Tag Archive: Tax Cuts

Trumpcare On Life Support

The good news, Trumpcare, also known as the Better Health Care Act, is on life support and Senate Majority Leader, who wrote the bill, is now considering pulling the plug. The bill doesn’t have enough votes and any further tinkering is likely to just make it worse. It’s handful of supporters are trying to convince …

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Trump’s Opioid Commission A Sham

According to a just released government study (pdf) US hospitals handled 1.27 million emergency room visits or inpatient stays for opioid-related issues in a single year and that was 2014. Those numbers reflected a 64% increase in hospital stays and a 99% increase in ER visits compared to 2005 and are driving cause the mortality …

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The Zombie Healthcare Bill Has Passed The House

The House has passed the latest version of a trillion dollar tax cut disguised as a healthcare bill. The text of the bill only became public last night and has not been scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Why the rush? Besides the fact that Little Donnie needs a win, the House is going …

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The Republican Healthcare Scam Keeps Getting Worse

The struggle by the House Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been a scam to cut one trillion dollars from health care programs. The GOP bill will not lower premiums or deductibles or improve access to affordable healthcare. It will also cut Medicaid by $800 billion. By effectively ending the …

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Groundhog Day

“Groundhog Day,” one of ek hornbeck’s favorite movies, is about a man caught in a time loop doomed to repeat the same day over and over until he examines his life and changes. Like Bill Murray’s character in the movie the US seems to be unable to move on from the bad tax policies that …

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Tax Cuts for the Wealthy Do Not Stimulate Economic Growth

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Most of us already know that tax cuts, especially for the wealthy, do not create jobs nor do they stimulate economic growth. But there are those who are still pushing this unicorn myth. So here are some facts:

Growth Since 1987 - 2012 One of the first things you notice in the chart is that the American economy was not especially healthy even before the financial crisis began in late 2007. By 2007, remarkably, the economy was already on pace for its slowest decade of growth since World War II. The mediocre economic growth, in turn, brought mediocre job and income growth – and the crisis more than erased those gains.

The defining economic policy of the last decade, of course, was the Bush tax cuts. President George W. Bush and Congress, including Mr. Ryan, passed a large tax cut in 2001, sped up its implementation in 2003 and predicted that prosperity would follow.

The economic growth that actually followed – indeed, the whole history of the last 20 years – offers one of the most serious challenges to modern conservatism. Bill Clinton and the elder George Bush both raised taxes in the early 1990s, and conservatives predicted disaster. Instead, the economy boomed, and incomes grew at their fastest pace since the 1960s. Then came the younger Mr. Bush, the tax cuts, the disappointing expansion and the worst downturn since the Depression.

That was the conclusion from David Leonhardt’s new column today for The New York Times, and it was precisely the finding of a new study from the Congressional Research Service, “Taxes and the Economy: An Economic Analysis of the Top Tax Rates Since 1945” (pdf).

That study concluded that not only did tax cuts for the upper brackets did not stimulate growth, they are associated with increasing income disparity:

    The top income tax rates have changed considerably since the end of World War II. Throughout the late-1940s and 1950s, the top marginal tax rate was typically above 90%; today it is 35%. Additionally, the top capital gains tax rate was 25% in the 1950s and 1960s, 35% in the 1970s; today it is 15%. The average tax rate faced by the top 0.01% of taxpayers was above 40% until the mid-1980s; today it is below 25%. Tax rates affecting taxpayers at the top of the income distribution are currently at their lowest levels since the end of the second World War.

   The results of the analysis suggest that changes over the past 65 years in the top marginal tax rate and the top capital gains tax rate do not appear correlated with economic growth. The reduction in the top tax rates appears to be uncorrelated with saving, investment, and productivity growth. The top tax rates appear to have little or no relation to the size of the economic pie.

   However, the top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution. As measured by IRS data, the share of income accruing to the top 0.1% of U.S. families increased from 4.2% in 1945 to 12.3% by 2007 before falling to 9.2% due to the 2007-2009 recession. At the same time, the average tax rate paid by the top 0.1% fell from over 50% in 1945 to about 25% in 2009. Tax policy could have a relation to how the economic pie is sliced-lower top tax rates may be associated with greater income disparities.

In another study that was cited in an article by tax expert David Cay Johnston, Owen M. Zidar, a graduate economics student at the University of California at Berkeley, and a former staff economist on the White House Council of Economic Advisers for President Obama, looked at which tax cuts did stimulate economic growth:

He reasoned that “if tax cuts for high income earners generate substantial economic activity, then states with a large share of high income taxpayers should grow faster following a tax cut for high income earners.” The data show that tax cuts at the top, though, do not result in faster growth in states with more high-earners.

“Almost all of the stimulative effect of tax cuts,” Zidar found, “results from tax cuts for the bottom 90 percent. A one percent of GDP tax cut for the bottom 90 percent results in 2.7 percentage points of GDP growth over a two-year period. The corresponding estimate for the top 10 percent is 0.13 percentage points and is insignificant statistically.” [..]

That fits with the argument made over the last century by a variety of business leaders – carmaker Henry Ford and retailer Edward Filene among them – that the path to economic growth lies in workers making enough (and having enough after taxes) to buy goods and services.

These facts need to be pounded ad nauseum to Congress and the White House, no matter which party is in charge.

(All emphasis mine)

How to Kill Grandma and Grandpa Faster; or, Paul Ryan’s Gonads

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

In April of 2011, Rollingstone‘s contributing editor Matt Taibbi wrote a piece about Paul Ryan and budget proposal titled, Tax Cuts for the Rich on the Backs of the Middle Class; or, Paul Ryan has Balls

I heartily laughed at Matt’s description of Paul Ryan:

Paul Ryan, the Republican Party’s latest entrant in the seemingly endless series of young, prickish, over-coiffed, anal-retentive deficit Robespierres they’ve sent to the political center stage in the last decade or so, has come out with his new budget plan. All of these smug little jerks look alike to me – from Ralph Reed to Eric Cantor to Jeb Hensarling to Rand Paul and now to Ryan, they all look like overgrown kids who got nipple-twisted in the halls in high school, worked as Applebee’s shift managers in college, and are now taking revenge on the world as grownups by defunding hospice care and student loans and Sesame Street. They all look like they sleep with their ties on, and keep their feet in dress socks when doing their bi-monthly duty with their wives.

You have to admit that is scathingly accurate.

I thought of my own Tea Party House “Rat”, Michael Grimm. Grimm a former FBI agent and freshman representative from New York’s newly redrawn 11th who is currently the target of a federal grand jury investigation into the fundraising for his 2010 campaign. He fits Matt’s description to a tee.

Although Grimm is not a member of the Tea Party Caucus, he has voted lock step with them. When Grimm voted for Ryan’s first budget plan which called for a fix voucher and cuts to Medicaid that that would hurt the poor and elderly, Staten Island Tea Partiers were vocally upset with him. But I can almost guarantee they will give him a second chance to screw them, and everyone else, come November.

Back to Matt’s article. With his wry wit, he goes on to describe Ryan’s goal to reduce taxes for the wealthiest by asking seniors to cut back on their health care in order to pay for those tax breaks. That takes balls.

Never mind that each time the Republicans actually come into power, federal deficit spending explodes and these whippersnappers somehow never get around to touching Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. The key is that for the many years before that moment of truth, before these buffoons actually get a chance to put their money where their lipless little mouths are, they will stomp their feet and scream about how entitlements are bringing us to the edge of apocalypse.

The problem, of course, is that to actually make significant cuts in what is left of the “welfare state,” one has to cut Medicare and Medicaid, programs overwhelmingly patronized by white people, and particularly white seniors. So when the time comes to actually pull the trigger on the proposed reductions, the whippersnappers are quietly removed from the stage and life goes on as usual, i.e. with massive deficit spending on defense, upper-class tax cuts, bailouts, corporate subsidies, and big handouts to Pharma and the insurance industries.

This is a political game that gets played out in the media over and over again, and everyone in Washington knows how it works. Which is why it’s nauseating (but not surprising) to see so many commentators falling over themselves with praise for Ryan’s “bold” budget proposal, which is supposedly a ballsy piece of politics because it proposes backdoor cuts in Medicare and Medicaid by redounding their appropriations to the states and to block grants. Ryan is being praised for thusly taking on seniors, a traditionally untouchable political demographic .

Medicaid cuts that would deeply effect the elderly are never discussed by the media, even now with Ryan the presumptive Republican vice presidential nominee:

While the Republican vice-presidential candidate is careful to avoid touching Medicare benefits for anyone at or near retirement, his budget would impose immediate cuts to Medicaid, the health-care program for the poor that funds nursing-home care and other benefits for 6 million U.S. seniors. [..]

The proposed Medicaid changes are often overlooked amid the debate over Ryan’s Medicare plan, which has taken center stage in the presidential contest since the Wisconsin congressman was chosen as Mitt Romney’s running mate on Aug. 11. It’s politically important because those 65 and older are a crucial voting bloc. [..]

Health-care policy specialists say it’s politically easier to cut Medicaid because most voters don’t understand it. [..]

Many middle-income Americans who may be unfamiliar with Medicaid end up relying on the program in their old age because they exhaust their assets. Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care so they turn to Medicaid, which does. [..].

Without Medicaid, current and future Medicare recipients would be in deep financial trouble, as would nursing homes and hospitals that would be under obligation to treat them even if they lack coverage. Ryan’s budget would do this just to give the top 2% another tax cut that wouldn’t even be covered by the cuts.

In his last paragraph, Matt say this about Ryan and his budget:

The absurd thing is that Ryan’s act isn’t even politically courageous. It’s canny calculation, but courage it is not. It would be courageous if Ryan were, say, the president of the United States, and leaning on that budget with his full might. But Ryan is proposing a budget he knows would have no chance of passing in the Senate. He is simply playing out a part, a non-candidate for the presidency pushing a rhetorical flank for an out-of-power party leading into a presidential campaign year. If the budget is a hit with the public, the 2012 Republican candidate can run on it. If it isn’t, the Republican candidate can triangulate Ryan’s ass back into the obscurity from whence it came, and be done with him.

All Paul Ryan has are his “balls” because he certainly doesn’t have a heart or a conscience.

So much for obscurity. Little did Matt know.  

Obama’s Plan: Cut the Safety Net

So now we’ve heard Barry’s big “jobs speech” and it turns out to be the exact opposite of what is needed to rescue the crumbling nation.  No surprise there.

Obama’s so-called “jobs plan” is huge cuts in the payroll tax that are designed to manufacture a real future shortfall in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which will then be used as the rationale for imposing deep cuts on, or even the elimination of, all three programs.  Corporate tax cuts will drain even more revenue from the treasury, which will make extending unemployment insurance for the unemployed who currently qualify, not to mention infrastructure repair, highly unlikely.

“Shared Sacrifice”??

“Shared Sacrifice”? WAR TAX NOW!!

Hearing: Examining the Lifetime Costs of Supporting the Newest Generation of Veterans

Committee on Veterans’ Affairs United States Senate 112th Congress, First Session Hearing Schedule Wednesday, July 27, 2011 10:00 a.m.

Veterans and the Veterans Administration have been short changed for decades now, costing much more in fighting to catch up then if funded properly at the beginning and into, and throughout, our wars of choice, instead it’s easier for the people, their reps and some veterans to lay blame on the agency. Magnetic ribbons, wordy patriotic meme’s, flag waving and historic costumes, lapel flag pins and purple heart bandages is Not Sacrificing after Demanding the Soldiers and their Families do!!

Jobs

One of the many problems with this extremely slow growth is the jobs being created are more towards the lower wage so called service sector, that sector that doesn’t really produce a product but the workers try and still give a quality job while getting low wages and few benefits and seek respect for what they do.

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