Wed Oct 23, 2013, 01:59 AM
hfojvt (36,058 posts)
Welcome to the Grand Illusion [View all]
Yes, I welcome Styx fans.
Well, it seems we sort of have another Super-Committee working to find a "grand bargain" to solve our very serious debt problem. Omigosh, did you hear? The debt limit had to be raised - again. We have to do something.
Yet, we the people are being asked to accept a "grand compromise" between Republicans and Democrats.
However, the Republican position going in to negotiations is - the Ryan budget. This budget promises to balance the budget in ten years. But they start on the revenue side with a brand new idea for Republicans - tax cuts, and in another huge break with precedence, they are tax cuts where the rich get most - if not all of the benefits.
The Ryan budget DOES call for increases in tax revenue, but they do not say how that will happen in combination with the tax rate CUTS which they do specify. They say they will close loopholes and eliminate deductions (maybe that darned standard deduction that all those working people take to avoid paying their fair share). They cannot specify the loopholes because then people would be able to do the math and show their plan simply WILL NOT WORK. It is apparently a faith-based plan requiring Jesus to return and instead of turning water into wine, he will turn tax cuts into increases in revenue. Praise the Lord.
So, we start this Grand Illusion with one side having a position based on some combination of fantasy and lies. And some parts of the media will blame Democrats who do not "compromise" with such dishonest brokers.
Are Democrats saying very much about this basic problem in this 'negotiation"?
But what about the dishonesty of the Democrats? Not to raise the spectre of a dreaded false equivalency, but Democratic Politicians do not seem very honest to me either - most of them anyway.
First of all, by acting like a "grand bargain" is even possible or would somehow be beneficial. Second, by being half-hearted about revenue increases. Obama has proposed the Buffett rule, for one, which would raise a mere $50 billion or so over the next decade.
One thing they clearly can't talk about is their own Ryan-like deception. The fact that many of them already voted in favor of almost $6 trillion in tax cuts over the next decade.
Yes, I said almost $6 trillion - a number you have probably never heard. I had been using the number $3.7 trillion http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022130101
but it turns out I was wrong, or mis-led.
See, that $3.7 trillion number does not include the AMT patch, which was also made PERMANENT as part of the ATRA-(zine) legislation which was passed with Democratic votes and signed by Obama. The cost of THAT was kept hidden because, as Congress always does it (why?) it was already included in the baseline and thus the $1.9 trillion which it will cost over the next decade was not included in the cost calculations.
Isn't it wonderful how our politicians can sweep facts right under the rug?
So the real total (until I discover even MORE tax breaks swept under the rug) is $5.6 trillion - almost $6 trillion.
Now, because I am kind of obsessive about it, let's look at how the $5.6 trillion in tax cuts which DEMOCRATS passed are distributed. I already did this for the $3.7 trillion. Who gets the $1.9 trillion from the AMT patch?
The media will tell you it is the middle class. CTJ (Citizens for Tax Justice) disputes that. http://www.ctj.org/pdf/amtpatchisnotstimulus.pdf
Because that chart is for the Senate proposal from 2009, I cannot be sure those numbers hold for the ATRA's AMT patch, but they are the only numbers I had and since the AMT patch is pretty standard, they should be close.
They show that only 2.5% of the benefits of the patch go to the top 1%. Which is pretty good. But an astounding 43% go to the top 5% and an even more astounding 92.6% of the benefits go to the richest 20%.
So the AMT patch provides tax cuts to the top 5% of $817 billion over the next decade. Combined with the $1.3 trillion in tax cuts from ATRA gives them $2.1 trillion in PERMANENT tax cuts - to the richest 5%.
Well it sure will be nice if the Buffett rule gets $.05 trillion of that back.
But that is something that Democrats are not going to talk about - those $2.1 trillion in tax cuts for the richest 5% that they just voted FOR. Nor will they mention the $4.15 trillion in tax cuts for the richest 20% that they just voted for.
That's the Democratic Party's lie. That they will not bother to mention something like "hey, if we are concerned about the debt, how about undoing the $2.1 trillion in tax cuts we just gave to the richest 5% of Americans"
Of course, if they tried to talk about it, the richest 5% would probably fire them and buy another Congressperson, and as for the media? Well, they are largely owned by the richest 5% too.
But I have this Grand Illusion that I can help to make those two numbers part of the public discussion.
$2,1 trillion in tax cuts for the richest 5%
$4.1 trillion in tax cuts for the richest 20%
Remember them, use them, email them to your Congressperson and your local newspaper. Show me a "grand bargain" that reduces the deficit by more than $4 trillion.
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