Open thread October 5, 2021 Dan Crawford | October 5, 2021 10:50 pm Comments (25) | Digg Facebook Twitter |
Found this interesting. Tucked in the reconciliation bill they want to mandate employers with 5+ employees to contribute up to 10% to an IRA. Failure to do so is “taxed”.
Why not raise SS 1% for employer and employee and bump Medicare up a percent or so and start to expand it?
As the debt default looms, the White House warns of financial crisis
(The good news is this would quite possibly put the GOP out of business.)
thank you. 1% would be a good start.
the “hidden” requiement that employers contribute 10% to an !RA appears to be an example of taxing the people to support Wall Street. it makes the Democrats look incompetent as to both policy and politics. if, of course, Forbes can be trusted.
Did you know Kyrsten Sinema did a paid internship at a California winery during the pandemic?
Credit to reporter Dave Levinthal at Insider for breaking the story … all the way back in May. (Again, I’m gobsmacked that I only learned of it in October, but that’s the whole genesis of this piece.) Levinthal cracked the case thanks to a single line item in a new financial disclosure statement Sinema filed that month showing she’d earned $1,117.40 at Three Sticks Winery in Sonoma County….
A few smaller sites rehashed the original story, but John Gorgola at The Nation was just about the only person to really pick up the thread, wondering last month why Sinema chose this winery out of the 8,000 or 9,000 across the country. As Insider’s Levinthal noted, one of the destinations listed on an invitation for a $5,000-a-person Sinema-headlined fundraiser the same month as her vineyard gig was Three Sticks.
And as Gorgola in turn pointed out, Three Sticks is owned by private equity titan William Price III. (His generational suffix—those triple vertical lines—is also how the hyper-exclusive winery, with a product that’s seldom available for purchase, earned its name.) The investment firm Price founded, TPG Capital, has spent more than $10 million on lobbyists over the past decade. What’s an extra $1,117.40 for another friendly ear to a man like that, especially for the target of a last-ditch persuasion campaign aimed at preserving a tax loophole beloved by Wall Street?”
Sinema Stars in Her Own Film
NY Times – Maureen Dowd – October 2
Do you remember the days of the Simpson-Bowles debt-reduction plan?
A decade ago elite opinion was obsessed with the supposed need for immediate action on budget deficits. This consensus among what I used to call Very Serious People was so strong that as Ezra Klein, now a Times Opinion writer, wrote, deficits somehow became an issue to which “the rules of reportorial neutrality don’t apply.”
The news media more or less openly rooted not just for deficit reduction in general, but in particular for “entitlement reform,” a.k.a. cuts in future Medicare and Social Security benefits. Such cuts, everyone who mattered seemed to argue, were essential to secure the nation’s future.
They weren’t. But here’s my question: If elite opinion cares so much about the future, why isn’t there any comparable consensus now about the need for climate action and spending on children? These are two of the main components of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, and the case for both is much stronger than the case for entitlement cuts ever was.
Yet whereas calling for Social Security cuts used to be treated as a sort of political badge of seriousness, calling for urgent action on climate and children isn’t. If anything, much reporting on current politics seems to suggest that the handful of Democrats trying to dismantle Build Back Better, to limit the Biden agenda to modest spending on conventional infrastructure, are being responsible, while the progressives trying to make sure that we really do invest in the nation’s future are somehow unserious.
Let’s talk about what securing the future really means.
The logic of demands for entitlement reform was always suspect. It’s true that an aging population and rising health care costs may eventually force us to choose between tax hikes and benefits cuts (although worries about government debt have long been greatly overblown). But why was it urgent to take action in, say, 2010? What would be lost by waiting a few years? If you thought about it, the elite consensus was that we needed to cut future benefits in order to avoid … future cuts in benefits. Huh?
By contrast, the cost of delaying action on climate and children is real and immense.
On climate: Every year that the world fails to limit greenhouse gas emissions, humanity emits about 35 billion tons of carbon dioxide — and these emissions will stay in the atmosphere, warming the planet, for hundreds of years.
We’ve already seen the costs imposed by the leading edge of climate change — severe droughts, a proliferation of extreme weather events. The overwhelming scientific consensus is that such costs will get far worse in the decades ahead. So by postponing climate action, we are undermining our future in a much more substantial way than we do by, say, adding a few percent to the national debt.
On children: Child poverty is a huge problem in America. And there’s overwhelming evidence that spending on programs that alleviate child poverty has huge payoffs: Children who receive aid from these programs grow up to be healthier adults, with higher earnings, than those who don’t. In fact, the evidence for high returns from spending more on children is much stronger than the evidence for high returns to spending on roads and bridges (although we should do that, too).
So every year that we don’t increase aid to children, for example by expanding the child tax credit, leads to decades of wasted human potential.
But elite opinion — and much reporting — somehow fails to highlight the extreme irresponsibility of opposing clean energy plans and the immense waste of human potential that comes from failing to address child poverty. Instead it’s all “$3.5 trillion! $3.5 trillion!” — often without pointing out that this is proposed spending over a decade, not a single year, and that it would amount to only 1.2 percent of G.D.P.
OK, I don’t fully understand this double standard — why Very Serious People became obsessed with the supposedly urgent need to limit government debt yet are blasé about if not hostile to proposals to tackle the issues that really matter for our future.
Money is surely part of the story: Corporate groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce were all in on entitlement reform but are lobbying furiously against Build Back Better. Indeed, the Democrats trying to scuttle Biden’s agenda are more accurately described as the party’s corporate wing than as “centrists.” After all, polls suggest that the policies they oppose are highly popular, so in that sense they’re well to the right of the political center.
But not everyone defining conventional wisdom is on the take. There also seems to be a sort of social dynamic in politics and the media, perhaps reflecting the circles in which opinion leaders move, that treats people who want to make the lives of ordinary Americans harder as courageous, while considering those who want to raise taxes on corporations and the rich flaky and unrealistic.
Whatever the reasons for this dynamic, it needs to be fought. Right now we have an opportunity to really do the right thing. It will be a tragedy if this opportunity is missed.
Is this kind of a post? I kind of remember anne doing this at Economists View
paywall at NYT
So Open Thread is better, I guess.
The fact that the media was not being an honest broker in these discussions was something I have spoken to, was thinking about writing more about. I felt that Krugman lost his focus on this in the piece, should have emphasized the problem more. I couldn’t/didn’t see an effective way of excerpting this.
I was trying to “guess” which is the better place to put it. In the end, either works. More people dive into the front than the open thread even though they may not comment. Either suits me. Just thinking early – on.
I assume Ken’s post is entirely an excerpt of Krugman.
It is of course right as far as it goes. The answer to Krugman is that they are not all on the take. Except they all take take the opinions of “nonpartisan eperts” as “truth.”
krugman fell for this once before until corrected by Dean Baker. Social Security is not government spending or government debt. it is just a very good way for people to save enough of their own money, safe from inflation and other losses cash is heir to, to have enough to live on in their old age (or disability)..without becoming dependent on government welfare, which as we all know is not dependable, given the reluctance of other people to pay for someone else’s groceries.
as far as i can tell the child tax credit is not as good a solution to poverty as a higher minimum wage, same for day care for all…as these programs seem to be proposing to pay for the “needs” of people with more money than i ever had, even allowing for inflation.
i am not sure more roads and bridges are the best way to fight climate change, nor are more, faster, longer range, electric cars.
medicare for all is the best way to manage health care costs..IF the congress is honest enough, and smart enough, to actually control costs and not just give away the people’s money to the health care providers, and IF medicare is paid for by the workers themselves and not made an unreasonable “tax the rich” scheme which will be opposed by people stronger than we are, and is not “fair” whatever we think. or don’t think, as the case may be.
Please understand that i do not disagree with Krugman at all. I am just trying to fine-tune what Democrats are calling for so they don’t shoot themselves in the foot.
A little humor today
The 25 best episodes of ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’
I used to catch these on a Saturday morning,
I don’t see where he lost his focus. Unless, as a media creature himself, he couldn’t afford to bite the hand that feeds. Or, as I have witnessed in some other knowledgeable people, they lack the killer instinct: they cannot close decisively on an issue but leave it sort of vague and “up to you.”
As for the media not being an honest broker.. when has it ever been? The only chance we ever had with the media was that sometimes different people owned different parts of it (them?) and we could hope to get different points of view, if not always at least one sane one.
Or maybe it IS up to us.
Our republican political system of representative hypocrisy is implicitly a capitalist state rather than a democratic state with a capitalist economy. The golden rule is those with the gold will rule. During times of great common cause, then some semblance of state and media that represents the will of the people emerges as much because we the people are loyal followers in a clinch than because the republic takes into account public interests in and of themselves. Divided we fail. Divided we are conquered by dollar democracy. United under widespread duress then we will be heard and catered to because of the survival interests of elites. The media is a PR firm for the capitalist state providing every sort of pandering that sells.
Cynicism is next to godliness :<)
“No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.”
me and Diogenes agree.
I couldn’t tell if the article about media bias was claiming that the media had a liberal bias, or that people believe that the media has a liberal bias…because the media keep telling them it does. or just what a “liberal” bias is.
So, I have been surveying reality in search of some sign for hope and it has been slim pickings this AM. Our (Boomer and maybe your pre-Boomer) generation like the (Greatest) generation of our parents that raised us was very supportive of Social Security, a second pension for some and an only pension for many. Our parents had seen how bad that bad can be during the Great Depression and then WWII, which united them. What fostered solidarity among young adults during those hard times only made the youngest folk resentful as they grew up into the Silent Generation. The children of the Silent Generation are far more likely to be Republicans than Boomers are. If I find hope then it is that the great grandchildren of the Silent Generation will see their grandparents hit the skids in retirement and realize that they have been lied to.
It is not like words do not have meaning or any power to make change, but rather that people are mostly selective listeners gravitating strongly to hearing what they want to hear and also succumbing to repetition. Also we choose to read what we read and listen to what we listen to the extent that selection bias means far more than accuracy.
Report March 1, 2018
The Generation Gap in American Politics
1. Generations’ party identification, midterm voting preferences, views of Trump
“…The Silent Generation is the only generation in which, on balance, more registered voters identify as or lean Republican (52%) than identify with or lean Democratic (43%)…”
Deal reached in Senate to suspend debt ceiling into December, temporarily averting debt crisis
has anyone seen what’s really in those Covid vaccines?