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Why the US declines? Solutions?

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    Posted: 23 Feb 2011 at 23:14
Fact, the huge deficit is pushing the U.S. down. Economics, particularly family economics, in that country don't look particularly good at all and the general mood is pesimistic. The question is why things turned this way. Let's analyse the causes.

These are the factors I think are causing the decline, and how the U.S. could fix it, if they wish.

(1) Military expending. The U.S. has keep expending money beyond its possibilities. This is the U.S. budget and how the deficit is growing.



 
If that tendency keeps going on for a decade or more, the impact on the U.S. economy will be devasting.

How to fix it? There are several measures the U.S. could take, but will require a lot of courage.

(a) Reduce the military bases abroad or bring mercenary services. The U.S. gives for free, protection to many allies. However, nobody pays the rent Confused. If those countries need protection (Japan, Corea, European countries) they should pay for it. Otherwise, the U.S. should leave them alone.



(b) Stop worthless wars! Leave the mess of Iraq, Iran and Pakistan for them to solve.

(c) Reduce the military expending controlling the waste! It is well known most of the U.S. gear is overpayed. Military industry is not efficient in economic terms at all. Military industry ineficiency is just leading the U.S. to bankrupcy.

Sample: Each F-35 will cost US$ 63 millions! Confused


(2) Oil . The U.S. foreign policy is largely driven by the necesity to acquire natural resources abroad, mainly oil. But why the U.S. needs oil in the first place?
Importing oil not only force the U.S. to waste money in imports but also forces it to keep militaries abroad at huge expenses.
Get rid of oil and those problems will get away.





How to get rid of oil? There are many ways that country could follow with that in mind:
(a) Follow Brazilian example, and replace large part of the consumption by ethanol.
(b) Go electric. Electric cars already exist. A zero emision policy in main cities would encourage the development of the insfrastructure to support them.
(c) Go hydrogen. This technology also exists, and could complement the others. A zero emisions policy would trigger it spreading.
(d) Develop massive proyect of solar and other clean energy projects.
(e) Increase nuclear energy.

All of this is a lot of work, but it pays off in the long term, and will mean energy independence.

(3) Recover Manufacturing.

Mass manufacturing was lost to the U.S. because it followed some idiotic theories of economists. They talked about the "age of services", that Reagan said very clearly it was nothing else than cutting the hair each other... LOL
Manufacturing plants moved to China, India and elsewhere.
The question is why? The answer: cheap labour.
But nobody try to question again.
How to compite with cheap labour? The aswer: with technology!!
That's was the way the British Empire compited with China and India, in textile industry, during Victorian days and it is not reason it could work again.

What the U.S. could do is focusing in radical technological changes in manufacturing industry that replace labour for machinery. Flexible manufacturing, robotics, high tech would help. But to develop it, it is necesary to invest.

(4) Civil Projects. Go big.

The U.S. is getting behind in big projects. For instance, today the biggest dams are in China and South America, the fastest and more innovative railways are in Japan and Europe, the biggest tunnels and bridges are in Asia and China. The largest buildings in the Middle East and Asia. And even the Panama Channel new project is done by locals this time. The U.S. doesn't even have a fast train!

Investing in infrastructure is a major factor in the efficiency of countries, and that should be a priority.

Let's comment about what the U.S. should do to get out of its economic blues. No kidding please.







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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Feb 2011 at 23:30
You have created this topic before.  The conclusion was that the US is not so much declining, it is that other powers are rising.
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Feb 2011 at 23:31
The U.S. can do a lot better than it is doing today. Come on, even with all the differences, this is an American country, and I wonder how to fix it.

The U.S. has lost force in innovations, for some reasons. But the potential for come back has been there all the time.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Feb 2011 at 00:34
It seems to me that the US is creating a huge problem by developing a vast fiscal deficit without any appearance of a long term strategy for economic prudence. Tax cuts + spending increases cannot go on indefinately. Something eventually has to give. America needs to behave like an adult. Its voters are spectacularly uninformed. Most seem to think that a fifth of their budget goes on foreign aid. Amazing.
http://xkcd.com/15/



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Feb 2011 at 01:29
Okay, here is the issue: the U.S. as a country is declining by design. It is not that the millionaires who control the U.S. want to destroy it as much as they don't really care one way or another: their wealth is created via government spending and protected via low taxes, subsidies, and the ever promise that if they fail, the U.S. government, which they control, will pay for it. War spending, a big source of wealth for millionaires, is carefully protected.

In other words, everyone is supporting millionaires in the U.S. And if millionaires fail as they did in 2008, the whole country will pay money to replenish the money that they lost.

Since a lot of money is now made financially, and finance is something a bit more like legalize con artistry, there is no need to create infrastructure in the U.S. since most wealth is created via spreadsheet. That is also why there is no need to have a strong public education system or give access to education to middle class or poor people. Or to have affordable health insurance, or good roads. Their money doesn't depend on Americans.

The potential voters are dividing in two: the tribal conservatives and the discouraged liberals. Liberals in the U.S. get so discouraged that they won't vote, since, in reality, both parties are conservative. The "liberal" politicians are moderate conservatives that may cry a bit about the plight of the average person, but will still go ahead and push conservative policies. No one should be fooled: the health care package passed by the Democrats was created by the conservative Heritage Foundation, and it was the alternative health care plan for the GOP through most of the 90s.

So the liberal voter ends up voting for conservatives in the Democratic party because the other option is worse, or they gravitate towards self-defeating third-parties, or they just don't bother to vote.

The GOP has been successful in exploiting tribalism in the U.S., either racial tribalism, exploiting the older, prejudiced white population, religious tribalism, via the non-issue of abortion, or by the threat that guns will be taken away from people. The main point is to get the people into a frenzy so that they will subscribe to the "conservative" package deal and will support policy after policy that could hurt them directly by having their rage take them to the polls.

The conservative white "middle" class, and white poor are very interesting in this area since they have been fooled the most: as a group, the benefit the most from government programs, yet they are the easiest to be put into a tribal frenzy the easiest, and will defend policy after policy that directly hurts them.

So, millionaires get their democratic blessing. They would still get their way, but it would be a bit harder though.


Edited by hugoestr - 24 Feb 2011 at 01:34
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Feb 2011 at 01:50
Brilliant.
However, what happened with those nationalistic millionaries that fought to improve the country?
Remember Henry Ford?
In any case, I agree that financial artists are destroying not only the U.S. but the world. People is not making money anymore with manufacturing, agriculture and inventions, but simply by playing at the cassino that is the stock exchange!
If millionaries are guilty, perhaps it is time for using the guillotine once more... Wink




Edited by pinguin - 24 Feb 2011 at 01:51
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Feb 2011 at 01:58
Henry Ford benefited from having a better infrastructure in the U.S. Maybe he also loved the country, but it gave him wealth to have a better educated workforce and a lot of roads.

At this point you can run businesses with a small number of educated people, so the need for most of the population to have a university degrees is gone. So there is no need to fund it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Feb 2011 at 02:06
Even more, college educated people is cheaper in India, via outsourcing.

Edited by pinguin - 24 Feb 2011 at 02:14
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Feb 2011 at 02:12
Because its people continue to live in the delusion that they are the greatest and their politicians keep feeding that delusion. The last elections are just a proof of that.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Feb 2011 at 03:08
Hugo and al Jassas are both close, and indeed their reasons reinforce one another.
However, taking pinguin's four points.
(1) Military expending.
Military expenditure is in fact keeping the US economy afloat in the short to medium term. Some of it is useful in the long term also since it helps give the US a technical edge, but in the short term severely reducing the military budget would completely kill the US economy unless some other more fertile ways of spending the money can be found. 
 
At the moment the military budget for the most part simply serves to keep unemployment figures down, and pay people to do no useful work rather than extend unemployment benefits.
 
(2) Oil  (and other natural resources)
Once upon a time the US was more or less self-sufficient in resources of all kinds. It no longer is, because demand has gone up and to some extent supply has shrunk. It therefore for nearly two centuries could afford a completely protectionist tariff policy, behind which its industries could shelter. That is no longer possible because of the US need today to import raw materials, which requires them to move towards free trade. Worth noting here that the US was forced by the EU to give up its plans under Bush to increase substantially tariffs on imported steel.
 
As Hugo said, this may not worry the millionaire classes unduly, but it is nonetheless an important factor.
 
3) Recover Manufacturing.

Dream on. The only way manufacturing can be brought back to the US is by US workers being willing to operate at more or less the same wage levels as workers in other countries (and US companies to accept the same profit margins). That used not to be true, partly because of the protective tariffs above (and some other protectionist strategies.[1]), but also because foreign producers no longer need US capital to invest in new technology, nor are they less able to develop improved technologies themselves. 
 
[1] For instance the raising of 'safety levels' on cars in the late '60s with the effect of for a while reducing or eliminating the threat of foreign sports cars, until US manufacturers could catch up.
 
4) Civil Projects
The major possibilities lie here. It wouldn't take long to lay out a dozen or so immediate improvements that could be made to the US infrastructure. As long as the people are prepared to pay the taxes necessary to pay for them, which is the kicker.
 
In this sense, major expenditure on education and research count as civil projects.
 
 
 
 
 


Edited by gcle2003 - 24 Feb 2011 at 03:12
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Feb 2011 at 04:18
With respect to the military expending, this is a detail of what each gear cost. It is amazing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_5KvGXDFIQ

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Feb 2011 at 05:18
The era of USA as the one power on earth were the late period of near monopoly for the most advances technologies.  Today every part of the planet can - in principle - get any type of technological level, so the differences will be natural ressources and logistics, and then simply the size, demographics and skills of the working populations.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Feb 2011 at 05:45
Hello to you all
 
I agree with Graham on all his points above except manufacturing. The US still can revive manufacturing albeit not to the levels of the 50s and 60s. The only impediment is the business culture that controls both businesses and politicians.
 
The US still has some of the most successful and profitable non-defense non-high tech manufacturers in the world despite foreign competition. The problem is banks and politicians don't want to support these high risk low profit investments and usually the companies after a successful run will self destruct like GM did.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Feb 2011 at 06:42
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

Hello to you all
 
I agree with Graham on all his points above except manufacturing. The US still can revive manufacturing albeit not to the levels of the 50s and 60s.
It can still do so temporarily, but trends are against it. And resurrecting manufacturing (at least traditional concepts of mass manufacturing) would do nothing for the long term health of the economy.
 
What's needed is for some of that military budget to be going to developing new techniques, including as a starter the provision of made-to-measure products that are dynamically changed to suit the buyer (rather as has happened with information on the internet, to some extent anyway).
The important figure then is not the production worker, but the marketer/salesman who takes orders. They have to be near the customer, and in some ways it doesn't really matter where the actual factory is, since its labour utilisation would be minimal.
 
Quote
 The only impediment is the business culture that controls both businesses and politicians.
 
The US still has some of the most successful and profitable non-defense non-high tech manufacturers in the world despite foreign competition. The problem is banks and politicians don't want to support these high risk low profit investments and usually the companies after a successful run will self destruct like GM did.
 
Agreed but you should probably write 'high risk, low profit, and unglamorous investments'. Decisions like that are not that often taken on rational grounds.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Feb 2011 at 09:06
Indeed, the U.S. companies seems not able to take risks anymore. Particularly, if those investments generate jobs.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Feb 2011 at 10:15
Another contribution to the discussion: the U.S. inequality.

Separate but unequal: Charts show growing rich-poor gap

By Zachary Roth

The Great Recession and the slump that followed have triggered a jobs crisis that's been making headlines since before President Obama was in office, and that will likely be with us for years. But the American economy is also plagued by a less-noted, but just as serious, problem: Simply put, over the last 30 years, the gap between rich and poor has widened into a chasm.

Gradual developments like this don't typically lend themselves to news coverage. But Mother Jones magazine has crunched the data on inequality, and put together a group of stunning new charts. Taken together, they offer a dramatic visual illustration of who's doing well and who's doing badly in modern America.

Here are three samples:

• This chart shows that the poorest 90 percent of Americans make an average of $31,244 a year, while the top 1 percent make over $1.1 million:

wealth distribution chart

• According to this chart, most income groups have barely grown richer since 1979. But the top 1 percent has seen its income nearly quadruple:

Wealth share chart

• And this chart suggests most Americans have little idea of just how unequal income distribution is. And that they'd like things to be divvied up a lot more equitably:

Chart showing US attitudes on wealth inequality

To see the rest of these fascinating charts, click on over to Mother Jones.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SPQR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Feb 2011 at 12:59
a couple ways to nip this problem that I can see right now, fix taxes, and cut the defense spending.

looking at Pinguin's chart I saw how great everything was before the Bush administration, what the heck happened??
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Feb 2011 at 21:47
pinguin beat me to it. I was considering posting the mother jones charts myself.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2011 at 03:44
To illustrate how the American people are so deluded, here is a precious sample of tea partiers who helped flip Wisconsin to the Republican side last election (with a very considerable majority) and what they think (beginning from 0:55):
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2011 at 04:37
Silly responses on that video indeed. To say that corporations don't or shouldn't pay taxes is retarded.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2011 at 04:39
more pies in the face:  2010


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2011 at 04:43

2010 Receipts & Expenditures Estimates







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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2011 at 06:41

What has changed?

 

Download Data for Year 1959:

  single year | multi year | raw data | | | | |
< = ="usgs_ajax.js">

Would you like to download government spending data from usgovernmentspending.com, spending data that covers all levels of government, United States federal, state, and local government spending? No problem. We have four ways you can download spending data. And more to come.

Fast Lane

Click to download your government spending data for Fiscal Year 1959

CSV file simple text tab-delimited
text
simple html <table>
without styling
fully styled
html <table>

Slow Lane

Here is how to get your government spending data. You can use controls on the table below to change the data, including:

  • The fiscal year
  • The view
  • The level of spending detail
  • The units, including billions, millions, percent of GDP, percent of spending
  • An individual state
To get what you want, just follow the easy steps outlined below.
Step 1: Select the data set you want

In the table below, click the controls to get the data you want.

  1. Click the “-1yr” and “+1yr” text-links or the “1959” drop-down to change the year from 1959 to the year you want.
  2. Click the “Change View” controls to change the data labels to the view you want.
  3. Click the expander [+] controls to add more detail.
  4. Click the “$ billion” drop-down to change the units.
  5. Click the “United States” drop-down to change to an individual state.

Go ahead and use the controls on the table below to get the particular spending information you want to download.

 
 

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OK. Now you are ready to download your data.

 
You can do that for any and all years you desire and 1959 is the perfect base year since it was the last in which the median and lower income classes represented close to 70% of the "national wealth". Subsequently, the politicians began jiggling with the tax structure...and gave us the first (the Kennedy Tax Cuts) but not the last of the vehicles that essentially permitted the private accumulation of capital at obscene levels under myriads of rationalizations.


Edited by drgonzaga - 25 Feb 2011 at 06:52
Honi soit qui mal y pense
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2011 at 07:48
A very informative discussion!  I would suggest that raising taxes, is not a way out of the mess, but a way to extend the mess!
 
It appears that some of you would reduce the DOD, budget, but it is already basically a "Jobs Programme!"  Just what would all of those who now suck on the DOD teat, do?
 
Others would raise taxes upon business, corporations, etc.!  But, do any of you really think (feel) that these entities really pay anything?  That is, taxes are  merely figured into the balance sheet, and pricing schedules, so it is the consumer that ultimately pays them! 
 
Raise business taxes 10% and the price of the service or product, will automatically go up 10%, depending upon the ability of the business itself to be competative in the world's markets! 
 
Raise the taxes too high, and American products and service costs  might well become "over-priced?"  Then starts the lay-offs, plant closings, etc., and the entire structure comes crumbling down!
 
Years ago, Bush proposed making it possible for those who contribute to Social Security, to open their own independant retirement accounts, and have the ability to spread thier contributions into other money making or money loosing investments!  But, this great idea was shot out of the sky by our Socialist/Liberal media and representatives!
 
Bush, also proposed placing limits upon payments gained via Law Suits, etc.!  This idea was also shot from the sky, or should I say the launch pad!  Reducing the cost of doing business was also one of Bush's proposals, I think?  But, all we have seen is a never ending series of new Federal and State regulations designed to hamper business rather than  help it!
 
The way I see it is that if one had drawn up a "gameplan" to destroy the USA, 10 or 20 years ago, then the actions we have seen already taken, would have  made up a good part of the plan!
 
I seriously see no way out, other than world wide economic collapse, and some type of re-newal!
 
Regards,
 
Ron
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2011 at 07:59
Wow. These graphs just show how good Clinton was.
 
In addition to raising taxes, and slowly cutting defence spending. America also needs to devalue it's currency. Easier said than done, since it's primarily China that is holding the US dollar high, and Obama has already been very active in trying to get the Chinese to devalue the US dollar (ironically, because other countries pegged themselves to the dollar the US is the only country that doesn't have control over the value of its currency).
I think the US should force China's hand by printing money and using it to repay the debt with China. That would force China either to accept an effective debt write-off, or a devaluation of the US$.
 
Also US should raise taxes on the rich, not the poor.


Edited by Omar al Hashim - 25 Feb 2011 at 08:01
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2011 at 08:01
Here is the "foundation" of 1950s prosperity:
 

Major Enacted Tax Legislation, 1950-1959

 

Internal Revenue Code of 1954

  • Corporate Tax Rates. Temporarily extended 5 percentage point increase in corporate tax rates through 3/31/55.
  • Depreciation Deductions. Increased depreciation deductions by providing additional depreciation schedules.
  • Dividend Tax Credit. Created 4% dividend tax credit for individuals.


Excise Tax Reduction Act of 1954

  • Excise Tax Increases. Temporarily extended 1951 excise tax increases through 3/31/55.
  • Excise Tax Rates. Reduced excise tax rates on telephones, admissions, jewelry, etc.


Revenue Act of 1951

  • Individual Income Tax. Temporarily increased individual income tax rates through 1953.
  • Corporate Tax. Temporarily increased corporate tax rates 5 percentage points through 3/31/54.
  • Excise Taxes. Temporarily increased excise taxes on alcohol, tobacco, gasoline, and autos through 3/31/54.


Revenue Act of 1950

  • Individual Income Tax. Eliminated portion of the individual income tax rate reductions from 1945 and 1948 acts.
  • Corporate Tax. Eliminated 53% corporate tax rate "bubble"; increased top corporate rate from 38% to 45%.


Excess Profits Tax of 1950

  • Corporate Tax Rate. Increased top corporate tax rate from 45% to 47%.
  • Excess Profits Tax. Created temporary excess profits tax of 30% through 6/30/53.
http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/legislation/1950.cfm
 

Edited by drgonzaga - 25 Feb 2011 at 08:14
Honi soit qui mal y pense
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Al Jassas View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2011 at 08:03
Actually very few people ask to raise corporate taxes since they form a very tiny percentage of the government income and in any case most compaies don't pay them anyway. Most people ask for a cancellation of the loopwholes which make GE getting 1 billion in tax refund without paying any taxes while others pay a rate of 34%.
 
What people argue about is income tax. Rich people pay less of their income in taxes than poor people, that is a fact. If the rich are to pay the exact same rate (let alone the 1960s rates) most of the budgetary problems will be solved.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2011 at 09:15
What about cutting military waste... I mean, military expenses? Nobody see the fact the U.S. expend to much playing Rambo?
Just an oppinion.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2011 at 09:46
That is a ticklish subject pinguin. They say a percentage of the defense budget is about 3% to 5% of it's GDP, as compared to it's social programs being something like, uh... about 15%. As for the budget, here is an interesting graph and a link

http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/







 Perhaps, cuts all across the board is needed in curbing our out of control, spend, spend, spend government? HA! Yeah right... So much has already been given away to the government than for them to reasonably return much that has already been given unto them. Defense cuts you say? A mere drop in the bucket to the +3 trillion dollar budget and continuously climbing. Angry

 
The question is, who is going to be the ones to tell them to knock off all this spending? Any one group that steps forward will most certainly be painted quite negatively with a very broad brush. Just look at what happened with the tea party group. Somehow, i feel we are doomed too keep ballooning!



Edited by Panther - 25 Feb 2011 at 09:50
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