Articles and Analysis


US: Jobs, Generic Ballot (Bloomberg 12/3-7)

12/3-7/09; 1,000 adults, 3.1% margin of error
714 liekly voters (for generic ballot question)
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Bloomberg: Public standing of Wall Street, Job creation, results)


2010 House: Generic Ballot
42% Republican candidate, 38% Democratic candidate (chart)

Please tell me if you favor or oppose each of the following ways the federal government could address the unemployment rate.

Give businesses a tax credit for each new person they hire:
68% Favor, 28% Oppose

Increase spending on alternative energy:
60% Favor, 37% Oppose

Send federal money to the states to prevent layoffs in state and local governments:
48% Favor, 49% Oppose

Spend more money on education for unemployed workers to improve their skills to qualify for better jobs:
70% Favor, 27% Oppose

Cut income taxes across the board to spur economic growth:
63% Favor, 33% Oppose

Spend money on public works such as roads and bridges:
66% Favor, 32% Oppose

Do you believe middle-class Americans will or will not have to make financial sacrifices to decrease the deficit?
88% Will have to make sacrifices
10% Will not have to make sacrifices

I'm going to mention some things the government could do to cut the budget deficit. For each, please tell me if you think this should or should not be a main part of any government approach to
the deficit...

66% Raise income taxes on the wealthy--individuals making $500,000 or more and households making $1 million or more
57% Cut discretionary federal programs and services by 5% across the board
26% Raise taxes on the middle-class as well as the wealthy
23% Cut the growth of spending on entitlement programs such as Social Security benefits
20% Create a new federal consumption tax, which would be like a federal sales tax that would be on top of any state and local sales tax.

Banks that received government aid during the financial crisis are now preparing to pay bonuses to top performers because banks are now profitable again. Do you approve or disapprove of banks
paying bonuses this year?

23% Approve, 75% Disapprove



Generic ballot with Reps on top and that astounding 66% that would tax to fix the budget deficit.



Most people aren't making $500k a year, so of course they'd favor taxing "someone else" to fix the budget problem. Really doesn't surprise me, but the poll showing the GOP ahead does... especially since Bloomberg just did a poll that showed Obama with 54% approval.

Maybe that was a separate one of adults, because if not that's just bizarre.


Emily Swanson:

CUWriter: This is the same poll (they released the Obama approval results a couple of days ago), but this particular question was asked of a sub-population of likely voters. Since, when presented with multiple sample populations, we chart results for election questions using the population meant by the pollster to best represent the electorate, I posted the result here for liekly voters. However, for your reference the generic ballot result for all adults was 36% Democratic candidate, 35% Republican candidate.


Field Marshal:

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship." - Alexander Tytler

Couldn't be more true today. People don't mind taxing the rich even though they disproportionately pay an overwhelming proportion of income taxes. Under Bush, it got worse. In 2000, the wealthiest 5% paid 55% of all income taxes and by 2007, they paid 61%.

Eventually, these people will just leave.



"Couldn't be more true today. People don't mind taxing the rich even though they disproportionately pay an overwhelming proportion of income taxes. Under Bush, it got worse. In 2000, the wealthiest 5% paid 55% of all income taxes and by 2007, they paid 61%."

That's because everyone else in the country was making less money, so their share went up... Republicans believe in taxing those who have no money, even though Adam Smith, the founder of capitalism disagreed. He advocated strong progressive taxation 'cos that's where the money is. It's pointless to keep taxing the middle class to death, as they have no money anymore.

Interesting that there would be improvement for republicans on the generic ballot, since republicans are completely opposed to every issue these same folks care about--infrastructure spending, taxing the rich, and alternative energy...

Of course people also think that reducing government spending won't hurt the economy. The government is the one consumer who is buying right now... amazing that people want to take that away at the moment...



Oh, and isn't it a bit early to be deciding who will be a likely voter or not? I know Rasmussen think sit can do this years in advance, but shouldn't reputable pollsters wait a bit?



Under Regan the most wealthy 1% controlled/owned 8% of all the money moving in the United States economy. In 2009 they control/own 23% of all the money moving in the United States. I think rich people are doing fine.


Field Marshal:


Uh, not really. According to the IRS data, all levels of income saw an increase in annual income over the time period.


And Republicans just believe in less government and thus allowing people to keep more of the hard earned money. Liberals/dems believe that the public is too dumb to keep it and must take it from them for their own good because THEY know how to spend it better.

I think its been shown 23698463 times that the Dems are simply wrong.


You are correct and my link shows that as well. The rich are doing fine. But to say they aren't paying their fair share is just liberal garbage. They pay 40% of ALL income taxes while earning 23% of income. While the bottom 50% pay 2% of all income taxes while earning 13% of all income.

No one is right here. Its hard to say the rich aren't paying their fair share because "what is fair" to one may not be to another.

We need to reduce the size of government massively to help out our economy.



Couldn't be more true today

Newsflash: it wasn't ever "true". The quote itself is wrongly attributed to Tyler, and the principle itself it abhorrent. You're basically saying that democracy can't work. Nice thought.

People don't mind taxing the rich even though they disproportionately pay an overwhelming proportion of income taxes.

And then make disproportionately more money, and (more importantly) OWN disproportionately more wealth.

In 2000, the wealthiest 5% paid 55% of all income taxes and by 2007, they paid 61%.

Yes, and income disparity also grew in that period. Cause, effect.

Back in the middle 20th century the rich paid much, much higher rates then they do now. During that time we had huge economic growth, managed to put a man on the moon. Deficits were tiny compared to what they became under "small government" types like Reagan and W. Seems like our democracy worked just fine that whole time.

Eventually, these people will just leave.

Really? Really? They're just going to leave? They're going to leave a country whose government, courts, law and military protect their vital interests? They're going to leave a nation whose economy provides the opportunities to make huge amounts of money?

Where should they go? Europe, maybe, with its huge taxes? Some lawless country where their wealth can be taken by force at a moments notice? Perhaps they'll head to Galt's Gulch, or maybe head to the moon and start their own tax free utopia!



And Republicans just believe in less government and thus allowing people to keep more of the hard earned money. Liberals/dems believe that the public is too dumb to keep it and must take it from them for their own good because THEY know how to spend it better.

No, Republicans believe in less taxes, not less government. They'll spend themselves blind and then leave the mess for someone else to pay off.

Liberals don't want to raise taxes because they think people don't deserve to keep it. They tax because THINGS COST MONEY! Things like wars, schools, roads, cops, firefighters, power grids, research, rockets to the moon. These things enhance our nation, our economy, and our way of life.

To accurately quote a great mind: "Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society". Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes



"They pay 40% of ALL income taxes"

And well they should. X beat me to it, but I was going to say that the distribution of wealth is tremendously skewed toward the wealthy, which has gotten much worse since the 80s.


These statistics show that 25% of the population makes 75% of the income, and that the same 25% controls 85% of the wealth.

The CEO to worker pay in the U.S. is 39 to 1. This is an sharp increase from the 1960s, when it was 12 or 15 to 1. The non-U.S. average is something like 21-1.

Average in come in the U.S. has barely kept pace with inflation while top end income has grown significantly. As someone who understands economics, I'm sure you know this. If you ask me, the inbalance is a significant contributor to our economic problems.



Its funny. People at the top income brackets make the most income and pay the most tatxes. SHOCKER.

We should be encouraging this behavior with lower rates or abolishing a tax on income all together. We want people to work, risk and invest. When they do they are rewarded and so is the treasury.

Government cant create wealth.


Field Marshal:


I don't disagree with you that CEO pay is way out of whack but how many people are CEOs? Not many.

And again, i'm not saying the rich deserve a tax cut, they don't. I'm just pointing to facts that suggest the rich pay much more than the middle and lower classes combined and ask the question, what is fair?

Average income has been static for decades but that assumes people are in the same job for their entire lives which we know is not the case. People change jobs now on average 12 times during their lifetimes. Thus, while median income may stay the same, the IRS data shows that people, on average, move up many quintiles of income levels during their working careers.


Field Marshal:

I agree Havoc.


Don't even know where to begin with your post. Leaving is not leaving the country but leaving the employment realm. If they earn $3,000,000, currently they are taxed at roughly 35%. If you push up the rates to 50% or higher, than SOME of those people are probably going to say, no thanks and retire. No if they owned the business, there's not only a loss in tax revenue but potential employees that are now out of a job.

In the 50's, the top tax rate was 90%. But no one paid it. There were so many tax shelters back then that the rate effected nobody. Reagan plummeted that rate way down but eliminated the tax shelters as well forcing people to pay it. And tax revenues went up. Check the link i posted early, in 80-84, revenues increased even though we had a severe recession similar to today.

Yes, republicans in the '01-'06 era wanted lower taxes and MORE spending. Hence the reason they were voted out. True conservatives want less spending and less taxes. Hence the tea party movement.

And your quote is ridiculous. How much is enough? You can use that quote to raise taxes from 90% to 95% saying a civilized society costs money. But when does it end? I think nearly half of our income going to some form of government is enough, don't you agree? If not, there is a line on the 1040 allowing people to volunteer more of the money to the IRS.



The way I read this poll is that I have to get progressives and Democratic faithful out and active. The northeast isn't safe anymore this year for Dems like it usually is, so it is only going to make us work extra hard and raise more money. These polls are a good wakeup call.



So what do you think is an appropriate tax then FM?


Field Marshal:

I don't know. THat's a good question. Given that 70% of all the people who are in the top 5% are small business, creating punitive taxes on the "wealthy" will do more harm than good to the middle class.

And again, moving them too high will create a disenchantment to work when these are the very people we need to be working, producing, investing, etc.

We are meandering into territory that we've never been in before; where half of all citizens will pay no income tax. If they are allowed to vote and defacto grant themselves more goodies from the treasury, shouldn't they have to have some skin in the game.

The world economy is becoming more and more competitive. Capital and trade are flowing freer than ever. If you create more restrictions on capital, it will flow faster to China, Brazil, and India. We have the best workforce and best property/business rights in the world. We do not want to hamper this by instituting new regs and laws that essentially lower our level of productivity (or allow others to catch-up/surpass) and make us less competitive.

Another problem is that each state has the ability to levy all the taxes they wish. So the top rate in NY or Cal is very different from that of Texas. This makes it much easier for capital and business to move within the states to better business climates. We are already seeing that as business flees MI, OH, NY and CA for NV, CO, TX, FL, GA and NC.

READ: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/item_IlYA0ONr3hj3c31ZrkWCFJ

Anyway, to answer your question about the appropriate rate. The classic economist response is "it depends". With all the spending, rates will need to go higher lest we risk becoming a banana republic. But if spending gets under control, i say leave the rates the same but remove some of the deductions currently allowed.



@ FM

So according to you, if someone decides to retire their economic activity just up and evaporates? No one would step in to say... buy their business (which is how a lot of retirements work?) or start a new business to take its place?

I also love how you're talking about tea baggers yet in another thread you claim ignorance of the term.

Finally, a lot of Reagans increased tax revenues were the result of the TAX HIKE he put in on working people in 1982. In fact, Reagan raised taxes on working people and businesses plenty of times during his 8 years, mostly to desperately try and pay for his upper class tax cuts and massive deficit spending. Of course it wasn't enough to cover his spending binge, and we are still paying off his debt to this day. Thanks Ronnie!


Field Marshal:

It does not evaporate but most small businesses are sold to larger corporations which move the operations to their own facilities, usually offshore and eliminate most of the workforce.

In addition, its not so much the cessation of the current small business so much as the lack of the future growth of that business.

In regards to your comments about the Reagan tax increases, they followed the largest tax decrease in the history of this country. But its impossible to know how much is the result of economic growth following the 82 recession and the tax hike (which was smaller than the tax cut).

However, Reagans tax deficits were never (as a % of GDP) higher than the economic growth following the recession in 82. This is key since if the debt grows by 3%, and the economy grows by 3%, or more, than really the deficit (the increase in liabilities owed) has been offset by in increase in assets owned.

Think of it this way. If you buy a house with a $100k mortgage (debt) and then refi and take out some equity and your new total mortgage is $150k, but the value of the house went up $50k, yes, you owe more debt in absolute terms but your ability to pay that debt is secure since the value of the home went up to offset the new liability.

In any case, Reagans spending was actually a slowdown from the average rate during the 1970's.



@ Field Marshal:

How then do you explain how Bill Clinton inherited a country reeling from a double-dip recession and a record deficit and left it with record prosperity and a record surplus--all the while increasing tax rates for the wealthiest 1% of Americans to 39%?

How do explain how FDR inherited a country reeling from the Great Depression and Harry Truman left it with a record 25-year postwar boom--when they raised tax rates for the wealthy from 24% to 79% percent or more? The fact is, between 1933 and 1947, the pre-tax income of rich people stayed the same while there take-home pay went down--the taxes being used to pay for New Deal assistance programs that lifted millions of poor Americans to middle-class status.

The fact is, when the public safety net is small and rich people's taxes are low, economic inequality--a few people with a lot, a lot of people with very little, and no middle class to speak of--runs rampant, just like in the 1920's (which many movement conservatives idolize) and today. Soaking the rich to assist the little guy--as was done in the New Deal and Great Society--maintains a middle-class society with few extremes in poverty or wealth.

By the way, you guys should know better than do diss LBJ's Great Society. The statistics clearly show that poverty was 19% in 1964, just when LBJ announced his "War On Poverty" (it was higher in 1960, which is why JFK spoke of millions of Americans going hungry every night); by 1969--half a decade later--it was 12%, cut nearly in half. And it remained in the 11%-12% range as presidents of BOTH parties expanded his programs. Only in the Reagan-Bush 1 years did poverty rise again, only to drop back to 12% under Clinton. So what's the real failure--the Great Society or Trickle-Down economics?

The fact is, tax breaks on the rich don't trickle down (unless you're talking about middle-class people being pissed on). The rich, more often than not, hoard the money--it's human nature. (IF MEN WERE ANGELS, THERE'D BE NO NEED FOR GOVERNMENT. Conservatives must think men are angels.)

By the way, MEDIAN income is a lot more reliable than AVERAGE income in measuring a "typical" Americans status. If Bill Gates enters a bar, the "average" wealth of the clientele soars, but everybody else is no richer. The median income doesn't soar, and is more representative of what most people in the bar make.




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