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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 07:39 AM
Number of posts: 44,872

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Help Me Compose Response to My Sister-In-Law Regarding Right-Wing Propaganda on Obama Tax Rates She

sent out.

Here's the graphic she emailed under the title "Heres how much your taxes are going up under Obamas new tax code. No one is spared!"

Here's what I've composed so far. Please offer suggestions and fact-check it. Others might want to cut-and-paste what we come up with for their own use:

This is extremely misleading. The graphic identifies "average increases." Average increases in what? I ASSUME they are referring to income taxes after going off the "fiscal cliff," but I don't really know since it doesn't say. Total tax burden? The payroll tax holiday was always meant to be temporary and almost assuredly will not be extended - this is mainly because of Republican opposition. This tax holiday was going to expire no matter who became President.

We simply don't know what Congress and the President are going to do about the fiscal cliff, so, in a sense, there really is no "Obama's new tax code." We can assume that they WILL do SOMETHING. The Jan. 2013 triggers were agreed upon by BOTH parties, as a way to strategize with each other and to push off dealing with it into the future. They will almost assuredly end up pushing some more stuff off into the future again. Obama already allowed the Bush-era tax breaks for the extremely wealthy to be extended before, promised not to do, and is under TWO election mandates to end them.

From ABC News, scenario for the pre-election Obama tax intentions and the worst-case scenario for the "fiscal cliff," (for which BOTH parties are responsible):

Scenario: Obama Wins

In an Obama tax world, 95 percent of families will pay the same amount of income tax as they do now. Their tax rates will stay the same and their deductions will be largely unchanged.

But for the 5 percent of American families who earn more than $241,900 per year, Obama's tax plan means a fairly substantial tax hike.

Individuals earning between $200,000 and $500,000 will pay about $3,300 more in federal income taxes in 2013 than they did this year. Millionaires will pay an additional $184,600 per year, on average, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

The Details:

Obama's tax plan extends the Bush Tax Cuts for all families earning less than $241,900, but lets the cuts expire for families earning more than that. The tax rate on income between $241,900 and $390,050 will be 36 percent, or 3 percentage points higher in 2013 than it was in 2012. Couples who earn more than $390,050 will pay a 39.6 percent rate on income over that amount. That is 4.6 percentage points higher than their 2012 rate.

The tax on investment income like capital gains and dividends will increase for individuals earning more than $200,000 and families who earn more than $250,000. Instead of a 15 percent tax rate, dividends will be taxed like regular income subject to the 36 percent rate above $241,900 and 39.6 percent rate above $390,050, and the rate on capital gains will increase to 20 percent. The rates will stay at 15 percent on incomes less than $200,000.

Two-thirds of Obama's tax hikes fall solely on millionaires, who will pay higher rates on their income, capital gains and dividends. The president also plans to increase the estate and gift taxes from 35 percent to 45 percent on estates worth more than $3.5 million. Currently, these taxes only apply to estates worth more than $5 million.

Obama would extend tax credits for the working poor, child care, and having children.

On the corporate side, Obama proposes lowering the corporate tax rate from its current 35 percent to 28 percent and eliminate credits and exemptions, such as those for oil and gas companies.

Scenario: U.S. Falls Off the Fiscal Cliff

If Congress fails to act, American taxpayers will be hit with $536 billion in tax increases and automatic spending cuts will strip $1.2 trillion largely from the Defense Department and Medicare.

In this fiscal cliff scenario, the average tax hike would be $3,446. Nearly 90 percent of families would see their taxes go up, with middle class taxes rising roughly $2,000 on average.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, if Congress does not prevent these provisions from expiring -- that is, if America falls off the fiscal cliff -- the country will plunge back into recession, with GDP growth slowing to a mere 0.5 percent.


On Dec. 31, the Bush Tax cuts are set to expire, raising taxes by between 4 percent and 6 percent on nearly every taxpayer. The lowest tax rate, which applies to families earning less than $17,800, will jump from 10 percent to 15 percent and the highest tax bracket, for households earning more than $397,000, will rise from 35 percent to 39.6 percent.

Tax credits that largely benefit low and middle income workers, such as the child tax credit and deductions for the working poor, will also expire.

Coupled with the tax hikes are steep and sudden spending cuts to the tune of $1.2 trillion next year. The Defense Department would bear the brunt of those cuts, losing $55 billion in funding for 2013.

Medicare would also take a big hit with the federal government cutting payments to Medicare providers by 2 percent in order to save $11 billion.

Those, of course, are just the PLANS, not what is actually going to happen.

Here's some other information:


CBO: Letting upper-income tax cuts expire would barely hurt economy
Posted by Dylan Matthews on November 8, 2012 at 4:44 pm

The Congressional Budget Office warned again in a report released Thursday that the U.S. economy could get slammed back into recession, with unemployment hitting 9.1 percent by the end of next year, if President Obama and Congress don’t act to avert the fiscal cliff.
But there were other interesting nuggets in the report, as well. In particular, the CBO gave its most detailed look at how the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts would affect the economy. Apparently, it would do little harm, the numbers show. Here’s the key graph:

The above shows how big each policy is as a share of the total impact of the cliff. Some policies are more important on the budget side than the GDP side. Letting the high-income Bush tax cuts lapse, for example, generates $42 billion in 2013 but hardly hurts GDP at all. By contrast, the defense cuts amount to $24 billion but hurts growth by 0.4 percent — quadruple the high-income cuts’ impact.

Again, from the CBO:


In 2009, Americans paid lowest tax rates in 30 years to federal government
By Lori Montgomery, Published: July 10

Americans paid the lowest tax rates in 30 years to the federal government in 2009, in part because of tax cuts President Obama sought to combat the Great Recession, congressional budget analysts said Tuesday.

A sharp decline in income — especially among the wealthiest Americans, who pay the highest tax rates — also played a role, according to the report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Household income fell 12 percent on average from 2007 to 2009, with income among the top 1 percent of earners decreasing by more than a third.

Still, at the very moment anti-tax protesters were emerging as the most powerful force in American politics, handing Republicans landslide control of the U.S. House, the data show that people were sending the smallest portion of their income to the federal government since 1979.

The tax burden — which includes all forms of federal levies, including income, payroll and corporate taxes — lightened for households across the board, thanks in part to Obama’s signature “Making Work Pay” tax credit and other tax cuts passed as part of the 2009 economic stimulus package, the CBO said.

Nation Horrified To Learn About War in Afghanistan While Reading Up on Petraeus Sex Scandal


Nation Horrified To Learn About War In Afghanistan While Reading Up On Petraeus Sex Scandal
NOVEMBER 13, 2012 | ISSUE 48•46

Sources: Petraeus Knew About Affair For More Than A Year
WASHINGTON—As they scoured the Internet for more juicy details about former CIA director David Petraeus’ affair with biographer Paula Broadwell, Americans were reportedly horrified today upon learning that a protracted, bloody war involving U.S. forces is currently raging in the nation of Afghanistan. “Oh my God, this is terrible,” Allie Lipscomb, 29, said after accidentally stumbling on an article about the war while she tried to ascertain details about what specific sexual acts Petraeus and Broadwell might have engaged in. “According to this, 2,000 American troops have died, 18,000 have been wounded, and more than 20,000 civilians have been killed. Jesus Christ. And it’s been happening for, like, 11 years.” Sources confirmed that after reading a few paragraphs about the brutal war, the nation quickly became distracted by a headline about Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash’s alleged sexual abuse of a 16-year-old boy.

Secession Petitions Gain Supporters - Fast

Source: ABC News

Secession Petitions Gain Supporter -- Fast

Chris Good
15 minutes ago

Call it the confederacy of petitioners, except the petitions have now spread beyond the South.

In the days since President Obama secured re-election, a wave of petitions from states in almost every region of the country has hit WhiteHouse.gov calling for secession from the union.

At the White House site We the People, visitors can submit petitions on a range of "important" issues facing the country, and the White House promises to review them and issue a response once they reach a certain "signature threshold."

But some loopholes in the procedure allow the White House to get out of that commitment, as ABC's Sarah Parnass recently reported.

- snip -

The states with the most signatures were:

Texas - 77,090 signatures Louisiana - 29,309 signatures Florida - 22,873 signatures Georgia - 21,783 signatures Alabama - 21,183 signatures

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/m/blogEntry?id=17709698

Thom Hartmann: The Oligarchs Don't Understand Economic Collapse Happens When They Get All the Money


Thomhartmann.com / By Thom Hartmann, Sam Sacks

Danger Ahead: The Oligarchs Don't Understand That Economic Collapse Happens When They Get All the Money

The corporate masters seem to have forgotten they depend on working people for their own survival.

November 12, 2012

Let’s face it, if your opponent in Monopoly scoops up Boardwalk, Park Place, North Carolina Avenue, Pacific Avenue, both utilities, and the four railroads – that’s game over.

The other players, all of whom have been relegated to mere consumers instead of property owners, will slowly go bankrupt having to pay higher and higher costs for rent and services, utilities, and transportation. Eventually, one player has all the money and the losers have to clean up the board game and put it away.

But let’s assume the Monopoly game doesn’t end there. Let’s assume the broke players keep rolling the dice and keep going around the board. They essentially keep living their lives desperate and broke, using their credit cards and home lines of credit to stay in the game. Maybe they end up in jail. If they’re lucky, they land on Baltic Avenue and can afford to stay a night in the slums.

Meanwhile, the oligarch who owns everything can no longer collect any income. The other players can’t afford to pay rent, they can’t pay utilities, and they can’t ride on the railroads. Eventually, without consumers spending money, the Monopoly oligarch goes broke, too. His properties and businesses disappear and suddenly everyone is broke!

That’s what Monopoly’s version of economic collapse looks like. And it’s very similar to what global economic collapse in the real world looks like, too.

Now put the Monopoly game board away and consider this: Researchers in Zurich, Switzerland have found that there are roughly 43,000 transnational corporations that dominate the global economy. Of those, there are about 1,300 companies that control 80% of all the global revenues for all the transnational corporations on the planet. Now let’s take it a step further. Of those 1,300 core companies, only 147 companies, which all happen to own each other in some way, control 40% - or nearly half – of all the wealth in the entire transnational corporate network. That means 1% of transnationals own 40% of all the world’s business wealth.

In other words, the global 1% has its own 1%.


Kyrsten Sinema Becomes First Openly Bisexual Member of Congress

Source: ABC News

First Openly Bisexual Member of Congress Elected

Alyssa Newcomb
3 minutes ago

After a hard-fought race in a newly formed Arizona congressional district, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema was declared the winner today, becoming the first openly bisexual member of Congress.

Sinema, a former state senator, joins at least five openly gay Democrats who were elected to House seats, and Tammy Baldwin, who became the first openly gay candidate elected to the Senate.

"We've made history, and we're proud of that," Sinema told ABCNews.com today. "But what I am interested in is making history by making things better for the people of Arizona's 9th Congressional District."

Sinema, 36, had a razor-thin lead on Election Night against her opponent, Tea Party candidate Vernon Parker, but she ultimately pulled ahead, finishing with a 6,000-vote edge over the Republican, the Associated Press reported today.

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/m/blogEntry?id=17701623

NBCPolitics: Republicans Got Crushed on The Issues, Too


Republicans got crushed on the issues, too

By NBC's Mark Murray

For all the talk about how Mitt Romney and the Republicans lost when it came to demographics, the turnout, and the tactics, the exit polls also show that they lost when it came to the issues.
For years, the GOP has branded itself as the party that supports low taxes (especially for the wealthy) and opposes abortion and gay marriage.

But according to the exit polls from last week’s presidential election, a combined 60% said that tax rates should increase either for everyone or for those making more than $250,000. Just 35% said the tax rates shouldn’t increase for anyone.

What’s more, 59% said that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

And by a 49%-to-46% margin, voters said that their states should legally recognize same-sex marriage.


Tom Tomorrow: Their Own Reality

Daily Kos Link: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/11/12/1159692/-Their-own-reality?detail=hide

(Bonus Points this week for original Star Trek reference...)

Paul Krugman: "Deficit-Scolds Never Really About Deficit, But About Shredding Social Safety Net"


Hawks and Hypocrites
Published: November 11, 2012

Back in 2010, self-styled deficit hawks — better described as deficit scolds — took over much of our political discourse. At a time of mass unemployment and record-low borrowing costs, a time when economic theory said we needed more, not less, deficit spending, the scolds convinced most of our political class that deficits rather than jobs should be our top economic priority. And now that the election is over, they’re trying to pick up where they left off.

They should be told to go away.

It’s not just the fact that the deficit scolds have been wrong about everything so far. Recent events have also demonstrated clearly what was already apparent to careful observers: the deficit-scold movement was never really about the deficit. Instead, it was about using deficit fears to shred the social safety net. And letting that happen wouldn’t just be bad policy; it would be a betrayal of the Americans who just re-elected a health-reformer president and voted in some of the most progressive senators ever.

About the hypocrisy of the hawks: as I said, it has been evident for years. Consider the early-2011 award for “fiscal responsibility” that three of the leading deficit-scold organizations gave to none other than Paul Ryan. Then as now, Mr. Ryan’s alleged plans to reduce the deficit were obvious flimflam, since he was proposing huge tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations while refusing to specify how these cuts would be offset. But in the eyes of the deficit scolds, his plan to dismantle Medicare and his savage cuts to Medicaid apparently qualified him as a fiscal icon.

- snip -

And then there’s the matter of the “fiscal cliff.”

Contrary to the way it’s often portrayed, the looming prospect of spending cuts and tax increases isn’t a fiscal crisis. It is, instead, a political crisis brought on by the G.O.P.’s attempt to take the economy hostage. And just to be clear, the danger for next year is not that the deficit will be too large but that it will be too small, and hence plunge America back into recession.


Nate Silver's Best & Worst Polls of 2012: Gallup Did TERRIBLE


November 10, 2012, 8:38 PM
Which Polls Fared Best (and Worst) in the 2012 Presidential Race


As Americans’ modes of communication change, the techniques that produce the most accurate polls seems to be changing as well. In last Tuesday’s presidential election, a number of polling firms that conduct their surveys online had strong results. Some telephone polls also performed well. But others, especially those that called only landlines only or took other methodological shortcuts, performed poorly and showed a more Republican-leaning electorate than the one that actually turned out.

- snip -

Several polling firms got notably poor results, on the other hand. For the second consecutive election — the same was true in 2010 — Rasmussen Reports polls had a statistical bias toward Republicans, overestimating Mr. Romney’s performance by about four percentage points, on average. Polls by American Research Group and Mason-Dixon also largely missed the mark. Mason-Dixon might be given a pass since it has a decent track record over the longer term, while American Research Group has long been unreliable.

FiveThirtyEight did not use polls by the firm Pharos Research Group in its analysis, since the details of the polling firm are sketchy and since the principal of the firm, Steven Leuchtman, was unable to answer due-diligence questions when contacted by FiveThirtyEight, such as which call centers he was using to conduct the polls. The firm’s polls turned out to be inaccurate, and to have a Democratic bias.

It was one of the best-known polling firms, however, that had among the worst results. In late October, Gallup consistently showed Mr. Romney ahead by about six percentage points among likely voters, far different from the average of other surveys. Gallup’s final poll of the election, which had Mr. Romney up by one point, was slightly better, but still identified the wrong winner in the election. Gallup has now had three poor elections in a row. In 2008, their polls overestimated Mr. Obama’s performance, while in 2010, they overestimated how well Republicans would do in the race for the United States House.


Concert for Sandy Relief, '12-12-12,' Being Planned by Same People Behind Historic 9/11 Benefit

Source: NY Daily News

Concert for Sandy Relief, called '12-12-12,' being planned by same people behind historic 9/11 benefit show

'The Concert for New York,' which raised over $35 million, was called one of the greatest moments in rock 'n roll history. Performers then included Paul McCartney, Jay-Z and The Who. Now the same group wants to help Hurricane Sandy victims.


FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2012, 3:14 PM

The same people who organized “The Concert For New York” - the historic, star-packed show at Madison Square Garden that benefitted victims from that pivotal tragedy in 2001 - will assemble a similar fund-raising event for “Sandy” victims, to be held Dec. 12th at the same venue.

Madison Square Garden, along with Clear Channel, and the Weinstein Company, will produce the show, to be called “12-12-12 (A Concert For Sandy Relief)."

While they have yet to name the acts who will appear, in 2001 they featured stars as looming as Paul McCartney, Jay-Z, The Who, Elton John, Eric Clapton and dozens more.

That show, which Rolling Stone Magazine listed among the 50 moments that changed rock ‘n roll, raised over $35 million for its cause.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/music-arts/star-studded-show-planned-sandy-relief-article-1.1199570#commentpostform
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