Quote of the day–President Barack Obama

I believe it is a mistake for us to borrow $700 billion to make tax cuts permanent for millionaires and billionaires. It won’t significantly boost the economy and it’s hugely expensive, so we can’t afford it.

President Barack Obama
November 14, 2010
Obama Says He’s Committed to Middle-Class Tax Cut Extension
[Just the phrase “we can’t afford it” and the word “expensive” in reference to a tax cut tells you how out of touch with reality he is or desires to change your perception of it. The proper usage of those words is more like, ‘You can’t afford spending money on expensive items.” You use a different set of words to describe taking money from people at gun point.—Joe]

12 thoughts on “Quote of the day–President Barack Obama

  1. So tax cuts won’t significantly boost the economy and are “too expensive” but multiple stimulus packages that have cost Trillions & not helped the economy are “necessary measures”

  2. “To each according to his need, from each according to his ability” isn’t that how it goes? Since all of your effort belongs to “the people” or whatever, you’ll give us what we want and be grateful that we let you keep anything, prole!

  3. Sure enough. If you want to see a statist go apoplectic, tell him that tax cuts cost nothing, but that taxes are expensive.

    Another way to get that apoplexy response is to point out that, at our current rate of taxation, we could pay for government spending (assuming government spending programs are worth spit, which they aren’t) by drastically cutting tax rates. And that’s weird when you think about it, because statists love spending other people’s money, yet they advocate tax rates and restrictions which reduce the amount of activity that can be taxed.

    So we have to conclude that revenue raising isn’t the statists’ primary goal, that they’re stupid, that they’re insane, or that they simply hate people and want control for the purpose of keeping people down. Or some combination of all the above.

  4. Lyle,

    “at our current rate of taxation, we could pay for government spending (assuming government spending programs are worth spit, which they aren’t) by drastically cutting tax rates.”

    Forgive me for being dense, but I don’t quite see how this one works–could you please elaborate?

    Not that I disagree with you, mind. I tend to take the “taxation is a legalized version of highway robbery” tack, which can get similarly hilarious results.

  5. Publius,

    Cutting tax rates will lower the burden on businesses currently in the US allowing them to expand, it will bring companies back who have been driven out by shrinking profit margins and growing expenditures and it will decrease the risks of starting a new business. Even though they will be collecting less from everybody, they’ll be more folks to collect it from.

  6. So, if tax cuts are good, cutting the tax rate to 0% (zero) for everyone would be really good and all of our debt would just vanish… Right?

  7. So, if tax cuts are good, cutting the tax rate to 0% (zero) for everyone would be really good and all of our debt would just vanish… Right?

  8. Ubu,

    if it were up to me, I would:

    1) Eliminate all taxes

    2) Default on the debt (which would be a good idea because people and nations would think twice before lending to it again)

    3) Cut all bureaucracies off immediately

    4) Set up the government (what little was left) to rely on voluntary contributions, rather like a charitable organization. I believe enough people would contribute to allow it to provide basic functions, but that way it would be incapable of doing the nasty stuff (unnecessary war, total surveillance, data mining, etc.) because then people would stop contributing. If it’s a good idea, there should be no problem convincing people to make it happen voluntarily, via funding and participation.

  9. Publius,

    I think it would be a bad idea to default on the debt because it might cause us to lose our status as the reserve currency. If we lose our reserve currency status, I hate to think of what oil would be priced in — but I doubt it would be “petrodollars.” No one would need our money anymore.

  10. What do you think is happening now? We’re losing that status as we speak. IMHO the only currency in the world worthy of reserve status is the Swiss franc, which is 10% backed by gold. Ours is backed by “full faith and credit”, which is to say nothing more than the paper on which it is printed, and so is the Euro, Yuan, pound sterling, the whole mess. Our debt is so staggeringly enormous, and our politicians’ addiction to spending so severe, that there is no way it will ever get paid off. ever. It’s all we can do to cut the deficit, which is essentially the rate of digging the hole even deeper.

  11. Ubu,

    Thank you for our regular lesson in reductio ad absurdum. Apparantly you feel that if oxygen is good, we should all live in a 100% oxygen environment, right?

    Cutting taxe RATES on the most productive has ALWAYS resulted in higher tax REVENUES. For the reasons that Hans stated immediately before your comment. It worked for Kennedy, before it worked for Reagan. . .

    When you tax specific behavior, you get less of that behavior than you would under lower tax rates*. You have de-incentivized that behavior.

    Reduce those same taxes, and that behavior becomes more attractive, so more of it occurs.

    Raise income taxes on the high earners? They don’t earn as much taxable income.

    Raise taxes on capital gains? People invest less, and structure their investments to avoid making capital gains on paper.

    Raise estate taxes? People structure their estates so they HAVE no estate taxes. Or they just intentionally spend themselves out before dying.

    Of course, it is axiomatic that any tax scheme that penalizes either wealth or productivity will invariably hit the lower economic groups harder, despite the fact that is EXACTLY the opposite effect.

    Becuase rich or successful people can afford tax lawyers, accountants, and the freedom to structure their assets to minimize taxes by reducing “taxable” assets while maximizing tax deductions. Poor people do not — so they get hit with the full burden.

    Taxes on businesses are even sillier. Businesses DO NOT PAY TAXES — at most, they COLLECT them for the government. They calculate the cost of the taxes as a business expense, and then raise their prices to collect that tax from the end consumer, just as they would ANY business expense, whether it be the cost of electricty, the cost of labor, or the cost of paying off the local extortion racket (organized crime, unions, politicians, crooked cops — doesn’t matter). If it takes “X” dollars to bring the product to market, and the government will charge them “Y” dollars in taxes to do so, then the break even price on the product is “X + Y”, and any profit margin (“Z”) is then added in.

    * And before you go straight for the absudity again, that only applies where the person being taxed can reduce that behavior. With fixed behaviors being taxed like head taxes (the behavior is “being alive”), the only reduction you will see will be people removing themselves from the reach of teh taxing authority. Hypothetical taxes like the Sci-Fi favorite “air tax for station dwellers” are really nothing but head taxes in another guise.)

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