Reich v. Reich on Tax Plan

 Posted by at 1:24 pm  Politics
Feb 202017
 

The Republican Reich has a new "populist" tax plan, which they claim is designed to keep and create more jobs in the US.  To someone, who has not dug down and considered the actual effects, it even looks fairly good.  But once I considered what the plan will really do, I felt amazed at just how sneaky-evil  Republicans can be.  Fortunately, you don't have to trust me.  Robert Reich takes on the Republican Reich for us.

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Watch your wallets. Republicans are pushing a new corporate tax plan that will end up costing most of you a bundle. Here’s what you should know about the so-called “border adjustment tax."

The U.S. imports about $2.7 trillion worth of goods a year. Many imports are cheap because labor costs are much lower in places like Southeast Asia.

Our current tax code taxes corporations on their profits. So, for example, when Wal-Mart buys t-shirts from Vietnam for $10 and sells them for $13, Wal-Mart is only taxed on that $3 of profit.

But under the new Republican tax plan, Wal-Mart would be taxed on the full price of imported items, so in this case the full $13 sale price of that t-shirt. As a result of this tax, Wall Street analysts expect retail prices in the U.S. to rise as much as 15 percent…

From <Robert Reich>

 

In short, poor and middle class shoppers pay more for their goods, and the tax is distributed to billionaires, who use it to increase automation for exports, increasing their own wealth, but creating few, if any jobs.  Republicans plan to tax YOU for welfare for billionaires.

RESIST!!

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Dec 112016
 

If you read the monthly reports, you will find that Politics Plus readers tend to be older, poor, and more female that male (although of course both are represented.)  Those of us living in the Unitd States who fit that description are probably living mostly or totally on the earned benefits of Social Security.  I know I am.

So I thought that the content of this article from Mother Jones should be posted to Politics Plus.

Now, it's nothing new that Republicans want to cut Social Security (or should I say gut Social Security?)  That has been true since it was created in 1935.  But usually, when government programs are cut that people depend on, current recipients at least are "grandfathered" in so that the cuts will apply to future beneficiaries.  Well, that's not exactly true of this bill.

The Mother Jones article includes the complete first draft of the bill, but also refers to Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo, from whom I'd like to quote:

[Y]ou're out of luck even if you're a current beneficiary….  [R]eviewing the summary of the GOP bill, keep the following in mind. If you've been working for any number of years, but especially if you've been working for two or three decades, you've been paying in not only money for current beneficiaries but additional money which was invested in US government bonds to make it possible for Social Security to pay benefits of Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers….  This plan appears to foresee the government never paying that back to Social Security. In other words, your payroll taxes have been socking away additional money to cover the growing senior population. But this bill says too bad. That money goes for high income tax cuts.

Nancy Pelosi had this to say:  "Apparently nothing upsets House Republicans like the idea of hard-working people getting to enjoy a secure and dignified retirement."  Yes, she went into more detail, but that sums it up.

Even Yahoo! Finance has a scary article: 

The bill introduced by Johnson, who was recently acting Chair of the Ways and Means committee, slashes benefits, adds means testing, and would raise the retirement age from 67 to 69.  For most workers, the bill would cut Social Security benefits substantially. As Michael Linden, associate director for tax and budget policy at Center for American Progress, pointed out on Twitter, a letter from Social Security’s Office of the Actuary calculated workers making around $50,000 would see checks shrink by between 11% and 35%.  Nearly every income bracket would see a reduction….

The Mother Jones article is the only one I found which has the actual complete text of the draft bill.  It is 54 pages long.  I haven't finished reading it myself yet – I am still dreading it.  But I wanted to get this up so we can all share.

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Nov 272016
 

Wendy is about to leave.  She rubbed and scrubbed a very stinky TomCat, did some light housework, and cooked me a rotini casserole.  We had eggs over easy and O’Brien potatoes for brunch.  She rubbed my shoulder with Icy Hot.  I’m listening to the Chargers v. Texans meditation, and my Broncos meditate with the Chiefs this evening.  May the holy Ellipsoid Orb shine its blessed light on your team, unless they live under an arch.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:01 (average 4:52).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: President-elect Donald “I’m supported by fear and hatred and ignorance” Trump has a fantastic new tax plan. Well, it’s not “new.” It’s basically the same shitty Republican tax plan that destroys the poor and working classes every time it gets enacted. Trump says the largest tax reductions are for the middle class. He also has a bridge in New York to sell you if you believe that. If you are wealthy, guess what? You will get to pretend that you are going to “create jobs” with your new found wealth—on top of the wealth you already have. If you are in the middle class? Sorry, Charlie!

Most married couples with three or more children would also pay higher taxes, an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center found. And while middle-class families as a whole would receive tax cuts of about 2 percent, they’d be dwarfed by the windfalls averaging 13.5 percent for America’s richest 1 percent.

How about single-parent households that make decent money?

“If you’re a low- or moderate-income single parent, you’re going to get hurt,” said Bob Williams, a fellow at the Tax Policy Center.

[…]

But Lily Batchelder, a visiting fellow at the Tax Policy Center and former deputy director of President Barack Obama’s National Economic Council, estimates that roughly 7.9 million families with children would pay higher taxes under his proposals. About 5.8 million are led by single parents. An additional 2.1 million are married couples.

This has always been Republican tax policy. It’s raise YOUR taxes to give massive tax cuts to billionaires, aka No Billionaire Left Behind.

From NY Times: Nearly three weeks after Election Day, Hillary Clinton’s campaign said on Saturday that it would participate in a recount process in Wisconsin incited by a third-party candidate and would join any potential recounts in two other closely contested states, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

It’s about time!!

From YouTube (TYT Channel): It’s Time to Stand with Standing Rock

 

Amen!!

Cartoon:

1127Cartoon

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Sep 092016
 

Last night I attended the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb from the comfort of my bed.  I was pretty pleased with Trevor Siemian’s performance.  He made lots of mistakes, but you have to expect that with a virtual rookie at QB.  I was so tired that I fell asleep late in the scoreless third quarter with the Broncos behind 7 – 17.  I woke up a couple hours later to a very pleasant surprise.  Yesterday my nerve pain was so severe that I could only get up on George a few seconds at a time.  I had to cancel today’s physical tyranny because of it, and was up for most of last night.  I had discontinues Gabapentin last month, due to side -effects.  Once it was out of my system, I had a doctor’s appointment to choose a new med for nerve pain a week ago, but she had to reschedule it until next Friday.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:26 (average 5:17).  To do it, click here. How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:

0908Broncos21-Panthers20

Woooo Hoooo Ellipsoid Orb!!!

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Responding to a question about his qualifications to be Commander-in-Chief, Donald Trump told NBC’s Matt Lauer on Wednesday night, “At my rallies, I have ordered many, many people to attack other people.”

“In the heat of the moment, you have to decide who is going to hit which person, when, and how hard,” Trump said. “I have ordered more people to attack other people than most of our generals have.”

He said that the outcome of the fights at his rallies showed that he has the judgment necessary to be Commander-in-Chief. “You always want to make the bigger guy hit the littler guy,” he said. “That’s how you win.”

Dang Andy! If Rump Dump Trump had possessed the nuclear football at his rallies, the US would be a nuclear wasteland.

From Daily Kos: Wtf? The truth comes seeping out on CNN and don’t kid yourself, what Dana Bash is saying here is exactly how other media outlets are treating Clinton.

Hillary is being held to a higher standard and Trump, with all his hate and scandals is being given a pass because he is not quite the polished politician.

This is breathtaking and piss poor journalism.

Click through for video.  It’s the media’s job to inform the public of what is, not to substitute their own value judgments about expectations for individual candidates.  It seems virtually all broadcast media have become the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise, with the exception of the few honest journalists, like Rachel, left at MSNBC.

From NY Times: Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont did well in the Pacific Northwest during the presidential primary season with his lectern-pounding message about fairness, need and corporate greed. A ballot measure here this fall that would sharply raise corporate taxes is now testing just how deeply Mr. Sanders’s message about economic inequality has sunk in.

“Our corporations have to be held accountable!” shouted Kayse Jama, the executive director of a group called Unite Oregon, as he rallied several hundred supporters of the proposal, known as Measure 97, on a recent evening in a local shopping mall. He even sounded a bit like Mr. Sanders, his voice hoarse with passion.

If approved by the voters here in November, Measure 97 would create the biggest tide of new tax revenue in any state in the nation this year as a percentage of the budget, economists said — and one of the biggest anywhere in recent history. Oregon’s general fund would grow by almost a third, or about $3 billion a year, through a 2.5 percent tax on corporate gross receipts. The initiative language says the money would augment state spending on education, health care and senior services, but does not bind the Legislature to a specific plan.

I fully support Oregon Measure 97, because the people of Oregon need the funds, it only effects corporations with over $20 million in annual sales, and Oregon has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the nation. Needless to say, Republicans are siding with greed over need. The Gray Lady covered this unusually well. I strongly recommend clicking through for more info about it.

Cartoon:

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Trump Embraces Tinkle Down

 Posted by at 12:33 pm  Politics
Aug 092016
 

When it comes to populism from Rump Dump Trump, it includes hatred of all the people that Republican Supply-side Jesus (the polar opposite of the real Jesus) wants them to hate, especially Muslims and undocumented immigrants (except his wife).  However, when it comes to his economic plan, he embraces the Tinkle Down policies of Paul Lyin’ Ryan.

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From the beginning of Donald Trump’s campaign, there has been a nagging inconsistency in his approach to economic issues. On trade and immigration, he has broken with Republican dogma, arguing that the influx from abroad of cheap goods and low-wage workers has undermined the job prospects and living standards of ordinary Americans. [his own products excluded] On tax policy, however, Trump has stuck to the standard G.O.P. script, promising a slew of tax cuts skewed toward businesses and the rich. To be sure, until Monday, Trump hadn’t talked much about his tax plan, but the broad outlines of it were there on his Web site, serving as a reminder of the limits of his populism.

Trump rolled out his original tax plan last September, after his Republican-primary opponents accused him of lacking policy specifics. I thought at the time that adopting trickle-down economics represented a strategic error for a candidate who was promoting himself as a new type of Republican. Instead of saying he’d slash business taxes and bring the top rate of income tax down to twenty-five per cent, Trump could have promised tax cuts and tax credits targeted specifically at middle-class Americans, citing the fact that wealthy Americans were doing fine and didn’t need another handout. For instance, he could have suggested raising the upper-income cut-off on Social Security contributions and using the cash this generated to pay for higher benefits for everybody. Or he could have eschewed tax cuts aimed at the wealthy in favor of expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, which boosts the take-home pay of low-income working families.

It’s true that without any offsetting cuts in spending, such a tax plan would have raised the hackles of deficit hawks—but the plan he did introduce raised those hackles anyway. A plan aimed at the middle class, however, could have complemented Trump’s populist line on immigration and trade, wrong-footed the Democrats, and allowed him to claim he had a three-pronged approach to raising wages and living standards. In short, it would have made him a much more formidable candidate.

The problem was that moving in that direction would have signalled [sic] that Trump was a genuine populist insurrectionary, rather than a cosseted billionaire who plays one on television… [emphasis added]

From <The New Yorker>

Click through for more of this excellent analysis.

Lawrence O’Donnell provided some analysis of his own, and it’s superb.

Now, if Trump is elected, there will be no money for infrastructure, and he and his Republican Rectumite cronies will have to raise vast sums to pay for his huge increase in welfare for the 0.1%.  They will take it from YOU.  The poorer you are, the more they will take.

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Everyday Erinyes

 Posted by at 10:04 am  Politics
Jul 092016
 

I have two items today which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them. As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction."

Frankly, I did not expect to be sharing this story of grudgingness today.  I try to find outrages that go under the radar, as it were, and, although this is a followup to an earlier story you may remember, I still expected it to be picked up by other sites and get a lot of publicity.  I was wrong.  I find that sad.

"Please accept our condolences on your loss,” explained a letter from the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority of New Jersey. “After careful consideration of the information you provided, the authority has determined that your request does not meet the threshold for loan forgiveness. Monthly bill statements will continue to be sent to you.”

The recipient of this letter received no direct benefit from the loan in question, and indeed, no indirect benefit, such as being related to someone who has increased earning power, which sometimes comes to those who graduate from college.  The student, the borrower, was her son.  And he was murdered last year.

The loans were not Federal loans.  The Federal Government has provisions to give some relief to borrowers who experience life-changing circumstances – such as losing a job.  Wken non-Hodgkins lymphoma survivor Chris Gonzales was laid off by Goldman Sachs, the Federal Government suspended his federal student loan payments.  However, he had also received some loan funds from New Jersey – which sued him and confiscated his state tax refund.

Marcia DeOliveira-Longinetti, the bereaved mother who received the letter quoted above, has been forced to make 18 monthly payments of $180 to the state.  Only 92 to go.

Not every state administers its own student loan program (states that do not do administer their states' share in the Federal loan programs.)  Two that do are New Jersey and Massachusetts.  But, in Massachusetts, there is automatic debt forgiveness if the borrower dies or becomes disabled.  New Jersey, on the other hand, goes aggressively after loan repayment regardless of the circumstances.  And, since federal law does provide some possibility of relief, New Jersey pretty much stopped giving federal loans some years ago, substituting their own loans instead.

But New Jersey will sell students taking out loans life insurance!  My, what a big heart!  Knock yourself out, Megaera.

There is another story, this one of vengeful destruction, which needs to be told.  THere is a church in Kansas where a volunteer in 2014 attempted to rape and electronically solicit two girls under fourteen who attended the church.  Last year he pleaded guilty to these charges.

The volunteer, who was seventeen, at the time of the crime, had a string of past sexual conduct and crimes behind him, but was still allowed to be around children without supervision.  On June 9 of this year, the girls and their families filed a lawsuit against the church, alleging that the church violated its own protocols, thereby allowing the assaults to occur.

Naturally, the church has filed a petition asking the court to require the victims and their parents to identify themselves publicly before the case can proceed.

Wait a minute, you are probably saying to yourself.  What is this church?  Westboro Baptist?  That's in Kansas, right?  Well, no, it isn't Westboro Baptist, though it is a Southern Baptist church.  It's just creepily similar.  Its name is Westside Family Church.

David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, has been a victim advocate for 28 years, and has never seen a petition like this before in a case involving children, and only occasionally when the victim(s) are adult.  And children these victims still are.  If they were under fourteen in 2014, they cannot now be older than sixteen.

Clohessy called the move "a shameful move by officials who profess to be 'Christians.'"  I concur.  Tisiphone, you know what to do.

(Note: the photo of mother and son shows the mother and son in the story.  The photo of the girl is a stock photo from Shutterstock, which AlterNet picked to illustrate the narrative.)

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross-posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/3997742

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