Monday, March 07, 2011

Reverse Robin Hood

Big budget cuts are necessary because of the government deficit, right? Gotta cut Planned Parenthood, public radio and television, Head Start, gotta worry about Medicare and Social Security, health care reform... Uh huh.

I have seen this chart several places, am linking to American Progress.

It's not a matter of spending less, it's not about cutting the budget. As usual it's about priorities, what you're going to spend the money on. This is a kind of reverse Robin Hood -- take from the poor and give to the rich.


Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

And check out the graph Ed Shulz showed us last week. As union membership had dwindled from 27% of all workers in 1967 to just under 12% of all workers in 2007, the middle class's share of national income has dropped from 52% to 46%.

Watch the entire video and listen to Karl Rove explain it to you. The GOP wants to cut union membership to have a direct effect on presidential elections. Karl couldn't care less if union membership loss costs the country the middle class just like Speaker Boehner couldn't care less about the additional 700,000 job losses estimated to be the result of the House GOP's proposed budget cuts.

No middle class? More middle class/union jobs will be lost? The GOP says "SO BE IT!"

March 08, 2011 2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What? The peasants have no bread? Let them eat cake!

March 08, 2011 2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Except that it is MY MONEY TO START with Jim.

Let me tell you the caculation I do in my head anytime I think about hiring anyone to do anything.

Can I do that job myself ?

Raking, yes. Mulching, yes, plumbing hubby can do.

Because I take the cost of what I will have to pay someone and double it, because that is what I have to earn to pay for that job.

The tax system is completely screwed up, and I would be the first to agree that it needs an overhaul. When I make more money cleaning out my attics and hauling years of piled up junk to Goodwill then I do working overtime for my job, there is something wrong.

When I hear stories of folks that run cash business, are millionaires and get stimulus checks because they aren't declaring that income, there is something wrong. When I am seriously considering getting divorced on paper because the tax code is so crazy that would save me 12K a year now and 30K a year if the Bush tax cuts weren't extended, there is something wrong.

How do you fix it ? Repeal income tax and go to VAT tax on everything ? Then you create a cash society, like the NE where I was shocked to find very few folks on the Cape took credit only because of the taxes...

The current code will let any corporation pay their CEOs deferred income, enormous packages where the income earned now is not taxed at all... all of it is deferred, unlike us poor schmucks limited to putting 16.5 away.

Anyone these days on W2 income gets screwed, bottom line. There are so many loopholes in the tax code these days it is ridiculous. The whole thing needs to be chucked.

Corporations pay 17% or so of the overall tax burden and personal income tax accounts for the vast majority of taxes paid. Why, because corporations only pay taxes on the income they declare, any operating expenses get deducted. Company cars, deferred compenations plans, in house child care, company cell phones, home offices, man, you go into business for yourslef like all the doctors and lawyers, you end up providing for tax free what the rest of have to earn after tax money to pay for....

So when you continue talking about the tax rate and simply harp on that Jim, you are crazy. Because it is not the upper middle class workers you should be after (lot of folks in my shoes can fix that by getting divorced).... it is the truly rich incorporated folks, who won't be affected by a hike in the rates, because they already aren't paying antyhing.

What you should be after is a complete reform of the tax code, in such a way that everyone pays their fair share. Because right now 1/2 of every dollar I make goes to taxes, I am already paying my fair share.


March 08, 2011 4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Then you create a cash society, like the NE where I was shocked to find very few folks on the Cape took credit only because of the taxes..."

And before Bea makes some snide comment, we drove to the Cape with a tent on the top of the car and camped.

March 08, 2011 4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

here's one good place to cut:


"A video made surreptitiously by a conservative sting artist shows phony, would-be Muslim donors meeting with two NPR fundraisers who are caught on the tape making candid, awkward comments about the Republican Party -- and also talking bluntly about the ouster of commentator Juan Williams.

Slate's David Weigel posted the video and a report on the incident. The sting operation, produced by conservative activist James O'Keefe, shows NPR fundraisers Ron Schiller (who has since left NPR) and Betsy Liley at lunch with two men masquerading as wealthy Muslim donors. That the NPR people appear to tell the supposed contributors what they want to hear is not an unusual approach for fundraisers.

But against the backdrop of a possible cut off of NPR funding proposed by the GOP-controlled U.S. House, Schiller can be heard saying that "very little of our funding comes from the government." That is correct. Then, talking about the GOP, he adds: "The current Republican Party, particularly the tea party, is fanatically involved in people's personal lives and very fundamental Christian -- and I wouldn't even call it Christian." In answer to a question about the tea party movement, he adds, "Basically, they believe in white, middle America, gun toting -- it's pretty scary. They're seriously racist..."

Schiller goes on to say that he is proud that NPR let Juan Williams go last year after Williams said on Fox News he would be concerned if he boarded a plane with fellow passengers in Muslim garb. "He lost all credibility and that breaks your ethics as a journalist." Schiller says.

O'Keefe's Project Veritas gained fame in 2009 in another covertly made video that showed individuals posing as a pimp and prostitute getting advice on gaming the tax system from a representative of ACORN, a liberal community activist organization."

March 08, 2011 7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is part of a well documented effort by O'Keefe, Breitbart and many others on the right to use so-called 'stings' to target people they disagree with. As we have seen with past videos - like Planned Parenthood or Shirley Sherrod--the videos are often times heavily edited and the whole truth doesn't come out for days. O'Keefe has a long history of ridiculous stunts. Remember this is the guy who was arrested in New Orleans for trying to tap Senator Landrieu's phone and once tried to come up with an outlandish scheme to lure a CNN reporter onto a 'palace of pleasure' to embarrass the network. I just don't understand why anyone takes him seriously.

NPR is a vital source of independent journalism. That is why more than 1.2 million people have signed a petition that was delivered telling Congress not to defund NPR. If anything, stunts like this from O'Keefe show why we need strong independent media outlets.

March 08, 2011 8:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If anything, stunts like this from O'Keefe show why we need strong independent media outlets."

Strong independent media outlets should be able to survive on their own nickel. I have no problem with NPR, I just don't believe my tax dollars should go to fund them.

March 08, 2011 9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I just don't understand why anyone takes him seriously."

oh, he's just the right's answer to Michael Moore

it's funny more than anything else

socialists do take themselves so seriously

March 09, 2011 8:46 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Don't worry Theresa. I'm glad you managed to find a vacation - camping! - that fit with your new spartan "no air conditioning" theme this summer.

You remind me of the FOX News talking head who claimed a $250,000 per year income for parents with a kid in college is like living in poverty, you know, doing your own insulating and other budgeting.

Theresa if you know tax cheats who "run cash business, are millionaires and get stimulus checks because they aren't declaring that income" I hope you will do your civic duty and turn them into the IRS because all of us -- individuals and businesses -- should be paying our fair share of taxes if we're going to get this country out of the deficit hole it's been in since the recession started in 2008. I for one of many resent paying ever rising prices at the pump while billions of our tax dollars are handed out to the most profitable companies -- oil companies -- in the world. Why should we give them tax breaks out of the taxes citizens pay so those few huge companies can take in ever rising outrageous profits?

March 09, 2011 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If O'Keefe is the "right's answer to DOCUMENTARY OSCAR WINNER Michael Moore," what was the question?

March 09, 2011 9:35 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

I'd love to see O'Keefe give his "answer" to the speech Michael Moore gave to the Wisconsin protesters on March 5, 2011.

March 09, 2011 9:42 AM  
Anonymous liberals outta here!! said...

WASHINGTON -- NPR president and CEO Vivian Schiller resigned Wednesday in the wake of comments by a fellow executive that angered conservatives and renewed calls to end federal funding for public broadcasting.

The chairman of NPR's board of directors announced that he has accepted Schiller's resignation, effective immediately.

NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik said in a tweet that Schiller was forced out by the board.

On Tuesday, conservative activist James O'Keefe posted a hidden-camera video in which NPR executive Tom Schiller bashed the tea party movement as "racist" and "xenophobic" and said NPR would be better off without federal funding.

Vivian Schiller was criticized for last year's firing of analyst Juan Williams after he said on Fox News that he feels uncomfortable when he sees people in "Muslim garb" on airplanes.

March 09, 2011 10:09 AM  
Anonymous and the question was... said...

If O'Keefe is the "right's answer to DOCUMENTARY OSCAR WINNER Michael Moore," what was the question?

can we find someone to manipulate videotape and interviews to create a false impression to support conservative causes the way Michael Moore has done for years on behalf of liberal causes?

March 09, 2011 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"manipulate videotape and interviews to create a false impression"

That's not how you make a documentary. Maybe O'Keefe will try for an Oscar in the "Best Short Subject, comedy" category.

March 09, 2011 11:22 AM  
Anonymous EXCLUSIVE: Md. lawmaker comes out said...

On the eve of a historic vote on marriage equality, a member of Maryland’s legislature announced in an exclusive interview with the Washington Blade today that he is gay.

Del. Peter Murphy (D-Charles County), a divorced father of two who also has two grandchildren, said his colleagues and family have known for years that he is gay.

“I have never denied [being gay],” Murphy said, “I just presumed people knew.”

Murphy’s announcement brings to eight the total number of openly gay and lesbian members of Maryland’s legislature, the most of any state in the country. There is one openly gay state senator — Rich Madaleno — and now seven members of the House of Delegates.

Murphy said he’s confident the marriage equality bill will pass later this week, possibly in a final vote on Friday.

“As I have said all along, I think it’s a strong civil rights bill,” Murphy said. “I think it’s a fair bill because it also addresses the religious issue and doesn’t require any religious organization to practice something that goes against their teachings.”

Murphy represents a conservative part of the state, but said he’s not concerned about any backlash in making his sexual orientation public in the media.

“I’m not concerned,” he said. “People who know me know that I represent everyone in the district. I work hard to make sure that everyone has a voice and an opportunity to be heard.”

March 09, 2011 11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every cash business does this.

When I was on a jury ages ago over a little deli where one owner had made a contract, complete with a deposit to sell it, and then reneged.... the difference between income on the IRS tax returns and the representations made on selling the business between the parties was more than double.

You would have to audit ever single business, and I am not sure you would catch them then because many maintain two sets of books.

Then there is craziness like buying a property out of a private account and renting the property to a business you own, so the rent becomes a liability on the business. The car wash in this case was a deduction for my boss (because though it was cash flow neutral, on paper because of depreciation it was 100K or so negative every year). That, with his regular deductions brought his taxable income down to 60K or so, and his tax rate down enormously. Perfectly legal by the way.

One of the moms at the soccer field runs her kids cell phones off her husbands construction company... and of course the kids help Dad out a little bit. So legal. Kind of.

The issue is the entire tax code.

If you hire the right folks, and you spend enough time trying to get out of the taxes (and believe me, they go up to more than 1/2 and the motivation for business folks switches to tax avoidance strategies rather then increased productions) ... you can get out of them. You may have to buy a car wash, but you can get out of them.....

So, the answer is not to just raise the rates, the answer is to chuck the whole thing and go to some sort of VAT tax, putting perhaps food at a lower VAT and clothes at another and luxury items at another. How you keep businesses from getting around it... maybe refuse to let them take cash for anything over 10.00 ? Or do spot checks with IRS agents where you have them check up on whether business are encouraging cash transactions and then check in a week if that cash transaction was on their books ?

My point is, I don't think just raising the rates is the answer. You will further depress the economy.

And yes, until I get these kids through school, we have the heat at 60 degrees. I am not sure it makes sense to keep the a/c off, last summer I did that in June and all of the fans ... plus the a/c my dh was running in his home office, made the bill the highest I had ever received (with the a/c OFF and the fans running). I taped all the storm windows up and turned it on - set at 79, and the bill was less...Nuts.

Hopefully it will be better this year because we put solar panels on the house, and courtesy of MD/Montgomery/Fed govt it hardly cost anything. Isn't that crazy ? The govt will practically give you panels for free (4K net for 15K of panels, and you recoup the 4K in a couple of years).... you end up making 30% on your money.

I am not putting my kids in the crazy public school system Bea, so until I get them all through college, highschool, I have close to 65K a year in education expenses (in order to pay this, I need gross income of 130K) just for the tuition.

Anyway, what is funny is that when you get unhappy at me, because apparently you don't believe the 1/2 of every dollar I give to the IRS is enough, I turn around and am really unhappy at the folks who end up netting far more income then me because they don't end up giving over 100K a year to the govt in taxes. They have figured out how to not pay anything. The focus shouldn't just be on the rates. The focus needs to be on how to fix the tax code.

My dad used to tell me when I was a kid that you will never get rich working for someone else. What I didn't understand at the time was that the reason for this is the govt will take an enormous share of your income if you receive a W2, and the only way around that is to incorporate.


March 09, 2011 11:37 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Golly Theresa. Do you realize how much like President Obama you sound?

Reread President Obama's 2007 speech at the Tax Policy Institute where he said:

"...we’ve got over $1 trillion worth of loopholes in the corporate tax code.

This isn’t the invisible hand of the market at work. It’s the successful work of special interests. For decades, we’ve seen a successful strategy to ride anti-tax sentiment in this country toward tax cuts that favor wealth, not work. And for decades, we’ve seen the gaps in wealth in this country grow wider, while the costs to working people are greater.

We’ve got a shift in our tax values that disproportionately benefits the wealthiest Americans; corporate carve-outs that serve no national purpose; tax breaks that allow companies to stash their profits overseas; a government that’s paralyzed when dealing with offshore tax haven countries; an overloaded tax code that’s too complicated for ordinary folks to understand, but just complicated enough to work for someone who knows how to work the system.

When big business doesn’t like something in the tax code, they can hire a lobbyist to get it changed, but most working people can’t afford a high-priced lobbyist. Instead of honoring that core American value – opportunity for all – we’ve had a system in Washington where our laws and regulations have carved out opportunities for the few. "

You might also want to reread President Obama's speech at the Chamber of Commerce in February 2011.

President Obama said:

"Another barrier government can remove is a burdensome corporate tax code with one of the highest rates in the world. You know how it goes: because of various loopholes and carve-outs that have built up over the years, some industries pay an average rate that is four or five times higher than others. Companies are taxed heavily for making investments with equity; yet the tax code actually pays companies to invest using leverage. As a result, too many businesses end up making decisions based on what their tax director says instead of what their engineer designs or what their factory produces. This puts our entire economy at a disadvantage. That's why I want to lower the corporate rate and eliminate these loopholes to pay for it, so that it doesn't add a dime to our deficit. And I am asking for your help in this fight."

I'm with both Theresa and President Obama in the effort to close corporate tax loopholes so that every American -- not just W2 workers -- pays his or her fair share of taxes.

One place you and I do differ Theresa is here: I don't believe most Americans can buy a car wash to lower their income tax rate but then I don't hang out with people who can afford memberships in "upscale health clubs in Bethesda" so maybe I'm mistaken.

March 09, 2011 1:51 PM  
Anonymous Walker wavers said...

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has offered to keep certain collective bargaining rights in place for state workers in a proposed compromise aimed at ending a nearly three-week standoff with absent Senate Democrats, according to e-mails released Tuesday by his office.

The e-mails, some dated as recently as Sunday, show a softened stance in Walker's talks with the 14 Democrats who fled to Illinois to block a vote on his original proposal that would strip nearly all collective bargaining rights for public workers and force concessions amounting to an average 8 percent pay cut.

Under the compromise floated by Walker and detailed in the e-mails, workers would be able to continue bargaining over their salaries with no limit, a change from his original plan that banned negotiated salary increases beyond inflation. He also proposed compromises allowing collective bargaining to stay in place on mandatory overtime, performance bonuses, hazardous duty pay and classroom size for teachers.

Increased contributions for health insurance and pension, projected to save the state $330 million by mid-2013, would remain. The unions and Democrats have agreed to those concessions to help balance a projected $3.6 billion budget shortfall.

Walker has repeatedly said that he would not budge on the key parts of the bill that's been stymied in the Senate after Democrats left 19 days ago. Since then, the pressure to deal has increased as protests reached as large as 80,000 people, polls show the public want a compromise and recall efforts were launched against 16 senators, including eight Republicans.

Some of the items in Walker's compromise plan could only be bargained if both sides agree to take them up. Workplace safety would be subjected to bargaining regardless.

Walker also proposed allowing collective bargaining agreements to last up to two years, instead of the one-year limit in his original proposal. Unions would only have to vote to remain in existence every three years, instead of annually as Walker initially proposed.

Additionally, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Authority employees would not lose all union bargaining rights and the Legislature's budget committee would have to vote to approve any changes to Medicaid programs sought by Walker's administration. Under the original bill, the Department of Health Services could make cuts and other changes to programs benefiting the poor, elderly and disabled without requiring a hearing or vote by the legislative committee.

Senate Republicans spent hours going over the compromise plan Tuesday morning in a closed-door meeting, Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said. He acknowledged that pressure was increasing on the senators, saying the recall efforts launched against eight Republicans was "on everybody's minds."

"Everybody's obviously receiving a lot of pressure," Fitzgerald said. "I had people on my front porch before I left this morning."

He didn't say whether Senate Republicans agreed with the concessions Walker proposed on Sunday.

March 09, 2011 4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Number of teachers in Wisconsin: 59,552
Number of millionaires in Wisconsin: 89,977

Yes, it's amazing, but true: Wisconsin by far has more millionaires than school teachers. Suffice to say, the two categories do not appreciably overlap.

Average Wisconsin teacher salary: $46,390 (US rank: 28th among all states)

Typical wage cut faced by a Wisconsin school teacher if Gov. Scott Walker's non- negotiable give-backs are enacted: $5,567 to 6,958 per year (based on net total compensation reduction caused by Walker's plan).

Continuing average income boost for millionaires in Wisconsin and elsewhere, thanks to the recent extension of 2001 Bush-era federal tax cuts: Approximately $100,000 per year.

So here's the bottom line no one on the red side of the political aisle will ever bother to acknowledge:

If the State of Wisconsin increased taxes on resident millionaires to take back just one-twentieth of the extra money they've been keeping in their pockets thanks to the Bush tax cuts, that would totally wipe out the need to slash teacher salaries under Walker's scheme. Totally.

Would Wisconsin millionaires walking around with an extra $100K in their pockets every year notice the loss of five or six grand apiece? Unlikely.

Will hard-working school teachers notice the loss of five or six grand from each of their pockets, thanks to Gov. Walker? Damn right they will.

Read that again, because it reflects our broader public policies quite well. It adds up to: No pain for millionaires, who already in many cases enjoy effective tax rates below those imposed on rank and file workers, including teachers; and, meanwhile, huge pain for teachers.

March 09, 2011 5:41 PM  
Anonymous onset said...

I don't think that we can further, in 2011, stand behind religion, to protect us when we behave as bigots. If my religion tells me that someone, some group, etc.... is worth less - than that cannot be right. Especially when they are unworthy because they were born that way. My dear friends, I can just imagine the great founders of our country, like Thomas Jefferson, who were trying all things to prove that African Americans were "less". Have we truly learned nothing in 200+ years?

Just an FYI on what bigot means: A bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices. Someone who is blindly and obstinately attached to some creed or opinion and intolerant toward others.

March 09, 2011 7:19 PM  

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