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Hometown: South - Carolina and Dakota
Home country: Oz
Current location: Kansas
Member since: Mon Nov 15, 2004, 03:30 AM
Number of posts: 32,901
Hometown: South - Carolina and Dakota
Home country: Oz
Current location: Kansas
Member since: Mon Nov 15, 2004, 03:30 AM
Number of posts: 32,901
Way, way back in 2004 or so, I donated $50 to the DNC to get an autographed copy of David Corn's book "The Lies of George W. Bush."
He wrote, for example, "By now it was old hat. If Bush was pushing a tax plan, he would describe it as deliverance for the middle class." page 244
Kinda funny too, now that I look at it. Corn's autograph looks like - DLC----
So now here is Corn now praising lies from a President and claiming that the extension of the Bush tax cuts, and also the accursed payroll tax cut are
wait for it
"deliverance for the middle class"
He writes http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/11/obama-fiscal-cliff-budget-deal-bush-tax-cuts?page=2
So Obama went after a deal. And what Biden cooked up with McConnell was pretty good for the White House. The package would extend the Bush tax cuts for all taxpayers for two years and would reduce estate taxes for the wealthy (a move many Democrats couldn't stand), but it also included a payroll tax cut, a child tax credit, additional unemployment insurance, renewable energy grants, and other stimulative measures. A White House chart noted that Obama had won $238 billion of stimulus in return for yielding on $114 billion in high-income tax cuts.
So, the accursed payroll tax cut is good for progressives. Some sort of victory for working people, or wait - the middle class.
The accursed payroll tax cut gave $13.55 billion in benefits to the bottom 40%, and $15.79 billion in benefits to the RICHEST 5%. And it gives a whopping $36.2 billion to the next 15%, making a grand total of $52 billion for the top 20% and less than a third of that for the bottom 40%.
But politicians like Bush, and now Obama, always want to include that 80-95th percentile group as part of the "middle class". That way, they can claim that tax cuts which give as much to the top 5% as they do to the middle 20% are really "middle class tax cuts".
Thank goodness there are progressive journalists like David Corn who won't let them get away with such lies.
Oh wait, now that a D (LCer) is in the White House, Corn is all too happy to catapault the propaganda.
I have to wonder if he, himself, is in the 90-95th percentile. Makes a cushy litttle living with his keyboard. Unlike myself, still at the 42nd percentile making a living with my back. Does his household make more than $88,000 a year? I strongly suspect it does. That unlike myself and Mr. Debs, he cannot say "If there is a lower class, I am in it ..."
Here's another lie - "yielding $114 billion in high income tax cuts".
Well, that seems to leave out the $80 billion in estate tax cuts, and also the $32 billion (over two years) going to the top 5% with the accursed payroll tax cut. But CTJ also says that the Obama "compromise" gave $108 billion PER YEAR to the top 1%. So that looks to me like $216 billion right there in "high income tax cuts". Unlike David W. Corn though, I also consider the rest of the top 5% (or as I call them, the top 4%) to also be "high income". They got $55.5 billion in tax cuts per year, for a total of $111 billion.
Not to mention the rest of the top 20% which is higher income than 80% of us make. They got $214 billion in tax cuts for the two years.
That compares pretty favorably to the $164 billion that the bottom 60% got.
So there's $621 billion in tax cuts going to the top 20%.
Corn describes this as "a good deal". Which it certainly was for him and his fellow members of the top 20%.
Not such a good deal for me. In 2011, my wage income was $15,814.01. And Obama's "good deal" replaced the "making work pay" credit with the accursed payroll tax cut. So unlike members of the top 20%, my taxes went up! (Granted, by a mere $83.72, but it's pretty tanjed aggravating that taxes for people like me would even go up a nickel as part of a "good deal" which gave average tax cuts of $77,000 to the top 1%. One small tax increase for a little man, one giant windfall for a plutocrat.)
Corn also mentions "additional unemployment benefits". Which I also call bullsh*t on. Unemployment benefits were extended by this same Congress on 6 Nov 2009, and on 22 July 2010. So why should we believe that agreeing to an extension of the Bush tax cuts was the ONLY way to get another extension of unemployment benefits? It sure was convenient though that the July extension expired at just about the same time as the Bush tax cuts. Like somebody planned it that way, so they'd have a bone to throw to the masses at the same time they gave another windfall to their donors.
And it appears I was wrong as well. The chart that Corn links to, is one that, first of all, describes the accursed payroll tax cut as a stimulus (which it is - Reagan style http://journals.democraticunderground.com/hfojvt/160) but also dishonestly hides $57 billion in estate tax cuts http://journals.democraticunderground.com/hfojvt/138.
Maybe Obama could not win those fights, but I still say he could have at least fought them. Could have at least tried. Don't try to tell me that a horrible deal was really a good one, and do NOT expect me to accept a bad deal now without some sort of fight. Especially when, once again, we hold the trump card. The tax cuts will expire - even if we do nothing.
By which I mean a fight FOR me, not a fight AGAINST me, as Obama began trashing the left after they complained about his surrender in 2010. He wasn't willing to fight the Republicans but he sure was willing to fight the left. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postpartisan/2010/12/love_obamas_smack_at_the_sanct.html
Posted by hfojvt | Tue Nov 27, 2012, 02:57 AM (131 replies)
On December 31, 2012 the Bush tax cuts will finally expire. Unless Obama, Boehner, Pelosi, McConnell, and Reid can find common ground.
I hope they don't find common ground.
That common ground is almost certain to be yet another big tax windfall for the rich. Obama's proposal is essentially 78% of the Bush tax cuts. The trouble is, the bottom 80% only get 34.5% of the Bush tax cuts.
Obama's proposal is being sold as a tax increase on the rich. In some way, it is, but in another major way it really is - yet another big tax CUT for the rich. One that should be unacceptable to Democrats.
Under the 78% Bush tax cut plan, the top 1% gets over $40 billion a year in tax cuts. The top 4% get another $40 billion, for a total of $80 billion for the richest 5%. The richest 20% get $163 billion in tax cuts. The poorest 20% get only $14 billion in tax cuts.
Presumably if a Republican President offered such a plan, Democrats would object.
Democrats should be objecting now. Pelosi should be objecting. Reid should be objecting. Newly elected Senators Warren and Baldwin should be objecting. Newly re-elected Congressman Grayson should be objecting. Lame duck Congressman Kucinich should be objecting.
Such objections would strengthen Obama's bargaining position, If the debate is between Obama at 78% and Republicans at 100%, then 89% looks like the middle ground. Well if 0% gets thrown into the mix, then the middle ground shifts. The media cannot say "Obama needs to reach out to Republicans" because the 78% is ALREADY meeting them more than halfway.
And we can get zero percent, as easy as pi. Simply by doing NOTHING. Take that, Mr. Sartre. Score one for nothingness.
Of course, it will be objected that letting the Bush tax cuts expire will "increase taxes on the middle class" or even "will increase taxes on the poor".
One problem is that Obama has spent four years now defining a couple making $249,000 as "middle class". This in a country where 50% of households make less than $60,000 a year.
But as for taxes going up on the poor - we can fix that. And we can fix that in much better ways than the 78% Bush tax cuts. Here are some suggestions
1. Increase the standard deduction by $5,000 per couple. This will save people at the bottom about $750 a year without being a windfall for the rich.
2. bring back the making work pay credit (without the extra damn form). That was a refundable $400 per person, $800 per couple, phased out for higher incomes.
3. increase the personal exemption by $500. Unfortunately the rich will benefit from that, but not by much more than the poor. It means $75 for the poor and only $197 for the rich. It would be a $2,000 automatic deduction for a family of four.
4. Re-introduce lower brackets. Say, a 5% bracket on the first $3,000 and a 10% bracket on the first $7,000 for individuals. The first would be a $300 tax cut for most taxpayers and the second would be another $200 for most taxpayers.
Of course, such proposals will NEVER pass the current Republican House.
But that is just one MORE reason to propose them. When Republicans vote against them, we can use those votes to drive them out of office in 2014. It uses their own propaganda against them. They have spent years praising tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts, and now they will have to run as - the person who voted against the tax cuts.
Bottom line - let ALL of the Bush tax cuts expire AND propose more progressive alternatives. We should be fighting for something much more progressive than 78% of the Bush tax cuts.
Posted by hfojvt | Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:39 PM (8 replies)
A state by state analysis
I have to note though - they look at two income gaps
1. The gap between the lowest quintile (20% of the population) and the highest quintile
2. The gap between the lowest quintile and the top 5%
income over $101,582 puts you in the top 20%
income over $186,000 puts you in the top 5%
according to census measures here http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/historical/inequality/index.html
I also would note that policies like the payroll tax cut and the 73% Bush tax cut (Obama's plan to keep 73% (or more) of the Bush tax cuts) increase those gaps by giving more benefits to the top 20% than they do to the bottom 20%.
Under Obama's plan
the bottom 20% gets $14 billion in tax cuts
the top 20% gets $163 billion in tax cuts
the top 5% get $80 billion in tax cuts
the top 1% get $40 billion in tax cuts
the bottom 40% gets $42 billion in tax cuts
Another $150 billion added to the wealth gap, but who's counting?
Posted by hfojvt | Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:13 PM (4 replies)
Margin of victory
Virginia 114,000 13 EV
NH 40,000 4 EV
Iowa 87,000 6 EV
Ohio 107,000 18 EV
Florida 64,200 29 EV
simply flip 207,000 Obama voters into Romney voters in the right states and Rmoney is in the money.
207,000 votes out of 122 million cast. That's a .17% margin of victory in practical terms.
We were THAT close to going out forever.
Posted by hfojvt | Sat Nov 10, 2012, 03:01 PM (1 replies)
that people making over $250,000 are still getting huge benefits from this plan.
80% of this country makes less than $88,000 a year. So the people getting the benefits of those tax cuts from $88,000 to $250,000 are people in the top 20% including the top 1% which still gets to keep $40 billion a year in tax cuts.
Consider this. The Bush tax cuts expire automatically - all of them, for all incomes.
Now pass that bill that Obama wants to pass - the 73% of the Bush tax cuts bill. That bill is heavily favorable to the rich. The top 5% get $80 billion in tax cuts, and the bottom 20% get $14 billion.
How the fuck is THAT acceptable to even a conservadem, much less to a progressive? Republicans are all over the media, demanding that the $250,000 limit be raised - to infinity and beyond. Well progressives should be somewhere, at least on DU, insisting that the $250,000 limit be lowered. Instead we are given a shit sandwich and we cheer like it is really chocolate ice cream. It's NOT.
So where are the progressive voices calling for the $250,000 to be lowered? Rachel? LarryO? Colbert? Stewart?
Oh wait, all those people make way more than $250,000 a year. They are NOT on my side in this battle. Senator Baldwin? Lame duck Kucinich? McFly? Anybody? DU?
Posted by hfojvt | Fri Nov 9, 2012, 04:03 PM (1 replies)
"America faces big challenges ... We're Americans and together there's no problem we can't solve."
Except for one glaring problem.
One of America's biggest problems seems to be - politicians like Lynn Jenkins.
There is no "together" with Lynn Jenkins. There's the rich people that she represents and works for, and there's the rest of us, that she lies to. The rich people take care of her though. They give her the millions of dollars that she can use to make ads to lie to the rest of us - to smile at us and say that "we are gonna work together".
Because Jenkins idea of working "together" seems to be that we all work together to create tax cuts for rich people. Sure, why shouldn't we ALL get behind that? Because what would be more helpful to the 80% of us who make less than $90,000 a year than huge tax cuts for people making over $500,000 a year? Yet that seems to be Jenkins' top priority, even as she says that we need to "reduce the debt". Sure, that also makes perfect sense. "Together" we will cut taxes for rich people as we strive to "reduce the debt".
I guess if we were CPAs that would make some kind of sense. Only a CPA could figure out how to reduce revenue and still reduce the debt. CPAs can probably magically make 5 minus 4 equal 7.
At least that's what Jenkins would have us believe.
But as long as Jenkins gets rewarded by rich people so she can run TV spots while her opponents cannot, this problem, of having a dishonest politician in Congress who is serving the rich and powerful and working against the rest of us is gonna be very hard to solve.
But Jenkins is right. Together we CAN solve this problem, and it is actually very simple to do. Simply goto the polls on election day and vote against Lynn Jenkins.
At least in one Congressional District.
Posted by hfojvt | Fri Nov 2, 2012, 12:48 AM (0 replies)
Republicans continue to push the message that "the stimulus failed". I, being the economist that I am, continue to claim that it worked. That our current weak economy is not because the stimulus didn't work, but because we never got another round of stimulus. If you are driving up a steep hill, hit the gas and get halfway up the hill. You don't take your foot off the gas and say "well, apparently hitting the gas didn't work, we are still only partway up this hill". No a sensible person would GIVE THE CAR MORE GAS.
But if the Republican-controlled Congress did that, then they would not have a bad economy that they could blame on Obama, and Democrats, from now until November.
As I said last time http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002129028 , some probably will not like the word "recovery" but I would say that even with the last three months of slow job growth, that positive job growth is still positive. So here, are the updated numbers of job gains (or losses) by quarters.
First the Republican recession - a very severe one
total (with Bush as President) (3,563,000)
1st (2,258,000) note - Obama was sworn in as President and the stimulus passed in the middle of this quarter
total (in Obama's first five months in office (3,691,000)
Then the Democratic recovery (starting by slowing the freefall)
total of the last half year (1,090,000)
That the economy was no longer losing 1,000,000+ jobs every quarter is a very positive thing. The economy was in free fall and the stimulus was like a parachute. When you open a parachute, you keep falling, but at a much slower rate so that the landing does not kill you.
total 2010 + 909,000
1st + 497,000
2nd + 290,000
3rd + 441,000
4th + 412,000
total 2011 + 1,640,000
Amazing though, over 1.3 million jobs created so far this year, and to hear the media tell it, we are doomed, oh, the economy is so horrible. They even put this little nugget in their story, a story where they paint a gain of 80,000 jobs as a negative. "And the scheduled expiration of tax cuts at year's end has increased uncertainty for U.S. companies, making many hesitant to hire."
Oh no, the "uncertainty" of the end of the Bush tax cuts on INDIVIDUALS is making COMPANIES hesitant to hire.
What that really means is that the top 1% is sorta holding the economy hostage. They won't hire unless they are assured of billions in tax cuts. And the media (which coincidentally they happen to own) is helping them to make their case.
Another point I would make is that the Government, thanks to Republican philosophies, has CUT 49,000 jobs in the last three months. If they had instead just done nothing, the economy would have gained 274,000 jobs (at least, since those extra 49,000 working people would have spent their money, further stimulating the economy). The economy runs on consumer spending and consumers are spending less. Why? I would point to at least a couple of reasons. First, political doom and gloom rhetoric does not increase confidence. Second, Republicans continue to push for cuts in Government jobs which further reduces both confidence and consumer spending. If not for the cutbacks in government spending that Republicans have been demanding, the economy would have added another 187,000 jobs over the last year (on top of the 1.76 million that it added, almost 200,000 more would have put us over 2 million as well as further stimulating consumer spending).
As these Republican candidates run around promoting a return to Reagan/Bush policies as a cure for what ails the economy, they should constantly be reminded of 2008, that the economy went down on Bush's watch. That it was Bush's leadership and Republican pokicies that created the mess we are still digging out of.
Republicans keep promising to create jobs, but insofar as they even have a plan (which often they don't http://www.democraticunderground.com/1061299) they mostly offer a continuation and expansion of the Bush policies which have already failed.
Posted by hfojvt | Wed Oct 17, 2012, 01:00 PM (7 replies)
examples from the Daily Howler http://dailyhowler.blogspot.com/
"CNN’s pitiful fact-check: Last night, after Bill Clinton’s strong address, a terrible horrible bad thing occurred.
CNN asked Tom Foreman and Erin Burnett to conduct a fact-check."
And this is how they check facts.
Foreman: "Like President Obama, President Clinton came into office with soaring joblessness, 7.1 percent for Mr. Clinton. That's within just a few points—tenths of a point of what Mr. Obama faced."
That is just completely bogus. He then goes on the say that things got better under Clinton and they did not get better under Obama.
Well, here is MY fact check of Foreman.
Job gains (or losses) in 1993 - the year Clinton took office.
Jan. - +307,000
Feb. - +237,000
Mar - (46,000)
Apr - +307,000
May - +273,000
June - +164,000
6 month total - +1,242,000
Foreman - "President Clinton came into office with soaring joblessness."
I grade that statement - complete Grade A bullsh*t. 100% WRONG
Compare that to the first six months of 2009, when Obama took office, the economy lost 3,691,000 jobs. http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002908833
Foreman also says this "Clinton inherited a $290 billion deficit, changed it to a $236 billion surplus by the time the Clinton years were done. Mr. Obama has inherited a $459 billion deficit. Yes, that's worse. But it's even worse now, $1.3 trillion."
Except the facts say that Obama actually inherited a $1.2 trillion deficit. Thanks to the Howler for continuing to point this out, because most people are probably not aware of it as the media continues to push the lie of $459 billion.
"Duh. This report appeared in the Washington Post two weeks before Obama took office. The reporter was Lori Montgomery:
MONTGOMERY (1/8/09): The nation's budget deficit will soar to an unprecedented $1.2 trillion this year, congressional budget analysts said yesterday, a startling tide of red ink that could dampen enthusiasm on Capitol Hill for some of President-elect Barack Obama's most ambitious priorities."
Foreman: "Mr. Obama has inherited a $459 billion deficit."
I grade that - 100% WRONG.
I find it troubling that Clinton gives a speech and the media immediately pushes back with a Republican, anti-Obama narrative. In the name of fact checking.
Fact checking that apparently gets its "facts" from an error factory.
As Somerby says "Fact-checking sounds like a good idea—until you see journalists do it."
Posted by hfojvt | Fri Sep 7, 2012, 12:32 PM (18 replies)
The love of money.
What St. Paul calls "a root of all kinds of evil". (1 Timothy 6; 10)
But most people, especially in the Western world, seem to love money. Especially, according to de Toqueville, Americans. In his 1835 book "Democracy in American" he wrote "Americans desire enterprises that make 'more money'. There, in two words, you have the American character."
But it is very easy to love money. Money allows you to have a home, instead of being homeless. More money allows you to have a nicer home, and more conveniences - cable TV, air conditioning, dishwashers, microwaves, and so on. More money allows you to own a car instead of having to walk and/or take a bus or bike. More money allows you to buy a nicer bike. More money allows you to live in a nicer neighborhood, a safer neighborhood, send your kids to better schools, so they in turn can have more money.
Yet, it seems to me the people that really, really love their money, are the people who have the most of it. At least politically, they seem, most of them, determined to keep more and more of their large incomes. They are the ones who have funded the Republicans and made them all into tax-cut fanatics. From state legislators to Governors to Congresspeople to Senators to Presidential candidates, Republican candidates always seem to be about tax cuts for the rich (and for big business).
The rich love their money, and want to keep more and more of it. For example, Romney and Ryan (and McCain before them) propose to not only keep the Bush tax cuts, which were very generous to the rich, but they propose even more tax cuts which heavily favor the rich, and people (very evil people) like Brownback of Kansas and Spence of Missouri, propose to also give even more tax cuts for the rich at the state level. And to prevent tax increases on them, like Chris Christie http://journals.democraticunderground.com/hfojvt/128 and DINOs like Mario Cuomo http://journals.democraticunderground.com/hfojvt/154
The Bush tax cuts cost $424 billion in 2011, $108 billion of that went to the richest 1% and $163 billion to the top 5% and another $107 billion to the rest of the top 20%.
The rich would LOVE for those tax cuts to be permanent. They are prepared to spend several billion on campaigns and candidates in order to make that happen. Time magazine did a cover saying "Presidency for sale: asking $2.5 billion". Spending $2.5 billion to keep $108 billion in tax cuts is a very good return on investment. Looks like over $105 billion in profit to me.
Who among us would not like to have another $105 billion? That certainly dwarfs the largest Powerball jackpot of $365 million. And the top 1% will get that EACH year.
Now they just have to sell it to the voters. They primarily use 4 sales pitches.
Republican candidates, like many politicians, will first lead with their supposed character. Bush was such a Christian, a compassionate conservative, a straight shooter. McCain was a war hero, a maverick, and a straight-talker. So, tonight Ann Romney wanted to tell the nation what a great guy Mitt Romney is. A successful man. A man who has worked hard. A man who has helped others, being a wonderful son, son-in-law, father, husband, grandfather. He's smart, funny, honest, kind, hard-working, and probably modest too. See what a great guy he is, so his policies will then naturally be beneficial. You can trust Honest Mitt. Just like you trusted Honest George. Pay no attention to that fuzzy math. It's complicated.
2. the tax cut is really for everybody
Take it from Honest George "My tax relief plan is a fair one, lowering the rate for all taxpayers. The typical family of four with two children will get $1,600 in tax relief. And the greatest benefits, the largest percentage reductions, will go to those who need them most. My plan is pro-growth. It gives our economy a jump-start by leaving more money in the hands of those who have earned it." Feb 17, 2001
My plan is directed toward individuals and small businesses. It offers relief for everyone who pays income taxes, and it keeps our national commitments to Social Security and debt reduction." Feb 8, 2001
"When you hear the debate about this kind of class warfare, rhetoric about, oh, this is for the rich, only for the rich -- I want you to think about the Joe Kempers of the world. I certainly will. A fellow who worked for our government, and now a fellow who we trust with that $3,500, because it's his money. And when he invests it, it's going to have a positive effect. All the Joe Kempers of the world taking that extra money and investing it will mean somebody else is likely to find a job, and that's important for our fellow Americans to understand." Feb 12, 2003
Again, pay no attention to those numbers definitively proving the tax cut is MOSTLY for the rich.
3. the tax cut is really a jobs plan
Again, take it from Honest George
"We need tax relief that creates the greatest number of jobs. (Applause.) The goal is to create a million new jobs by the end of next year. I've submitted a good, strong plan that will help meet that goal. The United States Congress must not only listen to your voice, but must listen to the voice of somebody looking for work. We need aggressive action out of the United States Congress now." May 6, 2003
"Next week, I will travel to New Mexico, Nebraska and Indiana to address the nation's hardworking, small business owners, families and investors. My message to them will be simple: the surest way to grow this economy and create jobs is to leave more money in the hands of the people who earn it.
I urge every citizen to participate in this important debate and to make your voice heard. Explain to your local representative or your senators what tax relief would mean to your family and your business, and please tell the members of Congress why our economy needs that relief now." May 10, 2003
4. It's about tax reform, making taxes simpler and fairer
Again, Honest George
"The third aspect of the plan is really to make the tax code more fair. We tried to address that earlier, by the way. It is unfair to tax a person's assets twice. That's why I've called upon Congress to get rid of the death tax. (Applause.) Feb 13, 2003 in Florida
"The final aspect of the plan says that we ought to get rid of the double taxation of dividends in America. (Applause.) First of all, there's just a simple fairness issue on the double taxation of dividends." May 12, 2003
"It recognizes that our tax code is unfair. It is unfair to people who struggle to get ahead. It is unfair for the single mom, who lives on the outskirts of poverty, who's working hard to provide for her family. For every additional dollar she makes above $25,000, she pays a higher marginal rate on that dollar than someone who's wealthy. And that's not right and it's not fair. It's not what America is all about, as far as I'm concerned. Our tax code makes the code more fair." Feb 7, 2001
Yet in the end it is all about rich people and their love of money. A love that us a root of all kinds of evil in this country. In the end, the "honest" politician's reform just tilts the playing field even more in the favor of those who already have most of the advantages.
Posted by hfojvt | Wed Aug 29, 2012, 12:33 AM (5 replies)
Romney's income $21 million, tax rate 14%
Ryan's income (wages) $153,000, tax rate - 20% (not including payroll taxes of 7.65%)
Romney makes about 65 times as much as Ryan, but still pays a lower tax rate.
And most of Romney's income - $3.3 million in interest, $4.9 million in dividends, and $12.6 million in capital gains - is made without doing one iota of actual work.
Posted by hfojvt | Mon Aug 20, 2012, 02:41 PM (1 replies)