An Ever Controversial Cliff Asness Explains Why, He Believes, The Tax Deal Is A Gift To The Middle Class

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Wed, 12/15/2010 - 13:43 | 808500 JackES
JackES's picture

hindenburg omen was triggered yesterday.

I am surprised you guys didn't mentione it.

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 13:48 | 808521 doomandbloom
doomandbloom's picture

sure...but what about the hindenburgs' triggered many weeks ago?

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 14:21 | 808659 toathis
toathis's picture

that nonsense was killed off after QE II was announced.

No "Double-Dip". the babes at CNBC were correct...(you know, the MILFS you love to hate). Warren Buffet is never wrong. Got it?

UP we got. US equities are as cheap as I have ever seen them.

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 14:48 | 808755 dlmaniac
dlmaniac's picture

Don't understand how these folks on the left have the nerve to attack tax breaks. They act as if tax breaks were free welfare handouts that they typically enjoy while it's the money taking from other people's earnings to begin with. You know this system is totally screwed when people not paying income tax could somehow be allowed to vote on how much tax those who do should pay.

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 17:54 | 809599 Common_Cents22
Common_Cents22's picture

It shocks me the level of stupidity, arrogance, and ignorance when they say, "how are we going to pay for tax cuts?" when it isn't governments fucking money in the first place!


It's like buying $15 in groceries at the store, handing them a $20 and the clerk asking how are they going to pay for your change due back?


Reality is certainly stranger than fiction.

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 19:28 | 809923 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

You have to pay to play, and if you're salary is large because you convinced some idiot that you're worth it, you got to pay more to play.

Taxes are progressive for the following reason.

1. Not everyone can make as much as you do.  It isn't possible, the system would break, and it isn't because you work hard, it's because there aren't enough high paying jobs for everyone.

2. Because of #1 some people have to live on a lower salary, and some people in 'poverty'.

3. People who live on a lower salary need more of their income to survive, so that amount isn't taxed.

4. If wealthy people lived well within their means, they would have no problem paying progressive taxes.

Now quit being a fucking piss whiner.

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 15:15 | 808853 IQ 145
IQ 145's picture

 "US equities are as cheap as I have ever seen them." Be patient, the fat lady didn't sing yet.

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 13:50 | 808513 Dburn
Dburn's picture

News to everyone? No not really. First you have to find the middle class before you can call call it news. Sometime between 2001 and now they were wiped clean off the planet. But not so with the top 1-5% which expanded dramatically. If there was a middle class left I'm sure they would point out that in real terms they haven't seen a raise for 30 years. Compare that to the so call high earners. You can't really with no middle class left, but assume it's sometime in the 80s just for fun. 

Can you beleive it? If the minimum wage had been given COLA treatment like Govt workers, it would be $19.00 an hour now or what would be commonly referred to as above survival wages but still not quite middle class. At $7.25 it seems to have fallen a tad behind. Then compare that with the great wealth Transfer to the nation's elite. Now Thats fucking news.

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 13:59 | 808565 Bob
Bob's picture

That's news?  Depends on where you sleep and who you sleep with, imo.  Too bad alot of dumb ho's are getting kicked outta bed now--what a shock: "I thought you cared!"

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 13:51 | 808535 Everybodys All ...
Everybodys All American's picture

The "gift" will be the higher interest rate everyone in the middle and lower class will be borrowing at thanks to the spending associated with the planned bill. The bond market is clear in it's response to the plan.

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 13:53 | 808540 optionninja
optionninja's picture

Line 10: POMO + Bernanke > Hindenburg Omen 

Line 20: repeat until it doesn't work anymore... 

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 14:03 | 808577 chet
chet's picture

The wealthy have a lot of non-wealthy apologists falling all over themselves to excuse a situation where a single digit percentage of people own over 50% of the nation's wealth.

It's an interesting phenomenon.  I find the motivations of the apologists more interesting than the wealthy.  The rich have the incentive to increase their money and power.  But what does some boot-licking columnist gain from giving serial rimjobs to the rich in print?


Wed, 12/15/2010 - 14:25 | 808684 Toonces
Toonces's picture

He gets to keep your nose out of his business.

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 14:02 | 808578 Bob Sacamano
Bob Sacamano's picture

The left whined for a decade about the Bush tax cuts and how terrible they were -- in which case they should push to let them ALL expire.  The fact they were only willing to give up 20% of the Bush tax cuts tells you it was an important benefit to the bottom 80%. 

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 15:20 | 808883 cosmictrainwreck
cosmictrainwreck's picture

yaeh, and I'm still whining...but truthfully "we" don't whine near as hard as the top 10% do....almost need ear-muffs. So, please 'slain me why if, as alleged, all these fuckin' cuts are so fuckin' wonderful for growing the economy and help all the poor "sm bus owners" that hire everybody.... WTF? Only thing came out of the Bush cuts was a godamn RE bubble, inflated bullshit numbers everywhere, monstrous gains by top 5% in net worth, etc etc ad nauseum. Where was all the true growth & hiring (besides constuction for the fucking boom)? 

Thu, 12/16/2010 - 14:30 | 811928 Bob Sacamano
Bob Sacamano's picture

Since you think the Bush tax cuts are evil, I will fully support letting them ALL expire so you and others will feel so much better.  Deal?   

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 15:23 | 808895 cosmictrainwreck
cosmictrainwreck's picture

oh - did I mention the most wonderfullest of all effect of Bush cuts? wall street cap gains for the insiders & billions in bonuses, etc etc

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 14:03 | 808580 Encroaching Darkness
Encroaching Darkness's picture

It seems like you need to be an accountant, a lawyer and a MENSA genius just to keep some fraction of what you earn these days. The old saw "ignorance of the law is no excuse" is a total FAIL when the CONgress passes 1500+ page bills, especially several in one session. Hell, THEY don't even know what's in them, how can we?
I'm not sure a FLAT tax is any answer, how can one-size-fits-all work in taxation when it SURE doesn't work in clothing? On the other hand, COMPLEXITY to preserve CRONY CAPITALISM is also a proven FAIL.
TERM LIMITS, MANDATORY ON-LINE BILL POSTING TWO WEEKS PRIOR to vote and POPULAR VETO would seem to be necesary to "fix" this runaway legislative branch and imperialistic executive branch.
We have choices; they dwindle as we watch. Prepare as best you can.

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 14:13 | 808598 Bob
Bob's picture

Funny,  I could swear I've heard that idea of online posting of Bills prior to votes somewhere before:

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 14:09 | 808599 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Gee, sounds like the "middle class" got a deal.  Too bad the new poverty line is $100,000 per year.  Please keep the GOP shilling to a minimum.  

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 14:11 | 808600 toathis
toathis's picture

((((I AM NOT A TROLL))))

quit junking. I want a serious debate

Obama put the breaks on a massive DEFLATIONARY COLLAPSE! got it?

He will win in 2012... that debate is long over. it is a done deal.

i would and will bet everything I own on it.

Get used to the recovery folks! HE re-wrote the laws of Macro Economics in two years!

Where is the doom? Where is the bubble? Where is the impending collapse going to come from? How do you invest for "End of the World" scenario?

What is coming? What is the "event"?

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 14:53 | 808781 Zyroh
Zyroh's picture

if you've already bet everything on it (and you have) no point in debate.  don't expect much of a debate either when you come to my house begging for some of my food.  charity is great and all, but i'll feed my kids before feeding useful idiots.  feeding useful idiots got us in this mess in the first place.

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 17:24 | 809463 baserunr
baserunr's picture

"feeding useful idiots got us in this mess in the first place."  Amen to that!


Wed, 12/15/2010 - 15:20 | 808879 IQ 145
IQ 145's picture

 "He will win in 2012--" Euww. what an awful thought.

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 18:28 | 809709 weinerdog43
weinerdog43's picture

No kidding.  Some of us stupidly believed that 'change' was coming to Washington.  Hah!  Sure fooled me. 

"Dipshit Palin" vs. "Gutless Obama".  I can't wait. 

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 15:39 | 808968 Encroaching Darkness
Encroaching Darkness's picture

OK, I'll bite (slow day).

Read "The Black Swan" by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. He describes events that are not just unpredicted, but UNPREDICTABLE. When you ask, "Where is the doom? Where is the bubble?" and "What is coming? What is the "event"? we literally CANNOT answer. You are expecting some aspects of the world to continue "as is", when they will not and can not. Worse, just as the biologists of 18th century Europe "knew" there was no such thing as a black swan, and it took reality (in Australia) to enlighten them otherwise, so are we: whatever "event" occurs will be UNFORSEEN and UNFORSEEABLE, and we will all be enlightened by reality, in whatever form it takes.

Worldwide banking failure?  Agricultural collapse due to loss of oil supplies in food-producing areas like US, Canada and Australia? WWIII (nuclear), started by NK or Iran (or France? now THAT would be a Black Swan!)? I have no idea. But no-one has rewritten the laws of Macro Economics; supply and demand work the same way they have previously. Politicians continue to pass laws that no one has read, no one understands and no one can obey (if they had read and understood them).

If you haven't diversified outside the dollar, you have ALREADY "bet everything you own" on it (Obama's success). Best of luck - and I hope for your sake you're right. Being pecked by Black Swans is a tough way to go.

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 14:12 | 808614 ewmayer
ewmayer's picture

This might be interesting if the rich actually paid anywhere close to those marginal tax rates.

As it is, it's kinda like listening to the CEO of a big multinational whining about how higher corporate tax rates will be "business-unfriendly job killers" when his corporation uses offshore-tax-dodging tricks in order to get its actual tax rate close to zero.

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 14:14 | 808629 ewmayer
ewmayer's picture


Eye am naught a trowel, either. Spell chequers are sew col.

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 14:14 | 808634 b_thunder
b_thunder's picture

"there are plenty of high-income people without a lot of wealth who did not benefit greatly from this [dividend] cut"   - yes, let's all shed a tear for those assholes.  no, let's start TARP 2.0 to bail them out!   or perhaps A$ness shoudl start a pro-bono "financial literacy camp" for high-income people to teach them how to save a few % from their massive paychecks and build some wealth?




Wed, 12/15/2010 - 14:27 | 808688 goodrich4bk
goodrich4bk's picture

Let's cut the crap about keeping "your own money" is not a "gift".  When you support government services without paying for them, you've received a gift.  When you borrow for 30 years to fund the services, the services are actually stolen from the next generation.  And no, the government's services are not just given to the sick and elderly.  Starting wars without taxing to pay for them is also a goddam gift to the military-industrial complex.

Then again, may the austerity posers here have it right.  Perhaps I'll not pay my mortgage next month and when the bank complains that I've got sufficient income to pay my debt to them I'll just remind them that its my money and bugger off!

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 14:31 | 808697 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Less regressive is not synonymous with "mildly progressive"; this quant is either a retard or should be hoisted on the nearest pitard.

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 14:31 | 808701 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Translation- You peasants should be glad we swept you an extra crumb from the table'.

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 15:04 | 808812 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

Cliff is an ass and a liar.  The middle class pay taxes for Social Security and on earned income at high rates.  The wealthy pay taxes on long-term capital gains at low rates and on tax-free bonds.  The wealthy also have lawyers and off-shore havens to shelter their incomes.  These tax aversion techniques are not available to the middle class.  Warren Buffet was correct when he stated that he pays a much lower tax rate than his secretary.

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 15:23 | 808903 IQ 145
IQ 145's picture

 Did he say that ? how careless; one shouldn't provoke the masses.

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 18:23 | 809695 malek
malek's picture

He said that.

But that was long before he got suckered in as well (derivatives), and then one day (in the GFC) became aware his Berkshire Hathaway empire would mostly implode soon - so he hopped on the bailout bandwagon and since then enjoys partaking in the game of exploiting the masses.
He has become just another shill.

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 16:19 | 809196 Payable on Death
Payable on Death's picture

The problem with the Bush tax cuts is that something like 40% of the population doesn't pay Federal income taxes. (He traded lower top rates for a larger zero rate bracket.)

Thus, 7.65% (or even 15.3%) is not so much different than cap gains favored by the "rich". Also, the standard deduction and Schedule A are phased out as income goes up--making marginal rates and average rates even higher, to say nothing of AMT.

Regardless, 40% not paying is the key thing. We are here: Democracy "can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury". I think an unintended consequence of the Bush cuts is Obamacare. No one really believes that the government can reduce the overall cost of healthcare. However, many rightly know that government can cut their particular cost of health care by making someone else pay for it. If you don't pay income taxes, your demand for services should be more or less infinite. This demand from non-taxpaying voters goes a long way to explaining why politicians are rational to spend money the government doesn't have--they get relected by non-taxpaying voters.

At this point we need a flatter tax table--lower rates for all in exchange for the elimination of deductions. If you want to go all the way, the Fair Tax would get this done. That and term limits should tame the beast.

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 18:33 | 809728 weinerdog43
weinerdog43's picture

"...term limits should tame the beast."

Nonsense.  All it will do is create an even faster revolving door between corporate lobbyists and congresscritters.  The only way to regain control would be to limit corporate money and the Supremes have already popped that baloon.  The sad fact is the ship is going down and the best thing one can do is get your own life preserver (gold and silver) ready for your family.  I hope I'm wrong, but I'm not optimistic. 

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 19:03 | 809818 Payable on Death
Payable on Death's picture

The FairTax and term limits. The FairTax takes away the biggest focus of lobbying--the tax code.

Actually, my concern about term limits is the further empowerment of the bureaucracy.

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 15:35 | 808944 the grateful un...
the grateful unemployed's picture

it's probably also wrong to assume that the Bush tax cuts have a roll in destroying the economy, and that more tax cuts, and logically, a larger tax cut to the wealthy is in order. In that case Obama is a friggin genius.

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 15:52 | 809042 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

your assness has spoken

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 16:27 | 809231 Let them all fail
Let them all fail's picture

This is an interesting but irrelevant way to look at this tax data.  The smaller earners might get a bigger break on their tax rate but first, absolutely, larger earners are getting more money as the "gift" so that the more you earn the more the government is "giving" you, hence  it is a giveaway moreso to the millionaire and billionaire class.  Second, to say that middle class is getting a great deal here because they get tax breaks now is asinine because all the $$$ given as tax breaks to wealthy individuals will have to be paid in the future by everyone in the form of taxes, which will be raised to pay off our debts. 

I get Cliff's points and attempt to look at this in a new way but its a stupid misleading article.

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