Thursday, April 15, 2010

Firedoglake what am I to think of Firedoglake.

It is an unusual site as I have donated money to Firedoglake. Also I am mad as hell at Jane Hamsher. Finally I have ordered Firedoglake to stop spamming my gmail inbox. They continue to spam me.

On the other hand I still read it, and think very highly of Tbogg, Attackerman and Emptywheel. I don't read the others except for Hamsher, who I consider to be an absurd person, and Jon Walker (see below). On the other other hand, I will *not* register there. So I will comment here.

Jon Walker writes about a poll. The poll is interesting. Walker ignores massive amounts of closely related polling data and proposes an non-sensical political strategy.

He notes that most US adults think that the amount they pay in taxes is fair. This is not a new result, although the latest poll shows a larger than usual majority and maybe Walker has somehow managed to avoid noticing this fact until now.

He concludes

"I know Republicans will run on taxes, because that is just what Republicans are, but to capitalize on it, they will probably need to spin tax cuts as somehow the best way to create jobs. Democrats, on the other hand, would be wise to depict Republicans’ inevitable call for tax cuts as a fiscally reckless move, unfit for the current economic problems, and likely to balloon the federal deficit even farther by helping the rich pay less in taxes. Either way, it is possible this election might be dominated by more serious concerns."

Holy mother courage. Did you get that ? Walker suggests that the Democrats make the really smart strategic move of equating "tax cuts" and "helping the rich pay less in taxes." His idea is that the Democrats should equate tax cuts and tax cuts for the rich. Well that worked for Reagan, but, see he was pro tax cuts. The only way the Republican party survives is by tricking people into thinking that tax cuts and tax cuts for the rich are the same thing.

Even if they thought it was true, why the hell should Democrats admit that tax cuts are "a fiscally reckless move, unfit for the current economic problems," after enacting a huge tax cut ? Couldn't they just save time by saying "The stimulus bill was largely 'a fiscally reckless move, unfit for the current economic problems'."
Yes that's the plan. They have to run on how the deficit is too high, because the deficit has nothing to do with them and their fiscal stimulus.

On policy, notice how Walker let's the best be the enemy of the good. I'm sure he thinks the economy could use a bit more fiscal stimulus right now. The unemployment rate is 9.7% and the yield curve on Treasury bills, notes and bonds ranges from about zero all the way up to 4%. However, he thinks a temporary spending increase is a better stimulus than a temporary tax cut. Therefore he argues against all tax cuts logically implying opposition to temporary tax cuts for the non rich.
I think that he has a tick such that whenever he has a nagging suspicion that "the best is the enemy of the good" might have something to do with what he's saying, he concludes "damn straight and that's why I'm for the best which is better than the good so I revile reject and denounce the good."

On politics, he might consider a second poll, and a third and dozens of polls which all show the same thing. US adults do not have a strong sense that the taxes they pay are unfair. However, a solid majority of US adults think that taxes that other people pay are unfair and, in particular, that the rich and corporations pay too little.

I know the data are hard to find. I went all the way over to www.pollingreport.com and clicked on the word "taxes" now search for
"Gallup Poll. April 6-9"

"As I read off some different groups, please tell me if you think they are paying their fair share in federal taxes, paying too much, or paying too little. How about [see below]?"



Fair Share Too Much Too Little Unsure
% % % %
"Lower-income people"
Fair Share Too Much Too Little Unsure
4/6-9/09 41 39 16 4
4/6-9/08 32 51 13 4
4/2-5/07 34 45 17 4
4/10-13/06 36 46 12 6
4/4-7/05 36 51 10 3
4/5-8/04 35 49 12 4
4/03 36 49 12 3
4/99 34 51 11 4
4/96 40 48 9 3
4/94 43 42 12 3
3/93 37 51 9 3
3/92 32 57 8 3


"Middle-income people"
Fair Share Too Much Too Little Unsure
4/6-9/09 50 43 5 2
4/6-9/08 50 43 4 3
4/2-5/07 44 47 7 2
4/10-13/06 50 43 5 3
4/4-7/05 52 41 4 3
4/5-8/04 47 46 4 3
4/03 51 40 7 2
4/99 35 59 4 2
4/96 34 58 5 3
4/94 39 57 3 1
3/93 39 54 5 2
3/92 36 57 5 2


"Upper-income people"
Fair Share Too Much Too Little Unsure
4/6-9/09 23 13 60 3
4/6-9/08 24 9 63 4
4/2-5/07 21 9 66 4
4/10-13/06 21 8 67 4
4/4-7/05 22 7 68 3
4/5-8/04 24 9 63 4
4/03 24 10 63 3
4/99 19 10 66 5
4/96 19 9 68 4
4/94 20 10 68 2
3/93 16 5 77 2
3/92 16 4 77 3


"Corporations"
Fair Share Too Much Too Little Unsure
4/6-9/09 18 8 67 6
4/6-9/08 15 6 73 6
4/2-5/07 19 5 71 5
4/10-13/06 18 5 70 7
4/4-7/05 21 4 69 6
4/5-8/04 19 5 69 7


So yes indeed, it sure is time for the Democrats to argue that taxes are fine the way they are. What the hell can Democrats do with people who want to shift income from the rich to the poor.

I have a familiar sense of frustration. Walker knows a lot about health care financing and the health care reform bills. He argued that the public option was vitally vitally important. He didn't ignore the arguments that other aspects of the bill were even more important. He just uhm I don't know how he gets to his conclusions. They just appear at some point.

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