Friday, December 10, 2010

The Senate's lion of the left roars

OK... It's not a true filibuster. But it sure is a shot across the bow of the Democratic Party. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) a self described socialist is deep into his 5th hour of speaking on the floor of the Senate and he doesn't look like he is planning on moving anytime soon. I don't agree with his motives but I am glad someone is standing up against this monstrosity. If this "compromise" passes it will add a Trillion Dollars(!) to the already mind boggling national debt. Where are all of the tea party Senators who spent the last year screaming about the debt? Now they want to hand over hundreds of billions in unfunded tax cuts (a large chunk going to Wall Street banksters)? Bernie Sanders is clearly becoming the conscience of the left. Where is the conscience of the right?


Go Bernie!

Update: 6 1/2 hrs and still going. Live feed of his semi filibuster here.


Update: 8 hours and still going.


Update: I am not sure of the exact time, but it appears Bernie Sanders speechathon ended sometime after 8 1/2 hrs. I tip my hat to you Senator. You were right to oppose this debt bomb (though for the wrong reasons).


The Anti-Gnostic said...

This is truly the only principled position. If we can't fund public services out of current receipts, then we need to raise taxes or forego those services.

Anonymous said...

I hate to be morbidly self-interested, but cutting spending is the only means of stopping this mess.

If my taxes go back up next year, I'll probably have to quit my job and move out of state, it quite literally might ruin my family's life. There's just no more money. My rent is scheduled to go up almost 20% next year because my city council wouldn't stand up (even though they are empowered to by law) to the new land lords. A tax increase on top of that and where do I get shoes for my kids? I already shop at the Union Rescue Mission more than WalMart.

Taxes are always bad (a necessary bad when necessary). You won't get cuts to spending without tax cuts. It won't happen.

Perhaps that pile of gold you've been buying will protect you.

rabidgandhi said...

The Red Menace is a real threat! Now they're trying to take over by destroying our deficit.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

You won't get cuts to spending without tax cuts. It won't happen.

The government never cuts spending. When tax revenue goes down, it just issues bonds and has the Fed monetize the debt.

What I think will have to be outlawed is public debt. The government can't be trusted with a credit card.

Anonymous said...

If the government is too big, then you shrink it. This is, by any definition to ordinary folks, a tax hike. One I can't afford, paying for wars I don't support and a government employing people who don't work for me making three times my salary.

Whole cabinet level departments need to go and the troops called home, probably everywhere except South Korea. But even there, we need to hand off to someone else. It's time to let Japan have a military again.

I live in California, where will all this money come from that everyone wants to pay back these debts? Nowhere. You have to shut down the government when there's no money.

Don't be fooled, this guy is trying to preserve a path to socialism in the face of all heaven and earth crashing down around him. Trying to turn him into some hero-deficit hawk is absurd.

This is a typical answer to those who feel compelled to do "something" rather than "the right thing."

John (Ad Orientem) said...

I am under no illusions about his motives. But he is doing the right thing all the same. These are not tax cuts. This is just taking out a loan that must be paid back with interest. No one is keeping their own money. That's hogwash. That is impossible when we are running deficits. All we are doing is borrowing money from the government, which is to say from China, that we will have to pay back.

Anonymous said...

Cutting (domestic) spending is going to lead to a depression. I am not sure what they tell you in "Austrian economics" but that is exactly where the Republicans are going to take us: first, there will be a slow down in demand and quickly production/employment. Then folks will overreact and things will overshoot to the bottom. Markets are irrational and dangerous left unmanaged.

A full pull out of Afganistan and Iraq would go a long way to funding needed fiscal measures in the US.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Cutting (domestic) spending is going to lead to a depression.

Yes, that's what happens to nations which live beyond their means.

A full pull out of Afganistan and Iraq would go a long way to funding needed fiscal measures in the US.

Of course it would but it's not going to happen. Republicans want to fight the Fifth Crusade and the Democrats are doing it for the women, the children, and for oppressed peoples everywhere.

rabidgandhi said...

We must stop Bernie's filibuster or we'll all be eating borscht by May Day!

Matushka Anna said...

One thing I think most people could agree on is this: people in the government should be required to take a basic class in math and economics.


(And it's 5:10 CST and he's still going strong!)

Anonymous said...


Technically all money (the paper records of it anyway) is the Fed's money, but taxation is an appropriation from my production as a value recorded on that paper.

If this is done outside the legitimate public interest, it might as well be called theft. When the government SPENDS money it doesn't have that's when it's forced to borrow whatever it is short in revenues.

The point is that the borrowing happens at the spending end, not at the taxing end. We want more than we are willing to pay for and as long as someone wants to keep paying for us to do so they will make a profit on us.

The end game will involve default and and a break down of the international credit system. Don't you have enough gold yet to be happy with that outcome?

Personally, I think stopping a war or two and dismembering the department of education is the preferable method to continuing to draw Federal funds from the populace that sees no benefit.

Anything other than dismemberment continues to support the political class at the expense of everyone else.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

AND there should be a consitutional amendment setting a permanent limit to the percentage of anyone's income that can be taxed by the federal government.

As it is, its power to tax us is limitless.

DNY said...

I would observe that the pre-programmed increases in tax rates, should they take place in January, will almost certainly cause an increase in the Federal deficit by virtue of two effects: the drag on productive economic activity created by them, leading to less income to tax, and higher costs in terms of social welfare spending as yet more people are thrown out of work, and those on unemployment shift to welfare as their unemployment runs out; and the flight of the wealthy (or at least their money) to other countries with more favorable tax climates and to tax-sheltered investments here in the U.S.

Tax cuts (which is not what is really being debated here) have had the opposite effect: both the Kennedy and Reagan tax-rate cuts boosted Federal revenue.

Insisting on scoring the effects of tax policy as if the economy were static, and did not respond to those policies is a perpetual absurdity that the lessons of history do not seem to drum out of the minds of the OMB, CBO, or most politicians (esp. on the left).

If we are serious about the deficit, we need to cut both spending and tax-rates. If one really wants to get the wealthy to pay more in taxes, cut their tax rates but cap the amount of income which can be excluded from taxation by means of any and all tax shelters combined (that way no fights over whose ox gets gored by taking away a particular tax shelter). (Maybe that's the place where that $250,000 cut-off should be used.)

Anonymous said...

I can say personally that the risk of my needing the very services that will raise the deficit will increase dramatically if my taxes are raised (particularly this much). That's why I'm so incensed about this.

You want to strip my cupboard bare, come over to my house and do it like a man.

Otherwise, go horde your gold and God help you to be able to eat it if such things as are now being discussed in halls of power come to pass.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why there's so much whining.

After all, in comparison to most other developed countries, the tax rate in the U.S. is fairly low.

Of course it shows.

Keep whining. Keep "shrinking" the government and letting corporations expand. I mean, why not let Microsoft know everything about you rather than the gov?

You'll get what you want.

G Sanchez said...

This isn’t very clear thinking on the problem. If you want to restore health to the country’s finances as a whole, then you need to free up economies and you cannot do that with the tax hikes which are set to go into effect next year. Populist rhetoric is a poor replacement for sound thinking about what taxing the wealthiest (and, from an economic standpoint, most productive) segments of our economy will do. It doesn’t surprise me that people who support upping tax rates for the rich have no plan on what to do with the revenues that are captured. Make a new entitlement program? Fund some ear marks? Institute a new round of stimulus on projects with few (if any) short or long-term benefits?

Keeping the Bush era tax cuts is just a band-aid. Massive spending cuts need to follow and long-term tax reform—the sort which will provide assurances to industry about what their expected rate of return and access to capital will look like in the coming years—needs to come as well. Otherwise all you are doing is perpetuating an environment of uncertainty, which doesn’t help anyone.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

What the proponents of this profligate manner of government fail to grasp is that there is no such thing as tax cuts when you are running a deficit. It is impossible to "keep more of your money" when you are in debt. All we are doing is taking out another loan from Beijing. The current economic crisis is in large measure a product of living beyond our means. And to borrow an old expression, if you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you want to do is stop digging.

A depression is inevitable. The only question is do we want to deal with the pain now or later? Later it will be much worse.

Anonymous said...

I don't live beyond my means, my means are being taken from me.

Don't get me started about chopping up too-big-to-fail or too-big-to-stop corporations. I'm more than happy to wield the ax on traitorous boards and executives alike.

Stop the wars I don't need and I can't afford. Outlaw unions in the public sector and invalidate their contracts. Suddenly we'll be able to help some poor folks and avoid taxing me into becoming one.

Ochlophobist said...


The rhetoric of "taxing the wealthiest (and, from an economic standpoint, most productive)" is populist conservative rhetoric. My impression is that the vast, vast majority of professional economists would not use this language of "If you want to restore health to the country’s finances as a whole, then you need to free up economies and you cannot do that with the tax hikes which are set to go into effect next year." That is the language of Friedman, etc., which thanks to Limbaugh and Beck is now through and through populist. It is the language of the Tea Party, which is far and away the best organized expression of American populism today.

Sorry, but this notion that only liberal or Leftist sentiments with regard to economics are the populist ones is just too late 90s.

I wonder, if you were to interview 1,000 persons with doctorates in economics today, not that many deal in macroeconomics anymore, but, hypothetically speaking, I wonder how many of them would say with confidence that not taxing the top 2 percent is better for the health of the economy than taxing them and putting that money toward vast infrastructure programs ("ear marks" I suppose), rebuilding America's bridges for starters, etc.

Of course, the majority of academic economists may very well be wrong. I'm just less inclined to think that group wrong than the Legion of finance/business/broker/banking types who drank the Greenspan Kool-Aide.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

not taxing the top 2 percent is better for the health of the economy than taxing them and putting that money toward vast infrastructure programs ("ear marks" I suppose), rebuilding America's bridges for starters, etc.

Making our vast infrastructure programs more vaster just means more taxation and more public debt. Untaxed money is already in the economy. The biggest lobby against Clinton's 'yacht tax' were shipwrights and crew.

That being said, if we want public services on the scale we are demanding then we have to pay for them.'s position is a principled one, but most voters are rather unprincipled.