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'Niceguy' Eddie

Political Talk Show Host and Internet Radio Personality. My show, In My Humble Opinion, (original, huh?) airs on Tuesdays at 10:PM and Saturdays at 8:PM, Eastern time on RainbowRadio.

Feel free to contact me at niceguy9418@usa.com. You can also friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and Tumblr, and support my Patreon. Also, if you don't mind the stench, you can find my unofficial "fan club" over HERE. ;)


Monday, July 19, 2010

Lies du Jour, Part Two

(If you haven’t read part one yet, please do so. I don’t feel like repeating the context.)

So now that we, hopefully, have some perspective on the idea that tax cuts will (or even CAN) pay for themselves, let’s take a look at the two statements. Did Obama create the deficit? Or, less absurdly, how much of this did he REALLY inherit from Bush? Here’s a graphic that breaks down some of the larger components of the deficit:

Two Wars? Bush. Bush Tax cuts? Bush. Economic Down turn? Started in August 2007 and ended in April, 2009 so… 18 months under Bush, 2 months under Obama. Yeah, I’d say that’s Bush. (Even putting aside that it was the result of bank de-regulation, which is part of the Republican agenda anyway!) TARP? Bush.  Stimulus? Fine: 50/50. Both had their stimulus packages and both cleared the $700 Billion mark. So this deficit is four-and-a-half parts Bush, and just one-half-part Obama.

Now… I make no (negative) value judgments on any of these things. I supported the Auto-Bailouts (not shown, but perhaps deficit neutral, on paper anyway, since the gov't got an asset for thier money) wholeheartedly, for example.  Thank you, President Bush! (Disclosure: I work in the auto industry) and eventually came to recognize TARP as a necessary evil. I didn’t LIKE it, but I can’t condemn it. It was needed. BUT… it was still BUSH, and it still contributed to the deficit. In fact, it's remarkable how small the deficit would actually be if it weren’t for the Republicans, so it’s kind of absurd that they’ve made it their #1 issue!

Now… has Obama raised taxes? Again: NO. No. No. No! In fact he’s lowered them once already, and will actually lower them again next year! Wait a sec… then… what’s all this noise on Fox about how taxes are going up next year? Well… they are. But… you just said…? Hang on a sec. Let’s get in the “way-back” machine and take a good hard look at those “Bush Tax Cuts.”

These were passed in 2003, when the Republicans controlled both houses of congress and had Bush in the White House. They were officially called the “Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003.” And one of the key, but frequently ignored, provisions in the legislation was they were scheduled to expire on Jan 1, 2011 unless some ADDITIONAL action was taken. Expire. On 1/1/11. ALL of them. That’s the existing law, as written by Republicans, and signed by George W. Bush: Effecive 2011, the tax rates will return to their previous, Bill Clinton-era levels. It’s perhaps worth noting that Barack Obama would not even be elected to the Senate until 2004, his term starting in 2005. So this law passed two years before Obama entered the Senate as anything but a tourist. He could not possibly have had anything to do with it!

So when your taxes “go up” (or ‘return to their previous levels’) it is because of legislative action taken by REPUBLICANS and GEORGE W. BUSH.  Be sure to remember that and tank them approprioately.

So what has Obama done? Well, in early 2009, as part of the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009,” Obama lowered payroll taxes for everyone making less that $250,000 a year. That’s 98% of American according to the latest available census data! And last time I checked, 51% was a majority. (A MANDATE, if you’re a Republican candidate apparently.) So right off the bat, Obama lowered taxes. My take-home pay went up IMMEDIATELY by $68 per month, for example. Pretty much everyone’s did. Well… 98% of America anyway. But most people either have no idea, or have forgotten. Maybe because Fox News keeps hammering home the misinformation of Obama being a tax-raiser. Convenient, in an election year, but unfortunately not true at all. (Fair and Balanced folks!)  If you don't believe me, just look at your paycheck the first couple months of 2009.  You'll SEE the increase.  It's THERE.  Pretty much EVERYONE got it!

So what about next year? What about 2011? Well, remember that if Obama did nothing at all, took no action, the BUSH legislation effectively would raise (restore) tax rates back to their previous levels.  Becuase they were set to expire unless other legislative action was taken.  And guess what?  President Obama is TAKING THAT ADDITIONAL LEGISLATIVE ACTION!!!  In the budget he's proposing, those "Bush Tax Cuts" would remain in place for the first $250,000 of income.  And... if you understand how a progressive taxation works, you'll realize that this means that EVERYONE will be paying a lower effective than the otherwise would have been if Obama did nothing at all! (Yes, even those people who make more than that.  They'll still get the break on the first $250K)

I'm sure this sounds convoluted to the avewrage conservtive, but it's absolute FACT and absolute TRUTH.  Obama is a TAX CUTTER.  And you just can't escape that.

One concession I'll make...

If the budget goes through like he's proposing, in future discussion about the deficit, I will galdly refer to them as the "OBAMA TAX CUTS" instead of the "Bush Tax Cuts."  That's only fair.  If he's going to get hammered over the deficit, he's should at least get his due credit for cutting taxes.


  1. If Obama is such an economic genius as you've just described him, let him first go save Africa, his craddle. Africa is not able to feed herself. For centuries, it has been the western european world that helps her feed herself. That's a fact.
    And please, don't work so hard to rationalize the irrational!

  2. Duta,

    OK... First off, I never claimed Obama was an "economic genius." That would be a matter of OPINION, and it's one that I never in fact stated, much less tried to support. I'm merely pointing out that the current, and projected, budget deficit is largely the legacy of his predecessor's gov't - which is a matter of fact, not opinon - and that the only actions he has taken on income taxes and payroll taxes so far has been been to lower them - which again is a matter of fact, not opinion.

    Whether either of these things is "good" or "bad" is not for me to decide. I can have an opinion, but we can debate THAT endlessly. I'm just not going to let his critics off the hook when they LIE in THEIR efforts to (as I see it) "rationalize the irrational."

    Secondly... Where on earth did you come up with "saving" or "feeding" Africa as the metric by which we should measure the success (or the "economic genius") of an AMERICAN President? By that metrci EVERY US president would be a failure!

    It is the corruption present in the soverign african goverments, and their willingness to sell out their out their people and their reaoures to foreign interests (many connected to American Right Wing interests, such as Pat Robertson's blood diamond mine) in exchenge for their own personal enrichment that causes the bulk of Africa's problems. They may never beome a RICH continent perhaps, but their own corrupt and dyfunctional governments are to blame for their immediate problems, and it is not up the US to fix it. In fact... Doing so would either prop up the corrupt governments or violate their soverignty. And neither is morally acceptable. (And neither is inaction! Africa is a lose-lose-lose situation!)

    So again... you're entitled to your opinion about Obama. I'm not trying, here, to say he's "good" or "bad." Merely that the chagres being leveled against him by the bulk of his critics in this country are patently, demonstrably false. And you don't really seem to be refuting that.

    Thank you for you comment.

  3. The teabaggers like to portray the "tea" part of their title as meaning Taxed Enough Already, but they appeared right around the time of the Obama stimulus package, about 40% of which was devoted to tax cuts. Americans pay less in federal taxes, now, as a consequence, than they have since Harry Truman was President.

    (We're also the lowest-taxed country in the advanced industrial world, by a huge margin. "Taxes," in and of itself, is a complete waste of space as a political issue.)

    I've found the arguments tying Bush policy to the severity of the current recession to be compelling. The economy goes through regular boom and bust periods. Bush presided over a recession, followed by what should have been a boom period. A prosperous economy builds a certain capacity during booms that help soften the blow when a bust period hits. The thing is, there was no prosperous economy during the Bush-era boom, largely because of Bush policies. Things like allowing the oil companies to make out like bandits--sustained $4+/gallon gas, at its worst, which, among other things, drove up the price of every consumer item--made the "boom" period seem more like an extended bust. We never really recovered from the recession of the early Bush years, and after the alleged boom, when the real bust hit, there had already been so much damage that we were left teetering near the abyss.

    Now, every Republican politician on my tv (I live in the South) is saying "elect me, and I'll cut spending." One clown calls "out-of-control government spending... the no. 1 danger facing America." Another clueless harpy says "We cain't git rid a' Obama this year, but we can take away his check-book." And so on. If elected, none of them would cut a damn thing, of course--if you want to send them scurrying for cover, demanding they specify what they'd cut, beyond earmarks, works better than would automatic weapons fire--but it's a very telling comment about the Republican base that the way one appeals to it is to argue in favor of spending cuts, which, if enacted, would send the economy spiraling back into the abyss (for the reasons you outlined in your last post).

    Unlike the economy, which politicians can affect but not fundamentally alter, the sorry state of government finances, now--the thing those Republican politicians love to wave around as the reason to adopt their program--is entirely the fault of Bush and Republican policy. They enacted two waves of massive tax-cuts for the rich, which drained revenue. Then, they started two wars that were financed, 100%, with red ink. Bush never submitted the cost of the wars in his budgets--they were always financed via "emergency appropriations," submitted after the already-deficit-filled budget. Every penny of it red ink.

    Less direct, but still relevant, Bush's stewardship of the economy, as I was just explaining above, made a multi-year boom that was a whole lot like a bust, absent any of the growth that should have accompanied a boom. Economists are calling it a "lost decade." No decade since the 1930s had featured net job growth of less than 20%--there was no net job growth during the Bush years. Zero. None at all. Economic output was the lowest it had been since the Great Depression. Median household income actually fell. Americans' net worth declined as well--the first time that's happened since figures have been collected. And so on. Not an economy conducive to increased government revenue, to put it kindly.

    Attributing imaginary tax hikes, the bailouts (every one of which were enacted by the Bush administration with the backing of congressional Republicans) and, increasingly, the recession itself to the Obama has become standard practice on the right. It will probably be successful, too, because that's just how people are.

  4. Here's a good joke:
    What do you call 5000 democrats at the bottom of the ocean?
    A good start

  5. @Classic,

    There was an article I was reading recently the the NYT (IIRC) by Paul Krugman saying pretty much the same thing about Tax Cuts and economic growth. (I'll see if I can dig up the link.) And anyone who doesn't have their head up their ass should know that you can't cut spending without harming the economy. Well... they SHOULD... but there's no shortage of people in this country with their heads up their asses. It's a cheap trick meant to woo the ignorant. The sad part is that it still works.


    That joke isn't any funnier than it was the first time you posted it, so now I've got one for you:

    What do you call a poster who leaves snarky comments anonymously, without leaving even an email for someone to respond to?