing Hal, corporate taxes are lower then they have been in 50 years. How’s that worked out?

    The reason corporate taxes have gone down is because economists have realized they introduce chaos into the system. Corporations pass those taxes on to their customers and there’s no way to tell in what proportion those taxes are passed on. So if you’re a government who is trying to boost the economy by putting money in the hands of middle and lower class people who will spend it a corporate tax can counter that effort.

    To give a real world example say the U.S. gives lower and middle class income people a tax cut but also raises corporate taxes. Those people then have more of their income but the prices on everything they buy goes up. In this scenario it’s impossible to tell whether the corporate tax increase will be less, more or equal to the increase in their take home income. But if it’s either even or more that negates any positive economic impact the tax cut would have had.

    Given this ambiguity governments have taken to lowering corporate income taxes in favor of direct income taxes (if you look at the chart you quote those rates had been going up until the first recession of the Bush administration).

    But that really has nothing to do with Hal’s point. Hal’s point is that corporations compete on price. So having high corporate taxes in the U.S. just encourages companies to move out of the U.S. so they can offer a lower price.

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  2. Poosh

    Except for one thing Hal, corporate taxes are lower then they have been in 50 years. How’s that worked out?

    Same corporate tax that is now at 40% the highest in the world. 40% of these people’s earned wealth stolen from them. Not to mention the additional corporate taxes, I believe individual states demand they pay in addition to the federal tax?

    You fuckwit.

    Barry Ritholtz! LOL. That is basically where George get’s his shitty “opinions” from note.

    Back on topic. This is a very sly, it seems to me, way of moving certain sorts into the “working” bracket – purely for Obama’s reelection purposes, using money from the tax-payer to bankroll it all. It’s standard liberal behavior if the UK’s Labour government are anything to go by. It’s probably also a sort of bribe to get votes of course. Enjoy!

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  3. Hal_10000 *

    Except for one thing Hal, corporate taxes are lower then they have been in 50 years. How’s that worked out?

    Given how fast incomes have risen in the post-war era, I’d say it worked out far better than the welfare state did.

    Your graph is also misleading. In the US, many business file as individuals. How precisely “profits” are defined is massively complex and varies dramatically from country to country. And the deadweight loss of a system that nominally taxes at 40% and actually taxes at 12% is part of the fucking problem and one people like Paul Ryan want to address.

    So apart from being completely wrong, you make a good point. But … this post was really about the welfare state which you didn’t address at all.

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  4. Poosh

    George, I spent ten seconds reading your link from Think Progress (too f*cking right I lol’d at that) and it said EFFECTIVE TAX RATE which is a bit of an Orwellian term, but surely you can tell the diff.. nah you can’t.

    You muppet.

    Keep drinking failjuice (reading think progress).

    Amusingly I just read that even with the “effective tax rate” the US STILL pays the SECOND highest in the world.

    George just can’t get into a business (rational) mind set. When taxes are high those of the rich (NOT all of them) who can afford to, will do what they can to pay less, and rightly so. When these corporations are splitting off energy and assets to keep government from stealing *too* much of their money, then their taking energy and assets away from expanding and creating more weal.. you know, why bother.

    Here’ the money-shot:

    Our high rate also makes our businesses prime targets for takeovers by businesses headquartered in foreign countries, because their worldwide profits are no longer subject to the highest-in-the-world U.S. corporate tax rate. Until Congress cuts the rate, more and more iconic U.S. businesses such as Anheuser-Busch (which was bought by its Belgian competitor InBev in 2008) will be bought by their foreign competitors.

    I am sorry, I don’t think it good manners to respond to knuckle-dragging libtards who actually go to Think Progress for information. Rather talk to educated, real liberals thanks (not many of them left in the world).

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  5. georgebalella

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  6. Seattle Outcast

    That would be the same history that you previously admitted (repeatedly) you don’t know/understand? Sounds like it – you’re something of a stuck record.

    I’m sure there’s a term, other than paranoid whack-job, that describes your particular brand of mental illness, but I don’t know what it is. I do know what it is you do though, it’s common enough. After someone identifies who the bad guy is for you, then you decide that everything they do is somehow part of a grand conspiracy, and then frame all of their actions in terms of that conspiracy.

    Since you personally don’t have the brainpower to do it, you simply parrot the conspiracy as others have written it down for you. Mobs are filled with people like that – eager little sheep being led around to do the dirty work of others.

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  7. Poosh

    I know this because … of history. This is not a guess this is just what history tells us.

    Gosh. It’s almost as if ol’ George thinks he has history down to a science …

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  8. georgebalella

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  9. Jim

    It’s amazing how quickly this thread got hijacked. Feeding the trolls often distracts from the issues ;)
    Back on topic, I’m somewhat amazed this didn’t get more airtime from any media outlets.
    If this is such a good thing, wouldn’t the Pres want to sing this from the mountaintop? I mean, hell, over the weekend he just told all the producers and people who work that they can’t take credit for their success. We’ll ignore the fact that without tax payers, the government is *NOTHING*. Not a damn thing. Without seizing money from the people, the government would have to rely on volunteers and good will to accomplish *anything*. So even *if* the government had helped my family with their small business, which they *didn’t*, it’s our money in the first damn place. (Our being The People.)
    It staggers the imagination someone so incompetent and worthless is *still* loved by millions.

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  10. georgebalella

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  11. Jim

    Without a well functioning *DEFENSE*. Which is why a military is one of the extremely few Constitutional powers of the Federal government. Even so, it would be possible to have private defense, people do it all the time.
    In spite of that, it doesn’t change the fact that everything the government has, *EVERYTHING*, is because they had to take something from the citizenry to pay for it. Because of my skill set and family members, it would be entirely possible for me to grow enough food to support my family and to craft enough weapons to defend it, all without a single item or service from the government. But without tax money from the citizens, the government cannot simply create money, product, or services from thin air.
    So basically, your point is again invalid. You may want to work on your own critical thinking skills before casting aspersions.

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  12. RonK

    Brilliant… and without a well functioning government producers get raped and pillaged and produce nothing. Real deep there Jim… real deep thinking on your part.

    you might want to think about what you post, the government is the one doing the raping and pillaging, if they want you property for what ever purpose they can take, they raise taxes without having to be responsible for the spending

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  13. davidst

    Do we really have evidence that the economy was good in the 90’s because of the reasons you stated? I have heard the argument that the economy was good because of falling interest rates. That helps finance deficit spending of all kinds (private, corporate and government) which naturally makes for a good economy. Low interest rates don’t do this, but falling interest rates.

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  14. georgebalella

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  15. Poosh

    Why is George so f*cking thick it hurts? It’s like his brain is literally, LITERALLY filled with shit.

    Note without absolute respect for PRIVATE PROPERTY, low taxes mean nothi.. you know, why am I bothering to say this? This is so fucking obvious!

    I believe in Government force to deal with people like George, who given time, will attempt to force his tyranny upon the rest of us.

    Anyone remember that retard troll Gecko who use to post here, maybe 7/8 years back?

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  16. hist_ed

    Hey, uhh George? When you post a list with some numbers, you might want to tell us what the numbers mean and where you got them from. Hmm let me try it your way:

    Turkey .2
    Egypt -4.5
    France .1
    Spain .15
    Portugal .2
    Morocco -4.6
    Russia -5.5
    Canada -12.5

    Want to gues what the numbers mean? Guess and I will even provide a source for the info.

    And why doesn’t poor little Sierra Leon get a number? Does that mean the number is zero? Or that you were too hasty cut and pasting a list from Wikipedia?

    Why is George so f*cking thick it hurts?

    George doesn’t understand that people can support something a little bit, a lot, or a shitload. See, if you think that US taxes are too high (or even that they just shouldn’t go up) then in Georgeworld you must think that all taxes must end. Just like if you think that Obamacare expanded government too much and should be repealed that you must be an anarchist. I deal with children for a living. Junior high age, maybe 12-14. Most of them understand that you can support an idea a little ways but not go all they way. It’s not a difficult concept for them (eg: just because Mr Ed says you can go to the bathroom doesn’t mean that you can spend the whole period out of class; just because Mr Ed called on you in class doesn’t mean you get to say whatever you want for as long as you want). Every once in a while I have a particularly impaired special ed student that can’t make that mental leap. Usually we have a full time aide that follows them from class to class to manage their day for them. I wonder how George makes it through the day?

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  17. Poosh

    Great article here, showing how the rich truly hold the rest on their shoulders.

    Even before President Obama was elected, official IRS data showed that in 2007 the top 1% of income earners paid 40.4% of all federal income taxes, almost twice their share of adjusted gross income. The top 5% paid 60.6% of all federal income taxes, while earning 37.7% of adjusted gross income. The top 10% paid 71.2% of all income taxes, while earning 48% of adjusted gross income.

    By contrast, the bottom 95% of income earners paid 39.4% of all federal income taxes. That means the top 1% of income earners paid more federal income taxes than the bottom 95% combined!

    It REALLY is time they shrugged.

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  18. CM

    And why doesn’t poor little Sierra Leon get a number? Does that mean the number is zero? Or that you were too hasty cut and pasting a list from Wikipedia?

    Why doesn’t it get an e?
    As there was no number, I assumed he was referencing a NZ pop classic.

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  19. Xetrov

    Because of my skill set and family members, it would be entirely possible for me to grow enough food to support my family and to craft enough weapons to defend it, all without a single item or service from the government.

    So the constitution says nothing about taxes? Really?

    So the Constitution says nothing about the right to bare arms? Really?

    (In other words, What the hell are you going on about? He never once said the Constitution doesn’t mention taxes you asshat)

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  20. georgebalella

    Hist_Ed,

    No the situation is exactly the opposite. If some one suggest they want any government service besides blowing stuff up they are a socialist… and if they said it in a really displeasing way then they are communist fascist authoritarians totalitarian dictator mf’er who wants to control everything you do. I suggest we have access to health care for all our citizens so they don’t die on the streets from a treatable condition just like EVERY OTHER DEVELOPED NATION HAS and I am a socialist bent on controlling YOU rather than a pragmatist who realizes we DO PAY for everyone who shows up in the ER very inefficiently and their might be a better way just like we do highways, postal service and electricity.

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  21. georgebalella

    Xetrov,

    I’m not the one going on about things Jim is complaining about taxes as if they are illegal or unconstitutional. They are at 50 year low as a matter of fact and indeed they are required by the constitution, as is right to arms, providing for the common defense and the general welfare. But of course general welfare is very specific…. only YOU guys get to have a say as to what that means right?

    Why do you guys want to go back to having Kings… 400 people with more wealth than 150 million… you guys support that non-sense as if it has something to do with freedom. It does not… it has to do with being controlled. And you guys are willing supporters. I know YOU think you are the freedom fighters but I don’t see it that way. I think you are gullible-serf-wanna-be who would organize this country for the benefit of an elite few to the detriment of the many and the country itself. So stop fuming pretending you have any greater moral authority because you think their is something inherent about control of massive amounts of money and power. YOU are the ones supporting concentrated power NOT me. I don’t want to live in your stupid shit cult serf world. You guys have convinced yourself that these super rich people are the only way you can survive and that they are near gods and the rest of us should bow before their greatness appreciative of the crumbs they leave us. You are some sick pathetic megalomaniac sociopathic dumbasses just like these many of these rich people who have no grounding in the real world never satisfied with hundreds of millions of dollars.

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  22. Hal_10000 *

    Why not move to Somalia

    The Somalia Gambit. When ever anyone mentions Somalia, you can just tune out whatever else they have to say.

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  23. Poosh

    DO PAY for everyone who shows up in the ER very inefficiently and their might be a better way just like we do highways, postal service and electricity.

    heh

    Is he being satirical and actually taking the piss out of liberals? I can’t tell!

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  24. hist_ed

    No the situation is exactly the opposite. If some one suggest they want any government service besides blowing stuff up they are a socialist

    Can you please provide an example of one person on this site suggesting this?

    I suggest we have access to health care for all our citizens so they don’t die on the streets from a treatable condition just like EVERY OTHER DEVELOPED NATION HAS and I am a socialist bent on controlling YOU rather than a pragmatist who realizes we DO PAY for everyone who shows up in the ER very inefficiently and their might be a better way just like we do highways, postal service and electricity.

    So in all the other countries that you are so fond of, they have a phrase for what you described. That phrase is “socialized medicine” (“nationalized” works too). You’ll note that the left leaning parties in many parliamentary democracies share a common name: “socialists”. When the government controls a sector of the economy without allowing private competition, it is accurate to describe that as socialism. Those who support these policies are accurately called socialists. Do you think it is inaccurate to call ” EVERY OTHER DEVELOPED NATION” more socialist than the United States? If not, why not?

    Also increasing government involvement by definition means increasing government control. If you favor a single payer system or even just the individual mandate, you must be bent on increased government control. How is this wrong?

    So the big question is, since you do favor increasing government control (again, tell me if I am wrong here and HOW I am wrong), why are you so sensitive to being labelled accurately? It’s not just you, most Democrats do everything they can to avoid using words like “left wing” “socialize” and “liberal” to describe themselves.

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  25. Poosh

    Most European countries use a system of mixed insurance based healthcare with provisions for the poor (the US gives “free” healthcare to the poor and elderly, note). Most “developed” countries have some form of insurance NOT like the socialistic/socialist British health-care system which I suspect loopy George would like to implement.

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  26. Jim

    I’m not the one going on about things Jim is complaining about taxes as if they are illegal or unconstitutional. They are at 50 year low as a matter of fact and indeed they are required by the constitution, as is right to arms, providing for the common defense and the general welfare. But of course general welfare is very specific…. only YOU guys get to have a say as to what that means right?

    Income tax was added to the Constitution many years later. The Founders understood the potential abuse an income tax could create.
    Considering I pointed out that Defense is a Constitutional power of the government, in what universe can you infer I believe taxes to be unConstitutional? The context here would indicate the government needs *some* income to finance its extremely limited powers. The point I actually made (not the one you attempted to replace) is that without tax money, the government is non-existent. Meaning that the government owes the people far more than the people owe the government.
    I’m not really understanding how this concept is all that difficult.
    Further, as I am one of the people actually paying taxes, I can damn well complain about them all I want. I’ve never understood this mentality of “well, you shouldn’t complain, because the tax rate is like, low!”
    Can you imagine someone using the same argument about the death rate for a medical procedure they may have? “Hey man, don’t complain that there’s a 20% chance you may die, it could be a lot higher!” Well, yeah, it could be, but it could be *lower* too. Why should we *not* shoot for a lower rate? Especially considering the real problem is not the government “revenue” but the spending.
    See, here’s the thing: most people who understand the Constitution, American history, and who also work for a living have the capacity to understand that the Federal government should have almost no spending power beyond infrastructure and Defense. Period.
    So yes, by virtue of this, tax rates should be, and *have been*, a lot lower.

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  27. Kimpost

    The context here would indicate the government needs *some* income to finance its extremely limited powers.

    Given how the courts have interpreted the powers of the commerce clause the last century or so, I wouldn’t call the powers that limited.

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  28. Jim

    Given how the courts have re-interpreted the powers of the commerce clause the last century or so, I wouldn’t call the powers that limited.

    /fixed
    Which was addressed thus:

    See, here’s the thing: most people who understand the Constitution, American history, and who also work for a living have the capacity to understand that the Federal government should have almost no spending power beyond infrastructure and Defense. Period.

    Which is why I usually speak of how the Constitution was *written* and originally enforced. It is very sad and depressing to see how completely bastardized it has become due to activists.

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  29. balthazar

    That is the problem Kim, the Constitution isnt a “living breathing” document as some would wish it to be. Its a list of rules explicitly stating what the Fed is ALLOWED to do and another list list which states specific things it CANNOT do. And everything NOT listed is for the States to decide.

    Somewhere along the line people wanting more power convinced 9 people that the commerce clause could let them do whatever the fuck they wanted. Now we are fucked and there is really no way out of it until the shit hits the fan.

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  30. CM

    The Somalia Gambit. When ever anyone mentions Somalia, you can just tune out whatever else they have to say.

    On 7-8 August, the British and Commonwealth forces in British Somaliland had received reinforcements with the arrival of the 1/2nd Punjab Regiment and the 2nd battalion Black Watch.[8][10] General Archibald Wavell—Commander-in-Chief Middle East Command in Cairo—had also ordered a further battalion of infantry and more artillery to Berbera but these reinforcements did not arrive in time.[14] He also considered it appropriate to appoint a major-general to command this expanding force and on 11 August, a new commander—Major-General Reade Godwin-Austen—reached Berbera.

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

    Major-General Godwin’s Law.

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  31. HARLEY

    Why not move to Somalia

    Sorry, but no thanks.
    they do got that small government thing down pretty well,ok maybe a bit much? The main sticking point,and will always be, is,
    That pretty much the entire population, have no respect for the rule of law.
    The rule of man yes, Rule of law no. so no they are not libertarians.

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