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    Hand-to-Hand Combat Has Started

    Hand-to-Hand Combat Has Started

    Barack Obama promised us hand-to-hand combat, and his speech yesterday was the start.

    The nation is facing a debt crisis of historic proportions, but nothing will be done because Obama already has launched his presidential campaign.  A compromise must included serious changes to unsustainable entitlements which are swamping the Treasury.  Yet Obama took any significant changes off the table yesterday, by channeling Alan Grayson’s charge that Republicans want people to die quickly.

    By contrast, Obama’s plan to raise taxes on the top 2% will not make a dent in the problem, even assuming the static analysis of $700 billion in additional revenue over 10 years.  That 10-year number doesn’t even close the budget deficit for this year.  And of course, life is not static, and the projected revenue does not take into account changes in behaviour to avoid taxes, what I’ve termed the revolt of the kulaks.

    As The Wall Street Journal points out:

    According to Internal Revenue Service data, the entire taxable income of everyone earning over $100,000 in 2008 was about $1.582 trillion. Even if all these Americans—most of whom are far from wealthy—were taxed at 100%, it wouldn’t cover Mr. Obama’s deficit for this year.

    The truth is that Obama doesn’t care about the deficit.  Obama proposed a budget not long ago which would have increased spending and the deficit.  It was only after the recent showdown over last year’s budget that Obama decided that politically he needed to appear to be attentive.

    Yesterday’s speech was a calculated move by someone who doesn’t care about the deficit to pretend to care so that he could use the issue in political hand-to-hand combat.

    If you don’t think 2012 is the make-or-break political year for this country, then you haven’t been paying attention.

    Update:  Ramesh Pannuru does a good job debunking myths about the Ryan plan, and Jim Geraghty has a good post, Obama’s Habit of Trashing His Invited Guests.

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    ending the bush tax cuts would cut 3.3 trillion from the debt, about a quarter of it, according to the CBO.

    If our debt crisis is as historic as you say shouldn't we take that one simple step that resolves so much of the problem?

    And if you refuse to doesn't that say something about just how honest these claims of the importance of the debt are? If you won't roll back taxes to the levels of the 90s (remember when we had a surplus and not a deficit) then I have to question your sincerity about the matter at all.

    @Tialoc – Obama doesn't propose ending all the Bush tax cuts, only those on the top 5%. Read the WSJ article linked, most of the benefit from the Bush tax cuts goes to the 95%, not the 5%.

    @Tialoc: "If you won't roll back taxes to the levels of the 90s"

    Deal! Here's my hand, I'll shake on it right now. You willing?

    Oh…just one little thing first. I'm sure you just forgot to mention it. If we're going to raise taxes to 90s levels, that naturally we're going to roll back spending to 90s levels too, right? I mean, it's only logical, if we're going to go back to the 90s, than we should really go back to the 90s across the board, no?

    I'll take that deal. You still want to?

    *extends hand*

    This speech was a rhetorically violent watershed in modern American politics and the GOP is reacting to it with dangerously aymmetrical complacency. For Ryan to say that he was"disappointed" is ridiculously inadequate. The time for clear language and confrontation is way overdue. The Right must engage this man on the terrain of the classic struggle between the individual and the State, not in the pecuniary islets of budgets and "deals." There are no "deals" to be made with this ideological militance.

    The Boehners, Cantors and the GOP elite are useless to this moment. Who will step forward?


    You need to get your numbers straight.

    The CBO did indeed project that extending the Bush tax cuts for 10 years would add approx. $3.3-trillion to the federal debt.

    However, the CBO also projected that, based on Obama's fiscal 2011 budget, the federal public debt would be $20.3-trillion in 2020. That's 90% of CBO projected total US GDP in 2020.

    It is pretty much universally accepted by economists that nations with a 90% or more publically-held debt to GDP ratio run into serious economic trouble.

    Rest assured that such debt levels are "historic" for the US, excepting WWII levels:

    "America’s debt-to-GDP ratio peaked at 109 percent at the end of World War II, while the ratio for economically troubled Greece hit 115 percent last year."

    Form your own opinion with regard to the "importance of the debt." One thing is for sure. US debt exists independently of yours, or mine or the Professor's opinion of it.

    Perhaps, rather than the importance of debt, you ought to consider a more important question:

    How important is private property relative to our nation's prosperity?

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