[GOP] Economic plans compared




Economic plans compared
A look at how several of the GOP candidates say they would address some of the economic issues. This table will be continually updated.













Corporate tax rate (currently 35%) 9% 12.5% 25% 15% 20% 25%
Capital gains tax (currently 15%) Eliminates Eliminates Eliminates Eliminates Eliminates Eliminates for taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes under $200,000
Individual taxes Imposes a 9% flat tax on personal income; creates a 9% national sales tax. Sets optional flat tax at 15%. Eliminates all deductions and credits in favor of three rates: 8%, 14% and 23%. Also eliminates the Alternative Minimum Tax. Extend Bush tax cuts. Sets optional flat tax at 20%. Extends Bush tax cuts.
Estate tax Eliminates Eliminates Position not clear Eliminates Eliminates Eliminates
Obama’s health-care law Repeals Repeals Repeals Repeals Repeals Repeals
Dodd-Frank financial reform law Repeals Repeals Repeals Repeals Repeals Repeals




Send information regarding the candidates’ plans to politicsgraphics@washpost.com. 
SOURCES: The campaigns, staff reports GRAPHIC: Laura Stanton and Karen Yourish – The Washington Post. Published Oct. 25, 2011.


Sourced from wash post.com

Occupy Wall Street is not difficult to understand

Sourced from Daily Kos

SUN OCT 23, 2011 AT 10:00 AM PDT
Hunter for Daily Kos


Here’s a helpful tip: if you are a political pundit and you still don’t know what Occupy WallStreet stands for, you are an idiot. If you purport to make your living analyzing the political landscape, or from parsing the effectiveness of various political messages, or if you write columns explaining what the American people want based on your deep, intimate knowledge of what the American people want, but you still, after a month, cannot quite grasp what these uncouth people in the streets are going on about, then you are categorically bad at your job. If you find yourself tuttering and tsking over how the protestors are merely a group of fringe figures, and you do not notice or care to notice the polls expressing wide support for the message, you are a fraud.

It really is that simple, at this point. No supposed “pundit” should be able to say with a straight face that they cannot possibly understand what message the protestors have. Here, I will give it to you in a mere few words: the Occupy Wall Street movement is a protest against rampant income inequality, against corporate excesses, and against a government rigged to protect and worsen both.

It is a protest specifically against the members of the financial sector, who were bailed out at taxpayer expense after wrecking the economy with self-perpetuated fraudulent schemes against one another, and who have learned not one damn thing from the experience, but instead have continued on their merry, privileged way. They assert themselves to be masters of the universe, and pay themselves accordingly, and whether the world they supposedly run hums like clockwork or burns to the ground makes no particular difference to them.

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The 99% Seek a Just Economy, Not Just an Economy

Sourced from OurFuture.org

By Leo Gerard
October 24, 2011 – 11:05am ET


Republicans jammed together a mess of old, failed and vague schemes and called it a jobs bill. Sen. John McCain conceded the reason for the rehash: “Part of it is in response to the president saying we don’t have a proposal.”

They still don’t. This despite the fact that they promised voters during their campaign to take control of the U.S. House one year ago that they’d create jobs. That they’d focus on jobs. That nothing was more important to them than jobs.

Now, what they’ve offered instead of actual jobs is a polyglot of GOP talking points. It’s certainly no vision to move the country forward. It’s a plot to set the country back – to repeal the health care law that will soon help provide coverage for the nearly 50 million Americans without insurance, to rescind the Wall Street reform law designed to prevent another financial sector-caused meltdown, and to thwart regulations, like those that stopped distribution of listeria-infected cantaloupe that killed 25.

GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio called the Republican polyglot a “pro-growth proposal to create the environment for jobs.” It is, in fact, a pro-business proposal to permit corporations to destroy the environment for humans.

It is another GOP ploy to appease, accommodate and absolve corporations. It is another GOP ruse to firmly establish in America an economy designed for, dedicated to and directed by corporations rather than a just economy controlled by and beneficial to the 99 percent.

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Barack Obama: All US troops to leave Iraq in 2011

21 October 2011 Last updated at 14:28 ET


President Obama: “In the next two months our troops will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home”

All US troops will be pulled out of Iraq by the end of the year, President Barack Obama has announced.

He ordered a complete withdrawal from the country, nearly nine years after the invasion under President George W Bush.

About 39,000 US troops remain in Iraq, down from a peak of 165,000 in 2008.

The US and Iraq were in “full agreement” on how to move forward, Mr Obama said, adding: “The US leaves Iraq with our heads held high.”

“That is how America’s military efforts in Iraq will end.”

According to the Department of Defense, there have been 4,408 American military deaths in Iraq since March 2003.

Mr Obama spoke at the White House following a video conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki.

He pledged assistance and “a strong and enduring partnership” with Iraqi government.

The US declared the end of its combat mission in Iraq in 2010. The deadline for complete troop withdrawal by end of 2011 was set during former President George W Bush’s term in office.

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What my peers are letting me get away with

Sourced from TheMoneyIllusion.com – A slightly off-center perspective on monetary problems

By Scott Sumner , Oct. 19, 2011

I’m a bit frustrated because I probably won’t be able to do much blogging for the next few weeks, and yet I have a large backlog of issues I’d like to address.  I guess the big news today is Paul Krugman’s very generous comments on David Beckworth and I (and by implication the others who have also been pushing the nominal GDP target):

“Market monetarists” like Scott Sumner and  David Beckworth are crowing about the new respectability of nominal GDP targeting. And they have a right to be happy.

At this point, however, we seem to have a broad convergence. As I read them, the market monetarists have largely moved to an expectations view. And now that we’re almost four years into the Lesser Depression, I’m willing, out of a combination of a sense that support is building for a Fed regime shift and sheer desperation, to support the use of expectations-based monetary policy as our best hope.

And one thing the market monetarists may have been right about is the usefulness of focusing on nominal GDP. As far as I can see,the underlying economics is about expected inflation; but stating the goal in terms of nominal GDP may nonetheless be a good idea, largely as a selling point, since it (a) is easier to make the case that we’ve fallen far below where we should be and (b) doesn’t sound so scary and anti-social.

I still believe that the chances of success will be a lot larger if we have expansionary fiscal policy too; but by all means let’s try whatever we can.

That makes me want to take back all the negative Krugman posts I wrote.  (Although in fairness, I often called him “brilliant,” and on one occasion argued we’d be much better off if the FOMC had 12 Paul Krugman clones.  But I suppose his supporters have noticed the negatives more than the positives.)

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Varieties of inequality

Sourced from TheMoneyIllusion — A slightly off-center perspective on monetary problems.

by  Scott Sumner

October 15th, 2011

Varieties of inequality

[I wrote this months ago, was dissatisfied, and decided not to post it. But now with all the reports about America's poor, poor, pitiful 99%, it'd didn't seem quite as silly.]

I’d like to make some observations about inequality. First as a person, then as an economist. These are based on 56 years of observing all kinds of people, in all sorts of different situations. The various inequalities are not meant to be equally important; indeed I’ve purposely added a few trivial ones for perspective. But they are all assumed to affect utility (although I don’t know that they all do.) Then I’ll return to this issue as an economist, and draw some conclusions.

1. Inequality of disability. Some people are blind, paralyzed, etc.

2. Inequality of talent. Some people are blessed with the ability of a Michael Jordon, or a Brad Pitt.

3. Inequality if liberty. I know one Chinese person who used to listen to Russian classical music very quietly, least the neighbors overheard. It was viewed as counter-revolutionary, and she could have gotten in a lot of trouble. Least we think America doesn’t have these problems, think of the many 100,000s of people in prison for using drugs.

4. Inequality of money (i.e. income/wealth/consumption.)

5. Inequality of personality. I know one part time instructor who always looks happy. He always whistles while he walks, and greets people with enthusiasm. He’s about 85. And I know lots of grouchy professors making 5 times more money.

6. Inequality of mental health–actually just a more extreme version of point 5–but a big driver of utility.

7. Inequality of access to health care. Often assumed to overlap with money inequality, but the Medicaid program suggests it’s more complex.

8. Inequality of power. My Marxist friends would say I have a blind spot for this one. I think I do.

9. Inequality of location. Were you born in sad Moldova, or happy Denmark?

10. Inequality of luck. Of course if there’s no free will, then it’s all luck.

11. Inequality of family situation. Are you living with an extremely difficult family member (an abusive spouse, an elderly person with Alzheimer’s, or a troubled teen.) This has a big effect on utility.

12. Inequality of disease. Do you have AIDS, or cancer?

13. Inequality of preferences. I am cursed with expensive taste. If I walk into a rug store, my eyes are immediately attracted to the most expensive oriental carpet. My daughter just bought a teal shag carpet from Target that she likes. Lucky her.

14. Inequality of pain. A hugely underrated factor in utility. And let’s not forget the poor hypochondriacs. There is no statement more stupid in the entire English language than “it’s all in your head.” Everything is all in your head, including pain. See the studies of phantom limbs. Pain is pain.

15. Inequality in social setting. Do you live in a neighborhood terrorized by crime. Again, only partially correlated with income.

16. Racial/ethnic/gender/sexual preference inequality

17. Inequality of nerdiness/awkwardness. A huge driver of utility for teenagers. (Would a poor but “cool” and popular teen trade places with a middle class nerdy teen?)

18. Inequality of job desirability

19. Inequality of appearance (beauty, obesity, etc.) Michel Houellebecq says this is the greatest source of inequality in rich countries

And I’m sure there are many more that I overlooked.

Now let’s look at the same list as drawn up by economists (including me, with my economist hat on.)

1. Inequality of money.

2. Inequality of access to health care

You might have noticed that the second list was a bit shorter. Some non-economists suggest that economists care too much about maximizing utility, and don’t care enough about income inequality. Of course exactly the opposite is true. We pay little attention to utility, and focus way too much on income inequality. BTW, this criticism could also apply to me, as I have done posts discussing ways of reducing consumption inequality.

I probably care less about income inequality than the average progressive. I think that’s partly because I’ve known lots of lower income people, and I’ve almost never found it to be the case that their income was the central problem in their lives. (Although it certainly is a problem–which is why I favor some income redistribution.) On the other hand, the sample I’ve known is very biased, and unrepresentative of all poor people. I’ve never known a migrant farm worker. Another reason I put less weight on income inequality is that money has always mattered less to me than to the average person, even when I had very little (age 18-26). Again, my view is slightly biased, as being poor and young is quite different from being poor and middle-aged.

But I do think I care as much about human suffering as the average progressive. Almost every day I wonder where the outrage is over 400,000 drug users in jail. By comparison, over the past 5 years I’ve read dozens of stories about the 400 terror suspects at Guantanamo. Yes, the issues are different in many respects, but I still see a lack of proportion. The drug war may be our greatest unnecessary loss of utility, showing up big not just in lost liberty, but also unnecessary pain from diseases, and more crime and violence.

As far as money problems, there is also a huge gap between America and the rest of the world. I recently heard a progressive criticize Obama. He started his comments by saying something like “If progressivism stands for anything, it stands for helping the middle class.” What?!?! Those sentiments are truly disgusting, repulsive. The focus should be on hunger in America. I hate to sound like an aging baby boomer, but at least in the 1960s the middle class was perceived by progressives as the enemy, unwilling to share their money and perks with poor black people. That’s not entirely accurate either, but at least it’s not morally repulsive.

Here’s a quotation from one of Peter Hessler’s excellent books on China. He’s conversing with a 33 year old professor in a God-forsaken college in western China during the year 1997:

But even amid these [traumatic modernizing] changes, Teacher Kong is not particularly worried . . . he is calm for the same reason that so many other Chinese are strangely placid in the midst of changes that seem overwhelming to outsider. Quite simply, he has seen far worse.

“When I was a boy we didn’t have enough to eat,” say Teacher Kong. “Especially in 1972 and 1973–those were very bad years. Part of it was that we lived in a remote place where the land wasn’t very good, but also there were some problems associated with the Cultural Revolution–problems with production and agricultural methods. It was a little better later in the 1970s, but still it wasn’t too good. We never ate meat; I was always hungry. Every day we ate rice gruel, and we only had a little bit of that. Rarely did we have salt. We ate weeds, wildflowers, pine needles–I’ve eaten all those things.

“My mother died when I was five, after she gave birth to my sister. Of course, we didn’t have milk or anything like that to help the baby, who died as well. I don’t remember that. But at the age of ten my father died, which I do remember. He got sick suddenly, a very bad cold, and in three days he was dead.

“After that things were even worse. My grandfather wasn’t strong enough to work, and I was too young to do much, so my uncle had to support all of us. At that time the Production Team in that village was very bad, and they weren’t of any help. Later, things improved and they were able to assist us, but for many years it was terrible.”

All of Kong Ming’s early life took place in the mountains outside Fengdu [Sichuan], a town that nowadays has about 30,000 residents. From his childhood home it took an hour by foot to reach the nearest road, which was three hours by rough bus ride from Fengdu, and as a result Kong Ming never saw the town until he was fourteen years old.

[As an aside, I won't defend the Chinese view of Tibet, which is that they are bringing modernization to a backward people. But does the previous quotation help you understand why the Han people might have a slightly different perspective on the relative merits of modernization and traditional culture, as compared to the average American or European?]

Now let’s start down through Dante’s seven circles of Hell:

1. The US is much richer than Mexico. So much so that millions of Mexicans will risk the horrors of human trafficking into the US to get crummy jobs picking tomatoes all day in the hot sun.

2. China in 2011 is still considerably poorer than Mexico. The Chinese take much greater risks to get here.

3. China today is so much richer than China in 1997 that it’s like a different planet. The changes (even in rural areas) are massive.

4. The China of 1997 seemed like paradise compared to the China of the 1970s. Throughout Hessler’s book, people keep talking about how horrible things were during that decade and how prosperous they are now (1997 in Sichuan!)

5. The China of the 1970s was nowhere near as bad as during 1959-61, when 30 million starved to death.

It’s fine to worry about income inequality in the US. I also worry about this issue. But it’s important to keep in mind that there is much more to life than income inequality, and much more to the world than the US. In the grand scheme of things, tinkering with government programs to help the poor, pitiful, beleaguered American middle class isn’t likely to make much difference, at least from a utilitarian perspective. We need to broaden our outlook.

Unfortunately, Bryan Caplan’s open door policy is politically infeasible, but doing even 1/10th of what he asks for would be a huge boom to human welfare. Where is the conservative belief in “liberty?” (Insert Samuel Johnson quotation.)

And let’s not hear any more talk from progressives like Paul Krugman about trade barriers against Chinese workers.

PS. I just noticed this interesting data on how our poor compare to the world’s poor.

PPS. Peter Hessler’s MacArthur Award was very well-deserved.

Romney’s housing plan: ‘Allow investors to buy up homes’ by accelerating foreclosure process

Sourcd from

Sourced from /wpid_unknown_2011_10_19_13_26.png Daily Kos

10/18/11 3:28 PM rss@dailykos.com (Jed Lewison) 2012

Ahead of tonight’s GOP debate in Las Vegas, Mitt Romney tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the problem in housing is that banks haven’t been allowed to foreclose on enough people, making it more difficult for investors to buy underpriced properties to rent to former homeowners:


As to what to do for the housing industry specifically, and are there things that you could do to encourage housing?

One is, don’t try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom, allow investors to buy up homes, put renters in them, fix the homes up, and let it turn around and come back up.

The Obama administration has slow-walked the foreclosure processes that have long existed and as a result we still have a foreclosure overhang.

Notice that the entire video clip is only 30 seconds long, which was really thoughtful of Mitt, because I’ll guarantee you those words will be showing up a in a campaign ad if he gets the GOP’s nomination. It’s not just that he’s saying we need to help banks put more people out of their homes, it’s not just that he’s saying we need to do it until we hit bottom, it’s that he’s also saying that then and only then will “investors” feel comfortable buying up homes so that they can rent them out to the people who used to own them.

I’m almost tempted to speculate on whether this kind of thing will hurt Romney with Republicans as well as Democrats and independents, but who am I kidding. The wing nuts love this kind of shit.

12:36 PM PT: Oh, and by the way: Nevada has the nation’s highest foreclosure rate. So Mitt Romney is waltzing into the nation’s foreclosure capital and telling them they don’t have enough foreclosures. Talk about tone deaf. Maybe he’s not as good a candidate all the wise people say he is.

Higher Taxes On The Working Poor and Middle Class? Why Conservatives Have Lost Their Mind, And The Public

Sourced from Campaign for America’s Future

By Bill Scher, October 18, 2011

Over the weekend, NYTimes.com featured a Bloggingheads.tv discussion I had with Kristen Soltis of the Independent Women’s Forum about the conservative response to the “We Are The 99%” mantra of the Occupy Wall Street protests: “We Are The 53%.” After hearing the conservative justification for complaining that the working poor and middle class don’t pay enough taxes, you might ask: have conservatives lost their mind? I’d say, yes. And the public too.

Over the weekend, NYTimes.com featured a Bloggingheads.tv discussion I had with Kristen Soltis of the Independent Women’s Forum about the conservative response to the “We Are The 99%” mantra of the Occupy Wall Street protests: “We Are The 53%.”

After hearing the conservative justification for complaining that the working poor and middle class don’t pay enough taxes, you might ask: have conservatives lost their minds?

The conservative class warfare attack — that currently 47% of Americans don’t pay a net federal income tax — has been hashed out plenty. You probably already know that the stat is misleading, because 90% of Americans still pay federal taxes, even if they don’t pay net federal income taxes, not to mention state and local taxes.

But I don’t need to bombard you with more numbers to debunk this conservative argument, because no one is buying it anyway.

Poll after poll after poll shows the public is squarely behind raising taxes on those in the top 2% income bracket. In the most recent CNN poll, 63% support higher taxes on income above $250,000, and a whopping 76% supporting higher taxes on income above $1,000,000.

In other words, “The 53% Percent” opposing higher taxes on millionaires is more like the 24%.

So we don’t need to grapple with how to rebut this conservative misinformation. But it may be worth pondering why this conservative strategy is failing so miserably.

Conservatives are very hung-up on attacking wealth redistribution. The tagline of “We Are The 53%” is: “Those of us who pay for those of you who whine about all of that… or that… or whatever.” In other words, my class is already giving handouts for your class, so shut up and stop asking for more.

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Occupy Protesters’ One Demand: A New New Deal—Well, Maybe

Sourced from Mother Jones

Tue Oct. 18, 2011 3:00 AM PDT

—By Josh Harkinso

Protesters hold signs in Zuccotti Park. VBlessNYC/Flickr”What is our one demand?”

That question, put forth by one of the original and most iconic posters advertising the occupation of Zuccotti Park, still hasn’t been answered. Many veteran occupiers believe that making specific demands would be counterproductive, while others are working hard to craft concrete proposals they think everyone can agree on.

One of the latter is Daniel Lerner, a middle-aged physicist and active member of Occupy Wall Street’s Demands Working Group, which on Sunday voted to push for a New Deal-style work program funded largely by ending America’s wars and taxing the rich. “I think among the general public, this would have enormous support,” Lerner says. “The biggest need in this country and in the world at this time is jobs.”

The Demands group, first publicized yesterday by the New York Times, hasn’t shared its proposal until now. The plan would involve the federal government raising about $1.5 trillion in new revenue and using it to create 25 million new public-sector jobs paying union-level wages. It would put Americans to work building bridges, roads, and affordable housing; providing free public transportation and free university education for all; staffing a single-payer health care system; and pursuing clean-energy research.

Meet the CEO Behind the Attack on “Privileged” Public Employees

Sourced from The Progressive

By Ruth Conniff, October 18, 2011

“Government workers are the new privileged class,” James E. MacDougald, the founder of Free Enterprise Nation, told the Washington Post recently

MacDougald, the Post explains, is a retired CEO who now heads Free Enterprise Nation, which the paper describes as a “research and activist group” which he founded “to call attention to the financial burden posed by government workers.”

Actually, Free Enterprise Nation, headquartered in Tampa, Florida, is an “activist” group in the same sense that the Washington office of Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks runs “activist” campaigns.

According to records available on Open Secrets, Free Enterprise Nation spent $30,000 so far this year and $60,000 in 2010 lobbying for changes in public employee pension rules, a ban on federal support for states and municipalities that are struggling to meet their pension obligations, and the expansion of domestic fossil fuel production and nuclear power, among other issues.

MacDougald put $1 million of his own money into the group, according to TampaBay.com.

It seems transparently ridiculous to call this a grassroots, citizens’ uprising against the “privileged class.”

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The Tea Party loses another round

Sourced from washingtonpost.com

by danamilbank@washpost.com

It was a(nother) great day to be a member of the Washington elite.

On Wednesday afternoon, the House was steamrolling toward passage of a trio of free-trade agreements without a whisper of objection from the Republican side. Finally, hours into the debate, Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) rose to appeal to his fellow Tea Partyers to heed the people who elected them.

“Here we have roughly 9.1 percent unemployment in this country, due in no small part to the Washington elite jamming these job-destroying trade agreements down our throats,” Jones pleaded on the House floor. “It’s time we started listening to the will of the American people, doing what’s in the best interest of the American people, not in the best interest of the foreign nationals who desperately want to take our jobs.”

It was a passionate speech but useless. Lawmakers, including the overwhelming majority of Tea Party Republicans, voted in support of the three trade deals, which had been at the top of corporate America’s wish list.

That was just one of the day’s party favors for corporations. Hours earlier, House Speaker John Boehner made clear he would guard the corporate elite’s interests in avoiding a trade war with China. He refused to take up a bill that would have punished China for its currency ma­nipu­la­tion, saying he had “grave concerns.” (The bill would have passed easily if it had the chance.)

Boehner and his Republican colleagues aren’t necessarily wrong in their desire to expand trade with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, as they did Wednesday, or to prevent a tit-for-tat with China. But the Republican support for the free-trade deals, and the leadership’s refusal to consider the China legislation, show where the power still resides in Washington.

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Hermanomics: Let them eat pizza

Sourced from washingtonpost.com

by Steven Pearlstein, 16 October 2011

“Don’t blame Wall Street. Don’t blame the big banks. If you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself.”

What you have in this statement from the leading Republican candidate to be president of the United States is the purest distillation of the attitude of the New Republican Party toward rising poverty and inequality in the United States.

Normally, Republican politicians are politic enough to dance around questions about poverty and inequality, accusing anyone who brings them up as engaging in “class warfare” or blaming President Obama, conveniently forgetting that these were big problems when Republicans controlled the White House and Congress.

But not the Hermanator. Indeed, one of the things we love about Cain is that there is no filter between the brain and the mouth. He just tells you what he thinks, even if he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

We were first introduced to Cain’s economic world view in 1993, when as chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza he stood up at a nationally televised town meeting and told then-President Bill Clinton that requiring employers to offer health insurance to their workers would force businesses like his to eliminate large numbers of jobs.

Cain apparently enjoyed his moment in the national spotlight so much that he’s been trying to get back in it ever since — as head of the National Restaurant Association, radio talk show host, motivational speaker, director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, U.S. Senate candidate in Georgia and now, according to the latest poll, the leading Republican presidential contender.

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