Morning Bunker Report: Tuesday 4.17.2012


What is Mitt Romney’s real tax plan? Apparently we got a rare glimpse of this when reporters overheard a private conversation Sunday night with supporters at a fundraising party: “I’m going to probably eliminate for high income people the second home mortgage deduction,” Romney said, adding that he would also likely eliminate deductions for state income and property taxes as well. “By virtue of doing that, we’ll get the same tax revenue, but we’ll have lower rates.” Okey dokey. If Romney could actually get Congress to agree to this, I figure it would bring in roughly $100 billion in revenue. That’s assuming a complete elimination of the deduction for all state, local, and property taxes. In return, this would allow tax rates to go down across the board by about one percentage point. Maybe one and a half. Or, alternatively, it might allow tax rates on the rich to go down by five or ten points. I wonder which he has in mind? [Kevin Drum]

What’s Mitt Romney hiding? A lot, for someone asking for our votes — Mitt Romney has a secret plan to pay for tax cuts for the rich. Mitt Romney is filing for an extension on his taxes, a move that, not coincidentally, prevents him from having to release them. This all makes sense from a guy who thinks that the inequality from which he benefits so enormously should only be discussed in quiet rooms. But it’s not exactly the stuff with which he’s likely to convince a majority of voters that he can be trusted with the governance of their country. After all, Romney doesn’t even want to tell us what policies he’s running on, let alone how his personal conduct has measured up.

FROM ROMNEY’S BOOK: “Welfare without work erodes the spirit and the sense of self-worth of the recipient. And it conditions the children of nonworking parents to an indolent and unproductive life. Hardworking parents raise hardworking kids; we should recognize that the opposite is also true. The influence of the work habits of our parents and other adults around us as we grow up has lasting impact.” Does this mean Romney’s children became indolent and unproductive because their mother stayed at home and their father sat in a conference room and fired people for a living? I don’t know, but they do fit the equation Mitt Romney has laid out. Given what we now know of the Romneys, I believe a better title for Romney’s book would be — No Apology, The Case for Being a Privileged White Man. [Indolent and Unproductive | Bob Cesca]

Anti-Mormon pastor endorses Romney because Obama ‘opposes’ the Bible — Fox News host Clayton Morris noted that Jeffress was quoted in October as saying, “Evangelical Christians should not vote for Mitt Romney because he’s a Mormon, therefore not a real Christian.” “Critics would argue that President Obama is a real Christian,” Morris continued. “By that metric then, why wouldn’t you support Barack Obama?” “Well, again, I never said that quote that you attributed to me,” Jeffress argued. “There was a spurious article in one magazine that just completely fabricated that quote. I’ve never said don’t vote for Mitt Romney because he’s not a Christian. But in my book that you were so kind to reference, I said, given the choice between a Christian like Barack Obama who embraces non-biblical principles like abortion and a Mormon like Mitt Romney who embraces Bible principles, there’s every reason to support Mitt Romney in this election. I’ve been consistent in that.” Jeffress added that he expected evangelicals across the nation to put Romney in the White House because Obama “opposes biblical principles.” [image:]

Dick Cheney, unapologetic war criminal and second in command to an administration which almost completely trashed this country, calls Obama an ‘unmitigated disaster’ — in a moment of unmitigated density and stunning lack of self-awareness:He has been an unmitigated disaster to the country. I can’t think of a time when I felt it was more important for us to defeat an incumbent president today with respect to Barack Obama. I think he has been an unmitigated disaster to the country. I think to be in a position where he gets four more years in the White House to continue the policies he has, both with respect to the economy, and tax policy, and defense and some other areas would be a huge, huge disappointment.” — DICK Cheney, speaking at the Wyoming Republican Party state convention in Cheyenne, Wyoming on Saturday, about the President.

Republicans to slash food stamps – The White House deliberately increased monthly benefits in 2009 by about $20 per person as a way to pump stimulus dollars into the economy. And in this post welfare-reform crisis, hard-strapped governors have sought to maximize food stamp dollars as a cheap way to help families without tapping state funds. The higher costs and visibility—especially as more businesses advertise that they will honor the electronic benefit cards introduced in the 1980’s—are what’s driving the Republican push. The Recovery Act boost in benefits is already phasing out and will be gone entirely by November 2013. But the package now, to be taken up by the House Agriculture Committee Wednesday, would end this abruptly summer, impacting families Sept. 1, and saving about $5.9 billion in 2012 and 2013. [...] the severity of the proposed House cuts could be an over reach for two reasons. First they are all coming from the Agriculture panel in a context where rich farm subsidies continue to be protected at a time of record income for producers. Even in the commodity lobby, there is broad consensus that the current system of cash payments to growers at a time of high farm profits can no longer be politically defended. And by not striking more of a balance, the committee risks real damage to the coalition that has supported farm and food programs together for decades.

———————————————————–——PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS

Tonight, Senate Republicans voted to block the Buffett Rule, choosing once again to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest few Americans at the expense of the middle class. The Buffett Rule is common sense. At a time when we have significant deficits to close and serious investments to make to strengthen our economy, we simply cannot afford to keep spending money on tax cuts that the wealthiest Americans don’t need and didn’t ask for. But it’s also about basic fairness—it’s just plain wrong that millions of middle-class Americans pay a higher share of their income in taxes than some millionaires and billionaires. One of the fundamental challenges of our time is building an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules. And I will continue to push Congress to take steps to not only restore economic security for the middle class and those trying to reach the middle class, but also to create an economy that’s built to last.” — President Obama in a statement on Monday’s vote

Henry Paul Monaghan, a professor of constitutional law at Columbia Law School and prominent conservative legal scholar, urges the Supreme Court to uphold health care reform — “Moreover, the market for health care is distinctive (if not entirely unique) in several key respects. Virtually all of us will need and obtain health care at some point, but we often cannot predict when or in what ways we will need it. And for the vast majority of us, direct payment for the health care services we obtain would be prohibitively expensive. Yet not obtaining needed medical care can be the difference between life and death. These features help explain why, unlike many other markets, insurance is the overwhelmingly dominant means of payment in the health care market. They also explain why Congress has required that individuals be given emergency care without regard to their ability to pay. As a result, and again unlike other markets, uninsured individuals who are unable to pay directly for needed medical services necessarily shift the cost of those services to others — to health care providers, the government, individuals with insurance, and taxpayers. In that way, Congress is not creating a market which it then seeks to regulate. The insurance-based structure of the health care market is already firmly in place. That is why it was well within Congress’s discretion to design legislation to operate within, and to address problems posed by, this vast market.”

“The ESCHATON DECADE has been a pretty fucked up decade, a time when this country stopped even bothering to pretend to live up to many of its supposed ideals. We go to war and kill lots of people for no good reason, elites have eliminated any accountability for themselves for criminal wrongdoing, we’ve tortured and assassinated people, and the response to massive economic suffering and related criminal fraud has been to give lots of free money to the people who caused it all.” – Duncan Black