November 16, 2005

Note to Howard Dean: Better Work on That Platform

From Sunday's Meet the Press:
MR. RUSSERT: [...] What do the Democrats stand for?
DR. DEAN: Tim, first of all, we don't control the House, the Senate or the White House. We have plenty of time to show Americans what our agenda is and we will long before the '06 elections.
MR. RUSSERT: But there's no Democratic plan on Social Security. There's no Democratic plan on the deficit problem. There's no specifics. They say, "Well, we want a strong Social Security. We want to reduce the deficit. We want health care for everyone," but there's no plan how to pay for it.
DR. DEAN: Right now it's not our job to give out specifics.

We've got historically large and growing deficits. We've got Republicans threatening to cut essential safety-net programs to fund capital gains tax cuts. We've got an AMT problem that really ought to be resolved by the end of the year. Pretty specific plans are needed to confront this stuff. So can anyone explain to me why Dean's answer is NOT a completely lame and wrong response?

12 Comments:

At 7:36 PM, Blogger Kator said...

Read your post on tax... The answer to most all of these questions will be answered by going to the "Fair Tax"....
I have done a couple of blogs on it.. Or go to www.fairtax.org, or see the www.ntu.org sites...
Why do we want to try and fix up a house that is falling down on itself?? Tear it down and lets build a better and fair tax....
see ya... Kator

 
At 11:18 PM, Blogger Wash0088 said...

As far as the tax issue as a whole - reform is obviously necessary. It seems to me that we need to increase the taxes, but put that increase toward decreasing our defecit, or simply repairing the damage done by the excessive treasury notes. Let's start chipping away today is what I say.

 
At 1:10 AM, Anonymous middle class guy said...

We should eliminate the so called safety nets and the capital gains tax, along with the esatate tax and the AMT.

The poor will always be around and the only way to help them is to force them to work.

 
At 12:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Th ecouterplan to Social Security reform is to LEAVE IT ALONE. The long term shortfall is pretty small. To compare, it is much smaller than the current national deficit. Since, it is a projected future deficit, and since it is smaller than the current budget deficit, it is no big deal. The deficit may never materialize anyway -- Social Security has a history of producing larger surpluses than expected. Let us not forget that Social Security currently has a nearly two trillion dollar surplus. Why work on the program with the giant surplus?

 
At 12:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "fair tax" is the most regressive, harmful taxation scheme imaginable. Instead of people who actually earn money paying a percewntage of their earnings in taxes, the poorest of the poor, having to spend every cent of their money to buy goods, would be the ones paying virtually all taxes. And the sales tax rate would have to be about 20% if it were to cover the current national government spending. The richest people would become nearly tax free. Since the top 1/2 of 1% have increased their share of the wealth from about 20% in 1976 to about 40% in 1998 (the latest figures available, although not very recent at all), they need to be taxed.

 
At 9:23 PM, Blogger Seventhfrost said...

vat tax for everyone!

 
At 7:48 PM, Blogger The probligo said...

"The "fair tax" is the most regressive, harmful taxation scheme imaginable. Instead of people who actually earn money paying a percewntage of their earnings in taxes, the poorest of the poor, having to spend every cent of their money to buy goods, would be the ones paying virtually all taxes."

Interesting that "Anony Mouse" should say this. It is almost word for word the main argument against NZ's universal GST when it was introduced.

The interesting thing about the universal indirect tax has been the rise in barter trading and "informal" markets.

The government is (not too desperately) trying to find an answer to the first.

The second is an increasing part of the NZ scene. In Auckland for example there has been for many years a weekend "Otara market". The shopping centre where it is held is essentially shut down six days a week. The vast bulk of the trade is direct "grower to user". Other examples of "growers markets" can be found in most rural communities.

If the IRD were to try and step in on these traders, they would just disappear, returning with "new" faces and names in a couple of weeks.

So perhaps Anonymous should not fear too much. It can promote true market and trade opportunities...

 
At 9:57 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

New Zealand's experience has little relevance to the half-baked "fair tax" idea. Rather than replacing all their taxes with a single national sales tax, they kept their income tax and their corporate tax, and added a 12.5% GST on top. The sales tax folks here are talking about replacing the whole system with this one tax, at a much higher rate.
While you don't make it quite clear what goes on at these "Otara markets," the implication is that the folks involved don't pay tax on their transactions. If that's true, then I don't understand your point. You're saying that a regressive GST is OK because people will avoid it? That's fine if your goal is scaling back government, but if the true goal is a revenue-neutral swap that preserves sufficient revenue for public services, then you absolutely have to enforce the tax rigorously. So how does your observation about "Otara markets" help advocates of the "Fair Tax" here at all?

 
At 2:31 PM, Blogger The probligo said...

The vendors at the local markets may or may not pay tax (in any form) on their business.

Some (perhaps farmers or commercial growers) would return tax as their exposure to tax audit is greater.

Others no. Especially those on low incomes.

The barter market is similarly "untaxed" and hence the government's desire to try and put its foot on it.

How does the example help? As I said, it promotes true capitalism and free market processes. How American is that? If you want to avoid tax, trade something that you can produce with ease for something that you need and can not provide for yourself. That might be difficult in the city, but boy, the rural areas would benefit. It might also lead to some people working toward limited self-sufficiency with the old idea of the neighbourhood gardens. Grow tomatos or potatos where the front lawn is at present, or herbs in window boxes. Bake specialty breads. There are any number of possibilities for people who think and are prepared to move the goalposts.

And that, as much as anything else, is what the Otara market is about...

 
At 10:09 AM, Blogger Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Dean's response is not lame because the Democrats couldn't implement a plan if they wanted to right now, since they don't control Congress or the Presidency, and because he is not a candidate with the authority to implement such a plan.

 
At 10:29 AM, Blogger Azeem Tubotheryu said...

AMEN BROTHER!
How can democrats hope to be granted "the authority to implement such a plan" if they don't formulate it first? Responsible governing is not about declining to formulate strategy until you are in a position to implement it! If that were the case, the electorate would play no role in policy formulation. We have a rare opportunity to capitalize on the mistakes of our adversaries, and have by all evidence chosen not to do so. In addition to his many blunders, THIS president alone is allowing what no Repbulican has ever done before, the opportunity to strip their party of the mantle of fiscal responsibility! This blog is clearly a rare demonstration in advance of this notion. Let's say it one more time: The Reagan, Bush, and Bush administrations were and are fiscally irresponsible. The next challenge is to find away to convince the less analytically inclined American that they're not voting their pocketbook when favoring larger deficets.

 
At 1:46 PM, Blogger Omar said...

The reason why Dean can't give a specific plan is because that's the job of the candidates. Also, the problems you cited are things that Democrats are opposing. Opposition alone is not considered a plan, though I am of the belief that in some cases it is better to leave things well enough alone than to support change for its own sake (e.g. cutting programs to support capital gains taxes). It's very easy for Democrats to point out what's wrong with the Republican way of governing, but they haven't yet articulated a clear vision for what they would do if they were in charge. That's what Russert was trying to press Dean on, and I don't think you'll hear a DNC chair talk about what plans are in place until the rest of the party and the candidates have had a chance to come together on it.

 

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