Sunday, October 31, 2010

[Videos] 60 Minutes: (a) Anger in the Heartland (b) Deficits: Taxing the Rich

Two nice stories tonight on 60 Minutes having to do with the economy

First, the dichotomy between fantastic corporate profits in large companies - especially that of the multinational kind - versus the scorched earth left behind in the ecosystem, once the large companies move jobs offshore; this story is specific to Iowa and Maytag but of course is symptomatic of so many others as Ross Perot's "great sucking sound" plays out.   A tangent in this piece is the utter despair the voters in the piece have with both parties, and how few believe their children will do as well as they did.  All themes discussed at length the past 3-4 years on FMMF pages.

(13 minute video)

Two years ago, most Americans voted for change, and if the polls are to be believed, they're about to do it again.

In the latest CBS News/New York Times Poll, 80 percent said they want most incumbents out of Congress regardless of whether that incumbent is a Democrat or Republican.

There's a grim mood among people who were counting on a recovery that has now fallen flat. The economists who decide such things say that the Great Recession ended in June 2009. But since then, we've lost another half million jobs - which helps explain why there is so much anger in the land.

We saw a lot of it right in the middle of the country, among the people who've endured the recession longer than anyone.


Second, can we fix the deficit just by "taxing the rich?" - this is like asking can we build a dam with 20 bags of concrete.  In a broader sense this piece is again political - one side of the 2 headed monster handing away every benefit known under the sun, without having a way to pay for it.... while the other side of the 2 headed monster believing cutting taxes (to perhaps zero) will be fine in that environment.  This story is told mostly through the context of a Washington state initiative to initiate an income tax on the upper income, and the normal dogma ensues.  Special appearance by former Reagen budget director David Stockman who calls out his own party for ... well, dogma.  [Jan 20, 2010: What Can (Scott) Brown Do for You? Not Much... if you are an Incumbant]

(13 minute video as well)

When Congress returns after the elections on Tuesday, it will face one of the most hotly debated issues in the campaign: raising taxes on the rich.

That's President Obama's position: to keep the Bush tax cuts in place, except for those on the wealthiest two percent as a way to reduce the dreaded deficit.

It's an idea already percolating among the governors: eight states have increased so-called "millionaire" income taxes so far, as a way of avoiding drastic budget cuts on health and education. And on Tuesday, voters could make Washington State the ninth.

But with our national debt in the trillions, budget experts will tell you that just taxing the rich isn't enough.

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