The Democrats are talking about actually doing things?


Be still my heart. There are a couple of promises that have gotten me excited.

One is Pelosi swearing that she’s going to subpoena Trump’s tax returns. Please do that. Could you time it for something like March or April, when us normal human beings are paying our taxes? I don’t expect that they’ll contain anything blatantly illegal — but if they do, I’d be happy to see our president in prison for tax fraud — but I do expect that they’ll reveal he’s been worth much less than he claims (make his ego bleed!), that he used all kinds of loopholes to avoid paying taxes, and that he paid nothing to little to the treasury. That’ll piss people off, and motivate support for the second thing.

AOC suggested raising the top tax rate to 70%. That’s still too low, but it’s a step in the right direction, and if the Democrats were smart, they’d realize that’s the kind of positive policy change that will get the masses to start supporting them with a little enthusiasm. It’ll also make the pissant conservative pundits pee their pants — Ben Shapiro is already whining that that’s scary. The centrists will want to hedge on everything, but fuck the centrists, create change.

The rich should appreciate it, but they won’t. The nice thing about taxing the rich is that the rest of us can stop building guillotines in our back yards, and it’s a nice compromise with eating the rich. They’re high in cholesterol and I’ve cut way back on meat anyway.

Comments

  1. hemidactylus says

    I actually savor, in a Conan the Barbarian way, the sound of “impeach the mf’er”. Great opening salvo. Let’s see those tax returns.

    If Ocasio-Cortez wants to raise the top rate, I’d be happy with the Reagan 1 rate of 50% as a starter. Then phase in higher rates down the road, maybe toward JFK-LBJ levels. What about capital gains rates? Is Wall Street sacred? At some point rates cease being useful and maybe even revenue increasing (good luck with 100%) and verge on vendetta seeking.

  2. Artor says

    Back in the Conservative Paradise years of the 1950’s, when America was booming and coming into it’s Superpower status, the top tax rate was 91%. Let’s make America great like that!

  3. F.O. says

    @hemidactylus
    “MOTHERFUCKER”
    Say it in full, and aloud.

    There is no appeasing the conservatives.
    You can do no right, never appease enough, never be compliant enough.
    It’s high time to stop giving the slightest fuck about what the pearl-clutchers say.
    Fuck their hypocritical feelings.

  4. sqlrob says

    The Democrats are talking about actually doing things?

    Emphasis is on the wrong word. It should be on talking. I’ll believe it when I actually see the doing.

    I don’t expect that they’ll contain anything blatantly illegal

    I expect them to be as dirty as heck. Why don’t you think they’ll have anything blatantly illegal in them?

  5. petesh says

    “If that’s what radical means, call me a radical.” I look forward to seeing the whole interview. Did you see her official counter to the dancing video? Not just Congressonal dancing with a cheeky smile and a twirl, but lip-syncing: “War! What’s it good for? Absolutely nothing!”

  6. hemidactylus says

    I’d prefer to chant: “LOCK HIM UP!!!!”

    As for Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal it seem limited in scope as to whom it applies and thus may not have huge revenue results if I understand this article:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/01/05/ocasio-cortez-wants-higher-taxes-very-rich-americans-heres-how-much-money-could-that-raise

    “But that leaves about $244 billion in taxable income for those earning more than $10 million a year. If this entire pool was taxed at 70 percent instead of the 39.6 percent they paid in 2016, the federal government would bring in an additional $72 billion annually — or close to $720 billion over 10 years, according to Mazur.” Of course there would be ways to reduce that amount exploited by the rich like moving to Galt’s Gulch.

    There are other alternatives floated. Instead of the higher income rates on those making more than $10 million per year apply it to top 1% of earners. Some nerds allege 73% is optimal income tax rate. A 0.5-1% wealth tax maybe.

    To seriously tackle debt we would need to combine these tax increases with spending decreases, but that would punish the current needy for the tax cut decisions and wars of the past. So much for education or health care in the present. And how far would a 70% top marginal income rate or 1% wealth tax get beyond the House.

  7. pipefighter says

    Pelosi wants to knee cap medicare for all and publicly funded college. Don’t trust her.

  8. colinday says

    Of course there would be ways to reduce that amount exploited by the rich like moving to Galt’s Gulch.

    Do the rich have physicists capable of camouflaging such a place from spy satellites? Or am I being too literal?

  9. lotharloo says

    Still I’m not impressed with Pelosi, I would only be if she actually does something to reduce income inequality or tackles money in politics. AOC on the other hand, I believe she will this and more if the corporate democrats don’t fucking get in the way.

  10. says

    I agree with the 70% tax rate but I think it should be referred to as the “Eisenhower tax rate”.

    Then when people insist that that was never the top rate during the Eisenhower administration, say yes, you are right. That rate was 91%.
    Also, remind people that back in the 50s parents could assume that their kids would be better off than they were, because it was invariably so. Thus negating the inference that such taxes would destroy the economy.

  11. says

    Add to that 70% top rate a 0.1 cent tax on every trade on every stock exchange in the USA. That would come to about 70 million dollars per business day.

    That’s another 18 billion per year. And it just might slow down the super rapid exchanges that computer make that can be disruptive to the economy.

  12. says

    Oops, a .1 cent tax on all shares traded would come to 700 million per day, not 70. So maybe it should be 0.01 cent per share traded.

    Don’t want to impoverish those poor wall streeters.

  13. snuffcurry says

    The Democrats are talking about actually doing things?

    This is so stupid, how the talking point shared both by right-wingers and the dirtbag left gets parroted by otherwise sentient people operating in good faith.

    The hellmouth we’re living above? It was opened because for eight years, Democrats did many, many things that made reactionaries, xenophobes, boot-strappers, libertarians, god-botherers, forced-birthers, and racists very sad. You were alive and kicking, PZ, so I know you didn’t miss what is arguably the most successful progressive agenda in the last 40 years.

    That’s what Thanks Obama was all about. And it cost the party a lot of seats to get it done, and they predicted it would and did what was right, anyway.

    It’s incredible, this mass selective amnesia of recent history, where Democrats have no agenda beyond beating Trump. It’s the other way round: Trump campaigned as the anti-Obama candidate, and the GOP spends its terms in office campaigning for the next election by throwing chum to voters and donors and undoing their predecessors’s legislative legacies and appointing people as directors overseeing departments towards whose existence they are actively hostile. The idea that the GOP platform is predicated on rational political principles is risible. The Wall! was a mnemonic device, for fucks’s sake.

  14. whheydt says

    I remember the 70% top marginal rate, and while I don’t actually remember it, it was within my life time that the 91% rate existed.

    What I also remember was when “capital gains’ was “long term capital gains”. It required holding the asset for at least one year in order to benefit through to lower rates.

  15. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    @15: And also an extremely successful drone warfare program, and expansion of surveillance programs, and countless corporate subsidies, and being incredibly cozy with Wall Street to the point of failing to prosecute the architects of the recession, and a bailout scheme that could almost have been written by corporate attorneys, and…

    I agree, and I imagine many folks here do as well, that Obama was the most progressive President we had in years. That’s not a sign of Obama being especially impressive, but of how powerful the right-wing consensus became. And the reactionaries were angry because he was black and uppity far more than because of anything he actually did. I mean, seriously, you’re implicitly giving him credit for implementing Romneycare nation-wide. He implemented the conservative alternative to single-payer and the Republicans blew a gasket. That’s screamingly irrational people being screamingly irrational. The fact that the Democrats in that time were barely better than insane people is a bar so low that reasonable people should be ashamed for setting it.

    Nor am I a “dime’s worth of difference” kind of guy. I think the difference is bigger than a dime and I think that even a dime matters to broke people. But let’s not kid ourselves that Obama and Bernie were peas in a pod, or even that Bernie is particularly radical. It doesn’t make one a “dirtbag” to have values and insist that more is possible, and worth struggling to achieve, besides barely functional neo-liberalism. Yes, if Trump is a sign that we have to tolerate barely functional neo-liberalism in preference to fascism, then that’s what has to be done, but I think Trump is a sign that it’s possible to do things people didn’t think were achievable in the electoral system. If I’m right, then the only move for any reasonable progressive, let alone radical or leftist, is to demand AOC-type progressivism from the Dems and push even further. Why not? Compromise isn’t possible with a party of fascists and white nationalists, so we might as well go for broke.

  16. snuffcurry says

    @18

    Feel free to have the conversation you want to have. I’m responding to PZ’s bullshit parroting about Feckless and Disarrayed Dems with no policy proposals who can only offer obstruction. Like, loathe, or feel indifference to the party and its various wings; it has a clear and evolving agenda and a history, past and present, of succeeding in putting it forward and roping in the judiciary as a reinforcing bullwark against sabotage in lean times (like the last two years). It is their opposition who are aimless, vague, and quite literally reactionary (“whatever the libs want, I’m against it, even if I’d never before heard of it or have agitated in the past for identical policy!”) when it comes to anything beyond their anti-regulation nihilism and identity politics sloganeering (again, cf the almost darkly comical empty plate* GOP-controlled government has offered in the last two years).

    *chiefly among their successes: increasing the taxing of poor and disabled people and preventing them from accessing social services including healthcare, inconveniencing and discouraging tourists and foreign students from visiting, gassing and imprisoning children and completely innocent adults, thumbing its nose at its obligations to Americans and the world at large (declining to enforce the civil rights of anyone who isn’t a white Christian American or a cop; no longer agreeing to non-proliferation agreements; flicking two v-signs at the environment; proclaiming that the sovereignty of other nations does not matter unless they buy into you and your new mates’s protection racket). But, yeah, only the Democrats have agency and at the same time, funnily enough, are also guilty of having no ideas but “identity politics.”

  17. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    flicking two v-signs at the environment

    I think their stance is more “war” than “peace.”

  18. snuffcurry says

    The third meaning, inherent in the “up yours” flicking motion, denotes neither peace nor victory.

  19. says

    I kind of expect that Trump’s tax returns will have stuff in them which is either outright illegal or indirect (but conclusive) proof of things which are outright illegal. Otherwise, they would have been quietly released sometime after the election and he would just lie about what they show about his business skills and personal fortune.

    @snuffcarry:

    You are utterly unconvincing; the Democrats in the last 12 years — starting when they took Congress on an anti-war platform and promptly funded Bush’s “surge” and through the massive waste of opportunity which was Barack Obama’s administration — have accomplished very little that was worth doing. They squandered two actual electoral mandates (in 2006 and 2008) refusing to do the things they campaigned on, gave us a Republican-designed shiny distraction in the form of the ACA, and then wondered why that section of Independents who are willing to vote Democratic, who control the outcome of the election, stopped bothering to show up at the polls. They’re probably going to do it again, too, and you’re an apologist for it in advance, which is extra-disgusting.

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