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Extending the Bush tax cuts: Human nature?

Of all the coverage of the debate over whether or not to extend the Bush tax cuts, and there is plenty today, given that the White House appears to be quietly giving ground to Republicans on extending the tax cuts temporarily, today's money quote comes via Howard Kurtz over at The Daily Beast. He quotes former President George W. Bush communications director Dan Bartlett as saying, "We knew that, politically, once you get [a tax cut] into law, it becomes almost impossible to remove it. That's not a bad legacy. The fact that we were able to lay the trap does feel pretty good, to tell you the truth."

Ouch. Nothing like leaving your successor with a thorny problem to solve. But while the admission is disturbing--setting time bombs for your successor, whatever party they may be a member of, hardly seems like an act of leadership--the other sentiment in Bartlett's statement is worth exploring, too. He's right: When it comes to benefits, leaders should be careful what precedents they set, and what perks they hand out. Taking them away later is much easier said than done.

I'm sure a behavioral economist could show us the research on what this says about human nature. Something is introduced as a temporary benefit, a reward during surplus times, and yet we seem to take it for granted, getting angry when it's taken away rather than thankful while it lasted. One need look no further than Wall Street to see this phenomenon at work. So-called "bonuses" became a complete misnomer as, over time, a once-a-year gift for a year of profitable growth became an ingrained way to send compensation packages ballooning into the stratosphere. Talk about an entitlement culture.

On the far less exorbitant end of the spectrum, I recall reporting a story about a few companies adding gas card benefits or testing out four-day work weeks to cut down on commuting costs during 2008's oil price spike. Still, their numbers remained fairly small. When I called to talk with big companies and their H.R. consultants about whether or not they were considering adding similar benefits, many explained they didn't want to institute perks they'd later have to take away when gas prices fell.

Of course, plenty of companies have ignored this truism of human behavior, and have cut salaries, 401(k) matches and bonuses during the downturn. Those that reconstitute those benefits when the company's fortunes improve again--and that required similar sacrifices from their executives--aren't likely to see a run for the exits. Those that don't, however, could very well suffer the consequences when flush times return.

What does this have to do with the news that the tax cuts are likely to get a temporary extension? Plenty. Those who favor ending the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy seem most worried about what this does to the deficit during the temporary extension, or about what this does to Obama's political fortunes--it was a campaign promise, after all, and many on the Left see such "negotiations" as preliminary caving to Republicans.

Rather, they should be concerned that this extension could simply be the first of many. Future leaders, too, don't want to be the ones accused of removing a benefit people have grown accustomed to. As William G. Gale, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center wrote in this op-ed, "if the tax cuts don't die now, they probably never will."

By Jena McGregor

 |  December 3, 2010; 10:49 AM ET |  Category:  Bad leadership , Change management , Crisis leadership , Economic crisis , Federal government leadership , Government leadership , Presidential leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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I really don't know if it is the right thing to do, because the same rich people who are moving their companies in places like Mexico Central America China and other Third World countries to exploit the people to regain more profit, and then bring their goods back into the United States and sell it for even greater profit. if companies who pays millions of dollars to actors, individuals who play sports millions of dollars to sponsor their product. Then turn around and about the American people. And the American people who believes is necessary to provide their children with expensive toys, computers cell phones cars and all kinds of other electronic devices should also be ashamed. But we need a tax any company that had moved to a foreign country when it attacks their goods that they bring them into the country or if they have those items being sold and manufactured in the country. A country such as Mexico whose people are exploited with a group drug cartels making life miserable for the people of Mexico for-profit. Do I think millionaires should possibly pay what is fair and who determines what is fair I can answer that question, but when companies move to foreign countries in order to exploit people in the name of profit it is sinful and yet no one donating about it.

Posted by: treason1948 | December 8, 2010 8:20 AM

By all accounts, it is called greed. The Rs just feel like manipulating everything possible, because they feel like they can, they have no soul, just a very cold bunch.

Posted by: jt1015 | December 6, 2010 12:07 AM

By all accounts, it is called greed. The Rs just feel like manipulating everything possible, because they feel like they can, they have no soul, just a very cold bunch.

Posted by: jt1015 | December 6, 2010 12:06 AM

To dalinkwent202 and all who happily piled on her/his profane-laden comment that began: "Why should thousands of soldiers, police officers, FBI agents, CIA agents, and firefighters risk THEIR lives to save your sorry self despite all the damage that could befall THEIR families? Why should teachers devote years of their lives..."

Are you OUT OF YOUR MIND? Who ever said anything like those people would be on the chopping block? It's the waste, laziness, and corruption that needs to be cut, and there is a hell of a lot of it to cut. Also, when you get your pansy Air Force ass out of your office and serve in combat like my USMC SON SERVING HIS THIRD TOUR IN AFGHANISTAN who supports tax cuts, maybe you will have the wherewithal to play the military card in your comments. Until then, in language you can understand: "F--- Off!"

Posted by: dfoster1 | December 5, 2010 10:24 PM

Where is the discussion on leadership? We are in a crisis, an orgy of deficit spending. If the focus of the column is "On Leadership" lets have some leadership analysis.

Seems to me that our country lacks leadership. Self serving politicians and special interest groups have paralyzed the decision making process.

Posted by: SteveR1 | December 5, 2010 10:04 PM

If all these people would quit spending so much, there wouldn't be a need for so much taxes.
You want art, you pay for it. You want a park or museum, you pay for it. You want decent highways, install a toll booth. and on and on.
Taxes should be for the basics, our armed forces, security, GENERAL welfare for those who can't fend for themselves, education.
Everything else, you use it you pay for it. Quit taxing everything for something most people will never use.
And when you do tax them, tax EVERYONE the same.

Posted by: r_leever | December 5, 2010 9:52 PM

How lucky for those federal employees who have the priviledge of providing some of the money to support the Republican tax cut for the wealthyest in our great nation. Thier sacrifice (in lost wages), along with the loss of value in their home, loss of buying power, and the reduction in their retirement (both due to the wages lost for the proposed two year freeze and the losses resulting from the market crash in 2008), will help fund those benefits - benefits are unlikely to ever be returned to that sub-set of the middle class - Yes, federal employees are part of the middle class, the losing part.

But the deficit rolls on, like a snowball, getting larger in spite of the pay free, especially with the extentinof these tax cuts - cuts meant to be temporary, not permanent. Let them expire for everyone. Everyone should share the burden, as in war, not just some.

Posted by: wallersl | December 5, 2010 8:33 PM

Unfortunately if the Bush era tax cuts are allowed to expire without offsetting increases in spending then aggregate demand will go down. At this point the Republicans are holding the U.S. hostage to tax cuts for the rich. Obama's economist understand this which is why they feel they have to agree to some compromise. The result is an extension of unemployment benefits that should stimulate the economy more. I don't believe the extension will significantly expand demand but better than destimulating increases in taxes.

I would prefer increases on the rich with investment and research tax credits, small business tax cuts, payroll tax cuts. If they really cared about business costs and unemployment these provide far greater stimulus than cuts on the highest marginal rates.

Posted by: sarlat | December 5, 2010 7:52 PM

@blarsen1; re:These are the same tax (rates) they've had for 9 years. If they can't "create" jobs now, they never will. If one would care to look, one will find that the jobs, mortgages, financial crises etc. started just after the dems were elcted in 2007.

Posted by: BeanerECMO | December 5, 2010 6:57 PM

I say, let the tax cuts expire for everyone and start over. It's the Repubs holding them back for 97% of America. Bush set up the person who would be elected in 2008 (which happened to be a Democrat) on purpose so he would be home chopping wood and picking up dog poop while leaving the country in a mess.

Posted by: lddoyle2002 | December 5, 2010 6:18 PM

Tax consumption (everything except food and meds) not earnings - stop trying to mold social policy with the Tax Code...you'd hit all those mean nasty "rich people" because each time they buy a new boat or car or whatever you want that you can't afford, they'd pay tax on it - dump ALL income tax - no IRS, no deductions, no trying to steer people toward doing this in favor of that due to the tax implications...simple, progressive in its impact on "the poor" and "the rich" alike, and fair. Means Test Social Security/Medicaid/Medicare - and prosecute with extreme prejudice those who defraud those programs, - and add some common sense - welfare mommas with cell phones and flat screens? not on my watch...take em away and give em to hospitals and orphanages - tough love for sure but the definition of poor needs to get closer to Websters than it has become - dependency has become generational and it need to stop...two kids? sure. on the house - the rest, I wont pay for...Dream Act? Dream On...illegals go to the back of the line (preferably in their home country - that will open up a bunch of jobs for those looking for work) dump all executive Branch Departments that do not support the Common Defense (DOD, DHS, Customs)...quit all the whining - roll up your sleeves and get to work (start by cleaning up your yard or if you feel bad for the next guy - clean up his too..but get everyone to work at something - lord knows there is enough broken for us all to have something to fix - start tomorrow morning!

Posted by: b_jj_b1 | December 5, 2010 6:16 PM

If the unemployment benefits are extended, some of these people will never get a job because they will have no skills to reenter the workforce. Some are happy to not have a job and are not looking for work.

Posted by: b2mar | December 5, 2010 5:42 PM

No wonder we are broke as a country: "The financial crisis stretched even farther across the economy than many had realized, as new disclosures show the Federal Reserve rushed trillions of dollars in emergency aid not just to Wall Street but also to motorcycle makers, telecom firms and foreign-owned banks in 2008 and 2009."

give them more money and they'll give it away to foreign countries. That what we don't need a tax increase.

Posted by: tonyjm | December 5, 2010 5:32 PM

Is there something in human nature that makes it so hard to end the Bush Tax Cuts?

Yes, it's called Greed, by the Plutocrats.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | December 5, 2010 5:04 PM

Yes. My taxed earnings are helping someone else down the street. And granted there are those who are gaming the system. But I believe most do not. Most are hardworking people who are just trying to make ends meet. I do not have children but yet pay property taxes for supporting schools for another family's kids. I also pay Social Security & Medicare taxes that help with support of current retirees. To me this net positive than negative. I do not want to see our country go back to the days when so many elderly people who are unable to work forced to live on the streets and scrounging for food. Besides most retirees do not making a killing on monthly checks and will put it quickly back into the economy. In regards to who should be paying more taxes. People that concern me are the wealthy investors making a lot of money using computers to automatically make trades without having any interest in the companies being invested in. This puts pressure on companies to increase profits and reduce expenses (most likely through layoffs or shipping jobs overseas). This does not seem to be good for our country.

Posted by: mytwocents2010 | December 5, 2010 3:45 PM

Hang in there crooked republicans. The tea party will be coming for you. American on the main street begging for food and they play games...We will get new republican in.

Posted by: billisnice | December 5, 2010 3:21 PM

Yes there is something about human nature that wants to keep the tax cuts---GREED.

Posted by: janye1 | December 5, 2010 2:43 PM

DALINKWENT202 --

You are 100% right. The republicans just want to take and not give back. If they don't like public schools, public health, fire, police, interstate highways and safety nets for the elderly, they should move to Somalia. Maybe then they'd be happy.

Posted by: blarsen1 | December 5, 2010 2:38 PM

"Why should I share my earnings with the person down the street instead of my children?"

Why should thousands of soldiers, police officers, FBI agents, CIA agents, and firefighters risk THEIR lives to save your sorry self despite all the damage that could befall THEIR families? Why should teachers devote years of their lives putting up with your kids for hours every day instead of force YOU to teach them chemistry, physics, calculus, and tons of other crap they'll spend hours whining about having to learn? Why should garbage men not just quit and make you haul your OWN crap to a landfill every week?

As a former member of the United States Air Force, I say WE do all that AND pay taxes to help fund it while you sit on your can for the same reason you're forced to help the poor: Because if no one steps up, then either it doesn't happen, or somebody has to get drafted when everyone figures out that allowing America to fall apart is unacceptable. It's called being a part of a ****ing SOCIETY. If that's too much to ask, there's a phrase from previous generations I've always liked that goes, "Love it or leave it."

"Liberal: a person who doesn't want to work, who wants the government to take care of him/her, and who then covets the rewards of the capitalist next door."

Says the guy who backs a position held by a bunch of GOP conservatives who run campaigns on DONATIONS, enjoy health benefits funded by taxpayers, and then have the nerve to whine about people looking for handouts?

"Sad"? Yes, arrogant hypocrisy often is.

Posted by: dalinkwent202 | December 5, 2010 2:27 PM

The argument about the necessity of taxes is a great point. If taxes were so wrong, the founding fathers would have banned the whole concept. Instead, just like every major society all the way back to ancient Babylon, Greece, any any others you could name, we pay taxes. We pay and complain they're too high no matter what the amount is, just like billions of dead people who came before us. Taxes are a part of life. DEAL WITH IT.

Posted by: dalinkwent202 | December 5, 2010 2:14 PM

In answer to the author's proferred question "Is there something in human nature that makes it so hard not to extend the Bush tax cuts," the answer is: "Yes, and it is called a rudmentary understanding of economics, coupled with common sense."

I further generally note that I have never: (1) been employed by a homeless person, poor person, lower class person, or middle class person; and (2) coveted or even care about what the wealthy person down the street might be making, because I hold out the hope that I will climb the economic ladder one day and stand in her shoes -- and if/when I get there, after decades of hard work, capital risk taking and the like, the last thing I want to have happen is for the government to take a disproportionate share of what I have earned.

A better question is why the government taxes income from labor at all.

This article thus explicates, in wonderful detail, another fault with liberals: they want a share of what others have, and they want to take it by expropriation via the tax code -- i.e., without earning it.

Why should I share my earnings with the person down the street instead of my children?

Liberal: a person who doesn't want to work, who wants the government to take care of him/her, and who then covets the rewards of the capitalist next door.

Sad.

Posted by: CapsLust | December 5, 2010 2:14 PM

Why wouldn't the GOP senators vote to end tax cuts for people earning over a million dollars? Is this their "no millionaire left behind" program?

Posted by: JimZ1 | December 5, 2010 1:58 PM

In a utopian world no one would have to pay taxes. But how would services society need such a police, garbage pickup or military for national defense (just to name a few examples) get funded? Would we go to a system of asking for donations or state lotteries? This seems to be a very inefficient and unpredictable way of supporting society's common needs. That is why a tax system is needed. The question then becomes who pays taxes and how much. History does provide guides on what works and what does not. In regards to extending Bush tax cuts. Even though I would have to pay more taxes I would rather see all of them end now or gradually over time (maybe five year period) to help deal with the deficit. I just hope our elected officials would use the money wisely.

Posted by: mytwocents2010 | December 5, 2010 1:27 PM

It is not matter of canceling the Bush tax cut. As long as the spending cut is not done we are going to dig ourselves deeper into debt no matter we cancel the Bush tax cuts. We need to cut the federal workers by 35% and eliminate their benefit and union, eliminate 100Billion dollars from medicare, social security, defense fund, and general funds. Eliminate dept. of Education, Epa, Hls,Energy,Health and human services. Eliminate medicaid and welfare and food stamps. Deport all the illegals and eliminate all the benefit the illegals are getting. This includes health care , education, welfare, social security etcs. Return the health care and education to the states without federal subsidies. This will correct the federal budget and deficit.

Posted by: chaemoondriver | December 5, 2010 1:04 PM

DO THE MATH, folks. The GOP says we need to cut spending. Great. The GOP says we need to PAY for things we want to do. Awesome. Now try finding a clear, specific answer as to how they're gonna cover the $700 BILLION-dollar cost of the Bush tax cuts and listen to the crickets. Am I the ONLY one who's noticed that we've got all these aircraft carriers just sitting around COSTING(not making) us money? We're fighting a war in a freaking DESERT, and NOBODY sees something wrong with our bloated Navy budget? And by the way, have we gotten much out of those expensive STEALTH BOMBERS yet that our drones can't handle? I dunno, but I find it strange that the GOP isn't even asking, and DISGUSTING that none of these tea party traitors are either.

This is not about helping "job creators". That's a bigger load of bull than when Joe the unlicensed Plumber said he was considering buying a business. Connect the dots: So-called "job creators" who own Wal-Marts, Home Depots, etc. are rich because their customers who are mostly MIDDLE CLASS spend money. Wal-Mart isn't the powerhouse it is just because rich people flock there in droves. When's the last time you saw the owner of FOX or Microsoft standing in line at freaking Wal-Mart? How many times a week do you run into a billionaire at your local McDonald's? If the middle-class is allowed to fall and go without tax cuts, and unemployment benefits, then the middle class WON'T SPEND MONEY. They won't buy new kitchen sets at Home Depot. They won't be able to afford gas at $3.50 per gallon(which means the REST of us get to enjoy big price increases). They won't be able to buy the latest celebrity-endorsed sneakers at Foot Locker, and they sure as **** won't spend $10 per ticket on the latest Hollywood blockbuster. Picking up on a PATTERN about where that leaves all those billionaires who need everyone running to the local mall this Christmas season? I simply cannot BELIEVE how STUPID people are lately that they don't see that ALL OF US are part of this economic food chain. Just like in nature: If all the plants die, the plant-eaters die, and the meat-eaters no matter how big and strong, soon follow.

If the GOP wants tax cuts for rich people, then being an upper-middle class owner of a visual effects studio in LA, I'm HAPPY to support that IF they get specific about how to PAY FOR IT. If not, then all the people whining about keeping "their" money soon won't have any. Your local roads will fall apart. Oh, and all that fear about terrorists? See how great the CIA, NSA, and Dept. of Defense do when reality forces us to take a big, dull, rusty meat-cleaver to THEIR budget.

Posted by: dalinkwent202 | December 5, 2010 1:00 PM

These are the same tax they've had for 9 years. If they can't "create" jobs now, they never will. They're currently hoarding money. This recent vote proved what we already know. The republicans don't care about the middle class they only care about the wealthy who keep them in office. They don't care if it adds $700 billion to the deficit, but God forbid you should get unemployment benefits to feed your family. The republicans are mean, and anti-American. If you can't see that, you need a check-up from the neck up.

Posted by: blarsen1 | December 5, 2010 12:04 PM

Ms. McGregor sees tax cuts (i.e. a smaller use of government's coercive power to confiscate its citizens' private property) as benefits, or perks bestowed by the government.

How very sad that this fundamentally statist worldview is so prevalent among our "lettered" class. The course charted by this group is the opposite of the course charted by our founding fathers, and leads us down the road to serfdom.

Posted by: mhof | December 5, 2010 11:57 AM

OK. It IS your money.

But that does not mean that you should not pay your fair share of the bills.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | December 5, 2010 11:53 AM

No justification.

No tax cut.

The first cuts were reasonable since the budget had a surplus.

Now we do not have a surplus.

We have a deficit.

So:

NO MORE TAX CUTS.

For anyone.

Comprende?

Posted by: GaryEMasters | December 5, 2010 11:50 AM

President Obama and the Democrats used essentially the same maneuver to establish the most costly single social program since the establishment of Social Security. It seems silly for them to be making a big deal about how President Bush dropped an estimated three hundred billion dollar tax cut bomb (over ten years for those making more than $250,000) on the future occupants of the halls of power.

Posted by: magellan1 | December 5, 2010 11:34 AM

When Obama caves on extending the "Bush tax cuts for the rich," he will be assuring Mitch McConnell's strategy that he will only be a one-term President. Obama's caving will be tantamount to "Read my Lips" George Bush's caving on taxes in his one-term Presidency.

Posted by: dozas | December 5, 2010 11:21 AM

Cut the government spending at both the federal and state levels. Eradicate federal departments that fly in the face of federal powers granted by the Constitution (e.g., Department of Education).

Since Pelosi picked up that Speaker's gavel in January 2007, the Democrats have gleefully expanded federal government (e.g., health insurance and GM) and have added $5 trillion to the national debt. And who expanded the Afghan War, the casualties from which are exceeding Iraq?

Why should any hard-working American have to pay for the excesses and carnage created by the so-called "party of the people." It's only been a self-indulgent party for the Democrats and their prettily packaged president.

Posted by: judithod | December 5, 2010 11:18 AM

Real leadership is putting things in context, McGregor. Presidents have been "laying these traps" for decades, if not centuries. Witness Exhibit A, FDR's legendary comment about funding pay-go Social Security with payroll contributions:

"We put those payroll contributions there so as to give the contributors a legal, moral, and political right to collect their pensions and unemployment benefits . . . With those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap my social security program."

But I guess it's only bad leadership when Republicans do it?

Posted by: Valiente12 | December 5, 2010 10:52 AM

The Republicans are on the take. They owe big spenders big time, and they are paying them back. Kill the programs for the middle class and lower class- the Publicans are out for the big bankers and big CEOs, who give corporate cash to the Publicans anonymously.

The millionaires already have the tax cut. However, they are not making new jobs, and they won't make new jobs- they just invest their extra loot overseas.

The Republican surge was the worst thing that could happen to America- they are out to re-do the Bush economy that made us broke to begin with.

Posted by: LeeH1 | December 5, 2010 10:41 AM

@TRAKKER; no, they didn't cut marginal programs, and more teats are being added everyday. You demonstrate more than anyone how addicted you are to the handout. Again, First, how many private sector jobs does it take to fund one fed job considering also that fed personnel also pay taxes, and fed pay leads private industry by 1/3 to 1/2. What does government provide as a real product beyond those in security/defense? What effort does government do to produce one drop of oil revenue? What does government do to produce one loaf of bread. Oh, they manage. Yes, much like MMS, USAID, DOE, HHS, EPA, OPM, GAO et al. Clearly, you're a producrt of the hyper grade-inflated so-called institutions of higher learning that says, "Get in line for the stash of someone else's labor (grasshopper)." Yes, I know what the government does and doesn't do. We are reaping what the past 2-3 generations have sown with the likes of your, and others like you, mentality. I, too, worked for the fed for 26 years, and I signed a blank check for up to and including the cost of my life as many have done, are doing and will do. I also, worked in the five-sided wind tunnel and on the Hill; so, I was able to see it from both sides of the Potomac. Fortunately, as a LegisFellow, I was able to strongly influence the DoD Authorizations for 2 years, to seriously decrement DoD redundant programs, and was able to have the member for whom I worked decrement State, Education, DOE, and others. However, Oberstar and others like him kept punching up the numbers - yes, it was from both sides. And, it is not hubris that strongly recommends the cuts above and seriously challenges the efforts of the named agencies. Further, as far as any federal pay freeze; there be virtually none. There will be massive 'meritorious step increases, and position descriptions will be modified and apporoved for a GS level increase. Yes, the fed, state and local municipal works are silently doing their jobs, and continue to suck at the teats of the majority of taxpayers' expense. Because, if people really analyzed and knew what was being done to them, there would, indeed, be a gathering at the gates - we don't need pitchforks; we use the vote. Additionally, the class warfare button is being pushed by saying that taxes should be raised on the richest because they can afford it (BTW, where does Soros keep his money - offshore). Who the **** is anyone to say someone else can or cannot afford something? If Buffett, Gates et all believe that they aren't paying enough, let them write a check now; but they won't. For futher cuts, let's look at earmarks. There is over $500B in non-defense discretionary funding; i.e., earmarks. Start there. For instance, there is no reason that a locally focused project in Rhode Island with no federal benefit should be funded by tax dollars from other states. If a state wants that project, they fund it.

Posted by: BeanerECMO | December 5, 2010 10:33 AM

The real thing that's hard to get rid of is once a tax is in place! And they keep coming up with more and more all the time. Try looking at your phone bill for the myriad of special taxes. Or the hundreds of dollars you pay in property tax for schools even though you don't have children. Or Virginia's personal property tax, where you pay income tax on an earned dollar, then, with what's left over, buy a car (paying sales tax) and then EVERY year thereafter pay property tax on it. It wouldn't be so bad, the taxes, if one could feel like the money taken is used for the purported use (of providing services to the community) but all we read about is people like Rangel who are building monuments to themselves and NOT paying taxes.

Posted by: Georgetowner1 | December 5, 2010 10:32 AM

This is easy. I refuse to pay for more welfare, more unwed mothers and public schools for their gangster spawn, more crackheads and assorted dopers, more illegal immigrant children, better prisons to warehouse human animals, foreign aid for kleptocracies, subsidies for farmers, and National Public Radio--for starters. Want more of my paycheck? Convince me it will spent on what is good for this country and I am happy to pay. Until Congress and THIS President cut the pointless, useless spending that has created a gimme culture where everybody is entitled to a growing portion of what I work to earn, go away.

Posted by: cletissmith | December 5, 2010 9:54 AM

"Is there something in human nature that makes it so hard to end the Bush-era tax cuts?"

IT'S CALLED THE RIGHT TO KEEP YOUR OWN MONEY YOU R8TARD.

Posted by: ANTILIB | December 5, 2010 8:29 AM

Human nature? No, most likely it is a combination of Ayn Rand and Ronald Reagan and ignorance and hubris as exhibited by the writer Beanerecmo below.

Said writer obviously has no idea what the federal agencies do for America but yet he/she wants every agency to cut their budget by 5% for the next 5 years. In other words without any proof whatsoever that writer is certain EVERY agency is wasting money or supporting worthless projects that total 25% of their budget.

Having worked for the government for over 30 years I can testify that the agency I worked for cut marginal projects long ago.

It really scares me that idealogues like Beanerecmo want to slash, slash, slash government at every level, certain that it is all waste. It isn't. 99% of the people have no idea just how much our country's standard of living is dependent on local, state and federal agencies quietly doing their jobs with no fanfare or publicity. Slash all of that and we will quickly be reduced to a third world country (and I think we're well on our way already).

Posted by: Trakker | December 5, 2010 8:29 AM

It's not rocket science. President Obama should state clearly, maybe even as clearly as he would state a fact to six year olds why the tax cuts to the wealthy NEED to end, NOW, rather than later. He needs to point out to the millions of low and middle income Americans with the few wealthy Americans listening intently why their are some who are in favor of extending those tax cuts in the face of the high cost and burden it will place on this Nation's debt. He should state that if it were not for the high unemployment affecting the low and middle class workers, along with higher costs of health care, education, gas, public transportation etc., all the tax cuts would end. He should call on wealthy Americans to do the RIGHT thing, not the GREEDY thing.

A leader should speak the painful truth to his peeps, always, no mattrer the cost to himself or herself politically. Let the "peeps" choose their political diet....truth or propaganda, a leader should always offer up truth, make the painful, difficult choices that are in the best interest of the Nation and it's future well being. Either the peeps will be grateful or they will be idots either way it is their choice, not the Leaders.

If the people cannot trust their President to be truthful, in all matters, then who can they trust, ever? Otherwise a Nation can be fed propaganda from every special interest that pays the highest price and any and every truth will evetually fade into the dust.

Truth is more important than bipartisanship, more important than compromise.

Michelle Obama is a First Lady one feels would always be truthful. You can tell she was raised in a family environment that valued truth and honesty and integrity, she is a big reason her husband was elected President. One feels that the President values truth, honesty and integrity but would be more suseptible to compromises that might not be all their cracked up to be.

A Nation based on the lies of it's Leaders is a Nation doomed to failure, always.

Posted by: rannrann | December 5, 2010 8:16 AM

The human nature part is on the side of the regressives (aka liberal progressives - they want to to destroy this preeminent country) where they, congress and other ne'r-do-wells are addicted to everyone else's money. Nearly all the focus in DC is raising taxes including BHO's 'bipartisan' economic (tax) task force. It confirms that government believes the money that anyone earns is the government's by default. Remember what happens when politicians say that a tax cut of any amount will "cost" the government? All agencies at the federal, state and local levels should cut programs by 5% each year for the next 5 years except for those efforts that directly support combat ops, counter-illegal immigration ops, or DHS ops. However, each agency should still be held to a budget cut of 5% made up of cuts to programs that do not directly support combat ops, counter-illegal immigration ops, or DHS ops. All open federal, state and local positions not filled should be eliminated immediately. VA care (except for service connected maladies) as well as Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid should be means tested. Cut federal and state congressional operational funding by 10% per year for 5 years. Freeze federal, state and local congressional / administrative / support staff pay for the next 10 years. Stop federal government funding of FFRDCs and have them compete for programs as other non-FFRDCs must. Cut corporate taxes; cut capital gain taxes; do not fund any part of Obamacare (let it wither on the vine), and stop the additional taxes passed under it. Stop all subsidies; products should stand on their own merits. No company is too big to fail; no more bailout funds to them, and have them repay what they have received.

Posted by: BeanerECMO | December 5, 2010 7:48 AM

Here's something to think about. Name the countries with the highest standards of living, the best quality of life and then look at their income tax rates. Then look at the countries with the worst standards of living and the highest levels of misery and look at their income tax rates.

Countries like Denmark, Sweden, Norway, have the highest quality of life and the highest standard of living - they also have some of the lowest rates of unemployment - and they have the highest income tax rates.

One the other hand, the countries we call Third World, or undeveloped, always have the lowest income tax rates, with taxes on the wealthy being particularly low. Why are these countries Third World? Because without taxes, you cannot invest in infrastructure (i.e., roads, ports, etc.) and education. Without that tax revenue to invest - and sorry, the private sector does not pick up the slack because it is more efficient than the government in these countries - a country cannot put in place and/or maintain the very things that the private sectors needs to create jobs (i.e., infrastructure and education)

My question is it that the Tea Party and the Republican party are so driven to turn the United States into a Third World country?

Posted by: WPL22 | December 5, 2010 7:30 AM

Uh, yes, those of us who work for a living actually prefer to keep as much money as we can so WE - not some government official - can decide how to spend it.

Posted by: georges2 | December 5, 2010 4:36 AM

Republican are just two-faced about this and the media seems complicit. The want tax cuts. They whine about the recession. Their tax cuts and their wars, along with their lack of oversight of the banking industry, caused the recession and therefore the deficit. The problem is lack of revenue caused mainly by the unemployment caused by the Republicans. Republican policies are the cause, not the cure. End the tax-cuts for the rich, end the wars, and reward the rich who actually keep jobs in America.

I read the argument elsewhere today that claimed that wealth reflected a person's worth to society and gave Bill Gates as an example. He is one of the few rich who have actually gotten rich by inventing and market something that people use. But he's an outlier, not the norm. What has Paris Hilton contibuted? Investment bankers? Hedge fund managers? These guys ruined the economy, got bailed out, and then laughed at the little people as they gave themselves huge bonuses. Greed is wrong and theft is wrong and that is what we reward in this country.

Posted by: wd1214 | December 5, 2010 2:41 AM

The one redeeming value in all of this is that the younger voters will not buy the smoke& mirrors and in the next 10-20 years the republican party will be consigned to the trash heap of history, too bad many of us wont be around to see their demise.
Posted by: jestindam
=============================
Hopefully most of those young people will grow up and see how stupid the leftie agenda is. And perhaps have earned a few dollars themselves and not want to give it away to a bloated corrupt huge Federal waste factory.
They will vote Republican in 10-20 years after they get an education and grow up.

Posted by: vickie1 | December 5, 2010 2:37 AM

Who is going to pay for the $4Trillion in unfunded federal workers' pensions? Something needs to be done.. we, the private sector are not going to pay for these pensions. Greedy union workers' pensions need to be cut. No more taxes to feed these pigs at the trough.

Posted by: vickie1 | December 5, 2010 2:30 AM

"No liberty loving government should EVER force citizens to buy something they do not want (Obamacare) under penalty of fine and jail."
Right. You don't want healthcare. You don't want health insurance.
You don't want car insurance, and the state is wrong to make you buy it.
You don't want a smoke alarm, and the state is wrong to make you buy it.
You don't want home insurance, and the state is wrong to make you buy it.
So many things that the state is wrong to make you buy, and you seem to have no problem with that. Health care you have problem with. Right. Sure.
Any other lies you want us to believe?
Posted by: chucklebuck | December 4, 2010 10:42 AM
=============================
Oh Chucklebuck..
you make it too easy to refute you..

If you don't have a car, you don't buy auto insurance.
If you don't own a home, you don't buy fire insurance.

Smoke alarm? please.. no govt makes you buy a smoke alarm.

If you don't want health insurance, the state will fine and/or jail you.
See the difference yet?

Do you know anybody fined or jailed for not having car insurance when they don't drive a car?
duh.

Posted by: vickie1 | December 5, 2010 2:22 AM

It's not a tax cut.. it's a tax hike.

Posted by: vickie1 | December 5, 2010 2:14 AM

Human nature? Most Americans are fair, that is why socialism won't work here. Stealing other peoples' money to give to others (your union buddies and/or campaign donors), just doesn't sit right with most. Communists and socialists are envious and greedy of others that do well and expect the ones that do well to fund thier stupid programs and perks for their favored ones.

Anyway.. the Dems tax and spend stupidly agenda has been rejected by the majority.
Elections have consequence. Listen up Dims.

Posted by: vickie1 | December 5, 2010 2:12 AM

"Is there something in human nature that makes it so hard to end the Bush-era tax cuts?"

Yes.
Greed.

Posted by: ctenwith | December 5, 2010 12:37 AM

What are you babbling about, woman?

Posted by: chatard | December 5, 2010 12:02 AM

"Perceptions are important. I urge all Democratic leaders to refer to the "Billionaire Bonus" as often as possible."

And I urge everyone to refer to this for what it is -- the Obama tax increases and the class warfare rhetoric that insists that half of America not have a stake in the game of governance by not paying any taxes.

You Dems are crazy.

Posted by: RBCrook | December 4, 2010 9:51 PM

I’m not sure why I click and read these Post Leadership homilies because every one of them seems to be a simplistic passing glance at an issue.

Seven short paragraphs that lack any cohesion or balance…toss in a quote from the Bush Communications Director….and, ”Ouch. Nothing like leaving your successor with a thorny problem to solve.”

What is that supposed to mean?

“Ending the Bush tax cuts” is President Obama’s cowardly way of saying we’re going to “raising taxes”. And trying to focus all the attention on the ten year $700B in lost revenue from not raising the taxes on “millionaires and billionaires” (at $250K?) while remaining completely silent on the $3T (that’s trillion) in lost revenue from not raising the taxes on the middle class is nothing more than partisan class warfare.

The Dems signed on to the Bush tax cuts because the upper income tax cuts they did not like came along with middle class tax cuts that took 30 million people off the tax rolls. It also included tax credits for people that do not pay taxes.

Of course trying to split that deal in half now is going to be difficult. The current tax rates have been the status quo for 7-10 years. The bottom line at this point in time is….

-- You don’t raise taxes on anyone in the middle of The Great Recession.

-- You don’t sign into law massive new health care entitlement programs in the middle of The Great Recession. (Remember the 10 years of revenue need to offset 6 years of benefits? That’s a tax increase for the first 4 years followed by deficit spending for the next 6, and beyond.)

-- You don’t pass thousands of pages of job killing regulations and hundreds of gov’t oversight boards in the middle of The Great Recession.

If Obama is going to have any chance of improving the economy the first thing he should do is don’t make it worse, and raising taxes WILL make it worse.

How far down the Pelosi and Reed liberal playbook is he going to go before he starts charting a new course? He should have cut taxes two years ago instead of going on a liberal spending spree camouflaged as a “stimulus bill”.

The country did not have a trillion dollar a year deficits forecast for the next ten years before Obama came into office. It’s fair to say a portion of the near term debt is due to the recession, but the majority of the out-year debt is because of the massive new gov’t spending that Obama, Pelosi and Reed shoved through Congress.

Now they have to find a way to pay for it.

Want to reduce the deficit? First try spending less….

Posted by: randkdavis | December 4, 2010 8:30 PM

Perceptions are important. I urge all Democratic leaders to refer to the "Billionaire Bonus" as often as possible.

Posted by: chimpunk | December 4, 2010 8:26 PM

Who wants to work and create jobs in a society which believes that being able to keep the fruits of one's risk-taking and hard work is a "benefit"?

Screw the U.S. and it's "give me" masses with their twisted sense of entitlement to other peoples' money.

Posted by: politbureau | December 4, 2010 7:24 PM

Its truly amazing how groupthink affects the mindset.I read the logic of many posters talking about how this is a homogenus society and we're all in this together, how we all must collectively pay for the government services we take for granted. Doesn't matter to the indoctrinated who want everything for themselves and complain about largesse for people they dislike(while taking it for themselves).The republicans have focus tested every soundbite they use, the democrats think the american electorate is intellegent, the republicans know better but they also know that mouthing platitudes about patriotism, and self interest as well as fear and bigotry buried in nuances work with the least of the least and they're right.The one redeeming value in all of this is that the younger voters will not buy the smoke& mirrors and in the next 10-20 years the republican party will be consigned to the trash heap of history, too bad many of us wont be around to see their demise.

Posted by: jestindam | December 4, 2010 7:06 PM

When you have government that spends $3 for every $1 of benifit it gives out in the entitlement programs you think it is wise feeding this beast even more money?

Posted by: Pilot1 | December 4, 2010 6:37 PM

Well, once again, it is up to me to correct the writers of the Washington Post.


It's not a matter of "ending tax cuts" it's a matter of "raising taxes" during the worst recession since the Great Depression.


Only an idiot would raise taxes during a recession. I guess the writers of the Washington Post are idiots.

Posted by: FormerDemocrat | December 4, 2010 5:13 PM

So, AD4HK2004, do you want your tax cuts or your tax loop holes? Make a choice, because we can no longer afford you both.

Spending cuts? Fine. Slash nanny-state entitlements? Great. Just don't nod in assent when do-nothing conservative cranks in the Senate stonewall all initiatives to reform tax codes, reform health care (Do you seriously think that the answer to the millions of uninsured Americans is to wait until they get sick enough to visit the ER? Who do you think is paying for that?) and game government for the next two years to win back the White House? Who exactly had been at the wheel for the eight years previous to Obama taking the oath of office?

We also can't afford to continue occupying multiple countries fighting a perpetual "war on terror" while ringing it up on the Chinese credit card. That hasn't helped our bottom line much while we've spent billions on homeland security and outsourced military contractors (talk about entitlements!).

We don't need to go to he!!, AD4HK2004. Until everyone stops deluding themselves and starts taking responsibility for the tough decisions necessary to get us out of this mess we've gotten ourselves into, we'll continue to occupy the current he!! we're in right along with you.

Posted by: hardrain | December 4, 2010 3:42 PM

"benefit" ... give me a break. If you characterize not taking someone's money as a benefit, then I guess that plants you squarely in the socialist camp. Think about it.

BTW, what qualifies the author to talk on issues of leadership? What has she led?

Posted by: GetAGripPlease1 | December 4, 2010 3:40 PM

tax tax tax
spend spend spend...

obama and pelosi and biden wouldnt know an honest day of work if it bit them is the arse'

Posted by: simonsays1 | December 4, 2010 3:14 PM

Punitive taxation is just that, punishment!

I am one of those so called "rich"... I pay the exact same taxes you do on every single dollar earned (after the same deductions you take)...

Then I pay additional taxes per dollar earned on every dollar above a certain amount, a second tax on those same dollars (punishment for working 12 hours a day)

Then I pay an additional tax on every dollar earned above a third certain amount (punishment for working 7 days a week)

Then I pay an additional tax on every dollar earned above a fourth certain amount (persecution for having lived like poor church mice for 30 years while we built our businesses that are now successful)

Now you Communists expect me to pay a fifth tax on the dollars earned above a NEW certain amount...

As far as I am concerned, you go to he!!

Posted by: ad4hk2004 | December 4, 2010 2:18 PM

After the US dollar crisis, every single Congressman and Senator will be thrown out of office by the voters at the next election. The politicians will all shortly figure that out and you will see $1trillion in spending cuts in 2011.

Posted by: betterdays1 | December 4, 2010 1:07 PM

This week the Republicans insisted that an extension of a child nutrition act for children who qualify for free school lunches be paid for through a reduction in food stamps (probably for largely the same population).

And they refused to extend unemployment payments, saying it would cost the government too much money.

They are willing to cut people off at the knees, yet regard the restoration of previous tax rates for millionaires and billionaires as "unfair."

The Republican Party can no longer hide behind posturing. They are only in it for themselves and the rest of us can go to hell. Let us eat cake.

Their behavior is despicable.

Posted by: lxp19 | December 4, 2010 12:46 PM

Playing politics with the taxpayer's checkbook is not leadership.
It's quite the juxtaposition to have the president's debt commission crying crocodile tears over the deficit, while Congress debates the number of trillions in deficit spending that will be added as a result of the tax cut extentions.
Yes, extending the tax cuts will curry favor with the voters. But it also threatens to be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back, sending our country into an EU-style bond crisis.
Then, and only then, will leadership emerge as our lenders demand crippling cuts to our unsustainable budget.
All of this is as predictable as it is preventable. But avoiding this economic calamity involves make tough decisions now, and that kind of leadership is nowhere in sight.

Posted by: mtpeaks | December 4, 2010 11:48 AM

Rapchat1 writes:

When you earn something in a first world country it is largely because of the economic structure that country provides. ... That is why we pay taxes - and why funding the government adequately is an excellent investment for us all.
-----------------------------------
You assume that we "owe" the "structure" to the government, and specifically, the Federal Government. There are many, many, many other elements to that "structure", elements whose nurturing have nothing to do with sending our hard-earned money to Washington, D.C. You say "adequately funding the government is a good investment". Agreed. Where we may disagree is on the magnitude of "adequate".

Posted by: pyellman | December 4, 2010 11:41 AM

cowardice

greed

stupidity

That pretty much covers it, I think.

Posted by: st50taw | December 4, 2010 11:29 AM

CMears dead-on statement nails it perfectly in just 13 words: "When did keeping the money you earned become a government benefit, an entitlement?"
Posted by: dfoster1
===============

When you earn something in a first world country it is largely because of the economic structure that country provides. If you doubt that, go try to earn your current income doing the same thing in Haiti. That is why we pay taxes - and why funding the government adequately is an excellent investment for us all.

How much you earn is often a product of how laws and regulations are constructed - and for the long term health of the country it is best when they are done to benefit the whole country. Right now we give a huge advantage to those whose primary income derives from capital gains not labor. In other words someone who buys and sells stocks and produces nothing, effectively a parasite in economic terms, now has a 20% tax advantage over those who build products and produce value. So by raising the capital gains tax rate you are not taking money they "earned", you are taking away an artificial advantage they have been given.

Posted by: rapchat1 | December 4, 2010 11:01 AM

If by opposing the repeal of tax cuts some folks are following their own "human nature" (i.e., The Post's and many commenters code words for "selfishness), then opposing things like extensions to unemployment, serious crackdowns on welfare and disability fraud, etc., must also be selfish...oops, I meant "human nature." Funny how when some want to take from the haves, it's noble largesse, but when anything is asked of those who have-not - whether thru circumstance or their own poor decisions and choices - it's selfish. CMears dead-on statement nails it perfectly in just 13 words: "When did keeping the money you earned become a government benefit, an entitlement?"

Posted by: dfoster1 | December 4, 2010 10:46 AM

"No liberty loving government should EVER force citizens to buy something they do not want (Obamacare) under penalty of fine and jail."

Right. You don't want healthcare. You don't want health insurance.

You don't want car insurance, and the state is wrong to make you buy it.

You don't want a smoke alarm, and the state is wrong to make you buy it.

You don't want home insurance, and the state is wrong to make you buy it.

So many things that the state is wrong to make you buy, and you seem to have no problem with that. Health care you have problem with. Right. Sure.

Any other lies you want us to believe?

Posted by: chucklebuck | December 4, 2010 10:42 AM

Cutting taxes is not a perk... it is the right thing to do. Cutting spending is not a punishment... it is the right thing to do.

Government is nessesary. But ours has grown bigger than is nessasary or good. No liberty loving government should ever take over a private industry or company (GM, Dodge, Banks). No liberty loving government should EVER force citizens to buy something they do not want (Obamacare) under penalty of fine and jail.

No freedom loving government should ever create a dependant class (families that have been on welfair for generations

Some government is good and nessesary.... American government has grown way beyond that and is now an Olagarchy.

Posted by: markandbeth92 | December 4, 2010 10:38 AM

If one insists in calling them The Bush Tax Cuts then one must also call the impending rise The Bush Tax Increases.
The law that enacting the former installed the latter.

The MSM/WaPo's failure to correctly frame the case demonstrates, once again, categorical right wing bias.

This framing failure also demonstrates Battered Wife Syndrome of Dems.

Posted by: tojby_2000 | December 4, 2010 10:31 AM

Don't look at the Log in your eye, but point out the mote in the others.

The "bush era tax cuts" are a trap left for the next generation.

However, "Obamacare" passed in 2010, and not truly going into effect unitl 2014, halfway through the next presidents administration is not.

Leadership takes perspective. Look at the whole picture without bias. Then you can make better decisions and pronouncements without exposing your prejudices.

Posted by: mikesfile | December 4, 2010 10:29 AM

cmeares, if you earnestly feel that way, then why do you not forswear any use of any government service that is paid for by taxes appropriated for those services? That's the problem with people who share your mentality. You have no problem going happily about advantaging yourself of every government service but seem to think that those services come about "magically" somehow.

Like skruse who seems to have the same idea you do, you want to remove yourself from the social contract, keep all of the money you earn and presumably, end the notion of government entirely. That's alright if you are willing to wall yourself off in the wildness somewhere, live in some self built cabin, and hunt for your food. But most of us believe in our government, our Constitution and recognize our own responsibilities under the social contract.

Posted by: jaxas70 | December 4, 2010 10:19 AM

Skruse, your comment is just flat out dumb. It sounds as though you are advocating anarchy. There is no such thing as "our" money. That's the problem with simpletons like you. You pretend that you are not part of a social contract but without the social contract--whereby we all agree that we are part of a societal whole--we are right back in the jungle from whence we came.

Using your childish mindset, money becomes just another commodity to be owned, buried in a hole somewhere or hidden away in socks and pillows. That is not what the intent of money is. It is a means of exchange. Objectively it is worthless. The thing that gives it value is the "full faith and credit clause" in the Constitution. It is the clause that binds the states and the federal government together as a Republic and confers legitimacy on the acts of Congress and the states. One of those acts is the power to tax.

When you swear your allegiance to this Constitution and this form of government, you are making an oath to abide by the decisions of our government, even those you may disagree with politically. You don't get to decide when you will and you will not pay a tax. Unless you are prepared to renounce your own citizenship and ex-patriate yourself.

If you disagree with a tax, you will have every electoral opportunity to vote against someone who proposes a tax you don't like. But you don't get to unilaterally declare that all of the money you are paid is yours and yours alone. If everyone did that, society would collapse.

Posted by: jaxas70 | December 4, 2010 10:01 AM

When did keeping the money you earned become a government benefit, an entitlement? Yes, it is human nature to want to keep the fruits of your labor for your family and yourself.

Posted by: cmeares | December 4, 2010 9:48 AM

The top 1% and major corporations are wealthier than at any other time in history. We need to raise taxes on those who can afford it - say above 500K per year, and use it to fund projects and social safety nets for the poor and middle class. At the very least the capital gains tax needs to be the same as standard income tax rates. As it is we give a 25% tax advantage to those who have money to invest over those working to raise money. And why shouldn't there be an inheritance tax of 50% or more above a million dollars. Why should those already blessed in life with an advantage by birth be given vast sums they have not earned?

Posted by: rapchat1 | December 4, 2010 9:42 AM

Jena McGregor, WaPost: 'Rather, they should be concerned that this extension could simply be the first of many. Future leaders, too, don't want to be the ones accused of removing a benefit people have grown accustomed to."

Have people grown accustomed to paying $125 billion a year in interest on the $13 trillion defict and will the next generation become accustomed to paying $400 billion a year? If the 3% 'cuts' return to the 2001 levels, the interest payments decrease by $8 billion a year. If some of that 3% is returned to the actual taxpayers as 'stimulus checks' in the summer, you help jumpstart the economy EVEN when the deficit is being incrementally reduced. Could people get accustomed to that, for once?

Posted by: arjay1 | December 4, 2010 9:39 AM

I remember a classic scene from the movie CASABLANCA. Doesn't everyone have a favorite scene from that movie? In this scene, Louie, the Vichy Prefect of Police played so convincingly by Claude Rains that you both love and hate him at the same time, receives his gambling winnings from the manager of Rick's Casino. He cheerfully tears up the receipt explaining: "It is a little game we play. I pretend to enforce the Vichy's laws against gambling and the Casino pretends there is no gambling going on at this establishment." Similarly, the republicans pretend that they are giving the people their money back through tax cuts when in reality they are paying off their wealthy donors for helping them get elected. And just as in Rick's Casino, the people are only there to have a good time and don't care until the whole arrangement collapses and the Casino has to be closed. Then they all get angry and demand that someone do something about it. It never occurs to them that since no one is paying their debts, there is no money for the "establishment" to do anything about it.

Just like in CASABLANCA and Rick's Casino, Destiny is about to take a hand. The public may not like it but they are all going to have to pony up if they want to keep the casino open.

Posted by: jaxas70 | December 4, 2010 9:39 AM

The problem is that after years of: don't tax but keep spending, in other words: let's give everyone a tax break but avoid the thorny question of what to cut back on to pay for that tax break , primarily a Republican phenomena, Americans are continually told that they can have the exact same government for less money. They're eager to buy into it and the Republican ministry of propaganda calls this tax relief, setting up the idea of taxes as an affliction. Thirty years of this are coming due and still the hard questions are still avoided. Now rescinding a tax break is nearly impossible because we're still going to get the same government if we have that break or not. So why change it?

Posted by: Waterloo1 | December 4, 2010 9:35 AM

It would be interesting if we had a law that compels legislators to cut spending by the same corresponding percentage of the budget that they cut taxes. Indeed, it should be an automatic across-the-board percentage reduction every single time there is a tax cut. This would force the reptilian politicians and the snoozy, lazy, selfish American voters to have to own up to the reality that if you want government services then you should be willing to pay for them.

I have the same feeling about health care. We could end all of this dishonest in the health care debate simply by passing a law at every state level--or even a national law--that says if you can't pay for your health care, then, you should never see a doctor or use emergency room services or use hospital services. I know this sounds mean but, it would force the public and their leaders to face up to the reality that every service we advantage ourselves of has to be paid for. I guarantee you that if emergency rooms and doctors start turning people away because they cannot pay, pretty soon the public would be up in arms demanding that government do something about it.

Posted by: jaxas70 | December 4, 2010 9:24 AM

They should just let them all die. All of the cuts. It won't hurt the middle class that much because our tax cut wasn't that much anyway. That would be the prudent thing to do!

Posted by: catherine3 | December 4, 2010 9:23 AM

We are no fools. We know that if taxes are increased on the "wealthy." then the next time they will be raised on us all. The politicians are playing social warfare to get through a tax increase that no one wants. This is not the right time for any tax increase, with 9.6 percent unemployment and a sluggish economy. Yes, this will be a continuing debate, but by the time it comes up again I believe we will be in a debate about further lowering taxes for all by eliminating tax cuts for mortgage deductions and charitable contributions. I personally think that we should also tax church property at full commericial rates, a move that would largely relieve the pressures on state and local government budgets and prevent local and state taxes from increasing.

Posted by: edwardallen54 | December 4, 2010 9:14 AM

The fact that if tax cuts are not ended the government will lose money assumes that 4 trillion dollars in the middle class and the upper class's hands is the government's to spend, not the people's?

The fact that the government will spend every single dollar that it takes in (including a double digit multiple) including money that it is not supposed to spend (see any trust fund) means that the ending of the tax cuts will mean an increase in spending?

The fact that the government has not proved capable of cutting one dollar of spending because it is too hard and that there are too many special interest groups behind the money?

The fact that the government estimates of spending can be wildly off (millions expected to take advantage of preexisting conditions provision of new Obama medcare, actual number 8000 (might actually be waiting till they get sick before they spend money for care--probably too complicated for the government economist to think of?)

Tell you what. Let's see a 4:1 cuts/tax increase over the next two years. Let's see real across the board spending freezes (or let's actually keep government spending for all programs at the FY 10 level for a couple of years until the spending hole is filled with real growth income. THen we can talk.

Posted by: PALADIN7E | December 4, 2010 8:08 AM

When did Americans being able to keep their own money become a benefit? What is wrong with you people? The governments role is to protect our freedom. Every dollar the government takes, every bit of power over an individuals freedom the government takes reduces our freedom. The government should always be looking for ways to give more and more of the American peoples money back. That's not a benefit, that's protection of an individuals rights and freedom.

Posted by: skruse | December 4, 2010 7:48 AM

OBAMA DOESN'T HAVE A CLUE AND THE ECONOMY WILL NOT GET BETTER UNTIL HE IS GONE. DO NOT RE-ELECT OBAMA.

Posted by: COOLCHILLY | December 4, 2010 7:46 AM

this is the obama administration...
so...
should taxes go up in january...
how many jobs will then be lost...
will we finally jump to double digit unemployment...
obama's legacy...

Posted by: DwightCollins | December 4, 2010 7:34 AM

I agree with your premise that it is difficult to take away a benefit once people are use to it. But it seems quite a stretch to describe a tax cut as a benefit.

Most spending by government could be viewed as a benefit, which is why we are in debt beyond our ability to pay.

Now, someone mentioned that there were not much spending cuts instituted while these tax cuts were being put in place. Please take note that the party in power during that time was thrown out of office for the last four years. In other words, the ruling republicans were held accountable by their constituents. Looking at were we are now, some may think it was a mistake, but I say it was a necessary action in order to voice our discontent. However, the result of the dems controlling the house and senate for the past four years has proven that they are clearly worse at running the government than the republicans are.

Posted by: ChrisInBuford | December 4, 2010 6:48 AM

Yes, it is called common sense. We are in a borderline depression! Government workers with two incomes milking $270,000 combined don't care, double dipper government retiree's don't care if you bump taxes, but talk to the small business owners who are the middle class job creators. Yes George Soro's should take 75% of what he makes and give it to the poor or fight aids instead of giving millions to radical fringe organizations designed to tear down America, and yes other billlionair's can do more as well. And why don't the people that can do more that get more from the government just voluntarily give it back to the government? Raising taxes is not the answer, eliminating Jim Moran's ability to spend our tax dollars like a kid at a carnival is.

Posted by: doyouktt | December 4, 2010 6:38 AM

Yonkers, New York
04 December 2010

There's no way the Congress would sunset those obscene Bush tax cuts to America's wealthiest 1 percent--which have deflated the US Treasury to the tune of $700 billion over nine years.

The main reason is that those who oppose sunsetting those tax cuts are beholden to corporations and wealthy individuals who contribute lavishly to their PACs--and do so implicitly on a quid pro quo basis.

And there is the other fact that many members of the Congress are themselves multimillionaires or millionaires--or just plain wealthy--and, understandably, cannot be expected to shoot themselves on the foot.

Talk of government "of the people, by the people, and for the people!" The Founding Fathers and Abraham Lincolm must be twisting in their graves.

Mariano Patalinjug

Posted by: MPatalinjug | December 4, 2010 6:22 AM

It's the Ownership Society, stupid!

Posted by: tigman_2 | December 4, 2010 5:21 AM

Let's not forget that the so-called Obama negotiations for a temporary two year extension of the Bush tax cuts were, in fact, as many commentators have pointed out, negotiations with himself.

Obviously, Obama has been a closet Republican ever since he took office and appointed Geithner to Treasury and Summers to his economic council with Goldman Sachs as a key adviser.

Moreover, Obama usually seems to take direction from big business and fat cat Republicans such as when he proposed a "public option" to reduce heath insurance premiums but, after listening to the health insurance lobby, dropped the proposal after, again, negotiating with himself.

As for a two year extension of the Bush tax cuts the Republicans, obviously, want it done during the lame duck session while the Democrats are still in the majority in both Houses to make it easier to continue them indefinitely.

But there's no real reason why they need to be passed this year rather than in a bill, effective retroactively, passed early next year before most people file their tax returns.

If Democrats are to have any chance at all of reclaiming the House they need to stop carrying water for the Republicans.

Posted by: billeisen1 | December 4, 2010 3:17 AM

Jena McGregor, next year when you do your taxes, feel free to double or triple or times ten your tax burden. There is no law against donating your hard earned money to the government. They would in fact love you for it. Doesn't everyone want the government to love them?

Posted by: BadNews | December 3, 2010 10:22 PM

you ask: Is there something in human nature that makes it so hard to end the Bush-era tax cuts?

You're being far too rational and intellectual. Republicans are using Frank Luntz's methodology and slapping people with hot button issues. Bush started on taxes in 2001 by asking "are you afflicted by taxes?" and saying those words over and over again. They're still doing it ... "job-killing tax hikes" in their aborted Pledge to America is repeated at least 6 times. Luntz found that Tea Baggers react strongly and violently when they are fed words like ;this (which he calls 'the truth').

You're dealing with raw, unthinking gut-level emotion by the new Repub base. It ain't logical; facts have nothing to do with it, but trust for their sources of information --Beck, Limbaugh, O'reilly, Hannity, Coulter --- is high on their list.

Not yours, i suspect. Now you are looking for things like this, can you point out other times that Republicans use the same puerile wording over and over and boringly over until what they want either passes or blocks Obama and the Democrats?

asks jim

Posted by: thetravelingmasseur | December 3, 2010 9:55 PM

you ask: Is there something in human nature that makes it so hard to end the Bush-era tax cuts?

You're being far too rational and intellectual. Republicans are using Frank Luntz's methodology and slapping people with hot button issues. Bush started on taxes in 2001 by asking "are you afflicted by taxes?" and saying those words over and over again. They're still doing it ... "job-killing tax hikes" in their aborted Pledge to America is repeated at least 6 times. Luntz found that Tea Baggers react strongly and violently when they are fed words like ;this (which he calls 'the truth').

You're dealing with raw, unthinking gut-level emotion by the new Repub base. It ain't logical; facts have nothing to do with it, but trust for their sources of information --Beck, Limbaugh, O'reilly, Hannity, Coulter --- is high on their list.

Not yours, i suspect. Now you are looking for things like this, can you point out other times that Republicans use the same puerile wording over and over and boringly over until what they want either passes or blocks Obama and the Democrats?

asks jim

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Posted by: zhengee88 | December 3, 2010 8:38 PM

Oh heck.

Let's end the "job creation" charade, eh?

Tie the tax rates to the unemployment rates. Your cuts make jobs, then prove it!

Ha! Ha! Ha! A conservative making good on his or her words.

Very rich. Won't happen.

Posted by: colonelpanic | December 3, 2010 8:02 PM

I think the people are being played here.

Posted by: OldUncleTom | December 3, 2010 4:24 PM
==============================
I'd say ...

Well no kidding, Jena. "Human nature" is the reason the "10 Commandments" have a pedigree !!!

"people are being played here" is good too, though.

Posted by: gannon_dick | December 3, 2010 5:16 PM

Congress voted increases to our public debt ceiling in each of the years that they also voted tax cuts. They voted those increases annually for the last 10 years. I don't recall any measurable spending cuts being passed in that time.

We have a commission that has recommended a plan to reduce the deficits by $4 trillion over the next decade. Allowing the tax cuts to expire would have the same effect, without a commission.

I think the people are being played here.

Posted by: OldUncleTom | December 3, 2010 4:24 PM

So the politicians of all sides probably know that LONG TERM the country is better off if ALL the tax cuts end. Short term the economy needs a goose. Medium term any of them who vote to let the tax cuts die will be hammered in their next election. So which of these three factors are most important to those in Congress? Even posing the question is a cheap shot.

Posted by: LHO39 | December 3, 2010 4:00 PM

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