Group Think: The opposite of traditional ''groupthink,'' our Group Think poses one question to a variety of smart thinkers for insightful perspectives on relevant issues.

Embrace the Fiscal Cliff

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Simon Johnson

Watch out for the coming hysteria on the so-called “fiscal cliff.” In the post-election commentary, you will hear numerous voices – definitely on the right but also on the left – arguing that we could not possibly increase taxes this year or next, as this will push our economy back into recession. Do not believe them – this is just the latest disinformation put out by people who agree with Grover Norquist that the real goal of politics should always and everywhere be to reduce taxes and shrink the size of government. It is exactly such policies that have brought us to our current economic predicament.

In truth, President Obama now has a great opportunity to both help the economy and greatly mend our budget. How is this possible, given that the Democrats control the Senate (narrowly) but obviously not the House? The key point is that the Bush-era tax cuts expire at the end of this year – unless the House, Senate and President all agree to extend them. In effect, President Obama can veto that extension – irrespective of what John Boehner says or does.

The immediate effect on the economy of the full repeal of the Bush cuts would be more dramatic than the administration wants – and the president campaigned against rising taxes on the middle class. But once he has vetoed Bush cuts, President Obama can immediately propose a new set of tax cuts – the Obama tax cuts – to Congress. These would cut taxes for lower income Americans, for example by lowering payroll taxes (which should also encourage job creation). Would the House Republicans really vote against a tax cut for 100 million Americans?

These new tax cuts should be linked to the state of the economy – for example, they could phase out automatically as employment rises relative to population. This would both help the economy in the short-run and put our budget onto a much more sound footing for the coming decades.


Simon Johnson spoke with Bill Moyers about JP Morgan’s multi-billion dollar loss in May. Johnson is a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund and now a professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. His most recent book is White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, and Why It Matters to You.

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  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately, in the UK we have Fox News piped in from the US, already the country is in financial crisis on the day of the election result, McCain really won in 2008, there is no mandate for Obama. I think one of the issues that the US needs to face is Fox News and it’s sedition! Remove its broadcasting licence unless it really does report in a FAIR and UNBIASED way.

  • A.O.W.M.

    That is a very tempting thought, HairyScot. I am an angry old white man who didn’t vote for Governor Romney and who is utterly disgusted by the more objectionable opinions of the Fox News ‘yobs.’ Sad to say (a) I have often heard the liberal/left ‘news’ channels say equally objectionable things about the ‘right wing’ (although to their credit the ‘right wing’ will occasionally live down to their expectations); (b) there are times when the President has screwed up royally and Fox News has called him on it (although they do make an art of overstating); (c) we have the Bill of Rights (also, we tried the Alien and Sedition Acts and they didn’t work…) so we’re stuck with both the ‘radical right’ and their press reps; (d) if some Americans watch Fox News and their like, they must be as angry as I am, just about different things. Problem is, they’re still Americans! We’ll just have to work this out. Somehow. Best regards, and I’m glad you posted.

  • A.O.W.M.

    Thanks to Simon Johnson! Well considered as always. Let’s hope from cooperation from both sides of the aisle, as they say, and let’s get to work.

  • Anonymous

    There is a difference between partial truth and complete lies – McCain was not the victim of massive fraud, so, there should be a consequence for broadcasting such statements. When you do not have this then one of the consequence turns into extremist views and terror. We have seen this played out all over the world. Murdoch’s businesses are the ugly face of capitalist self interest and should be held to account – they are accused in this country of subverting the police force, hacking and more. What awaits accidental discovery in the US?

  • http://twitter.com/papermooner Rene Rokk

    WOuld the UK take me as a political asylum case? I will gladly surrender the US Passport for a British one.

  • sandy

    I think Simon Johnson is one of the most thoughtful, insightful persons around. I say, he should be our next Sec. of Tres.

  • http://www.facebook.com/carol.a.huss Carol Ann Huss

    We have the freedom of speech amendment that gives many the right to make a deceptive and disruptive noise. We need to label news like our food and cigarette products: Harmful, slanted, and toxic. Take in small portions for a balanced diet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jerry.fair1 Jerry Fair

    Why is it that a popular two term popular Governor who took his state from deficits to surpluses lost to a one term unpopular governor who’s ideas made no sense, and lost to a half term senator with a piss poor record as President who’s ideas make no sense? Does anybody see the absurdity of this election or is it just me? Does anybody see the absurdity of the direction this country is going in or is it just me? Was I crazy to have voted for the best and most qualified candidate when I could have voted for a bad joke for President? I am sitting here flipping my lower lip in disbelief when I witness “elections” like this.

  • MygovermentnotCorporations

    Can not do that here and it is backed heavily by the KocK brothers who want to destroy our government, basically putting us back in 1940s, along with our unions, so they can benefit with lower wages, our school systems also they want to go, racial progress they want to destroy, most Americans see FOX News as a cartoon show rather than political worthy. Those who are ignorant as to what is going on are the only ones who give anything they say credence.

  • parisblues

    Exactly. Facts matter.

  • Anonymous

    It was clear to me that this was the republican’s ‘plan b’ in case Obama was re-elected the moment I first heard the phrase. Notice how it started IMMEDIATELY the next day?

    I agree with you, Simon. Hopefully Obama will, too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Halo.2u Sandra Hamilton

    FOX News is influenced by the Koch brothers. It is their desire to get rid of our government or to take control of it. They want us back in the 1940s no unions, poor schools, racial tensions, not to acknowledge global warming. Basically as they are currently polluting our water and air, want slave wages, ignorant people who fight amongst themselves, because then they can make a lot more money than the 13 million a day they make currently. Voter Id is also one of their latest projects to keep people away from the polls they don’t want to vote. The work what we call the Republican Red States heavily. The more that is out there about the Koch brothers the more we can fight them “we the people”

  • http://www.facebook.com/Halo.2u Sandra Hamilton

    an hour long but it is all here and we need to know what to fight..

  • Chip

    It’s just you.

  • Nancy

    Cutting payroll taxes only hurts Social Security and Medicare…why not eliminate the cap on payroll taxes and add the same rate to capital gains thus having the wealthy pay their fair share into these programs. After all, the system now is run by taxing the poor and lower middle class, which equates to yet another bonus to the rich.

  • Lulu

    It’s not just you. People are more concerned about weed and gay marriage than they are the economy. That doesn’t bode well…

  • Anonymous

    “Would the House Republicans really vote against a tax cut for 100 million Americans?”

    Mr. Johnson must have been out of the country during the fiasco that was the “debt ceiling” talks, because the rethugniCons were certainly not willing to let the middle class tax cuts be extended without extending cuts to the rich and corporate. And even after being shallaced during this election, the GOTP is still preening as though “it’s our way or the highway”!
    Maybe we could also tie Congressional pay to the health of our economy – sluggish economy = less pay for Congress. Maybe then they’ll be motivated to actually work, compromise, pass legislation designed to do more than regulate my uterus….Just saying..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1166968510 Rebecca Carina

    I agree – Let’s get to work and stop all the immature bickering. We need to show what mature democracy can become.

  • Anonymous

    You do realize that the “warning labels” on products are only there for “liability” purposes, don’t you? FAUX NOOZ is THE propaganda channel period! WE need to be able to remove them if for nothing else – deception against the American people. Then again the lemmings that watch them will probably cry out for FAUX’s’ corporate rights…

  • Anonymous

    Simon’s comments make perfect sense. I hope Obama follows this line of thinking. Let the Bush-era tax cuts expire. And propose new tax cuts for the middle class and lower-income Americans, in addition to lowering payroll taxes. So simple a solution. But will Obama run with it?

  • cookiebaker

    Why roll back the taxes when the economy revives? We need massive social investment and a country that values human dignity over greed. These multimillionaires do not need that much money while we sacrifice our social fabric to keep them obscenely rich. We need a fair and progressive tax structure for the health and good of the whole nation.

  • BobScroggins

    Like it’s any better there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Catherine-Mason/705689570 Catherine Mason

    How do we make sure President Obama gets this message???

  • MI-Gram

    So, Bill… how do “we” get Simon Johnson’s very good ideas through to our President?

  • hico11

    Tax revenues cover 41% of spending. These suggestions from Johnson are just minor adjustments given the enormity of the deficit and the demographic profile that is changing. The liabilities for pensions, welfare, SS, Medicare, etc, put this problem into the stratosphere. Minor tax reforms are not going to fix this one no matter what O does.
    There is a fiscal cliff every year and it is solved with the annual raising of the debt ceiling.
    The bond markets are broken in the West as is evidenced by QE. When foreigners start to sell these “reserve assets” Greece and Spain are the USA.

  • old_timer_37

    An idea so logical that it must be ignored. The Bush tax cuts…particularly those on estate taxes… are without merit.
    However, don’t understimate Grover Norquist’s hold on House Republicans. Almost every one of them has taken a fraternity pledge to Grover personally never to raise taxes. He is welcomed to their midst in the backrooms of Congress, from time to time, to coach them and give pep talks. He may be the real leader of the House, though not one of its members, instead of John Boehner. He can count on far more votes than Boehner can. This underminer of democratic processes needs to be exposed; his economic ideas are ludicrous and destructive as documented in his delusional book “Leave, Us, Alone: getting the government’s hands off our money, our guns, out lives”

  • http://twitter.com/AllTakenNoooo Laura

    Or Nate Silver.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JohnSwitzer John Switzer

    Right. Keep hitting small-business owners over and over, and keep expecting them to carry the burden. It’s only a little more, and a little more, and a little more. At some point, folks, the pony will break. And at this point I suppose you simply won’t understand that until it happens. http://www.TheLibertyProfessor.com

  • seeg

    How about large monetary fines and penalties for reporting anything shown to be an outright lie. If repeated the penalties can go up to the point of having broadcast license suspended. (but that still doesn’t help on the internet.)

  • Anonymous

    Actually, by what Billmoyers.com reports, an awful lot better.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-Faxmachine-Couhig/1197741871 Mark Faxmachine Couhig

    Fortunately, we have the first amendment to our Constitution. It says,
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    Please note: It says “no law.”

    It assumes people should make up their own minds, not have the government determine for them what they should hear or not hear.

    Do the people always make the right decision? No — the absurd popularity of Fox News provides some prime evidence that a lot of people are very stupid. But that beats the hell out of having some bureaucrat tell you what you can read and see and hear.

    By the way, are you under the impression the BBC is unbiased? Or that it ever was?

    We pay special attention to ensuring the right of those who are offensive to say their piece. What does freedom of speech mean if it doesn’t mean the right to say unpopular things?

    Let the government start making these decisions, and the first thing you know you’d have people getting busted just for insulting someone else. You know, like in England.

  • Anonymous

    I do not know why you set out to be patronising towards me and the country I am from.

    You can indeed insult people in this country, we have Murdoch owned mouthpiece called “The Sun” that does that very regularly. We do have freedom of speech and the press. We also have libel laws, however, those are only accessible for those with money – “The poor have no lawyers”, is a very important concept for a democracy.

    I think you do not understand the laws of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, your law system was lifted from that of this country. The BBC is not perfect, but, it is less imperfect than the bite size news that is shown in the US, with little real information on what happens beyond their borders. (I work for a US company and have spent considerable time in the US and many other countries in the world). Even Mike Lofgren admitted to getting his news from the, “European media like the Guardian newspaper”. Does that perhaps want you to stop and do some self examination on what it is your media is delivering?

    On the point of government, of the people and for the people, so, your position is that the people are not to be trusted?

  • David F., N.A.

    I agree with Johnson 100%, but what if Obama does veto the Bush tax cuts and then can’t get the House to pass a new set of cuts for the middle class? Even though I feel that the Wall Street banks have an overwhelming control over our economy, a tax on the middle class could very well be blamed as the final straw. I’m waiting to see how this unfolds.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Coboltmoon-Glass/1700674845 Coboltmoon Glass

    This is an extremely poorly written column. It is four paragraphs long and explains almost nothing. The author tells you his point of view and offers almost nothing to back it up.

    We owe 16 trillion dollars. When our government spends money we don’t have we all pay a price. Saying there is no fiscal cliff, does not make it so.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dave-Corbin/100000389505466 Dave Corbin

    This is a great idea. People who make all their money without lifting a finger(Romney is an example) should pay at least as much as everyone else. They should also contribute to the public safety net. Otherwise the rabble will be at their doorsteps with hands(or pitchforks) out!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dave-Corbin/100000389505466 Dave Corbin

    Who started two wars with no way to pay for them? Who cut taxes, mostly for the well-off when we should have been paying down the debt we already had? Not our current president. Who kept us and by extension, the world from entering a second great depression, ended the unpaid for and unwarranted War in Iraq. and went after and killed the architect of 9/11? Our current and newly re-elected President.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dave-Corbin/100000389505466 Dave Corbin

    It is just you and people like you who won’t acknowledge the accomplishments of our current President. Who started two wars with no way to pay for them? Who cut taxes, mostly for the well-off when we should have been paying down the debt we already had? Not our current president. Who kept us and by extension, the world from entering a second great depression, ended the unpaid for and unwarranted War in Iraq. and went after and killed the architect of 9/11? Our current and newly re-elected President.

    BTW the Massachusetts constitution REQUIRES that the Governor balance the budget. Also, listening to people that actually live in Mass, Romney wasn’t really that popular during his ONE term as Governor. He chose not to run again when he realized that he couldn’t win.

  • Judy

    You are absolutely right Hairy Scot. Fox News and Rush Limbaugh both need to be taken off of the air, because they don’t tell the truth. Fox News was reporting that Romney was going to win and had the Election, when in fact, Obama was. Their polls were also off. I quit watching Fox News a long time ago. Rush Limbaugh is nothing but a bag of lying wind and he is laughing all the way to the bank, I am sure. I’m sorry to hear that Fox News is being piped to any other country. I personally watch CNN as they are more fair and balanced and aren’t outright liars.

  • Anonymous

    Once again the leftwing nuts solution to every problem is more taxes. More taxes to do what with??? extend unemployment benefits to 5 years. keep people on welfare for ever including illegals??
    A better though would be to insure that anyone drawing federal benefits starts to earn them. Those on Welfare or UI need to be doing 40 hours of community service. From sweeping floors helping in the food kitchens to emptying bed pans in hospitals

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000531938585 Karma Thomas

    “Trickle down” has NOTHING to do with economics.There is a reason they call us peons. They LOVE it that we are unable to find jobs. That gives them more leverage to offer to give the worker less for less money because they know we have no options.

    HOW to fix the economy in ONE easy step: Go BACK to taxing the upper 10-20% at 70-80% (since they make about 350 times their lowest paid workers, it’s only fair) and as SOON as that fat bank account starts dwindling…JOBS will be oozing out of their ears. Once we have jobs, then we have CUSTOMERS, which is where our economy REALLY comes from…You’re welcome. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/ndinger1 Nedra Dinger

    It is also unfortunate for this country to have Fox News. I call it Faux News. But in this country; Fox News takes advantage of Freedom of Speech but removing a license for now reporting news in a fair and unbiased way…I wonder how that could be done. I never, never watch Fox News and watch slivers when I work out in the gym. And then I chuckle.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ndinger1 Nedra Dinger

    I think a point here is that we just had an election that was heavily influenced by Fox News and heavily contributed by PACs and the word bias is the truth. What will make the conversation civil is if both sides retreat from a rigid bias to a centrist position and the news on both sides is way too polarized and hence the divide in this country. The paradigm needs to be more flexible and I do believe that when granting in the Bill of Rights Freedom of Speech was that the right to speak could not be silenced. I think now we have Freedom of Speech that is silenced by extreme bias and a lack of faith on both sides of the question.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000531938585 Karma Thomas

    “most Americans see FOX News as a cartoon show ”
    If only that were true! It’s just amazing how many ignorant folks Fix “news” is creating. They really TRULY believe every single word that Fix says and say the other news is bought….EVERYONE else is wrong…unless you include Drudge…lol.

    you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him turn the spigot…they just don’t have the capability. They are so brainwashed that it’s kind of weird, it’s like they all have the same script and say the same derogatory things. Apparently, if you disagree with them, you are living on welfare, don’t have a job, are black, and want them to pay for your life. it’s almost word for word. And when you try to hit them with FACTS and LOGIC they just…ignore it, like Rmoney when you asked him what his plan was…lol.

    Fix famously went to court for the right to lie to its viewers, and WON. Our laws don’t cover more than freedom of speech, lies are the way they take advantage of this RIGHT and abuse it to the point of sickness. Sort of like that “church” that protests soldiers funerals. But I feel that they should have to PROVE everything they say, or have to show a disclaimer before EVERY SINGLE lie…”The following information is for entertainment purposes only and isn’t even the opinion of the newscaster”, Shyea, that will happen…Gullible, DELIBERATE ignorance can NOT be permitted as a point of view anymore!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000531938585 Karma Thomas

    They don’t really need that pay, or even the fantastic benefits – UNBELIEVABLY cheap healthcare, full pension (even if they are a one term politician) for LIFE…They all have lobbying jobs just waiting for them as soon as they are thrust out of office. Their only motivation is giving their buddies tax breaks, giving them favors, granting them turkey projects…then complaining about how expensive the govt’ is. If they would just keep THEIR hands out of it and stop gifting their friends on OUR dime, it would be a LOT cheaper. They have the nerve to say the poor is the drain on the economy…the poor ain’t got nothing on these jokers….

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000531938585 Karma Thomas

    I was under the impression that they were supposed to take an oath of office, not to Grover Norquist. Isn’t conspiring to unseat a President treason? Or swearing allegiance to Norquist over our country? How are they not in jail for their actions! They keep it up they are going to ruin the economy a lot faster than anything Obama could do or not do! WHEN are the Republicans going to hold THEM responsible for wanting to help the wealthy and NO ONE ELSE? This country’s recovery would have been a LOT further on without the obstructionism!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000531938585 Karma Thomas

    Rmoney lost his own state, Michigan, and anywhere else he is “known”. Ryan lost his own home state, too. I think they know who was the better person for the job…

    Funny how they are in such denial about Bush. They act as if he never existed….

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000531938585 Karma Thomas

    I wonder when you people will figure out that none of that had anything to do with why Flipper lost. HE is the reason you lost. He couldn’t keep his position straight from one day to another…never produced a plan….just ignored questions if he couldn’t answer…couldn’t even face the ladies of the View but he thinks he could run a country? THIS country? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. HE DIDNT EVEN KNOW HIS OWN FIRST NAME. GMAB with the ridiculousness of MYTH.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000531938585 Karma Thomas

    What is your fascination with welfare? Obama did not extend it…BUSH and RMONEY (and his buddies sending jobs overseas) made more poor, starving, homeless people than anyone ever in a very short time. I suppose you would rather they just die off? Illegals cant get welfare…you are so biased and WRONG with your idiotic Fix “faux” notions…AND there are ALREADY laws about having to work if you get public assistance.

    Why don’t you stop spewing lies you learned on Fix and find out the truth before you go shooting your mouth off and removing all doubt that you haven’t a clue…that goes for MOST of you brainwashed idiots…Turn off the fix and get some truth in your life…take out the hate…and the hate speech that apparently goes with it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000531938585 Karma Thomas

    They pretend it didn’t happen. It’s like ostriches, but worse. They can’t see past the black skin…to the man who is really to blame for ALL of us being where we are…if only they could stop the hypocrisy. But apparently it’s like air to them…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000531938585 Karma Thomas

    It’s up to all of us to put pressure on the Republicons to stop this obstructionism. I believe President Obama should put these jerks FRONT AND CENTER in front of his podium and treat them as you treat recalcitrant children. SHAME them into doing what this country NEEDS to recover and stop with the BS RICH PEOPLE GIVEAWAYS. THEY don’t need it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000531938585 Karma Thomas

    I am a small business owner and I do not believe WE are the target. Are you making over 250k a year? Then hush and let the grown ups try to fix what Bush broke…and all the other jerks who voted for that idiot…

  • Uomo

    If the US courts treated libel and slander the way British courts do (loser pays the other’s expenses) we would have more effective tools against lying media like FOX News. But you have to have real money (and real money at stake) to defend your name in court here, so lots of outrages go unchallenged in the one way that would finally shut them up.

  • http://twitter.com/jmfreda Joanne Freda

    We need to stop calling the Fox media “news” – it is far from news. It is propaganda.

  • http://twitter.com/jmfreda Joanne Freda

    The tax code is definitely screwed up and needs a lot of work but you are right that wages gained from actual work shd be taxed at a lower rate than capital gains that is income made while sitting around in a smoking or at a 5,000 dollar a plate fundraiser.

  • http://twitter.com/jmfreda Joanne Freda

    Both legalizing weed and equality in marriage will bring money to my state – WA – which will boost the economy

  • David F., N.A.

    Too bad Obama didn’t drag Baucus, Nelson, Dodd and Frank front and center 2 or 3 years ago.

  • http://twitter.com/jmfreda Joanne Freda

    I hv felt as u do Karma. The family owned restaurants, latte stands and bookstores in my town are not 250K per yr enterprises. The definition of small business is quite different btw Dems and Reps.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001196720368 Paula Lovell

    A voice of reason! I wonder who will listen?

  • L Humphries

    Every single news organization on this planet should have the word “news” removed from their name, and replaced with the word “opinion”. Cable Opinion Network, Fox Opinion, etc. Anyone watching or reading “news” should, by now, understand that they’re reading and watching opinions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/johnny.townsend1 Johnny Townsend

    In Canada they won’t let Fox be listed as “news”. It’s listed as “entertainment”. Entertainment for the goobers in our “red” states…

  • http://www.facebook.com/ann.griffey Ann Lipscomb Griffey

    If a newspaper article prints inaccurate information it must print a retraction even if if doesn’t make front page news. Not so Fox.

  • Anonymous

    The Fiscal Cliff would be the only way you’re ever going to cut the MILITARY SPENDING. I hope they do the Fiscal Cliff. I’m more than willing to see the other things happen, if that’s what it takes to CUT THE MILITARY.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sharpinla Shari Peterson

    The rich will merely move away. We need to stop spending, stop bailing out foreign corporations and banks and domestic ones, stop warring. Nothing Obama can do will fix this until he does those things.

  • A.O.W.M.

    Well considered and said! I suppose we’ll find out what awaits as soon as there’s a news reporter out there (to embrace the archaic term) with nothing to do. In other words, any minute now! Actually, come to think of it, Britain’s press laws have more teeth than ours (such as they are); as the content of ‘news’ gets more and more objectionable, US lawmakers might consider having a look at them. Unless, of course, the US gutter press (not most of it… yet) contributes heavily to all the right election campaigns…

  • A.O.W.M.

    Ha! That is hilarious. Maybe humor IS truth told at the ‘wrong’ time.

  • Anonymous

    Rich will not move away anymore than they have already. Where else could they get away with as much as they get away with here? Also, much higher taxes have been in America and it has not thwarted job creation or investment. In fact, those were the best days of our lives. I agree strongly with the “stop warring” part.

  • Anonymous

    Me thinks you need to do some community service, and find out what the meaning of community truly is. Karma, below, is completely correct. Get off the self-serving “me the poor victim of the freeloaders” and begin to grasp the “whoa, I’m really a victim of the oligarchs” idea. “Greed is good”? We are seeing the results of that every day in our country. It’s ugly and evil. And it must be defended with 50% of our taxes every day and every year. War is good for business, invest your child.

    BTW, did you know that unemployment benefits are a form of insurance that every worker and employer in America pays into, but precious few ever collect? Are you aware that if you are self-employed, you MUST pay into UI and you can never collect???

  • Anonymous

    John, how do you explain the growth of the economy under Clinton? How do you explain the shrinking and collapse of the economy under Bush? Lowest tax rates in history have given us an economic collapse. How do you explain that some of the greatest growth in the American economy occurred when top tax rates were in the range from 60%-90%?

    Small businesses are not being hurt with the proposed taxes under Obama. Very few “small” businesses have $250K “taxable” income. Do you think that the bosses of Red Lobster and those other restaurants threatening to fire people because Obama got elected are “small” businesses? Wake up and smell the corporate plutocracy.

  • Anonymous

    Most americans view the state run media IE NY Times WashPost ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS as nothing more than a front for the socialist agenda

  • Anonymous

    As the Queen controls what is said in the media that’s a great system. As for Bill Moyers he’s a communist andd loves living off the taxpayers

  • Anonymous

    and trial lawyers that take over $600BILLION from the healthcare system every year

  • Anonymous

    Hmm Barak has a tax rate of 19% and No decuctions since the taxpayers provide for everything.. Me thinks the pot is calling the kettle black

  • Anonymous

    Your soooo magnanimous with other people’s $$$

  • Anonymous

    I’m with you time to eliminate entire unnecessary depts starting with
    Interior
    Commerce
    Education
    1/2 of State and Justice
    would be a great start

  • Anonymous

    always its W’s fault. Sorry Barak DOUBLED the number of people on Foodstamps. It was Barak that took unemployment from 6% to 14%
    It was Barak who has sent more jobs overseas than any president since Clinton. The majority of our wind and solar energy components are built in China. Barak is sending a $7500 check to Japan and Korea for every car they export to us. Its Barak that allows China to manipulate its currency. It’s Barak that sent Barzil $1 BILLION to do off shoe drilling. It was Barak that gave Finland $500M to build Telsar vehicles…Need I go on.
    Illegals can’t get welfare??? What country do you live in??? ‘ll provide you 1 example Barak’s illegal Auntie from Keyna who lived in public housing received Medicaid, foodstamps and welfare even after being turned down 3 times for a green card.
    Sorry the rules for welfare queens was eliminated under Barak.
    I would suggest that you turn off the left wing nut journalism like abc, nbc, cba, pbs, washpost and NYT and read some real journalism

  • Anonymous

    Who added $10Trillion to the National Debt, took unemployment to 14%, caused record casualties to our troops due to his rules of engagement every year he’s been in office??? Could it be your Messiah??

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000531938585 Karma Thomas

    Are they employing 50 or more employees? Take a look at the actual law and how it affects small businesses and then decide.
    http://www.kff.org/healthreform/upload/8275.pdf

    The bad part is that some huge businesses are going to try to cheat their way around this requirement by making all employees part time. I imagine they will have a hard time finding employees when everyone else IS offering health care, and they will have to capitulate eventually. I heard that it would add .17 to the cost of a Papa Johns pizza but the CEO is refusing to do that and would instead put all his employees part time. This from a man who makes a fortune every year because of the employees who are doing his dirty work. Compare his salary (and the other higher ups) to minimum wage. They don’t care if their employees can afford health care or if they die…they don’t offer much because in this economy they know they don’t HAVE to…Guess what, when their bank accounts start dwindling, they will start creating jobs to get more in their pocket. Trickle down is a lie.

    http://www.companypay.com/executive/compensation/papa-johns-international-inc.asp?yr=2011

  • Mr Freeze

    Simon Johnson’s smallest chromosome has more economic/banking knowledge than you’ll ever have….You should, perhaps take up a remedial reading class and learn a bit about basic comprehension……when you’ve got yourself up to speed, then try reading some of his books….some of the best written about the topic of our banking/economic system out there……

  • Mr Freeze

    I have a number of friends who own small businesses……They don’t whine about the “tax burden.” They complain that there’s no demand for their services/products.

    I find it tiring to listen to business folk and their condescending commentary suggesting that working folk don’t understand profit, taxes or economics. Most do and most working people are behind small businesses. Here in WA State it would sure be nice if the large corporations paid more of the taxes (Boeing for example pays virtually nothing in taxes). That way small businesses wouldn’t have to bear as big a burden……

  • Mr Freeze

    Well then, don’t let the door………………………..

  • Anonymous

    That comment truly is ignorance at its most extreme. You have no idea what the UK is like and even less idea what a communist is. Time to stop reading childrens fairy tales.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rancho.milagrito Rancho Milagrito

    The day after the election, I received a number of messages inquiring as to where we go from here. After some thought, my answer to that question is as follows;

    Where to From Here?

    So It’s over (not) . Actually it’s just
    beginning. As anybody who has trod this planet for anytime can tell you
    ,change can seem slow,but it is coming and it will not be denied. That’s
    where the folks across the isle missed the train. We now have more
    women elected to office than in this countries History/Herstory. We
    have states giving the “Green/Grow” light to recreational Cannabis. We
    have a greater tolerance for falling in
    love with whomever. and then there’s the changing demographic of color.
    There is a broader place for all within this arriving change. President
    “O” has said in the past “Make me do it”. That’s what’s next good
    people. Our public servant is waiting for us to make our “active” voices
    heard. He’s even got better ears for it than that other guy (what was
    his name anyhow). There is a lot to feel pretty good about in respect to
    what’s next, and were “Finally” just getting started.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Coboltmoon-Glass/1700674845 Coboltmoon Glass

    This article has four paragraphs. Our national debt is 16 trillion dollars. What part of what I said makes me a racist.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Coboltmoon-Glass/1700674845 Coboltmoon Glass

    If Simon Johnson is an economic scholar, then he should write an article that is longer then four paragraphs. Give me facts, support his view point. All relevant facts of the four paragraphs can be said in a single sentences. End the Bush tax cuts and lower the payroll tax, no details needed.

  • Mr Freeze

    He’s written a number of books which are listed at the end of the essay. Read them……..

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Coboltmoon-Glass/1700674845 Coboltmoon Glass

    If his books were lacking as much detail as this article I would not waste my time. A four paragraph article about how to fix the economy is an embarrassment.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=664746728 Winter Green

    We need the Tobin Tax (Robin Hood tax).

    We need to break up all Global Giant Corporations that have merged/acquired to the point that only a handful control every Industry Sector

    We need to have the Global Financial Sector has to realize they are responsible for our Societies and our Planet rather than develop ‘creative financial issues’, continue to leverage and use arbitrage.

    We must reign in Private Equity that owns too much of Sovereign debts.

    We have to realize the ‘Issues’ are Global and not just the US.

    We also need a Great Renewal that requires us to renew, regenerate, regrow, redesign, re-envision, recreate, replant, repair, refurbish, rejuvenate, revitalize, refresh, revive, reinvigorate, rearrange, rededicate, re-energize, re-mobilize, reorient, re-stimulate,reignite, reapply, redo, re-stage, reboot, rediscover, re-motivate, reemerge, rebuild and re-love ourselves, our planet, each other, all species and our Commons.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-Faxmachine-Couhig/1197741871 Mark Faxmachine Couhig

    Newspapers aren’t required to post retractions. Most legitimate ones do — mostly.

  • marie baldys

    I thought that this was such a good idea, I set up a petition on the White House petition site. Can we get some signatures?

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/use-veto-let-bush-tax-cuts-expire-propose-set-obama-tax-cuts-why-people-voted-you/Pg2SCdz9

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000531938585 Karma Thomas

    It’s always dubya’s fault – because IT IS HIS FAULT. How short a memory do you people have??? What are they putting in your hateraid? The amount of people on foodstamps we can blame SQUARELY on Rmoney and his buddies, unemploying people as fast as they can to send our jobs overseas so they can pay some OTHER poor person a wage they can’t live on. It was the repugs who refused to sign the bill raising tariffs on those who send our jobs overseas and stopping tax breaks for these leeches. Also to help veterans, help employed people, or anything else, as long as they can try to make it look like Obama’s fault.

    Wow…after reading the rest of your lies, I can’t understand how you can write all that bull without actual poo coming out of your computer. Since that’s all you seem to watch (fix spewed poo) I can’t help you from there. Just about every thing you wrote is wrong or a lie or just trying to get out of the fact that ITS BUSHES FAULT. Give it up, our memories aren’t as short or ignorant as yours are..Get your “facts” from one place and you’ll only have those “lies” to back up what you know. THANK GOD most people aren’t that gullible. Did you know they took that word out of the dictionary?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000531938585 Karma Thomas

    Wasn’t specifically addressing YOU as a racist…the fact that they keep trying to blame Obama for what Bush did is a HUGE CLUE. Here’s the truth about this article: It is time for the wealthy who voted for Bush to pay what they owe for his TWO wars with other countries that you folks are trying to blame on our current President. This is what grown ups do, they pay what they owe instead of trying to foist the bill on the next guy after hiding what the bill REALLY costs from the people who have to pay it. I thought you Republicans were the party of fiscal responsibility….looks like just another con, to me. PROVE it by paying what the idiots who voted for BUSH TWICE owe and take the strain for your mistakes off the back of the middle class.Too bad the ones who TOLD YOU SO also have to pay for YOUR neo-fascists ideas that nearly ruined this country. THANKS SO MUCH.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000531938585 Karma Thomas

    Do they have more than 50 employees? If they do, then you can’t possibly consider them a small business. AFAIK those with fewer employees aren’t in the mix that have to cover their employees. Sad that such a thing HAS to be mandated…it used to be expected, to be able to find a job that covered your insurance, but then employers have done nothing but lower our expectations for CENTURIES…