Tag Archives: tax cuts

News & Comment

Even Fox News Calls B.S. on Six ‘Studies’ Cited by Romney-Ryan to Bolster Their $5 Trillion Tax Cut Scheme

In the first presidential debate, Mitt Romney falsely claimed there were six studies that proved his $5 trillion tax cut that mostly benefits the wealthy would not lead to increased taxes on the middle class and/or blow a bigger hole in the deficit. “I will not, under any circumstances, raise taxes on middle-income families,” Romney said. “I will lower taxes on middle-income families. Now, you cite a study. There are six other studies that looked at the study you describe and say it’s completely wrong.” In the vice presidential debate, Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan mentioned the six studies twice.

Talking Points Memo reports that “of the six studies, two are blog posts by the conservative American Enterprise Institute; one is a report by the Republican-friendly Heritage Foundation; one is a paper by Princeton professor and former George W. Bush adviser Harvey Rosen; the fifth and sixth are a Wall Street Journal op-ed and blog post by Harvard economist Martin Feldstein, an adviser to the Romney campaign.”

These “studies” are so bogus that even Fox News found that it could no longer carry water for its own party’s candidates. On their Sunday show, host Chris Wallace took down Ed Gillespie, Karl Rove’s embed in the Romney campaign, on the issue:

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News & Comment Point of Order

Point of Order: Obama Wants to Give Everyone a Tax Break

PointofOrder

Whether ignorance or deliberate spin is to blame, we keep hearing that Pres. Obama wants to end the Bush tax cuts for those earning more than $250,000 annually. This is true. And false, false, false.

The president is proposing, as he has since he took office and knew Bush’s tax cuts would expire during his first term, to end the tax breaks on family incomes above $250,000.

That means everyone pays at the lower rate on the first $250,000 they earn. So if your family earns $220,000, you continue to pay at the Bush rate on your entire income. If you earn $280,000, then you continue to pay at the Bush rate on $250,000 and pay at the higher, Clinton-era rate on $30,000.

As Daily Finance’s Bruce Watson explains:

When discussing the tax code, most analysts and pundits — not to mention average citizens — focus on the highest rate that an individual pays. One rarely hears about the fact that everybody pays only 10% tax on their first $8,700, 15% on everything between $8,701 and $35,350, and so forth. In other words, a millionaire pays the exact same amount in taxes on that piece of their income as someone who makes $35,350 per year…or $85,000, or $150,000. (Before deductions, of course.)

It’s not hard to see why tax issues are drawn along wealth lines — after all, creating barriers between the rich and the middle class makes for good headlines and hot political battles. In truth, though, the line isn’t between cutting taxes for the rich and cutting them for the middle class; it’s between cutting taxes for the rich, and cutting taxes for the rich more.

Emphasis added

Update: The misstatement bothers Robert Reich too.

Verbatim

Verbatim

Paul Ryan’s budget is not a deficit reduction plan, it is a plan to make the world safe for tax cuts.

E.J. Dionne, speaking on the Diane Rehm Show

News & Comment

Do Tax Cuts Work? Former Sen. Bob Graham Shows That in Florida They Didn’t

art-assault-florida1“We’re broke” is the meme Republicans and tea baggers cite when they claim tight budgets force us to reshape social policies, such as collective bargaining agreements, or to siphon public funds and redirect resources to corporations only too happy to pocket the largesse.

In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott, with full support of the Republican legislature, is using “we’re broke” to justify everything from deregulating nail salons to defunding services that save taxpayers money, like group homes for the developmentally disabled.

To Rick Scott and the Republicans, government is a weapon best used to punish enemies and intimidate friends. The only goal is to protect and shore up their interests.

Former Democratic Gov. and Sen. Bob Graham knows whether the emperor has clothes. He shows that tax cuts, rather than improving the business climate, are moving Florida away from its goals.

Before you read further, please note that Florida has no state income tax for its residents, and that Jeb Bush was governor from 1999 to 2007, followed by Republican Charlie Crist, and now Republican/Tea Bagger Rick Scott. Republicans have held a majority of both chambers of the Florida legislature since 1994.

…Since 1999 there has been a stream of tax reductions to make the state more attractive for investment. Absent these cuts, state revenue in 2011 would be $4 billion greater. This would have avoided the need for the deep cuts now being considered by the Legislature.

The stunning truth is that on virtually all fronts — the Legislature, the executive budget office, academics — there has been a failure to subject these cuts to the basic question: Did they work?

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News & Comment

Facts, Polls Be Damned, Republicans Fight to Keep Ruinous Bush Tax Policy – Their Goal Is Not ‘Jobs, Jobs, Jobs,’ It’s to Make Obama ‘Fail, Fail, Fail’

Quintile: A fifth portion or band of a set of data. A quintile is a proportion of a set of data that has been ranked and divided into five equal groups (or bands), where each group contains an equal number of data items.
Quintile: A fifth portion or band of a set of data. A quintile is a proportion of a set of data that has been ranked and divided into five equal groups (or bands), where each group contains an equal number of data items.

The Republicans have now boiled down their debate points for extending tax breaks to the uber wealthy to this:

INTERVIEWER: But, Your Excellency, the Bush tax cuts have been in place for 10 years and they have not produced jobs. They are also directly responsible for the deficit. So why should we extend them?

REPUBLICAN: We cannot raise taxes in a recession!

Of course, if the economy were in great shape, the GOP answer would be:

REPUBLICAN: We cannot raise taxes when the economy is booming!!

And I’m just kidding about the interviewer’s question. The news-show hosts rarely if ever confront Republicans about the simple, empirically knowable, no-two-sides-to-it fact that these wealthy Americans, whom Republicans euphemistically refer to as “small business owners” — the Paris Hiltons, Koch brothers, Meg Whitmans, Donald Trumps and, strangely enough, George Soroses of the world — having enjoyed the luxury of the Bush tax cuts for 10 years, did not create jobs with their “extra” money.

It is an equally knowable, non-debatable fact available to straight-down-the-line, fair-to-both-sides journalists that during the Bush era the rich got much richer:

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Verbatim

Verbatim

I was in business for 35 years and nothing happened until somebody bought something. I never based my production decisions on the amount of taxes but did base my decisions upon the likelihood of sales.

— Charley B., a Pensito Review commenter, responding to Republican claims that tax cuts produce jobs, stimulating the economy. Charley, and most of us, prefer the more direct route, which begins with consumer spending. He also notes that if the Bush tax cuts were intended to produce jobs, judging by American unemployment numbers, they were a failure. We admit, though, that the tax cuts did create plenty of jobs in other countries (while the rich back here pocketed their tax savings).

News & Comment

Millionaires Against Extending Their Tax Cuts

Millionaires

It’s not just those lazy poor people on welfare and former ACORN workers calling for an end to the Bush tax cuts for millionaires. A group of millionaires is actually petitioning Congress to raise their taxes.

Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength are asking that the line be drawn at the $1,000,000 mark, which is probably where it should have been put all along. It’s much easier politically for Democrats to defend restoring taxes for the 375,000 true millionaires than for the “wealthiest Americans.” Just ask these folks.

We have done very well over the last several years…We don’t need more tax cuts, and we understand that cutting our taxes will increase the deficit and the debt burden carried by other taxpayers.

Even more interesting is this recap of the tax rate for millionaires. You won’t hear these numbers quoted in Republican arguments for keeping the Bush tax cuts.

During the Great Depression, millionaires had a top marginal tax rate of 68%

In 1963, millionaires had a top marginal tax rate of 91%

In 1976, millionaires had a top marginal tax rate of 70%

Today, millionaires have a top marginal tax rate of 35%

The group of about 50 original signers of the petition contains some of the usual suspects, like ambient musician Moby, and Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s fame. Less well-known are Peter Norvig, an artificial intelligence and computer scientist; Rochelle Kaplan, former president of the National Council of Jewish Women Utah Section; and Robert S. Bowditch Jr., a real estate property manager.

You don’t have to be a millionaire to sign the letter.