Wednesday, July 12, 2006


The Truth Behind Bush's "Historic Tax Revenues"

As always, Bonddad has the goods.

I think the short answer is "Yeah, and all those corporate tax payments came out of your paycheck."

Bonddad doesn't deal with what the rise in corporate revenues is from. It's from very fast profit growth and stagnant wages
Bonddad's dealt with that very subject in the past, Charles -- most notably on why it is that corporations are the only entities in America that have managed to put away any savings in the past few years. Here's one representative diary on the subject.
If you would like your posts to be credible and interesting, it may be a good idea to clearly state a problem and clearly propose a solution. I do notice the griping but there is nothing clearly defined.

For example, if higher corporate incomes are a problem, you should say why. If stagnant wages are a problem, you should say why. If high debt is a problem, you should say why.

You may think that these "problems" are self-evident but maybe not.

For example, maybe corporate earnings are rising, in part, because small businesses, classified as corporations yet owned by Mom and Pop, are earning more. And even if the profits to which you speak are all going to the big companies, so what. What's the problem?

On stagnant wages, you have not shown that standards of living are suffering as a result of the supposed stagnation. I assume you assume that stagnant or declining wages means a reduction in living standards but you have not said this and you have certainly not proven it. Even if we assume that wages are actually falling, you have still not illustrated why this is a problem. You have offered no guidance as to what wages should be. Should wages be lower? Higher? Are people’s wages declining as they get older? Or is the supposed decline in wages the statistical result from losing an unusually large number of high wage earners to retirement?

And what is the debt problem? Bonddad says, and bolds the quote like it’s important, that mortgages are responsible for 87% of the household debt increase during the time he cited. Why is this a problem? People are buying houses. That’s bad? He also says that debt is a huge problem because people don’t have the assets to cover their debt. Are their houses not assets?

These thoughts are not yet intended as arguments because there is nothing yet to argue. But it would be nice if you considered them if you choose to:

Clearly state the problems and clearly propose solutions. Otherwise, what are you doing?
Oh, boy! Our favorite troll with reading-comprehension problems is back! (Except that he can read just fine -- he just pretends that he didn't actually read the post, the links, and the comments therein.)

For a list of John's Greatest(?) Hits, and to see a master GOP troll in action, just click here. Note that each time anyone answers him, he pretends that nobody did. He's simply incapable of arguing in good faith. It's lovely!
John, before we get into anything that complicated, I think you need to define "it," "the," "is," and "debt." I can't possibly understand you if you are as vague as that.

And unless you can cure collywobbles and mutton moles, you don't have any business posting on anything.

Solutions, man! Solutions!
Well, at least you have clearly defined "cop-out." I asked you ten questions and you didn't answer any. No responses to the non-questions either.

The original post is just another example of the common rhetoric, griping and sulking that is spewed from all sides of the political spectrum yet cannot be defended by those same spewers.

You may also note that I only challenge the posts when I'm fairly sure that cop-outs, insults and general whining are all I'm going to get in response... And if I'm as bad as you think I am, then I'd be attacking everything you post. Or close to it. But I don't. I point out only your ramblings and empty headlines.

And because PW brought up another lousy post, I should remind her that she has yet to respond to these questions:

What does CEO compensation have to do with the middle class? Or the "death" of it?
Of what value is a CEO to non-CEO wage comparison?
If CEO pay is inflated because of the GOP, why were CEO salaries higher--meaning all time highs--during the Clinton years?
Even if only the “rich” are getting the income gains, how does that prove that living standards are falling for your undefined middle-class?
Can you explain why a better corporate balance sheet is relevant to an individual’s standard of living?
Oh and the mother of all ignored questions from that post was:

I was especially alarmed that you included that the CEO/average worker comparison was based on an average worker salary of almost $42000. I think that's a good salary, and even accounting for purchasing price parity, this wage amounts to an income and standard of living higher than about four billion people. (Probably more, for that number includes only the destitute.) I cannot tell that many people how "bad" life is in the US. Can you?

Nary an answer. What a shocker.
(checks in to see if John's waging his standard war against straw men)

(notes that this is exactly what John is doing)

(shrugs shoulders and goes out for a tea break)

Nary an answer. What a shocker.
Meanwhile, while John's fighting his War on Straw, Paul Krugman (like John Maynard Keynes, another person John hates) is here to talk to the reality-based community:

I'd like to say that there's a real dialogue taking place about the state of the U.S. economy, but the discussion leaves a lot to be desired. In general, the conversation sounds like this:

Bush supporter: ''Why doesn't President Bush get credit for a great economy? I blame liberal media bias.''

Informed economist: ''But it's not a great economy for most Americans. Many families are actually losing ground, and only a very few affluent people are doing really well.''

Bush supporter: ''Why doesn't President Bush get credit for a great economy? I blame liberal media bias.”

Now, the Bushies like to tout the economy's 2004 growth as evidence that things are just peachy in America. But there's one small problem with that:

Here's what happened in 2004. The U.S. economy grew 4.2 percent, a very good number. Yet last August the Census Bureau reported that real median family income—the purchasing power of the typical family—actually fell. Meanwhile, poverty increased, as did the number of Americans without health insurance. So where did the growth go?

The answer comes from the economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, whose long-term estimates of income equality have become the gold standard for research on this topic, and who have recently updated their estimates to include 2004.

So what did Piketty and Saez find upon analyzing the newly-available data from 2004? They found that for most Americans, the economic news wasn’t all that good. Only the people at the very tip-top of the economic pyramid -- the people who John identifies with, but who in turn see him as merely a useful idiot and wouldn't take a leak on him if he was on fire -- got the bennies.

Oh, and a college education isn't a ticket out of poverty any more, either:

There's a persistent myth, perpetuated by economists who should know better...that rising inequality in the United States is mainly a matter of a rising gap between those with a lot of education and those without. But census data show that the real earnings of the typical college graduate actually fell in 2004.
And again, my questions go unanswered.
See, if you had any ability whatsoever to answer these questions, you could A) cut and paste said question to a response and then B) directly address the question. You post these things yet you can’t explain them and don’t back them up. For the 673rd time, just try answering the questions. If you can do it, a real debate can commence. If you do it real well, you can wholly discredit me. Even with that incentive, all I get is a link to a Paul Krugman position? Hey, we can trade links all day long of doomsayers and happy-go-luckies. I can get to Krugman some other time, but if I remember correctly, I was attacking your post… So why don’t you try defending your own rants instead of ignoring the holes punched in them. OK, fine. Just answer one question. Pick one. Any one. How about one of the CEO questions? They were easy. Do one of those. Betcha can’t!
John, you couldn't punch holes in a paper bag.

You used up your welcome long ago when I gave you a serious, well-researched response and you did the verbal equivalent of spitting in my face. Crap about refusing to accept the phrase "middle class" as meaningful is just beyond the pale.

Everyone gets one swing at the pinata. You've had yours and you missed.

Now, scram.
OK, don't answer the questions. But at least don't lie and say you did. Have some self-respect. Anyone can check our posts and see that you have, in fact, not responded to the questions that question the implications of this original post (and that dying middle-class nonsense post, too). I wholly admit that you responded with "well-researched response." But do rubuttals that do not address the questions asked carry any weight? Would a well-researched response about 18th century Canadian furniture have made you credible?

PW never even bothered to offer a one of your tangential (at best) responses.

Either one of you may, at any time, cut and paste those questions for all to see followed by your answers for all to read. If you do not, then perhaps your request for intelligent debate may also have been mere rhetoric? If your site is about cop-outs and cowardice in the face of criticism, then I will indeed scram. As will your site's credibility.
Anyone who's seen your reactions to Charles', Eli's, and my comments knows that you have no intention of arguing in good faith. All you're doing, as Charles has described it, is "playing" -- every time Charles tried to pin you down, you retreated into boilerplate RNC rhetoric, worthy of the rhetoric spinners who make their homes in the tony suburbs surrounding DC. (How much are they paying you, if it's not too rude of me to ask? Or are you just doing this as part of your College Republican gig? And are you just road-testing future GOP memes, or working to spread existing ones?) So why should we even respond to your straw men and bad-faith arguments? We tried that already, and you only responded with more bad faith.

But go ahead and post yet another bad-faith screed. You know you want to, you're addicted! You just can't walk away, and you know it.

Besides, you can post here, unlike with most of the big GOP-friendly blogs. (Note how so very few of them allow comments, and how most of the ones that do will habitually censor the ones they don't like? I know, I know, you consider our not censoring conservative commenters a weakness that you like to exploit. We consider it a strength.)
I'm so sorry that I am a lying moron, who has so badly abused this site's hospitality that I have become persona non grata.

You've answered me plainly about wealth inequality with the parable of the ants and the elephant and I have refused to listen to you, because if I listened it would expose my hypocrisy. You've answered me plainly about how the freedom of the middle class has been diminished, such that the rich buy and sell legislation to serve their own interests while the middle class is left outside. But if I admitted that you might have a point, I'd be forced to admit that I am a worthless troll. And I hate myself so much that I just can't do it.

You've been patient as a saint with my dishonesty and malice. Any sane adult would have obeyed the directive to stop posting here, but of course I am an insane juvenile, which is why I can't apologize, can't really dialogue, can't do anything, really, except make a bigger and bigger ass of myself.
You're a much more patient person than I am, PW.

John is a repeat offender who has been asked to leave. I wasted several hours putting together a serious reply to him, and I all I got in return was a snotty attitude.

I'm voting him off the island.
Hey, it's Annie John (see, I told you he'd never leave, Charles!) again!

Can't vouch for Charles, but the only posts I've deleted here, Annie John, are robo-spammers intent on pimping commercial products -- and I stopped needing to do even that when the word-verification system went into effect.

But go ahead and lie. Show everyone your true ethics, or lack thereof. I like showing your posts to fence-sitters; I mint lots of fresh Democrats that way.
See, Charles? I told you that Fairfax Johnny was addicted. He simply can't stand to be away from here for more than a day. Poor thing, we must be to him like Oxycontin or Dominican hookers are for certain other conservative drug addicts!

Let's see how long we can keep him trapped here. I'm betting he'll stay for at least a month and ignore all the other threads.
I call myself John. Or Annie. Or Anonymous.

But those aren't my true name.

My real name is Garbage.

I don't have a real life. I can only pretend to have a real life by trying to annoy people.

I know a lot of games. My favorite is "I Have My Fingers in My Ears so I Can't Heeeear You!"

I liked playing that with my mother when I was five. Now I'm a lot older, but I am still the same age.

Then there's "Rubber and Glue! You Are Too!" If you show me that I am liar, I just say "Rubber and Glue! You Are Too!" That makes me feel better.

And there's "You Commie!" That's a game that got started long ago when there actually were communists and it was a great way to silence people instead. Now it's a pretty stupid game because the last six communists in the United States are in an old folks home. A lot of people don't even know what I'm talking about.

But when all is said and done, if you don't care about me, if you don't take me seriously, then I am just Garbage. Because I am nothing and no one.
PW, if there's any more garbage to clean up, just let me know. I really dislike contact ISPs to report abuse, especially since that can have some real life consequences that people don't anticipate, but sometimes it is necessary. I think I have been clear that--short of an apology for past misbehavior and a genuine commitment to actually debate issues in a respectful and honest fashion-- I intend to blackhole this person, so any further posts by him are harassment.
Go for it, Charles. I was amused at first, then bemused -- why the strange fixation of his on us? -- and now I'm wondering if an intervention of some sort might be best for his overall mental health. Perhaps if we can break him out of his rut he might find peace of some sort. I hope so!
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