Good news! Biden says to hell with deficits!

jimmurphy said:

What exactly was the money "meant to do in the first place?"

It’s true, now that I look at it again, the CARES Act never mentions economic stimulus. The $1,200 payments are referred to as “assistance” and “recovery rebates.”

The purpose of the act itself, for what I presume were procedural reasons, was “to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the excise tax in high cost employer-sponsored health coverage.”


Steve said:

Keep folks fed and sheltered.

It seems I need to keep repeating that I take no issue with funds spent on those who lost their jobs or were otherwise financially impacted due to the pandemic.


If you did not lose your job, your food and shelter issues did not change. If you now work from home like many of us, you no longer  spend as much on gas or lunches, or train tickets among other things.

I take issue with giving money to those who were not financially impacted. I take issue with converting private debt to public debt. I take issue with funding personal investments with public debt.


DaveSchmidt said:

It’s true, now that I look at it again, the CARES Act never mentions economic stimulus. The $1,200 payments are referred to as “assistance” and “recovery rebates.”

The purpose of the act itself, for what I presume were procedural reasons, was “to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the excise tax in high cost employer-sponsored health coverage.”

Failing to use a particular word does not mean that the payments did not have a stimulative effect. Absent the payments, those who spent the money (rather than paying off their debt or investing it as 79 percent of people did) stimulated the economy.

I’m sure not using the word stimulus was a political appeasement.


jimmurphy said:

Steve said:

Keep folks fed and sheltered.

It seems I need to keep repeating that I take no issue with funds spent on those who lost their jobs or were otherwise financially impacted due to the pandemic.


If you did not lose your job, your food and shelter issues did not change. If you now work from home like many of us, you no longer  spend as much on gas or lunches, or train tickets among other things.

I take issue with giving money to those who were not financially impacted. I take issue with converting private debt to public debt. I take issue with funding personal investments with public debt.

 I think most sensible people agree with you that the relief should go to the unemployed and not everyone.  But unfortunately to get the votes of more conservative members of the congress, these are the sorts of compromises that need to be made or the unemployed will get nothing.


jimmurphy said:

Steve said:

Keep folks fed and sheltered.

It seems I need to keep repeating that I take no issue with funds spent on those who lost their jobs or were otherwise financially impacted due to the pandemic.


If you did not lose your job, your food and shelter issues did not change. If you now work from home like many of us, you no longer  spend as much on gas or lunches, or train tickets among other things.

I take issue with giving money to those who were not financially impacted. I take issue with converting private debt to public debt. I take issue with funding personal investments with public debt.

You asked what the purpose was.  I told you.  It was not to goose the economy.  I did not opine on whether or not the distribution of funds was well targeted.


jimmurphy said:

Failing to use a particular word does not mean that the payments did not have a stimulative effect.

The question was what the money was intended to do, so I went to the primary source for possible clues.


If we can’t all agree that giving people money is intended to stimulate the economy then there is nothing to talk about.

Edited to remove “not”


PVW said:

  I'll also note that in general I don't have a super high opinion of regular columnists, as the format doesn't encourage consistently good writing. 

It never discouraged  consistently good writing by Anthony Lewis or Russell Baker.

But I am dating myself.


ml1 said:

jimmurphy said:

Steve said:

Keep folks fed and sheltered.

It seems I need to keep repeating that I take no issue with funds spent on those who lost their jobs or were otherwise financially impacted due to the pandemic.


If you did not lose your job, your food and shelter issues did not change. If you now work from home like many of us, you no longer  spend as much on gas or lunches, or train tickets among other things.

I take issue with giving money to those who were not financially impacted. I take issue with converting private debt to public debt. I take issue with funding personal investments with public debt.

 I think most sensible people agree with you that the relief should go to the unemployed and not everyone.  But unfortunately to get the votes of more conservative members of the congress, these are the sorts of compromises that need to be made or the unemployed will get nothing.

 If politics were only about targeted, thoughtful policy, President Warren would be currently passing legislation with veto-proof majorities.


jimmurphy said:

If we can’t all agree that giving people money is intended to stimulate the economy then there is nothing to talk about.

It’s mostly a matter of semantics, probably. Yes, giving people money will pump more money into the economy than not giving them money. You’ve raised the issue of need, however, and if the purpose were stimulus, need wouldn’t really matter, would it? The money I spend is just as stimulating as the money a needier person spends. If anything, I’d have more flexibility to spend it than he or she would.

The problem with that, as ml1 mentioned, is that in a pandemic economy the places where either I or that other person can spend it on are limited.


jimmurphy said:

If we can’t all agree that giving people money is intended to stimulate the economy then there is nothing to talk about.

Edited to remove “not”

What's so hard to understand about this?

Under normal circumstances, "stimulus" money is meant to try and head off, or curtail a recession.

But when the recession is caused by deliberate policies that actually close down business and in effect, limit economic activity, it makes no sense to then try and spend money to try and get us out of the recession. You would have the left hand of government shutting the economy down, while the right hand is trying to get it started. 

But people are still suffering economically. They can't pay their bills. They're getting evicted. So we give them money to help them out - not to stimulate the economy out of recession.

And while you're complaining about the individual checks being poorly targeted, the fact is that a lot of the money went to boosting unemployment benefits, which was very well targeted.



ml1 said:

 I think most sensible people agree with you that the relief should go to the unemployed and not everyone.  But unfortunately to get the votes of more conservative members of the congress, these are the sorts of compromises that need to be made or the unemployed will get nothing.

 Thoughtful response.  Thank you. 

The issue that I have with it is that this thread was started crowing about the President saying to hell with deficits. Now of course he never said that but his proposal certainly signaled that.  Since we learned that the vast majority of the direct payment money last Spring was not spent as intended, why would we repeat the mistake?

Fortunately, from my moderate perspective, in the last few days since this thread started, the needle is moving toward exactly what    “sensible people” think. The President is open to negotiation, lower  eligibilities, etc.

If you want to argue that this was all part of some grand plan to start from a more extreme point and negotiate to a more moderate one, because politics, then great.

As long as we stop giving money to people who don’t intend to spend it, I’m happy.



drummerboy said:

What's so hard to understand about this?

Under normal circumstances, "stimulus" money is meant to try and head off, or curtail a recession.

But when the recession is caused by deliberate policies that actually close down business and in effect, limit economic activity, it makes no sense to then try and spend money to try and get us out of the recession. You would have the left hand of government shutting the economy down, while the right hand is trying to get it started. 

But people are still suffering economically. They can't pay their bills. They're getting evicted. So we give them money to help them out - not to stimulate the economy out of recession.

And while you're complaining about the individual checks being poorly targeted, the fact is that a lot of the money went to boosting unemployment benefits, which was very well targeted.

 I’m done beating the dead horse with you. 


DaveSchmidt said:

It’s mostly a matter of semantics, probably. Yes, giving people money will pump more money into the economy than not giving them money. You’ve raised the issue of need, however, and if the purpose were stimulus, need wouldn’t really matter, would it? The money I spend is just as stimulating as the money a needier person spends. If anything, I’d have more flexibility to spend it than he or she would.

The problem with that, as ml1 mentioned, is that in a pandemic economy the places where either I or that other person can spend it on are limited.

When the lack of need translates into personal investment and personal debt reduction, it is not stimulative. Not sure how many times I can say it.

And no, the needier person has *less* flexibility to spend it than you do. He *has to spend it* on food or rent, whereas you could invest it or pay off your credit card.


drummerboy said:

What's so hard to understand about this?

You'd think a reader who thought a daily newspaper held "cover meetings" over drinks might show a little more humility.


jimmurphy said:

And no, the needier person has *less* flexibility to spend it than you do. He *has to spend it* on food or rent, whereas you could invest it or pay off your credit card.

Right, I said I'd have more flexibility, meaning the needier person would have less. It's the non-grocery, non-rent, non-deliquent-bill spending, which I could afford, that I'd think would have a greater stimulus effect on the economy.

But, like you, I'm running out of steam here.


DaveSchmidt said:

drummerboy said:

What's so hard to understand about this?

You'd think a reader who thought a daily newspaper held "cover meetings" over drinks might show a little more humility.

 I didn't think that. But thanks for your input.


jimmurphy said:

ml1 said:

 I think most sensible people agree with you that the relief should go to the unemployed and not everyone.  But unfortunately to get the votes of more conservative members of the congress, these are the sorts of compromises that need to be made or the unemployed will get nothing.

 Thoughtful response.  Thank you. 

The issue that I have with it is that this thread was started crowing about the President saying to hell with deficits. Now of course he never said that but his proposal certainly signaled that.  Since we learned that the vast majority of the direct payment money last Spring was not spent as intended, why would we repeat the mistake?

Fortunately, from my moderate perspective, in the last few days since this thread started, the needle is moving toward exactly what    “sensible people” think. The President is open to negotiation, lower  eligibilities, etc.

If you want to argue that this was all part of some grand plan to start from a more extreme point and negotiate to a more moderate one, because politics, then great.

As long as we stop giving money to people who don’t intend to spend it, I’m happy.

 the "we" making that mistake isn't people like you and me.  It's Republicans and conservative Democrats in Congress who don't want to do something that they believe incentivizes people not to work.  And I don't think the proposal was in fact intended to be an extreme starting point.  Actual economic analysts have come to consensus that around $2Tn is a minimum needed for pandemic relief.  Some have proposed even more might be needed.

This is from last summer, but it's not as if the pandemic has let up since then.  

https://www.vox.com/2020/7/25/21337087/how-much-stimulus-is-needed


jimmurphy said:

DaveSchmidt said:

It’s mostly a matter of semantics, probably. Yes, giving people money will pump more money into the economy than not giving them money. You’ve raised the issue of need, however, and if the purpose were stimulus, need wouldn’t really matter, would it? The money I spend is just as stimulating as the money a needier person spends. If anything, I’d have more flexibility to spend it than he or she would.

The problem with that, as ml1 mentioned, is that in a pandemic economy the places where either I or that other person can spend it on are limited.

When the lack of need translates into personal investment and personal debt reduction, it is not stimulative. Not sure how many times I can say it.

And no, the needier person has *less* flexibility to spend it than you do. He *has to spend it* on food or rent, whereas you could invest it or pay off your credit card.

You're correct. It's not stimulative, and it was not meant to be stimulative.

Looks like you finally get it, dead horse or not.


DaveSchmidt said:

Right, I said I'd have more flexibility, meaning the needier person would have less. It's the non-grocery, non-rent, non-deliquent-bill spending, which I could afford, that I'd think would have a greater stimulus effect on the economy.

But, like you, I'm running out of steam here.

Nope.

He must and will spend it. He will stimulate. Any spending is stimulative, including on food or rent.

You might not spend it, you might bank it or invest it. That would not be stimulative. You have flexibility NOT to spend, and thereby not stimulate. 

A dollar given to you might not be spent. A dollar given to him will be spent.

If I’m an economist and want to stimulate the economy, I want to give it to him, because he will be more likely to spend it.


As much as I like you... ;-)


What exactly is it trying to stimulate, and for what purpose?


jimmurphy said:

Nope.

You'd think a Mets fan whose division rival just re-upped the best catcher in baseball might show a little more humility.


DaveSchmidt said:

You'd think a Mets fan whose division rival just re-upped the best catcher in baseball might show a little more humility.

 It’s all jealousy. Congratulations!


ml1 said:

jimmurphy said:

ml1 said:

 I think most sensible people agree with you that the relief should go to the unemployed and not everyone.  But unfortunately to get the votes of more conservative members of the congress, these are the sorts of compromises that need to be made or the unemployed will get nothing.

 Thoughtful response.  Thank you. 

The issue that I have with it is that this thread was started crowing about the President saying to hell with deficits. Now of course he never said that but his proposal certainly signaled that.  Since we learned that the vast majority of the direct payment money last Spring was not spent as intended, why would we repeat the mistake?

Fortunately, from my moderate perspective, in the last few days since this thread started, the needle is moving toward exactly what    “sensible people” think. The President is open to negotiation, lower  eligibilities, etc.

If you want to argue that this was all part of some grand plan to start from a more extreme point and negotiate to a more moderate one, because politics, then great.

As long as we stop giving money to people who don’t intend to spend it, I’m happy.

 the "we" making that mistake isn't people like you and me.  It's Republicans and conservative Democrats in Congress who don't want to do something that they believe incentivizes people not to work.  And I don't think the proposal was in fact intended to be an extreme starting point.  Actual economic analysts have come to consensus that around $2Tn is a minimum needed for pandemic relief.  Some have proposed even more might be needed.

This is from last summer, but it's not as if the pandemic has let up since then.  

https://www.vox.com/2020/7/25/21337087/how-much-stimulus-is-needed

 In what way is that diffferent than Hank Paulson's request for $800 Billion?


drummerboy said:

terp said:

If you want radical deficit spending based on money printing you are not allowed to complain about the growing income inequality. Who do you think gets this "money"?

The money goes to whom we give it to. Obviously. QE money from the Fed is not the same as money being spent on specific programs by the government.  Biden's COVID plan would help to offset the QE money, which went to the wealthy.

 Where do you think the government is getting most of this money? How is it that interest rates are so low on such a high risk?  This is all part of 1 machine.  If you look, the little guy will always get the table scraps.   I don't care which party is in power. 

Who really gets the money are those who get it first.  This includes the financial industry, the government, the military industrial complex, and those well connected to the government.  They will always get paid.  This is how we run the empire.  

It is shockingly naive to believe that this apparatus exists to help the common man.  This goes against all the evidence.  People are getting fabulously wealthy as we fight endless wars, killing poor people. The police state grows and we lose our rights.  There is always money to bail out wealthy interests, but they will argue for months if people who are put out of work because of government should get a $1400 or $2000 payment. 

Wake up.


terp said:

drummerboy said:

terp said:

If you want radical deficit spending based on money printing you are not allowed to complain about the growing income inequality. Who do you think gets this "money"?

The money goes to whom we give it to. Obviously. QE money from the Fed is not the same as money being spent on specific programs by the government.  Biden's COVID plan would help to offset the QE money, which went to the wealthy.

 Where do you think the government is getting most of this money? How is it that interest rates are so low on such a high risk?  This is all part of 1 machine.  If you look, the little guy will always get the table scraps.   I don't care which party is in power. 

Who really gets the money are those who get it first.  This includes the financial industry, the government, the military industrial complex, and those well connected to the government.  They will always get paid.  This is how we run the empire.  

It is shockingly naive to believe that this apparatus exists to help the common man.  This goes against all the evidence.  People are getting fabulously wealthy as we fight endless wars, killing poor people. The police state grows and we lose our rights.  There is always money to bail out wealthy interests, but they will argue for months if people who are put out of work because of government should get a $1400 or $2000 payment. 

Wake up.

Take a look at the details of Biden's plan and tell us which parts are there to benefit the wealthy and wall street etc.


drummerboy said:

terp said:

drummerboy said:

terp said:

If you want radical deficit spending based on money printing you are not allowed to complain about the growing income inequality. Who do you think gets this "money"?

The money goes to whom we give it to. Obviously. QE money from the Fed is not the same as money being spent on specific programs by the government.  Biden's COVID plan would help to offset the QE money, which went to the wealthy.

 Where do you think the government is getting most of this money? How is it that interest rates are so low on such a high risk?  This is all part of 1 machine.  If you look, the little guy will always get the table scraps.   I don't care which party is in power. 

Who really gets the money are those who get it first.  This includes the financial industry, the government, the military industrial complex, and those well connected to the government.  They will always get paid.  This is how we run the empire.  

It is shockingly naive to believe that this apparatus exists to help the common man.  This goes against all the evidence.  People are getting fabulously wealthy as we fight endless wars, killing poor people. The police state grows and we lose our rights.  There is always money to bail out wealthy interests, but they will argue for months if people who are put out of work because of government should get a $1400 or $2000 payment. 

Wake up.

Take a look at the details of Biden's plan and tell us which parts are there to benefit the wealthy and wall street etc.

 I think you missed my point.  The rich will get theirs. It may not be in the legislation, but what the average American gets will be peanuts compared to what the political class will extract from the system during this time.


terp said:

drummerboy said:

terp said:

drummerboy said:

terp said:

If you want radical deficit spending based on money printing you are not allowed to complain about the growing income inequality. Who do you think gets this "money"?

The money goes to whom we give it to. Obviously. QE money from the Fed is not the same as money being spent on specific programs by the government.  Biden's COVID plan would help to offset the QE money, which went to the wealthy.

 Where do you think the government is getting most of this money? How is it that interest rates are so low on such a high risk?  This is all part of 1 machine.  If you look, the little guy will always get the table scraps.   I don't care which party is in power. 

Who really gets the money are those who get it first.  This includes the financial industry, the government, the military industrial complex, and those well connected to the government.  They will always get paid.  This is how we run the empire.  

It is shockingly naive to believe that this apparatus exists to help the common man.  This goes against all the evidence.  People are getting fabulously wealthy as we fight endless wars, killing poor people. The police state grows and we lose our rights.  There is always money to bail out wealthy interests, but they will argue for months if people who are put out of work because of government should get a $1400 or $2000 payment. 

Wake up.

Take a look at the details of Biden's plan and tell us which parts are there to benefit the wealthy and wall street etc.

 I think you missed my point.  The rich will get theirs. It may not be in the legislation, but what the average American gets will be peanuts compared to what the political class will extract from the system during this time.

 well then, maybe the way to counteract that is through Biden's plan.

Or we could just wait for the economic revolution to come.


Taking the limitation off the SALT deduction is beyond dopey.    Roughly 50% of the benefit goes to the top 1%.   And if you are a Congressperson who doesn't represent taxpayers in the Northeast, California, Maryland, Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio, Iowa or Hawaii it is just an indefensible money/revenue give away with no benefit.  Also, of course, progressives will hate it and conservatives will hate it.  


notupset said:

Taking the limitation off the SALT deduction is beyond dopey.    Roughly 50% of the benefit goes to the top 1%.   And if you are a Congressperson who doesn't represent taxpayers in the Northeast, California, Maryland, Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio, Iowa or Hawaii it is just an indefensible money/revenue give away with no benefit.  Also, of course, progressives will hate it and conservatives will hate it.  

 Is there a proposal to remove the limitation?


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