Category Archives: Taxes
On 6 Jan 1983, the great tax cutter President Ronald Reagan signed into law a five cent per gallon federal gas tax hike; that’s right, Ronald Wilson Reagan signed into law a five cent per gallon tax increase. The reason for the new tax hike? He was going to stimulate the economy!
Wow, the great white father of Republican mythology raised yet another tax; where does it all end Timmy?
It’s time for the far right-wing worshippers to come to the pool of truth, drink deeply, and admit Reagan didn’t raise revenues from trickle down, he did it by raising taxes, more than 12 times during his eight years in office, including raising the federal gas tax. Can you imagine how apoplectic the right would go if President Obama merely suggested a five cent gasoline tax? They’d be beside themselves screaming it was a socialistic plot to take over the petroleum industry.
Facts are stubborn things, and facts are Reagan cut taxes his first year in office, and when he failed to turn the economy around he then raised taxes non-stop his remaining years in the White House. Facts are stubborn things.
The Huffington Post’s reporting that the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page has attacked congressional Republican Tea Party (GOTP) members for possibly losing the payroll tax cut standoff to President Barack Obama.
The Editorial began recounting how GOTP Senate leader Mitch McConnell “famously said a year ago his main task in the 112th Congress was to make sure President Obama would not be re-elected. Given how he and House Speaker John Boehner have handled the payroll tax debate, we wonder if they might end up re-electing the President before the 2012 campaign even begins in earnest.”
Earlier this week GOTP House members killed the two-month extension of the payroll tax cut, unemployment benefits and a provision avoiding Medicare payment cuts to doctors by a 229-193 vote. The Senate had voted by an 89-10 margin to extend all three for two months. All three provisions expire on 1 Jan 12. GOTP House members want the Senate to return and negotiate over a compromise plan but Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he won’t negotiate until the House approves the Senate’s package.
Finally Senator Reid has shown some back bone against the Tea Party conservatives across the aisle; what’s even better about this situation is McConnell had clearly struck a deal with Reid, and Boehner has to have been part of it as well but then his Tea Party compatriots cut his knees out from under him led by Eric Cantor.
The conservative editorial board wrote that the GOTP has “thoroughly botched the politics.” The board also added that Obama’s in a “stronger re-election position today than he was a year ago.”
After 1 Jan 12, the payroll tax paid by workers will rise from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent and benefits for the long-term unemployed will expire if Congress doesn’t pull its head out of its collective fourth point of contact. Doctors will also face a 27 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements scheduled to take effect on 18 Jan 12.
The icing on the cake for the President is that 2008 Republican Presidential candidate Senator John McCain of Arizona showed his approval of the editorial tweeting, “WSJ is right on the mark here.”
When the smoke clears from this latest GOTP catastrophe, the President will once again come out on top, John Boehner may find himself stepping down as Speaker, and the Tea Party will come out as having attempted one bridge too far; come 2012 the bill will come due and local Congressional Districts will likely toss the riff raff out turning the House back to a Democratic majority. The Tea Party’s angry white guy shtick only plays so far and they’ve been on stage well past their collective curtain call.
Senate Democrats have stepped up and released a bill to extend and expand on the payroll tax cut that would otherwise expire at the end of this year.
The Middle Class Tax Cut act, S. 1917, would cut the employee and employer payroll tax to 3.1 percent, half of the 6.2 percent tax they would normally face. The bill applies this cut to the first $5 million in payroll for companies, which Senate Democrats estimate will cut payroll taxes in half for 98 percent of U.S. companies with payroll below that cap.
The bill also includes a “surtax on millionaires,” which applies a 3.25 percent tax on modified adjusted gross income over $1 million or $500,000 for a married individual filing separately. This tax would take effect in 2013.
Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) is the chief sponsor of the bill, which is also co-sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).
Democratic leaders said they’d look to take up the tax bill soon, but had not scheduled any votes on the bill as of Monday night.
While the Republican Tea Party (GOTP) do-nothing House has wasted an entire year with grandstanding tactics like reading the Constitution, validating that our nation’s motto is “In God We Trust”, and introducing more than 100 bills aimed at limiting abortion; the Democratic Senate has introduced a bill aimed at helping Americans during a recession, cutting taxes to those of us who need them cut, and raising taxes on those who can easily afford an increase and who’ve benefited far too long on everyone else’s backs; it doesn’t bode well for a GOTP that ran on “jobs” and which has produced zero.
Who has two thumbs and is whining about only having $400,000 to spend for his very own? It’s Republican Tea Party (GOTP) Congressman John Fleming.
While appearing on MSNBC to try to explain why he opposes President Obama’s tax increase on those earning more than $1 million per year, Fleming became defensive to the point of stupidity when host Chris Jansing commented on the fact Fleming has an income of more than $6 million annually.
“The amount that I have to reinvest in my business and feed my family is more like $600,000 of that $6.3 million,” Fleming explained. “So by the time I feed my family I have, maybe, $400,000 left over to invest in new locations, upgrade my locations, buy more equipment.”
So, let me see if I understand this correctly congressman; you spend $200,000 per year feeding your family? How many kids do you have? Are you a polygamist? What the deuce are you feeding your family gold plated hot dogs?
According to the Wall Street Journal, Fleming owns a string of Subway sandwich shops and UPS store franchises through which he earned about $6.3 million last year.
Jansing tried to point out to the congressman that he was sounding more than a little petulant, “You do understand, congressman, that the average person out there who’s making maybe 40, 50, $60,000 out there, when they hear you only have $400,000 left over, it’s not exactly a sympathetic position,” she said. “You understand that?”
“Class warfare’s never created a job,” Fleming responded. “And that’s people that will not get jobs. This is all about creating jobs, Chris, this is not about attacking people who make certain incomes. You know in this country, most people feel that being successful in their business is a virtue, not a vice, and once we begin to identify it as a vice, this country is going down.”
Yes, of course congressman, it’s all class warfare – so, how is it class warfare when the President suggests the wealthy pay more taxes, but it’s not class warfare when you – clearly part of the wealthy class – want to slash programs that benefit the poorest among us, and when you want to allow tax cuts benefitting the middle class to expire?
Well let me point something out to you dip stick, we’ve had the Bush Tax cuts for more than a decade and we’ve seen almost zero job creation from all of you good old American “job creators”; you’re chance is up, you and your country club set of business owners now has to foot the bill for the Bush/Cheney ear of adventurism. If you approve/support two wars and you didn’t pay for them, well, the bill is now due; congratulations.
In spite of what Paul Ryan claims, his GOTP budget plan would leave up to 44 million additional low-income people uninsured as the Federal Government would be forced to cut states’ Medicaid funding by about one-third over the next 10 years.
You read that correctly, 44 million additional – as in 44 million new, or 44 million more. That’s the ugly face – or one of the ugly faces – of today’s GOTP. Ryan is willing to throw the poor, the needy, even grandma under the bus while continuing to insist we must continue to not only give tax breaks to the wealthiest among us, but give them even bigger tax breaks.
Both the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Urban Institute claim, Medicaid’s role as the nation’s safety net health care program would be “significantly compromised” under the GOP budget, “with no obvious alternative to take its place.”
But Ryan and his GOTP colleagues don’t care. Reality is they have absolutely nothing to take its place. Why? Because they simply don’t care. The GOTP has had its designs on killing Medicaid since its inception, and cutting it has nothing to do with saving money, and everything to do with undermining it with the eventual hope of toppling it entirely.
The budget passed by House Republicans last month – on a strict party-line vote - called for sweeping health care changes, potentially even more significant than President Barack Obama’s insurance overhaul. And it’s biggest dream baby for the GOTP? The part where it would convert Medicare into a voucher-like system for future retirees. But Medicaid would also be transformed.
The GOTP – with Ryan leading – want first, to kill medicare; second, to give you a voucher (money); and third, have you go give that voucher to some insurance company. Sounds sort of OK, but what’s the catch? How many seniors do you know who don’t have some kind of pre-existing medical condition that would keep them from obtaining health insurance? Grandma would be thrown under the bus if Ryan and the GOTP have its way. Medicare destroyed = Grandma with no health coverage. It’s very simple mathematics.
If this bill had passed, and if the Senate had been controlled by the GOTP, and if the Congress could have over-ridden the President’s veto, then the federal-state partnership (Medicaid) which now covers more than 60 million low-income families and seniors, including most nursing home residents, as well as disabled people of any age would have been converted from an open-ended program in which the federal government pays about 60 percent of the cost of services, into a block grant that would give each state a fixed sum of money. Not a continuous influx of money mind you, but a block grant to take care existing costs, but no more. Future seniors? Under the GOTP/Ryan plan you’re out of luck, aka under the bus.
Ryan’s wonderful little budget would also have done away with the right to Medicaid benefits under federal law, and it would have repealed a coverage expansion to low-income adults included in Obama’s health care law.
As the current law stands, it’s estimated Medicaid will be covering 76 million people in 2021, the end of the ten-year estimating window used in federal budgeting. Of those, some 17 million would gain coverage under President Obama’s expansion.
The study also estimated that 36 million to 44 million people would lose coverage from the combined impact of the block grant and the GOTP’s repealing of the new health care law. Researchers said they gave a range to account for different approaches states might take to reduce their Medicaid rolls. Under the worst case scenario, Medicaid enrollment would plunge by nearly 60 percent from current projected levels.
And of course because the GOTP caters only to the richest among us the hospitals, community health centers and other health care providers serving low-income people would be disproportionately affected. In 2021 hospitals would face Medicaid funding cuts of $84 billion.
Did you get that number? $84 billion would be taken away from hose who need health care the most, the poor and the elderly.
Is this the America conservatives cry out for? Is this the America they call for taking us back to? Is this the America they want to leave to their posterity? One can only think yes it is. This is what and where the current GOTP wants us to go to. They assume no one in their families will ever be poor, or will ever be born with a disability, or will ever be elderly. It’s “fixing” a problem for today only, leaving it to be “fixed” again at a later date so they can garner political flowers today.
So, the Republican Tea Party (GOTP) members of Congress keep preaching they must cut, slash, and cut spending deeper, or the country will find itself in dire straights, with dogs and cats living together … blah, blah, blah … problem is most Americans don’t see it that way …
The way they do see it – according to a Washington Post/ABC poll – is the way the President sees it, lowering the debt by first raising taxes on the rich.
Funniest thing about the poll was that the numbers of people surveyed who claimed to support cuts to Medicare and Medicaid — 21 percent and 30 percent, respectively — is close to the same percentage of people who regularly rot their brains on non-stop viewing of FOX PAC.
But, back to the intelligent people; seventy-eight percent of the A+ crowd opposed cuts to Medicare, while 69 percent opposed Medicaid cuts.
And which plan, between the President’s, and Paul – aka Eddie the Munster – Ryan’s was the most popular? Well, that would be the President’s, the plan where the government offsets the debt by raising taxes on Americans who make $250,000 or more annually; in fact, of those surveyed, 72 percent said they support tax increases on people with incomes of more than $250,000, including 54 percent who strongly support them. Twenty-seven percent are opposed, including 17 percent strongly, gee once again, that would be the ditto heads and FOX & Friend groupies.
Truth is Americans, all Americans, are going to have to suck it up and expect some cuts coupled with some tax increases; but increases need to start with those who can most afford it – that’s the top 2% – and cuts need to come from the one sector which can best absorb it – the sacred cow of defense spending. Another good way to help raise revenue would be to take away subsidies to corporate America – aka the oil companies – and change free trade agreements to fair trade agreements.
So, who’s calling for $4 trillion in long-term deficit cuts while giving a blistering attack on Republican Tea Party (GOTP) plans for taxes, Medicare and Medicaid? The President of these United States, that’s who.
President Obama said spending cuts are OK, but they have to be tied to higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans with an end to Bush-era tax cuts for the top 2%.
“We have to live within our means, reduce our deficit and get back on a path that will allow us to pay down our debt,” President Obama said. “And we have to do it in a way that protects the recovery, and protects the investments we need to grow, create jobs and win the future.”
The President called out the GOTP saying, they want to “end Medicare as we know it,” and extend tax cuts for the wealthy while demanding 33 million seniors pay more for health care.
“That’s not right, and it’s not going to happen as long as I am president,” he vowed.
So-called Representative Paul Ryan, GOTP, the point man for the House Republican Tea Party budget, was invited to the speech, mistakenly thinking the administration was “extending an olive branch”.
“Instead, what we got was a speech that was excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate and hopelessly inadequate to addressing our country’s pressing fiscal challenges,” Ryan said. “What we heard today was not fiscal leadership from our commander in chief. What we heard today was a political broadside from our campaigner in chief.”
Yeah, OK Eddie Munster, whatever; it’s time for you to realize your fifteen minutes of fame was over a long time ago. You can’t seriously think America was just going to bend over while you and your chums on the far right gutted the poor, the elderly, and everyone else who doesn’t earn millions a year? Earth to Eddie … hello?
Now what about the President’s call for $4 trillion in cuts? He said $2 trillion should come from spending, $1 trillion from taxes – yes Eddie he said taxes – including ending Bush-era tax breaks for the wealthy, and the rest recouped from lower interest payments on the national debt.
What will be cut? To start, military spending would be reduced by $400 billion through 2023, domestic programs would absorb $770 billion in cuts and mandatory programs such as agricultural subsidies another $360 billion, an additional $480 billion would be saved from Medicare, which of course provides health care to an estimated 33 million seniors, and from Medicaid, a state-federal program covering lower-income families and which is set for a huge expansion under the health care program Obama signed into law last year.
What about Social Security?! Right wing nut jobs are screaming. The President said that Social Security is neither in a crisis nor “a driver of our near-term deficit problems.” He did however say that he supports unspecified steps to strengthen it for the long term, but ruled out any attempt to privatize it.
What about Republican Tea Party proposals to end traditional Medicare for anyone currently under 55, and to give the states near-total control over Medicaid?
For Medicare, the President said, “It says instead of guaranteed health care, you will get a voucher. And if that voucher isn’t worth enough to buy insurance, tough luck — you’re on your own.”
He added that the so-called Republican Tea Party budget could cost 50 million Americans health care coverage, including grandparents needing nursing home care, children with autism and kids “with disabilities so severe that they require 24-hour care. These are the Americans we’d be telling to fend for themselves.”
“Well”, think many on the far right, “If they can’t afford heath care, than perhaps they had better just die and decrease the surplus population.” This group of Republicans is so busy cow towing to the Tea Party, the group which thinks people like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann are viable presidential candidates, that they have become drunk on right wing extremism. They have lost whatever souls they once possessed.
The President made a point of placing the blame for the nation’s debt and deficit where it squarely lies, recounting how it all started rolling downhill in 2000, “we increased spending dramatically for two wars and an expensive prescription drug programs, but we didn’t pay for any of this new spending. Instead, we made the problem worse with trillions of dollars in unpaid-for tax cuts.” A very clear reference to policies pursued by President George W. Bush and the Republicans who controlled Congress for six of his eight years in office.
Thank you Mr. President for having the courage to say what needs to be said; for sounding Presidential, and for being the progressive leader we all knew you could be. It’s time for the far right Tea Party Republicans to reel back on their heels and understand that the rest of us are not drinking whatever brand of Kool-aid they’ve been drinking. You have put them on notice, and if they continue charging down this path they will soon see the Congress switch not only back to the left, but to the left in an overwhelming majority.