Taxes

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Just read the latest NYT Op-Ed by my buddy, Uwe Reinhardt. See Paying for Health Care (and War, by the Way).

He mentions that David R. Obey, a Democrat from Wisconsin, has introduced the Share the Sacrifice Act of 2010.

All this does is call for an explicit war surtax to pay for our continuing wars. Not a bad idea, is it? (I bet Frank Zappa would agree.)

If we’re all going to have to pay for every last cent of Health Care Reform, why don’t we all also pay for every last cent of our wars instead of letting only the military families bare the burden?

OH NO!! NOT ANOTHER TAX!!

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Nancy Folbre has a fun article in the NYT today, Raise My Taxes. She starts off as follows:

We live in a country where the most visible support for raising taxes on the rich comes from … the rich. So much for the seeming dictates of economic rationality and the logic of class war.

She goes on to point out that Reed Hastings, chief executive of Netflix, has called for an increase in the top federal marginal tax rate to 50 percent on all income over $1 million per year, and he claims this would not reduce his incentive to work. (Remind me to renew my Netflix subscription.)

And then there are the poor, many of whom pay no taxes at all, who think the estate tax should be done away with. In fact, as Folbre points out, the percentage of households with income under $30,000 complaining that federal income taxes are too high exceeds the percentage even paying federal income taxes. What a joke! But the joke is on those brain washed masses taken in by the right wing corporate media propaganda saying taxes are too high!

Warren Buffet, one of the richest of the rich, has always said his taxes are too high. In fact, to quote from Nancy’s article,

Mr. Buffett has peeved many of his fellow billionaires by giving much of his money away as well as advocating higher taxes for the rich. The man has so much class that he can talk about class war. (He explained, in 2006, that his class was winning).

She closes with this neat paragraph:

But our tax system itself confounds class interests by its complexity as well as by taxing income from labor so much more heavily than income from capital. Maybe some rich people recognize a good deal when they see one.

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Gail Collins in her Op-Ed today goes after the middlemen who are ripping off the students and making it practically impossible for young people to get a higher education today unless they are already Super Rich.

Here’s a couple of comments on her Op-Ed that I agree with:

The mess that is our student loan program is yet another legacy of the “Government is not the solution, Government is the problem” mantra bequeathed to us by generations of Republican (and all but Republican Democrats) “free market” fanatics: The same folks who brought the private health insurance catastrophe that has made our health care system the most expensive and least effective in the world. It’s time we cut that particularly hoary old Gordian knot and started to rely upon efficient and much less expensive government programs instead of the inefficient and horrendously expensive mess that “private enterprise” has handed us.

— calyban, fairfax, california

Well said, calyban!

Hello out there. White working-class ethnic here–from family with no interest in education, and no money to provide one to any of their five children (no birth control means lots of kids and no money for most people, FYI)-but I got a college education, thanks to scholarships, my own never-ending hard work, and low-interest loans, and graduated from college in 1981.

Anyone notice that this country is destroying its future, and any idea of reasoned discourse, in the name of fundamentalist capitalism, which is no less zealous and insane than jihad and Islamofascism that the phoney “All-Americans” claim to deride?

What would be All-American: to stop subsidizing the rich by taxing the poor. Education for all. A strong base for our future.

Stop the insanity of fundamentalist capitalism now. The right wing calls Obama “socialist”? What they mean is, they are afraid that the “socialism” that benefits them–that’s called insane capitalism, folks–has been revealed for what it is. A tax on our future, socialized risk, privatized gain.

America–let’s wake up together.

— Mother, Brooklyn

Right on, Mother! Down with socialized risk and privatized gain! TAX THE RICH!

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Taxes are way too low in this country. They need to be raised, but only on the high income groups, and raised somewhere around where they were during our great post-World War 1 economic boom.

Here’s why:

Bob, while I agree with you, and respect Felix Rohatyn greatly, his being “one of the biggest supporters of the creation of an infrastructure bank” does not answer the question of whether the government (we) can afford it.

I’ve recommended readers subscribe to John Mauldin’s weekly E-Letter before. http://www.frontlinethoughts.com… While I disagree with Mauldin’s politics (Republican) and almost of his socioeconomic policies and prescriptions (e.g., blasting Obama on national healthcare), to get economic facts he offers a concentrated and readable dose for free. This past Friday’s letter begins: “As of this week, total US debt is $11.3 trillion and rising rapidly. The Obama Administration projects that to rise another $1.85 trillion in 2009 (13% of GDP) and yet another $1.4 trillion in 2010. The Congressional Budget Office projects almost $10 trillion in additional debt from 2010 through 2019. Just last January the 2009 deficit was estimated at ‘only’ $1.2 trillion.” Mauldin goes on to explain why this is an optimistic set of estimates, followed by data on Europe and “The Global Recession Gets Worse” that reminds of Mr. Brooks’ image today of the “disembowelment scene in ‘Braveheart.'”

Mauldin asks where is the money going to come from?
“The world is going to have to fund multiple trillions in debt over the next several years. Pick a number. I think $5 trillion sounds about right. $3 trillion is in the cards for the US alone, if current projections are right.” He then talks about why bond rates are rising in what appears to be a deflationary period and concludes this thought with “I think the bond market is looking a few years down the road and saying that $1-trillion deficits are simply not capable of being financed. And if the debt is monetized, then inflation is going to become a very serious issue.”

As much as I dislike Republicans, sometimes we have to know what the analytical and thoughtful among them are saying. Mauldin is not a Bush, or Cheney, or Limbaugh. The irony is that while his facts appear to be sound, and pale yours today, he never seems to even realize that he’s making an argument for national healthcare, a wealth tax, slashing military spending, and in various ways coming up with enough funds for such as an infrastructure bank.

Way down deep — perhaps not all that deep — guys like Mauldin and the superrich (he’s more their advisor than one of them, as best I can tell) are worried that when the music stops they will no longer have a chair. And they’re correct, I think. We simply cannot have a nation in Great Recession I and almost in depression — sure to come if we don’t act — that does not take some drastic steps. Since there is no surplus at the bottom, and consumer-spending our way out of the crisis cannot be done, there remains only the top to pay for getting us out. Given that they got us into this mess, why not require them to bail us out? Yes, I know, the American consumer went a little crazy. Perhaps really nutty crazy. But who aided and abetted them? And who gained from consumer madness? We all know who, including our politicians in bed with these irresponsible and greedy Masters of the Universe. Bring ’em down, before we all go down.

— Butler Crittenden, San Francisco, CA

My man, Butler Crittenden is at it again. See my earlier post, Response to Krugman.

The “Bob” who Butler is replying to is Bob Herbert who has a great Op-Ed, Our Crumbling Foundation, in the NYT today.

Butler agrees with Bob that it would be great to have a national infrastructure development bank to turn this economy around, but asks how are we going to pay for it? So why not increase taxes on the super rich who got us into this mess, and who are way under taxed compared with those in most industrialized countries?

And I agree with him! In fact I think it’s time for a mass revolt in this country!

Here’s another sobering response to Bob’s article:

How many times have we heard these concerns voiced before? Add them to the lengthy list of things we know we need to do in the U.S. that go unaddressed while we save the skins of corporate bankers with trillions in taxes on current and future generations. It is interesting how what now look like insiginificant tens of billions were unthinkable sums to spend on education, health, transportation and infrastructure, while all it took was one weekend’s thought to cough up hundreds of billions, trillions, when it came time to save the banks.

One of the lessons the right wing took from the rebellions of the 1960s is that a populace that is well paid, educated and free is a danger to their wealth and position. They will bring the whole house down on our collective heads rather than risk masses of Americans who are free from fear and ready to ask that the resources that they produce be put to good use rather than merely fill the coffers of the wealthy.

— Vincent Amato, New York City

Right on, Vincent!

But in reality what will we do? Sit back and do nothing.

Boy am I pissed. Is anybody else?

Let’s rise up, masses, and fire calls and letters at our senators and reps, form community groups of like minded people, send barrages of letters to our newspapers (newspapers?), hit the incredibly stupid right wing talk shows. Blast Limbaugh, Cheney, and all the other idiots on the right. Blast the mainstream media as well. As we know, they just go along with their corporate sponsors!

Boy, am I pissed. Is anybody else?

OK, I’ll let CJGC have the last word:

The question is whether good sense and an acknowledgment of our obligation to address our social and physical structural problems to prevent even more dire problems in the future is going to prevail over the small-minded bean counters who can’t see beyond the ends of their noses and those politicians who want nothing more than for Obama to fail.

It’s touch and go. A perfect example is serious reform of health care financing by offering a single payer option. It’s the only way to cover everyone and bring costs under control. So far only the health care industry and the health insurance industry have been invited to participate and Senator Baucus assures us that single payer will never pass.

“Yes we can and change we can believe in” have morphed into “No we can’t. The comfortable hold the reins of power so the rest of you just sit down and shut up.” Of course the comfortable are also going to fall into the holes they think they are just digging under our feet.
Are there special bridges for the defenders of the status quo so they won’t fall in the river too?

Yes, it should be a no-brainer. Sadly, many sitting in comfortable chairs don’t themselves have enough brains to notice. Too smug.

— CJGC, Cambridge, MA

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Yesterday, September 12, 2008, Senator Barack Obama spoke in Dover, NH. This has been covered by Daily Kos here. Below is a five minute video of his presentation, and here are a couple key paragraphs, taken from that Daily Kos posting:

“[McCain’s] plan gives absolutely nothing to about 100 million American households. I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.

And my opponent can’t make that pledge, and here’s why. For the first time in American history, John McCain wants to tax your health-care benefits. Apparently, Senator McCain doesn’t think it’s enough that health care premiums have doubled, he thinks that you should have to pay taxes on them, too. That’s a $3.6 trillion tax increase potentially on middle-class families. And that would eventually leave tens of millions of you paying higher taxes or losing your benefits. That’s his idea of change.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aa4ipe4fhU[/youtube]

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I got this video from the Josh Marshall TPM blog as posted by David Kurtz. It shows pretty clearly how Obama will begin to correct the Bush-created imbalance favoring the super-rich in this country. Go Barack Go!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fbxpMw4mco[/youtube]

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