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WHAT OTHERS SAY: Business owners pad pay while cheering low wages

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 | 11:40 a.m. CDT; updated 4:22 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wonder why the folks occupying Wall Street are angry? It's this kind of thing:

Last week, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, the state's biggest business lobby, cheered because the Missouri economy was so weak that the minimum wage would not be raised.

"At a time when Missouri businesses are struggling to provide jobs in today's difficult economic climate, it is good news that labor costs will remain stable and competitive compared to other surrounding states," wrote chamber President Dan Mehan.

Three cheers for low-paying jobs!

It will be recalled that the chamber successfully lobbied for tax breaks for corporations earlier this year and then supported another corporate tax cut in the failed special legislative session.

We supported some of those breaks because they might bring jobs to the state amid an economic downturn. But those jobs won't help much if they don't pay a decent wage so that workers can bring stability to their families.

Mehan's pay, it should be noted, isn't tied to the growth of the economy, as are the wages of Missouri's minimum-wage workers.

In 2009, including bonuses and retirement benefits, Mehan was paid $237,447. Last year, his total compensation rose to $245,964. That's an increase of 3.5 percent.

Other business advocates do even better. Dick Fleming, president and CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association, makes about three times that much.

We don't begrudge them their salaries and bonuses. If the chambers' members think their leaders are worth that much, that's their decision.

It just unfortunate that Mehan, who did get a raise, would feel compelled to say that it's good news that minimum-wage workers won't.

Missouri voters were smart in 2006 to tie an increase in the state's woefully low minimum wage to the consumer price index. That means that, unlike some other states with automatic increases, Missouri's minimum wage can rise or fall with the economy, as long as the wage stays at or above the federal minimum, now at $7.25 per hour.

Had the economy had a better year, with say 3.5 percent growth, low-wage workers would have received a two-bit raise.

While Missouri's low-wage workers get nothing more, total compensation at large financial services companies rose 5.7 percent last year, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Anger toward CEO pay isn't about envy; it's about fairness. It's about top executives getting theirs no matter the state of the economy while workers receive furloughs, pink slips or wage freezes. It's about American CEOs being paid 343 times what their average workers make, the largest such gap in the world.

That is the current American economic model, and it's not working. What the economy needs most is spending from a reinvigorated middle class.

Numerous studies have shown that, historically, minimum-wage increases have had a statistically insignificant effect on hiring. Nobel laureate Robert Solow, an economist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has reached that conclusion; so has Harvard economist Richard Freeman.

But it's always been a matter of theology for business groups like the Missouri Chamber that even a meager uptick in the minimum wage would be devastating. If they want to believe that, so be it; people believe a lot of weird things. But in this kind of economic climate, maybe they should believe it quietly.

Copyright St. Louis Post Dispatch. Reprinted with permission.


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Comments

James Krewson October 25, 2011 | 12:19 p.m.

The "Occupy" crowd is angry because Bush isn't President. If he were, they could blame everything on him. Since Obama is President, they have to blame Wall Street or anyone that takes huge financial risk to make a living. To compare a minimum-wage worker to someone who may be mortgaging their house, taking out a loan and risking their own money in order to pay the burdensome taxes that are the highest in the world seems a bit unfair. If you want to talk about "fairness" you should not compare apples to oranges.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking October 25, 2011 | 1:35 p.m.

James Krewson wrote:

"pay the burdensome taxes that are the highest in the world seems a bit unfair."

Actually, our taxes are not the highest in the world. Not even close.

Minimum wage workers make up only a small part of the workforce, and most, as you say, aren't supporting families on it. This means the effect of any increase in minimum wage on either the economy or employment would be minor.

DK

(Report Comment)
J Gravish October 25, 2011 | 2:05 p.m.

I understand that the MO COC is pandering to its stakeholders. But it's sad that the MO COC cannot support it's stated claim that MO remains "...competitive with surrounding states". (I guess it depends on one's definition of "competitive".) MO will not grow until it addresses the lack of quality jobs and benefits for its citizens. Minimum wage jobs are not necessarily quality jobs. Perhaps necessary - but not quality jobs. Jobs with no benefits (check out the BLS data and MO's DOLIR list of lowest paying jobs for hospitality and retail/customer service sectors) will not provide an adequate quality of life that attracts relocations. And the government and business community's repetitively-stated mantra that employer tax relief will automatically incentivize business owners to create additional jobs is a myth. Any savings will first go into the business owner's pocket. It would have been better to continue the corporate franchise tax then re-direct it back to employer with a stipulation that it provide FT and FT-equivalent employees a basic level of health insurance.

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 25, 2011 | 2:46 p.m.

Mark F. - "This means the effect of any increase in minimum wage on either the economy or employment would be minor." Why haven't you mentioned this before? We should just raise the minimum to $10.per hr. $400.00 for a 40 hr week should take care of everyone except the teenager trying to save for education. Whom would hire some kid when older, more expeerienced, people would come out of the woodwork. Toalson furniture was in Columbia some years ago. The owners told me that they employed a strong, but somewhat retarded fellow to help move their heavy freight in and out of the store, for $1.00 per hr. It was of course worth it, tho they had to stay with him to give directions. Mr. Toalson said that the first minimum was $1.00. Then it was raised to $1.25. At $1.25, MU students began coming around, thus eliminating a place for the challenged one. This occurs all the time now and is creating more problems than any control on price of labor can ever solve.

"A rise in the minimum wage increases the demand for workers with greater skills because it reduces competition from low-skilled workers. This is an important reason why unions have always been strong supporters of high minimum wages because these reduce the competition faced by union members from the largely non-union workers who receive low wages."

http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/2006/1...

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield October 25, 2011 | 3:27 p.m.

If you make minimum wage or thereabouts, it means you're not adding much value in the eyes of your employer and that just about anyone off the street could do that job. So unless you prefer to wallow in pity or believe that unions will return to extort a higher wage on your behalf, you should acquire the skills necessary to command a higher wage. More than 30,000 people are in this town precisely for that reason.

One tip: acquire skills for which there is a significant market. That means engineering or plumbing rather than art history or English.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith October 25, 2011 | 3:41 p.m.

Hey, Rex Virus!

I have met many members of your family:

Yellow Fever Virus
Hepatitis C Virus
Rabies Virus
Mumps Virus
Measles Virus
Influenza Virus
(etc.)

Are you too good to play by this site's rules? If so, why?

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 25, 2011 | 3:46 p.m.

Rex V. - "The poor would be much better off if I were to be allowed to employ them at the rate of five dollars an hour."

Note the difference in our description of the subjects of this conversation. I have been writing about individuals and their ability to partake of the opportunity provided (so far)by the economic system in this country. You regard them as "the poor" (at least we didn't get "the huddled masses")and "people in that class". As best I can tell, the rest of your post concerns something cute about the amount of taxes they should pay. Thanks for your participation.

(Report Comment)
Joy Mayer October 25, 2011 | 3:47 p.m.

Thanks to those of you who are alerting us to suspicious names. We really appreciate the moderation help.

— Joy Mayer, director of community outreach, Columbia Missourian

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith October 25, 2011 | 4:02 p.m.

@ Joy Mayer:

Re Rex Virus, as Harry Truman has been quoted as saying while President, "Nobody likes a smart ass."

[Yes, I know, if I want to see a smart ass, all I need to do is gaze into a mirror. :)]

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin October 25, 2011 | 4:15 p.m.

The title on this piece is misleading.

There's an important distinction between "business owners" -- the Steve Jobs and Michael Dells of the world -- and "business administrators" -- the overpaid CEOs and other Barons of Bureaucracy who do not own or did not start a business.

Entrepreneurs and business owners make up an entirely different class of business professionals than do administrators. They often put their hearts and souls into an enterprise -- Jobs, for instance, was legendary for only taking $1 in salary. They should never, never be lumped in with the adminstrative class, too many of whom are sucking up more money and resources these days than ever before.

From college presidents and athletic coaches to CEOs and corporate veeps, the rising administerial class is a massive component of a nationwide resource inequity.

Because on the whole they don't contribute any where near what they take out, the entire nation is feeling the pinch of this administerial tsunami. It represents an enormous gulf between productivity and pay.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking October 25, 2011 | 5:59 p.m.

frank christian wrote:

"Why haven't you mentioned this before?"

I did, third comment down:

http://www.columbiamissourian.com/storie...

My point wasn't so much to argue the amount of the minimum wage as to point out that it's a small number of workers and it doesn't matter a whole lot to the economy if they make $7.25/hr or $7.50/hr (or even $8.25 - see link).

"Living wage" legislation, where the minimum wage would be something from $12-$15/hr, would have significant negative effects on unskilled employment. But that's not at all what we're talking about here.

DK

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 25, 2011 | 8:23 p.m.

Mark F. - "My point wasn't so much to argue the amount of the minimum wage as to point out that it's a small number of workers and it doesn't matter a whole lot to the economy."

Seems I have to show You the difference in our references to "the economy", again.

You ignore my reference to our teen age work force which may need Any job worse than those the promoters of minimum wage claim to be helping.

"For white teenagers ages 16 and up, July's jobless rate of 22.2% was the highest since record-keeping began in 1954; among African-American teens, it was 35.7%, nearly four times the national average of 9.4%."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB12498599...

How about putting together the numbers showing the number of unemployable adults that will materialize in our country if these 'teens continue to be unable to find employment?

Somehow, Mark, our National attention must be focused on our people, not The Government! The People Must Be "what we are talking about here."

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle October 25, 2011 | 8:29 p.m.

Conversely, there would be little negative impact on business overall. Problem is, the impact would be concentrated on just a few service sectors that use minimum wage labor. Those sectors would take a big hit.

Then there's the "floor" argument about raising the minimum, and the ripple effect that has farther up on the wage scale. What's the multiplier? What's the aggregate? How quickly will price increases eat up wage increases? Does the lag time represent economic growth?

Removing any practical ceiling certainly hasn't raised the median. It appears, to the contrary, that a whole lot more at the top actually weakens and depresses the vast majority of wages, not helps them. More of that isn't going to work, no matter how much you want to believe it will.

The wealthiest 1% were taking in about 24% of all income just a few years ago. That's supposedly dropped to 17% this year. The market has been whipsawing back and forth, sometimes creating, or destroying, well over a $Trillion in a matter of hours. The government's record for creating a $Trillion is about 8 months.

A while back, Frank made a statement to the effect of, 'Is there *anybody* who doesn't expect inflation to surge when the economy picks up?'

Yes, as a matter of fact, I *do* expect inflation to surge if the economy really picks back up. Why? The $Trillions of dollars being printed and borrowed and injected into our economy over the last few years has mostly been captured by the wealthy. That's why inflation doesn't match the money spent so far. But the moment the economy improves, and those huge blobs of wealth get put back into play, sure enough, there will be the inflation we've been waiting for.

There's very little real wealth in those $Trillions the wealthiest fraction of a percent have amassed. There's very little real value in the outrageous compensation packages given to a handful of psychopaths. Most of the money is what the Feds have been printing. Another fraction is false derivatives trading profit. How much is laundered debt that the unemployed aren't going to be able to pay? Don't be too jealous of that money, because it's not really worth that much. We'll eventually find that out, if we ever try to actually *USE* that wealth for something.

There's no gold in the dead goose. There never is. For either side.

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 25, 2011 | 9:50 p.m.

DF - "Conversely, there would be little negative impact on business overall. Problem is, the impact would be concentrated on just a few service sectors that use minimum wage labor. Those sectors would take a big hit."

You, as usual, are "out of it" as well. If the subculture of unemployable People grows, as it has in every socialistic government known to man, that government has and will fail. Neat reference to statistics shows us nothing in regard to the preservation of our Nation and it's economy. It took R. Reagan to show responsible people where our inflation comes from and you reject him at every turn.

"There's very little real wealth in those $Trillions the wealthiest fraction of a percent have amassed." Without your numbers, those trillions amassed by those in receipt of the printed currency from our Democratic controlled government, can easily be spent and provide quite a good life by those you claim really have nothing. Those who have nothing are the ones having to consider whether to turn on a light, buy milk, or start the car. You and yours provide numbers concerning "our economy", but never seem to consider the human beings involved in the result of your computations. Put this in your base. "Real wealth" is the spendable amount a human being can amass in real estate, minerals, currency etc. from birth to death. Whatever government does to increase or decrease access to the opportunity, only affects the rate of accumulation, not the total.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle October 26, 2011 | 8:52 a.m.

So, what is a spendable amount for a human being?

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 26, 2011 | 9:48 a.m.

DF - "So, what is a spendable amount for a human being?"

"Wealth is the abundance of valuable resources or material possessions." The "spendable amount" is that which can be traded for improvements in life style for self and/or others or whatever else the owner wishes to engage this wealth. Some say I'm too simplistic.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle October 26, 2011 | 4:43 p.m.

"Simplistic" isn't *quite* the word I would use.

Just to be clear, I was looking for an actual dollar figure, expressed in today's dollars: What is a spendable amount for a human being? If you can't put a rough dollar figure on what a "spendable amount" is, the concept is meaningless.

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 26, 2011 | 6:37 p.m.

I wrote "spendable amount" to represent the total of the wealth accumulated. "Spendable" was inserted to specify that which could be traded easily and regularly in case of the existence of an asset of which I am not aware that might not be easily spent or "traded".

That you require an "actual dollar figure" to identify anything in regard to an individual human being's lifestyle, other than "can they afford it?", indicates to me the meaninglessness (big one) of your approach to the problems with our economy and how to solve them.

Helpful example: Senator McCaskill sold her jet airplane for 1.9M$. Whomever bought it spent 1.9M$ of the "spendable amount" of their accumulated wealth.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle October 26, 2011 | 7:00 p.m.

OK, I get what you meant. I still wonder if there's a practical limit to how much someone can really spend in a lifetime?

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 26, 2011 | 8:35 p.m.

Why on earth should that concern you? Unless, of course, the amount that Government might confiscate from an individual, before or after death is uppermost in your mind, or computations.

Just for kicks, if you are eventually able to determine such a figure, "a practical limit to how much someone can really spend in a lifetime", what would be your idea of a practical use? Impose it upon CEOs and others you deem to be earning too much, as you have previously bemoaned, while allowing those in our government to spend without limit or conscience every borrowed or printed dollar they determine to be necessary for their continued control? Just wondering.

To answer your question, I would need to know the length of the lifetime and how much the owner of the wealth wished to dispose of. Simple, isn't it?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle October 28, 2011 | 7:31 a.m.

90 years. But, don't go changing the question on me. The question is how much money a human being can really actually spend (this implies some marginal use from the expenditure), not just how much someone could possibly "dispose of" (which tends to mean just throwing it, or giving it, away) and, then asking me for the answer to start out with.

First, I'm trying to decide for sure if there is a limit. I'm betting so.

Second, given the probability there is a practical limit, it serves to question the real value of any wealth collected by an individual beyond that limit.

I'm sorry you're convinced that my curiosity means I'm trying to steal someone else's cookies. I think you're looking in the wrong direction for the thieves. Virtually all new wealth created over the last 10 years (and a large chunk for the last 30+ years), real or imagined, has been captured and largely taken out of our economy by the wealthiest fraction of a percent. It means the rest of the economy has been starved for new wealth, an has not been able to grow as a result.

You can blame liberals and democrats for this all you want, but you can't honestly deny the fact that almost all new wealth has gone to a fraction of a percent of our population, AND that our economy is also nearly dead in the water.

So, how much money can a human being reasonably spend (in a way that gives them some direct marginal use from the expenditure) in a 90-year lifetime, expressed in today's dollars?

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 28, 2011 | 11:27 a.m.

DF - Again I must point to the fallacy in most of your posted logic. You are writing of human beings, but characterizing them as numbers. Could you possibly admit that "some direct marginal use" might differ from one human to another? Wikipedia addresses "disposable income" without the connotation you have imposed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disposable_.... My short answer: I could easily spend "it all". One like Geo. Soros, might consider investment as the best "direct marginal use" and adept as he has been could probably never spend it all.

Your references to "wealth" always reminds me of the Black man I heard talking about wealth as he and his black poverty stricken chums viewed it in this country as they were growing up. "White people had the wealth. We didn't know where they got or what they had to do to get it, but they had it and we didn't." Can't recall who this fellow was, or what he did but he had finally understood and achieved a great measure of success in his field. "almost all new wealth has gone to a fraction of a percent of our population,". When one of the poverty stricken athletes from the Black ghetto cashes his bonus signing check (please don't offer this as the only possible example, it is not!), does not he move immediately from the ranks of the "poor" to the "wealthy"? No "new wealth" is being "created" at this time, as you have been told over and over, because the actions of the progressive Obama and his Democrats have made the business atmosphere in this country, putrid. Every one of those wealthy, unlike you, know that a wrong move can put them back to your designated lower classes at any time. This is why "our economy is also nearly dead in the water."

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 28, 2011 | 11:42 a.m.

I don't have word count and my meanderings seemed lengthy. Last time "wealth" and who has it came up, I found a study done on the "middle class", always considered a state of mind until liberals noted they could use itin their class warfare. These people gathered the necessary statistics on income of Americans and for the first time (as stated) dollar amounts showed the limits between the so called "classes". They also showed, as has been reported many times, that any losses to middle class were due to folks moving up to "Upper class", not falling into Lower class, since 1980. If I find it again, you'll be the first to know.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle October 28, 2011 | 9:26 p.m.

You're out to "lunch," or something. If the "middle class" has been "moving up" then why is "half" the population so "poor" they pay "no federal income tax?"

For the record, my ballpark figure answer to my own question is about a $Billion. You obviously can't be bothered to actually answer the question, despite the fact that you seemed to challenge me for the details, specifically so you could.

If you had a $Trillion dollars, could you really spend it all in a lifetime? That's $1.2 Million per hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks per year, for 90 years.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield October 28, 2011 | 9:39 p.m.

"If the 'middle class' has been 'moving up' then why is 'half' the population so 'poor' they pay 'no federal income tax?'"

One major reason is the two sets of tax cuts in the 2000s that lowered rates across all brackets and increased credits.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle October 28, 2011 | 10:06 p.m.

Well, ideas for raising taxes on the poor seems pretty popular right now. Maybe we should try that and see how it works out? There's an aggregate of ~$1T of income in the bottom 50% of the income pool. A 25% flat tax would net $250B out of that group. Good luck balancing the federal budget on the backs of the poor!

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith October 28, 2011 | 10:10 p.m.

@ Frank Christian:

Your mention of what a black man said reminds me of another story. I'm sure YOU remember when George Wallace was running as a third party candidate for President. Supposedly a reporter from Time Magazine went to Birmingham, Alabama and interviewed a poor old black man.

"Who will you vote for in this Presidential election?" asked the Time reporter.

"Why Mr. George Wallace, of course."

The Time reporter was shocked, scandalized and angry.

"How can you possibly vote for Wallace?" said the reporter. "The man is an obvious racist!"

"I know that," said the old black man, "but I KNOW what Mr. Wallace stands for. It's those other two guys I'm worried about."

This may originally have been intended as yet another racist story, but I'm coming to think that old black man was a very astute person.

And I remember the story at every Presidential election.
What DO they stand for?

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 28, 2011 | 10:22 p.m.

dk - "If the "middle class" has been "moving up" then why is "half" the population so "poor" they pay "no federal income tax?" To shorten Jimmy's accurate answer, I would state the GOVERNMENT is the reason 1/2 pay no income tax, not because they are "so poor".

Now that you have answered your own question, "about a $Billion" and presented a commendable array of numbers detailing the expenditure of "a $Trillion dollars" which the Obama government plans to borrow or print and spend every year for the foreseeable future, why, as you write should we "bother" with your mathematical thought problems?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking October 29, 2011 | 5:14 a.m.

Here's a Treasury document that shows Americans had considerable income mobility (moving between different income quintiles) between 1996 and 2005, and that this mobility was largely unchanged from the previous 10 year period.

http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/...

The top income bracket is not an exclusive club. People enter and leave it all the time.

Regarding the 50% that pay no federal taxes, Derrick is right that taxing them will not raise a lot of revenue. I think it is more fair if they pay at least something, but it's not going to be a game changer in terms of balancing the budget. Only the rich have the means to do that.

(and Frank, I do understand that spending cuts will have toi be a part of a balanced federal budget. There just isn't enough stuff that can be practically cut to do it all that way.)

DK

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith October 29, 2011 | 8:20 a.m.

Well, when discussing taxation we are obviously discussing LAW, in this case, tax law.

One problem with laws in this country is they often don't meet the concepts of uniformity and rationality. For a given area (in this case tax law) changes often appear to have been capriciously "tacked on." The results look like a financial Tower of Babel. :)

This can create confusion, but opportunities for tax accountants and tax attorneys.

Certain politicians, news networks and grass roots protest organizations are going on and on about how these terrible banks, corporations and EVEN SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS are sitting on their big piles of cash, wrecking the economy in the process.

Well if YOU were one of these ogres (banks, corporations and small businesses) and the tax codes changed faster than you change your underwear* you to might sit on your money as well.

In the business/financial world, nothing is as unsettling as government-induced uncertainty. Why is it so difficult for the executive and legislative branches of our federal government to understand that? :(

*- I am assuming that you change your underwear frequently (at least once a week, like we do in the Ozarks).

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking October 29, 2011 | 9:23 a.m.

It's also that without a perceived demand for expansion (willingness of customers to buy more of your product) that it makes more sense to sit on the cash until it seems that people are ready to start buying more. Expanding a business without an expanding customer base is just a waste of money and resources.

DK

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 29, 2011 | 9:43 a.m.

Mark F. - Still counting only on "demand" and ignoring "investment" for improvement of our economy, the standard liberal approach.

Waiting for demand pretty much assures those of the 1% everyone is crying about, that they can retain their wealth and power with little competition. Investment in new ideas that can create new demand might add many new players to the game, not in the best interest of G. Soros, P. Lewis, etc. Could this be why so many wealthy capitalists love socialism?

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield October 29, 2011 | 11:17 a.m.

"There's an aggregate of ~$1T of income in the bottom 50% of the income pool. A 25% flat tax would net $250B out of that group. Good luck balancing the federal budget on the backs of the poor!"

Good luck balancing it on the backs of "the rich," too. Walter Williams recently wrote a column (www.creators.com/opinion/walter-williams... ) that does a great job explaining why increasing taxes on just "the rich" won't erase the debt or the deficit. Some highlights:

"If Congress imposed a 100 percent tax, taking all earnings above $250,000 per year, it would yield the princely sum of $1.4 trillion. That would keep the government running for 141 days, . . . How about corporate profits to fill the gap? Fortune 500 companies earn nearly $400 billion in profits. . . . Taking corporate profits would keep the government running for another 40 days, but that along with confiscating all income above $250,000 would only get us to the end of June. . . . The fact of the matter is there are not enough rich people to come anywhere close to satisfying Congress' voracious spending appetite. They're going to have to go after the non-rich."

But they already do. That's why, for example, Congress for decades has refused to peg the AMT to inflation. Congress knows that the middle class is a large, key source of money, and it's grateful that a tax created specifically for just a few hundred of the wealthiest now hits people with incomes as low as $75K: www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/ke...

The only ways to erase the debt and deficit are to 1) sharply increase taxes across all brackets or 2) drastically cut all government spending or 3) both. It's only fair to expect people who receive the most government spending for the least amount of taxes paid to step up and start shouldering the load. See figures 4, 5 and 6 in the PDF at www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/2286.htm... As page 10 notes: "When all government spending is included, households in the lowest quintile received about $8.21 in spending for every dollar of taxes paid. Households in the middle quintile received $1.30, and households in the top quintile received $0.41."

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith October 29, 2011 | 11:22 a.m.

I think that BOTH investment and demand are serious factors. Also, individual business sectors have a bearing on how things are done. For businesses offering consumer products, immediate and projected short term demand make sense when planning. I'd hate to see the minerals (including petroleum and natural gas) and metallurgical industries operate on the same basis! You'd hate the results.

Joe Miner used to carry a pick and shovel (sometimes he was armed), and employed burros as equipment.

Today Joe Miner employs countless dollars worth of heavy equipment, along with some very sophisticated electronic equipment to do his job. He/she may or may not carry weapons (if mining in the Congo, they're advised). But he/she has no burros.

All the jackasses are now located in Washington, D.C.

[A young and rather attractive lady, graduate of Colorado School of Mines and employed by Phelps Dodge, is working in the Congo as you read this. She's welcome to that job! However, if she does well, she may come home at age 30 and go into Phelps Dodge upper management. As we all know, everyone in upper American corporate management is filthy rich.]

(Report Comment)
Phyllis Cormack October 29, 2011 | 3:14 p.m.
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Phyllis Cormack October 29, 2011 | 3:24 p.m.
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Phyllis Cormack October 29, 2011 | 3:40 p.m.
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Derrick Fogle October 29, 2011 | 9:01 p.m.

Quoth the Jimmy: "It's only fair to expect people who receive the most government spending for the least amount of taxes paid to step up and start shouldering the load."

Don't you understand there's no money there, that's why these people get services instead of paying taxes? The only way they can help "shoulder" the load is to receive less government spending.

There's also the devious "taxing the rich won't balance the federal budet" baloney: "That would keep the government running for 141 days..." ...as if they would suddenly be the *only* group paying taxes?!? Hello, gross distortion of fact!

There's about $1.6T AGI in the top 1%; they already pay about $500B in taxes; confiscating the rest of their income would yield an additional ~$1.1T - technically *just* short of being able to balance the federal budget. It's only in the last 3 years the deficit has gotten so large the 1% hasn't been able to cover the spread. Next year, they'll likely be able to again.

But, back to my main point that some significant portion of that supposed wealth held, and income captured, by the <1% has very little real value. Some of it is the $2T+ the feds have printed and handed to the banks, and the only reason we're not seeing inflation from that is because the banks *are* holding it instead of letting it out into the economy. Some of it is empty profit from CDO, derivatives, and other "complicated financial products." There's no real wealth behind that money. Another slice represents bad private debt: mortgage, student loan, consumer credit that can't be repaid in an economy functioning at today's levels. If we taxed the rich, we'd find out we're breaking into a piggy bank that's rather hollow inside.

Furthermore, if we ever really did significantly cut government spending, it's the wealthiest fraction of a percent that will be hit the hardest by the cuts. The only thing that keeps these fat pigs puffed up is the hot air the government keeps pumping into them.

A significant portion of those huge pools of wealth is false. It's just funny money in a circus act. Devaluation is all but inevitable. The only thing we can hope to have some control over is the method, and the speed.

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 29, 2011 | 10:43 p.m.
This comment has been removed.
Jimmy Bearfield October 30, 2011 | 12:07 a.m.

"Don't you understand there's no money there, that's why these people get services instead of paying taxes? The only way they can help 'shoulder' the load is to receive less government spending."

No, that's not the only way. Besides receiving less government spending, they also must start paying for the services they use. Imagine how much lower everyone's tax burden would be if 1) there were fewer people on the dole and 2) more people funding a smaller government.

"There's also the devious 'taxing the rich won't balance the federal budet" baloney: 'That would keep the government running for 141 days...' ...as if they would suddenly be the *only* group paying taxes?!? Hello, gross distortion of fact!"

But this is exactly what the president and so many in Congress are trying to sell: the fantasy that if only the rich "paid their fair share," it would be enough to get the debt and deficit under control.

"There's about $1.6T AGI in the top 1%; they already pay about $500B in taxes; confiscating the rest of their income would yield an additional ~$1.1T - technically *just* short of being able to balance the federal budget."

Do you really believe that the feds will begin taking 100% of all income over $250K? Or 75%? Or 50%? Of course not. So where will Congress get the money necessary to erase the debt and deficit? They'll have to get more from the middle class, such as by allowing the AMT to creep even lower.

Maybe eventually the middle class realize that they need to stop being angry at "the rich" and start taking out their frustration on the bigger parasites, such as the baby mamas and my baby's daddies who line up for WIC, TANF, Medicaid, etc. Will we see them protesting outside of, say, 1500 Vandiver Drive?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle October 30, 2011 | 11:55 a.m.

Jimmy, one more time: they *get* the services because they *can't* pay for them. If you take the services away, you just have people with no money, no job, and very little leverage to control them. The "job creators" are not actually creating any jobs for these people.

You're the one that brought up the "taxing the rich won't balance the budget" baloney in this thread. You parroted an obvious, blatant lie in an attempt to make a point. Now, you're telling me how unrealistic the whole idea is. If it's so unrealistic (and riddled with gross errors) maybe you should stop bringing it up.

Of course it all ends up with the typical class-tinged image of all the "baby mommas" and "baby daddies" sucking up all this country's money and resources. Not that there's a class war going on or anything like that.

Here are the actual figures:

Total Federal government outlays
For WIC: ~$9 Billion
For TANF: ~$23 Billion
For Medicare: ~$220 Billion

Total: ~$252 Billion

Defense and Homeland Security outlays: $737 Billion

Amount of Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) captured by:
Bottom 50%: ~$1.0T
Bottom 20%: ~$60 Billion
Wealthiest <1%: ~$1.6T

Again, good luck balancing the federal budget on the backs of the non-senior poor. It's such a small portion of the total picture, it's like trying to bake a pound cake with only a teaspoon of flour.

Of course, I've been pointing out that we can't really balance the federal budget on the backs of the rich, either. Why? The real value of their money is grossly overstated. The moment that money gets put into play, whether by taxation and redistribution, or by voluntary investment / use by the rich, we'll find out how little value it actually has.

I'm also arguing FOR big cuts in government spending, because that's where the wealthy get most of their money. If we cut government spending, it will absolutely hammer the income and fortunes of the wealthiest.

Significant devaluation is going to occur. Some has already. Exactly when, or how, more will occur is TBA.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Stat...
http://www.ourdime.us/102/budgetinfo/how...
http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=vie...
http://rationalrevolution.net/articles/a...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_i...

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle October 30, 2011 | 12:10 p.m.

Protip, Frank: The Democrat/Republican dichotomy is nothing more than a good cop/bad cop routine.

As allergic as you are to actual numbers and math, You'll probably need to pull out the "lies, damn lies, and statistics" quote to counteract my above post.

We already know you never thought Saturday Night Live was ever funny. What of Twain's works? I hope you've read his entire autobiography in which the above quote appears. His biting satire and social commentary was often aimed squarely against the wealthy and ruling elite.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield October 30, 2011 | 1:11 p.m.

"Jimmy, one more time: they *get* the services because they *can't* pay for them. If you take the services away, you just have people with no money, no job, and very little leverage to control them."

Many of them can't pay for them because they've made irresponsible and/or selfish choices in life. Here's just one example: 40% of adult TANF beneficiaries didn't finish high school, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, and 15% have nine or fewer years of education. And the rest of us are supposed to pay higher taxes to shield them from the consequences of not taking full advantage of the education that other people pay for?

Take the services away from those who make such choices. That will force them to find work. And if you don't think there are jobs out there, there were more than 166 openings in the Oct. 23 Tribune, as someone noted in Trib Talk earlier this week.

"For Medicare: ~$220 Billion"

Medicare is not Medicaid. Total Medicaid spending in 2010 was about $427 billion. The amount and growth are unsustainable at both the federal and state level, which is why some states are sharply reducing the amount of days that recipients can spend in the hospital each year: www.usatoday.com/news/washington/story/2...

Are people on the dole all poor and unable to support themselves? Not necessarily. For example, consider that SCHIP is available to a family of four making more than $63K, which is $13K higher than the median national income. And in states that have received waivers, the ceiling is even higher.

Here's another example: Hawaii had the country's first universal health care program for kids. (The co-pay was just $7.) The state shut it down after seven months because 85% of the kids enrolled had private insurance before entering the program. "People who were already able to afford healthcare began to stop paying for it so they could get it for free," said Dr. Kenny Fink, an administrator at Hawaii's Department of Human Services. So much for the blanket statement that "they *get* the services because they *can't* pay for them."

Again, it's pure fantasy that increasing taxes on just "the rich" will erase the debt and deficit.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush October 30, 2011 | 1:55 p.m.

"Get your GED
By gunpoint." That'll teach'em
To be citizens.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush October 30, 2011 | 2:02 p.m.

Letting people drown
Who don't wear life preservers -
Not selfish at all.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush October 30, 2011 | 2:13 p.m.

If you think that I'm
Envious of selfishness,
You'd be mistaken.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush October 30, 2011 | 2:16 p.m.

Remember the poor
Is someone else's problem -
Long as you got yours.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush October 30, 2011 | 2:19 p.m.

When employers keep
You poor, they ensure that you
Must keep coming back.

Because if you get
Ahead, they may need to find
A diff'rent sucker.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking October 30, 2011 | 2:58 p.m.

My employers don't
Keep me poor. I choose not to
Make the poor choices.

DK

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush October 30, 2011 | 3:40 p.m.

Tell me more about
How you chose your parents and
Chose your DNA.

How you chose to not
Be injured and chose to not
Have some misfortune.

Tell me more about
The battle between ego
And humility.

Tell me more about
Stepping over brethern who
Just made poor choices.

Then I can tell you
About victims of crimes, and
Widows and orphans -

Who's choices were snatched,
Fortune's were grabbed, and justice
Denied. Listening?

Since you've got yours, the
Real hazard is thinking
You're undeserving.

But when everything
You have is a gift, then you're
More willing to share.

(Report Comment)
Tony Robertson October 30, 2011 | 3:45 p.m.

So, Gregg's self-employed?

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 30, 2011 | 3:55 p.m.

DF - I grow weary. Your one line statements: "If you take the services away, you just have people with no money, no job, and very little leverage to control them."
"The "job creators" are not actually creating any jobs for these people."
"The moment that money gets put into play, whether by taxation and redistribution, or by voluntary investment / use by the rich, we'll find out how little value it actually has."
"If we cut government spending, it will absolutely hammer the income and fortunes of the wealthiest.", and others, have been positively refuted over and over to you, but you continue to recite them until boredom accompanies each sermon. Water on a raincoat.

Samuel Clemens a new reference in the fray. Marx and communism were still popular in many camps at time of his death. For whatever that is worth.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith October 30, 2011 | 6:20 p.m.

@ Tony Robertson:

Actually, Gregg's posts show considerable latent talent. He simply needs to address more serious matters. As an aid to that, I offer the following lines:

Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes Benz.
She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys that she calls friends.
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat,
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget.

[and ...]

Last thing I remember, I was running for the door,
I had to find the passage back to the place I was before.
"Relax," said the night man, "we are programmed to receive.
You can check out any time you like but you can never leave!"

Now THAT'S substance! The final sentence is the absolute pinnacle of profundity.

BTW, there are something like four luxury hotels in Panama City, Panama and one is called Hotel California. I've not stayed there, but it might be fun. :)

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle October 30, 2011 | 6:33 p.m.

Where has that been refuted?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle October 30, 2011 | 7:39 p.m.

Jimmy, first, sorry about the typo, That figure *IS* for Medicaid, not Medicare.

Anyway, you're grossly overestimating the amount of money given to the "cheaters" and the "freeloaders." Sounds like rank jealousy to me. Means testing costs money, too, BTW.

Here's more info about Medicaid, what it costs, what it covers, who gets benefits, etc.:

http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=vie...

That document indicates federal Medicaid spending in 2008 was $204B. It hasn't doubled in the last 3 years. You're quoting combined state and federal expenditures, not just federal.

You seem to think there's an entire army of welfare cheats sucking this country dry, but that they'll all just go out and get jobs if their welfare checks are taken away.

I'm not so optimistic. If there's that many of them, there won't be jobs for everyone, even menial minimum-wage ones. Sure, Columbia has jobs. Columbia's unemployment rate is also half the national average. Even so, 166 job openings for a population of 100,000 is kinda pathetic. There are more than 166 people in Columbia receiving welfare benefits.

If these people are really soaking up that much money, do you really think that expense will be successfully be shifted from public sources to private enterprise? The cost of minimum wage is a lot more than the cost of what we are just giving these people now. Yes, those employers would be getting some labor value for their money, but again, is there really that much work that needs done? Unemployment figures say "No."

The reality is that if so many poor people are such a problem now (because they are just a money drain on governments), cutting off the welfare payments won't make the people, or the problem, go away. It will only change things.

I would implore you to think carefully about what those changes might be. I doubt it will be the utopia you seem to think it would be.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle October 30, 2011 | 7:55 p.m.

BTW, I've never claimed that "...increasing taxes on just "the rich" will erase the debt and deficit." Because, in fact, it absolutely won't.

But, there's not *any* single thing that could be done, that *would*.

Eliminating non-senior welfare, alone, won't.
Raising taxes on the rich, alone, won't.
Eliminating senior welfare, alone, won't.
Raising taxes on the poor and middle class, alone, won't.
Cutting the military budget, alone, won't.

It will take ALL of these things, together, to actually do the job.

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 30, 2011 | 8:36 p.m.

"It will take ALL of these things, together, to actually do the job." Plus major steps to create an expanding economy. Probably the re-institution of the steps taken by Bush Administration to rescind useless, damaging regulations on business, would be a great start. Obama reversed all of those efforts and as we know, has imposed a disastrous quantity on new regs (4200 this year, 15% more than last year.) An atmosphere favorable to entrepreneurship will create an explosion of activity not ever seen in any Gov't Jobs Program.

Plus major revision of our tax code. Plus the demise of "baseline budgeting process". Plus possible sale of gov't idle assets. All these actions with a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution will be needed to erase the deficit and reduce the debt. The "good cops" will accomplish this, again, if given the chance. Anyone question the identity of the "good cops"?

(Report Comment)
Phyllis Cormack October 30, 2011 | 10:06 p.m.

Wow, Frank. You really have them backed into a corner. I know they'll fix all those deficit problems if they get elected this time because that's what they did last time. Right?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xf_1yHI5N...

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield October 30, 2011 | 10:06 p.m.

"You seem to think there's an entire army of welfare cheats sucking this country dry, but that they'll all just go out and get jobs if their welfare checks are taken away. . . . The reality is that if so many poor people are such a problem now (because they are just a money drain on governments), cutting off the welfare payments won't make the people, or the problem, go away. It will only change things."

Go to 1500 Vandiver Drive and poll some of the young women walking in carrying a baby. Say: "I'm doing a survey. Where do you work? Where does your husband work?" If the answer is, "I don't have a job" or "I'm not married," ask: "Then why did you choose to have a baby? Do you think that it's fair that other people are at work right now to pay for your choice?" On a side note, ask some OB nurses how many times a new mother asks them what to put on the paperwork at the hospital when her husband isn't the father.

Now if such people are unwilling to work, and they're forced off of the government teat, wouldn't you step in to help them out? Or would you do your own, micro-level means testing? Yes, means testing costs money, but it's there for a reason, which is why the county, state and feds all do it. The problem is that they don't do enough of it.

(Report Comment)
Phyllis Cormack October 30, 2011 | 10:16 p.m.
This comment has been removed.
Phyllis Cormack October 30, 2011 | 10:20 p.m.

So Jimmy, what do you think should happen with all those people who had babies and didn't have jobs or husbands. What should happen with the babies? Who should make that happen?

(Report Comment)
Phyllis Cormack October 30, 2011 | 10:23 p.m.

And are you engaged in the medical profession? If not, how did you get the inside glimpse of that small sector of the world that apparently nobody else has?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle October 30, 2011 | 10:58 p.m.

The economy actually crashed well *before* Bush left office. All that de-regulation Bush did really stabilized and expanded the economy, didn't it!

"Stabilized" as in, on the floor, knocked out cold, it wasn't, and still isn't, going anywhere. Bush's legacy is zero net job creation, near-zero net economic growth, just pretty much a zero all around, unless you're counting dead bodies.

I can agree with most of your points: Regulation is grossly overdone in some areas, but... grossly underdone in others (i.e. financial). Unfortunately, the 'major revision of our tax code' options I've seen from Republican candidates so far are sheer and utter lunacy. They all amount to huge further tax cuts for the wealthiest, and absolutely massive tax increases for everyone else (including you, Frank). If you think that's gonna help our economy, you're smoking crack.

I'm rather suspicious of your "An atmosphere favorable to entrepreneurship..." bit. What, exactly, does that mean? The statement is so utterly devoid of specifics, it could mean just about anything. Increased government spending could be justified as such.

I'm sure your "good cops" can bring the confidence fairy out of hiding long enough to inflate some new economic bubble, but... another bubble won't solve any of the actual economic problems our country has.

The latest deficit panel has 3 more weeks to come up with something. Here's to hoping they fail. Those legislated panel-failure "doomsday" cuts are just what we're all looking for, aren't they?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle October 30, 2011 | 11:48 p.m.

Tell you what, Jimmy, I'll take over subsidizing the poor welfare deadbeats, if you take over paying all the subsidies that corporations and wealthy individuals get from the government.

Fair? Of course not. You'd be paying out 10-1 what I would be.

I've let you yammer on about how horrible the poor welfare cheats are, what about the rich ones? Is it time to talk about them, and how much money they get in government assistance yet? The financial industry absolutely did the moral equivalent of having a baby without any means of support. They crashed our economy and doubled unemployment. Yet they have been given, literally, multiple $Trillions of dollars by our government for their lack of foresight.

You want to end welfare to the poor, I want to end welfare for the wealthy. My idea will create way more savings for the government than yours will.

Also note, the current cost control mechanism the medical industry uses ends up accounting for about 20-25% of all healthcare costs. Is that good economic policy? The War on Drugs makes absolutely no economic sense whatsoever, but... we still do it. I think a lot of means testing has become a similar mental reflex; it's only done because that's just how it's done, not because it actually makes economic sense. Drug testing for welfare recipients has cost way more than it has saved in every place it's been tried so far. Yet, it's a popular idea that our state is pursuing as well.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking October 31, 2011 | 7:42 a.m.

Derrick Fogle wrote:

"The latest deficit panel has 3 more weeks to come up with something. Here's to hoping they fail."

I suspect they'll (Congress) come up with a way of putting off the day of reckoning once again. In fact, it won't surprise me if they somehow put it off until after the election.

DK

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 31, 2011 | 7:54 a.m.

Yes Phyllis, "I know they'll fix all those deficit problems if they get elected this time because that's what they did last time. Right?", they balanced the budget four years in a row and reduced the debt, until we gave them W. Bush to contend with. He provided the D's with two of their longed for, budget busting programs, "No Child" education and Prescription drugs. No liberal can remember any of those facts and would add the wars as unnecessary spending without acknowledging that they have prevented further attacks on our own soil. Liberals foul the nest every time allowed in it.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm October 31, 2011 | 8:08 a.m.

Frank,

No Child left behind was bi-partisan; it passed the House 384-45 and passed the Senate 91-8 and was introduced to the House by John Boehner (R).

Medicare Part-D was a Republican Bill. It Narrowly passed the Senate 54-44 with 80% of those Nay votes coming from Democrats. It was also introduced by a republican, Dennis Hastert. It narrowly passed the House as well; 216 for and 215 against. Only 9 Dems voted for it and 195 against it while 207 Republicans voted for it.

Not to mention that fact that the House, Senate, and White House were all under Republican control at the time.

I know you are not to big on facts or logic but even this is out there for you Frank. Please join the rest of us in reality.

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 31, 2011 | 8:26 a.m.

D. Fogle - This is what is wearing me out with you. "The economy actually crashed well *before* Bush left office. All that de-regulation Bush did really stabilized and expanded the economy, didn't it!" Somehow, quit omitting facts! The deregulation you should have referred to was that of Clinton, Frank and Dodd. Bush unemployment was over 7% at his exit, up from well under 5%. After BO has given us 3 years of re-regulation for unions and environmentalists what have we? 9% with no sign of improvement and the shadow of destructive inflation which you admit is on the way without calling it that.

Only you could wonder about "An atmosphere favorable to entrepreneurship..." bit." The reason why is because it does not compute with the numbers you love to juggle. Reagan, '94 Republicans and W. Bush all provided that atmosphere and while you know that you must only refer to the situation after liberals screwed it up, in your effort to keep all, heads down depressed, waiting for Government to Do Something!

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 31, 2011 | 9:04 a.m.

Jack Hamm - Neither No Child nor Prescription Drugs would been allowed on the floor of the House without the frantic effort of Senator E.M. Kennedy, W. and a willing moderate (liberal), Speaker Hastert.

Democrats attempted to block the Drug Bill in Senate because it allowed too much participation from "private sector" insurance companies. http://articles.cnn.com/2003-10-23/polit... Thank you for your comment.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking October 31, 2011 | 9:09 a.m.

frank christian wrote:

"He provided the D's with two of their longed for, budget busting programs, "No Child" education and Prescription drugs."

NCLB costs were about $25 billion in 2007, and Part D costs were about $60 billion in 2010. I wouldn't call either program "budget busting". Eliminating both programs would only cut the deficit about 5% (and especially Part D is quite a popular program).

DK

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 31, 2011 | 10:02 a.m.

Mark F. - "Last March, Richard S. Foster, Medicare's chief actuary for nearly a decade, said administration officials threatened to fire him if he disclosed his belief in 2003 that the drug package would cost $500 billion to $600 billion. Lawmakers in both parties accused the administration of concealing important information that could have derailed passage of the bill. (Feb. 2005)"

Looks like Foster was right. 60B$X10yrs = 600B$. Around same time 1.2T$ was the estimate most liberals preferred to go with in the crucifixion of W. Budget was easier to "bust" back then.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking October 31, 2011 | 11:16 a.m.

frank christian wrote:

"Looks like Foster was right. 60B$X10yrs = 600B$."

Over the last 10 years, the federal gov't has spent something like $30 trillion. So while 600 billion is a lot of money in absolute terms, as a percentage of federal outlays it's a drop in the bucket.

DK

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield October 31, 2011 | 12:16 p.m.

"So Jimmy, what do you think should happen with all those people who had babies and didn't have jobs or husbands. What should happen with the babies?"

They are the parents' responsibility. They chose to create them. With that freedom comes responsibility.

If some shirk that responsibility, you would step in and take one or more of those children into your home, right? If not, why would you force the responsible people to dig deeper into their pockets to enable irresponsibility? Empty yours first or deal with the root cause: irresponsibility and selfishness: "I got my kid and check. Who cares that someone else has to pay for it?"

"And are you engaged in the medical profession? If not, how did you get the inside glimpse of that small sector of the world that apparently nobody else has?"

There are plenty of opportunities for such insights. For example, some of these insights come from simply watching and listening to relatives who play the system.

"You want to end welfare to the poor, I want to end welfare for the wealthy."

No, I want to eliminate it across the board. Examples include deductions for children and mortgages across all income brackets. The savings would be enormous.

There are additional savings opportunities at the local level. For example, a parent who owns a $300K house pays about $2,500 in the CPS portion of his/her property taxes. CPS spends an average of $9,300 to educate each child.

If parents were required to pay, say, 25% or 50% of the annual difference between the CPS portion of their property taxes and the cost of educating their child(ren), there would be plenty of money for schools. Would you be comfortable with that requirement if it were implemented at the same time all other deductions, credits, etc. were eliminated for all brackets at all levels of government?

"Jimmy, first, sorry about the typo, That figure *IS* for Medicaid, not Medicare."

You said, "For Medicare: ~$220 Billion." Even without the typo, total Medicaid spending in 2010 was nearly twice that: about $427 billion.

(Report Comment)
Phyllis Cormack October 31, 2011 | 12:35 p.m.

"For example, some of these insights come from simply watching and listening to relatives who play the system."

But Jimmy, I've been told that if the various safety nets were eliminated that families would take care of themselves and that community based solutions would exceed anything that the government was capable of. I guess that's not the case in your case?

"They are the parents' responsibility. They chose to create them. With that freedom comes responsibility."

And what then of the baby who's parents refuse to take the responsibility or who's parents try but fail?

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 31, 2011 | 1:21 p.m.

Mark F. - "So while 600 billion is a lot of money in absolute terms, as a percentage of federal outlays it's a drop in the bucket."

So then please tell the liberals to leave poor "W", alone!

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield October 31, 2011 | 1:54 p.m.

"But Jimmy, I've been told that if the various safety nets were eliminated that families would take care of themselves and that community based solutions would exceed anything that the government was capable of. I guess that's not the case in your case?"

Of course not. Why would I bail out an irresponsible, lazy, selfish relative? Sucker relatives -- often grandparents -- are part of the problem because they provide things (e.g., cash, transportation, a place to live) that the government either doesn't provide or does but not in the amounts that the freeloader wants.

"And what then of the baby who's parents refuse to take the responsibility or who's parents try but fail?"

The answer was in the post you responded to: "If some shirk that responsibility, you would step in and take one or more of those children into your home, right? If not, why would you force the responsible people to dig deeper into their pockets to enable irresponsibility? Empty yours first or deal with the root cause: irresponsibility and selfishness: 'I got my kid and check. Who cares that someone else has to pay for it?'"

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 31, 2011 | 3:41 p.m.

The beautiful thing about the liberal "bent", one only has to concern one's self about keeping the money that helps the
downtrodden masses, flowing. One need not concern one's self with where it comes from or whether any of it is helping said poor.

The Student Loan Program was started with Congressional provided funds and was to continue to help low income students perpetually thru repayment by earlier assisted needy. Newspapers carried the directors idea of how to solve an outrageous rate of delinquency in the program with the frantic appeal, "The students are not repaying their loans! We desperately need more money! I felt that he saw his duty as to spread the money out among needy, but honest students, not to impose collection efforts upon anyone.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle November 3, 2011 | 10:03 p.m.

Research indicates over 15% of the wealthiest 1% are in the medical industry. If we cut programs that pay for medical services, those cuts will almost certainly have a significant negative impact on this group.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield November 4, 2011 | 9:18 a.m.

"Research indicates over 15% of the wealthiest 1% are in the medical industry. If we cut programs that pay for medical services, those cuts will almost certainly have a significant negative impact on this group."

www.columbiamissourian.com/stories/2011/...

(Report Comment)
mike mentor November 4, 2011 | 9:39 a.m.

octomoms crying
cant meet three thousand dollar
monthly mortgage waaa

alleged beiber mom
front row seats to hottest show
she survives on us

crisis of culture
we want but we dont work
others are for that

i am entitled
consume more than I produce
others owe me right

(Report Comment)

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