& how I saved $600 a year on my satellite TV bill
The Tribune lies constantly about the debt ceiling "talks." The truth is that the MAGA gang are deliberately using their threat not to pay the nation's bills (by not raising the debt limit) to obliterate the policies passed by the previous Congress. They are two separate issues. Pay the bills. Pass legislation to get your spending priorities. President Biden is right--the first is not negotiable; and the second is not to be accomplished by extortion and threats to wreck the US economy but by passing laws.
Eric. I hate to be the one to break it to you. but pretty much ALL your tweets of the week are "dad jokes." (Yet I read and vote every week.) Plus the one about returning to the store to rectify the cat food situation... the cats and I here are wondering if that one is supposed to be funny...?
I see Brandon Johnson’s problem of idealism and pragmatism being the central subjective problem in his newly won reign in Chicago – long on the former and short on the latter respectively. Experience. It seems like it may be that dropped in the acid bath of Chicago politics -- when it comes to getting the things done that he so admirably imagines happening, and I don’t mean to be cynical, -- that what may change most in his tenure is his perspective on the office.
Oh boy, you hit my hot spot... the national debt. Unfortunately, you used more than half of the article trying to place blame. Believe me, there is plenty to go around. Agree that there should not be a BBA or a supermajority. Love the CBBP example that "families often borrow". They forget to mention what happens to them if they don't pay it back! The EPI "revenue decline' argument is interesting, but in the last 60 years, revenue has declined only 6 times and only once (2009) by more than 3%. We spent $600 billion in interest last year and that's going up $300B+ with every 1% increase in Treasury rates. I wrote a Trib (badly edited) op-ed last year in response to a Professor Bruno piece placing much of the blame for our debt/deficit problems on billionaires. There are 700ish billionaires in the US with a TOTAL net worth of 5 trillion. We added more debt in the past 2 years. Take all their money and we reduce the national debt by 16%. It ain't their fault. Government spending graph is a hockey stick, and every American man, woman and child has over $100,000 in debt and growing.
If I saw my high school French teacher, I'd tell her that I spend my time looking for the library and trying to fix my broker record player.
I totally agree that Democrats get a bum rap for being fiscally irresponsible and the idea that Republicans are better on the issue of budget deficits is false.
But your use of the deficit in George W Bush's last year in office is totally unfair given that the $1.41 trillion deficit included over $1 trillion in spending to mitigate the effects of the largest recession since the 1930s. Now Bush certainly gets some of the blame for what LED to that recession but to say that Bush wanted to spend that money and therefore he should shoulder the blame for the 2009 deficit is just not true.
The record under Bush was not nearly as bad as what you suggested. Here are the annual deficits for the preceding years under GW Bush:
2002 $158 billion
2003 $378 billion
2004 $413 billion
2005 $318 billion
2006 $248 billion
2007 $161 billion
2008 $459 billion
And here are the deficits under Obama:
2010 $1,294 billion
2011 $1,300 billion
2012 $1,077 billion
2013 $680 billion
2014 $485 billion
2015 $442 billion
2016 $585 billion
2017 $665 billion
To compare the $1.41 trillion for Bush's last year to the $665 billion for Obama's last year as proof that Bush was more fiscally reckless than Obama is grossly unfair. It is an egregious example of using cherry picked statistics.
Under 8 years of Bush the debt grew by $3.5 trillion, under 8 years of Obama it grew by $6.5 trillion. Under 4 years of Trump the debt grew by $6.7 trillion. None of those presidents have sole responsibility for those numbers though all have SOME responsibility. Bush 43 and Trump have responsibility for all deficits subsequent to their terms because of the tax cuts they signed into law.
The history of this country is parties putting planks in front of what is needed. Republicans fought FDR tooth and nail over conduct of the war, including nearly dissolving the Army in the lead up to Pearl Harbor. But MAGA has carried it to a new extreme. Just about every worthy economist has warned about the risks involved in a default. So what's your take? A-the GOP is willing to risk the economy just to spite Biden. Trump has said so out loud. B- it's hard negotiation and the GOP plans to make all the political hay it can before caving. C- the GOP plans to play Burger King. They will do it, but have it their way. I think any of the choices are shameful, but welcome to the new GOP, party over substance.
Let me also add that people are making plans based on their guesses of what they believe the government will or will not do. Major job cuts are occurring at many large firms. My investments are sinking, based on lack of faith in the markets. How do people make decisions on that new house or car purchase or their kids higher education? We deserve better from Congress
Looking forward to Mark Guarino's book, I've heard nothing but good things. Although Chicago can be considered one of the great music cities in the world during any era, that stretch from around mid 90s- early 2000's was unique. Along with our legendary blues, jazz, rock, etc. heritage, a talented group of mostly transplants from different genres & backgrounds converged on the city and taught many of us about country music history, styles, and authenticity.
EZ commented on the debt ceiling vote a number of years ago. He said that it made no sense to have a vote on something that was mandatory. I agree. The best way to accomplish this would be to include a debt ceiling increase with every spending bill. The CBO could make the estimate of the increase required. This would also acknowledge the farcical 'pay for' provision that supposedly requires the Congress to show how every bill will be paid for, and is usually supported by nonsense revenue and savings projections.
from the Tues 5/9/23 PS - 'Zorn: True. The success of that disingenuous campaign against progressive state income taxes in 2020 remains baffling to me.' To paraphrase the headline of the today's PS: Eric Zorn still doesn't get it - nor do any other progressives who hold this point of view. EZ claims that it was a ' ... disingenuous campaign against progressive state income taxes ...' that caused the defeat of the referendum. the campaign in favor of the 'progressive' income tax refused to state proposed tax rates, or the income levels to which these phantom rates would apply. which campaign was disingenuous?
perhaps the progressives' claims of the disingenuity of the 'anti' campaign base their case on the anti's telling the public that progressive income tax rates would eventually be applied to the middle class in IL - what's disingenuous about that? that is already the case in most, if not all states which have a progressive income tax.
and EZ's position, which he has held & promoted since the huge defeat of the tax rate referendum, has the connotation that voters were fooled by the anti campaign. may i infer from that that voters were too stupid, or ignorant, to understand what they were voting for, or against? if so, that position is arrogant and condescending. i believe that those who voted against understood quite clearly what they were voting against.
the core fiscal problem in IL is not too little revenue - it's too much expense, and too much retirement benefits liability, most of which is underfunded or unfunded.
Regarding government spending and deficits, I readily agree that both parties are complicit in this.
However, I do want to add contacts to spending legislation past at the end of 2020 during the Trump administration. In October the Trump Administration had proposed a spending bill of $1.6 trillion dollars which included $300 billion dollars of covid relief funding. But speaker Nancy Pelosi and the majority house Democrats demanded much higher spending, and only after extended negotiations did the parties agree on a spending bill of $2.3 trillion dollars which included $900 billion dollars of covid relief funding. So the blame for a good portion of that deficit spending goes to Pelosi and the Democrats.
In retrospect, we now see that the supposed covid relief funding to governmental entities were nothing more than a gift to these constituencies.
I suppose technology might do better at calling balls and strikes, but frankly, what fun is that? I imagine that in the near future (already?), they'll be able to build robots that can pitch, catch, hit, run, and field better than warm-ware players. Then, I suppose they could start replacing the fans with louder-cheering, beer-drinking-er automatons, completing the process of making baseball error-free and generally perfect. Feh.
Discussion of deficits without including revenue obscures the spending issue. Federal revenue in 1960 was $1 trillion and, except for the 2001-2003 recession, has increased every year. In 2022 federal revenue is $4.9 trillion. Covid tax cuts caused revenue to be flat at $3.42 trillion in 2020, but revenue increased by $600 billion in 2021.
Also, revenue increased by $1.6 trillion in 2022 over 2017. A 48% increase in revenue after the 2017 tax cut. GDP only grew 28% (19.5 to 25 trillion) from 2017 to 2022, so tax revenue grew at 1.7 times the rate of GDP growth.
In 2022 the bottom 90% of tax filers pay $610 billion in income tax and $793 billion in payroll tax - 29% of the total. Excise tax, Federal Reserve Revenue, Customs etc are 5%. The remaining 66% of revenue is from the top 10% of filers and estate taxes ($1.85 trillion) and corporations ($1.4 trillion). How much is the fair share?
With regard to lightfoot's churlish manner, I was struck by the fact that, while you would be hard-pressed to find two individuals more ideologically opposed than Lightfoot and Trump, they share the same proclivity for being unnecessarily uncivil, brusk and often offensive with their intemperate tweets and statements. It is one thing to be seen as a strong leader and passionate on your positions, but there is a very clear line that crosses into negativity that most people can easily recognize.
It is paradoxical how highly intelligent people can yet exhibit emotional immaturity that becomes very self-defeating for their own purposes and goals. I guess it just shows that even smart people sometimes miss the elementary lesson on honey gathering more bees than vinegar.
On ephemeral tattoos. One of my guitar buddy's had a teenage daughter who knew she needed to have a tattoo. He walked her over to her closet and asked "How many of these clothes do you think you'll still want to wear in two years?" She passed on the tattoo..