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brettmarston
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I'm curious what folks think this cloture vote means for the "extraordinary circumstances" standard from the Gang of 14 agreement. Sen. Sessions tries to justify his vote to filibuster the nominee in that language, but it seems pretty clear that his invokation fo the standard just refers to ordinary ideological disagreements (refracted through the usual distortion of a nominee's record). Sen. Graham didn't even bother to try to make the case that his vote against cloture was related to the standard. Looks like the standard is meaningless or dead or both.
but I don't see how brettmarston could say I gave an example with no payroll. Perhaps I wasn't clear. You said: TINY businesses are exempt -- Grandma peddling her hand-woven comforters at the local street fair doesn't have to pay. Grandma probably doesn't have a payroll. Sure, some three-person offices have a payroll of $250K and will be subject to the 2% charge. But how many, as a proportion of all 3-person offices? Not many. And if they're paying that much in salary, shouldn't they already be providing health care?
Toggle Commented Jul 22, 2009 on Death Comes Before Taxes at Obsidian Wings
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So some number of 1.7M businesses would be effected by growing 10-20 percent. Almost all would pay the tax because the cost of insuring a pool of 10 workers would be astronomically higher. I don't see how that would dispute the basic point. Von's first basic point seemed to be that there would be that there would be a "huge impact" on small businesses because of compliance costs. Depends on how you define small business. Are companies with 10 or more employees so unsophisticated that they never employ either an accountant or a lawyer? I doubt it. Plus, there's going to be a lot of fair warning before anything gets implemented, since regs won't go into effect for some time. Bob L. said that only "TINY" businesses would be exempt and he gives a business without payroll as an example. He appears to think that three-person offices are likely to be covered. He's probably wrong.
Toggle Commented Jul 22, 2009 on Death Comes Before Taxes at Obsidian Wings
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A $250,000 payroll is not huge: a number of family-owned restaurants, shops, and other establishments are going to be captured and subject to HR 3200's various penalty provisions. I'm looking at recent census statistics broken down by number of employees here, http://www.census.gov/epcd/www/smallbus.html and although there doesn't seem to be any easily available data broken out by dollar value of annual payroll, there is data on the number of employers in various categories and the total annual payroll of the whole group. First interesting point: about 75% of businesses don't have payroll. Second interesting point: There were 2,777,680 firms with 1 to 4 employees, with a total payroll of $165,904,564,000. Divide the payroll amount by the number of firms and you get $59,727. The number may not be all that meaningful because distribution matters, but if total payroll for all businesses in the 1 to 4 employee category worked out to an average of $50K per business, doesn't that mean that most businesses with 1 to 4 employees would be entirely exempt? Third interesting fact: There were 1,043,448 firms with 5 to 9 employees, with a total payroll of $195,519,100,000. Do the same math, you get an average of $187,377 annual payroll per firm. Rinse and repeat analysis from above. Fourth interesting fact: It's not until you get to the next category that the numbers from HR3200 kick in. And the categories include more employees per step. So there are 632,682 firms with 10-19 employees, with an annual payroll of $257,802,789,000. The average is $407,476. Again, distribution matters. But even with that size firm, barring a weird distribution, it looks like a lot won't pay the full 8%. There are only 5.8 employer firms in the US, and the numbers above cover about 4.4 million of them. Obviously if I've made any errors above, my apologies, and please correct me. But if my math and assumptions are right, small businesses as a group do not have a lot to fear from the bill.
Toggle Commented Jul 22, 2009 on Death Comes Before Taxes at Obsidian Wings
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New governments do not appear by magic. People who have been brutalized by dictatorships do not suddenly start believing in the rule of law. I guess Ayn Rand and Robert Nozick left out a few things.
Toggle Commented Jul 17, 2009 on Read It And Weep at Obsidian Wings
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"If your moral sensiblities are NO help, it's because you don't have 'em." Sometimes the moral sensibilities are what got you into the mess in the first place. And, alternately, on any given issue, people have clearly ineffective moral sensibilities. People who believe in turning the other cheek can also support torture.
Toggle Commented Jul 2, 2009 on My One and Only Sanford Post at Obsidian Wings
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I like digby's take here. Brett Bellmore is quite wrong when he says that Sanford doesn't have moral sensibilities to fall back on - his moral sensibilities are just no help to him. It's a general problem with the particular moral sensibility that says: marriage is a war against feeling.
Toggle Commented Jul 2, 2009 on My One and Only Sanford Post at Obsidian Wings
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I hadn't heard comparisons Hungary yet, but I have seen comparisons to South Africa (as in, if this were South Africa in the 1980s, Obama would be speaking out). What I gather from the criticisms of Obama's restraint is: unintended consequences only occur in domestic politics. What a fantastic world we would need to live in for that to be true.
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I wonder whether hilzoy (and others who focus on whether Erickson is just not being virtuous) is unsympathetic to a structural account here. Reading the stuff at Red State is very similar to reading dense tracts of late official East German historical materialism, to pick an example - I'm just not sure that I share enough background assumptions to have a meaningful political conversation with, say, Erich Honecker in 1986. Too much work had been put in to the conscious creation of a particular worldview. This kind of view just gets up and running more quickly nowadays. It may be more shallow, but in some cases it is more intense: here it is tethered to an explicit self-consciousness that RS is some kind of virtual vanguard. I don't know what the category "bad faith" means in the situation where you're talking across that kind of basically subcultural divide.
Toggle Commented Jun 13, 2009 on Fighting Words at Obsidian Wings
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Isn't this also Glen Beck's shtick? Maybe Erickson is shooting for a radio show. The more interesting explanation is the one you try out above: some kind of loss of capacity to engage opponents as human beings, occasioned or hastened by the imperatives of the role he's chosen (somewhat like another recent visitor to the site). It is stressful to be on the verbal attack all the time, so it probably simplifies things to develop a leftists hate everything good heuristic / rhetorical template.
Toggle Commented Jun 12, 2009 on Fighting Words at Obsidian Wings
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@ Asa: What's Whelan's motive here? To do something hurtful? To improve the public discourse? Is that what he thinks he's accomplishing? I don't know him and can only guess based on his writings, but I doubt that his motive is to improve the public discourse. His motive seems to have been to remove a perceived obstacle to his broader goal of denying judicial appointments to people who disagree with his (contestable) ideological view of judging. Here he chose the wrong means, in part because he is not really sensitive to the broader context of his blogging. Plus, his professional work now consists in trying to "out" Pres. Obama's nominees as people who hate the 2nd Amendment, or like Thurgood Marshall's style of judging, or would trade away US sovereignty interest, or whatever (next week it will be something new). The basic "outing" move is anchoring a lot of his professional energy right now, I bet. When all you have is a hammer. . .
Toggle Commented Jun 8, 2009 on Outing Publius at Obsidian Wings
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Please keep up the good work, publius, however you choose to do it!
Toggle Commented Jun 7, 2009 on Stay Classy Ed Whelan at Obsidian Wings
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