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Forum Post: How would OWS Change Paul's Plan ?

Posted 8 years ago on Dec. 2, 2011, 5:34 p.m. EST by Rico (3027)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

I'm just curious.

Congressman Paul Ryan's plan can be reviewed at http://www.roadmap.republicans.budget.house.gov/ and the Congressional Budget Committee (CBO) report indicating it fixes our deficit problem is summarized at http://www.roadmap.republicans.budget.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=169718 with links to the actual report itself. For those of you who haven't read the plan, I'll summarize the key points:

Health Care: $2300 per individual / $5700 per family tax credit for health care coverage. As a credit, this figure comes right off whatever tax you owe. The plan also creates state-based health care exchanges, so individuals and families have a one-stop marketplace to purchase affordable health insurance without being discriminated against based on pre-existing conditions.

Medicare: No change to the deal persons aged 55 or older were promised. For those under 55, the plan creates a Medicare payment, initially averaging $11,000, to be used to purchase a Medicare certified plan. The payment is adjusted to reflect medical inflation, and pegged to income, with low-income individuals receiving greater support. The plan also provides risk adjustment, so those with greater medical needs receive a higher payment. As I recall, his plan The CBO says this makes Medicare fully solvent.

Social Security: No change to the deal persons aged 55 or older were promised. For those under 55, the plan provides an option of investing over one third of their current Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts, similar to the Thrift Savings Plan available to Federal employees. Includes a property right so they can pass on these assets to their heirs, and a guarantee that individuals will not lose a dollar they contribute to their accounts, even after inflation. This makes Social Security fully solvent according to the CBO.

Personal Taxes : Allows people to use the current code or a new two-tiered plan. The two-tiered plan taxes joint income below $100,000 ($50,000 single) at 10% and income above those levels at 25%. All deductions, credits, and loopholes other than the standard deduction and health care credit mentioned above are eliminated. The personal deduction for a family of four would be $39,000, so a middle income family of four earning $50,000 would pay only $1,100 in taxes which would be reduced to zero by the health care credit.

Taxes on the Rich: I believe the rich would be paying more in income taxes due to the base rate of 25% and elimination of their various loop-holes, deductions, and credits. They would, however, pay less on interest, capital gains, and dividends; also eliminates the death tax (some of these benefit the middle class as well, of course). The plan also replaces the corporate income tax – currently the second highest in the industrialized world – with a border-adjustable business consumption tax of 8.5 percent.

You can find more details under each topic at http://www.roadmap.republicans.budget.house.gov/Plan/ . In the details, for example, you will find a notable emphasis on improving entitlement benefits to the needy while compressing those of the well off (like myself). I encourage people to read the detailed descriptions before commenting.

From what I've seen, this is one of the few plans that actually seems to fix the deficit problem while returning the 'entitlement programs' to health. If nothing else, it seems like a good place to start discussion.

What precisely would OWS supporters change to make Paul Ryan's plan more tractable ?

P.S. I posted this not because I endorse it, but because I wanted a specific baseline that people could comment against. As usual, a lot of people have weighed in with good comments (for which I am grateful), and I have learned a lot. For those of you interested, my current opinion regarding how this plan would need to be adjusted to meet my own desires can be read in my comment at http://occupywallst.org/forum/how-would-ows-change-congressman-ryans-plan/#comment-462674 .



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[-] 17 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago

Seriously Rico? Sigh.

My objection is two-fold.

1.) There is no point in addressing the budget deficit without tackling the trade deficit. No amount of austerity/punishment for the middle class can compensate for the hemorrhaging of this nation's wealth on trade.

2.) Deficit/debt needs to be addressed during boom times - instead of blowing any potential surpluses on tax cuts and military spending as we've been wont to do since Reagan. Deficit-obsession during periods of hardship is just another game Friedmanites play - the flip-side of "deficits don't matter" during booms.

Shock Doctrine.

EDIT: Please stop voting for my comments, as whenever you do I get accused of sockpuppetry. Thank you.

[-] 5 points by notaneoliberal (2269) 8 years ago

You'll have to stop making such damn good comments for that to happen.

[-] 6 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago

Aww, shucks. :)

[-] -3 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Look! You got 3 votes for simply saying 'Aww, shucks' and using a smiley face with no nose !

Nobody should get 3 votes when their smiley face has no nose ! :o)

[-] 5 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago

Maybe I get upvoted for not pushing the anthropocentric agenda with my smilies.

This: :)

Happens to be a smiley-frog.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

It doesn't matter. I am formulating a plan with notaneoliberal to vote you into the '1% like elite' so we can redistribute your likes to the masses. See below.

[-] 2 points by cmt (1195) from Tolland, CT 8 years ago

I suspect I'm not the only one who looks for looselyhuman's posts and votes them up just for fun. Sometimes I learn something. Even when I don't find anything new, it is nice to have posts that aren't nasty or ignorant, as compared to the many posts that demonstrate the universality of Sturgeon's law.

[-] 2 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago

Thanks, I think... ;-)

[-] 1 points by cmt (1195) from Tolland, CT 8 years ago

You are clearly doing something right, to get those points with the smiley-frog. (Walks away chucking.....)

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I took away your only point just for egging him (or her, or it) along !

I think we should vote 'looselyhuman' to be a member of the '1% like elite' and formulate a plan how to redistribute his wealth to us 99% ! Maybe we could legislate a certain minimum level of typographical, grammatical, or factual errors or something. He did, after all say 'sigh' to me, and that's pretty darned elitist sounding !

[-] 2 points by notaneoliberal (2269) 8 years ago

Well, if you're offended by, "sigh", maybe you,re a little too sensitive. Iv'e been subjected to a lot worse than that by people that didn't like what I had to say. By the way, I've seen LH get voted into oblivion by Paulies. He actually is popular on these forums. (edit) I left your point intact.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Arrrggghhh ! Someone gave you back your point plus another, and they're actually giving loosely points for his lame attempt at redefining his mutated smiley face as a freakin' smiley-frog ! Where are the Paulies now ? My post does have "Paul" in the title. Maybe I should add "Ron" ?

[-] 1 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago

I actually do prefer "it." 8)

AynRandPaulRyan: http://swampland.time.com/2011/06/03/paul-ryans-ayn-rand-problem/

[-] 1 points by notaneoliberal (2269) 8 years ago

Don't envoke the Paulies. You're too reasonable for them.lol

[-] 3 points by barb (835) 8 years ago

Alot of our military budget is going to those countries where our corporations such as oil are drilling for protection against the natives of those countries. I do not think this expense belongs to the tax payors, it should go to the corporations that use our military.

[-] 1 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago


[-] 3 points by dingy58 (172) 8 years ago

My objection is Ron Lawl's assumption that the medical insurance industry will offer quality products at a cost Seniors/Disabled can afford. I'm on medicare due to disability. From day 1, I've been pressured to spend more every month on "supplemental" insurance. The copays and monthly insurance costs rise with your age/illness level. For me that could be devastating. I make $826 a month after paying $135 approx for medicare parts a,b,d not including 20% copay off the top, and that is bare bones. Supplemental insurance gives doctors an excuse to just sign you up for more tests and outpatient care that does little to add to quality of life. As it is, I just was turned down by a surgery center to have my broken arm fixed 2 weeks ago, and my doctor had to find a cheaper place to do it for me. Their excuse? They don't make enough on that type of surgery. So I had to wait an additional 5 days of hellish pain. That is the reality of medicare.

[-] 2 points by GreedKills (1119) 8 years ago

The young Paulites will pay for their greed and selfishness ten fold if this man ever ends up in office. The wars will continue yet all of the safety nets for Americans will be removed. Once removed it could take generations to get back to a society that helps it's less fortunate members.

They will be forced to watch their parents and loved ones die in agony because no one but the rich will be able to survive growing older and sicker as time marches on. He is a republican who hates the poor, minorities and the disabled. He looks upon them as a burden to those who are lucky enough to be well off.

[-] 2 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago

It's easy to confuse Paul Ryan and Ron Lawl. Both are Ayn Randians for sure.

You're absolutely right. Healthcare for profit means, at best, a two-tiered health system, and at worst, people dying for lack of care. If you get one of these people in a really honest moment they'll admit that. Why should poor seniors' lives be prolonged at the cost of society/taxpayers? Social darwinism is back.

Robert Reich talks about it:

What kind of society do Republicans want? It looks like social Darwinism.

"They’re not conservatives. They’re regressives. And the America they seek is the one we had in the Gilded Age of the late nineteenth century."


[-] 1 points by theCheat (85) 8 years ago

Yet you are one who will say the republicans do not have a plan. I have seen the democrat plan and it only puts us further in the hole. If spending to prosperity was such a good plan, then why all the foreclosures?

[-] 3 points by LazerusShade (76) 8 years ago

Yet all the cuts leave people like myself (who had a federal job) sitting in the unemployment line....that seams to be working out great for the economy. I mean hey i think i have spent a whopping 10$ outside my regular bills in the last 5 months. Yet while i was working my spending was at least $300.00 a month.

Multiply that by the 12 other technicians that were laid off not because they didn't have the work or need for them, but because they couldn't pay them from budget cuts. Where does that leave the economy? People are so fast to say that programs like the veterans department are over spending on health care, and forget some basic facts. Like they don't lay off pharmacy technicians doctors or pharmacists unless there is no where else to cut, and the fact that we wouldn't have so many vets if we were not holding multiple uneeded and unwanted wars.

[-] 3 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago

Foreclosures are a product of a manufactured bubble foisted upon overleveraged Americans are a product of a dying middle class is a product of the neoliberal trade, tax and labor policies of the last 30-40 years - since the end of the liberal consensus and the election of Reagan.

See my kind of plan here:


We just don't have any democrats courageous enough to champion what needs to be done.

[-] -1 points by theCheat (85) 8 years ago

All are bad ideas. The reason the ss rates are set where they are is so that it could limit the top payout per month. If you increase the ceiling then you must also increase the benefit, it is only fair. Though the Eisenhower tax rates were higher, so were the amount of deductions I.e. you could write of consumer debt interest. No one eer came close to the actual upper tax rate. The preamble of the constitution states "provide for the common defense" which means that defense is a basic requirement of the government. Green companies are a farce. They already receive a ridiculous amount of tax payer money and do not produce much of anything. They sound all fluffy and nice and all, but they are a fraud perpetratd on us. I know you hate GE, but they are THE major player in wind energy and have sold carbon credits for billions of dollars all while getting "green energy" subsidies. Rail is a boondoggle. It is cheaper to fly than the take Amtrak across the country. Rail is not viable because if it were the private industry would be building it; take the bus. You are typical liberal mind....spend spend spend, then tax tax tax, but not you.

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 8 years ago


Is point 1) a reference to the Saudis? The Chinese? or both? and how does our trade deficit relate to our budget deficit?

On point 2) how do you get Congress to focus their vision during boom times on balancing the budget without resorting to Constitutional Amendment?

One final question if I may?

Are you left handed?

[-] 4 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago

1.) It's a reference to our general trade deficit with all nations - last year I believe it was $0.7 trillion. A large part of this is China.

2.) It's a good question, and something even Keynes stuggled with. One solution, IMO, is not electing leaders that hate government - but that's obviously not what you're looking for. Balanced-budget amendments are dangerous, but if one was written that carefully laid out what constitutes a recession and what an expansion, and limited deficit-spending to recessions.. maybe... But, had this happened in the past we may not have had the Apollo program, etc, so I don't know. I think if we keep in mind that government will only ever be as good or as bad as we, the people, are - a reflection of how we project our selves onto the public sphere, then it becomes a question of becoming better citizens and expecting government to follow suit.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

[-] 4 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 8 years ago

One solution, IMO, is not electing leaders that hate government

Well, as it happens that is exactly what I have been saying for some time now.

Hey Hey

Ho Ho

the Repelican party

has got to go!

Hey Hey

Ho Ho

[-] 1 points by dingy58 (172) 8 years ago

hey hey ho ho Congress has got to go hey hey ho ho they can take Obama too hey hey ho ho SCOTUS is rotten too, hey hey ho ho

[-] 0 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 8 years ago

"hey hey ho ho Congress has got to go; hey hey ho ho they can...(kick) Obama" out the door; "hey hey ho ho SCOTUS is rotten" to the core. If you are going to hate on your government, at least be creative and not bland. Though i'd like to see how your local government will treat you when there is no national big brother to form a national consensus.

[-] 1 points by dingy58 (172) 8 years ago

On the contrary, I love our government founded for the people and expressed in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. That was the point of my reply to the hey ho ho Repelican party comment. I appreciate your misconception comes from a place of ignorance. Not all the politicians and judges are corrupt, but enough are to demand real regress for our grievances. Have a good day and thanks for exercising your Constitutional right to voice your opinion.

[-] 1 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 8 years ago

Then use their individual names and not their collective vocation, and I wont be misconceived, for all i know you are a ragin', imbecilic nit wit, praying to the invisible hand of the market. you do know they are out there? and yes my misconception comes out of a place of ignorance of your understanding. but because of your clarification, i am ignorant no longer. thanks for giving me your two thoughts. cheers!

[-] 2 points by dingy58 (172) 8 years ago

I'll generalize because I can count on less one hand the honest members. I really don't care what you think of me. Cheers!

[-] 1 points by dingy58 (172) 8 years ago

Pot calling the kettle black...don't assume a person hates the USA because they disagree with a comment of yours. That is generalizing about my motives that you have zero clue about. In fact, I've read many of your comments, and you tend to be pretty self-important and think you are more intelligent while your nasty remarks prove otherwise. Grow up Rico.

[-] 1 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 8 years ago

mam/sir, i apologize for ruffing your feathers, i was more catin' you on your jingle and helping you improve it. it had potential and now it rocks. at the same time i was putting my two thoughts out there about how vagueness confuses understanding. did not mean to offend. and the reason i didn't reply back was because i liked your fire and was good enough to give you a up vote. also, why would you think i'm reco, shouldn't our locations be different?

[-] 2 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago

Ahh, sorry, missed it. Nope, I'm not left-handed. But as to left brain/right brain:

It's a valid concept, but neurologically muddy. Iain McGilchrist has an amazing book called "The Master and his Emissary" that's well-worth a read. He also did a talk at TED which is a quick but interesting summary: http://www.ted.com/talks/iain_mcgilchrist_the_divided_brain.html

In short, though, my philosophy on the subject can be summed up as follows (I think there's too much "left brain" going on):

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. ~ Albert Einstein

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 8 years ago

ah well. so much for wild speculation.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

LOL ! Is that what it's called, 'sockpuppetry' ? Yea! I learned something new today ! Time for a beer !

[-] 2 points by TommyNYC (730) 8 years ago

Trolls are paid for by the libertarian Koch brothers and other big money interests. Corporations hate left-politics, remember?

Here's the sockpuppets:


[-] 1 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 8 years ago


[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Well at least we're providing jobs to someone. I hope they're Americans and not a bunch of guys in India ! ;o)

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Relative to the trade deficit, the plan includes incentives for corporations to come back to the USA. Beyond that, you know from our prior discussion that I'm a big advocate of We the People using our power as consumers in the largest consumer economy in the world to simply slow down on their foreign purchases (and show a little social responsibility) as noted at http://occupywallst.org/forum/the-power-of-the-people/.

I certainly agree with your item #2.

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

By the way, are you REALLY going to force folks to go create a boatload of aliases just so we can vote our own posts up to the top ? I find that practice egregious.

[-] 1 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago

Excuse me? This again? I logged out and back in 6 times to dominate your silly post? Did nucleus do the same, just below?


[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I assume someone is running around up-voting all the posts that they agree with. The voting trends we're seeing these days didn't use to occur before they starting using the votes to hide some comments. I just assumed it was you. Maybe you're just popular. I should be so popular ;o)

[-] 3 points by nucleus (3291) 8 years ago

I just love seeing a -3. It makes my vote really meaningful.

[-] 12 points by nucleus (3291) 8 years ago

The Ryan Plan

  • NO medicare for all / NO single payer

  • Privatizes Social Security

  • Lowers top tax rate from 35% to 25%

  • NOTHING about money in politics

  • NOTHING about corporate personhood

  • NOTHING about military spending

  • NOTHING about wars ...

Same old shit, different wrapper. This turd can't have a Town Hall meeting because the crowds shout him down.

[-] 3 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago

Thank you.

Just more Randian Social Darwinism.

[-] 2 points by nucleus (3291) 8 years ago

People who support this kind of crap should be eligible for Darwin Awards.

[-] -1 points by Stalinist (-1) 8 years ago

Whoa! If Ayn Rand is so bad, how come Rush (the band, not the radio dude) is like so awesome and stuff? They are, like, totally inspired by Ayn Rand and stuff.

[-] 1 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 8 years ago

Because it only speaks to one constitution and not the continuation of the human spectrum. Just like there are defunct working class and middle class, there will be some in the econoclass. Her silliness assumes that only government is crooked, and that if that fraction of the affluent would get out the way, it is peaches and cream. But there seems to be a majority of people believing that corruption is just as prevalent on the bottom rung as it is on the top, being less people up there, the people always get the bad apple metaphor. why is it bad apples when the industrious does it but corruption when the Man does it?

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 8 years ago

Isn't he one of those teabaggers that wants to charge for his town halls?

I know his buddy walker wants to charge $50 an hour for protests.

These people are sick, and they claim to know the constitution?

[-] -2 points by Infowar (295) 8 years ago

To put any Paul Ron or Rand in the light of being against the Constitution is dishonest at best.

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 8 years ago

I know.

The 18th century interpretation.

It's sad really.

[-] -1 points by Infowar (295) 8 years ago

examples...or rhetoric? You choose rhetoric i see.

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 8 years ago

States rights.

We already fought that war.

Get over it.

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 8 years ago

well . . . this is what his synopsis claims:

“Privatizes Social Security” -The Roadmap makes no change for those 55 and older. It provides future retirees with the option to either stay in the traditional government-run system or to enter a system of guaranteed personal accounts. Neither option is privatized. In the personal-accounts system, the accounts are owned by the individual, and managed and overseen by Social Security — not a stockbroker or private investment firm. People choosing the reformed system select from a handful of low-risk, government-regulated options — just as Members of Congress and Federal employees do.

from: http://www.roadmap.republicans.budget.house.gov/Issues/Issue/?IssueID=9847

I would suggest that is the real test isn't it? If Congress participates in the program, it would seem to have the potential for continued success -

I guess it's in the details, it's structure, and how that structure may be tweaked over time.

Personally I don't trust the guy, not only is he a repelican, he's just a little too slick.

And on the health care page, he acknowledges that larger pools produce cheaper insurance premiums -

Addresses health care’s growing strain on small businesses, by allowing them to pool together nationally to offer coverage to their employees.

which seems to imply that by taking the population as a whole is the most equitable solution to health care premiums nationwide. But that would be the public option - anathama to repelican thinking, ideology, and delicate sensibilities . . .

And how do we rein in the cost of health care? It's outpaced inflation by miles.

Finally - can the Occupy Movement use this issue to get this repelican out of office?

[-] 1 points by nucleus (3291) 8 years ago

"how do we rein in the cost of health care? It's outpaced inflation by miles."

Much of the cost increase in health care is due to insurance. Insurers reduce payments to providers to increase profits, forcing providers to raise rates. Insurance processing is also a huge burden on providers, who not only have large staffs devoted solely to processing paperwork, but in many cases are forced - by necessity or law - to use outsourced medical billing services. Other cost increases have to due to how care is distributed, how preventive care is not implemented, etc. And that's without considering drug companies ...

[-] 2 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago

Don't forget that we should be paying for healthy outcomes, instead of a fee-for-service model. Good related piece from Reich, including a mention of the Paul plan, here: http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/272-39/6724-medicare-is-the-solution-not-the-problem

[-] 2 points by nucleus (3291) 8 years ago

Absolutely. This is another example of how "free markets" aren't. In the medical free market the patient is a profit center.

[-] 1 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago

Yep. The ideology of strict "free markets" is just plain moral bankruptcy.

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 8 years ago

well, I see both of you gentlemen have a fine handle on this issue.

I will with pleasure leave you to the contemplation and organization around implementation of the private option and the various obstacles that remain.

; D

[-] 1 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago


[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 8 years ago

I see you still haven't addressed a query I posed earlier regarding which side of the brain is dominant . . .

silly question of course. who has time for such considerations?

most naturally, no one.

that no one . . .

sure is a busy fella.

[-] 1 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago

Sorry, could you send me the link? Didn't see it.

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 8 years ago

All of your points prefaced by 'nothing' are things that should be taken as separate from any changes to the tax code.

The tax code priority should be to reduce the deficit, maintain solvency for social security / medicaid - without privitization, and creating something like a flat rate that simplifies the tax code, and makes the US competitive in terms of its tax structure, while meeting our obligations, [to include full funding for EPA, FDA, and other regulatory agencies].

Issues of corporate personhood, campaign finance reform, military spending, war profiteering - these issues and others should be considered separate from addressing our budget and tax problem.

[-] 3 points by nucleus (3291) 8 years ago

Wars and military spending correlate directly to the budget. So does corproate influence, which directs where the money goes. You can't fix the budget without eliminating corproate control of government.

A flat rate tax is regressive, and the opposite of what is needed. The poor should not pay the same as the rich.

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 8 years ago

I think I said something like . . . ?

[-] 2 points by nucleus (3291) 8 years ago

Something like a flat rate tax is regressive, and the opposite of what is needed.

[-] 0 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 8 years ago

well what do I know about taxes? Do I look like an accountant?

It seems to have the implication of fairness, if not actual fairness itself.

When I hear a term like marginal tax rate I begin to think, uhoh - here we go with the terminology again so now I have to wonder just what are the bastards up to now?

I don't pretend to understand the various theories behind it but I can see where it's headed - it seems to be attempting to quantify those tax constructs that do encourage economic growth.

Makes perfectly good sense, in a recession.

But while everyone is quibbling over how to pay down the debt or whether we will eliminate the bushite tax breaks, no one seems to be considering what appears to be the reality -

and that seems to be that this economic downturn, as with the 1929 collapse before, seem to be the result of - not market saturation [as with 1929] - but something you might think of as market ceiling.

IF I understand the factors of the 29 collapse correctly, they began with over production.

Now what we seem to have is something else, but from a similar source. In both cases I think the market has found a ceiling, a limit, producing instability and then collapse.

So what I am leading to is the question:

How do we create a stable economy, and how does a fair tax structure fit in with a stable economic system?

and when I say stable I don't mean stagnant that is not what I said. It should be flexible, vibrant, responsive - and above all, responsible.

If this planet is, in fact, a life boat; and if in fact, the meteorologist is correct, that we have weather ahead; and if anyone expects the crew to man the bilge pumps rather than mutiny in the face of potential annihilation; then I would strongly suggest that the economy itself, which does provide for the food both for the crew and their families, not to mention various distractions for the children . . . .

must be flexible, responsive - and responsible.

[-] -2 points by midwestpatriot (6) 8 years ago

Nice post. This was also over production, of housing do the a mirage created by easy credit. Please see my posts below on fair taxes and a separate one on "Sustainable Business.

[-] 3 points by RogerDee (411) from Montclair, NJ 8 years ago

The deficit is not the problem, we need 25 million jobs. Using tax policy to incentivize capital flow to US emerging markets and tech, to build the next generation of energy infrastructure.

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 8 years ago

speaking of jobs - I see the numbers have been revised. I find that interesting. I would like an examination of that process of calculation. It's just math.

and math isn't fuzzy.

Some people are . . ..

[-] 1 points by nucleus (3291) 8 years ago

Seasonal jobs for the holiday season. January's numbers will reflect that.

[-] 0 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 8 years ago

I was only half listening to the news - but it sounded to me that they had revised September's numbers, and that would not be holiday labor.

[-] 2 points by nucleus (3291) 8 years ago

Revised them for what - to include the under-employed, the self-employed with no work, those who are no longer eligible to collect? The numbers are bogus. Even the Dept. of Labor's own Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps an alternate number that is about double the official one. Independent analysts put the number as high as 23%.

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 8 years ago

Revised them for what

I suppose that was the whole point of my question. the reported numbers had been 9 - 9.1 - and as I recall stayed more or less flat right through the budget debate.

Now it's down around 8.6

And suddenly Boner's message from the podium, to Congress and the nation, was to the effect we need to focus on job creation

And if you were to ask me - and yes, I am well aware that a broadcast entity may exert significant influence over imagery with it's camera placement and editorial framework - but if you were to ask me, I would have said he looked as if he had been spanked.

[-] 1 points by nucleus (3291) 8 years ago

Boner? You are reading too much corporate media.

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 8 years ago

um actually I think it is more accurate to suggest that I watch too much tv

but sometimes it is educational

[-] 1 points by RogerDee (411) from Montclair, NJ 8 years ago

20% is fair, even U6 was 17.6% in 2010. SO 23% is not unbelievable.

We know that U6 doesnt count everyone, that the real number has to be higher. We also know who much the workforce expands each month, and what the job creation number is, so if you use that 2010 U6 number of 17.6% figure net job creation to Nov 2011, its clear net job creation has not improved the real unemployed numbers.


[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

What is so sacrosanct about single payer in your mind ? Isn't the real objective to ensure all Americans have health care coverage ? Did you read the details regarding the insurance exchanges the plan proposes ?

From the details regarding Social Security for those under age 55, "All other workers will have a choice to stay in the current system or begin contributing to personal accounts. Those who choose the personal account option will have the opportunity to begin investing a significant portion of their payroll taxes into a series of funds managed by the U.S. government. The system would closely resemble the investment options available to Members of Congress and Federal employees through the Thrift Savings Plan [TSP]. As these personal accounts continue to accumulate wealth, they will eventually replace the funding that comes through the government’s pay-as-you-go system. This will reduce the demand on government spending, lead to a larger overall benefit for retired workers, and restore solvency to the Social Security Program ... Individuals who choose to invest in personal accounts will be ensured every dollar they place into an account will be guaranteed, even after inflation. With the recent market downturn, individuals must be assured their retirement is secure. By guaranteeing the dollars put into an account, individuals can be assured that a large-scale market downturn will not cost them their Social Security personal accounts."

Yes, the plan lowers the top rate from 35% to 25% but it also closes all loopholes. We all know the rich aren't actually paying 35% , and I'd trade an inescapable 25% for an escapable 35% any day. Nevertheless, I generally agree with you... I'd like to see a 3rd rate of 35% on people earning many millions of dollars a year.

Money in politics: Separate bill... we can't have one bill to fix all our grievances.

Corporate Personhood: Separate bill, possible constitutional amendment.

Military Spending: Defined by annual authorization, call your representatives.

Wars: Separate bill, possible constitutional amendment to clarify any act by Government that seeks to kill people is an act of war requiring approval by Congress.

[-] 2 points by nucleus (3291) 8 years ago

The only way to cover all citizens is to eliminate private death panels (health insurance), the 1/3 of all premiums that do NOT go to actual care and the tens of billions doctors spend annually on billing and paperwork and outsourced medical billing that is necessary just to deal with private insurers.

"Individuals who choose to invest in personal accounts will be ensured every dollar they place into an account will be guaranteed, even after inflation." so that after Wall Street rapes us again, Uncle Sam can use taxes to bail us - or them? - out again. This is simply idiocy.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Well, I actually think we do need death panels. I saw an excellent episode on 60 minutes quite same time back that explained just how much of our health care dollars are spent on care in the last 3 months of life because we can't accept death. I'm none too proud of the Republican party labeling the necessary "Appropriate Care" panels as "Death Panels," by the way. That was destructive and only delays the inevitable discussion American needs to have. Insofar as the "Death Panels" are manned by physicians, I don't mind.

I do see how perhaps one payer would help trim some administrative costs in terms of power work, billing, and so forth, but I am reluctant to say that those savings will be greater than the government bureaucracy that will emerge.

As for the money being guaranteed for inflation, I think the plan is referring to Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS). In other words, US debt. That's precisely what all our Social Security funds are 'invested' in right now. Thus, the only change is that the politicians can't spend the money on wars or whatever else seems fit at the moment. The funds really are in a lockbox monitored by each individual American.

I'm not a solid advocate of the Ryan plan, though I do like the "solvent" part. I was just using it to try and start some discussion of real issues other than how were going to rebuild America from the bottoms up with a new constitution and a resource based economy, etc.

[-] 2 points by nucleus (3291) 8 years ago

It's a cultural issue, and it is very much a right to death issue.

People need the option to choose to die painlessly, at home. Doctors cannot legally assist that humane and empowering process, in large part because the medical industry derives profit from extending care.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I agree with the profit motive problem. Did you know that under the current law Medicare cannot deny treatment for an illness that's covered ? In the 60 minutes episode, they presented cases where a man with terminal cancer was given a pacemaker then died a month or two later. In another case, a woman's terminally ill mother who was in her 80's was given a pap smear just before death.

Based on my experience, a good amount of assisted death occurs when a patient tells their doctor they are in extreme pain and need a bottle of strong pain killers. The doctor doesn't need to know anything more. That's my plan.

[-] 1 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 8 years ago

This is just a personal preference, but i trust a bureaucrat over a struggling capitalist any day of the week. I know we are all able to do great and wonderful things for our nation, but i also know that people will steal if their standard of living is threatened. Maybe that is just a working class prejudice, but that's my two thoughts.

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I here you on that, but you should note that when Congressman Ryan says "government selected securities protected against inflation," he's alluding to things like Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) which are simply a special class of Treasurery bonds (see http://www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/products/prod_tips_glance.htm ). THus, your money will be 'invested' in precisely the same thing it's invested in today: US Government Debt. The only thing he's changing is that he's making it yours so the politicians can't spend it.

As it stands, every penny I've contributed to Social Security over my 30 year career has been spent on other things, and the current system is simply asking my children to pay me the benefits I have already paid for. Unfortunately, the population pyramid is inverted so fewer people pay in than collect, and there's no promise they will get their benefits when the time comes.

I prefer to know that my money is under my control and can't be spent by the politicians on other things, even if it's invested in the same US debt instruments as it is 'invested' in today.

[-] 2 points by RogerDee (411) from Montclair, NJ 8 years ago

SS trust fund has enough to last thru 2055, with job creation 2065. And if we look at the Trustees low cost scenario SS is good thru 2085.

Its easy Fix the economy, you fix Social Security.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Your numbers are wrong, at least according to the Social Security Administration.

All quotes below are taken directly from the "The Trustees summary of the 2011 Social Security and Medicare Trustees Reports" available at http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/TRSUM/tr11summary.pdf.

Social Security : "After 2022, trust fund assets will be redeemed in amounts that exceed interest earnings until trust fund reserves are exhausted in 2036, one year earlier than was projected last year. ... Under current projections, the annual cost of Social Security benefits expressed as a share of workers’ taxable wages will grow rapidly from 11.3 percent in 2007, the last pre-recession year, to roughly 17 percent in 2035, and will then dip slightly before commencing a slow upward march after 2050."

Medicare : "Medicare’s HI Trust Fund is expected to pay out more in hospital benefits and other expenditures than it receives in income in all future years. The projected date of HI Trust Fund exhaustion is 2024, five years earlier than estimated in last year’s report"

Summary : "Projected long-run program costs for both Medicare and Social Security are not sustainable under currently scheduled financing, and will require legislative corrections if disruptive consequences for beneficiaries and taxpayers are to be avoided."

This is not an 'economy problem' it's a 'let's give voters more benefits without raising their taxes so they'll vote for us' problem that's been building for a very long time. The entry of a the very large Baby Boomer population into retirement age has turned what was a manageable problem into a disaster.

Did you really think it was simple even after you heard bi-partisan panels left and right declaring these entitlement programs are insolvent and need to be fixed ?

[-] 2 points by RogerDee (411) from Montclair, NJ 8 years ago

You need to understand the Trustees report has 4 models. 1) High cost, 2.1% GDP growth 2) Intermediate cost 2.6% GDP growth 3) Low cost 2.8% GDP growth 4) Stohastic Model

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Yep, a few have pointed that out. I'm going to go read it more closely. I'll be particularly interested in the Stochastic model. I happen to have a patent related to application of Stochastic techniques to a common problem.

[-] 1 points by RogerDee (411) from Montclair, NJ 8 years ago

I have read each trustees report since 2005, but had not looked at the Stohastic model until this year. I think Stohastic modeling is under rated. IT should be noted that actuaries by definition create conservative estimates.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

It makes perfect sense to me, I just want to understand what distributions and means they used and what variables were dithered.

[-] 1 points by RogerDee (411) from Montclair, NJ 8 years ago

In the high-intermediate and low cost scenarios the 4 major variables are

1) GDP growth

2) Workforce growth

3) job creation

4) Wage growth

[-] 0 points by midwestpatriot (6) 8 years ago

They never run the scenario where everyone's retirement age is 70 and after that we index for life expectancy, but it fixes everything, there are just too many political interests lined up against it. Especially a lot of democratic constituencies.

[-] 3 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 8 years ago

After age 50 the health decline can occur with rapidity - asking people to keep working past 65 - while it may have health benefits - is not in my view a reasonable expectation to impose on the public.

We should create neither the expectation nor the penalty for failing to meet that expectation.

[-] 1 points by midwestpatriot (6) 8 years ago

If they have a certified health condition there is still disability.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Good point, but at the same time, there is a limit to what we can afford. As I recall, you already suggested that 25% tax on incomes above $200,000 joint might be too much, but even at that level, it appears from Ryan's plan that we need to start rolling back benefits.

I say the first step should be to drop everyone like me who doesn't really need Social Security and Medicare then start working out what we can afford.

If we want to get really radical (no way), we might even index retirement age according to the type of employment. All I do all day is work on computers, and I can expect to do my job as up until the point my mind fades, hopefully sometime later than age 70. A construction worker, however, probably can't be expected to keep carrying materials up ladders so long.

At one point, I even considered 'retiring' at age 40 while I still have a healthy body then returning to work at age 55. That would work for me, but not for all.

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 8 years ago

the mind deteriorates at different rates and for different reasons from person to person.

I wasn't basing my 25% estimate on actual numbers of revenue generated - and there are I am sure various revenue generation possibilities that have not yet even been seriously explored - like hard rock mining and what they pay in royalties.

I am confident that the funds are available - it is just a question of constructing a system of revenue generation that is fair to the people of the United States, one that provides both curbs and incentives where we need them.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Yep, but at some point, our creditors are going to step in and 'help' us solve the prblem just like they're 'helping' Europe right now. I don't understand why people think that option is going to be more attractive than a reasoned solution we work out while we still have time.

[-] 1 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 8 years ago

right, those are the ones that are {tips} indexed. but what if the banks buy all those up, transfering non indexed debt for indexed, then the fed's inflationary measures will be negated. the way I see it, i have more debt than capital, so I'd rather see that when my debt is paid off in the future, it buys less goods for the banker. this gives me impeccable leverage to clear my debt at an earlier time. if I am scheduled to have payed my debt in ten years, then i can get a deal for paying off in five. But indexing Social Security sounds good, I just don't want the banks to get any of that action, call me old fashion, but l like when Karma gives us a teachable moment.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

You lost me. I'm a big fan of inflation (see http://occupywallst.org/forum/what-is-money/ ), I just don't understand your argument that the banks can somehow undo it.

[-] 1 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 8 years ago

i'm sorry i skimmed it and thought that everyone's Social Security was going to be personally managed and i commend you for taking your capital into your own hands. but won't most people just sell it to the bank for a new car, home or other basic need. kinda like an annuity lump sum pay out? mind you I ant never owned my own business, so my understanding is strictly academic.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

The actual link to the portion of the plan discussing Social Security is http://www.roadmap.republicans.budget.house.gov/Plan/#retirementsecurity . It's in plain english rather than legalese, and it's a pretty easy read.

[-] 1 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 8 years ago

excerpt: "Personal Choice in Retirement Accounts. Beginning in 2012, the proposal allows each worker younger than 55 to shift a portion of his or her Social Security payroll tax payment into a personal retirement account, chosen from a group of investment funds approved by the government (see below). When fully phased in, the personal accounts will average 5.1 percentage points of the current 12.4-percent Social Security payroll tax." this part here is good for the savvy investor but will be pray for vultures. you know, freedom loving to a fault simpletons will sell their retirements for needed things. I think i'll collect mine from the government when i retire. And FYI: as a nation, we will still have to care for those people who sell their SS to the market, if it happens to be bust when that day comes.

[-] -1 points by midwestpatriot (6) 8 years ago

There are plenty of people who pay 35-38% federal income tax (plus state and local on top), they are high income earners but not wealthy, generally two incomes with big bills for childcare/college etc..., subsidizing those on welfare and unemployment as well as the trust fund babies. The reason the government wants to raise taxes at $250K isn't because anyone believe those making $250K are rich (unless they have a large store of assets), it is because the government knows that those with incomes from $250k to $400K are footing the bill for most of the country.

[-] 2 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Sure, and that includes me. Nevertheless, I can afford to pay more in taxes, and I don't need social security or medicare. I don't like doing so, but I'm not sure how we'll get out of the mess we're in unless we do so.

[-] -2 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 8 years ago

great plan. Stop giving out free stuff !!! It's not free ! nucleus wants a handout - stand on your own two feet wimp !

[-] 2 points by nucleus (3291) 8 years ago

Exactly what free stuff am I getting?

[-] -1 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 8 years ago

social security, medicare, soon obamacare Whatever the 15 trillion got you

[-] 2 points by nucleus (3291) 8 years ago

I pay FICA, which pays for social security and medicare. So that's not free.

If the Supreme Court upholds the Guaranteed Profits for Health Insurance Corporations Act, I'll be paying for that, too, so it won't be free.

As for the $15 trillion, I pay taxes, so whatever it is you think I'm getting for it is not free, either.

You are drinking waaay too much Kool-Aid.

[-] 0 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 8 years ago

ok we agree - lower taxes & less government spending - excellent !

[-] 2 points by nucleus (3291) 8 years ago

We need much higher taxes on the rich and more government spending on social programs. I'd be happy to pay taxes to support a civil and just society. Medicare for all!

[-] 1 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 8 years ago

hahahaha! ok ! use of force again !

[-] 8 points by shoozTroll (17632) 8 years ago

I don't know how the GAs would treat it, but I would throw the whole thing out and start over.

It's just another nod to neoliberalism.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

You would throw the whole thing out because.... why? How will people evaluate whatever plan the GAs come up with? Is the CBO on-board ? Is ANYONE on-board ?

I'm just trying to be practical, and I'm curious what people think.

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 8 years ago

You may very well be practical.

Mr. Ryan isn't.

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Ah, so you're throwing it out because of who authored it rather than because of any specific objection to its content ? Do you actually know Paul Ryan ? I don't, so I can only judge his plan by its merits and the evaluation performed by the CBO.

[-] 4 points by shoozTroll (17632) 8 years ago

Anything that includes any privatization of SS is a bust.

Ask yourself what riders the GOP will place in it.

[-] 4 points by 99time (92) 8 years ago

Yes shooz. The privatization or destruction of the huge Social Security fund is the Grand Prize. All else is transient and tertiary.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 8 years ago

Wallstreets been after it since the 80s.

It's the only thing they hate more than pensions.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

The plan allows people to contribute to government selected plans only. Why exactly is the slow easing of all but the most needy off of Social Security such a bad idea ? I plan to retire next year with a couple of million in assets and a $150,000 per year pension, yet I will also receive Social Security and Medicare benefits. Do you think that's right ? Shouldn't those of us who can afford to take care of ourselves be expected to do so ?

I can't speak for what the GOP will or will not insert into the legislation any more than I can speak to what the Democrats would insert for their own part.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 8 years ago

It's written ALEC, It won't go that way.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Can you provide a link connecting this plan to ALEC ? As best I can tell ALEC is a PAC. When I look at Paul Ryan's campaign finances at http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?cid=N00004357 it says he get's 77% of his money from individual contributors and only 23% ($432,000) from PACs. Overall, his finances look better than Obama's in my opinion ( see http://www.opensecrets.org/pres12/bundlers.php?id=N00009638 ).

[-] 1 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago

Probably the only way to know for sure would be to find significant similarities with their "model" bills.

Healthcare-specific ones here: http://alecexposed.org/wiki/Health,_Pharmaceuticals,_and_Safety_Net_Programs

Tax/budget ones here: http://alecexposed.org/wiki/Taxes_and_Budgets

They really do write legislation that ends up being voted on with only minor modification.

More general info on ALEC: http://alecexposed.org/wiki/What_is_ALEC%3F

I tend to agree that ALEC easily could have written Ryan's budget.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

All too complicated for me. The guy's campaign finances seem cleaner than most, and I'm willing to judge his ideas by their merits rather than dismiss them off-hand out of tenuous suspicion. That's just me.

[-] 2 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 8 years ago

The CBO has shown Ryan's numbers don't work.

You may want to read Paul Krugman in the NY Times to get a better idea of just how appallingly bad the Ryan plan is. It is pure cynicism and pure 1% thinking. Most independent economists, not aligned with a Rep or DEm organization, agree.

One thing alone should send up warning flares.(As one example.) Eliminating capital gains taxes. The wealthy (the 1%) in this country make ALL of their money on capitol gains, NOTHING from earnings. The wealthiest people in the nation would thereby be exempt from paying a single penny of taxes.

There are many such hidden features in the Ryan plan. As I said, look up Krugman in the Times. His critique was to the point and thorough. Look especially on the parts about the Medicare vouchers: they don't cover the costs and will mean more seniors would be doomed to poverty or early death.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

You can see the Social Security report on the plan at http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/solvency/PRyan_20100427.pdf. It says the plan works. Just FYI, you can see all sorts of plans evaluated by the Social Security folks at http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/solvency/index.html . There's some interesting reading there.

I will go look up Krugman's report.

I don't like the capital gains part either. All the speculation is hurting us. I think we need really hefty tax on commodity trades that occur before delivery of the commodity, and I'd also like to see a hefty tax on capital gains taken before a 5 or perhaps 10 year period.

One 'hidden' feature in the Ryan plan I do like is tort reform. I don;t think it's any coincidence that the majority of our representatives are lawyers and we haven't been able to put any reasonable limits on malpractice costs. In my opinion, if a doctor is negligent, then we should pull his license, not just fine him and let him continue practicing.

If you haven't figured it out yet, I posted Ryan's plan just to try and get people talking about what we should do. ;o)

[-] 3 points by RogerDee (411) from Montclair, NJ 8 years ago

Low cap gains increases capital flow to speculation. Instead of US investments that create jobs.

[-] 2 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Creation of jobs requires capital, but not all capital creates jobs. That's why I'm for reforms that target speculative investment but leave real investment alone.

[-] 1 points by RogerDee (411) from Montclair, NJ 8 years ago

Right. I would like to see more incentives for capital to flow into "real investment" targeting emerging tech and markets here in the US. Reducing capital flow to speculation is great, but lets make sure that if we restrict capital flow on one side, we give capital someplace to go on the other side.

And we used to do that with tax policy, to the tune of 2-3-4% of GDP going to US investments. Combined with 4-5% spent on infrastructure, we saw 7 to 9% of GDP spent on direct job stimulus. Now we see only 2-3% of GDP. The Major culprit there is the 1986 Tax Reform Act.

[-] 2 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 8 years ago

Tort reform is a straw man created by the right wing. Malpractice accounts for only about 0.2% of medical costs.

Ryan would cap penalties on doctors (usually pretty wealthy folks, noted without begrudging them a penny) who do some pretty horrible things. Amputating the wrong leg, causing irreversible brain injury, and so on. While I agree that there are some frivolous lawsuits, most actual malpractice is so hard to prove that it never gets to court. (I know this first hand.)

If the remedy was simply to yank a doctor's license, what recourse does the injured party have, if they can no longer make a living. It is cold comfort knowing one has put a doctor out of business when there is no food on the table because you can no longer earn it.

Whatever the doctor did may not rise to the level of criminality or negligence. A surgeon may simply have slipped and cut a nerve by accident. A diagnosis may have been made in good faith, but was still incorrect. The lawsuit isn't simply about blame, but responsibility, and who is to bear the burden of medically-caused disability, even if the doctor did his best.

Right Wingers like to assign blame. But the issue is not about that. It is about caring for the injured.

Mostly tort reform is about protecting the wealthy at the expense of the poor. I don't favor it at all.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

No, no, no. I'm all for folks having all their actual costs covered. It's the "emotional distress," "pain and suffering," and "punitive damages" I'm concerned about.

My wife happens to be health care, and she tells me doctors pay a fortune in malpractice insurance and run a zillion "defensive tests" just to try and insulate themselves from malpractice.

While every victim needs to be made "whole" in terms of lost income, health care costs, and so forth, no amount of money eliminates "pain and suffering" and the only punishment for a doctor found to have been grossly negligent is loss of his license to practice.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I couldn't reply to 'epa1nter' above, so I'm responding here.

You seem to have had a lot more tragic interactions with the health care system than most, and for that I'm sorry.

Health care is provided by people, and people make mistakes. We will never eliminate all mistakes. We can try to minimize the mistakes made by using a capitalist approach of monetary incentives, or we can try to minimize them through better peer review, training, etc and a strict policy of removing those people who make excessive mistakes.

If we want to retain the capitalist system of financial incentives, we will continue to drive the cost of health care ever higher as the providers will order every possible test for every possible condition just to be sure they haven't missed anything even when all their knowledge and experience tells them the tests are not necessary. The hospitals don't care as they make money on every test, and the insurance companies don't care because they pass every nickel of their costs back to the consumer.

While the current capitalist system is probably pretty effective in reducing mistakes and oversights, it raises health care cost so high the poor who need it can no longer afford it. We need to get costs down to facilitate universal care, and that's not going to happen in the world of defensive medicine.

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 8 years ago

The problem does not lie in the punitive damages, but in the cost of malpractice insurance. Since doctors are mandated to have it, a tiny handful of insurance companies are fleecing them beyond all reason. A few years ago, as the numbers of malpractice cases trended sharply DOWNWARD, malpractice insurance rates for doctors nearly doubled!

That should give you an indication of where the problem really lies.

And pain and suffering is very real. In my opinion, it should be payed for. The quality of one's life should not be ruined without some form of recompense. And in our world, I'm afraid, the only way to do that is with money.

I am not saying that the system is perfect. Far from it. But the Ryan plan is so skewed to one side, its effect would be barbaric, leaving victims of malpractice in the dust.

A bit of personal history: years ago, my mother entered the ER hysterical, She was having delusions an could barely speak. She clearly did not understand what what being said to her. She was diagnosed as having a psychotic break and was sedated enough that she lost consciousness,. The next morning when they tried to rouse her, she wouldn't wake up. Lo and behold, she was bleeding massively into her brain.

They rushed to to surgery, whereupon she also suffered a massive stroke. She remained a vegetable for the next 16 years before she died. There was no making her whole. Wasn't that worthy of a lawsuit that included provisions for pain and suffering? But it was too hard to prove, and I didn't know my legal rights back then (I was still a kid, really). So they got away with it.

Three years ago, I underwent routine surgery. The doctor was tired and worried about his own mother in the hospital at the same time. You guessed it, he botched teh surgery, compromised a nerve bundle, and I will be left in pain for the rest of my natural life. That pain was so intense and prolonged it triggered Psoriatic Arthritis, and the meds I have to take to keep me out of a wheelchair are guaranteed to shorten my life. Can I sue? Not without them opening me up again and looking for the nerves under a microscope. My insurance won't cover that, and I don't want to undergo a procedure that has, at best, a 50/50 chance of locating the nerves. So once again, no lawsuit.

About a dozen years ago, my best friend, a physician asssitant, went in to the hospital for surgery. he had had this surgery before, and knew firsthand the stages of recovery. He also knew them intellectually, having been a trained medical professional who actually assisted in some surgeries. Upon waking from the anesthetic, he reported that something was wrong, a particular belly pain that was neither indicated by the procedure nor had been experience after his previous surgeries. The doctors ignored him. The pain increased. the doctors continued to ignore him. This went on for 3 days. He went into a coma. At that point the doctors realized that something was wrong. They discovered that the surgeon had sliced through his intestines by mistake and nobody caught it. Fecal matter was leaking into his bloodstream. Five days and three bowel resections later, my friend died an agonizing death.. His family did not sue.

MOST malpractice goes un-acted upon. Most is unlitigated.

The right wing wants us to believe that we are a get-something-for-nothing, freeloading, litigeous people who just want a handout and take no responsibility. That's bullshit. They promulgate that lie in order to allow the one percent to rule without inspiring so much as a whimper (we ungrateful wretches are to blame, after all.). If that means also going after malpractice victims to further that mythology, they don't hesitate to do so. It is part of a larger narrative they are selling. I, for one, don't buy it.

[-] 1 points by midwestpatriot (6) 8 years ago

Tort reform is a state issue. Michigan did it about 10 yrs ago and we never have big lawsuit settlements anymore.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Yes, but if we are to have National Health Care, don't we also need National Tort Reform ? Not that I'm necessarily a big fan of National Health Care, by the way... I still haven't seen a good plan.

[-] 1 points by midwestpatriot (6) 8 years ago

Probably, but I am not a fan of federalism, so i would let the states solve all these issues

[-] 2 points by RogerDee (411) from Montclair, NJ 8 years ago

Page 5 of the CBO scoring Ryan cuts spending from 26% of GDP to 14%, nearly 1/3rd.

This will contract the economy, and reduce revenues, we've seen what the call for austerity has done to the EU contagion, even JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley have called for an end to austerity in the EU.

The CBO states on page 7

"Revenues under the Roadmap would initially correspond to revenues under the alternative fiscal scenario and then remain at 19 percent of GDP after 2030, on the basis of specifications provided by your staff."

SO Ryans staff told the CBO to use 19% of GDP for revenues from 2030 to 2080.

Everyone knows GDP growth goes up and down. From 1929 to 2010 GDP went as low as -21% to +8% But the Roadmap assumes an impossibility. That is why we dismiss the Roadmap as a fantasy. http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/108xx/doc10851/01-27-Ryan-Roadmap-Letter.pdf

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Good specific comments.... I'm going to go off and check your statements (which I'm sure you don't mind). I need to wipe off the less detailed comments then get some rest. I'll follow up tomorrow.

Very nice factual discussion by the way... I appreciate it.

[-] 4 points by Puzzlin (2898) 8 years ago

I would scrap it. Democrats are not going to move on this. NEVER. They reject it completely. This is a republican plan and they blame SS for the deficit which is a lie. And it is a tax cut for the rich, plain and simple, let's not whitewash this.

Also, we want Universal Healthcare, a single payer system. Other countries do it with great success, we can too. We pay more per-capita than any other industrialized nation with our broken system so obviously don't know, they do. Let's try one of these that is proven to work.

We don't want the Ryan Repug non-plans. It's the same they want to do to SS, gut then kill. We still remember those heady tea party days filled with hate and vile at those town halls, crying Socialism as we tried to fix healthcare.*

45K Americans die in this country every year because of a lack of healthcare insurance. This is not a talking point for the repug party, they constantly try to ignore it and hide it.

CONCLUSION: Hell no, scrap Ryan's plan to destroy the social safety net.

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Your response sounds pretty partisan. I suppose that's to be expected here.

I can find nothing in the plan that disassembles the social safety net. In fact, if you read the details, you'll find a good amount of language describing how it beefs up the safety net for low income folks.

As for health care, the plan gives every American a good pile of cash to go buy the plan that best suits them. It also sets up insurance exchanges to facilitate people selecting the right plan for their family. While not "single payer" the plan should certainly help prevent 45,000 American's per year from dying due to lack of health care insurance.

Will you commit to at least reading the plan details, or do you dismiss it out of hand because of who the author is ?

[-] 4 points by shoozTroll (17632) 8 years ago


Yes dismiss it out of hand.

Republicans don't write their own stuff anymore.

[-] 1 points by RogerDee (411) from Montclair, NJ 8 years ago

Quote from the CBO Reductions in Retirement Benefits

The Roadmap specifies reductions in traditional retirement benefits through progressive price indexing for many workers who are age 55 or younger in 2011.

Page 17 http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/108xx/doc10851/01-27-Ryan-Roadmap-Letter.pdf

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Right. Do you have a specific point?

[-] 1 points by Puzzlin (2898) 8 years ago

I'm pretty partisan, your putting Paul Ryan's plan here, he's clearly a stunch right wing Republican last I checked. And then implying his plan only needs a few tweaks and it's a solid plan clearly shows you favor his plan or you wouldn't have held it up here as a perfect template.

What am I missing?

Are you a registered Republican?

[-] 2 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Yes, I am a registered Republican, but I'm not too happy with my party. First it was the religious right and then came the freakin' AynRandRonPaul Libertarians. Frankly, I'd vote for Hillary Clinton if she was running (Though I like and respect Obama as a man, I wouldn't vote for him simply because we can't let these people promise and not deliver... where's immigration reform, for example?). I guess I'm basically a man without a party or a candidate right now ;o(

As for why I posted Ryan's plan.. it does seem to have some good features, and I was guilty of not having read it. I was letting the media tell me what it said, and I only read it because someone urged me to. I was a bit surprised that it wasn't as crazy as I had been thinking. I'm now planning on actually reading some of the legislation I hear about rather than let the media tell me what I should think.

I also had an ulterior motive... I've noticed people here are a lot better at criticizing something than originating, and I was hoping to get folks to talk about what they're for by stimulating comment about what they're against .

Finally, I think we all need to stop dismissing things out of hand. We need to evaluate ideas based on their merit, work to refine ideas, and so forth. If we keep dismissing things out of hand, we'll be forever stuck in this stupid gridlock while our problems fester.

[-] 2 points by Puzzlin (2898) 8 years ago

When the repelicans call SS a ponzi scheme, and tell us we don't expect to ever receive SS, and then say they want to fix it. We know they don't intend to fix it. The biggest give-away on what the repelicans are up is exactly what this OWS movement is about, they are gutting the middle class and the numbers don't lie.

The rich are getting richer which Ryan's would help insure, while the middle class is squeezed down into the poor (trickle down). The poor now consists of 15% of everyone in country and it's rising quickly. This has been the repelican plan, the one that has been fully implemented starting in the early Bush years. The wealthy enjoy the lowest tax rate of any rich generation before them, and their bottom line is astronomical compared to past fortunes years ago to boot (years ago CEOs made good but reasonable money, there was very much more income equality in those years). If anything we grow more billionaires now then ever before, and the Pelicans just smile from ear to ear and say "Great to be an American. Now you OWSers shower up and get a job. It's the Repelican Way!"*

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Well, SS payments no longer come from a 'lock-box' but from those currently paying in. Unfortunately, the demographics have turned the wrong way and we are approaching the point where there are fewer young folks paying in than there are folks collecting benefits. Isn't that kind of like a ponzi scheme ?

As best I can tell, the only way to fix SS is to convert it to a real safety net that supports only those who really need it while encouraging everyone who can afford it to save and fund their own retirement. Ditto for Medicare. Is that such a crazy idea ?

I don't think the Republicans have a plan to hurt the little guy, but I do think they often fail to understand the damage that unfettered capitalism does to our society. That's one reason I'm glad this movement emerged, and I hope all our political 'leaders' take note. I especially hope we can shut down the AynRandRonPaul wing.

Many of the criticism I myself have thrown on the AynRandRonPaul crowd relates to their silly notion that we should 'double-down' on capitalism. It's pure silliness. At the same time, however, I worry about folks wanting to 'double-down' on Medicare. The program is insolvent, and we need to figure out how to fix it before we expand it to all Americans.

I dunno. I'm frustrated by the whole system and much of the language I hear in these forums. It's so darned hard to get folks to discuss ideas rather than parties and personalities.

[-] 2 points by cmt (1195) from Tolland, CT 8 years ago

The reason Social Security is paid to everyone, rather than just the poor, is that if it becomes another "welfare" program for the (undeserving) poor, it will not survive. It has, I believe, lasted this long despite significant opposition because it has kept that broad base of support.

To have enough to retire on with a very high probability of success, by which I mean not running out of money, a person needs to save about 25 times their annual cost of living. That way, they can take out 4% a year.

Only a relatively small proportion of people can do that, for a whole army of reasons I'm not going to list, beyond mentioning that the percentage taken by money managers/ mutual fund/Wall Street drags down the earnings on retirement savings.

Some other countries have set up a mixed plan of something like Social Security, in addition to something like a pension fund (with contributions by both individual and employer), in addition to personal savings. They are trying to prevent massive numbers of the elderly running out of adequate money to stay in their homes, which is a likely outcome in this country.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Your first point is a good one that I'd never thought of before. Isn't broad support, however, a doubled-edged sword ? All the European countries suffered from the problem that Ben Franklin predicted when he said "When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic." We've certainly seen this an action with AARP successfully pushing our politicians to add new benefits and so forth to these programs.

I'm also a bit concerned about "broad participation" when I consider my own situation. I will retire next year with a couple of million in assets and over $100,000 a year in pensions, but I still get to collect Social Security and Medicare. That just seems wrong given our budget problems, and it leads me to say perhaps people who don't need these benefits shouldn't be getting them. This does, of course, suggest the programs are for the 'poor' as you suggest. It's a conundrum.

Being so close to retirement myself, I can attest to the fact that people can save for retirement. I was fortunate to have had depression-era immigrant grandparents who told me to put one-half of every pay raise I into savings and investment so I would still feel a little richer but also be accumulating wealth. That advice combined with what Einstein called the most powerful force in the universe, compound interest, allowed me to put a way a substantial sum of money that remains adequate even after the crash of 2008 and the current EuroZone debt crisis.

Your last paragraph pretty much describes the 'plan' I am under. It works, but the savings rate of the average American is terrible. I suspect that simple fact is probably central to this whole debate; if we saved more, we wouldn't need the government to force us to save through our taxes.

[-] 1 points by cmt (1195) from Tolland, CT 8 years ago

First, I'd say that you are unusual in that you seem to be willing to give up Social Security payments for yourself but still support them for those who really need them. A large proportion of people would turn against them if they got no personal profit, and that would (I predict) be enough to kill the system.

Secondly, you not only had your grandparents tell you to do something sensible, but it was feasible for you to do it. When my income was "growing" in the 1970's, it was actually falling behind inflation. While I can squeeze a nickel with the best, it was all I could do to support myself and my daughter. Eventually my ex started paying child support, but that was much later.

I'd like to assert that you underestimate several things: (1) You're brighter than average, which is a big advantage. (2) You had some good fortune along the way - a job that paid decently, reasonably good health, happening to pick a career that gave more stability than average, and the propensity to feel rewarded by doing things for the long term - most or all of those, plus others I can't think of. (3) People who lack any of those traits and advantages will not do as well.

I'm a pretty good long term planner and saver, and I've done better than average, but I could not live off the income from my savings. I had the good fortune to get and keep a job that provides a pension, and I have my social security. However, without having been lazy, stupid, or feckless, there were long periods in which your savings strategy was impossible for me to have done. And I do "frugal" really, really well.

Prior to Social Security, people knew it was save or starve, but many ended up with little or nothing. I happen to have an interest in family history, and a number of intelligent, hard working ancestors ended up with very little, due to largely external reasons. They didn't have perfect foresight, but they did reasonable things to prepare for their old age. It didn't work for some of them.

I've read that Social Security reduced suicide by the elderly by 40%. That suggests that knowing the importance of saving was not enough.

I see people around me, and I see few with the saving success you have had. I've known conscientious colleagues, with good educations and reasonable careers, unable to save the 25 times annual expenses needed for a sound retirement.

And I will now say something very much not politically correct: most people who are in the top few percent of intelligence (and I suspect that you fit there) do not understand most people simply do not have the same mental computing power. And - most people who have that propensity for long-ahead planning and pleasure in implementing those plans do not understand how rare that is in human beings.

If we were all better, then we'd do better. And we could do things differently and have it work. But we are what we are.

And shifting gears slightly - I do understand compounding as a personal matter. Although I could not live off it for the rest of, I hope, a long life, small amounts over a long time have grown to something that I'm proud of.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I hear you. That's why I've changed my stance since joining this forum. The circumstances enjoyed by my circle of friends and I clearly do not represent the average American, and I've come to understand just how much I have been blessed. There's no good reason for me to enjoy high luxury when others struggle so much. A little luxury, fine, but I don't really need as much as I have. A few of my friends are coming around as well; we're starting to understand the logic behind Bill Gates and Warren Buffet's actions. it's called compassion and understanding.

[-] 2 points by RogerDee (411) from Montclair, NJ 8 years ago

Not true, SS benefits come from the SS trust fund per the 2011 SS trustees report. In fact in the Trustees report under the low cost scenario SS is good thru 2085. Trustees stohastic model says SS is good thru 2055.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

The trust fund is 'invested' in US debt. That means the government 'borrowed' it to pay for our wars and whatever else they felt like spending it on.

As for your solvency numbers, maybe we're reading different parts of the same report... All quotes below are taken directly from the "The Trustees summary of the 2011 Social Security and Medicare Trustees Reports" available at http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/TRSUM/tr11summary.pdf.

Social Security : "After 2022, trust fund assets will be redeemed in amounts that exceed interest earnings until trust fund reserves are exhausted in 2036, one year earlier than was projected last year. ... Under current projections, the annual cost of Social Security benefits expressed as a share of workers’ taxable wages will grow rapidly from 11.3 percent in 2007, the last pre-recession year, to roughly 17 percent in 2035, and will then dip slightly before commencing a slow upward march after 2050."

Medicare : "Medicare’s HI Trust Fund is expected to pay out more in hospital benefits and other expenditures than it receives in income in all future years. The projected date of HI Trust Fund exhaustion is 2024, five years earlier than estimated in last year’s report"

Summary : "Projected long-run program costs for both Medicare and Social Security are not sustainable under currently scheduled financing, and will require legislative corrections if disruptive consequences for beneficiaries and taxpayers are to be avoided."

I don't understand why you would suggest these programs are OK when we have seen multiple bi-partisan committees focused on fixing the entitlement programs. This looks like a real and very large problem to my eyes.

[-] 1 points by RogerDee (411) from Montclair, NJ 8 years ago

You've cited the intermediate scenario which assumes 2.6% GDP growth thru 2036. That assumes we stay in a recession for the next 25 years. It also assumes Unemployment stays about where it is now.

I think that rather unrealistic.

I cite the low cost scenario which assumes Job creation and GDP growth of 2.8%.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I'll go back and re-read. Do you happen to know whether these projections assume "Obama-Care" survives the Supreme Court challenge ?

[-] 1 points by RogerDee (411) from Montclair, NJ 8 years ago

Yes. 2011 SS Trustees report assumes Healthcare continues, It is assumed that people live longer.

When the 2011 report first came out I wrote up an article based on the current numbers, as I have for the last 6 years:

Stohastic modeling has an advantage over a hand picked list of demographics picked by a committee in an office, plugging numbers into software. This chart shows a 97% confidence rate that SS will go broke in 2055. Simply put, if we have significant job creation, some wage growth, and the Boomers dont all live past expectancy..... then the 2055 date is very realistic.

If we have widespread job creation (right now we need 15 million jobs according to Paul Krugman) and raise median Individual income from the current 26k, 30%, back to where it was during Clinton- 38k, we will see considerable increases in FICA contributions... then that 2055 date can be pushed back even further to 2065 or 2067.

It is more than likely if we fix the economy, we also fix Social Security.


[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Are you saying Medicare looks OK ? I haven't read the Stochastic section (yet), but the executive summary made a pretty flat statement that Medicare is broke.

[-] 1 points by RogerDee (411) from Montclair, NJ 8 years ago

I never said anything about Medicare.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Oops, my bad. That was the context of my question regarding Obama-Care. Sorry.

[-] 1 points by JProffitt71 (222) from Burlington, VT 8 years ago

I like you. You are measured and reasonable in your responses, and understanding. You don't rush to discrediting or outright insulting people (as even I have been guilty of), and you embody the very kind of non-partisan cooperation/discussion we should be having. I feel like I could talk politics with you and come out feeling like I was talking to a fellow person, not a "Republican". There is one question I have, do you know any others who are as willing to have constructive conversation? Two questions actually – is there any chance you could band together to help OWS, extend your hand so to speak? I feel like is how we need to proceed, and enable the kind of support/discussion we, as a nation, not just OWS, really want.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I firmly believe we need to stop with the name calling, engage in rational and respectful discourse, and yes, even compromise with one another if we are to get out of the mess we've got ourselves into. I don't see how a Democracy can work otherwise. If you're interested, you can read my three part summary of my interactions here that I wrote in response to an NYU journalism student's request at http://occupywallst.org/forum/one-percenter-ready-to-join-if/#comment-295977 .

After having enaged with people for several months here, I am now convinced that we really only need to fix two overarching problems in our society. The first entails returning POLITICAL power to the people by getting the money out of politics ( see http://occupywallst.org/forum/we-the-people-in-order-to-a-proposal/ ). The second entails educating the people to better use the ECONOMIC power they already have as consumers in the world's largest economy ( see http://occupywallst.org/forum/the-power-of-the-people/ and the shopping guidelines I compiled from these forums and hosted at http://bit.ly/DoYourBit where they are widely accessible and shareable via social media).

The power required to make change demands this movement get all of America behind it, and I know for a fact based on responses I have received both here and in my circle of conservative friends that these two issues, taking back our government and using our economic power resposbily, appeal to all.

If this movement continues to attempt fixes for all the problems it's members perceive, it will degrade into factions with no power just like the status quo desires. If, on the other hand, we stand together behind two grand and unifying objectives with all America behind us, we can regain our political and economic power then use it to fix what ails America.

All these displays of power we engage in by showing how badly we can disrupt cities, workers, subways, shopping, etc, do nothing but hurt and alienate us from those we claim to represent and who's support we need to effect real change. Perhaps it would be less harmful if we were at least able to tell America what we want, but we haven't. We are annoying America, and they tire of us.

It's sad to see so many people finally engaged and wanting to fix America only to see all that people power wasted for lack of any political sense or practical focus.

[-] 1 points by JProffitt71 (222) from Burlington, VT 8 years ago

You continue to make sense, the former goal of removing money from politics is one which I myself have been focusing on, and seen ubiquitous support for. The interesting thing, though it probably comes as no surprise to you, is that when you mention removing money from politics to anyone dissenting on the forums, you suddenly bridge a gap and begin having a dialogue WITH them, instead of an argument against them. This is most definitely where we need to focus, where it makes the most sense for us to focus. There are truly numerous suggestions and solutions literally being thrown at us as well: Puff mentioned working from the inside of the Democratic party (or Republican party) to furiously support new candidates pledging for the occupy; there are organizations like AmericansElect.org and BeYourGovernment.org that seek to bypass expensive media costs in order to lower the barrier of entry to new candidates and therefore bypass the power of special interests; every day a new petition with thousands of signatures shows up advocating measures to remove money from politics. There are numerous ways for people to push this agenda, right NOW, and NO good reason to abstain from acting on this (or your other) specific point. The issue that I am observing however is that OWS is stuck in interference and chaos, it is (understandably) surrounded around maintaining a presence and that is taking a LOT of resources. There is barely a breath between attempts at eviction and various civic outrages. It is just nearly impossible to make something rise out of this, especially when there are new peoples and ideas flowing in every day.

Here is what I see. Everyone is waiting on OWS to lead the way, but OWS is entangled in maintaining itself thanks to the impressive resistance from government. OWS, and in extension everything related to it, is starting to show signs of sinking back into the dark recesses of a self-concerned, apathetic population, and the only hope is that some crisis or external action bring it back into focus. There are people, and they are paying attention, but no one is exactly trying to unite them, while others are focusing hard on dividing them.

What I believe we need is a new movement, not one to replace OWS but one to reach across and take it the rest of the way. You have friends who share the same ideas as we do, who know that these ideas are unopposed. There are doubtlessly swaths of people who would unite behind advancing that specific cause, and it would mesh perfectly with OWS' sentiments. You are what this nation is waiting for, and forgive me if I am being idealistic, but given your consistently articulate and constructive threads and the ethos you command as a conservative yourself, I believe you have the power to start a movement parallel to OWS that will carry all of this the rest of the way. You and everyone else waiting around can begin it, I sure as hell would love to help it.

[-] 2 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Well I can't say I'm not flattered (a sure sign of ego), but OWS has one thing that no other movement has: America's attention. Political movements in this country are fueled by media, and OWS can command it.

Can you image the impact if all of the sudden one day every OWS protestor carried a sign that said "WE WANT OUR GOVERNMENT BACK! Get the Money our of Government Now!" ? Combine that with one simple demand for getting the money out, and all of America would change their opinion of us. Follow that with a plan for how to do it that makes sense (without getting to caught up in detail) and we'd have them.

Another media avenue that OWS has is social media. This is the Twitter/Facebook/Youtube generation, and those same tools have toppled governments in the Middle East. A coordinated assault on America could have immeasurable impact in returning both our political and economic power.

Unfortunately, OWS seems to be unleadable, and I have no idea how to get an alternate movement started without the resources of OWS. All I can do is keep trying to advocate using all the tools I do have like this forum and my own social media contacts. I've literally spammed all the top 100 people on Twitter, for example, trying to get them to advocate the two core messages over their 'follower' lists. Some of those folks have millions of followers and have media power comparable to the mainstream media. No luck thus far, but I keep trying.

I cant help but think that this effort really needs to get some professionals on-board.

[-] 1 points by JProffitt71 (222) from Burlington, VT 8 years ago

Completely valid points. Right now the OWS has the attention and the resources. It sounds like you are doing everything you can to get their attention and I stand behind that, wish I knew some occupiers personally right now.

Ah! How about this: we all know how good the petitions are at rallying support and affecting general attitudes, but they are extremely ineffective due to the fact that they are directed at the offending party. In this instance however, the issue is simply a lack of attention being paid to or awareness of this precise common ground among everyone, and the intended recepitents would be the most active force of change in the nation. So why not draft up a petition directed at OWS, asking it to focus on uniting everyone over these two issues? This would appeal directly to occupiers due to its democratic nature, and it would offer a way of consolidating our voices, making our message ever more present and clear to the top media/occupiers, as well as the movement in whole. It is certainly a more realistic approach, compared to my romantic vision/ramble. ^^;;

[-] 2 points by michael4ows (224) from Mountain View, CA 8 years ago

I have to give Ryan credit for calling for significant changes and doing so in detail, that's a lot more than can be said about most. As for specific changes, for starters...

  • be reasonably less aggressive about spending cuts

  • and reasonably more aggressive about taxing financial (non-wage) income

According to the linked pages, the "Ryan Plan" calls for no taxes at all on financial income. That's not right.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I agree, and I'm one of those who should get less and pay more. See my comment at http://occupywallst.org/forum/how-would-ows-change-congressman-ryans-plan/#comment-462674 .

[-] 2 points by TommyNYC (730) 8 years ago

So, any vote against Pawn Drawl, whose supporters notoriously encourage sockpuppetry, is sockpuppetry. Go figure.


[-] 2 points by GypsyKing (8702) 8 years ago

Ron Lawl is not, and will never be part of, take credit for, or in any other way be allowed to claim to have had any part of this movement, in any way whatsoever - and the moment that he tries to take that credit we will know just what to do about it.

PS I think someone is making a concerted effort to down-vote all of my comments and posts now.

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 8 years ago

A little research shows that this was actually written by ALEC.

Republicans are the laziest POS on the planet.

ALEC cares not for middle America.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

This is argumentum ad hominem . Do you have any specific objections to the plan itself (rather then the people who wrote it) or suggestions as to how it might be improved ?

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 8 years ago

You can call it whatever Latin term you like.

I don't trust a single thing about ANY bill written by ALEC.

Nor do I trust ANY politician that lets ALEC write bills for them. You can include that POS Walker too.

Color it experience.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Can you provide a link connecting this plan to ALEC ? As best I can tell ALEC is a PAC. When I look at Paul Ryan's campaign finances at http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?cid=N00004357 it says he get's 77% of his money from individual contributors and only 23% ($432,000) from PACs. Overall, his finances look better than Obama's in my opinion ( see http://www.opensecrets.org/pres12/bundlers.php?id=N00009638 ).

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 8 years ago

That's the best you can find on ALEC?

Do your homework Glenn.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Who's 'Glenn' ?

I did find all sorts of people lambasting ALEC, but I couldn't find any connections to Paul Ryan. Do you have some?

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 8 years ago

Yes I do.

If your going to post this stuff you need to do the foot work.

I'm multi tasking.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Im my own defense, I didn't advocate Ryan's plan, I summarized and ask folks to explain to me what they would change in the hope of stimulating discussion. I did try to find a connection between Ryan and ALEC, but all I found were people claiming there was some tenuous connection... no hard fact. There so many opinions flying around on the Internet advocating everything imaginable, that I simply ignore information that isn't clearly substantiated with factual references.

I can relate to multi-tasking... I'm not very good at it, and a bunch of stuff I'm supposed to be doing isn't getting done !

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 8 years ago

Here's a clearing house for ALEC connections.

Everything going on in Wisconsin can be traced back to those darlings of libertarianism, the Kochs.

I'm not going to bother with the details, but as I said before, this bill smacks of neoliberalism.

SS? Lift the FICA cap and be done with it. Anything else is BS.

[-] 3 points by GreedKills (1119) 8 years ago

Check out Students for Liberty's web site they are giving away Ron's book for free. http://studentsforliberty.org/news/free-cato-e-book-ron-paul-the-case-for-gold/

What does CATO, Students for Liberty and the Birch Society have in common?? The Koch Brothers. Wonder how much money is coming from the Koch empire to support Paul's campaign in a roundabout way???

[-] 1 points by hymie (391) 7 years ago

I would hope that he would adopt the New Deal program of FDR. However, Libertarianism is generally against this kind of big government program.

I think the left and right need to understand that we shouldn't think of business and government as being opposed to each other. Rather we should think of big business and big government working together harmoniously.

Let business and government accommodate each other, compensating for whatever deficiencies the other one may have.

[-] 1 points by tonybaldwin (235) from New Haven, CT 8 years ago

RP's plan to dismantle all regulatory agencies is complete batshite insanity. They need reformed, not dismantled. Currently, sure, the corporate fascists control them, so they really aren't doing their job, or only doing it in ways that hobble small business so the big dogs can monopolize entire industries, but we NEED regulatory agencies to protect workers and the environment. Without them the corporate fascists will exploit labor and destroy the environment with complete impunity, even worse than now.

Also, $5700 is going to go very far when private insurance companies what to charge me $1k/month for a bullshite plan that covers nothing, has a $5k deductible and 50% copays, just because I have diabetes (even though I completely control it and keep my blood sugar within normal parameters with diet and exercise, without medication).

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I share your view regarding RonPaul's plan, but this isn't his plan, it's Paul Ryan's. There's nothing in it about dismantling regulatory agencies, it's purely a deficit reduction plan from the chair of the House Budget Committee.

I have to admit that I don't really know what heath insurance costs as I'm one of the lucky few who still has full employer coverage. Is your description of your costs accurate (not exaggerated for effect) ? If so, then I can see why you wouldn't see a $5700 credit as being adequate. I'm clearly going to have to go off and do some research into what people are paying these days.

Edit : I found this tidbit at http://www.averagecostinsurance.com/healthinsurance.html

"A report published by America’s Health Insurance Plans in October 2009 (Individual Health Insurance of 2009: A Comprehensive Survey of Premiums, Availability and Benefits) stated the average cost of insurance plans when purchased personally. Note that the information provided is based on historical data. For as single person, an annual premium was $2,985 while a whole family paid $6,328. Premium also differs in a state-to-state basis. The family health plan in New York was $13,296 and the same plan in Iowa only cost $5609. The average cost was also affected directly by the deductible taken."

I am baffled why the costs between New York and Iowa would be so different.

[-] 1 points by tonybaldwin (235) from New Haven, CT 7 years ago

I exaggerate not, friend. While I am very healthy (heck, if nothing else, lack of health care and insurance has forced me to take damned good care of myself), just having type II diabetes (in very good control via diet+exercise) is justification, so insurance companies believe, to charge me c. $1k/month, without covering anything. It's a very bad joke, but not an exaggeration.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 7 years ago

I agree with you. After I did some research (posted under the Edit), I realized your case probably isn't exaggerated or uncommon. It's sad.

[-] 1 points by julianzs (147) 8 years ago

What a tortuous maze just to avoid a single payee universal health-care! We need a universal preventive & reactive health-care for a competitive workforce to be well at workplace & strive for near zero sick leaves. We need to have a safety net below which no one can fall; either this or euthanasia. How to resolve this conflict if you claim to be a pro-life person? The answer is stay with your instinct and support OWS.

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Just out of curiosity... How much Health Care is everyone entitled to ?

On one extreme, we all have what folks in Africa would call health care by rights of our ability to visit the emergency room. On the other extreme, we probably can't afford to give everyone the same care Steve Jobs received. Where is the line ?

This topic is the one that most frustrated me about our heath care "debate." We never talked about what we would or would not cover, we basically just debated whether Government should be in the business or not. In this area, we have many examples to draw from, and I was hoping to see a "Presidential Review of Heath Care Around the World" or something that would convince me we were taking a reasoned path based on the experience seen by others.

[-] 1 points by FrogWithWings (1367) 8 years ago

Burn it.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Thank you for your constructive input to rational and respectful discourse.

Do you have a link to a plan you do support, or are you just against everything ?

[-] 1 points by FrogWithWings (1367) 8 years ago

Of course, abolish the Corporate Constitution and restore our Organic Constitution with a few updates.

Give the government back to it's people in their home states.

We are not detached cave people and all 50 can and will work together in the best interest of a new and Sovereign nation with respect to the preservation and conservation of the entire planet.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

What the heck is the 'Organic Consititution' ? Would that be the original sans all amendments other than the Bill of Rights and all Supreme Court rulings ? Didn't our Forefathers allow for amendment and Supreme Court rulings in the original in order to ensure it would be a living document that adapted with change they couldn't anticipate?

Maybe I have it wrong. Maybe you're advocating for the Articles of Confederation which provided for a very weak Federal Government deferential to the States.

In any case, isn't a complete reformulation of government a bit extreme and impractical? Do you think a majority of Americans would support such a radical change ? In my opinion, we are by nature more Evolutionary than Revolutionary.

[-] 1 points by FrogWithWings (1367) 8 years ago

I think a far more productive exercise would be to have several groups, while occupying, test some of the various methods to see how they work.

No, organic does not mean without amendments and such. It means the first one before bankers attorneys rendered it defunct and replaced The Constitution for the United States of America with THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.


Peek at this with an open mind. You'll see the difference.

I don't want or need more federal government. If my fellow states persons prove so impossible and unreasonable as to cooperate with in a civilized manner to get along within a legitimate Federal Union, as well to protect it's best Sovereign interests and those of our planet, I suppose I could move amongst persons I consider and regarded as reasonable, if changing them proved futile.

Do you advocate more Federal Government? True Democracy? What are your ideals and visions?

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Well, I quickly read through your site and found so much I disagreed with, I had to stop lest I suffer an aneurysm ! Just to explain why ...

1) I am a Keynesian. I don;t like the idea of tying the tokens we call money, which serve only to facilitate commerce in a vast array of goods and services to any single good, service, or commodity. See my post at http://occupywallst.org/forum/what-is-money/

2) I believe the Constitution is the right document. It evolved from the failures of the Articles of Confederation, and I think the Founders had great insight when the crafted it to allow it to change over time. I believe society and civilization are living breathing organisms that evolve over time to incorporate lessons learned and circumstances none of us can predict.

On your side of the equation....

3) I am not happy with some of the changes we have been seeing of late in terms of personal liberties.

4) I don't believe the Federal Government is the font of all solutions and I lament it's seemingly endless growth.

5) I like the States. They provide 50 little idea incubators from which we can all learn and the diversity of approaches they can test runs in stark contrast to the single monolithic Federal Government. I relate this to the concept of genetic diversity which is critical to survival.

6) Not of critical importance, but I acknowledge that we ended up steering ourselves to look a bit like the nations run by Kings (recall folks did ask Washington to be King at one point).

As for my own personal beliefs, I think the current system provides We the People all the power we need to remake ourselves and address our problems, but that we have been remiss in using that power. Our Founders were born of the Age of Reason and had great faith than Man could employ reason and respectful debate to self govern. Unfortunately, we have not lived up to their Faith in us.

A simple survey of these forums illustrates how far from our Funders' vision We the People have strayed. People do not educate themselves in fact, but argue passionately held opinions substantiated by nothing more than blogs, videos, etc of others who share their opinion. There is much name calling and little respectful discourse. It matters not what form of Democracy we select, it cannot be made to work under these conditions.

Plato anticipated the very problems we face today in his Republic. He argued that the common man was to consumed by his own affairs to gain the expertise in public affairs. In the end, he advocated a ruling elite trained from birth in public service.

The Grand Experiment in Government of the People, by the People, for the People is still very young in the broad sweep of history, and it is not yet clear it will succeed. Unless people are willing to defy Plato's logic and become more responsible and respectful citizens willing to accept the responsibilities of self governance, Government of the People, by the People, for the People may yet perish from this earth.

[-] 1 points by FrogWithWings (1367) 8 years ago

1) not my page 2) I am certain you did not grasp the comparisons, or the implications clearly shown. The left side shows how our organic Government started and was intended to be, simple and effective. The right side shows what it became as a result of the fraud perpetrated upon the masses to answer the question of what and/or who shall be used as collateral for the two huge bankruptcies.

You should know that the US has, yet to date, even paid the Civil War debt and the best forecast for the US to ever be out of debt, short of nuking those holding the note, would require no less than 300 years, in which our government and ways of life would have to be drastically more frugal and all would have to sacrifice standard of living.

The deal on the left side is what many enlightened people are making efforts to restore. Simple and effective.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I got what you were saying. Your site did mention the good old days when our currency was "worth something." As for the rest of it, I mentioned several points where I agree with you, I just don't think any reformulation of government is meaningful until our citizens stand up to their responsibilities as citizens. As it stands, I doubt we could muster enough people who care to even discuss revision of government.

[-] 1 points by FrogWithWings (1367) 8 years ago

It is important that you, and all others, are able to see what has taken place as laid out in that side by side comparison. It was all done by deceit and fraud. The stuff on the right side is pure evil and tyranny. Sadly, it is reality in the US today, as it has been for many years.

Study it more, I think your mind is open enough to grasp the violence of this silent ambush on our nation's people.

An aside, at the time of the first bankruptcy, and the second as well, the agreed upon terms were not limited to only citizens of the US, as the leaders of many other bankrupt nations sat at the same table, selling their peoples as well.

[-] 0 points by DunkiDonut2 (-108) 7 years ago

EVERYONE pays some income taxes.

[-] 0 points by alouis (1511) from New York, NY 8 years ago

$5,700 to insure a family? A family of what, parakeets?

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Yea, I know. It appears adequate for Iowa, but not many other places.

[-] 0 points by alouis (1511) from New York, NY 8 years ago

In Iowa they use whatever medicinals might be growing wild in their parks and fields? Do they consult chimps or human Md.s?


[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I don't know.

I found this tidbit at http://www.averagecostinsurance.com/healthinsurance.html, "A report published by America’s Health Insurance Plans in October 2009 (Individual Health Insurance of 2009: A Comprehensive Survey of Premiums, Availability and Benefits) stated the average cost of insurance plans when purchased personally. Note that the information provided is based on historical data. For as single person, an annual premium was $2,985 while a whole family paid $6,328. Premium also differs in a state-to-state basis. The family health plan in New York was $13,296 and the same plan in Iowa only cost $5609. The average cost was also affected directly by the deductible taken."

I am baffled why the costs between New York and Iowa would be so different.

[-] 0 points by alouis (1511) from New York, NY 8 years ago

So am I.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

You might want to move ;o)


[-] 0 points by LazerusShade (76) 8 years ago

Needs provisions to 1.) decrease military size as well as spending as well as 2.) provisions to remove the ability for organizations (company's churches unions ect...) to make campaign contributions of any form.

Reason for #1 is it is the fastest most effective method for getting the deficit back under budget, and being paid off. reason for #2 it is only a matter of time before we are back int he same bucket we are now as these company's will simply buy back all the tax loop holes.

Aside from that it appears to be a good start....only a start though there are several other things i could think of that would reinforce the idea's above. Also others i could think of that would work along side on there own right.

[-] 2 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I agree with both your points. I see know reason why we continue to provide so much military support to the rest of the world. Maybe there's something I don't understand, but it seems like Australia, NATO, could do more. I also agree with getting the money out ( see http://occupywallst.org/forum/we-the-people-in-order-to-a-proposal/ ), but Ryan's bill is a budget bill, so it wouldn't address that topic.

Through the various comments provided here, I think we also need to go a bit further than Ryan.

1) It appears there is great disparity in the cost of health care insurance across the nation, and we either need to fix that or adjust the credit accordingly. I found this tidbit at http://www.averagecostinsurance.com/healthinsurance.html : "A report published by America’s Health Insurance Plans in October 2009 (Individual Health Insurance of 2009: A Comprehensive Survey of Premiums, Availability and Benefits) stated the average cost of insurance plans when purchased personally. Note that the information provided is based on historical data. For as single person, an annual premium was $2,985 while a whole family paid $6,328. Premium also differs in a state-to-state basis. The family health plan in New York was $13,296 and the same plan in Iowa only cost $5609. The average cost was also affected directly by the deductible taken."

2) His capital gains proposal is too generous and does nothing to inhibit speculative trades in commodities or equities. I think we need hefty taxes on secondary commodity trades occurring before delivery, and I think we should ratchet up the taxes on equity gains made over a period less than 5 - 10 years.

3) I understand the politics behind exempting those of us near retirement from any changes, but I think we need to immediately start ratcheting back on benefits provided to people who don't need them. I, for example, will retire next year with a couple of million in assets and $100,000 per year of retirement income, yet I can still collect Social Security and Medicare. That just seems wrong.

4) I think we could stand a third bracket of something higher than 25% for folks earning above a couple of million a year. Not too much more, but a little more nonetheless.

In spite of the above, Ryan seems to be one of the few guys with a plan that at least provides a working baseline. I'd just be a bit more aggressive in regards people who have shared in good fortune similar to myself.

[-] 1 points by michael4ows (224) from Mountain View, CA 8 years ago

all good points

a little off topic... but, everybody always asks "how do we pay for the growing cost of healthcare"... i have a different question... why are healthcare costs going up more rapidly than most other costs?

[-] 2 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

My wife has worked in health care for 20 years, so I'll pass on what she tells me.

According to my wife, there are three primary factors driving today's health care higher than it was in her earlier years of service: New drugs, technology, administrative burdens, defensive medicine, and indigent care.

Drugs: We have seen an explosion in wonderful new drugs, but they cost a fortune to develop and deploy. ROughly 90% of new drugs do not make it to market, and the R&D costs off all are loaded onto those that do deploy. These costs are recovered during the period while the patents are in force and are drugs are passed onto employers like my own who provide generous health care plans. Once the patents expire, the drugs go generic and become affordable for all, but in the meantime, anyone with good care is paying for a lot of R&D.

Technology: We've seen an explosion of medical technology and it's proliferating everywhere. My dentist for example has a PET scanner ! In addition, all medical providers are in the midst of converting to computerized record keeping and spending a small fortune on the require equipment and infrastructure. Most offices are also employing people to manually enter the millions of legacy paper records at substantial expense. These costs all show up as overhead costs that insurance companies don't pay, so they're spread onto all bills for care.

Administrative Burdens: Sarbanes-Oxley has driven financial reporting costs through the roof. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has also driven a lot of cost, particularly in forcing them to buy pretty specialized/certified computer and software systems related to the Technology item above. Finally, the requirements for accreditation and certification ( see http://www.jointcommission.org/ ) keep going higher and higher.

Defensive Medicine: We are a litigious society, and a good portion of a doctor's income goes to malpractice insurance. To further reduce the risk of lawsuits, doctors run every test imaginable even when their knowledge and experience tells them the test is not required simply to protect themselves from lawsuit should they miss something. As long as they've tested for everything it's hard for them to be sued for not having looked for possible problems. The hospitals and testing firms, love the extra revenue, of course, so the practice goes unchecked. My wife advocates tort reform; no amount of money can alleviate pain-and-suffering, and if a doctor is found grossly negligent or has a history of making mistakes, he should lose his license rather than be 'fined' via punitive damages and allowed to continue practicing.

Indigent Care: Thanks to all of the above, the cost of health insurance is out of reach for many, so they receive care at no charge. In addition, many states have a large number of illegal immigrants who use emergency rooms as their health care providers but cannot afford to pay. The costs associated with all these non-paying users is spread across all those users who do have health insurance.

As far as I can tell, my wife's explanations make a lot of sense. Neither of us can come up with a good alternative to how we develop and pay for new drugs, but the rest is all addressable.

[-] 0 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 8 years ago

Great Post ! unfortunately - it's not about dividing things up evenly & fairly. It's about buying votes from different groups.

[-] 0 points by midwestpatriot (6) 8 years ago

The answer to fix the deficit is to reduce everything, eliminate deductions for all special interests and institute a 50 yr payment plan just like a bank would require. No exemptions for any income, age, etc... If anyone isn't willing to pay their share, let them move out.

[-] 0 points by midwestpatriot (6) 8 years ago

Taxes on the rich Why is it fair to interest and dividend income to be taxed at a lower rate?

Also the rhetoric about the "rich" or "wealthy" is inaccurate, these palns tax high w-2 wage earners, the truly wealthy (meaning they have a large store of wealth or assets) get most of their income from investments not w-2. Often in businesses they invest in that result in them getting a lot of things paid for pre-tax that the rest of us pay for after tax.

I haven't checked your facts on the corporate income tax, but I think you have to look at the whole value package: income taxes, property taxes, fees, pay-offs, political stability, legal stability, access to well educated and skilled workers with a good work ethic.

[-] 0 points by midwestpatriot (6) 8 years ago

Personal taxes: again the cliff problem when you make 101K and your net income goes from 90k to 76k, how would that work when your bills didn't change?

I like eliminating all credits, deductions, for all individual and corporate payers, but I would phase in a few % over 15 yrs since people have made decisions based on the current systems.

Also, in the early 1900's it was considered unconstituional to tax one group differently than another, I still think it should be, when one group can vote benefits for themselves that another group pays for you are in trouble.

That said, there is a point that if you pay the payroll taxes, lower income folks are making a bigger sacrifice. One flat tax for all that gives credit for flat taxes paid. So, if you make 25k and pay 7% payroll, then on a 15% flat tax you pay 8% more ($3.2k). At 75k, some thing, 15% ($11k). At 200k, you pay payroll taxes on 160 k, so you pay 8% on $160k plus 15% on $40k, total of 15% (430K), at $5MM (treating all income whether from dividends or W-2 the same), you pay 15% ($750k).

This would stop the government legislating its social policies through the tax code, something both sides like to do.

[-] 0 points by midwestpatriot (6) 8 years ago

Social Security So how do you like it if you are 54 and your sibling is 58? They get the current plan and you get more uncertainty (probably the story of your life), and they probably have a pension and you have a 401k account that on a net basis has never made money. property right sounds good, but it will raise the cost, because under the current plan, which combines an annuity with insurance, a certain % of payors will die and pay for those who live longer, this will not be good for those who take good care of themselves or have longevity jeans. One more way to punish good behavior and reward bad behavior. If we have accounts that we invest (aka "gamble" in the markets) and the government (aka taxpayers)guarantees the losses, then the wall streeters and hedge funds will simply lure us emotionally into markets, take their money off the table, we lose, the government loses, the taxpayers and therefore the country loses.

[-] 0 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 8 years ago

I haven't read the whole plan, just what you've outlined here. I would suggest something that comes a little closer to a flat rate tax - not that I'm suggesting a flat rate, but it seems like 25% is a little high for the most affluent.

I'm not interested in taking everything they have - the nation should be an attractive place to live and to keep your stuff - from the perspective of taxes as well as the outdoor environment.

Making medicare and social security solvent - anything that does that that is fair and reasonable - who can argue with that? We shouldn't be looking at forcing people 65 and older to keep working for two to ten more years - that's just not right.

Making the tax structure attractive to business - that is in the national interest as well.

Eliminating the US debt must be a priority. Creating an economic and tax environment that makes job creation attractive, these are things the people need.

This may be a good beginning - if it can pass close scrutiny by credible experts. Perhaps this Ryan can survive the coming repelican implosion - provided no one sabotages the legislation on its way through the house.

[-] 2 points by notaneoliberal (2269) 8 years ago

Don't confuse "tax" rate, with "marginal tax rate". It's not 25% of all income. Only that income that exceeds a certain level.

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 8 years ago

See? It already sounds complicated.

[-] 1 points by notaneoliberal (2269) 8 years ago

It's a little complicated, but "top tax rate" has, as far as I know always been "marginal tax rate". Here's a pretty clear explanation. http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/MarginalTaxRates.html

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 8 years ago

. . . - I hate taxes!

[-] 1 points by notaneoliberal (2269) 8 years ago

I know what you mean.

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 8 years ago

I've got the page open, but I'm busy responding to comments. That's a good excuse isn't it?

I mean, after all, it isn't like the information is ever going to be put to any practical use by me - I'm not gonna win the lottery any time soon . . . .

[-] 2 points by notaneoliberal (2269) 8 years ago

I guess it is. The thing is to put things in perspective, in the 50s and 60s, we had a top marginal tax rate of 91%-92% on income, inflation adjusted, of about $2 million. The sky didn't fall. We had a prosperous middle class.

[-] 2 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago

I would go beyond the sky not falling and having a middle class... Those tax rates saw us through one of the biggest increases in the standards of living ever seen - the period during which the middle class expanded and became dominant. True prosperity - only possible when you have moderate relative equality.

[-] 2 points by notaneoliberal (2269) 8 years ago

Yes, and the rich didn't do that bad either. Nor did they flee the country to find a more "business friendly environment".

[-] 1 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago

Yep, plenty of trust funds were created. Flight. If only... ;)

[-] 2 points by notaneoliberal (2269) 8 years ago

Yea, if only.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Be careful in romanticising the 60's. You can see from the 1964 tax rates I posted at http://occupywallst.org/forum/fix-the-deficit-return-to-1964-tax-rates/ that everyone paid a lot more taxes back then, not just the rich. In addition, the golden years of American prosperity occurred under unique conditions (hopefully never repeated).

America emerged from WW II with enormous production capacity. In contrast, the production capacity of Europe and Asia lay in ruins. There was near unlimited demand for American products needed to rebuild infrastructure in Europe and Asia, and our companies faced no competition. There weren't very many nice places to live other than America either.

In the post WW II climate, we didn't need to worry our rich would leave; there was no place to go. We didn't need to worry if our labor rates were high; we had no competition. We didn't need to worry about economic slowdowns; there will millions upon millions in need of new houses replete with their furnishings, and all nations were spending fortunes on infrastructure.

Financially, the post WW II era was marked by the Bretton Woods agreements. Those agreements worked because America literally had all the world's gold and there was no such thing as an alternate currency. The failure of the Bretton Woods system in the early '70s serves as a pretty good marker indicating when the rest of the world emerged from the ruin of WW II.

In my opinion, the entire period from the late 40's to the mid 70's was a fluke, and it cannot be used as a realistic standard by which we measure American society.

[-] 2 points by notaneoliberal (2269) 8 years ago

Certainly, the post war period was unique. You've raised a lot of issues here so let me start with 1964. Yes, I would say that low end tax rate was pretty high,but here are some other interesting stats. $1 in 1964=about $7 in 2011. Average income in 1964, $6000. That would be about $42,000 now. Median new home price- $18,900. This one is significant. About three years of average income= the price of a new home. Current average income is about the same. $41,000 and change. Current average home price- $242,300 About six years of average income. Price of gasoline in 1964- 30cents. $2.10 in today's dollars. There was also a much more even distribution of wealth down the scale. As for the issue of our lack of competition after the war, I'll give you that one. One could argue, that was not a time when protectionist measures were necessary. We did, in fact cut tariffs at that time. But here we are now, in a situation where we do have competition. If anything, protective measures are needed now more than ever. Incidentally, the US had surpassed Britain in manufacturing, the previous world leader, by 1890, under protectionist tariffs.

[-] 2 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I agree. There was a much more even distribution of income, but that's partially because we still had unions. Why America stood silent during the decimation of her working unions baffles me to this day. I argued with loosely in another comment that this may be due to the fact greed/profit is actually a deeply entrenched cultural value in America. France clearly has different values.

Why we have seen disproportionate inflation in housing costs baffles me, especially considering the reduction in union labor. Do you have any ideas on that ?

One note on gasoline. What really matters to the consumer is cost-per-mile-driven. Our cars are roughly 3 times more efficient than those in the 60's. I suspect the remaining difference simply relates to the diminishing supply relative to demand.

Overall, I never buy the whole 'inflation has done us great harm' argument. Interestingly, my current family is very comparable to that of my parents. My job is similar to my step-father's (Science/Engineering), my wife's job is similar to my mothers (Nursing), we have the same number of children, and the difference between my age and my wifes is the same. If a recall my economic state at the same age as my step-father (now deceased), I had everything they had, but at much higher quality (plasma vs black-and-white TV, better car, etc) and a zillion things they couldn't dream of like computers, cell phones, etc. I also travel more then they could ever imagine, and I have two homes rather than one (though I own less land acreage). Toss in the quality of the health care I get have thanks to technology, better drugs, etc, and I feel pretty solidly ahead of my parents.

Granted my state is not typical of all Americans, but I still find the comparison of my state versus my parents enlightening.

[-] 2 points by notaneoliberal (2269) 8 years ago

You are quite correct about the diminishing role of unions. This was one of the reasons I encouraged you to investigate the issue of neoliberalism. The destruction of organized labor is high on their agenda. There has been an effective and well funded propaganda campaign to demonize organized labor, carried out by the right wing "think tanks" such as The Heritage Foundation, CATO and the US Chamber of Congress, just to name a few. The ability to offshore jobs, has completely undermined the strength of unions in manufacturing. Unions did fight against FTAs, but were defeated by corporate influence. The creation of the housing bubble was, an indirect result of the deindustrialization of the US economy, with investors looking for profitable places to put their money. With the destruction of the real economy, banking and finance have become the chief "industry". The push to sell subprime mortgages, aaaand the "innovations" of mortgage backed securities etc. helped create an artificial demand for housing, driving the prices up. As far as gasoline, I agree, it is diminishing supply and increasing cost of production that is causing prices to rise, along with rising demand in the developing world. It was just an explanation of how it was easier to get along with less at that time. It's good that so far, you have fared well personally, but I, as a small business owner, have seen the results of less expendable income in the hands of my customers. I know, from reading some of your other posts, that you are of about the same generation as I am. (I'm 59) I also know that you have children, as do I. It is more their world that concerns me than ours. I do think it may be true that American attitudes somewhat distorted, in general. Some of this may be a result of the idea of American exceptionalism, that has been sold to us. Some may be a result of the diversity of culture. I am sorry to have to say also, that Americans seem to be less informed of the world, of history and of the way economics works than most citizens of so called developed countries as well as many from countries we don't think of as developed.

[-] 2 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Regarding unions, see the comment and my reply at http://occupywallst.org/forum/how-would-ows-change-congressman-ryans-plan/#comment-463083 for context then know that I have changed my stance regarding unions as well.

I have done very well without unions and, in fact, am positive they would have done nothing but harm my career. As the poster at the link suggests, however, I have come to realize that folks like you and I aren't the 'norm.' There are a lot of others for whom the tactic I once called 'organized extortion' is the only way they can keep their heads above water. I now see the need for unions.

I don't worry so much about my children per se as I worry about the society they will grow up in. My kids are 'over achievers' who are very well educated, smart, and hardworking, and they follow my advice regarding savings and investment. They'll do fine. I do not, however, want them to have to live in a world where they are looked upon with scorn or have to see so many people suffering. It's bad for the soul.

I share your concern regarding Americans in general. I often tell folks here, "To the extent the American Dream has faded, it's because the American Character upon which it was built faded first." It's a bit harsh, but it does contain some truth. I also told my children many times during their youth, "This Grand Experiment, born of the Enlightenment, that Man can govern his own affairs using Reasoned and Respectful discourse is young on the stage of history, and it is not certain the Faith of our Forefathers was well placed. Democracy demands work, and it remains unclear the average man is willing to shoulder the responsibility it demands. Plato's vision of a ruling elite may prove more prescient than that our Forefathers. It's up to each of you and your friends which vision describes America's future."

[-] 2 points by notaneoliberal (2269) 8 years ago

I wasn't suggesting you were where anti-union. Some might think it's odd that I, as an employer, would be in favor of unions. The short answer is, these are my potential customers. Yours too, if a bit more removed. I was just looking at your other forum on "slave labor". The issue of robotics does present a real dilemma. If they succeed in being ultra productive, but eliminate jobs,and consumer spending, who buys what they produce? They then become rather useless. What does that then do with respect to the utility of your skills?

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

We're a far way from eliminating the need for my skills. I'm not worried.

As for who buys the products, the whole chain ultimately devolves to engineers, white-collar business types, and capitalists having all the money while everyone else serves them meals at restaurants, gives them massages, and provides other hands-on services then use their wages to buy the ever cheaper gadgets they so love. Kurt Vonnegut was dead on, but we can slow the trend and save many of the jobs folks need by simply deciding not to do business with machines.

We won't ever eliminate robotics and on-line shopping altogether, but we can try to do more business locally to support 'brick-and-mortar' employment. If you look at the guidelines I hosted at http://bit.ly/DoYourBit , you'll also note a cleverly 'hid' the "don't use debit/credit cards" under the guise of employment. It's true, of course, but that's really the OWS objective of "don't keep making the banks richer" message in sheep's clothing.

[-] 2 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago

Surprising, a modern Republican calling the liberal consensus years a fluke.

We can't fully recreate those conditions, but we can go a long way. We need more protectionism - to the level of balanced trade, or close to it. Sorry, but it is what it is. We've been subsidizing the expansion of developing nations with our decline. We need to pay attention to Germany's game, and get better at our own. Otherwise, we accept that we become a developing nation again - after a whole lot of suffering. I do not.

We can't recapture the explosive growth but we can maintain the wealth we have in a more intelligent way.

Capital flight, by the way, could be mitigated - but probably not necessary. Why is there wealth in Sweden, or the Netherlands?

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Now, now. You should know me well enough by now to know that 'Republican' doesn't describe my views; given only two labels, it's the one I choose because I do fundamentally believe in personal responsibility, fiscal responsibility, ethics, etc. Heck, there's isn't even a party that believes in those simple ideas anymore.

Yes, we have been subsidizing the world's growth. We are the ones who sent so much Direct Foreign Investment to China, and we're her dominant customer. We print the money the world needs because we decided in our arrogance to declare ourselves the reserve currency at Bretton Woods, and we pay the price of the Triffin Dilemma in exchange for virtually endless credit (which we abuse).

I'm not a big fan of tariffs because we have seen time and time again that they cause deflationary spirals that are even worse than the inflation we're using to try and balance our international books. There is a middle ground.

In my post at http://occupywallst.org/forum/the-power-of-the-people/ , I urge Americans to exercise their power as consumers in the world's largest consumer market to change the shape of Corporate America. This includes buying American made products whenever possible (and insisting on human service).

If we apply tarriffs, we are immmediatey in violation of trade agreements and other nations retaliate by apply tarriffs of their own (yielding the deflationary spiral). If, however, the people simply elect to buy fewer foreign products, we have not violated any tenant of 'free trade' or the treaties in place. Those tenants simply seek to ensure that all players have a fair shot at the consumer, but do not dictate what choice the consumer makes.

Please follow the shopping guidelines I compiled from these forums and hosted at http://bit.ly/DoYourBit where they are widely accessible and shareable via social media. Please spread the http://bit.ly/DoYourBit link far and wide... we need millions on board if we are to have any measurable impact.

As for Sweden and Netherlands, I'm am a bit saddened to say that we in America are somewhat unique in how deeply greed is rooted in our society. I happen to be a second generation Swede (father) / Dane (mother), and I know those cultures pretty well. They score the highest on the happiness scale and do well economically. Part of this results from the fact that their society is very homogeneous and most citizens share a common set of values. America, in contrast, is a melting pot with many cultures and values. In our efforts to operate sans shared values, we have elevated law and profit/greed above all others. I'm pretty confident we will never look like the northern European countries.

[-] 2 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago

Sorry, Rico, but I really do feel we lost something great with the election of Reagan - and the earlier trends of the 70s that led to his rise. Your statement above seemed to be just more justification for the new Gilded Age.

Tariffs are just one route - and I think they could be intelligently implemented (applied to objective measures of labor, environmental differentials instead of nations or industries, for example) so as not to initiate trade wars - but, honestly, how could we lose a trade war, anyway? The trade defict speaks for itself. Prices would decrease demand but a larger percentage of the remaining demand would be stimulative domestically and provide an inflationary counterbalance (wages, employment). National self-sufficiency. Keynes talked about it, here's an analysis: http://www.thenation.com/article/163673/what-would-keynes-do?page=0,0 Although that piece misrepresents his views on tariffs a little (note the elipses) - he didn't rule them out, just urged caution, as would I.

Anyway, like I said, protectionism is not just tariffs. I mentioned Germany: http://seekingalpha.com/article/212461-what-the-u-s-can-learn-from-germany-about-managing-its-trade-deficit

Also there's the Buffett plan: http://occupywallst.org/forum/can-we-have-fair-tradeyes/

You mention greed in the last paragraph. That, along with apathy, is why I don't trust the American consumer to provide a significant force for leveling the trade playing field. There's also the complete failure of home bias for our corporations - added to the fact that significant shares of their markets are overseas and the American consumer has no control over where they manufacture those products. Finally, there's the information issue: 90% of a product can be manufactured overseas but it can be labeled as American-made if final assembly is done here. In short, consumer power is weak and difficult to focus. I trust Americans as citizens, but not as consumers.

As to your last paragraph, I think that issue is overplayed. I don't buy into cultural tendencies as having that big an impact on the effectiveness of forms of government. Religion, maybe, but not genetics or secular culture - except, perhaps, our culture of consumerism - but that's manufactured. Scandinavia has just not had an ardent anti-socialist/anti-New Deal elite forcing the failure of their government institutions over the past 40 years (although Sweden has, since the 90s, felt some of this). Bill Moyers has a great piece here: http://www.truth-out.org/how-did-happen/1320278111 (If you're skimming, look for "1971 was a seminal year")

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Sorry loosely, I read the article at the link you provided, and it only supports my plan. The only thing we're arguing is how best to balance our trade.

I argue that we can do it by simply casting the votes we make with our dollars with more awareness of the social costs related to our decisions. You say "I trust Americans as citizens, but not as consumers," and I presume that means you trust their political votes but not their consumer votes. I don't see any difference between the two. Both are fundamental to our Capitalist Democracy. Perhaps I just have more faith in my fellow citizens.

Granted, it's hard to find any product that is pure in it's origins. That doesn't mean we don't gain jobs when people buy a car that is at assembled in the USA. Furthermore, all the brick-and-mortar jobs we're losing though our addition to Amazon/com's click-to-shipping-pallete service are 100% American.

Germany is a rotten example to use when discussing America's path forward. She is a relentless export driven economy. Not all nations can be so export driven. That's why we push so hard on China to develop her domestic economy.

As to my last paragraph, I made no mention of genetics, I mentioned only culture. If you think culture has no impact on economics and politics, you're living in some world other than the one the rest of us inhabit. Why for example, do you think "Scandinavia has just not had an ardent anti-socialist/anti-New Deal elite forcing the failure of their government institutions over the past 40 years" ? Do you think it was because nobody tried, or is more likely explained by the values of the Scandinavian people ?

[-] 2 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago

It does not support your plan of letting educated consumers and the market figure it out. It talks various policy mechanisms for encouraging domestic investment, but I argue even those are not enough.

There is most definitely a difference between the human brain thinking long-term and idealistically when voting, and short-term and hedonistically when shopping. Consumers will buy the last redwood tree in the form of a picnic table (it only takes a few), whereas citizens as a collective will vote to protect the redwood forests. Extrapolate.

We don't gain jobs when a product is assembled here, we've just lost fewer.

There's a balance to be found between being export/import-driven. We need more Germany in the balance. Let's get near neutral.

Yes, the concerted effort we had here to tear down the liberal state was likely unmatched in history. Robber Barons' revenge. The Moyers piece is excellent, if you find the time.

[-] -1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I don't think it's educated consumers alone, but I think that's a key part of the equation. Due to our higher level of regulation, an American product will likely never be as cheap as a Chinese product (at least not until their economy reaches full maturity). Given this, it will not matter if we bring back all our manufacturing jobs unless the consumer is willing to pay just a little more for the American made product.

At one time, I was thought perhaps we should impose a tariff on imports in proportion to certain societal norms (workplace conditions, heal care, pollution, etc), but then I found the proposal had already been made long ago. It was shot down the the developing world who rightfully argued that kind of tariff would essentially lock the 'entry level' countries out of the market and prevent them ever attain the economic maturity to fund such societal standards.

As it stands, we are indeed fueling the expansion and maturation of the global economy. In doing so, we are helping other countries rise up to our level. Unfortunately, China has injected so much labor into the market that the world can hardly stand the imbalance that results. Eventually, China's economy will mature, and the imbalance will settle out like it did with Japan, South Korea, and others that came before; at some point, the workers eventually start demanding vacations, work safety, and so forth. In the meantime, we need only slow the drain on the world's economies by slowing the pace of China's expansion. She has been wholly unwilling to do so herself, but we can help the process by monetizing debt and slowing our purchase of her products.

I agree. We need to get more neutral. Everyone does. The world can't keep living off the American consumer forever !

In the area of cultural economics, why do you suppose, for example, that the streets of Paris fill so regularly with unified protests by the workers while we here in America stood silent as our unions we're gutted ? Why didn't we see our streets filled when unions were bashed ? Culture.

I will watch the Moyers piece when I get a chance... I usually like his work.

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 8 years ago

so how does that history fit with the current studies he cites? He says france now has a higher marginal tax than we do and 30% less participation in the labor force . . .

He noted that adult labor force participation in France has fallen about 30 percent below that of the United States, which accounts for the comparably higher U.S. living standards.

It's been a while since economics class - mostly what I remember is I didn't care for supply side economics - seemed at the time like there was a big hole in the theory - but I can't recall what that hole might have been.

[-] 1 points by notaneoliberal (2269) 8 years ago

I'm not sure about France, maybe age demographics. But yes, supply side economics should be considered a joke. The best thing I can suggest, to get the big picture, is to read up on neoliberalism, and how it has been adopted (in many cases forced) throughout the world. You could start here. http://corpwatch.org/article.php?id=376

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 8 years ago

I don't like economics.

I'd rather plot mad stratagems and hasten the inevitable downfall of modern repelicanism . . . .

it's much more entertaining

[-] 2 points by notaneoliberal (2269) 8 years ago

Well, it is neoliberalism that explains most of what Rs are trying to do. Privatize everything that was public. (like social security,schools, utility companies etc. so as to extract more profits from the people. They use the nonsensical boogie man of 'Big Government", unless of course it's to bail out big banks. Then big government seems to be aok. Total deregulation and free trade are a couple of the other "articles of faith". The sad thing is, the Dems are pretty much following the same path.

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 8 years ago

Yeah - I can see the shape of it whenever Boner approaches the microphone - but the dems - wtf?

I'm convinced that once the repelicans are pushed out, the dems will be amenable to peer pressure - assuming that is part of what is at work now

and if that isn't enough the educational opportunities to be gained from their peers across the aisle will, no doubt, rein in any dissenters.

All we have to do is focus on the biggest of the lies, among the biggest of the liars, and then tar the rest with the same brush - which will work just fine since they all voted as a single block they must all be guilty . . ..

of what exactly? who cares!


[-] 3 points by notaneoliberal (2269) 8 years ago

I hope we can find enough Dems. to see the light, but this is why so many people are disappointed with Obama. While the protesters were in Zuccotti park, Obama was pushing through the Colombia Free Trade Agreement,The Panama Free Trade Agreement, and The Korean Free Trade Agreement. Many Dems in Congress voted for them too. These will kill even more US jobs. Obama also promised to renegotaite NAFTA. He did not. http://www.fpif.org/articles/obama_renegotiate_nafta_as_you_promised

[-] 2 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago

Yep. Tragic.

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 8 years ago

I don't really understand international trade - I get the econ theory that when one nation can produce product a cheaper than another, it should sell it to the other in exchange for what the other produces that it can't.

I also get the deregulatory pressure and the environmental results as seen along the Northern border of Mexico - and the migration of US manufacturing to places where labor is cheaper.

In the article your link states:

The SPP's "energy integration" provisions have meant churning out five times more dirty oil from Canada's tar sands and pressure on Mexico to privatize its state-owned oil and gas industry, which does nothing to help the North American region to transition away from fossil fuels, while further tying Canadian and Mexican resources to insatiable U.S. energy needs, and deepening U.S. dependence on foreign energy sources.

I'm going to guess the oil industry is the largest trade group invited to participate in these discussions? As such they will have the resources to identify areas of common interest among other business groups participating in the talks? The resources to network internationally, and generate pressure on all three political systems covered by NAFTA?

Mexico itself presents its own unique challenges because of the instability due to the war on drugs.

So how do we relieve the pressure imposed by the oil industry?



Would an examination of what happened and the US role in East Timor provide assistance in either sketching the process of corporate influence on US policy, with it's consequences? Would it help scandalize the oil trade industry?

It would paint the dems in a bad light - the slaughter in East Timor began in 1978 under Carter, and Moynihan was at the UN representing US interest and did nothing to stop the violence.

How could such pressure on the dems result in exposure of right wing corporate philosophy and its methods of practice, resulting in curbs to oil industry pressure to privatize Mexican oil, produce more tar sands oil, and undercut alternative energy initiatives?




If the history of US policy re East Timor can be used in such a way, could the Occupy movement pressure Congress for an examination through Congressional hearing on this issue?

If members of Congress are up to speed on the purpose, support for such a move should be simple enough since trade issues relate to jobs issues and are a concern for constituents, as reflected by the link above, with this statement:

Will the U.S. president turn back on his promise by simply reviving, even if it's under a new name, the failed Security and Prosperity Partnership dialogue? Or will he heed, for example, the advice of over 100 U.S. members of congress and civil society networks who want to revisit NAFTA, to strengthen environmental and labor standards and promote just investment rules and fair trade among other changes?



is this too much this early in the day?

[-] 1 points by notaneoliberal (2269) 8 years ago

Response to- "I don't really understand international trade": First let's address the economic issue. The theory you refer to, in economics, is "comparative advantage". It was put forth by an economist, David Ricardo, in 1817. His example was, the production of wine in Portugal versus cloth in England. While the theory itself has some validity, (obviously Portugal's' climate is more conducive to growing wine grapes.) The theory has now been applied to a situation where the only "advantage" being considered, is "slave labor". Maybe even more to the point, the system only works when trade is equal. When one country buys much more than they sell. it doesn't work. That is the situation the US is in today. When you try to put a nation that has achieved hard earned worker rights and livable wages in competition with third world totalitarian nations, it tends to drag the developed nation down. Spending more than you make, (trade deficits) doesn't work out for nations or individuals. As for the East Timor situation, it is indeed a prime example of corporatism run a muck. I think shedding light on it is a good idea.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

'Slave labor' is getting even worse.

See the post I just finished at http://occupywallst.org/forum/the-rise-of-the-machines/ .

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 8 years ago
  • comparative advantage - that's the term! but you've ignored the other obvious advantage at work today - environmental deregulation - I know - it's early.

  • East Timor as an example - can it be used to generate back pressure against the industry group itself and the oil industry in particular as it applies to NAFTA? If it can be used in this way, it may create an opening for ways to instill fairness to these trade agreements that benefit all parties.

[-] -2 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Please read the details. It is an actual resolution that's been fought over on the House floor. Interesting that you feel the 25% tax is too high... I'm in that upper bracket and felt it was OK. In fact, I was thinking maybe we should take it high for folks above something on the order of a couple of million.

[-] 1 points by RogerDee (411) from Montclair, NJ 8 years ago

Nothing less than 70% top rate for income, with deductions and exemptions to invest in the US, bring the effective rate to where it is now, about 32%.

In 1980 the effective rate was about 30-33%, as is it is now.

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I take it you're not in that upper bracket ? ;o)

Have you ever seen the rates from 1964 ? I posted them at http://occupywallst.org/forum/fix-the-deficit-return-to-1964-tax-rates/

I'm in favor of a progressive tax, but I suspect 70% would only cause the rich to abandon their US citizenship. That's what happened to the UK back when they tried it. I'd rather get 35% or maybe 40% (whatever we can pull off without losing them) than 70% of nothing !

[-] 1 points by RogerDee (411) from Montclair, NJ 8 years ago

You do understand effective tax rates?

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I don't recognize the term... Please fill me in.

[-] 1 points by RogerDee (411) from Montclair, NJ 8 years ago

In 1980 the top income tax rate was 70%, thru deductions and exemptions the effective rate was about 31%. We gave huge breaks for investin in the US, in emerging tech and markets, we rewarded innovation and good behavior.

Now the top rate is 35% and the effective rate is about 32%, 80% of those deductions and exemptions are gone, and instead we give tax breaks to outsource jobs.

So the actual rates the rich pay are about the same as the rates in 1980. But we've removed the incentives for capital to flow to job creation. ANd in their place we incentivize the flow of capital to overseas and speculation.

SO speculative bubbles are larger and burst to negative effect, And now the jobless recovery is the new norm.

From 1938 to 1988 we had 3 recessions where GDP went worse than negative 1%, (1946, 1982, 2009) from 1800 to 1938 we had a depression about every 20 years, with GDP dropping to negative 10% or 21% in the case of 1930.



There is a reason recessions were short and shallow, we had a tax policy that rewarded US job creation in emerging tech, and the Federal Gov spent 4-5% of GDP on infrastructure every year, now we spend 2% of GDP on infrastructure.

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Got it. By the way, you just made my case for the modern Federal Reserve that emerged from the rubble of the Great Depression via the Banking Act of 1935 ;o)

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 8 years ago

I don't know what percentages are reasonable, and will achieve the necessary debt reduction while keeping our infrastructure and safety net[s] up to date and solvent -

If you are in that upper bracket and feel as a responsible citizen that such a percentage is reasonable - hats off to you. It's clear not everyone feels that way.

I've seen some suggest a one or two percent tax on speculative investments on Wall Street - as a way to discourage the practice. I'm not sure how effective that might be.

And the comment below claims the Ryan plan is dead on arrival -

so. Perhaps I should read it myself. Ending Medicare and Privitization of Social Security is a non-starter.

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Please do read it. In fact, I think all Americans (myself included) should get better at reading proposed legislation rather than let the media tell us what we're supposed to think. I had never read Ryan's plan precisely because I was so sure it was total crap from the right wing of my party, but then someone suggested I read it. I was surprised that it wasn't quite as full of crap as I thought it would be.

I personally don't like the plan's capital gains provisions for the same reason you suggest with your transaction tax... our markets are distorted, often at the expense of the average guy, by excessive speculation. I think a hefty tax on commodity trades occurring before the delivery date would help as would a hefty tax on capital gains collected in under a 5 - 10 year time span (2 years is too short in my opinion).

[-] 1 points by notaneoliberal (2269) 8 years ago

So Rico, what did you learn about neoliberalism?

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Crap ! I learned nothing because I forgot to go read the materials you provided. I still have the links and will go read them this weekend. Sorry, you were drowned out by turkey and beer !

[-] 2 points by notaneoliberal (2269) 8 years ago

Hope you had a good thanksgiving. I'm very curious to see what you have to say on the subject, as you don't seem to be an ideologue.

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 8 years ago

I don't know anything about investments - what little I do know about speculating on commodities futures makes me angry. It isn't right to drive up the price of food when that price then is felt in the third world where in some cases their infrastructure for food production had previously been ruined by mass-agra.

but it sounds like we are on the same page.

[-] 0 points by JProffitt71 (222) from Burlington, VT 8 years ago

Looks decent. It heralds simplicity and that is very desperately needed right now. The only point I might want to look at closer is the capital side of taxes on the rich. If I understand it correctly, if their income comes from capital gains, then they are essentially free of the tax. Though.. if it balances the budget, then I suppose there isn't a problem. This looks like it would at least improve our situation.

Edit: Perhaps someone more versed in legislation among us would be better equipped to evaluate this than I.

[-] 2 points by RogerDee (411) from Montclair, NJ 8 years ago

Ryan plan assumes the economy grows at the same rate from 2030 to 2080. Revenues are 19% of GDP in the plan from 2030 to 2080.

We know that from 1929 to today GDP went as low as -21% to s high as +8%. That the Ryan plan predicts economic grow to be perfectly steady without variation for 50 years is a fantasy.


Look at page 5 and page 7.

We know how the budget was balanced in 2000, by stimulating the economy, you increase revenues.

Since the Ryan plan cuts spending from 26% of GDP to 14% of GDP , that represents a 30% cut, causing a contraction in the economy.

[-] 0 points by jjuussttmmee (607) 8 years ago

when do we get government paid house insurance? and when will we get free life insurance? and when will we get free dental insurance? when will we get free optical? and when will we get free car insurance? when do we get free restaurant food? Government paid attorneys? government paid heating, housing, it goes on forever what more can we get from the government? (the government is supposed to be US!.) sure lets take from us?. No lets watch the purse strings of gov. to be sure our cash is spent the best way for EVERYONE and divorce the gov as our "parents"

[-] -1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Interesting response. I'll comment just as I did to the liberal below... I'm just trying to be practical. I suspect Paul Ryan is as well. The folks who think we'll be able to sell America on discarding the entire Government and start over with a new government created in their own image are simply irrational, whether they're from the extreme left or right.

[-] 0 points by jjuussttmmee (607) 8 years ago

I would not throw the whole thing out, yet. I would take time to design a new system that would be more fair and simple to understand than what is now and after it was finished designed, It would be implemented PEACEFULLY a bit at a time so the revolution could happen TOTALLY peacefully and without disturbance to economy or occurrence of violence. Plan peacefully first, present a "better idea" force a vote "of the people" on the new plan Massive change delivered, without social unrest. Now that would have value!.

[-] 0 points by jjuussttmmee (607) 8 years ago

why do we think we deserve to get free medical? because other countries do it? or because it is right or wrong? we want to be sure the docs get rich? and never have to do charity work like they used to do 100 years ago? doctors more greedy? all medical more greedy? better at getting wages to rise than other groups like car unions or teachers unions? why do we think we deserve to get free medical? where did it begin? with Ford, the social engineer, so his workers would be more healthy and could work harder, longer. so why not all the other things too? engage

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I used to be somewhat upset about health care as a right as well, but then I was spurned on by folks here to think about it some more. I did, and I changed my opinion, though not for the reasons people suggested.

Public 'mood' has such great impact on our economy because most of our economy is driven by the production and consumption of non-necessities; people's 'mood' doesn't affect whether they buy food or pay their rent. Just look around at everyone you know and try to figure out how many are employed doing something that actually needs to be done, that we can't do without.

I don't object to the idea that we have an economy based largely on the production and consumption of luxury goods. Heck, I love my gadgets ! At the same time, however, recognising how few of us are actually doing things that needs to be done suggests to me that much of our 'economy' is actually intended to simply keep a lot of us busy and 'productive.' Moving a large chunk of our employment over to health care doesn't really hurt much, and there are still fortunates to be made there, but we would at least be providing something of value to real people. Why have an economy optimized to create smart-phones while even one person suffers from sickness ?

In the end, I changed my position because I realized it doesn't really matter where our luxury producing labor is employed, and we may as well do something useful for real people. A job is a job, and a business a business, but a job with a business that actually helps people who are ill seems like a slightly better job than making yet another cell phone.

[-] 1 points by jjuussttmmee (607) 8 years ago

I know a physical therapist that absolutely loves her work. she helps her patients to feel better, and that makes her feel real good about herself. She was married to a commodities broker who seemed to worship money, really he was not happy, rich he was multi millionare but happy he was not. He had the most expensive "toys" I remember a Lotus but this man was not happy. the theropist however was happy and seemed more fulfilled in life than the man who spent his life getting more and more money and had few friends. for me life is not a pursuit of things, but a pursuit of knowledge and servitude to others less fortunate than me. That makes my life worth living. The chase of money is such a worthless thing. You can't take money with you but you can take the changes, improvements, to your soul with you when you go. Do what has real value, serve others.

[-] 1 points by dingy58 (172) 8 years ago

Physical therapy clinics are a doctor's marketing ploy to get more money from the patients. Unless someone has a serious stroke or injury, they are useless. They line up next to pain clinics as biggest bs artists in medicine.

[-] 1 points by jjuussttmmee (607) 8 years ago

I was in a horrible car crash. PT's have helped me to recover, you can say what you want. By having a way to remove some of my pain they probably have saved my life (from me taking it myself to end the pain), improved it greatly for sure. Now let me say that I have seen many PT's and not all of them can, did, make a difference. They say doctors are practicing because they have not got it right yet.

[-] 0 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Exactly. Better yet, it's somewhat difficult to outsource hands-on health care ;o)

[-] -1 points by midwestpatriot (6) 8 years ago

Healthcare: 1) those amounts only cover the cost of healthcare in the bottom 10 cost of living states? 2) Why pay an insurer at all? Pay the doctor or hospital direct! Isn't health insurance one large, costly, no value bureaucracy at both the govt and insurer level? Why can't you just buy affordable major medical? 3) Why hold US consumers hostage to US drug companies while food flows unfettered? Open markets on drugs. Deregulate the certification and provider rules on health care so we can see with doctors if we want. Why free markets for business and controlled markets for consumers?

Medicare: I am 55, don't let those over 60 steal from you, they have done that all their lives, they are selfish and immoral, caring always for themselves and not the COMMON GOOD. They have know just as I have their whole lives that this was a problem and they engineered things to try to lock in for themselves before the inevitable change happened. Sickness care providers salivate for that age group, that is where the real cost lies. Why give an 80 year a heart transplant you won't be able to afford for your 8 yr old daughter or granddaughter? One plan for all ages. I might exclude over 70 yr olds, but under that if they need to go back to work, so be it.

[-] 2 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

1) I'm not sure. I found this tidbit at http://www.averagecostinsurance.com/healthinsurance.html : "A report published by America’s Health Insurance Plans in October 2009 (Individual Health Insurance of 2009: A Comprehensive Survey of Premiums, Availability and Benefits) stated the average cost of insurance plans when purchased personally. Note that the information provided is based on historical data. For as single person, an annual premium was $2,985 while a whole family paid $6,328. Premium also differs in a state-to-state basis. The family health plan in New York was $13,296 and the same plan in Iowa only cost $5609. The average cost was also affected directly by the deductible taken." I am baffled why the costs between New York and Iowa would be so different.

2) We pool our funds into pools to so that a statistically insignificant yet catesrphic cost is not levied on a single member of the pool. That's how all insurance works. What, for example, would you do if you found you needed a rare surgical procedure that few need but would cost you $500,000 if you had to pay it yourself ? You can call the pooling of payments to cover statistics whatever you like, but it's just 'insurance' by another name.

3) 'Food' is comprised of a basket of commodities sold on cost basis alone, and America overproduces these commodities in great abundance. Advanced drugs are the product of significant R&D and testing expenses (90% of all drugs fail to make it to the market), and those costs are recovered via profits made during the life of the patent. Note how often we see start-up drug companies collapse when they fail to get FDA approval. Generic drugs no longer covered by patents are commodities much like food, and they are sold cheaply enough that poor African nations can afford them. Our current system charges employers like mine (via the generous health insurance they provide) for the development of new drugs which ultimately 'trickle down' to everyone. I know of no good model to replace this one.

Medicare: I am 55 as well, and I play to retire next year. I don't need Social Security or Medicare, and I can afford to pay more taxes. I don't think people like me should be allowed to collected it. I also agree with the need for what my own stupid party labeled the "Death Panels." There was an excellent episode of 60 minutes some time back that showed we spend $6 billion a year providing care in the last 3 months of life because we can't accept death. Worse yet, they showed examples of pap smears and other silly tests being performed on a dying 80 year old woman because Medicare doesn't allow denial of any treatment people are 'entitled' to regardless of their state. The hospitals, of course, love this policy.

Social Security: If we were willing to get really radical (no chance), I think perhaps the retirement age for social security should vary with the type of employment. All I do all day is type on a computer, and I can do my job until my brain fades, hopefully well after 70. A construction worker, on the other hand, can't be expected to carry lumber up a ladder at age 70. Just a thought... it will never happen.

[-] 1 points by dingy58 (172) 8 years ago

Interesting that you try to shift blame on citizens of any age. Your bias is showing. You have no idea what it is like to be on Medicare, besides that this age hatred against the old or young is another way to divide the people. Your other statements may have merit, but invisible under the umbrella of your hate.

[-] -1 points by Supplysider (53) from Richboro, PA 8 years ago

Sockpuppets = Mindless drones repeating whatever someone with a microphone is saying!

[-] -2 points by Infowar (295) 8 years ago

LOL look at all the retards saying Ron.Paul this an that, he said Paul Ryan. I think this thread makes a perfect point about phoney LIBTARDS. How can you claim to be an honest person and attack people with out knowing there message? Same with Ron.Paul you phoney Phucktard attack him when he really best represents you. DON'T KILL THE MESSENGER.

[-] 2 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Just for clarification, I don't like AynRandRonPaul ( see http://occupywallst.org/forum/r-o-n-p-a-u-l-really-obnoxious-naive-people-and-un/ ). Furthermore, I only posted Paul Ryan's plan to stimulate discussion of the associated topics. Based on the responses I have received thus far, I am inclined at this point to say it's excessively flawed, but I'm still working through the lower level details before I finalize my view.

[-] -1 points by Infowar (295) 8 years ago

Want help? The crowd Occupy attracts are uneducated as far as economics and politics. The reason for this is because their is no unified message and also its non leaders are being deceptive. So be honest and very clear about your objectives and the problem of gaining more support will be come clear. The word is reactionary this thread shows it all you have to do is open your eyes. Why has Ron.Paul been right for so long while being called a liar and fool by all MSM?

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 8 years ago

Because Mr. Paul is a liar. Though I don't believe he is a fool.

[-] -1 points by Infowar (295) 8 years ago

Prove it then, see that's the problem Soros has programmed you with. Just saying it does not make it so.

[-] 3 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

It's pretty simple really. His plan to double-down on unconstrained free-enterprise will do nothing but return us to the age of the Robber Barrons. We tried full-blown free-enterprise (and gold). We got Rockefeller, JP Morgan, Vanderbilt, etc.

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 8 years ago

What part about him being a politician don't you understand?

A career politician, at that.

[-] -2 points by Infowar (295) 8 years ago

With the record of supporting the Constitution and peoples rights for 20 plus years. I wish we had more honest career politicians that supported the Constitution.

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 8 years ago


Read 'em and weep.

He's sham, and this is old stuff.

[-] -2 points by Infowar (295) 8 years ago

You are the sham but that was a well crafted twisted talking points page you have there. Do you ever speak or think for yourself or do you like to let shadow figures speak for you? Id be here for days explaining the 1000's of talking point memos there. Try this speak in your own words, cut the strings.

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 8 years ago

Mr. Paul doesn't like most Americans.

Especially women.

Doesn't care much about our environment either.

Dry your eyes now, Mr. Paul is a liar.

[-] -1 points by Infowar (295) 8 years ago

I can't i am still laughing at you to hard.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 8 years ago


You think he's an "honest" politician?

Now I'm the one laughing.

[-] 2 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago

It's difficult to prove, but no less obvious. His rhetoric is compassionate and progressive-sounding, but his policies would hasten a new Gilded Age. His platform is rolling back all the progressive reforms and institutions that created the middle class after decades of struggle and suffering by generations of American workers.

[-] -2 points by Infowar (295) 8 years ago

Actually the largest middle class in the world was in America while in Austrian Free Markets. Now we have switched to Keynesian economics and it is destroying us just like Europe.

[-] 2 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago

You are truly clueless.

1940s-1970s was Keynes. 1980s to present is Friedman - a close ally of Hayek. His Chicago school is most similiar to Hayek's Austrian school. Austrian Free markets would have been the 1870s-1920s - no middle class, just Robber Barons and peasants.

[-] -2 points by Infowar (295) 8 years ago

You are truly clueless. Let me guess our problem in this country lies in the Republicans?

[-] -2 points by Infowar (295) 8 years ago

Keynesian economics is what the "robber barons" used to destroy or economies not Austrian Free market economics but good try Soros would be proud.

[-] 2 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago

Umm. You have it straight backwards - you've been indoctrinated. Alex Jones and company are not your friends.

Laissez-faire economics was what the Robber Barons practiced, and Austrian economics is just that, redux. They were taken on first by Teddy and the progressives, then by FDR and Keynesian economics - the system that created the American middle class and set the Robber Barons seething for 40 years, planning their comeback. They found their champion in Milton Friedman, whose economics are also a new spin on laissez-faire. Since Reagan, they've been dominant, hence the new Gilded Age.

[-] -2 points by Infowar (295) 8 years ago

You need to read the theory's instead of using your off kilter examples. Until then this argument will go nowhere. You are basically saying we can print as much money as we want and won't have a problem. You are wrong if you believe that.

[-] 2 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago


I've read them. I'm not saying that there's no problem, but we could do with more inflation than we have now.

Keynes, however, did not create or even advocate fiat currency. He advocated countercyclical fiscal and monetary policy that is as disciplined as anything else - paying down debt in periods of expansion. It is Reaganomics inspired by Friedman that has broken the model. Deficit military spending and tax cuts during boom times have become the norm, and Keynes is no longer in play except that he's occassionally given lip service and/or blame.

[-] -1 points by Infowar (295) 8 years ago

Printing more money destroys the value. Why do you think prices of all goods have been rising? If we stuck with sound money 7 dollars an hour would go a lot farther.

[-] 2 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago

Look up the dangers of deflation. It's what you're asking for and is far worse than inflation. Inflation can be a good thing - a lack of it means stagnation and a very sick economy - if kept in check. We're on a deflationary track now.

How old are you?

[-] -2 points by Infowar (295) 8 years ago

How old are you kid? Lit me guess probably right around 20 and in collage right? Let me inform you of something you will realize one day, you are wasting your time and money on that collage. Yes the danger of the dollar deflating is dangerous and is what Keynesian money printing does.

[-] 2 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

I'm 55 and I agree with loosely here. Does that make you feel any better ?

See my post at http://occupywallst.org/forum/what-is-money/

[-] -2 points by Infowar (295) 8 years ago

The age was not brought up by me and the "my team is right" attitude affects me very little and in reality does not necessarily make you, him or me right. So you can do your childish faces and phoney logic all you want or you can debate like an adult.

[-] 2 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Loosely asked "how old are you?" That's a fair question in a debate as it goes to the knowledge and experience of the speaker in a forum where we cannot tell who we're speaking with. He didn't imply you were of any age in particular or suggest that any one age is superior to another, he simply asked a plain question. Your response was "How old are you kid? Lit me guess probably right around 20 and in collage right? Let me inform you of something you will realize one day, you are wasting your time and money on that collage." That sounds pretty disrespectful to me.

Since debating with a college student appears to fail your test of legitimacy, I simply weighed in with my age to satisfy your desire for a response from someone well out of college.

I have no idea what you're talking of regarding "childish faces," and you have yet to prove any of my logic to be 'phony'.

It's pretty clear to me who is and is not able to debate like an adult.

[-] 0 points by Infowar (295) 8 years ago

Age is irrelevant to if someone is right or not. Also i could just make any age up to suit my need. So whats the point? See this is a big flaw in peoples logic thinking people are always honest.

[-] 2 points by looselyhuman (3117) 8 years ago

The value of the dollar decreasing is called inflation.

The rest: even more clueless.

[-] -2 points by Infowar (295) 8 years ago

When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. Consequently, inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money a loss of real value in the internal medium of exchange and unit of account in the economy. This is what Keynesian economics do printing money destroys the dollar by causing inflation. The dangers of deflation is that it makes it so the powers that be have to worry because people can afford to eat again. Keep playing your dishonest head games though.

[-] 3 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Inflation also allows the repayment of debt using dollars worth less than those borrowed. We are currently in debt up to our necks at the personal, local, State, Federal, and International level. If we were to switch to 'hard currency' now, the average American would have none and commerce would cease.

It's clear you've read someone's opinion and are parroting it here.

It's equally clear you have no understanding of the underlying economics.

[-] -2 points by Infowar (295) 8 years ago

We also have a debt occurred illegally by a private bank. Let do as Iceland and make the bankers pay their own illegal debt. What you are suggesting would and is destroying the dollar and killing people by making food unaffordable. Also your unrealistic hope that the bankers are trying to help us by destroying the dollar is suggesting you are the one who is lost.

[-] -3 points by eyeofthetiger (304) 8 years ago

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[-] 2 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Wow, that little [-] button works wonders with posts like yours !

Just for you, I'm going to push my post at http://occupywallst.org/forum/r-o-n-p-a-u-l-really-obnoxious-naive-people-and-un/ back to the top of the forum list.

[-] -1 points by eyeofthetiger (304) 8 years ago

yea I'm addicted to copy and paste

[-] 1 points by Rico (3027) 8 years ago

Me too sometimes, but I at least spell the names properly ;o)