How long can we keep this up?

How about “slash”. As in “George W slashes the throats of black girls in the NO convention center.” W is always slashing funding for something. Otherwise reasonable people, those with PhDs holding positions of power in Universities, talk with great fear of the loss of federal funding. I look around my campus and here is what I see.

Additions to the football stadium
New auditorium (which no one performs in)
Brand new Recreation facility
New Architecture building
New Psychology building (good for me)
12 million dollar duck pond
“Renovation” of the oval (sprinklers and wireless internet…this cost like 10 million dollars)
Renovation of the library, which had been renovated around 1980.

Money from the taxpayer invariably pays for these pet projects of the university through indirect costs of federal grants. So the grant that’s paying for, let’s say spinal cord injury research, has to pay for a duck pond as well.

Under W, the annual budget for the NIH doubled to 50 billion $. Now, the past year or so the rate of increase had to drop dramatically (notice I said rate in increase and not reduction). Now I get emails every week about the “slashes to the federal budget” and I hear about how hostile the administration is to science.

Don’t forget slashing funding to NO levies. It’s easy to point fingers at Nagin/Blanco/W about the flood, but truth be told, a lot of people doing stupid things for generations before these guys showed up. Lots of municipal golf courses built at public expense. The MRGO, a giant canal from NO to the Gulf that nobody uses. This isn’t even counting the public housing. In Louisiana, and in NO especially, federal money drops in a disappears like so many sandbags into Lake Pontchartrain. Slashing a budget here or there might get people to focus on their priorities, and not duck ponds, Big Digs, or rebuilding the Superdome (My prediction: A new superdome will be built before levies could withstand a CAT 5 hurricane). Alas, W promises more federal spending. No congressmen talk about cutting 2 million $ bike paths from the federal highway budget, but we all gotta pay more taxes instead. Ridiculous.

Posted at 11:04 pm by Johnny B

Posted by Mark Adams, The Lib @ 09/20/2005 03:35 AM PDT
Actually what I saw was outright laughter by GOP lawmakers in response to Tom DeLay’s idiocy about the Fed Budget being cut to the bone due to all these years of their stewartship. The Dems simply rolled their eyes at such audacity.

Especially sanquine were Lindsey Graham’s observations. He’s pushing for across the board cuts in all non defense spending, period.

What I don’t see, and don’t understand, is any support on the right for holding back on making all those tax cuts permanent.

When asked how we can afford to rebuild the Gulf Coast and fight two wars abroad, Bush said we can do both.

We can cut spending and expect some sacrifice from the nation’s wealthiest too. We can do both.

Posted by John Broussard @ 09/20/2005 08:36 AM PDT
Mark,
What level of taxation is acceptable to you, and how would you tier it (provided that you would)?

Posted by Mark Adams, The Lib @ 09/20/2005 10:34 PM PDT
Other than everyone else but me?

1. I’d eliminate corporate income tax in it’s entirety, which has a neutral if not negitive impact on the general economy by being passed on to consumers, never to shareholders. CPI will go down and GNP will go up dramatically

2. Reinstate the Federal luxury tax for goods and services above, say, $50 Grand, which when coupled elimination of corporate income tax should have a relatively neutral impact on sensitive industries like yacht building.

3. Find the progressive curve. I’m no economist, but there is an incremental curve representing a range of the percentages of income taxed which, at its zenith for the highest income bracket, will result in diminished returns/revenue. You can maximize revenue either to the point where current expenditures are met and/or revenue begins to diminish.

The actual numbers are merely a hunch on my part, but if my guess is right, the curve should be steeper than it is now, with the middle class rates remaining substantially where they are or only slightly higher, but with higher income groups — who not only are better able to pay a larger “fair share,” but also have more investment vehicles to shelter additional income — paying at either Clinton era if not Reagan era rates with no decrease either to revenue or national productivity.

Its a pro-growth prpgressive system which should also attract foreign investment in more American companies instead of buying our debt in the form of treasury notes. I’d rather have the Chinese having a financial impact on GE instead of USA, wouldn’t you?

Sure, this sounds like the usual “eat the rich” stuff from the left, but there are a lot more of us than them. If you’ve been lucky enough and worked hard enough to reaped the benefits of our system, you have a greater responsibility to make sure the system contuinues to work well and in a socially responsible manner.

Just because we are capitalists does not mean we must act like we live in the jungle. I’ve seen enough “trickle down” supply-side voodoo resulting in greater class disparity, increased poverty rates, wage stagnation and uninsured, to know it’s crap. GNP is no real measure of a nation’s sucess, rather you must look to quality of live which only increases for the top tier and remains flat or diminishes for the middle and lower classes in the current economic model.

The real elephant in the room, however, is health care. Without a dramatic, bold, top to bottom restructureing of the way we handle the medical industry, it will remain a drag on the economy. a black hole for tax dollars, and demonstrably ineffective for so many and completely unavailable for 41 million Americans.

You don’t fix that, then tax policy is just playing games.

Posted by John Broussard @ 09/21/2005 08:13 AM PDT
Mark, very thoughtful, although I disagree on sight at the thought that luxury taxes would raise sufficient revenue to offset relief at the corporate end. Of course I agree eliminating the corporate taxes is a good idea. Would a steeper income tax curve make America’s tax system look like Germany’s? I keep hearing about how German companies are trying their hardest to get out of dodge. Health care is another box of worms…I’m curious to know which country would serve as a good model for health care compared to America. It’s a cheap question I know, but I promise I’m not baiting you to say “France”. I’m sure you have some good ideas from different models/countries, so please feel free to share.

Posted by Shoobox @ 09/21/2005 07:24 PM PDT
As far as a luxury tax…I’m guessing that a boat may fit in the category to be taxed as a luxury tax….but what if the boat comes in the form of a kit (like many planes do) or what if it is bought in parts…I know this is far fetched but there are many ways around that as well.

What’s wrong with a flat tax. Let’s “slash” the tax code; I’ll bring the machete. Isn’t paying the same rate fair. It always seemed to me that those who say that higher incomes paying a higher rate is “fair” seems to feel guilty for those who do not make as much. Merriam-Webster defines fair as ”marked by impartiality and honesty : free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism.” Please tell me how a flat tax rate is not fair.

Posted by Logipundit @ 09/21/2005 08:43 PM PDT
Well you’re right about one thing Mark: Without a fix to the healthcare system, it’s all for naught.

AS A WHITE MAN IN THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY (wanted everyone to know I was qualified to comment) I have never been so tempted to Federalize something in all my life. It only takes about 30 seconds every time I think about it to remember how BAD of an idea that is, BUT…

We can all argue how and which direction to go to fix the problem. Keeping the government OUT of the health care business, but standardizing (and simplifying) some of the requirements that State regulators require of underwriters…coupled with a little tort reform (two purposes there…making it a lot harder to convict, but also making the penalties of being convicted a lot tougher) which will allow costs to go down. You get the health insurance premiums down to a reasonable level then Companies won’t NEED a tax break.

If we don’t do this…then within 5 years companies will not being offering health insurance to their employees….period.

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