T Nation

The Mark Levin Show



edit This was a broadcast by Mark Levine with Congressman Paul Ryan "I've Never Seen a President Give a Speech Like This Before" referring to Obama and his most recent speech about the budget problems.


No one has anything to say here? This is PWI, is it not? lol


I'll be honest, I didn't listen to the interview, nor do I listen when Paul Ryan talks.

Here's why: http://wi.rlc.org/2010/08/paul-ryans-record/

Is this a person that is really concerned about our fiscal situation? It's obvious by his voting
record that he isn't.


My fault for believing a politician could sound like he is on the right path, but then votes in every way possible to go against his speech. May this thread die a slow tortuous death!!


cutting health care funding for poor people and fighting to keep the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy alive simultaneously is something that only a real, honest-to-god, grade-A douchebag could do. Fuck these people.

If the poor are being told to tighten their belts, fine--in hard times we all sacrifice. But the rich had damn well better start tightening too. (for the record, a 3 percentage point tax hike on someone that makes 500,000 dollars/year is not exactly tightening their fucking belt)


What is border line criminal is the government spending money that we don't have and leaving a mess for my children and their children. Bush was bad enough when it came to deficit spending, but Obama takes the prize as THE most reckless fiscal President in the history of the country as he has no rivals.

And one final point here: Bush cut taxes the same for ALL Americans. That the rich kept more money because they earned more money only makes sense. If Joe Smith makes 50-k per year and gets a 5% cut (which I think was about what the Bush cuts were) he gets to keep $2,500 more of his hard earned dollars. If John Jones who makes 250-k per year gets that same 5% he gets to keep $12,500 more per year. Now tell me how is any of that unfair? It isn't, and claiming that Bush only cut taxes for the wealthy is pure demagoguery. It is class warfare that the democrats thrive on. And Obama knows that the only way he gets reelected is if he keeps beating the class warfare drum. He is hoping that there are enough jealousy which will drive people to the polls. It's disgusting politics spoken by a weak ineffective leader.

First of all the top 10% of wage earners pay over 70% of all taxes. So, how is it not fair that they, along with every other American, not get a tax break? Should the top 10% pay 90% of all taxes? When is it enough?


Secondly, I assure you that the very first day that my taxes are raised I will do a few things. First, cut back on charitable giving as I must assume the government is doing that for me by taking even more of my hard earned money. Secondly, any sort of business expansion that I have planned for my small business will cease. And I will also look at raising prices and cutting certain salaries and benefits to recoup the attack on my wealth. And if you think that I'm the only one who will react this way you are mistaken.

If Obama manages to get a tax hike through he will crash the economy. Knowing this I have no doubt his speech was red meat for his rapidly thinning base of support.

But please if you do nothing else stop equating handing money to the government as being compassionate. It's practically the opposite.


I agree with a lot of this, believe me.

My point is simply this: on the one hand you have the bush tax cuts for the wealthy. They cost the government money by allowing rich people to keep cash that would normally have gone to the government. On the other hand you have Medicare and Medicaid, which cost the government money by giving health coverage to poor/old people.

Both cost money. Which is the greater sacrifice?

If you say both, I have no problem. If someone wants us to give up ALL of this, ok. But for someone to argue that the poor are going to see cuts to their health care while the rich don't see the death of the Bush tax cuts, that is fucking ludicrous.


No that fucking makes sense, because after the Bush tax cuts revenue went up, not down.

So, if you really think that the coldest of all monsters is to provide for the sick and poor, it would need funds, no?


Now hold on there my friend. You say you agree with a lot of it but then you immediately misstate it. There were no Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. At least that's not totally accurate. Shall we do it again?

Bush gave everyone a 5% cut across the board. How does that favor the wealthy? One more time, Joe Smith made 50-K and gets to keep $2,500 more of the money he earned. And John Jones made $250,000 and gets to keep $12,500 more of the money he earned, how does that favor the rich over anyone else? Do you think it's unfair that each gets to keep 5% more? If so please explain why. Would you be claiming that the rich should only keep say 2% more and everyone else keeps maybe 10%? And if so how is that fair penalizing those who not only contribute more to the system but have also worked hard in the process?

Not at all ludicrous. First of all ask yourself this question: Who pays the lions share of health care and everything else for that matter? The rich! Remember the top 10% pay over 70% of all taxes! So what is happening is the government is taking money from those who worked hard for it and giving to those who have not earned it.

That is called redistribution of wealth. And no I am not in favor of that.

Keep in mind the government makes no money on their own. The only way they have money is by taking a large portion of what you and I make. So, every time you say "the government should pay for........." you have to remember that the bulk of the money comes from the top 10% of income earners. And if you attack that group enough (as Obama would love to do) you will discourage them from investing, inventing and in short spending their money to make more money and thus keeping the economy moving.

Are you with me on any of this?


I understand that the tax cuts were across the board.

I simply believe that in times of economic hardship--hardship that is indeed so severe as to make cutting health care and home heating oil for the poor a viable option on the table--the first thing to look to get rid of are tax cuts for rich people. They are the least at risk and the least affected by any of this. That's all. They simply need tax cuts less than middle class/low income households.


And again, Bush tax cuts INCREASED revenue.

So did Reagans and Clintons btw.

So, INCREASING taxes will most likely DECREASE revenue.

Obama, pbuh, even admitted this, but said that he would want to raise them anyway, because he thought it would be "only fair".

If you want to raise taxes just to spite people, could you refrain from uttering any moral jusgements when it comes to other peoples actions?


DWYER: Bush tax cuts boosted federal revenue

By 2003, Mr. Bush grasped this lesson. In that year, he cut the dividend and capital gains rates to 15 percent each, and the economy responded. In two years, stocks rose 20 percent. In three years, $15 trillion of new wealth was created. The U.S. economy added 8 million new jobs from mid-2003 to early 2007, and the median household increased its wealth by $20,000 in real terms.

But the real jolt for tax-cutting opponents was that the 03 Bush tax cuts also generated a massive increase in federal tax receipts. From 2004 to 2007, federal tax revenues increased by $785 billion, the largest four-year increase in American history. According to the Treasury Department, individual and corporate income tax receipts were up 40 percent in the three years following the Bush tax cuts. And (bonus) the rich paid an even higher percentage of the total tax burden than they had at any time in at least the previous 40 years. This was news to theNew York Times, whose astonished editorial board could only describe the gains as a â??surprise windfall.â??


Obama: I'll raise your taxes even if it lowers revenues

Speaking of taxes and incentives, what's the opposite of a supply-sider? That is, what do you call someone who wants to raise taxes in order to lower revenue?

Well, the good Senator Obama, who I have incredibly heard described as a left-libertarian, came right out and said he's for tax hikes even if they lower government revenue. Here's a transcript of an exchange on the capital gains tax during Wednesday's much-maligned debate:

MR. GIBSON: And in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased. The government took in more money. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28 percent, the revenues went down. So why raise it at all, especially given the fact that 100 million people in this country own stock and would be affected?

SENATOR OBAMA: Well, Charlie, what I've said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness. We saw an article today which showed that the top 50 hedge fund managers made $29 billion last year -- $29 billion for 50 individuals. And part of what has happened is that those who are able to work the stock market and amass huge fortunes on capital gains are paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries. That's not fair. [. . . .]

MR. GIBSON: But history shows that when you drop the capital gains tax, the revenues go up.

SENATOR OBAMA: Well, that might happen or it might not. It depends on what's happening on Wall Street and how business is going.


And, just to drive the point home:

Laffer curve
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In economics, the Laffer curve is a theoretical representation of the relationship between government revenue raised by taxation and all possible rates of taxation. It is used to illustrate the concept of taxable income elasticity (that taxable income will change in response to changes in the rate of taxation). The curve is constructed by thought experiment. First, the amount of tax revenue raised at the extreme tax rates of 0% and 100% is considered. It is clear that a 0% tax rate raises no revenue, but the Laffer curve hypothesis is that a 100% tax rate will also generate no revenue because at such a rate there is no longer any incentive for a rational taxpayer to earn any income, thus the revenue raised will be 100% of nothing. If both a 0% rate and 100% rate of taxation generate no revenue, it follows that there must exist at least one rate in between where tax revenue would be a maximum. The Laffer curve is typically represented as a stylized graph which starts at 0% tax, zero revenue, rises to a maximum rate of revenue raised at an intermediate rate of taxation and then falls again to zero revenue at a 100% tax rate. However, there are infinitely many curves satisfying these boundary conditions. Little can be said without further assumptions or empirical data.

One potential result of the Laffer curve is that increasing tax rates beyond a certain point will become counterproductive for raising further tax revenue because of diminishing returns. A hypothetical Laffer curve for any given economy can only be estimated and such estimates are sometimes controversial. Estimates of revenue-maximizing tax rates have varied widely with some studies suggesting midpoint ranges around 70%.[1] Real-world practice in the Republic of Ireland has shown that the optimal rate for capital gains tax, as opposed to income tax, may be around 20%, but this is at least partly due to savvy taxpayers holding onto assets in anticipation of tax rates being lowered in the future.[2]


Fair enough then please stop referring to them as "tax cuts for the rich". That's something that Obama, Biden and the other liberal hacks use to stir up their left leaning base. It has no basis in fact as we both agree every one got the same tax cut.

What you're not understanding is this: when you take money from those who keep the economy going the economy falls flat. Do you agree that it is the top 10% of income earners that create jobs? I'm sure that you do as it happens to be a fact. Therefore, when you take more of their money you effect the economy in ways that will cause everyone more pain.

For example, person "A" is hurting. Hmm, what do we do? If I am from the left I think that I should take more money from person "B" who has quite a lot of it. My reasoning is that they will never miss it and person "A" could really use it. Superficially this works and even more importantly there are many voters on the left, not liking the rich (because they're not rich) who think that's a pretty good idea.

In reality when you take money from person "B" and give it to person "A" you have harmed the economy because person "B" will now have less money to invest or even to spend. And keep in mind wether it is investing or spending it is still a lift to the economy. Person "B" lays off 5 people, or doesn't purchase the new car, or cancels a vacation. What ever move person "B" makes is a negative to the economy.

Yes, we've helped person "A" in the short term, but we've harmed both person "A" and person "B" in the long term as the economy will get worse. And that means that person "A" will need more of person "B's" money. And now person "B" has less of that money to give to help person "A".

Hopefully you see what I mean because we reach a point of diminishing returns with this liberal philosophy. What we really need is a growing economy. And this can only be done when there is more, not less, money in the hands of those who will invest, invent and hire. ultimately person "A" is better off if person "B" expands his business and offers person "A" a job. Make sense?

I've read many of your posts and you seem to me a fair and intelligent person. Therefore, you really need to understand how this works. I know that no ones mind is usually changed on a message board but I am sincerely trying to change your mind by pointing out the very basics of how an economy grows and conversely how it is stalled.

Thanks for your time,



Orion, it's my contention that Obama knows very well that tax cuts are good for the economy. He's simply appealing to his base as he feels that he is losing them having to side with the republicans on this issue. And of course like any politician he wants to be reelected. Now he's pandering to the far left in order to do that. In other words even he doesn't believe that taxing the top 10% earners will do anything but hurt the economy. He also knows that he'll never get it through congress, it's all politics from here on in.


From the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute:

Since 2001 President Bush and congressional leaders have promised that enacting each of a series of tax cuts would strengthen the economy by bringing faster growth, more jobs, and greater investment. With Congress again debating whether to extend past tax cuts and enact new ones, itâ??s time to review how much the last four years of tax cuts have affected the U.S. economy and budget outlook. Unfortunately for most Americans, the tax cuts since 2001 have not made todayâ??s economy stronger. Over the last five fiscal years, the tax cuts have had a direct cost of $860 billion and (with interest costs) a total effect on the deficit of $929 billion. By creating excessive permanent deficits, they have lowered our future standard of living.


In response to Bush's comment that his tax cuts had fueled robust economic growth, his own former chief economist on the Council of Economic Advisers responded:

You are smart people. You know that the tax cuts have not fueled record revenues. You know what it takes to establish causality. You know that the first order effect of cutting taxes is to lower tax revenues. We all agree that the ultimate reduction in tax revenues can be less than this first order effect, because lower tax rates encourage greater economic activity and thus expand the tax base. No thoughtful person believes that this possible offset more than compensated for the first effect for these tax cuts. Not a single one.

Supply-side economics is not dogma, though you present it as such.


Also, there are better ways to use government money for job creation/economic stimulation than by giving it to the wealthy. If your honest aim is to foster economic prosperity across a nation characterized by increasingly severe income inequality, tax cuts on top income-earners is not your best bet.

I'm not saying the money won't get back into the economy. I'm not saying it won't create jobs. I'm saying that, if those things happen, they are indirect and consequently weaker than if that same amount of money had been proactively appropriated to job growth projects, infrastructure projects and the like. An extra 100,000 dollars in a mogul's bank account is primarily nothing more than that--an extra 100,000 dollars in amogul's bank account. It may work its way through the economy, but its benefits will weaken exponentially on the way down.

I'm not saying we should nationalize the means of production and I'm not saying we should abolish private property. I'm simply saying that necessary sacrifices in times of economic hardship must be thought of in terms of "who sacrifices" and "what are they sacrificing?". 3 percentage points on income tax is among the least detrimental to our economy. I'm not saying there is no detriment; I'm saying there is LESS detriment than, say, cutting health care for poor people. Let's see how your "more money for the rich will indirectly support job growth" fares when the working classes are going untreated.


Then your contention must be that the opposite is true? So if allowing people to keep more of their own hard earned money is a bad thing. Then perhaps the government should take it all and that would help the economy?

What a foolish suggestion, isn't it?

Tell me how does one start say an ice cream store if he has no money? And then how do 5 people become employed at that ice cream store if it was never started? And then of course how do the merchants who would have benefitted financially from having 5 more people with money available to spend in their stores benefit?

This is about capitalism and capitalism does not exist without allowing people to keep the money that they've earned.

I don't think this is really a political discussion as much as it is common sense.


You mean, there are better ways of improving the state of an economy that letting those who have proven in the market place that they know how to combine factors of production by becoming filthy rich?

What might they be.


You are claiming that make work jobs created by the government is the best bet? Do you realize how inefficient that is? Let's not even call it government, let's call it a "third party". So when you and I make money you want us to give a larger share of that money to this third party, who then must hire government employees to dole this money out for pretend jobs. How is that efficient, how is that smart?

Doesn't it make more sense for those who naturally create jobs to allow them to keep more of their money so that they can do more of what they're good at?

Do you hate the rich that much that you are willing to hurt the economy further by trusting the government to do something that it is not in the business of doing and that is creating make believe jobs?

Think about this man.

What a convoluted and inefficient way of trying to grow an economy. Why in the world would you not allow the rich to do what they do naturally? Invest, invent and create jobs? I don't understand why anyone would think contrary to this very simple and quite natural plan. Even your buddy Obama new this. That's why OBAMA EXTENDED THE BUSH TAX CUTS. And he really, really. really hates rich people. But he knew that he would drive the economy into the ground by raising taxes. BUT, he will speak out against tax cuts because it's good politics. Come on you're a smart guy you understand this right?

Ask yourself this question: How did we get where we are currently? Did the government create Microsoft, Walmart, McDonalds and the very long list of other successful enterprises? And what about all of the small businesses that need their capital to grow?

How did government become the answer? When was government ever the answer?

Wow, that's big of you. May I ask your age and where you're from? Because you are starting to sound like someone who is leaning far, far left and I'm wondering why.

Oh my gosh - - You really don't understand this do you?

First of all, how do you think people become impoverished? Is it because there are ample opportunites, or because there are a lack of opportunities? If you say that it's because of a lack of opportunities then all your doing is creating a worse environment by taking money away from people who create opportunities.

Are people poor because government isn't big enough? Think about that....THINK!!

When a factory cuts 100 workers how does that help the working class? Yet, if you over tax the owner(s) of that factory that's exactly what can happen.

Giving the government more money only makes the government larger and more powerful. That has never helped anyone long-term and there is no point in history where you can demonstrate to me that it has. Certainly not in American history.

Where was the government when some of the greatest corporations in the world were being formed by ambitious men whose goal was to become wealthy? And along the way they createed millions of jobs for people who in turn had a good life because of these business starters.

How does the government even fit into that equation?

Here is the government business scenario:

"Okay folks we have a road we're going to build to employ all of you people without a job. We have 7 billion dollars in this project so we can really help a lot of you poor folks. In fact we are going to be able to employ a heck of a lot of people for almost 3 years. Of course in order to do this we had to raise taxes on EVERY ONE! And that includes those evil rich people who had the audacity to work hard save create and take a chance--BASTARDS HOW DARE THEY? So for the next three years live it up you have employment. Of course because we took more of the people's money the private sector jobs are now diminished, but so what Uncle Sam is here for 3 years or so.....um after that we'll just go back and raise taxes again...This will work for a while...."

By the way if you confiscated all of the money from all of those rich people that you hate so much you couldn't even operate the government for a full year! Did you know that? Taxes have to be raised on everyone to even make a difference. There are not enough rich people to float the US government. But again why do that when we can allow the private sector to grow with tax breaks?



No, in fact they will multiply.