Taxing the poor

September 25, 2011

No, I’m not talking about Boeher and the Republibaggers. (yet)

I’m talking about the lottery. The wealthy don’t play the lottery. They don’t need to. It is only the poor that play. It is an act of desperation. It is an additional few dollars a week wasted in the desperation that they might get lucky. No, chronic gamblers don’t play the lottery because they know what a scam it is. But for the working poor, the lottery is a dream that only costs a few dollars a week. Someone wins. Why not me? The odds may be a billion to one, but that only means I have just as much chance as anyone else of winning. And if I do, I’m set for life; all of my worries are pretty much gone. Yes. Money can buy happiness.

And speaking of scams, in California they passed the lottery law promising that any money raised would supplement schools. That lasted exactly one year. Then the legislature passed a law and the lottery money went into the general fund as part of school funding. So for every dollar the lottery raises, a dollar is withheld by the state. So SCHOOL FUNDING STAYS THE SAME! Nope, school just can’t win.

So beware what crap the G NO P feeds you about making taxes fair for everyone. It’s all a lie. A lie designed to get the rich out of paying their fair share and balancing their budgets on the poor, their budgets that benefit the rich and not the poor (because they are eliminating all of the programs that are designed to benefit the poor). Oh, and you middle class people? You think you’re middle class? Look again. You’re sinking farther and farther down into poor territory.

Most of all, take a close look at the income and taxes of the people that are telling you, you should pay more, or you should GET less. There’s a good chance they have MILLIONs of dollars.

And you don’t.

Unless you win the lottery.

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Billionaires

November 21, 2010

Some want more and more and it still isn’t enough.

Some recognize their obligation to others and doing the right thing.

What kind of billionaire would you be?


Doing and doing

November 14, 2010

What do the American people what done about the deficit?
1. Increasing taxes on millionaires and billionaires.
2. Imposing a financial transactions tax on Wall Street speculation.
3. Ending a wide array of corporate tax loopholes for things like overseas investment.
4. Ending corporate agribusiness subsidies larded into the farm bill.
5. Ending loopholes and subsidies of various kinds to the big energy companies.
6. Reforming the government contracting process to end no-bid contracting, impose penalties on cost overruns, and cut down on excessive bonuses.
7. Allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with the big pharmaceutical companies.
8. Having a vigorous public option to provide competition for health insurers.

(9. And from me, personally, cutting the military budget by half
10. Aggressive campaign finance reform.)

What are the politicians (in particular the Republicans that the stupid people voted back into office) want to do?

The proposed deficit reduction plan:

INDIVIDUAL TAXES

Simpson and Bowles included three different tax proposals for the commission to chew on. Among the proposals for dealing with individual taxes:

* Cut back to just three tax rates; the highest rate among the three proposals is 35 percent.
* Reduce deductions. In one plan, state and local taxes are no longer deductible, and the mortgage interest deduction would be limited to primary-home mortgages of less than $500,000. No write off for vacation home mortgage interest or home equity loans and lines, either.
* Get rid of the AMT: this one is included in all three proposals.
* Tax capital gains and dividend income as ordinary income. Depending on what tax rates would be enacted, that rate could be as high as 35 percent. At the moment — pending Congress deciding what to do about the expiring Bush tax cuts — the top long-term capital gains rate and dividend income rate is 15 percent.

SOCIAL SECURITY

* Raise the normal retirement age from 67 (for those born after 1959) to 68 by 2050 and age 69 by age 2075, but simultaneously provide a “hardship exemption” for people deemed unable to work beyond age 62.
* Calculate the annual cost of living adjustment using a different metric –the chained CPI — which would effectively reduce the adjustments.
* Raise the upper limit for income that’s subject to the Social Security payroll tax (the current cutoff is $106,800). Right now, the formula for setting the upper limit means that about 86 percent of earnings are taxed; under the proposal, the formula would be tweaked to set the upper limit to capture 90 percent of earnings.
* Give retirees the choice of collecting half their benefits early and the other half at a later age. The idea here is to help folks ease into a phased-retirement.

MEDICARE

* Shift more cost onto beneficiaries (”expanding cost sharing” is the artful phrase) but impose an annual catastrophic cap to limit total out of pocket costs. Estimated savings from 2011-2020: $85 billion.
* Require drug companies to offer rebates on more drugs as a condition of participating in Part D (estimated $59 billion in savings from 2011-2012).
* Push through tort reform to reduce medical insurance costs (estimated savings of $64 billion over the same stretch)

GAS TAX:

* Add another 15 cents to the current 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax to pay for all transportation and highway programs directly, rather than through Treasury appropriations.

STUDENT LOANS

* Eliminate the in-school interest payment for subsidized Stafford loans.

CULTURE & THE GREAT OUTDOORS

* The Smithsonian Museum, currently free to all visitors, would be required to cover 25 percent of its operating budget ($225 million) by charging an entrance fee that Simpson and Bowles estimate would come to about $7.50 per person.
* The National Park Service would increase its use of visitor fees (not all parks charge them.) Simpson and Bowles are calling for an extra $75 million to be raised by park fees, a cost they estimate will amount to about $0.25 more per visitor.

MORE

* Roll discretionary spending back to FY2010 levels for FY2012, requires 1% cut in discretionary budget authority every year from FY2013 though 2015;
* Fully offset the cost of the “Doc Fix” by asking doctors and other health providers, lawyers, and individuals to take responsibility for slowing health care cost growth;
* Reduce farm subsidies by3 billion per year by reducing direct payments and other subsidies;
* Achieve100 billion in Illustrative Defense Cuts;
* Index retirement age for Social security to increases in longevity. “This option is projected to increase the age by one month every two years after it reaches 67 under current law, meaning the normal retirement age would reach 68 in about 2050 and 69 in about 2075.” There will be a “hardship exemption” for those unable to work beyond 62;
* Give retirees the choice of collecting half their benefits early and the other half at a later age to minimize impact of actuarial reduction and support phased retirement options;
* Reduce corporate tax rate to 26% and permanently extend the research credit;
* Gradually increase gas tax to fund transportation spending.
* Reduce Congressional & White House budgets by 15 percent;
* Freeze federal salaries, bonuses, and other compensation at non-defense agencies for three hears;
* Cap the number of federal political appointments at 2,000;
* Eliminate the Office of Safe & Drug Free Schools;
* Eliminate all earmarks.;
* Reduce unnecessary printing costs;
* Reduce funding to the Smithsonian and the National Park Service and allow the programs to offset the reduction through fees;
* Cut funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Debt Commission live blog
Debt Commission leans right
Attacking the middle class.

Now which would you rather try?

I for one itemize my deductions, so those so-called tax breaks by eliminating deductions will hurt me. And I’m middle class. Probably real LOW middle class since I don’t make close to $250,000. I don’t even make $100,000. I might make $80,000, but I have to pay for my healthcare and contribute to my pension and a TSA. After I pay union dues, professional organizations, mortgage, property taxes, insurance, utilities, car payments, insurance, gas, food for me and the dog, there isn’t a lot left. Especially since I subsidize my classroom by buying materials for students that the schools can no longer supply. And I’ve already had my salary reduced due to mandatory furlough days. I won’t see any raises in four years. Yet the cost of living will go up. I didn’t see any raises for the last four years, even though the cost of living has increased significantly. That means for 8 years cost of living goes up, but I am on a fixed income. And now I’ll lose even more money due to my taxes being increased as a result of tax deductions being eliminated.

Now just why did the stupid people vote the Republicans back into office again? Yes, I know they’ll blame Obama. My blame is that he didn’t have the balls or backbone to be aggressive enough. He squandered his supermajority and he didn’t kick blue dog ass. But I wasn’t stupid enough to vote against my own best interest but putting the very people who destroyed our economy back into power. When a contractor wrecks your house, do you hire him to fix it? When someone talks against government do you hire them to run the government? That just seems really stupid to me.urt me. And I’m middle class. Probably real LOW middle class since I don’t make close to $250,000. I don’t even make $100,000. I might make $80,000, but I have to pay for my healthcare and contribute to my pension and a TSA. After I pay union dues, professional organizations, mortgage, property taxes, insurance, utilities, car payments, insurance, gas, food for me and the dog, there isn’t a lot left. Especially since I subsidize my classroom by buying materials for students that the schools can no longer supply. And I’ve already had my salary reduced due to mandatory furlough days. I won’t see any raises in four years. Yet the cost of living will go up. I didn’t see any raises for the last four years, even though the cost of living has increased significantly. That means for 8 years cost of living goes up, but I am on a fixed income. And now I’ll lose even more money due to my taxes being increased as a result of tax deductions being eliminated.

Now just why did the stupid people vote the Republicans back into office again? Yes, I know they’ll blame Obama. My blame is that he didn’t have the balls or backbone to be aggressive enough. He squandered his supermajority and he didn’t kick blue dog ass. But I wasn’t stupid enough to vote against my own best interest but putting the very people who destroyed our economy back into power. When a contractor wrecks your house, do you hire him to fix it? When someone talks against government do you hire them to run the government? That just seems really stupid to me.