Economists: 2013 Another Weak Year for the US Economy

By: Monday October 15, 2012 9:40 am

The US got a good retail sales number for September today, which portends a decent holiday shopping season. But even this indicator led to forecasters predicting a sluggish 1.6% GDP growth for the third quarter. And with electronics up 4.5% for the month, we could simply be seeing an iPhone 5-generated sugar high.

This slow growth is expected to continue into 2013, which should serve as a reminder that the next President, whether an Obama second term or a Romney first term, will find a stuttering economy for much of their first year.

 

The Fiscal Cliff Is Not a Cliff

By: Wednesday October 10, 2012 11:45 am

The word “cliff” does a lot of work here. If there is a drop-dead date, a point of no return where the unwinding of the damage would be too great, then the sense of urgency generated by the Gang of Eight would make more sense. But it actually doesn’t work that way. The economy won’t fall off a cliff, but amble down a slope, in a way that allows for much more deliberative conversation about the best practices for the economy today, not just in the future.

Total US Debt at a Six-Year Low

By: Wednesday October 10, 2012 7:40 am

When politicians and partisans talk about “the debt,” they are almost always talking about publicly held debt, the balance sheet of the US government. Yet overall debt includes a number of elements. You have state and local government debt, corporate debt, and individual private debt plays a role as well. Household balance sheets are just as important to an economy, if not more so, because the level of private debt can inform the level of consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of the economy. And it turns out that the US is at a six-year low in its overall debt, which at this point presents a problem for the economy.

We’ve Already Cut Spending By Almost All of the Bowles-Simpson Targets

By: Wednesday October 3, 2012 11:15 am

Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has an important piece that reinforces something I’ve been saying for a long time. Contrary to the opinion of Michael Grunwald that there has been no austerity in Obama’s first term, Bernstein lays out the numbers that actually shows the austerity, in both the short- and long-term, that actually encompasses most of what deficit scolds seek in their grand bargain.

And this is actually a bad idea,.

Key Senators Hard at Work on Three-Stage Grand Bargain Rocket

By: Tuesday October 2, 2012 7:25 am

Jonathan Weisman’s lead story in today’s New York Times puts together the three-stage process key Senators want to use to force a grand bargain on the country, which would put Medicare and Social Security on the table for cuts. Right now this hasn’t advanced to the upper echelons of leadership, and the best hope to stop it remains House Republican antipathy to tax increases. But here’s what it looks like.

France Calls for Top Marginal Tax Rate of 75%

By: Friday September 28, 2012 7:12 pm

France has announced a massive redistributive tax program which would send the top tax rate soaring and increase taxes broadly on the top 10% of society.

Democrats Figuring Out How to Accept “Concessions” in Spending in Exchange for Inevitable Tax Hikes

By: Saturday September 22, 2012 6:00 pm

Republicans want to use the tax issue as a election tactic, and that’s really the substance of these remarks in the Washington Post claiming that taxes will go up if President Obama wins a second term. But there is some reality behind them.

The 47% Who Pay No Income Tax – A Pure Creation of Republicans, Serving Republican Needs

By: Tuesday September 18, 2012 6:34 am

You may have seen by now this chart, explaining the identity of the 47% (actually 46.4%) of Americans who “pay no income tax.” As you can see, around two-thirds of that subset do pay Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you count both sides of that tax, the employer and employee side, you get to 15.3% of their income in taxes. Mitt Romney paid what, 13.9%, in the one year we know about, and almost none of that included payroll taxes because it derived from interest and capital gains income.

Romney to Donors: All Obama Voters “Dependent Upon Government”

By: Monday September 17, 2012 3:35 pm

The hidden camera moment of this election cycle comes not from the long-awaited Michelle Obama Whitey tape, but from a fundraiser for the Republican nominee.

Mother Jones’ David Corn has obtained video – catnip for 24-hour news networks – of Romney speaking at a gathering of high-dollar donors, wherein he gave his strategy for the election. In so doing, he basically describe everyone disinclined to vote for him as a moocher living off the government dole.

OMB Issues Report on Sequestration: “Deeply Destructive”

By: Friday September 14, 2012 2:15 pm

The Office of Management and Budget has released its Congressionally mandated report under the Sequestration Transparency Act, designed to explain how the Obama Administration would execute the sequester, the automatic cuts to defense and discretionary programs supposed to hit at the end of the year.

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