Viagra Open Thread

On this day, March 27, in 1998, Sildenafil (more commonly known as Viagra) was approved for the use of erectile dysfunction by the US Food and Drug Administration. We’re sure this has made a huge impact in politics.

Consider this your oh-so-awkward OPEN THREAD.

58 comments

  1. Andre says:

    In case you guys missed it on the Crossover Day live blog Friday, state Representatives Steve Davis and Mike Jacobs signed on to an invite resolution commending Georgia’s political bloggers for their unique role in promoting openness and transparency in state government.

    Here’s a link to the draft blogger resolution.

  2. John Konop says:

    Great article about the problems with the FAIR TAX! This is from the NRO.

    …..The FairTax sounds too good to be true. It is. The campaign for the FairTax is deeply misleading, and much more likely to set back the cause of tax reform than to advance it.

    The FairTaxers give a misleading answer to the first question everyone asks about their idea: How big will the tax be? The FairTaxers say they want a 23 percent sales tax. Most people will assume that a product that costs $100 before the tax is added would cost $123 with the tax. Actually, the tax would be $30 and the total price $130. They call it a “23 percent” rate because $30 is 23 percent of $130. Those FairTaxers who understand the numbers defend this way of calculating the tax rate because it makes it comparable to the income-tax rates they’re trying to replace. But it’s not the way any of the 45 states that have sales taxes calculate their rates. Whether or not the FairTaxers intend to mislead people by using the 23 percent figure, confusion is the effect……

    http://nrd.nationalreview.com/article/?q=OGFhOTBlOWU3ZTU4ZmU1MDQ5NWYwNDQ3Y2I0OWQ2ZGQ

    • John Konop says:

      A few questions for FAIR TAX supportres. Please help all of us understand!

      Who will have first position on a tax lien the state or federal government since the state is collecting for the federal government?

      What is breakage rate in the Fair Tax book for tax liens on sales taxes?

      How does the embedded tax math work with corporate taxes ,since most business make less than 5% if it all and taxes are based on profits not gross sales.

      Why do you think consumption will not drop and fraud will not be out of control with a combined sales tax on goods being close to 50 cents on a dollar for goods when you combine local taxes?

      Will not new building be dismasted with a 30 cent on a dollar increase with very little off-set with your embedded tax concept?

      If we charge a 30 cent on the dollar increase on all mortgage payments will that even cause more home defaults and further drop real-estate values?

        • Republican Lady says:

          Does anyone know how the Fair Tax will affect those making less than $50,000 or seniors on fixed incomes? Will the tax be on food and medications? Will it drive those with lower incomes, some of whom are the older seniors, further into poverty?

          • ByteMe says:

            In the Fair Tax alternative universe, poor people get a “pre-bate” of the tax money they likely would have spent based on a pre-defined formula. Which is curious, because the supposed “benefit” to the Fair Tax is “No more IRS”, but who would we tell that we don’t make enough money without an IRS and who would send us the “pre-bate” money? The state? If so, we’re just substituting one omnipresence for another.

            • Icarus says:

              No longer a FairTax! fan, but your premise of the bill is incorrect. Everyone is supposed to get a pre-bate, regardless of income. The pre-bate is set to the mythical amount a poverty level family would spend on taxes on basic necessities. Thus, in concept, the FairTax! only taxes “luxury” spending, and is thus claimed to be progressive.

                • Icarus says:

                  No worries. I actually like the concept, but have a problem with the fact that “the bill” and the book(s)” don’t match, despite the fact they have the same author. The 23% is really 30%, and it isn’t revenue neutral at that point since it assumes all governments at all levels pay the same tax as consumers. There’s a lot of voodoo math in the calculations from the book that remains unexplained, despite Boortz’s rants to the contrary.

                  I personally favor moving a large part of the tax burden to a sales tax based system. I unfortunately have concluded that the FairTax folks are being intellectually dishonest and have become more of a cult than a serious political movement. And I am generally sad about that, as someone who was once fully on board.

                  • ByteMe says:

                    It also assumed a similar level of revenue generation at that 30% level compared to current income taxes, but that was tax revenue levels that still couldn’t balance the budget. So in order to get to a balanced budget, you’d have to raise the rate even further. But I’ll stop and not get all FairTax Friday just now, since it’s Tuesday.

                    • John Konop says:

                      Icarus has made this point several times to me. Especially focus on the last paragraph.

                      FROM NRO

                      ….Brookings Institution economist William Gale has estimated that to replace current federal tax revenues, the tax rate would have to be 44 percent (or 31 percent the way the FairTaxers calculate rates: A $100 product would cost $144 after tax). Gale’s calculation assumed that nobody would evade the sales tax and that Congress would not narrow the tax base by, for example, exempting medical services from the tax. Relaxing those assumptions increases the rate required even further.

                      Several groups of people would be adversely affected by the tax. Retirees, for example, have paid taxes on their wages during their working lives. After a FairTax was implemented, they would find themselves also having to pay higher taxes on everything they used their accumulated savings to buy. The value of non-retirees’ accumulated savings would drop, too.

                      The middle class would also pay higher taxes. Under the FairTax plan, the federal government would give all legal residents of the U.S. a “prebate” to cover sales taxes on all purchases up to the poverty line. That would protect the poor (except for illegal immigrants; higher prices are supposed to induce immigrants to come legally so they can get their prebate). And the rich would pay less than they do now, since returns to investment typically are a large share of their income, and these would go untaxed. So if revenues are to stay the same, the middle class will have to pay more. If the change in tax policy increases economic growth, this effect will be mitigated — but it will take a very long time for it to disappear under any plausible assumptions. Governor Huckabee’s claim that voters in all income groups would come out ahead while the federal government would raise the same amount of revenue as before is of course unsupportable.

                      FairTax proponents generally respond to these criticisms with what we would have to call flimflammery if we thought they understood the issues. Existing taxes are embedded in today’s consumer prices, they say, so getting rid of them would cause prices to drop. Adding sales taxes would be “a wash,” says Huckabee. So prices don’t go up, and workers get to keep their “entire paycheck.” Again, it sounds too good to be true.

                      And again, it is. If prices stay flat after a sales tax, workers can’t keep their “entire paychecks”: Wages have to fall. The paycheck you’re keeping would be smaller. (Think about it this way: If existing taxes are embedded in the cost of every product, they’re embedded in the cost of labor, too.) If wages don’t adjust downward, then unemployment has to rise. If the Federal Reserve increases the money supply to prevent this combination of falling wages and rising unemployment, then consumer prices will increase…..

                      http://nrd.nationalreview.com/article/?q=OGFhOTBlOWU3ZTU4ZmU1MDQ5NWYwNDQ3Y2I0OWQ2ZGQ

                    • John Konop says:

                      Icarus had a great idea of replacing FICA with a national sales tax. That would make are products more competitive and create more jobs, also richer people spend more money so it would be a larger burden on people who spend more. Also it would capture the underground economy. And since it is on all products it would not have to be a large transaction fee.

              • Republican Lady says:

                I took macro-economics in college but just never wrapped my brain around the concepts. If I had, maybe I would understand the Fair Tax concept better. That’s why I depend on you guys to enlighten me!

      • B Balz says:

        Good post John.

        How about this: Screw all the fervor and chat about something that has less chance of occurring (38 States have to agree on it) than Icarus getting close to the Sun, and more discussion on less Federal spending?

        Enchante’, oui?

  3. John Konop says:

    I do think we need a Tea Party movement that focuses of balancing the budget. But incidents like the one, I am posting, are why many of us stay away from the movement. Instead of making excuses the leadership needs to condemn the behavior!

    Teabaggers Mock A Man With Parkinson’s Disease?

    • ByteMe says:

      If you play with fire, you’re eventually going to get burned.

      Having a movement with that many angry people is bound to create counter-productive situations for the movement’s underlying goals. It’s the nature of trying to keep angry people focused on your goals instead of on their own anger.

    • Lawton Sack says:

      Byteme and John, I know I am saying something that both of you already know, but there are extremists in any group of people, whether it is politics or something else. There are guys that stand outside without a shirt for hours in the freezing cold to cheer on the Packers. They are not the normal fan.

      There are angry people in the TEA Party, but I would say that most of them are not operating out of anger. They are not threatening people. They are not destroying property. They are calmly calling and writing those in Congress and letting their voices be heard via protests, Facebook, etc.

      We all must be careful not to label the majority by the minority.

        • John Konop says:

          Lawton Sack,

          I do not disagree with you and I only think that behavior like this should be condemned immediately with no excuses on either side. I was very critical of Al Sharpton Louisiana case, lacrosse Duke case…….. I am all for open debate, but we should not let the line be crossed without saying something agree or not with the issues.

          • Lawton Sack says:

            If it helps any, I, as a Christian, Republican, TEA Party member, and an American, think any type of behavior that includes berating, threatening, or physically/emotionally harming another human or their property is wrong and inexcusable and is not a productive form of furthering a cause. It should be condemned. I am ashamed that the TEA Party name was involved with this, though I have no idea who these people are or where the protest was even held.

            Maybe we are just more genteel down here in Southeast Georgia, but I have not seen any type of this behavior in the Bulloch County area.

      • ByteMe says:

        I agree, Lawton, and I also hate the media that egg on the protesters so that they can get “better visuals”, just so you know that I know it’s also not entirely “reality” in some instances.

        However — like Muslims in the USA in late 2001 for example — if the majority do not immediately and emphatically disown the rabid minority, then aren’t the majority part of the problem as well? The leaders have to take responsibility for people who are associated with your group doing crazy things if only to repudiate their craziness and insist that it has no place in the group. Over and over if necessary until people get the message that you are about non-violence and don’t welcome it.

        • Lawton Sack says:

          The challenge here is that the TEA Party is not organized like a national Party. The Bulloch County TEA Party I am involved in has no ties to any other group. All the decisions are made locally. There is not an elected group of leadership at any level. I cannot control the actions of anybody that chooses to label themselves as involved. There is not a Board, Committee, or anything that we can take grievances to. Further, a group of people could form a TEA Party group today with zero oversight and do or say whatever they want.

          I and others from the Bulloch County group have publicly condemned some of the actions that have been done under the TEA Party name, via Facebook, local radio, and local newspapers. CNN, FoxNews, MSNBC, etc. are not interested in us, though.

          You are dead on the media. I don’t watch the news, local or national. I don’t listen to Beck, Limbaugh, O’Reilly, etc. I do listen to Mark Levin once every couple of months, because I like his rational way of thinking. I try to remind people that these guys live and die by ratings. Higher ratings = higher revenues from advertising. Views have been distorted for higher ratings.

          I like to think for myself. I like to do research. I am cautious to a fault at times, but that is who I am.

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