Politics Behind Policy

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Mark Alexander, former Obama advisor and Professor of Law at Seton Hall University Law School, on his blog post on WNYC's new politics blog Its A Free Country, about Obama's shift from campaigning to governing. Then Gus Faucher, economist at Moody’s, joins the conversation to discuss Obama's policy proposals this week and the politics behind them.


Mark Alexander and Gus Faucher

Comments [30]

it's true BHO is not a socialist, but i understand your point, fear, panic and hysteria, great tools in your class warfare, popular in the 1920's

good luck with your hate.

Sep. 08 2010 03:16 PM
Eugenia Renskoff from Brooklyn

Hi, Brian, The President’s plan to create jobs in construction and building stuff has, unfortunately, nothing to do with me. I am a writer, an author, a teacher and a translator. Because I have had no luck finding a job in my fields, I am thinking of reinventing myself. The question is: What will I become next? Eugenia Renskoff

Sep. 08 2010 01:20 PM
amalgam from Manhattan by day, NJ by night

@ Martin Chuzzlewit

It's true that you are showing a lack of knowledge of socialisim if you are comparing Obama's easy-to-see/dissect policies with the aforementioned. The policies are clearly more an American form of social democracy (think FDR), something to the right of social democracy in Europe, which in almost all of Europe cannot be labeled socialism because it doesn't meet the definition.

It seems to me that your real fear is "creeping 'statism'" or, in your conception, authoritarianism "Papa Joe Stalin-style." On the face of it, that is ludicrous.

Please cite specific examples of the Obama admin.'s leading to a loss of "freedom" in America through authoritarian measures?

Sep. 08 2010 11:26 AM

Martin, you post something on here, you open yourself up to response.

Sep. 08 2010 11:20 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Gosh, you sound angry.

This really got to you, didn't it?

This exchange is over, little one.

Sep. 08 2010 11:17 AM

Excuse me Martin, your point is non-sense. You clearly do not understand Socialism, and that's right, I have no respect for this kind of nonsense. It's based in nothing solid and spouting "Obama's a Socialist" is not an intelligent observation. It is outreageous and ridiculous and the only reason YOU are making such a silly analysis is because YOU don't feel comfortable with the change in our country right now.

change the record.

Sep. 08 2010 11:08 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan


Yes, that was your real intent muzzle what you don't want to hear. i think that Brian wants all points of's his show, not yours.

I will call the show if you keep stalking my post...both today and on past shows.

Moderators, please note..

Sep. 08 2010 10:53 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Anyone remember that bridge that collapsed in Minnesota a few years ago? And got everyone looking at the poor state of this country's infrastructure? This work is badly needed not only by the workers but by everyone who uses rail systems, or highways, or bridges. Yet I've heard very little in the coverage about the infrastructure aspect of this proposal as opposed to the political & economic aspects.

I'd like to suggest talking to Rep. Nadler about this. He was at an unrelated event in 2008 & stayed to talk to people afterwards. He told us about a federal task force that looked at our infrastructure needs & how all but the most hardline skeptics became convinced that major spending was needed to prevent more breakdowns.

Sep. 08 2010 10:43 AM

THE POINT IS, MARTIN, OBAMA IS NOT A SOCIALIST. The reaction from most people who actually grew up under a Socialist system to this ridiculous assertion that Obama is a Socialist, is "they do not understand Socialism."

Your point is not intelligent at all and it needs to be muzzled.

Sep. 08 2010 10:43 AM
markbnj from www.

For Jeff Pappas from Ct. :

If you were to look at my blog (see location),

you'd see I too believe in a great new version of the new-deal from the FDR era.

That, (and the $$$ it would spend), as well as a tax on non-taxpaying wealthy and corporations would fund everything on my list

Sep. 08 2010 10:41 AM
donna from brooklyn

1. the 33-36% income tax increase won't be felt in any serious way -- it's completely disingenous to say it will be a drag on the economy.

2. but, it may actually encourage more charitable contributions as we all know one of the main drivers behind such contributions is the fact that they are tax deductible.

3. the 'let's wait 2 years' is a really wily proposal -- it seems like it might be a compromise but it is not. it is a trap - a "no win" for those who believe tax rates on the wealthy must increase. in two years (ie, in 2012, not a midterm election year but a presidential election year. duh!), the argument will become a. the recovery is so young/fragile, let's not take any chances by raising taxes now or b. the economy is still not fully recovered we can't raise taxes. please. i can't believe anyone who actually believe tax rates need to rise on the wealthy is actually falling for this "compromise."

Sep. 08 2010 10:40 AM
SuzanneNYC from UWS

On what planet do teachers make a 12 month salary for 9 months of work!??! Teachers are paid for 10 months of work (e.g. September-June inclusive) but they can choose to spread out over 12 months so they have some money coming in throughout the year. But it's not more money it's the same total salary divided into smaller amounts. No wonder people hate teachers.

Sep. 08 2010 10:40 AM
markbnj from www.newdeal.blogspot.comn

Here's the real story.

We need a regressive tax on the top 1%

I call it the Minimum Millionaires Tax (or MMT)

Those earning over one million dollars will no longer be able to have deductions for stuff like interest income, etc. In other words

THOSE making over 1 million dollars will pay taxes based on GROSS income, not ADJUSTED income.

a) this will eliminate 'interest income' from being tax free.


A new minimum income tax.

Those *INCLUDING corporations* making gross INCOMES OVER 5 million dollars per year will now pay a new (Indexed to 2010 dollar values) MINIMUM tax of one per cent of their GROSS income.

Make 5million dollars per year? you minimum tax bill is now 5,000. NOTHING LESS...

Make 50 million per year? 50,000 is your MINIMUM tax bill.

And Brian (and producers)
I emailed this to you over 4 years ago at the site in the location!

Sep. 08 2010 10:37 AM

that's the problem???

how much is someone who watches and teachs our children worth. should we hire a few mexicans at $2 an hour and hope of the best, instead?

Sep. 08 2010 10:34 AM
amalgam from Manhattan by day, NJ by night

How is the base raise by 3-4 percent in the highest tax bracket going to "penalize" them, as the caller said? Half of all the money collected if the marginal tax rates are raised affect people that make over $8 million/year. $100K to them is like $500 to me, someone who makes $55K a year. Plus, no one is talking about all of the equity and cash that they are holding. No one should cry for them.

The reality is what Faucher said: The wealthy don't want to invest until things settle down in the economy so as not to disrupt their positions. This is a rational expression of homo economicus, but it does no good for the country and to be slightly roused will benefit the entire country in the long-term - including their own individual interests - while slightly (and I mean slightly) blunting the wealthy people's interests in the short-term,

Sep. 08 2010 10:32 AM
James from NYC/Norwalk, CT

something to note from this morning's Morning Edition story:

But Brookings Institution tax policy expert William Gale says the
impact on small business of letting top tax rates rise has been
greatly exaggerated.

"First, 98 percent of all small-business owners are not in the top two
tax categories. Second, even among the people who are in the top two
tax categories, most of them earn most of their income from other
sources rather than small-business income," Gale says.

thanks for a great show, Brian!


Sep. 08 2010 10:31 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan


This isn't Huffington Post.
Stick to the issues, make a point.... not sniping at others
Moderators please note.

Sep. 08 2010 10:30 AM

how should we pay for the tax cuts. what should we cut?

Sep. 08 2010 10:30 AM
RLewis from bowery

Great caller: 2 teachers that make over $200K - that's the problem!!! For a part-time job 9 months/yr. Yikes!

Sep. 08 2010 10:28 AM
Eli Mandel from Cleveland OH

When considering whether to raise the top tax rate, why is the only criteria whether those top earners will feel it? This is America, the criteria should be how much of their income do those people get to keep for themselves?

Sep. 08 2010 10:28 AM
Dan Stollen

I think Obama needs to grab a headline. If you look at the NY Times website, he's "not going to compromise."

Why couldn't Obama come right out and "lash out" at the idea of the tax cuts? Which precipitated - along with the 2 wars - a steep economic decline culminating in all the events of last year.

Call stupid when something's stupid. Not every message can be mediated.

Sep. 08 2010 10:27 AM
The Truth from Becky

The "pot hole" President indeed Brian, how rude. Thank you Mark for correcting Mr. Lehrer!

Sep. 08 2010 10:27 AM

oh, chuzzle your wit, Martin! Stop comparing Obama to a socialist.

Sep. 08 2010 10:23 AM

when are the banks going to start loaning again?

Sep. 08 2010 10:15 AM
joe gerardi from li ny

all the economic stress with the related
solutions will mean nothing until we admit that our economy can no longer be based
on people buying stuff that they really don't need

Sep. 08 2010 10:15 AM
Jeff Pappas from Ct.

How ironic that a lot of our infrastructure was built in the depressions WPA, like the 2 bridges that lead to Cape Cod and that they are still the only 2 bridges for todays traffic flow.
Why not have a similar program today. As a freelance photographer I could document the rebuilding of our crumbling infrastructure.

Sep. 08 2010 10:14 AM
maryann Stewart from NYC


How is cutting tax breaks for the wealthy going to benefit the economy or those out of work?


Sep. 08 2010 10:13 AM
Nick from NYC

Please clarify - what *percentage* of the population of the US forms the group that will lose the Bush tax breaks (the $250K couples and $200K individuals)?

Also, please tease apart the difference between *individuals* and *small businesses* in the above?

Thanks - great show!

Sep. 08 2010 10:13 AM

Infrastructure is the one sector where a large investment pays for itself manifold times over the course of decades. The private sector *has* failed to build the infrastructure the nation needs - be it high-speed rail, highways and runways, or a truly high-speed telecommunications network. But the thought that the private sector will reap an instant and massive influx of public sector cash leaves me very concerned.

Sep. 08 2010 10:12 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

I believe that there is a very (carefully) calculated political agenda within the Obama Administration driving this methodical integration of the idea of government as ultimate guardian and guarantor for an incapable, benighted populace. (Papa Joe Stalin is not a caricature here.)

Young people, especially, will come to believe that......
"The government will drive the business sector."
"The government will provide you folks with this..."
The government will provide you folks with that..."

It's drip,drip statism on the installment plan. A government strong enough to give you everything is strong enough to take it away. Even listeners of this radio station should be wary of the potential loss of freedom that this has always entailed.

"Liberty of any kind is seldom lost all at once."
David Hume (1711-1776)

Sep. 08 2010 09:59 AM

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