amprog: It’s pretty easy to see who loses under the Republican Senate tax plan: More than 20 million families would lose tax credits under Sen. McConnell’s tax plan, compared to the 2.1 million high-income households that would lose some of their George W. Bush-era tax cuts under the Senate Democratic plan.
(source: Center for American Progress)
America needs to regain some balance and the Republican Party needs to be reminded of that. For three decades the wealthy have unequally benefited from tax laws, taking home more money than the rest of us, paying less tax on their incomes than the rest of us.
The rich have stashed their extra money in offshore accounts while creating zero jobs. Actually, with less revenue coming into local, state, and federal treasuries, thousands of public sector jobs have actually been lost through layoffs and hiring freezes. Paul Krugman says the fall in public employment is “about 1.4 million jobs less than it would be if it had grown as fast as it did under President George W. Bush. And, if we had those extra jobs, the unemployment rate would be much lower than it is — something like 7.3 percent instead of 8.2 percent.”
That’s lost jobs, lost paychecks and benefits and pensions, lost buying power, lost business. Formerly middle class people now unemployed, homes foreclosed, some now living on unemployment and public assistance. And what for? So that the rest of us can continue to finance the one percent’s tax deductions / lifestyles – like the $77,000 deduction the Romneys took on their Olympic horse.
It’s time to let the Bush tax cuts expire for the super rich.
“In his weekly address, the President called for lawmakers to adopt a Democratic measure which would extend the expiring lower George W. Bush-era tax rates only for those couples making below $250,000, and forcing higher income earners to pay more.
“[...] Republicans charge that a tax increase on any Americans would further hurt the recovering economy, while Obama has threatened to veto an across-the-board extension, calling on the wealthy to pay more.
“In his address, Obama again called on the GOP to decouple the middle class rates from rates for higher income earners.
““If 218 Members of the House vote the right way, 98% of American families and 97% of small business owners will have the certainty of knowing that that their income taxes will not go up next year,” said the president.
““Everyone says they agree that we should extend the tax cuts for the middle class,” said Obama. “Instead of doing what’s right for middle class families and small business owners, Republicans in Congress are holding these tax cuts hostage until we extend tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
“Obama said the country could not afford more “top-down economics” and vowed that as soon as they sent him a bill to block a tax raise on the middle class he would “sign it right away.””
Maybe Republican voters who earn $250,000 a year or less can explain how the Teaparty / GOP politicians they voted into office are working for their constituents and not for their wealthy donors. Get a load of this:
The Republican majority in the House have introduced a bill designed to extend tax cuts for the wealthy and make it harder to modify tax law. They want to bring the bill to a vote this coming week. That was fast, right? Why are they doing it? Because Democrats in the Senate extended the Bush tax cuts last week — but only for incomes of $250,000 or less. Suddenly the do-nothing, “party of no” is actually doing something — they’re going to protect the wealthiest one percent from a tax increase of a whopping 4.6% and give them even more of a tax cut.
The Raw Story: “Earlier this week, Democrats in the Senate scored a major coup in the fight over tax cuts. In a 51-48 vote, lawmakers passed legislation that would extend Bush tax cuts for the middle class, people making $250,000 a year or less, but not preserve tax breaks for the wealthy, which are set to expire at the end of the year. Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Jim Webb (D-VA) voted with Republicans.
“Republicans in the House have responded with legislation that calls for their own version of “tax reform,” a set of regulations that would shift the tax burden down the income ladder while giving millionaires an average of $187,000 in tax cuts in 2014. The Republican changes would encourage companies to invest overseas, reorganize tax brackets, reduce taxes on corporations and restrict them to a permanent rate of 25 percent or less …[and] increase taxes on families making less than $200,000 a year and repeal tax credits for low-income Americans signed into law by President Obama.”
Think Progress: ”If the House GOP bill were adopted, tax reform legislation would “have special protections in the U.S. Senate, limiting the opportunities for lawmakers to use blocking tactics.” But the GOP bill only calls for a certain kind of tax reform — specifically that which would benefit the rich and corporations. Under the GOP’s fast-track approach, a tax reform bill would have to consist of:
- a consolidation of the current 6 individual income tax brackets into not more than two brackets of 10 and not more than 25 percent;
- a reduction in the corporate tax rate to not greater than 25 percent;
- a repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax;
- a broadening of the tax base to maintain revenue between 18 and 19 percent of the economy; and
- a change from a ‘‘worldwide’’ to a ‘‘territorial’’ system of taxation.
“As Citizens for Tax Justice noted, these changes would massively benefit the wealthy and corporations, shifting the tax burden down the income scale. In fact, consolidation of the tax code in the way the GOP envisions would give millionaires a $187,000 annual tax cut, while likely increasing taxes on the middle-class and working families, due to the elimination of deductions upon which they depend.”
And there you have the GOP’s idea of “tax fairness.” If you make less than $250,000 and you’re all for giving away your tax deductions to help finance bigger tax cuts for the wealthiest one percent, then by all means keep supporting the Republican Party. If you’re dumb enough, or brainwashed enough, to believe that Republicans in the House and Senate really care about gay marriage or any of the other social issues they use to get you to vote for them, you’d better read this again. Look at what they can accomplish and fast track when it’s something that really matters to them: protecting their wealthy benefactors.
This post is so good, I’m reblogging most of it (h/t: liberalsarecool):
Evasporque: “The American economy is not driven by suits in walnut clad offices alone. The worker has just [as] big of [a] stake in “job creation” as the CEO who collects 500% more in pay. Without the worker on the floor, at the machines, in the line, at the computer, the American economy would come to a halt. Every worker, every employee in this nation contributes to our prosperity, and we have sat back and let the Republicans twist reality yet again and convince the public that jobs come from the wealthy… The media and even the rank and file working class conservatives signed on to the meme that only the wealthy who receive generous tax cuts have the ability to create jobs. That is a lie…The American worker should be ashamed that they allowed the Republicans to remove them from the economic continuum. I think it is time to put an end to the “job creator” myth once and for all. Take back our place in the economy. Without the worker there is no economy and no job creation.”
I’d add only one thing: not only does the American worker contribute to the productivity and prosperity of our nation’s goods and services, but without millions of American workers spending their paychecks on goods and services, there would be no economy.
No living wage, no disposable income, no consumption, no demand… no business. Without customers, there is no business.
“On several occasions, I have glibly referred to how it now takes two spouses working to equal the wages of a one-income family of 40 years ago. Unfortunately, that is now an understatement. In fact, Western wages have plummeted so low that a two-income family is now (on average) 15% poorer than a one-income family of 40 years ago.” — Jim Nielson | The Street
This death of the American middle class can be blamed on the Republican Party’s decades-long union busting efforts combined with men like Mitt Romney who run companies like Bain Capital for the purpose of creating wealth for the few, by laying off hundreds of thousands of American workers, who once earned living wages and benefits, who once shared in a company’s productivity and success. For decades now vulture capitalists have downsized and closed American companies, offering only low-wage replacement jobs to some of the workers they laid off, while outsourcing most of the formerly American jobs to countries like China and India. And we can also blame a tax code, won by a lobby of the wealthiest among us, that rewards corporations with deductions and loopholes and subsidies for taking American jobs to other countries, enriching a few while cratering our economy at home.
And the Republican Party tells us the One Percenters need more tax cuts (i.e. they need to hoard even more money?) to ‘create’ a few more jobs — tax cuts that would be paid for, by the way, by cutting programs and services that the rest of us depend on. It’s almost comical when you consider this fact: the average Fortune 500 CEO now makes 380 times more than the average worker, CEO pay has grown more than 127 times faster than worker pay over the last 30 years, and their pay increased last year.
More, to these people, is never enough.
Romney’s amazed by sandwiches at Wawa. Good God — this machine made my sandwich! I’ve never had a sandwich that wasn’t delivered to me under a silver dome by my man-servant… AMAZING!
We’re reminded again how flabbergasting average food from average places is for Mittens (remember the cookies and donuts). Mitt shouldn’t try to be funny or amusing. Or likable. There isn’t any level of human contact where this guy can interact successfully (or even naturally) with persons below the $1 million threshold. He has no idea what average people like, think, want, know, or care about. So he guesses, he tries to sound funny… and he sounds like that instead.
This is Mr. Burns wanting to pal around with the Simpsons — temporarily. Until the votes are counted. I can’t even imagine how many bottles of Purell Romney goes through in a day.
- Strong unions set a pay standard that nonunion employers follow. For example, a high school graduate whose workplace is not unionized but whose industry is 25% unionized is paid 5% more than similar workers in less unionized industries.
- The impact of unions on total nonunion wages is almost as large as the impact on total union wages.
- The most sweeping advantage for unionized workers is in fringe benefits. Unionized workers are more likely than their nonunionized counterparts to receive paid leave, are approximately 18% to 28% more likely to have employer-provided health insurance, and are 23% to 54% more likely to be in employer-provided pension plans.
THE SHORT BUS: YOUR 2012 REPUBLICAN (TEA)PARTY
“Nobody thinks Romney’s going to win. Let’s just be honest. Can we just say this for everybody at home? Let me just say this for everybody at home. The Republican establishment — I’ve yet to meet a single person in the Republican establishment that thinks Mitt Romney is going to win the general election this year. They won’t say it on TV because they’ve got to go on TV and they don’t want people writing them nasty emails.” – Joe Scarborough, Morning Joe (via)
Here’s Some Advice for Mitt Romney – Matthew Dowd — Let go of the bitter fight with Rick Santorum and understand the key strategic imperative is to unite the party. Being bigger than Santorum will show how confident you are and how generous you can be. Don’t run any more negative ads against Santorum; let it be OK for him to win his home state and possibly save face. Tell your staff to quit attacking him and his campaign. Choose either to be all positive about yourself or to only contrast yourself with Obama. This will show how smart your campaign is and how able you are to adapt to a new moment. It is Easter, by the way, and as many folks of faith celebrate a new beginning and the power of compassion. Adopt this same sentiment. [image: politicaldirtylaundry]
Santorum struggles to stay relevant as Romney and Obama begin face-off – Romney has already launched the first of what is expected to be a barrage of attack adverts targeting Santorum’s record as a US senator from the state for 12 years. Romney has accused him of betraying conservative values by voting to raise the national debt and of being compromised by years in Congress. [...] Romney commanded the most support among strong backers of the Tea Party movement and ran a close second to Santorum among voters who identified themselves as very conservative or as evangelical Christians. In early contests, such as South Carolina, Romney did badly with those groups. After Tuesday’s losses, Santorum pledged to defy pressure from “the Republican establishment and aristocracy” to drop out of the race and said he would keep going through the primaries in May. “Who’s ready to charge out of the locker room in Pennsylvania for a strong second half?” he said. But if Santorum loses the race in Pennsylvania, the pressure to step aside and allow the Republican party to concentrate on its campaign against Obama will intensify.
Rick Santorum Trails Mitt Romney In Pennsylvania, Poll Says – The notion that Santorum has a shot at the Republican nomination even with a victory in Pennsylvania was already a bit far-fetched. A loss there would likely convince even the most passionate backer that the gig is up. But the practical effect of poll numbers like these is greater then just providing a window into where the race currently stands. Santorum has a lot — personally and professionally — riding on his performance in Pennsylvania. And it’s not unreasonable to see him feeling intense pressure to bow out of the contest out of concern that he’d suffer an embarrassing loss.
Planned Parenthood Bomber: ‘They’re Killing Babies There’ – Francis Grady, who’s accused of firebombing a Wisconsin Planned Parenthood clinic on Sunday night, appeared in court today and settled the question of whether or not he’s an anti-choice fanatic: he is. A Grand Chute man accused of setting a fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic made his first appearance Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Green Bay. Francis Grady, 50, told U.S. Magistrate Judge Sickel he planned to plead guilty, but Sickel ignored the statement and scheduled Grady for an April 19 preliminary hearing. At one point, Grady interrupted him to ask, “Do you even care at all about the 1,000 babies that died screaming?”
PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS
At UAW legislative conference, Obama defends auto bailout – ”I placed my bet on the American worker and I’ll make that bet any day of the week,” the president declared to the UAW delegates. He praised the union, saying it was a major factor in making American history, including enabling the country to “defeat fascism” in World War II and the creation thereafter of the middle class itself. He also slammed the Republicans for their concentration on so-called “value” issues. “I keep hearing these same folks talk about values all the time,” he said. “You want to talk about values? Hard work – that’s a value. Looking out for one another, that’s a value. The idea that we’re all in it together and I am my brother’s keeper and sister’s keeper that’s a value. “They’re out there talking about you like you’re some kind of special interest that needs to be beaten down,” Obama declared. “They are wrong. That’s the philosophy that got us into this mess. We can’t afford to go back to it. Not now.” [image: moveon]
What Detroit’s Resurgence Says About The Auto Bailout – Mitt Romney attacked the Volt the same day the big three released their new numbers. “I’m not sure America was ready for the Chevy Volt,” he said. “I mean, I hope it does well, I don’t want to disparage any product coming out of Detroit. But I think instead of having politicians tell us what kind of cars we ought to make, we ought to let the people who are trying to understand the market make that decision.” Romney also continues to struggle with his original position on the bailout — outlined in a memorable 2008 New York Times op-ed, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” “If by chance people don’t remember that editorial, we’re going to remind them of it,” said Don LaForest, chairman of the UAW’s bargaining committee at the Detroit Hamtramck plant, where the Volt is made. Rattner believes it’s a safe bet that the bailout will become a major campaign issue. “That the auto bailout has had a very positive impact on the country is the message you’ve seen the White House use and they should continue to use it,” Rattner told TPM. “There were some pretty amazingly incorrect predictions made by people who were against the bailout. They should step back and rethink their hypotheses.”
WE ARE LIKELY TO HEAR A LOT MORE ABOUT SOCIAL DARWINISM in the months ahead. It was the conservative creed during the late 19th century – legitimizing a politics in which the lackeys of robber barons deposited sacks of money on legislators’ desks, and justifying an economy in which sweat shops were common, urban slums festered, and a significant portion of America was impoverished. – Robert Reich: The Choice in 2012: Social Darwinism or a Decent Society
Clinton: Unilateral Israeli Attack On Iran Now ‘Is Not In Anyone’s Interest’ – REENA NINAN: How successful has the U.S. been in getting and preventing Israel from taking unilateral action against Iran? CLINTON: Well we’ve worked very hard with Israel on all levels from the military, intelligence, strategic, diplomatic level to make sure we were sharing information, that we knew what each other was assessing. And it’s our very strong belief, as President Obama conveyed to the Israelis, that it is not in anyone’s interest for them to take unilateral action. It is in everyone’s interest for us to seriously pursue at this time the diplomatic path.
“The Republican Strategy” via Robert Reich:
The Republican strategy is to split the vast middle and working class – pitting unionized workers against non-unionized, public-sector workers against non-public, older workers within sight of Medicare and Social Security against younger workers who don’t believe these programs will be there for them, and the poor against the working middle class.
By splitting working America along these lines, Republicans hope to deflect attention from the big story. That’s the increasing share of total income and wealth going to the richest 1 percent while the jobs and wages of everyone else languish.
The GOP has effectively split the middle and working class with social issues like God, guns, and gays for 30 years, deflecting attention from the ever-increasing income disparity between the richest one percent and the rest of us. The GOP will continue to use this strategy until it doesn’t work anymore.
Judging from the current crop of Republican presidential candidates, it will continue to work for a long, long time.
MAYBE THIS WILL BE REMEMBERED AS THE AWAKENING for American plutocrats and multinational corporations — a very slow, painful awakening, surely.
Is this a class war? Yes, probably. And it’s one of those really long wars, the kind that goes on forever. But in this latest battle, there’s little doubt who fired the first shot. When the financial crisis hit, the Masters of the Universe evaded responsibility and defiantly demanded more sacrifice from their victims. They enlisted their favoured politicians to hold the people hostage and then complained about being unloved despite their crimes. They have won all the early skirmishes – but the people are gathering their forces and starting to fight back.
“The top 1 per cent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 per cent live Throughout history, this is something that the top 1 per cent eventually do learn. Too Late.” — Joseph Stiglitz
DESPITE THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE being kicked into high gear on behalf of the Masters of the Universe — with the hackneyed right wing arguments about “punishing success” or jealousy and sour grapes — there is one simple fact at the foundation of the Occupy Wall Street protests: In America the 99 percent are greater than the 1 percent but are asked to sacrifice more and are given less.
liberalsarecool: When corporations comprising an entire industry fail, and need to be bailed out by taxpayers, there is simply no way of calling it capitalism. Come up with a new word because it is not capitalism.
- OccupyWallStreet and the Panic of the Plutocrats
- How did the rising tide capsize 99percent of the boats in America?
- Are Danes the happiest people on earth because they’re “socialists” — or is their capitalism more enlightened?
- Rebellion: operating outside the system to be heard within the system
- Fox Newspeak
- The greatest hoax: the right wing and its lower and middle class base supporters enabling the super-rich
JED LEWISON discusses John Boehner’s jobs speech:
As anyone with a pulse could have predicted, Boehner blamed weak job growth on President Obama, saying:
“Job creators in America are essentially on strike,” Mr. Boehner said, according to excerpts released by the Speaker’s office. “The problem is not confusion about the policies. The problem is the policies.”
That’s got to be the stupidest thing John Boehner has ever said. He’s basically saying that business owners would rather protest the nation’s fiscal and regulatory policy than make sense. But businesses don’t go “on strike” when there’s demand for their services and profit to be made. And even if they did, other businesses step in and meet the demand.
No, the problem is not that “job creators” have gone “on strike.” The problem is that there isn’t enough demand for their products and services. Boehner’s fundamental misunderstanding of this basic fact is reflected in his belief that the deficit reduction super committee is actually a jobs committee:
“The joint committee is a jobs committee. Its mission is to reduce the deficit that is threatening job creation in our country.”
If there were any truth to what Boehner said, if “job creators” really were “on strike” and if they really did believe that “the joint committee is a jobs committee,” then job growth would have soared after the conclusion of the debt deal in early August. Instead, this is what happened:
Thousands of jobs created per month in 2011 (data source)
Once again, the job creators are working and middle class Americans who have a paycheck and the income to spend on things they want. No good pay, no job, no demand for products or services.
Wealthy people and corporations who hoard their tax cuts, offshore what were formerly U.S. jobs, and / or increase their CEO bonuses year after year? That would be the OPPOSITE of job creators.
Part of the ongoing class war is the GOP’s ability to convince their voting base (the majority of whom are not wealthy, the teabaggers) that letting the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthiest is somehow punishing those who work the hardest, that it’s tantamount to punishing Success itself. This laughable argument is fed daily to these working- and middle-class voters by millionaires / billionaires such as Rush Limbaugh, the Koch brothers, and Rupert Murdoch — just to name a few.
The facts of the matter are spelled out by Professor Miguel A. De La Torre, Iliff School of Theology in Ethics Daily:
As much as we may wish to avoid the term “class warfare,” the truth remains that a class warfare is being waged by politicians protecting the super rich – and they are winning.
This war began in 1980 when President Ronald Reagan, followed by President George H.W. Bush, occupied the White House.
Deregulation and massive tax cuts to the richest Americans were responsible for the transfer of wealth from the poorest Americans to the richest.
During the 1980s, the top 10 percent increased their family income by 16 percent and the top 5 percent increased theirs by 23 percent. The top 1 percent increased their income by 50 percent.
Meanwhile, the bottom 80 percent all lost money. The bottom 10 percent lost 15 percent of their income, from $4,113 to $3,504.
When President Bill Clinton was elected, the national deficit was at $300 billion. While he ended his term with a surplus (the first in decades), he still participated in the transfer of wealth, specifically in his “ending welfare as we know it.”
More important was his administration’s role in deregulating the banking industry, a charge led by his treasury secretary, Larry Summers, and Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas) in the form of the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. The safeguards put in place to prevent another 1930s Depression were basically gutted.
Not surprisingly, nine years later, our nation begins and continues to experience the Great Recession. Aggravating the situation was a greater transfer of wealth known as the Bush tax cuts of 2001.
In spite of the budget surplus inherited, President George W. Bush’s $1.3 trillion tax cut to the richest Americans grew the deficit by $400 billion a year. Also aggravating the situation are the two seemingly never-ending wars Bush started.
By the end of Bush’s term, more than half of the tax cuts solely benefited the richest 5 percent of Americans while the middle-class received about 7 percent of the benefits.
Are the GOP-Teaparty voters really okay with an ever-growing income inequality in America, with the ongoing bottom-to-top income redistribution that’s been happening for 30 years, and with tax-cuts designed specifically to benefit the super rich? Or are they so easily distracted with social issues (like this week’s pseudo-issue: Chaz Bono on DWTS) that they allow themselves to be jerked from one “outrageous outrage” to another by their radio entertainers, Fox News, and the Koch-funded Tea Party movement?
I would guess it’s a little of both. The adage ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ is the foundation of teaparty mentality. There’s no other way to explain how non-wealthy voters would support austerity measures on benefits and public services they use themselves, in order to pay for extending and / or increasing tax cuts for the super-rich.
- American companies that aren’t investing in the U.S. are unpatriotic — Jim Hoffa
- Labor Day weekend: some corporations pay their CEOs more than they pay in taxes
- Good reasons why the Teaparty doesn’t care if they’re rendered destitute by GOP economic policy
- France’s wealthiest join Warren Buffett’s call for the ultra-rich to pay higher taxes
- Jon Huntsman: Let them eat cake in their future Thunderdomes!
- Income Inequality, mid-2000s: out of 17 countries, USA rates #17
- What would income inequality look like today if union density had remained at 1973 levels?
- August 5, 1981: The day the middle-class died in America
- Why Teaparty ideology is killing our country: the next generation
- What doesn’t the average teaparty voter understand about income inequality that’s been growing since the ’70s?
- The incredible shrinking income of the American worker
THIS IS AN EXCELLENT PIECE FROM JOEL KOTKIN IN FORBES about the coming global class war. The reality is that even with education and hard work, younger generations can’t look forward to living better than their parents anymore. The middle-class is being squeezed out of existence as American manufacturing and formerly white-collar jobs move offshore, while labor unions — which in earlier decades set wage and workplace standards for everyone — have been considered the enemy of Capitalists and the GOP for at least three decades (and so have become the enemy of the rank-and-file Republican voter by default). There will be a breaking point.
In the earlier decades of the 20th century working class youths could look forward to jobs in Britain’s vibrant industrial economy and, later, in the growing public sector largely financed by both the earnings of the City of London and credit. Today the industrial sector has shrunk beyond recognition. The global financial crisis has undermined credit and the government’s ability to pay for the welfare state.
[...] Diminished prospects — what many pundits praise as the “new normal” — now confront a vast proportion of the population. One indication: The expectation of earning more money next year has fallen to the lowest level in 25 years. Wages have been falling not only for non-college graduates but for those with four-year degree as well. Over 43% of non-college-educated whites complain they are downwardly mobile.
Given this, it’s hard to see how class resentment in this country can do anything but grow in the years. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke claimed as early as 2007 that he was worried about growing inequality in this country, but his Wall Street and corporate-friendly policies have failed to improve the grassroots economy.
[...] Many conservatives here, as well as abroad, reject the huge role of class. To them, wealth and poverty still reflect levels of virtue — and societal barriers to upward mobility, just a mild inhibitor. But modern society cannot run according to the individualist credo of Ayn Rand; economic systems, to be credible and socially sustainable, must deliver results to the vast majority of citizens. If capitalism cannot do that expect more outbreaks of violence and greater levels of political alienation — not only in Britain but across most of the world’s leading countries, including the U.S.
Something needs to change with all this economic inequality. For those of us who aren’t millionaires, I guess all we can do is hope that the FEMA-built Thunderdomes won’t be so bad. Which is silly, I know, since by the time the Thunderdomes need to be built, FEMA will have been defunded by “small-government” Republicans to free up enough revenue for further tax cuts and subsidies for the wealthiest one-percent.
- 19 Facts About The Deindustrialization Of America
- Tax breaks to the wealthy will never create jobs
- The vicious circle of tax cuts for the wealthy
- Cause of the still terrible job market? The wealthy and the “great consumer bust”
- August 5, 1981: The day the middle-class died in America
- Why do poor and working-class conservatives support tax cuts for the wealthy?