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It is only Pork if it benefits someone else

Conservative Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts has issued a report that warns that the US court system is being damaged by the sequestration budget. According to Roberts, the cuts to the federal court system’s budget “pose a genuine threat to public safety”.

So, Republicans will not let the government raise any new revenues (even though taxes are currently at record lows), won’t allow any cuts to our bloated defense budget, but still complain when they are personally affected by their own budget cuts.
So, Conservatives fight tooth and nail (including shutting down the government) against letting the government raise any new revenues (even though federal taxes are at near historical lows), won’t allow any cuts to our bloated defense budget, but still complain when they are personally affected by their own budget cuts.

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16 Comments

  1. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    OK IK, your using progressive sound bites again. On 2 statements:
    1. Republicans will not let the government raise any new revenues;
    2. even though taxes are currently at record lows.

    Both of these statements are false.
    Soundbites -There have been many new taxes enacted and coming mostly as a result of the ACA.
    Taxes are equal to or greater then, but not below levels seen post WWII.

    FACTS:

    When the modern federal individual income tax was instituted in 1913, the bottom tax rate was 1%, and the top rate was 7%. Since then, the bottom rate has been as high as 23% (in 1944-1945), and the top rate has been as high as 94% (in 1944-1945). In 2012, the bottom rate was 15%, and the top rate was 35%.
    From 1950-2011, the top federal individual income tax rate varied from 92% (in 1952-1953) to 28% (in 1988-1990)

    As of 2013, a result of the “fiscal cliff” deal struck with House Republicans at the end of last year, the top income tax rate will go up by 4.6 percentage points, to 39.6 percent — the same top rate that applied during Clinton’s administration.

    Persons with more than $250,000 in family income (and singles with over $200,000 income) also face some additional taxes under the Affordable Care Act, including an additional 3.8 percent tax on net “investment income” and a 0.9 percent add-on Medicare tax on payroll income exceeding $200,000. Both of those new taxes took effect Jan 1, 2013

    Starting this year and next, five new tax increases will begin to raise $258.2 billion in new revenue over seven years

    The top tax rates on capital gains and dividends will jump from 15% to 18.8%.

    Manufactures and importers of certain medical devices will be taxed 2.3% of the price of the product

    Under current law, Americans get a tax deduction if all their medical expenses exceed 7.5% of what they make (minus exceptions and deductions). That number will rise to 10% for almost everyone in 2013. Those that are 65 and older get a pass for 3 years. This tax raises $400 million next year, $15.2 billion over seven years.

    So to summarize all this in a historical context:
    CBO projects that federal revenues will be 16.7% of GDP in fiscal year 2013, 17.3% in 2014, and 17.9% in 2015, which is the same as the historical average of the past 40 years .
    So tax collection as a percent of GDP will remain historically the same regardless of tax brackets.

    Another key point is that while not often considered in the equation are state taxes. Combined with federal the burden so here are some interesting facts about taxpayers total burden:

    Between 1929 and 2011, the portion of the U.S. economy collected in federal, state and local taxes has ranged from 10% to 29%, with the median being 25% and the average 24%. In 2011, the figure was 25%

    So what this means is while we focus on federally collected taxes, state taxes have been creeping upwards and add to the total burden.

    So the PatriotSGT Factcheck rating on those 2 statements is false.

    Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    I agree that I should have been a tiny bit more careful with my wording.

    Yes, I was talking about federal taxes, since I was talking about the federal court system (that’s what pays for the federal courts). And according to the Congressional Budget Office, federal tax rates have hit record lows. See http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0712/78386.html

    As for new taxes coming from the ACA, mind you the ACA passed when Democrats had control of both the House and Senate and the Republicans filibustered it in the Senate. In the end, not a single Republican voted for the ACA, and famously they have tried to repeal (or dismantle) it 46 times since then. So using the ACA as an example of how Republicans will let the government raise taxes seems disingenuous at best.

    Same thing with the “fiscal cliff” deal. Just before that, the Republicans (gladly) shut down the federal government rather than raise any new revenues. They got spanked so badly for their behavior that they relented at the end of the year and allowed minor revenue increases to pass.

    So, how about if I rephrase what I said as follows:

    So, Republicans fight tooth and nail (including shutting down the government) against letting the government raise any new revenues (even though federal taxes are at near historical lows), won’t allow any cuts to our bloated defense budget, but still complain when they are personally affected by their own budget cuts.

    One last question — why do you present a list of facts but don’t give references (links)? How can I check your facts? Are you embarrassed by where these “facts” came from?

    I think my original point was still valid. But Thanks PSgt for keeping me honest.

    Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 12:52 pm | Permalink
  3. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    IK,
    Here are 2 of the sources I used, with justfacts being the most used. I do freely admit that I cherry picked without taking into effect the bigger picture, which is why you didn’t get a pants on fire rating. :)

    I do agree about SOME republicans whining that their particular funding stream also got cut and the hypocrisy or irony that goes with it.

    I do also think that with many state taxes (at least mine) rising and both parties being careful not to raise income tax. They are raising many other taxes and adding fees which increase revenues without touching the politically charged “income tax”.

    And on Roberts, wasn’t he the deciding vote that upheld the ACA challenge. That doesn’t sound too republicanish. I guess we’ve got to take the good with the bad.

    http://www.justfacts.com/taxes.asp

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/feb/07/barack-obama/president-barack-obama-says-he-didnt-raise-taxes/

    Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee wrote:

    Well, I appreciate you not setting my pants on fire!

    Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Permalink
  5. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    And on the near record lows, that is in what was collected and does reflect the effects of the recession. It does not mean income tax rates imposed by government as they have not gone down. Simply revenues collected averaged out over the tax paying population.

    Also, the revenues being collected by the government are on track to remain near the 40 year average, which suggests that whether rates have gone up or down, collections have remained steady at around 17.9% of GDP. What has gone up is spending as a percentage of GDP and as a result our debt. Use the justfacts site, it has a lot of well sourced data and information that both sides of the isle could use for sound bites.

    Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Permalink
  6. ebdoug wrote:

    PATRIOTSGT, thank you for the stats. is any of the 250K folks income being indexed? Or will we get into what happened with the minimum tax where just ordinary people get hit with the extra? I didn’t realize so many taxes are going up on those who can well afford it.

    Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 5:28 pm | Permalink
  7. David Freeman wrote:

    From justfacts.com’s “about us” section:
    “we are conservative/libertarian in our viewpoints, but unlike many organizations and media outlets, this does not mean we give preference to facts that coincide with our opinions”.

    After briefly looking through sections on abortion and gun rights, it appeared to me that progressive viewpoints were not well represented. Frankly I find it tedious trying to unravel libertarian attempts to try and appear objective.

    The president of justfacts is James D. Agresi who appears to be a climate change denier as well as authoring the book Rational Conclusions which (according to itself)draws upon the study of numerous academic disciplines – ranging from history, archaeology, and physics to genetics, microbiology, and more – to compellingly and meticulously demonstrate the truthfulness of the Bible.

    My impression is that the data presented is probably real but biased in selection and presentation.

    Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 5:36 pm | Permalink
  8. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    To be fair David they do have stats on the unfairness of the tax system which they believe favors the wealthy and go into fairly deep analysis to prove that point, so while it may be libertarian I do think judging from the citations and where they pulled the data from they are making a best effort to honestly represent real conclusions.

    On the site if you read the section tabbed “media” I think it shows they have tried to look objectively at the data. They point to articles by FOX, NY Times and a Pulitzer Journalist from Columbia Univ and present their views and add what they feel the writers did not include in their analysis.

    I’ve found it’s very hard to find any completely objective analysis from anyone. Even the CBO, because they conduct studies based on assumptions given to them to turn out an answer. If those assumptions come from the left or right then that’s how the data will appear. I searched many different site and thought this gave a very fair analysis, but I’d never claim it was perfect.

    If you have any suggestions on where I can find a non partisan analysis source that would be great.

    EBDOUG- Thanks and their is a TAB on bracket creep on the site, but you’ll probably understand it better then I. :)

    Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 8:15 pm | Permalink
  9. Iron Knee wrote:

    OK, in the interest of giving justfacts a fair listen, I decided to read a bunch of papers about climate change written by James D Agresi and (mostly) published in JustFacts. As David Freeman says, Agresi is definitely a climate change denier, but that is not what concerns me.

    What concerns me is that there are patterns to most of his papers. The most popular one is this:
    1) take a statement not from any scientific source, but from the popular media (or worse, from a politician).
    2) show that there is no “scientific proof” for that statement.
    3) conclude that “we just don’t know”.
    If you have been reading my blog, you know that I have very little love (or trust in) the popular media. They almost always get scientific facts wrong. To be honest, I have made the same mistake myself, even though I have training as a scientist. But Agresi uses the limitations of popular media to cast doubt on scientific results. That hardly seems scientific, or in line with the motto “just facts”.

    Another tactic is to compare two studies done at different times that come up with slightly different conclusions. For example, one study estimates sea level rise of around a foot, and another estimates sea level rise of two feet. He then announces that these studies contradict each other and dismisses them both, even though both showed that — most likely — sea levels would rise.

    I decided to concentrate on climate change because, as David Freeman points out, many libertarian groups attempt to appear objective, and climate change is one area where these attempts flourish, mainly because there is plenty of funding money to be had from corporations who stand to lose money if law or regulations are passed limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

    I also read some of justfact’s papers on other topics and noted the same patterns. I must congratulate them on their ability to sound scientific. But just because someone sounds scientific doesn’t mean they are actually being scientific.

    I didn’t even bother to look into Agresi’s other job, which is writing books that attempt to prove the veracity of the Bible using scientific techniques. I mean, you have to be kidding, right?

    Monday, January 6, 2014 at 5:06 am | Permalink
  10. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    I get it IK and thanks.
    I looked at the site and tried to use the data presented to draw my own conclusions. Even after your and David’s conclusion I would not simply discount everything based on something else I might disagree with. If I did that I would find I hard to trust any source (the President is a good example with his “if you like your insurance you can keep it” style of remarks. If I applied the same reasoning then anything he says would be discredited. If anyone has contradicting facts to the data I presented from the site please let me know the source so I can independently disqualify or confirm.

    I do appreciate the heads up.

    Monday, January 6, 2014 at 8:31 am | Permalink
  11. Iron Knee wrote:

    The truth is that there is no way we can actually know what is going to happen with climate change. This is a problem with environmental science. It took forever to ban DDT, even though there was a ton of evidence that it was catastrophic to many species. How much proof do we need before we act?

    That’s why sources who claim that there is still (some) disagreement, therefore we should NOT act are so dangerous. Yes, there is some danger that we may over-react, but there is equally a danger that we may under-react.

    The biggest problem I have with climate change deniers is that their conclusion is that we aren’t sure about climate change, therefore there is no need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. But this ignores that we KNOW with certainty that fossil fuels pollute, and also that we keep getting into wars about them. We have PLENTY of sound reasons to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. But when climate change deniers conclude that we don’t need things like a carbon tax because we aren’t sure about climate change then they are showing that their real agenda is to prop up the oil companies.

    Monday, January 6, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink
  12. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    “Yes, there is some danger that we may over-react, but there is equally a danger that we may under-react.”
    That’s a very common sense statement that makes a lot of sense.

    My personal feeling on climate change is it is happening as it always has and will. What is the measurable effect we have on it is debatable. Mother nature’s been dealing with CO2 levels higher then we have in the past and she found a way to reduce them. What I’m not sure of is can she do it with us fighting against her. What’s not debatable is that fossil fuels add pollution and poison to the atmosphere.
    I think in general the US and other developed nations are heading in the right direction, but there is a problem. The deniers and the believers of climate change or as it used to be called global warming are IMO doing equal harm to the prospect of any real solutions. The next problem is how to convince developing nations that it’s worth the investment. As those countries begin to develop they will use much more fossil fuel then those already trying to shed it. There has to be a green solution equal to fossil fuels and as you know I’ve said nuclear is the best and fastest way to break away from carbon.

    On a lighter note I hope you caught the recent act of irony when the climate change/ global warming scientist crew went to the Antarctic to study the effect of warming on sea ice and had to be rescued when their boat got iced in. And adding insult to injury the rescuers boat also got iced in. Now come on even you have got to laugh at the irony in that one. :)

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 6:01 pm | Permalink
  13. Jon wrote:

    Speaking of the president’s, “If you like your insurance, you can keep it,” statement… Why does nobody in The Media point out the fact that employees in the private sector are no more able to keep their insurance if they like it than anyone would under the ACA?

    Employers change insurance based on what makes the most sense to the organization economically. Do we not expect the same level of fiduciary responsibility from our own government?

    There’s no doubt that Obama’s statement was less than accurate. What he should have said was, “If you like your insurance, you will be every bit as likely under the ACA to keep your insurance as if you were buying insurance through your employer.”

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 3:44 pm | Permalink
  14. Jon wrote:

    Regarding the Defense Budget, recent news is that the Defense Appropriations Bill passed by the House actually spent $30 billion MORE than was allocated under the most recent budget passed by the House. So much for fiscal responsibility.

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Permalink
  15. Michael wrote:

    “Mother nature’s been dealing with CO2 levels higher then we have in the past and she found a way to reduce them.” True. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that humans will be able to adapt to such corrections and survive them. Considering the effects that droughts are already having on the food supply, there are scary possibilities if it gets worse.

    “The deniers and the believers of climate change or as it used to be called global warming are IMO doing equal harm to the prospect of any real solutions.” I’m really going to have to push back on this and ask for more clarification, because I just don’t see this at all. On the one side, I generally hear: “Fossil fuel consumption and overpopulation are resulting in increased atmospheric carbon, which produces increased average global temperatures and greater volatility of the climate. To prevent this from getting bad beyond any point of recovery, we need to take immediate steps to cut carbon emissions. We should implement policies such as carbon taxes, subsidized investment in alternative energy sources and public infrastructure, and incentives for reducing consumption.” On the other side, I hear: “There is no problem. Drill, baby drill!” How could those possibly be considered to be anywhere near equal?

    And I’m with you on the nuclear, particularly thorium, as has been mentioned in previous posts.

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 11:37 pm | Permalink
  16. Fred Wickham wrote:

    Sorry to hear you’re shutting down your great blog. It’s funny, full of insight, and always a wonderful read.

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 4:28 am | Permalink