StanCollender'sCapitalGainsandGames Washington, Wall Street and Everything in Between



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  • Camp Plan Puts Nail In Tax Reform Coffin For This Year, And Next, And...   4 weeks 21 hours ago

    I'm with you, RueTheDay on the silliness of the number of brackets equalling "complicated" The only real reason to reduce the number of brackets is that fewer brackets make it harder to raise the tax rates on the increasingly concentrated wealth. It is much more difficult politically to raise taxes on 20% of the population than on 1% of them. Or even .1%.

  • Camp Plan Puts Nail In Tax Reform Coffin For This Year, And Next, And...   4 weeks 1 day ago

    The biggest problem I have with the Camp plan is that it claims to simplify the tax code, while actually making it much more complex.

    For example, there is now a 10% surtax (really just another bracket) that applies to certain income but not other income (e.g., income that comes from "activities that produce goods" such as manufacturing and farming is exempt). Good luck with the rules on that one.

    The phaseouts for many deductions are made more complex, you now have a higher rate on capital gains but don't pay taxes on 40% of those gains (pure gimmick), restrictions on tax free sales of homes, etc.

    In exchange, we get fewer brackets. The GOP has sold it's base on the lie that the complexity in the individual income tax comes from having so many brackets. That is abject nonsense. Having more brackets does not add complexity. The real complexity comes from the walk from Adjusted Gross Income to Taxable income, i.e., all of the itemized deductions. If you really want to reduce complexity, then just eliminate all deductions (including mortgage interest, charitable contributions, state/local taxes, health insurance premiums, etc.) and increase the statndard deduction to a level such that ~80% of people will see their total tax burden relatively unchanged. Unfortunately, that will never happen.

  • It's Time To Eliminate The President's Budget   4 weeks 3 days ago

    We need more budgeting, not less.
    Budgets force people to think about the big picture.
    No budget is really DOA. Congress and the President have historically held different budget priorities.
    Too many in Congress don't review the budgets. Many follow the advice of party leaders and lobbyists.

  • Does Anyone Else Realize The Federal Debt Ceiling Was ELIMINATED?   4 weeks 4 days ago

    Basic rule of hypertext, which the Web is, is that any path that can be taken to a page, will be. So a page should be self-explanatory, if possible.

    In this case, anyone who knows what the debt ceiling is could end up at this page. The title, after all, is provocative. :) Collender is right not to assume the reader's familiarity with the debt debate.

  • It's Time To Eliminate The President's Budget   4 weeks 4 days ago

    Congress doesn't know squat about what it takes to run agencies. Sure, do away with the President's Budget as a formal submission, however, the agencies are the repositories of how much it costs to do things. You won't do away with the process.

  • It's Time To Eliminate The President's Budget   4 weeks 4 days ago

    I agree about the political nature of all Washington budget-writing, but the details and agency-by-agency spending justifications are essential for writing appropriations bills. Without an Administration proposal as a foundation, wet would rely on Congress setting the baseline for activity and program spending, which should scare the willies out of any budgeteer.

  • It's Time To Eliminate The President's Budget   4 weeks 5 days ago

    ...All of that is why I prefer to use the term "The President's budget proposal," which I think captures the irrelevance of it. Essentially it is a political, rather than a policy document.

  • Does Anyone Else Realize The Federal Debt Ceiling Was ELIMINATED?   5 weeks 13 hours ago

    way to many words, imo
    all you needed was two paragraphs; I mean anyone reading the title is probably already clued into most of what the debt debate is about

  • Does Anyone Else Realize The Federal Debt Ceiling Was ELIMINATED?   5 weeks 1 day ago

    Obama is a "fiscal conservative?" HA!

  • Does Anyone Else Realize The Federal Debt Ceiling Was ELIMINATED?   5 weeks 1 day ago

    The problem is, Obama is a fiscal conservative who said that we were out of money in '09 and who has implemented belt-tightening for the Federal gov't. He wants to be remembered as the Democratic president who saved entitlements by cutting them back. Cost-cutting is an integral part of the ACA. If Obama takes the opportunity to borrow while he can, it will lessen the pressure on entitlements. Besides, he had the opportunity to borrow before, and did not take it. He doesn't want to.

  • Does Anyone Else Realize The Federal Debt Ceiling Was ELIMINATED?   5 weeks 3 days ago

    Stan - Isn't this effectively the same as what happened in February 2013?

    P.L. 113–3 has this text:

    SEC. 2. TEMPORARY SUSPENSION OF DEBT CEILING.
    (a) SUSPENSION.—Section 3101(b) of title 31, United States Code, shall not apply for the period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act and ending on May 18, 2013.
    (b) SPECIAL RULE RELATING TO OBLIGATIONS ISSUED DURING SUSPENSION PERIOD.—Effective May 19, 2013, the limitation in section 3101(b) of title 31, United States Code, as increased by section 3101A of such title, is increased to the extent that—
    (1) the face amount of obligations issued under chapter 31 of such title and the face amount of obligations whose principal and interest are guaranteed by the United States Government (except guaranteed obligations held by the Secretary
    of the Treasury) outstanding on May 19, 2013, exceeds
    (2) the face amount of such obligations outstanding on the date of the enactment of this Act. An obligation shall not be taken into account under paragraph (1) unless the issuance of such obligation was necessary to fund a commitment incurred by the Federal Government that required payment before May 19, 2013.

    S540 has:

    SEC. 2. TEMPORARY EXTENSION OF PUBLIC DEBT LIMIT.

    (a) In General- Section 3101(b) of title 31, United States Code, shall not apply for the period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act and ending on March 15, 2015.

    (b) Special Rule Relating to Obligations Issued During Extension Period- Effective March 16, 2015, the limitation in effect under section 3101(b) of title 31, United States Code, shall be increased to the extent that--

    (1) the face amount of obligations issued under chapter 31 of such title and the face amount of obligations whose principal and interest are guaranteed by the United States Government (except guaranteed obligations held by the Secretary of the Treasury) outstanding on March 16, 2015, exceeds

    (2) the face amount of such obligations outstanding on the date of the enactment of this Act.

  • Does Anyone Else Realize The Federal Debt Ceiling Was ELIMINATED?   5 weeks 3 days ago

    Um. The debt ceiling was suspended ("temporarily eliminated"???) in early 2013 and then again in October 2013, so I don't know why reporters would have treated this decision as such a watershed now.

    Meanwhile, this headline will undoubtedly confuse many readers since, well, its clear implication is wrong. Sad to say it, but come 2015 there's a fair chance that we'll find ourselves doing the same dance again, and I don't know why Stan would want to obscure that fact.

  • Extreme GOP Federal Budget Hypocrisy Early In 2014   8 weeks 1 day ago

    Shocking indeed! Hypocrisy is now at a tremendous point. And this year this ugliness has already started to take place. This is pathetic and sad!

  • Extreme GOP Federal Budget Hypocrisy Early In 2014   8 weeks 6 days ago

    It should be understood that since the time of Ronald Reagan, Republicans are for fiscal discipline only when a Democrat occupies the White House.

    In 1946 the Gross Federal Debt amounted to 121.7% of GDP. The Truman administration reduced it to 72.4%; Eisenhower to 55.2%; Kennedy/Johnson to 38.6%; Nixon/Ford to 35.8%; and, Carter to 32.5%.

    Then came Ronald Reagan with "supply side" tax cuts which his Budget Director David Stockman was a "Trojan Horse" to reduce the top rates. Budget deficits in all eight years increased the Gross Federal Debt from 32.5% of GDP to 53.1%. Four more years of deficits for Bush I increased the Debt to 66.1%. Clinton raised taxes, had 4% unemployment, and, reduced the Debt to 56.4%.

    In 1995, after the GOP took control of the House, Speaker Newt Gingrich shut the Government down ostensibly to show fiscal discipline.

    After the GOP Supreme Court awarded the 2000 election to Bush II, two rounds of "supply side" tax cuts were enacted in 2001 and 2003, again favoring the wealthy. Eight years of deficits resulted the increase of the Debt from 56.4% of GDP to 85.1% and left a crippled economy from the collapse of the financial system in September 2008.

    Not a word about deficits was uttered by Republicans except Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neil who objected to the second round of "supply side" tax cuts as the Clinton surplus had been turned into deficits by 2003. Former Vice-President Dick Cheney told him: "You know Paul, Reagan proved deficits don't matter." When O'Neil continued to object, Cheney fired him whereupon O'Neil got in his car and drove home to Pittsburgh. But he had his integrity with him and very few members of the Bush-Cheney administration did.

    Then, of course, the Republicans, again, shut down the Government in 2013 to show fiscal discipline when the economy needed stimulus from the largest economic disaster since The Great Depression in the administration of Herbert Hoover 78 years and 11 months before.

    Now that's hypocrisy.

  • Extreme GOP Federal Budget Hypocrisy Early In 2014   9 weeks 2 days ago

    Learn about quantitative easing by the FED. You will be shocked to find out how much money the government is handing to the rich. But at least Obama can point to the stock market doing well and stupid people will say that shows we have a strong economy.

  • 5 Budget Predictions For 2014   9 weeks 3 days ago

    Long term, passing this budget with no attempt to control costs I would expect to cause a serious drag on the economy. I realize all politicians concern themselves with is the next election, but this was a bad deal for the future of the country.

  • 5 Budget Predictions For 2014   10 weeks 5 days ago

    2014 economy condition may not be so well. But I hope for the best, I pray to Almighty for the best we can see.

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  • 5 Budget Predictions For 2014   12 weeks 4 days ago

    Gee, Stan -- you couldn't depress us more going into New Year's??!! But thank you for the analysis. It's very useful.

  • The 5 Biggest Myths About The Budget Deal   12 weeks 5 days ago

    You cannot seriously think there will be a debt limit brouhaha in June, at the height of a run up to the 2014 election. This noise from Ryan et al is no more than posturing.

  • The 5 Biggest Myths About The Budget Deal   13 weeks 4 days ago

    This is best regarded as a ceasefire rather than a truce. Hopefully a more durable ceasefire than the one agreed to just before the Tet Offensive.

  • The 5 Biggest Myths About The Budget Deal   14 weeks 1 day ago

    The most honest thing we can say is that the deal was better than most expected. Happy Holidays!

  • It Takes Two To Buy And Sell A Platinum Coin   14 weeks 3 days ago

    People understand, intuitively, that the platinum coin is a trick. And they don’t so readily understand that the debt limit has become a trick Congress plays on itself.

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  • Did Boehner Grow A Pair Or Just Rent Them?   14 weeks 4 days ago

    Your statement about the R position on the debt ceiling is really quite inaccurate. The Sahil Kapur piece you link to is headlined: "Paul Ryan Indicates GOP Willing To Hold Debt Limit Hostage Again." That is already somewhat hyperbolic relative to what Kapur actually reports, which is that Paul Ryan says: "We don't want nothing out of this debt limit." But you make it even more exaggerated by going from "Willing to" to "will."

    Especially after your rather overheated coverage of the last debt ceiling (a reminder to everyone: Stan said there was a "no better than a 50% chance" of going past 10/17 deadline), I'd think you might want to combine your very astute coverage with a slightly more cautious attitude.

  • The 5 Big Budget Deal Losers   14 weeks 6 days ago

    No extension of unemployment benefits. This means that more people will not be able to pay their bills. A lot of the unemployed have debt and small business that extends credit is going to take a hit.

    We have an unemployment crisis and the government is ignoring it.

  • The 5 Big Budget Deal Losers   14 weeks 6 days ago

    Not sure I understand the process here. Is this a budget resolution/budget deal. Or is it an approps/revenue bill. Can't Murry and Ryan only do budget resolutions?



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