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Players want front-loaded contracts because of the dreaded Fiscal Cliff

Nov 23, 2012, 8:12 AM EDT

Fiscal Cliff

Every time I mention politics some of you yahoos tell me to stick to baseball. Well, tough, because this time it’s quite appropriate to put them together. Baseball players, owners and agents are thinking about front-loading contracts to avoid tax hikes on the rich:

As free agents negotiate deals this offseason, tax policy is an area that comes up along with the usual issues. Some players are wrangling for as much money as they can get before the end of the year to avoid a take hike in 2013.

“Front-loading would make sense if at all possible as tax rates will definitely go up on January 1st on all high-income taxpayers,” agent Greg Genske said in an email. “The only question is HOW MUCH will the rates increase????”

You know it’s serious if they’re using that many question marks.

Anyway, thanks Obama.

115 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. dondada10 - Nov 23, 2012 at 8:38 AM

    If a player gets 2 years/ 20 million, how much can he reasonably ask to get before the end of 2012? There’s only 3 billing cycles left in the year.

    • manchestermiracle - Nov 24, 2012 at 3:09 AM

      Methinks this is just another smoke screen for what players have always wanted: More money sooner. A player fortunate enough to demand and get, say, $20 million over two years would find this artfully-crafted, yet highly overblown “fiscal cliff” rationale a great excuse to ask for $10 million before the end of the year with the remainder to be paid over the two year contract.

      Granting that request would depend on how badly the club in question wants to sign that player, but there’s also the fact that many of the components in the “fiscal cliff” scenario do not have a hard deadline (Jan. 1st) and some can be modified afterward with no fiscal impact.

  2. anxovies - Nov 23, 2012 at 8:45 AM

    Eat the rich!

    • Charles Gates - Nov 23, 2012 at 9:38 AM

      Simmer down, anti-Swift.

    • manchestermiracle - Nov 24, 2012 at 3:11 AM

      Soylent Green based on income level. Hmmmm…….An interesting marketing strategy.

  3. scotttheskeptic - Nov 23, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    When do free-agent contracts actually start paying? I suppose the front-loading would be in the form of a signing bonus?
    And, Craig, everyone in Washington is to blame for this fiscal mess.

    • mybrunoblog - Nov 23, 2012 at 9:47 AM

      Why blame the politicians? They work for us. Blame us the public for electing these boobs time and time again. And definatly blame those who don’t participate in the electoral process. Shame on them too.

      • historiophiliac - Nov 23, 2012 at 10:33 AM

        If only it were that simple.

      • manchestermiracle - Nov 24, 2012 at 2:36 AM

        Hard to blame folks who don’t vote or have stopped voting. Look at the options and tell me not picking any of them is the worst option.

        It really is that simple. Some time back a national poll asked registered voters two questions: 1) What do you think of your state’s elected representatives and, 2) What do you think of the other state’s representatives? Without seeing the apparent similarities of their own answers to what others answered they all said the same thing: My guy is okay, the rest suck.

        As long as voters think there are only two parties, and continue to pick between just those two parties, nothing will change. It will likely just get worse. Find a candidate who isn’t a member of the two major parties (there are lots of them out there, you just have to do more work to find them than watch TV) that you can support and stop the madness of electing self-serving big-party sycophants.

      • historiophiliac - Nov 24, 2012 at 11:35 AM

        Mr. Miracle, you assume that third party candidates are virtuous options. Mostly, where I live, you have to pick from a blue-dog D, a socially conservative R, and a John Bircher I. Occasionally, the 3rd party person is a one-issue candidate that has no chance of winning or someone who is more well-intentioned than politically savvy. Also, I think my reps suck and I vote against them every time. However, I’m in the minority in a state where people elect their candidates based on one issue — and it is not the economy. I’m not even going into the possibility of corruption once one gets in office or the media game that can suck even a good rep up. In the real world, you just don’t get to choose from one good person who will do the right thing over clearly-identified baddies.

      • manchestermiracle - Nov 24, 2012 at 1:25 PM


        I cannot disagree with anything you said. On the other hand, voting for the 3rd party candidate (any 3rd party candidate) would put the big two on notice that they are losing votes. This might effect some change in their platforms.

        This last presidential election saw the Republicans shocked (shocked I tell you!) that they actually lost, when they had convinced themselves they were going to win. Now I hear talk that at least some of the main players in that party are entertaining the thought of becoming just a wee bit more moderate in order to try and stop alienating everyone except older white males. Hey, it’s a start.

      • historiophiliac - Nov 24, 2012 at 3:13 PM

        I too wish we had multi-party options. I hope the shift to independent voting continues, so that parties can’t take voters for granted and have to be more responsive. (Although the sneaks in my state have started pushing for non-partisan elections in order to confuse voters and hide what money is behind the candidates.)

    • manchestermiracle - Nov 24, 2012 at 3:14 AM


      It’s amazing how many people assume the president has much, if anything, to do with writing legislation. Congress is the problem here, as it is in most issues. All the president can do, besides attempting to sway members, is sign or veto what they choose to present him.

    • badintent - Nov 25, 2012 at 1:59 AM

      There is NO Fiscal Cliff , just a bunch of international banks that own something called the Federal Reserve Bank,It’s not a Federal agency or institution but a PRIVATE bank, whose shares are owned by Rockerfeller and Rothchild owned banks. IT was created in 1916 to print money (in violation of the US Constitution ), and if we don’t pay the $$ owned to it, who cares, ?The banks have no power to in force collection of the $$. We already let one of the banks, Lehman Brothers failed in 2009, so what’s a couple more ? No sh*t !! don’t believe this ?? Google it !!! Time to take back out country once and for all. Bank in small county banks or credit unions., screw the big city banks like Chase , Chemical, or Citibank. The real revolution starts with bank boycotts.

  4. Gardenhire's Cat - Nov 23, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    Craig, there is no way you voted for Romney so you can thank yourself.

    • skeleteeth - Nov 23, 2012 at 9:24 AM

      I know you’re only a cat but possessing the ability to post to an internet blog would imply a higher than average intelligence. Clearly that’s not the case here though.

      • badintent - Nov 30, 2012 at 4:36 PM

        Funny ! But PETA gonna be on yur butt for insulting cats.

  5. cowboysoldiertx - Nov 23, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    The day after the election, the ENTIRE state of Texas went into morning. Can’t wait until we get the balls (and enough support) to break away from the US. TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS! TEXAS!

    • sophiethegreatdane - Nov 23, 2012 at 9:29 AM

      I’ve never heard even a single person who was opposed to Texas’ secession threats. The only thing I ask is that you leave Austin behind for the rest of us happy and well-adjusted folks to enjoy.


      • cowboysoldiertx - Nov 23, 2012 at 9:53 AM

        Austin is all rich snobs anyway. We gladly say adios! :-)

      • Old Gator - Nov 23, 2012 at 5:54 PM

        Like the Bushes, you mean?

      • badintent - Nov 25, 2012 at 2:02 AM

        Austin City Limits !! my favorite show of all time ! please God No !

    • paperlions - Nov 23, 2012 at 9:34 AM

      The rest of the US has been hoping for that day for quite some time as well. Looks like it’ll be a win-win situation.

      • cowboysoldiertx - Nov 23, 2012 at 9:55 AM

        Texas supplies the following:
        Most of the oil, most of the cotton, corn, potatoes, beef and 75% of the military (at least the army). Good luck US without us. Let us know how it feels to be owned by China!

      • paperlions - Nov 23, 2012 at 10:05 AM

        None of those things are true.

        TX isn’t the top producer for many of those things, isn’t in the top 10 states in potato production ….and they do not produce anywhere near 1/2 of the yeild for any of those things in US.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Nov 23, 2012 at 10:04 AM

        Cowboy, if you think that a Rick Perry Texas is the way to go, then when does that freeloader move out of his $10,000/month rental?

      • skids003 - Nov 26, 2012 at 4:07 PM

        Hey Cowboy, the northeast and Kalifornia couldn’t survive without the rest of us to foot their bills. They have to get money from somewhere to support them.

      • paperlions - Nov 26, 2012 at 4:12 PM

        Um, yeah….if you actually look at the data, it is the Northeast and the west coast that pay more to the feds than they get and it is the middle and southestern portions of the country that get more fed money than they pay in taxes….so, while your little remark may have been satisfying, the fact is that the NE and west coast are supporting the red states….not the other way around

    • koufaxmitzvah - Nov 23, 2012 at 10:03 AM

      Actually, the entire planet, after Election night, went into morning.

      • raysfan1 - Nov 23, 2012 at 10:37 AM

        …and then afternoon and then evening…

    • historiophiliac - Nov 23, 2012 at 10:04 AM

      What I got outta that is: Texas doesn’t have balls. But, shouting will not make them grow. Stop with your nonsense.

    • raysfan1 - Nov 23, 2012 at 10:35 AM

      Any true conservative should remember that the first Republican president was in office when the question of secession was settled. If you want to leave the US, feel free to do so, but every square inch of US soil, including all of Texas, remains.

      1/2 of all military are from Texas? From what part of your butt did you pull that? Less than 0.5% of the population currently is serving in the military, so there overall percentage is not high anywhere anyway. Speaking as someone who retired last year after 26 years in the military, there are more southerners and midwesterners than westerners and northeasterners in the military. Within those midwestern and southern states, Texans are represented at roughly the same rate and thus have a bit higher overall numbers due to having a higher population.

    • cur68 - Nov 23, 2012 at 11:59 AM

      Take Quebec with you, please. I can’t stand all the whining: you lot can can have a whine-in together.

      • historiophiliac - Nov 23, 2012 at 12:04 PM

        Dude, keep the fort and the cheesepie though.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Nov 23, 2012 at 12:04 PM

        Texas is bigger than France!

      • cur68 - Nov 23, 2012 at 12:06 PM

        er…ok. Quebec’s in Canada, eh? What does Frane have to do with this?

      • koufaxmitzvah - Nov 23, 2012 at 12:09 PM

        The Quebecois want to speak Francais, so I just can’t see a Texas nation with some Quebecois region. We’d just push ’em East into Louisiana.

      • cur68 - Nov 23, 2012 at 12:11 PM

        A man with a plan. I like it. Ok, but they’ll just pretend they don’t understand English, y’know. I think leave them there with the Texans: neither groups really speaks English much and they can get on each other’s nerves instead of ours.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Nov 23, 2012 at 12:18 PM

        If Texas is going to secede, then it’s going to be a Texas for Texans. All Texans– American and Mexican, Black and White and Yeller and Purple. What we have in common is we don’t eat frog legs. Cow gizzards, yes, but that’s mighty fine when broiled and made into a chili.

        As for our speak, that’s the sound of a real American coming in loud and clear.

      • cur68 - Nov 23, 2012 at 12:22 PM

        Cow gizzards? Man, that sounds…offal. Ze French like their offal, too. They’d fit right in. C’mon man, take ’em with you? Please?

      • badintent - Nov 25, 2012 at 2:07 AM

        Quebec eats the dreaded cassolet(pig guts), the stuff that should be on tennis racket,s not in your stomach.And the women do not shave….anywhere………oh the horror !! why the hell do you think the French invented french stockings ??

    • approvenothing - Nov 23, 2012 at 12:06 PM

      Sigh. Way to make all of us other Texans seem like complete idiots. Even though i agree in independence, why are you bringing the idea into a Baseball Blog. I get this post is over politics but the constant whining from some people who have nothing better to do with their lives is quite annoying.

      BTW: Rick Perry has no testicals, we already know this.

      • historiophiliac - Nov 23, 2012 at 12:21 PM

        You seem reasonable enough that I don’t even want to call you on “testicals.” Low hanging fruit….

    • approvenothing - Nov 23, 2012 at 12:10 PM

      This is the reason i can’t tell someone im from Texas without being called a Whining B*tch… Sigh.

    • hellboundglory9 - Nov 23, 2012 at 12:57 PM

      Well, 41% of us Texans voted Obama, so I think it’s safe to say that nowhere close to everybody in the state went into mourning. Though if you really did mean the entire state went into “morning”, you’d be right about that.

      • raysfan1 - Nov 23, 2012 at 2:24 PM

        Also, most of the people who voted for Romney are not twits who think the appropriate response to losing an election is to whine and spout nonsense.

      • historiophiliac - Nov 23, 2012 at 2:33 PM

        That means 6% of Texans are Obama traitors.

    • kiwicricket - Nov 23, 2012 at 1:18 PM

      Your “Well adjusted : Redneck ” ratio would be all out of whack. Would never work.

    • dondada10 - Nov 23, 2012 at 3:52 PM

      Didn’t we all go into morning after the election? I believe it was Wednesday morning.

    • stex52 - Nov 24, 2012 at 4:24 PM

      Listen, guys, don’t blame me for this crap. I am an American. If cowboy wants to leave, I think we should let him.

  6. sophiethegreatdane - Nov 23, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    I love nothing more than listening to these rich assholes complaining about paying 15% , and the possibility that they may have to pay 20%. Meanwhile, the middle class sinks paying 35-47% tax rates, and half of them voted for the *other* guy who wants to keep it just that way. Perfect.

    In other words, “I’m sick of paying these high tax rates! I’m voting for the dude who will ensure that the wealthiest MF’ers pay HALF what I do! That’ll show ’em.”

    Math and facts are such a difficult concept for some.

    • ltzep75 - Nov 23, 2012 at 10:12 AM

      The only way a person pays a 15% rate is if that income was earned through capital gains.

      The tax code is a difficult read for all.

    • kcq101 - Nov 23, 2012 at 10:14 AM

      The 15% tax rate increasing to 20% is in regards to the capital gains tax rate rising. Not the federal income tax rates.

      The income tax rate for the highest earners will rise from 35% to 39.6%. Whereas the middle class rate will rise from 25% to 28%. Both upper class and middle class will also feel the increase of the 2% payroll tax increases, if not extended.

      The middle class tax rates you refer to are the combined effective income tax rates, when you total Federal, State, and Social Security & Medicare taxes. So your comparison is a poor one.

      Math and facts are a difficult concept for some, including you.

    • Tim OShenko - Nov 23, 2012 at 10:17 AM

      But, but…they create jobs, so they’ve *earned* their tax breaks. I mean, it’s thanks to them unemployment is a non-issue after a decade of low taxes on the rich, right? Right?

      • Charles Gates - Nov 23, 2012 at 10:29 AM

        they create jobs, so they’ve *earned* their tax breaks

        No, that’s not how it works.
        Lower taxes encourages further investment which allows for business expansion which then creates future jobs.

      • historiophiliac - Nov 23, 2012 at 10:30 AM

        Hey, it’s not Paris Hilton’s fault her brand is no longer popular. She’s trying. How can she employ the people if they won’t buy her…wait, what does she make again?

      • Tim OShenko - Nov 23, 2012 at 10:59 AM

        Alright, Charles. So I’ve confused cause and effect in this case. Still, after a decade of lower taxes for the mightily rich, I have to wonder where this investment into business expansion is going on.

        I mean, I’ve noticed executives using their companies as their own personal piggy-banks, average wages dropping all across the country, jobs shipped overseas where labor is even cheaper, and unemployment numbers rising. What I haven’t seen, is the wealthy elite of this country putting their resources back into the American workforce. I’ll grant that some of them are investing and working to expand business here in America, but not enough to turn things around.

        What I would like to know is, how much longer are we expected to wait for these future jobs to materialize? They’ve had since the early days of the Bush era to fund all this expansion, and things haven’t exactly gotten better in that time frame.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Nov 23, 2012 at 12:39 PM

        Charles, the wealthy only have incentive to reinvest their gains back into the business if their customer demand has increased, i.e., has money to spend. Trickle down does not work when the rich take their gains and hoard it outside the market (bonds, gold, etc). It is a romantic idea, but does not in reality produce the desired result.

      • Charles Gates - Nov 23, 2012 at 1:35 PM

        Purchasing bonds is hoarding money and has no utility outside that of the bondholder’s? Really? Because an increase in the demand for bonds lowers the borrowing cost of the company who issued the bonds which allows for more investment and…see above.

  7. canucks18 - Nov 23, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    Hey cowboy, you should be pissed at the education system you’ve got there in Texas.
    Morning= a general time of the day that includes breakfast.
    Mourning= a time of grieving (see I before e spelling rule for this one)

    • approvenothing - Nov 23, 2012 at 8:05 PM

      Or maybe it’s just him and our school system is just fine? Because one person being a complete fuck gives you an excuse to think our education system is any different than everyone elses. Right? Moron…

    • stex52 - Nov 24, 2012 at 4:27 PM

      Yeah, if he is a soldier he was probably educated somewhere else.

  8. watchfullhose - Nov 23, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    You seem smart.

  9. natsattack - Nov 23, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    Ned Colleti will be out of a job.

  10. Charles Gates - Nov 23, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    Sign Josh Hamilton for $40MM for in 2013. Then $10MM AAV for years 2-5 of contract. Total AAV = $16MM per year, but Hamilton gets the tax benefit and the advantage of getting the money up front. For negotiation, a team option could be inserted after, say, 2014 or 2015 in exchange for an increase in the $10MM AAV.

  11. prosourcetalk - Nov 23, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    Texas will never secede. Just like every other state, they receive a substantial amount of federal funding. The amount of tax revenue that would need to be generated by Texans to offset the absence of federal funding would be impossible to obtain without heavy borrowing.

    • historiophiliac - Nov 23, 2012 at 11:01 AM

      And, also, the Union would kick their ass again.

    • paperlions - Nov 23, 2012 at 11:02 AM

      Texas actually pays more in federal taxes than their receive, so I don’t know if that is really an issue.

    • ThatGuy - Nov 23, 2012 at 11:08 AM

      Not true. For every dollar a Texan sends to the federal government in taxes, the federal government spends 94 cents in Texas. So Texas would be better off if the money that went to the federal government went to the Texas government.

      • snowbirdgothic - Nov 23, 2012 at 11:42 AM

        I see you went and got the Wal-Mart doorbuster on discounted reductio ad absurdum.

    • stex52 - Nov 24, 2012 at 4:30 PM

      So far roughly 0.4% of the population of Texas signed that stupid secession thing. And that’s assuming they weren’t just joking around and were actually from Texas.

      Let’s give that one a rest.

  12. cur68 - Nov 23, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    I’m always amazed at this “rich create jobs so tax them less” stuff. I can’t find where its true. Employment rates are not associated with tax rates. Data from the IRS and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for the unemployment rates between 1980 and 2010 debunk this very well. Once author used the basic tax rate for a family that is making $50K, $100K and more than $500K per year and assumed that the partners jointly filed their tax returns as a married couple. What he found was that a relationship did not exist between the tax rates and the unemployment level.

    If we believe that the rich will create more jobs because of lower taxes, there should be an observable direct relationship between the tax rates and employment numbers. In other words low rates SHOULD equal high employment, right? But this is clearly not the what’s been happening. The employment rate remains pretty much flat in relation to the tax rates for individuals, which varied enormously. In fact, in the States, the lowest unemployment rate occurred in the late 90s before the Bush tax cuts were implemented. So the converse appears to be true in America: high taxes on the American rich = more jobs in America for the non-rich.

    Tax those rich ballplayers, I say! Tax them till they bleed money!

    • cur68 - Nov 23, 2012 at 1:02 PM

      For more on this topic, where an author actually does carry out some inferential testing to look for associations between taxes and unemployment rates, see:

      He gets an interesting result:

      “This means that when taxes were high, during that same period unemployment tended to be low, suggesting a stronger economy. And when taxes were low, during the same period unemployment tended to be high, indicating a weaker economy.”

      The period he’s talking about is 1948 to 2011. If anyone has something beyond opinion that refutes this I’d love to see it.

    • historiophiliac - Nov 23, 2012 at 1:07 PM

      Don’t bother trying to fight the Reagan folklore. You will not win. Trust me, been jousting that windmill for YEARS.

      • cur68 - Nov 23, 2012 at 1:56 PM

        I feel that Nate Silver will take my side. I have some evidence to support that he believes in facts over opinion. I also believe that his word carries some weight these days.

      • indaburg - Nov 23, 2012 at 2:32 PM

        While Silver’s words do carry a lot of weight these days, it doesn’t carry much weight with the populace of Oklahoma, home to ‘philiac, or most of the red states. Facts are impervious to the cloak of the American flag. The literati on the coasts understand Silver, however, they also tend to be the ones that understand that trickle down economics is a fallacy that doesn’t work. It’s the tale of two Americas. Sometimes I wish we could split in two.

      • historiophiliac - Nov 23, 2012 at 2:39 PM

        Drunk Nate Silver says this year did not mark Reagan’s 101st birthday…because he fucking died in 2004!!!!!!

      • cur68 - Nov 23, 2012 at 2:45 PM

        drunknatesilver also DEMANDS that you tax your wealthy more because it’s good for your economy, top to bottom.

      • historiophiliac - Nov 23, 2012 at 2:48 PM

        That’s acidtripnatesilver.

        It occurs to me that you might live closer to Sarah Palin than I do, and I feel much better.

    • Charles Gates - Nov 23, 2012 at 1:57 PM

      cur, that Salon article is hardly a study.
      And you completely ignore: ‘We can even make the argument that if we were to increase or decrease the tax rates for every bracket, this too will have a limited impact on unemployment.’

      • cur68 - Nov 23, 2012 at 2:06 PM

        I know its not a study. That’s why I said “observable difference” and why I looked further and found the the other article where the analysis that the Salon article discusses were actually run. If an observable association isn’t to your taste check into the tested association then in the Counterpuch article. Read right to the bottom. The argument just gets better for taxing the ass off of the rich.

        If you can provide some actual numbers that shows these 2 articles are wrong, then show me.

      • Charles Gates - Nov 23, 2012 at 2:40 PM

        This report finds that these higher marginal tax rates result in a smaller economy, fewer jobs,
        less investment, and lower wages. Specifically, this report finds that the higher tax rates will
        have significant adverse economic effects in the long-run: lowering output, employment,
        investment, the capital stock, and real after-tax wages when the resulting revenue is used to
        finance additional government spending.

      • cur68 - Nov 23, 2012 at 2:58 PM

        Charles, that’s a forecasting model. Specifically these are estimated results using the Ernst & Young LLP General Equilibrium Model of the US Economy. It doesn’t back cast. What I have provided here is a back cast. Like weather forecasting models, the accuracy of the model can be tested by if it can predict backcasted results. Given that this forecasting model’s results are diametrically opposed to the backcast results, I have NO confidence that the predictions of this model, funded and “Prepared on behalf of the Independent Community Bankers of America, the National Federation of Independent Business, the S Corporation Association, and the United States Chamber of Commerce” is AT ALL ACCURATE. In fact, the authors NEVER establish the accuracy of this model and most General Equilibrium Models are heavily criticized by Keynesians and the like for LACK OF ACCURACY. Given the lack of accuracy here, why would you hang your hat on this model?

      • manchestermiracle - Nov 24, 2012 at 2:52 AM

        Because, cur, (as you probably already know) those who still adhere to dis-proven “trickle-down” economic models have no credible studies to cite in support of “voodoo economics.”

        I do, however, find the similarities here amusing. Many baseball owners take their cut of the revenue-sharing pie and put it into their pockets, just like other business owners take profits and put them into their pockets. If either were actually re-investing those earnings we’d see less unemployment in the labor market.

  13. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Nov 23, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    If the general public is too lazy to develop a nearly unnatural ability to play with a ball, they don’t deserve a proportional share of tax revenue funded social services.

  14. kiwicricket - Nov 23, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    Death, Taxes and Mila Kunis not responding to my letters are the only certainties in my life unfortunately.
    It seems some of you guys miss the point entirely, same old re-hash of news channel horse-shit.

    Perhaps a bit more thought should be spent on where those tax dollars go? What it’s allocated towards?
    I can’t remember how many times I have read these rants, but I can count on one hand how many comments I have read mentioning the particular use of these funds.

    You guys are going to be taxed 2% more, but no one mentions where it’s going? Everyone’s got an opinion on capital gains tax, but does anyone in this room pay any?
    Infrastructure and education are underfunded, your health system is a fucking joke, but you spend the highest amount of GDP of any developed country on it’s military.

    Would you not want to be taxed 2% more and have a ‘free healthcare’ system which tends to everyone?
    Most of the developed world has higher tax rates than the US. Minimum wage earners in France are taxed 25%, so put things into perspective. What the citizens of these countries do demand is that they get looked after. It is their right as a citizen. Their sick, old and in need are taken care of. It’s a ‘social’ way to look at things.

    Sorry to rant, but I find the general angle of these discussions bizarre sometimes. An entire generation of Americans grew up thinking money grew on trees. It was only a matter of time before reality set in.

    Become more well-adjusted, informed and strive for a better quality of life for the majority….or take your oil n’ potatoes and go play by yourself like Mr Texas previously mentioned? Bitch about taxes, immigrants and your gas prices which are half the price of the rest of the planet. Can’t have both.

    • cur68 - Nov 23, 2012 at 2:32 PM


    • indaburg - Nov 23, 2012 at 2:45 PM

      “What the citizens of these countries do demand is that they get looked after. It is their right as a citizen. Their sick, old and in need are taken care of. It’s a ‘social’ way to look at things.”

      As soon as you say “social”, you lose half of the populace over here. “What are you talkin’ about, boy? That’s socialism. That’s communism. That’s some -ism I don’t understand but I know I don’t like it.” Too many people here believe in the Horatio Alger myth.

      Please don’t generalize about an entire generation of Americans. There are many Americans who do agree with what you wrote, kiwi, and we’re really trying to make things better.

      • kiwicricket - Nov 23, 2012 at 3:15 PM

        Not mean to rant or lump everyone into the same boat. It’s often 1am so I can’t reply. Tend to spew a few sentences in one go. Sorry.

        Just as long as Sierra Nevada brewing company survives for many years to come. That is all I ask of America.

      • indaburg - Nov 23, 2012 at 4:05 PM

        I will do everything in my power to make sure it survives. Cheers.

    • Charles Gates - Nov 23, 2012 at 2:51 PM

      Perhaps a bit more thought should be spent on where those tax dollars go? What it’s allocated towards?
      Exactly. But I would like to add: ‘How they’re allocated’ and ‘How efficient is that process?’

      To be clear, no one in their right mind is saying that there should be no taxes.

      Case in point, assuming Wikipedia is accurate:(

      According to a 2005 report from the OECD, the United States is tied for first place with Switzerland when it comes to annual spending per student on its public schools, with each of those two countries spending more than $11,000

      Yet, American students ranked 25th in math, 17th in science and 14th in reading.

      I want the freedom to make choices and the responsibility of living with those consequences. I do not believe that government programs are the most prudent way to get there.

      • historiophiliac - Nov 23, 2012 at 5:41 PM

        In all seriousness, what do you think is the better way to universal education? Are the schools in Switzerland that you use in comparison private schools or what? Do they have a national education program or localized systems like we do?

        FYI, you can probably get better info from sources more serious than Wikipedia & the Huffington Post.

      • badintent - Nov 30, 2012 at 4:48 PM

        @charles Gates,
        I understand and support your point which puts me in the .001 % of the bloggers here for having a college level education and the street smarts to match. oh, and not a member of either the Massive American Teachers Federation or their Democrat cronies. Make half of all public schools charter schools and watch the grades go up and up every year.

    • raysfan1 - Nov 23, 2012 at 3:10 PM

      Paying attention to where tax dollars go requires actual research, thought, and involvement…something that does not describe the average Democrat or Republican. It takes maybe a minute or so to google GDP and health care expenditures to discover that the developed nations which have universal health care all spend less for it than we (Our current system eats up 18% of our GDP, whereas the UK spends 10% on their system, which has both national and private health care options.)

      • kiwicricket - Nov 23, 2012 at 3:35 PM

        Most voters in most countries have no idea really.
        Just the political fanaticism shown by the clueless and uninformed is significantly louder with a certain population in the US.

    • historiophiliac - Nov 23, 2012 at 3:22 PM

      I’m going to refrain from going into a full-on history rant and just say that you are asking us to be other than ourselves and that we are the oligarchy(s) we were designed to be.

      • cur68 - Nov 23, 2012 at 6:28 PM

        Why refrain, ‘philiac? I’ve punted out the word “Keynesians” and even snuck up on General Equilibrium Modelling and some of its failings. That there has to be either the nadir or zenith of argument esoterics, I can’t decide which. Surely we’re due a good history rant.

        “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”
        — John Maynard Keynes, also attributed to Winston Churchill

      • historiophiliac - Nov 23, 2012 at 8:37 PM

        Alright then.

        I’m too comatose from yummy, yummy pun’kin pie leftovers to write a long thing. But, historically, we’ve never had a commitment to social programs — New France & New Spain had more hospitals and public aid societies than the English colonies and that’s due to a difference in ideology. Our system is built on the notion of personal liberty, and there’s no social responsibility component to that. It also means we are indoctrinated to be hostile to government — due to the premise that government intrudes on our sacred personal liberties. Under our Constitution, the only significant legitimate functions of government are national security and promoting commerce (hence we spend on these). Alexander Hamilton designed a financial system that profits bondholders at the expense of taxpayers — because we never pay off the principle of what we owe (and this was intentionally done). It’s a system where the rich benefit from government without social obligations. The social gospel has never been as strong here and when Christian socialism blossomed elsewhere, we were busy arguing over slavery. Our educational system “Americanized” immigrant and Indian children, teaching them individualism over social obligations (which is the same fight going on in Arizona where they have gotten rid of Hispanic studies courses). Our country exploded in violence in the late 19th century over labor/economic issues — including healthcare — and eventually company owners started offering benefits in an effort to coopt workers and end the business disruptions the labor disputes caused. This was sold as an earned benefit for those who worked — hence the idea of social benefits as a right of citizenship never developed here. A private market developed instead. In short, our whole history goes against us doing differently than we do. (Whew! And, I didn’t even go into much or mention the Progressives, unions, etc.)

      • raysfan1 - Nov 23, 2012 at 8:59 PM

        True enough, and my argument for universal healthcare is not really based on social justice, although I acknowledge the logic of it. I like money as much as the next person, and when I realize universal coverage costs less, I become a supporter of universal coverage.

      • indaburg - Nov 23, 2012 at 9:22 PM

        Interesting rant.

        “In short, our whole history goes against us doing differently than we do.”

        So, should we just accept the status quo? As you mentioned earlier, “you are asking us to be other than ourselves.” It’s impossible for us to be anything but ourselves, isn’t it?

      • historiophiliac - Nov 23, 2012 at 9:35 PM

        Well, I think circumstances will force us to change. So far, we’ve gotten along by patching the system here and there — expanding voting rights, adding social security, legislating things like worker’s comp, etc. Maybe we can sustain for awhile longer with this piecemeal approach.

        Personally, I think the truth is that we are shifting to a new way of thinking. I don’t think we as a people truly believe in the founders’ ideology anymore (do you believe in natural rights?). I think we will slowly transition to something else — really, it’s a matter of time. No nation lasts hundreds of years without significant political and economic shifts. We are a young country but eventually, it will happen to us too. Perhaps this is the beginning of it, but I may be totally wrong on that. There were those in the 19th century who thought the same and didn’t anticipate the way the system would be salvaged with patches. It would be beautifully ironic if universal healthcare blossoms from the statism bequeathed to us by Bush & Cheney though.

      • cur68 - Nov 23, 2012 at 10:11 PM

        Nice one Puddin’. Pardon me while I rip that off for my next bar debate with my friends. All quotes will be unattributed of course. The idea is to get the bartender, who is drop-dead pretty, to get into it with us on the grounds that she’s a liberal, we’re either centrists (moi) or out and out conservatives. She stomps her foot when she gets mad, and its very appealing. I’ve been pushing the American founding ideological line for some time now and was plumb out of argument in the face of her grasp of economic theory demonstrating that it simply doesn’t apply in this day and age. If I parse that out carefully enough I should get the double whammy: in effect agreeing with her, while appearing to know what I’m talking about (a first!). Cheers.

      • historiophiliac - Nov 23, 2012 at 10:22 PM

        Well, as long as you use your powers for good…

      • indaburg - Nov 23, 2012 at 10:40 PM

        I do believe in natural rights. I don’t think that believing in fundamental human rights is incompatible with evolution of our current construct as a nation. For example, I believe health care to be a fundamental human right, in addition to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

        Maybe I’m naive, but I believe we will change. We don’t have a choice. The demographics of our country are changing at a pace never before seen in our nation’s history. This year was the first year that non-white babies outnumbered whites. By 2042, according to the US Census bureau, whites will cease to be the majority. These demographic changes are going to have huge political, sociological, and economic implications. We already felt that slight tectonic shift in this past election (the media kept reminding us that the “Sleeping Giant” has been woken up with the large Hispanic vote turnout–I didn’t know I was asleep or a giant, but I digress). While attempts at Americanization are attempted (e.g. Arizona), the tide will be too strong. Cultures with fundamentally different philosophies will make their presence known. Social media will also be a powerful tool in the propagation in new ideas. Look at the occupy movement–that wasn’t an American idea. The boundaries that make us different from other nations will become blurred. I hope social obligation will come to be the norm and expected. History might explain the past and why we are the way we are, but it is not a predictor of the future nor does it tell us who we will be become. For the latter, you have to ask Nate Silver.

      • historiophiliac - Nov 23, 2012 at 11:17 PM

        Burgie, we can agree to disagree on where rights come from then. To me, the important thing is that we agree that we should have those rights. I hope you aren’t naive about change coming — because then I would be too. I think we agree that the changing demographics will force some kind of shift. For example, a larger Catholic population (with its dedication to the social gospel) will make a difference (note: MA has a much larger portion of Catholics than OK and has already enacted healthcare legislation where we have not, as well as laws on usury, etc that are different than in red/Protestant majority states). The question is will the change stop at simply introducing universal healthcare and other social policies or will it go beyond that to say we need to rework the system itself (as in replacing the Constitution, etc) because it is so flawed that it no longer serves. That’s the kind of change I meant.

      • indaburg - Nov 23, 2012 at 11:46 PM

        “we can agree to disagree on where rights come from then”

        I am curious about where you believe rights come from. You don’t believe in natural rights that any human is entitled to just based on the fact that s/he is alive?

        Good discussion. Thanks, ‘philiac.

      • historiophiliac - Nov 23, 2012 at 11:55 PM

        I don’t think rights come from God or Nature or that they are inherent in the nature of human beings. I think these things are socially constructed — much as our notions of femininity, goodness, etc are. As a society, we develop these ideas (often not consciously) and we can redefine them too. I don’t ascribe to the notion that there are rights that exist outside of our understanding.

  15. sportsfan69 - Nov 23, 2012 at 8:58 PM

    Cry me a river, rich people having to pay more taxes than us middle class baseball fans who pay their salaries.

  16. rathipon - Nov 23, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    With a de facto salary cap being phased in, the differences in state tax rates will become very relevant. Want to play for the Yankees? Take a 10% haircut due to state taxes. They used to pay give out lager contracts to make up for it, but not anymore. We may end up seeing a day where large makets are systematically disadvantaged.

  17. jaydoubleyou22 - Nov 24, 2012 at 4:46 AM

    Cur68, you are mixing correlation and causation. Unemployment is not high because taxes are low, taxes are lowered when unemployment is high… In order to stimulate the economy from the supply side…

    Unless you are Herbert Hoover or Barak Obama. Then you raise taxes when unemployment is high. In case you to drop some knowledge on yourself, you should have a look how that worked out for Hoover. If you really want to learn something, check out the Laffer Curve.

    And since you love Keynes so much, why don’t you explain how the Keynesian policies of the past 4 years have worked out (I.e., stimulus … Although that debt-spend-debt-spend program is poorly named, as the only thing it stimulated was our national debt).

    But let’s not get off topic. CC belongs on MSNBC, not HBT. At MSNBC, they have roughly the same ratio of sports to politics stories.

    • mrredlegz - Nov 24, 2012 at 10:08 AM

      I’d give you more thumbs if I had ’em. Saved me from a much longer reply to the Keynesian madness.

    • historiophiliac - Nov 24, 2012 at 11:19 AM

      Well, then you have confused occasion with necessitation. Taxes don’t automatically go down (or up) when unemployment is high. It requires an act of Congress to change tax rates — they aren’t automatically triggered by variations in economic factors (revenues, yes; taxes, no).

      I couldn’t help noticing that you left FDR out of your example. Conveniently, that allows you to connect the current president with the unpopular Hoover (instead of the much-beloved FDR). I also notice that you left out the entire post-War period (1945-1980) when our economy grew significantly and tax rates were much higher than they are today — plus, you know, we paid for a highway system and a space program and lifted millions of the elderly out of poverty.

      Supply-side economics did not work when we tried it in the past, so there’s no sense in revisiting it — Laffable Curve or no.

    • cur68 - Nov 24, 2012 at 12:42 PM

      JW: I am not mixing correlation and causation. I HAVE NO THEORY AT ALL as to why it is so, but it is irrefutable that between 1948 & 2011 higher taxation for the wealthy occurred at the same times, regardless of if you staggered the years, as low unemployment. In that same time period the reverse was true: lower taxes occurred at the same time as a recession, even allowing for few years to pass before comparing the two.

      If you were at all familiar with introductory statistics, you would understand what the tests were that were run, how they were carried out, and what they mean. No one in either article, nor myself, put forth a theory or said the one causes the other. ALL we are saying is: IT IS BULLSHIT THAT LOWER TAXES FOR THE WEALTHY = MORE JOBS. That is NOT what history shows us happens.

      As for Keynesians, I could give a crap about them. They are merely one of the many groups that justifiably criticize General Equilibrium Models.

      You and your friend with the thumbs, the red legged one, clearly didn’t read ALL of the second article, where they discuss this at length. Try again.

  18. dirtydrew - Nov 24, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    I find it amazing at players, most of whom come from poor family’s, are trying to avoid taxes. I mean, when they were poor, we paid for them, in welfare and government assistance. I also find it funny that the citizens of Texas wanting to secede. Your state is a recipient of tax money. Your state would be an extension of Mexico with out the Pay states like CA and NY. It would be good if we let these broke states like Texas and Mississippi secede. We who actually pay for the non productive states, TX, MS, GA, MO , AK, AL … You can all go. And take your open empty hand with you.

  19. dirtydrew - Nov 24, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    I think a majority of the states that receive LESS in federal money than what we pay in taxes, CA, NY, NJ, MASS, WA; we who pay for the handout states would gladly let them go. Go be a third world country. And when a tornado, hurricane, what have you, hits your little piece of red heaven, don’t ask for help. But you will soon see that there is not enough tax money, or buckets in your state to help you. Good luck, thanks for coming and taking. Now please leave.

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