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August 01, 2007


Congress should use "we are now spending on these activities more than 10 percent of all the government's annually appropriated funds" as a reason to repeal Shrub's beloved tax cuts for the wealthy. It's obvious that we won't be able to pay for the occupation without more money coming in, and that's about the only untapped source remaining. (Note that, as an investor, I get to pay capital gains myself, as well as income tax at a higher rate because of being single. Nice going, GOoPers.)

"Of this amount, $500 TRILLION...."
billions are bad enough.

The war rages on, the wealthy get more tax cuts and the middle class foots the bill. Stop the madness.

They could start by requiring hedge fund managers to pay ordinary income taxes on their management fees which are a percentage of gains, rather than capital gains rates, as they do now. For them it is a difference of 20%.

The lower tax on dividends has also been a boon to the very wealthy, lowering income tax from dividends from 35% to 15%. There I would favor allowing an exclusion for the first $2500 of dividends from US corporations and ordinary income rates thereafter. When I began paying taxes in the '60s that was how it worked, but the exclusion was $600. At $2500 it is still a middle class tax cut.

But even cancelling the Bush tax cuts isn't going to be enough. How about a "war tax" on income from companies that make a profit off the war?

Sorry--corrected. Bilions, trillions, it's too easy to get lost in the zeroes.

Bilions, trillions, it's too easy to get lost in the zeroes.

Well, after six zeroes, it's hard to keep track. I start counting group dividers myself, when I'm not turning it into scientific notation ....

Back in the Vietnam Era, Johnson dealt with huge unanticipated expenses by instituting an income tax and corporate tax surcharge that was nearly nothing for low and low middle income, but had a number of progressive steps upward as one ran up the income tax scale. And in the end, it did cover a considerable part of the costs. While I doubt many Democrats want to be sponsoring tax increases right now -- it might be a good thing to discuss as an alternative to passing the Iraq costs off on to future generations.

Various surcharges were also used during WWII -- though that was different as the war effort simply subsumbed so much of the consumer economy, and thus people had very little to actually spend money on, even if they had it in pocket. But just talking about how previous generations dealt with war costs through tax provisions would be very educational right now.

Joe Stiglitz' most recent published estimate is $2 trillion; and I would be quite happy to see the People Party tax the supporters of the Money Party.

All they have to do for starters is to repeal the Bush income tax rate cuts on the top two brackets, freeze the estate tax where it is this year and raise the tax on dividend income. That would go a long way, although not nearly far enough, toward undoing the acceleration of inequality under Bush. These have to precede or at least accompany measures to open up opportunity, like more funds for college for lower income students and an infusion of cash for infrastructure projects that might reverse the trend.

But even though Johnson did have a surtax, he basically tried to have both guns and butter, and contributed to the hyperinflation of the late '70s. Granted that was also largely fueled by the increase in oil prices (at a time when oil took a larger share of GDP than it does now), still LBJ was no model of fiscal prudence.

But better than Reagan. The national debt almost tripled while Reagan was Pres.

Has anyone recognized that if we PAID every Iraqi (man-woman-child) this money that each would be screamingly happy with America. Each one would be lifelong friends with Americans and not believe that we were out to steal their country's wealth or convert them from Islam? That we would have allies, consumers, maybe capitalists (not war profiteers) as afar into the future as the mind can contemplate.

Can anyone think of a more tragic sewer flush of our blood and treasure than this? Instead there is hate (well deserved) growing until we stop being arrogant Bushies and morons. Apologies to morons and for the redundancy. I weep for the dead and the wounded; as I still do for my brothers lost in VietNam.

Personally, I don't feel much like paying taxes until they cover every American with total health insurance. I wouldn't give up anything for their war. It has no purpose that will benefit us

jesus h. christ!

i knew the numbers for iraq were bad,

but this is astounding.

how many americans could be given health care for life with this money?

how many american high school students could be sent thru four years of college for this money?

how much basic science and engineering research into alternative sources of energy, -no, not that bio-fuels crap -

could be bought with some of this money?

these cost figures are scandalous,

as scandalous as the lies that got us into the war in the first place.

i suggesting sequestering all money collected for the george bush presidential library for the benefit of the treasury until the iraq debt is paid.

and, as well,

all campaign monies from republican and democratic congressmen who repeatedly supported the war.

Mimikatz - But,but, but your update must be wrong. Everything is coming up roses. The surge is working. Its Springtime in Iraq! I know this because The Holy Everything, The Great Petraeus, said so. Fearless Leader Bush too.

Crikey, it just occurred to me as I was writing the above paragraph. Bush's statements clearly evidence (whether actually true or not this is what he has unequivocally stated) that the whole Iraq war, and all decisions and opinions, has been ceded to the exclusive control of Petraeus. He will find the facts and what he states is going to be what we have to believe, he will draw all the conclusions therefrom and they are inviolate, and how we proceed is entirely up to him. Wow. Now contrast that with the US Attorneys. Paul Charlton couldn't be trusted to make a routine decision on a death penalty allegation on an obscure homicide case on an Indian reservation in his jurisdiction. He was ousted, in large part, simply for trying to relay his input. All those decisions, even cases from barren reservations, were to only be made by and through the "pleasure of the President". Fucking amazing juxtaposition.

Just watching the news of the bridge collapse. My first thought was to wonder how the hell our national infrastructure has fared since Bush's war began. Since nothing else is getting funded, I'm sure we're watching yet another example of caretaker Bush's policies bearing fruit.

M - A war tax of any kind that would not only get some of the corp's to regurgitate their war profits but $ toward helping give our kids medical care would get a vote from me.

What Will You Give Up To Pay For Iraq?

if I must, I'll sacrifice the chance to invade Iran, for starters

My first thought, reading about the bridge collapse and the 2006 report that fixing all of the bridges would cost $9.4 billion a year for 20 years, was that a month's worth of Iraq would go a long way toward fixing that.

We need to beat Congress over the head with this sort of thing.

It's also worth mentioning that, since all this goes straight to debt, it also means that the interest on the debt will continue to climb, which is sort of a self-fulfilling desire of the Repugs--that interest increase must be paid to avoid default, and it will continue to crowd out social spending of all kinds.

Beyond that, the principal beneficiaries of that debt are the wealthy and the larger banks, who buy up large amounts of federal debt securities for a steady, guaranteed income. It's yet another way to move wealth upwards--in addition to hefty dividends coming from defense stocks.

Economists say cost of war could top $2 trillion
Tally exceeds White House projections
By Bryan Bender, Globe Staff | January 8, 2006 link

In case you think you are not being ripped off by your own government and big pharm here's one person's recent experience. A friend priced a prescription for Simvastatin (20mg qty 30 - a generic statin drug to counteract high cholesterol.) Here are the prices:

$75. at CVS
$74. at WALGREEN
$ 7. at Costco.

Assuming Costco has no profit margin, CVS and WALGREEN have a $68 profit on a $7 cost. That's a 970% markup on a healthcare item prescribed by a doctor.

How is it that in a country where we don't tax food, we have a healthcare system that supports such excessive profit margins?

About 5 years ago an friend of mine was quitting his job with one of the big Health care insurance company. His example reason; MRI charges:

bill to uninsured : $820
bill to insurance company: $15 (that's a secret they will fire you for revealing)

The poor poor insurance companies need more money from doctors to cover malpractice; how much are they paying out? Good luck; virtually every settlement is sealed by the courts, but they need over $1 million from each doctor to cover that unknown amount.

$11 million for McDonalds coffee burns (front page)? Oops, the judge lowered it to $600,000 the next day (page 7).

The real cause of unaffordable health care....duhhh.

PJ, CNN's report last night that the corps rated 95% of our bridges subpar (can't remember word they're using) and now they find this bridge was included in that classification in 2005. You're right PJ, this blatent fact ought to be pounded home to Congress, impact is unimaginable. 4 dead, 30 missing.

JohnJ - I know everyone in the country has been programmed like a Pavlov Dog to whip out the McDonalds coffee lady case when the subject is lawyers and/or "runaway juries and "tort reform. In fact, the case is one of the best examples ever about how the legal system has built in checks and balances and works well. The injuries to her really were extremely substantial and life altering, not trivial as some would have you believe; and the culpability of McDonalds was was literally a textbook case of reckless disregard and wanton negligence. It was similar to the Ford Pinto exploding gas tank case. There were corporate risk assessments done that warned of the problem and the company decided that it would be cheaper to pay a few catastrophic claims in order to spped more customers through the drive through for more profits. A friend of a former law partner litigated the case on behalf of McDonalds. Even he thought the case was egregious and was a shining example of how the system works.

bmaz: If it didn't come through the way I put it; I agree. That's why I love using it as an example. There's also the urban myth about a guy suing Toro because he got hurt using his lawnmower to trim his hedges. I actually saw it in the newspaper as local occurrence in both the WoPo (when I lived there)AND in the St.PeteTimes. He got >$10M! 'problem is, no one has ever found the case file. Anyone really think the Repugs are the first ones to own the MSM?

My most elaborate tin foil hat is for the insurance industry. IMO they are the biggest problem with our healthcare system.

Sorry for dragging OT, it's a slow TNH day, and raining.

The McDonald's coffee victim spent 7 days in the hospital getting skin grafts. Wonder if her "award" covered it? oh she was 81 years old, maybe medicare helped.

"In fact, she said, she never would have filed this one if McDonald's hadn't dismissed her requests for compensation for pain and medical bills with an offer of $800. "

But the insurance company would have had to raise their rates to cover that $800! About $800 per week raise in premium, forever, would just about cover it.

Yes, and the skin grafts we might note were on her lower abdomen, vaginal and thigh areas with permanent complications to the second of those three areas. Not very pleasant I bet.

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