Archive for revenue

Tax Reform - DBA: Dead Before Arrival


Tax Return

We're heading into March, that month where everyone starts to realize they need to do that annual chore that we all hate. No, not spring cleaning. It's the annual financial paper round up, commonly referred to as tax prep. As with spring cleaning, we tend to put it off, find and make excuses to postpone the inevitable. It's got to get done and a deadline approaches.

Part of the ritual is to look for deductions, anything we can even remotely justify as a write-off no matter how tenuous the link may be to our reality. Anything, and I mean anything to lower our reported income to limit the damage inflicted upon us by the IRS. Hey, we have to pay the piper, but that doesn't mean it isn't painful.

Trying to make things easier and even more fair is the House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.). Yesterday the Republican-led committee released the framework of a complete overhaul of our tax laws to make this process easier. When the dust settled, we got 1000 pages of reform.

Even before this one grand of pages were released, the GOP party came out against it. They obviously hadn't read it because it hasn't been published but they knew they were against it. And the Democrats took a similar stand because "rumors" were that it would touch the third rail, figuratively speaking. It would cap the write-off for mortgage payment interest paid. That's generally the single largest write-off for individuals.

So the bill went from let's look-and-see to DOA. Actually DBA - dead before arrival.

I've got an alternative. Something so easy it's sure to be defeated, but let me offer it anyway. It's the old flat tax plan. A ten percent tax on all earnings. It can even be taken right out of your paycheck. And wait until you see your weekly take-home net received go up. You'll be smiling. Everyone pays the same percent as everyone else, rich and poor.

Oh, and did I add, thanks to Citizen's United where personhood has been blessed upon corporations, they too lose all of their "business related" write-offs. If they're people too, then they get no favored treatment. A straight 10% of revenues received are taxed. If some say that's unfair, a millionaire would be paying more than a pauper, it's all in the way you look at it. Right now a millionaire gets much more favored treatment - they get more write-offs. So that argument falls flat. This doesn't hurt incentive as the more you make, the more you net. And no more phony-baloney write-offs for corporate jets, holiday outings that are really vacations and no incentive to pay executives huge bonuses to lower the tax burdens for companies. They no longer get special treatment. They're people like us. And places like Verizon and GE who paid no taxes would be contributing 10% off the top.

Now wouldn't that increase our tax coffers! You want roads, bridges, modernized energy grids and more military spending. We'll have the funds to to do that and more. And think of all the trees we're saving that we use to make paper for the tax returns. Even our ecological systems will be improved by a simple one page form.

The people whom this hurts most are the accountants and IRS employees. We won't need as many. My answer to that is let them re-train. Isn't that what the GOP has been telling all of those out of work employees whose jobs the Republicans shipped overseas? Retrain the CPAs. Teach them  new skills. And if that's good for the "factory or lower skilled workers" today, why not the accountants and tax men for tomorrow?

Look, collecting tax revenue doesn't have to be hard or complicated. And think of all the cheats and phony write-offs that we won't be shouldering.  We'll actually be getting more revenue and might even be able to lower the tax rate from 10% to something even smaller.

Confession: This idea isn't just mine. It's been around for years. But to make my point more valid, even the most conservative of right wing conservative causes agrees: The Heritage Foundation.

The current tax system discourages saving. It discourages investment. It discourages entrepreneurship. It causes decision makers to misallocate the nation’s resources, limiting productivity gains, wage gains, and the nation’s overall level of international competitiveness. And, it is far, far too complicated. The New Flat Tax is the remedy. It replaces every major tax collected by the federal government. For non-seniors, it is as easy as one, two, three—one rate, two credits, three deductions. For seniors on Medicare, one of the two credits—for health insurance—is replaced by an extra deduction. The New Flat Tax is simple, revenue-neutral, and will allow America to achieve its full economic potential.


Bernie Sanders: You can't fix the economy simply by shredding the safety net


GOP it's not about you

What oh what would we Progressives do without Bernie Sanders? In today's Los Angeles Times, he wrote an op-ed laying out in very clear detail how to make wise choices about how to fix the economy.

Sanders, thankfully, is a member of a budget panel composed of Democratic, Republican and independent Senate and House members doing what they can, supposedly, to avoid another GOP government shutdown.

Senator Sanders explains how to move forward (as opposed to the same old backward, destructive GOP ideas), and how we managed to go from healthy surpluses to (unnecessary) deficits.

He reminds us that by the end of President Clinton's presidency, we had a a $236-billion surplus, and that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted a 10-year budget surplus of $5.6 trillion, meaning we could have erased the national debt by 2011.

Too bad Republicans screwed that up.

And of course, they're blaming President Obama for the horrible outcomes of their horrible policies and horrible obstruction. Here's how it really went down:

  • GW Bush's Afghanistan and Iraq wars were not paid for.
  • Those wars cost us up to $6 trillion.
  • Those wars were put on our national credit card.
  • Bush signed Congress's costly prescription drug bill.
  • That costly prescription drug program was not paid for either.
  • Bush and Congress gave big fat tax breaks to the wealthy and big corporations.
  • As a result, revenue went down.
  • The 2008 recession, caused by the deregulation of Wall Street, also caused revenue to drop.
  • Big fat surpluses turned into big fat deficits.

tadaa3Now gather 'round kiddies, because it's Hypocrisy Time!


Interestingly, today's "deficit hawks" in Congress — Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and other conservative Republicans — voted for those measures that drove up deficits. Now that they're worried about deficits again, they want to dismantle virtually every social program designed to protect working families, the elderly, children, the sick and the poor.

In other words, it's OK to spend trillions on a war we should never have waged in Iraq and to provide huge tax breaks for billionaires and multinational corporations.


Sanders goes on to say that austerity doesn't work, because it clearly hurts those who are already suffering.

Instead of talking about cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, we must end the absurdity of corporations not paying a nickel in federal income taxes. [...]

At a time when we now spend almost as much as the rest of the world combined on defense, we can make judicious cuts in our armed forces without compromising our military capability.

He also thinks it would be a swell idea if Congress members started, you know, listening to the American people, especially because so many polls show that we don't want cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

In fact, according to a recent National Journal poll, 81% do not want to cut Medicare at all, 76% do not want to cut Social Security at all, and 60% do not want to cut Medicaid at all. Other polls make it clear that Americans believe that the wealthiest among us and large corporations must pay their fair share in taxes.

So, Republicans (and even some Dems), how about paying more attention to us, the voters, instead of trying to grab it all for yourselves? It's not about you. It's about all of us. It's about We the People.


Hoyer: "You cannot... get our country on a fiscally sustainable path without additional revenues." Well, if he insists...

Via FreakOutNation

Via FreakOutNation

Revenues are swell-- mandatory, in fact-- but Steny Hoyer also said that President Obama and the Dems are ready to accept significant spending cuts, or as The Hill called them, reductions. Define "significant" por favor. "Significant" cuts to Medicare? Social Security? Those reductions?

Meantime, Republicans are pleased as punch with themselves and their threats to shut down the government. Crash that economy! Go-o-o GOP! Rah! America first! Aren't they just totes adorbs?


Via The Hill:

Rejecting GOP ultimatums, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday that new revenues must accompany spending cuts as Congress prepares to jump headfirst into a series of high-stakes budget debates. [...]

Hoyer, the Democratic whip, said it's "categorically not true" that the last deal takes new revenues off the table in the coming talks.

"I certainly reject it out of hand," Hoyer said during his weekly Capitol press briefing. "You cannot get to where we need to get — to get our country on a fiscally sustainable path — without additional revenues."

It starts to get comical now, because Eric Cantor opened his big mouth and this WTF Moment fell out:

"It’s time for President Obama to stop putting our credit rating at risk and acknowledge we need a credible deficit reduction plan attached to any increase in the debt limit."


That would be the spending that Congress approved, that Congress put on the Giant U.S. Visa card, the bills they racked up and voted for, the same ones Republicans are now refusing to pay now that they're coming due.

They are the ones who are willing to hold everyone in the country hostage and put our reputation and the world economy at risk in order to get their ridiculous, disastrous spending cuts. It's all explained in this post: You are about to enter another dimension, a dangerous land of debt ceiling negotiation. Next stop, the Deadbeat Zone!

All the projection in the universe won't convince America that it is the president who is playing with lives when it is those on the right who have publicly and proudly said they are using the debt ceiling as leverage, as ransom. Stick that in your debt deal and smoke it, Cantor.

seriously, stfu


Cartoons of the Day- The Looming Fiscal "Cliff"