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Old 29th March 2019, 10:58 AM   #1
Beerina
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$239 Billion

We borrowed $239 billion last year. I guess that's not too bad.

Oh, I'm sorry. Last month, not last year. Last month. February, the shortest month, and this isn't even a leap year.


That's borrowing the money for one new $8 billion Gerald R. Ford class super-aircraft carrier per day, or two aging Nimitz class carriers.
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The government should nationalize it! Socialized, single-payer video game development and sales now! More, cheaper, better games, right? Right?

Last edited by Beerina; 29th March 2019 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 29th March 2019, 11:00 AM   #2
The Great Zaganza
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Suckers whoever gave us that money!
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Old 29th March 2019, 11:06 AM   #3
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That's a lot of chicken sandwiches!
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Old 29th March 2019, 11:59 AM   #4
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Guess we should take marginal tax rates back to 1950s levels so we have a chance of paying some of that back, eh? Maybe tackle corporate welfare?
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Old 29th March 2019, 12:13 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
Guess we should take marginal tax rates back to 1950s levels so we have a chance of paying some of that back, eh? Maybe tackle corporate welfare?
No, I'm pretty sure the only way to deal with massive debts is to pass more tax cuts.
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Old 29th March 2019, 12:22 PM   #6
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Congress increases spending to match some fraction of revenues, and GDP.

There will be no reduction in borrowing (forget a balanced budget) because the policy is to spend all revenue + "safely" borrow some loosly-fixed fraction of GDP.

Tax increases will only temporarily affect this, much like Congress, and the state legislatures, rose to the occasion of the Internet boom windfall and caught up and surpassed it and began borrowing again.
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The government should nationalize it! Socialized, single-payer video game development and sales now! More, cheaper, better games, right? Right?

Last edited by Beerina; 29th March 2019 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 29th March 2019, 12:25 PM   #7
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This is the one thing that makes me just refuse to vote for Republicans. The whole party is in the grip of the absurd notion that lower tax rates means more revenue. It was voodoo in 1980. It's voodoo today.

At least when Obama rang up huge debt, we got windmills.
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Old 29th March 2019, 12:33 PM   #8
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I'm still waiting for that trickle down to start working.
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Old 29th March 2019, 12:37 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Stacyhs View Post
I'm still waiting for that trickle down to start working.
It already did work. At least, for those it was intended to work for.
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Old 29th March 2019, 12:38 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
Congress increases spending to match some fraction of revenues, and GDP.

There will be no reduction in borrowing (forget a balanced budget) because the policy is to spend all revenue + "safely" borrow some loosly-fixed fraction of GDP.

Tax increases will only temporarily affect this, much like Congress, and the state legislatures, rose to the occasion of the Internet boom windfall and caught up and surpassed it and began borrowing again.
Largely by cutting taxes.
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Old 29th March 2019, 12:44 PM   #11
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Now, now!

Trump said that the 'tax decreases would pay for themselves in due to increased revenue'.

And since there has never been any misunderstanding regarding the honesty and integrity of Trump. Therefore, we should believe what Trump says about this issue just as much as we believe what Trump has to say about any other issue that crosses manages to cross his stupid, lying, cheating, greedy, racist, sex offending mind.
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Old 29th March 2019, 12:49 PM   #12
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You COULD cut back on Trump's golf days...
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Old 29th March 2019, 01:12 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Norman Alexander View Post
You COULD cut back on Trump's golf days...
God no! It is much harder for him to screw up the world while he is cheating at golf with Kidd Rock.
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Old 29th March 2019, 01:13 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
Largely by cutting taxes.

No, actually. See states like California and New York.
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The government should nationalize it! Socialized, single-payer video game development and sales now! More, cheaper, better games, right? Right?
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Old 29th March 2019, 01:24 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
We borrowed $239 billion last year. I guess that's not too bad.

Oh, I'm sorry. Last month, not last year. Last month. February, the shortest month, and this isn't even a leap year.
Where's that figure from?
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Old 29th March 2019, 01:42 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
No, actually. See states like California and New York.
You do realize that state budgets have very little impact on the federal deficit, don't you? The states fo California and New York are only pertinent to this conversation in that, yes, their residents did get tax cuts during the Bush years. There was also Medicare Part D, which was a huge giveaway to Pharmaceutical companies. Are some of those in New York and California?
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Old 29th March 2019, 02:36 PM   #17
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Even if you were to raise taxes to 100% on the top 1% you wouldn't cover the deficit. Pretty irresponsible from the political class.
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Old 29th March 2019, 02:42 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
Congress increases spending to match some fraction of revenues, and GDP.

There will be no reduction in borrowing (forget a balanced budget) because the policy is to spend all revenue + "safely" borrow some loosly-fixed fraction of GDP.

Tax increases will only temporarily affect this, much like Congress, and the state legislatures, rose to the occasion of the Internet boom windfall and caught up and surpassed it and began borrowing again.
Well, if you don't want to increase revenue and, arguably, seem okay with continuing to cut revenue, what's your solution? Cut spending?

The biggest two chunks are healthcare and defense. We have a bloated defense budget, to be sure, but we also pay more for healthcare, per capita, than any other country. Maybe we could both cut military spending and switch to a cheaper UHC system?
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Old 29th March 2019, 02:46 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
This is the one thing that makes me just refuse to vote for Republicans. The whole party is in the grip of the absurd notion that lower tax rates means more revenue. It was voodoo in 1980. It's voodoo today.

At least when Obama rang up huge debt, we got windmills.
H.W. Bush got that one right.
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Old 29th March 2019, 03:02 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
Well, if you don't want to increase revenue and, arguably, seem okay with continuing to cut revenue, what's your solution? Cut spending?

The biggest two chunks are healthcare and defense. We have a bloated defense budget, to be sure, but we also pay more for healthcare, per capita, than any other country. Maybe we could both cut military spending and switch to a cheaper UHC system?
Yes we should do both. We literally can't afford to not have universal healthcare now. And the military spending is way outta control.
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Old 29th March 2019, 03:08 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
We borrowed $239 billion last year. I guess that's not too bad.

Oh, I'm sorry. Last month, not last year. Last month. February, the shortest month, and this isn't even a leap year.


That's borrowing the money for one new $8 billion Gerald R. Ford class super-aircraft carrier per day, or two aging Nimitz class carriers.

Who says tax cuts aren't working.
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Old 29th March 2019, 04:59 PM   #22
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They are working exactly as intended, making the rich richer.
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Old 29th March 2019, 06:01 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
Congress increases spending to match some fraction of revenues, and GDP.

There will be no reduction in borrowing (forget a balanced budget) because the policy is to spend all revenue + "safely" borrow some loosly-fixed fraction of GDP.

Tax increases will only temporarily affect this, much like Congress, and the state legislatures, rose to the occasion of the Internet boom windfall and caught up and surpassed it and began borrowing again.
Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
You do realize that state budgets have very little impact on the federal deficit, don't you? The states fo California and New York are only pertinent to this conversation in that, yes, their residents did get tax cuts during the Bush years. There was also Medicare Part D, which was a huge giveaway to Pharmaceutical companies. Are some of those in New York and California?

I think Beerina's point (and he can correct me if I'm wrong) is that regardless of how much is taxed, the Congress will spend that much money, plus a little bit more. If you raise taxes, you will get short term deficit reduction, but then Congress will raise spending until the deficit is back in place, and the borrowing continues.

Unless of course, they cut taxes, and the borrowing continues.

Or, they could be like Obama, and cut taxes a little while raising spending a lot. (That was early in his term. I don't know if, by the end of his term, taxes were lower or higher than when he started. I know he was blamed for a tax increase at the end of 2012, but that was really just eliminating a short term tax cut that had been passed in order to "stimulate the economy", so really it was just raising them back to their earlier levels by letting a previous tax cut expire, as it was planned to do at the time that it passed.)

Or, they could be like Trump, who cut taxes a lot, and raised spending a moderate amount.

Or...…..as long as there is no political will from the voters to reduce the borrowing, the borrowing will not be reduced. One way or another the politicians will keep getting elected by spending all of the tax revenue, plus a bit more. There is lots of political will to cut taxes, so that's an easy position to run on. There is lots of political will to cut spending, as long as you are not specific about which spending to cut, because as soon as you say exactly which spending to cut, people say that of course you should not cut THAT spending, so promising to cut spending is an easy position to run on, unless you actually do it.

A very difficult position to run on is, "We are borrowing too much, so we'll have to raise taxes." Walter Mondale went with that strategy, and the people of Minnesota approved, but it didn't go over so well in the rest of the country.


The GOP found a way in 1980 to promise to cut taxes without actually needing to cut spending, because the voodoo would cause the revenue to increase. Just for fun, they did throw in the promise to cut spending but, knowing that people didn't really want them to do that, they didn't cut spending. They did shift it around a bit, but really they spent quite a lot, and quite a lot more than they brought in with tax revenue when the voodoo didn't turn out so well. However, enough voters bought into it that they continue to spout the same nonsense today.


It's popular to blame the politicians for their reckless borrowing, but borrowing wins elections. Who can blame them for continuing to follow a course that gets them reelected? They are only doing what the voters have consistently rewarded.


We have met the enemy, and they are us.

Last edited by Meadmaker; 29th March 2019 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 30th March 2019, 03:01 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
Congress increases spending to match some fraction of revenues, and GDP.

There will be no reduction in borrowing (forget a balanced budget) because the policy is to spend all revenue + "safely" borrow some loosly-fixed fraction of GDP.
I think I know what you mean. The idea is that what matters is the ratio of debt to GDP. As GDP increases more debt can be taken on. It does make sense.

The massive budget deficit right now has nothing to do with that. That is due to the Trump tax cuts.
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Old 30th March 2019, 03:06 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
It's popular to blame the politicians for their reckless borrowing, but borrowing wins elections. Who can blame them for continuing to follow a course that gets them reelected? They are only doing what the voters have consistently rewarded.

We have met the enemy, and they are us.
You have a point, of course, but usually one still blames the woo merchants. Anyone can get duped.
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Old 30th March 2019, 06:12 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
Suckers whoever gave us that money!
Who is buying USA government bonds and debt? China and Japan the two largest buyers don't seem to have significantly altered their holdings.
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Old 30th March 2019, 06:27 AM   #27
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Meh, I have it on high authority that it doesn't matter how much you spend because you can just print more money.
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Old 30th March 2019, 06:28 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
This is the one thing that makes me just refuse to vote for Republicans. The whole party is in the grip of the absurd notion that lower tax rates means more revenue.
Are they? Or is that a convenient fig-leaf to justify tax breaks for the rich?
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Old 30th March 2019, 06:39 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
Are they? Or is that a convenient fig-leaf to justify tax breaks for the rich?
A question I have often wondered about. How many of them believe the lies, and how many are just lying?
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Old 30th March 2019, 06:40 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Who is buying USA government bonds and debt? China and Japan the two largest buyers don't seem to have significantly altered their holdings.
Isn't it usually Americans? Investing in T-bills et al has always been seen as a good conservative (in the financial sense, not the political one) investment. The returns aren't high but they are very stable investments.
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Old 30th March 2019, 06:51 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Isn't it usually Americans? Investing in T-bills et al has always been seen as a good conservative (in the financial sense, not the political one) investment. The returns aren't high but they are very stable investments.
I googled. Here is the first hit, and it's pretty good. I had never heard of the site, and I didn't go anywhere else on it, so I have no idea if they are left or right, sensible or lunatic. Either way, this article is very straightforward:

https://www.thebalance.com/who-owns-...l-debt-3306124

Short summary: The biggest holder of US debt is the Social Security Trust Fund. Foreign holdings account for 30% of the debt, with China being the biggest holder.
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Old 30th March 2019, 07:19 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
Congress increases spending to match some fraction of revenues, and GDP.

There will be no reduction in borrowing (forget a balanced budget) because the policy is to spend all revenue + "safely" borrow some loosly-fixed fraction of GDP.

Tax increases will only temporarily affect this, much like Congress, and the state legislatures, rose to the occasion of the Internet boom windfall and caught up and surpassed it and began borrowing again.
Let's suppose you're right and the deficit will continue whether revenues increase or not. If we take that as given, then we're left with a question: Is the spending at current tax levels the right amount or not? That is, are we taking in enough money so that the income + "inevitable" borrowing meets our needs?

Even if one thinks that the debt will continue to spiral no matter the taxes taken in, he might conclude that taxes should be raised.

Actually, I don't have the cynical position that the borrowing ratio is constant. In past booms, the deficit decreased. There was no deficit from 1998 to 2001. That's not because taxes went up, far as I know, but tax revenue increased. There may have been many other factors, but I'm pretty darned sure that increased revenue is one of the reasons the deficit went dramatically down then.

None of that entails, of course, that every tax increase would reduce the deficit. I only mean that increasing tax revenue isn't irrelevant to the deficit as you suggest.
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Old 30th March 2019, 07:31 AM   #33
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I'm kinda disappointed by the blatant hyperbole of the OP. He says that the deficit in February was $239 billion, but this is gross exaggeration. It was a mere $234 billion, totally manageable.

Were I the kind to squawk "Fake News!" I would be a-squawking.

(In defense, he might be confusing February 2019's deficit numbers with FXCM's February 2018 trading volume, an easy mistake to make.)
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Old 30th March 2019, 07:37 AM   #34
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Republicans like to proclaim that the US government needs to be run like a business or, alternatively, like personal finances. But what they are doing is nothing like that. Their approach would be like saying, I am spending too much money on food, so I am going to quit my job to start a new business, and when it succeeds, I can buy all the food I want.

And after a while of my business failing, I decide I have to quit eating because I don't have any money.

Now, if a person did this, you say that their plan failed. But the GOP has decided they need to try it again - and they try to open the same business that has failed many times in the past.

In the world of massive deficits, there is no need to make spending depend on revenue. In the end, the government should be spending the money it needs to spend to fulfill its goals. And the it should be trying to maximize revenues. And you don't do that by trying to restart the same business that has failed multiple times in the fast. Democrats, on the other hand, are saying, "Let's get our old job back. At least we had money coming in."

The adminstration's admission that they don't have money to fulfill commitments and need to slash budgets is an admission that their approach to generating revenue has failed. Which everyone knew was going to happen. All except for the Trumpettes, who insisted it could work this time.

In the end, it's nothing more than Trump's casino failure. Completely unrealistic projections of success in a case where everyone else knew it wouldn't work. But hey, Trump's a great businessman, right?
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Old 30th March 2019, 08:31 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
Meh, I have it on high authority that it doesn't matter how much you spend because you can just print more money.
Depending on what you spend it on it does or doesn't matter.
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Old 30th March 2019, 10:12 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
Depending on what you spend it on it does or doesn't matter.
You spend it on tax breaks for the rich.
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Old 30th March 2019, 10:23 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
You spend it on tax breaks for the rich.
setting it on fire would at least produce warmth for someone.
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Old 30th March 2019, 11:11 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by NewtonTrino View Post
Even if you were to raise taxes to 100% on the top 1% you wouldn't cover the deficit. Pretty irresponsible from the political class.
This is akin to Bush's contrived argument that raising taxes on the rich was futile because they have good lawyers to get them out of paying said taxes.

**** that. The tax cuts under Reagan, Bush Jr and now Trump did not stimulate the economy because the rich got some money, all they did was increase the deficit. Start by taking those cuts back.

The claim that giving rich people more money means they'll hire more people is also BS. If they had more customers they'd hire more employees. They don't hire people because they can afford it. And if they can save money with automation, they are going to do that regardless also.

And while I'm at it, the 'death' tax is not taxing money twice. It's taxing the capital gains that would have been taxed if the deceased had taken the gains before dying. Death essentially wipes out the tax on gains. I have to believe both parties want this benefit because the Democrats rarely point the capital gains tax issue out.
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Old 30th March 2019, 11:29 AM   #39
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A high tax rate on top incomes helps the economy, not because it creates a lot of tax income, but because it makes it really unattractive to pay employees more than the threshold. And that means that more of the company's revenue can go to other employees or get re-invested.
It's the only way to reign in the exponential rise of CEO salaries.
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Old 30th March 2019, 11:31 AM   #40
pgwenthold
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
The claim that giving rich people more money means they'll hire more people is also BS. If they had more customers they'd hire more employees. They don't hire people because they can afford it. And if they can save money with automation, they are going to do that regardless also.
This seems so bloody obvious to me.

Employers don't hire people because they CAN. They do it because they need to, either to keep up with demand or to increase demand.

The supply side claim is that if you make a lot more stuff, then you will lower the price in order to increase demand. But why the hell would you do that? If you can't sell what you have at the given price, why would you make MORE and sell it for less?

It is all about demand. People with purchasing power make things happen. If you give someone a dollar to go to the store to buy a pound of bananas, think of what that all does? Part of that dollar goes to the store as profit, yes. But part of it goes to the store employees' salaries. And part of it goes to the shipping company, their driver and their stockers. And then part of it goes to the grower, and to their employees.

Now, bananas aren't the perfect example because they are generally shipped from out of the country, but even within the country, that dollar has gone not just to feed the person who you gave it to, it goes to the salaries of employees along the supply chain to help feed their families. And some of it comes back in the form of taxes on their incomes.

This is why food stamps are such a great investment. Give everyone a thousand dollars a year in food stamps, and that money goes out and does incredible work in the economy. That's a lot better investment that $300 billion dollars in tax cuts to rich people.
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