Top Of My Head

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Tag: tax cuts (page 2 of 2)

Cantor’s Running

Eric Cantor has walked away from the Debt Ceiling talks. He doesn’t want to be in a position to actually admit that raising taxes must become a reality if we’re serious about paying off the National Debt.

Unfortunately for Cantor and the other Republicans, their grass roots base and their big business base are totally against tax raises. However; we can pay money we don’t have. Rehauling medicare and cutting social security and education outlays are NOT going to make us debt free.

Welcome to the real world.

Just like I can’t cut my hours and still pay my car loan, the goverment cannot cut taxes and pay off the debt. Our federal taxes are the lowest they’ve been in fifty years. Our regulations on businesses are the smallest they’ve been in forty years and, still our national debt grows and our jobless jumped 9,000 higher last month.

Cutting taxes – which is the big plan of the Republicans – isn’t going to build a strong economy so far.

Cantor needs to come back to the table and face the music.

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Let’s talk about spending

I’m going to make this quick. The comments I’ve seen on facebook and here regarding my tax cuts blog basically say the samething. We need to cut spending. I agree. We do need to cut spending. I haven’t looked at all of the spending cuts in Paul Ryan’s plan. Although, changing medicare for those under 55 to a subsidized insurance plan will most likely make the insurance companies rich. If we cut spending to the Health care plan and we don’t make sure these companies offer some federally mandated minimums, I think Ryan’s plan will save the government money by shifting costs to the parts of society that can ill afford them.

I found figures that in 2008 we spent $12 billion per month in Iraq and, in 2006, we spent $6 billion per month in Afghanistan. If those figures hold for 2011, that’s a grand total of $216 billion we’re spending somewhere else. Perhaps we could put all of this “tax cutting” talk aside and bring our troops home.

Granted, the national debt grows by 4.07 billion per day, so at the end of the year, we’re at – roughly – $1.4 trillion dollars. $216 billion isn’t going to make that large of a dent, but it would be a start. There’s an old joke I’ve heard: a million here, a million there and pretty soon you’re talking real money.

Anyway…

Does it really make sense to borrow money to fight two wars? I’d, also, like the government to spend a million or two and investigate just where all that money is going. But, that’s taking us in the wrong direction.

Back to the tax cuts: we can’t afford them. We can’t make a law that will add to the burden. You can’t cut your income and expect to pay off debt. It just won’t happen. Quite frankly, at our current tax levels, we’re really hurting. We should make the Bush tax cuts, which were extended by Obama, go away. The little raise won’t hurt any of us.

That said, going back to pre-Bush levels shouldn’t mean new spending, that money should go to paying off the debt and balancing the budget. Republicans love to toot their own horn and erroneously claim that they’re for the working people, the middle class. They aren’t. All of these tax cuts throughout the years have done more harm than good for this country. Reagan’s tax cuts went too far and the tax cut Republicans that have followed him don’t understand that. There are government programs that people actually don’t want touched. Truth is, if you want to keep your Social Security and your medicare, you’re going to have to pay a little more in taxes. It’s just that simple. If you don’t want to keep these programs, then we can cut taxes.

If you want a smaller government, then the only thing we should have the government pay for is defense. No federal money for roads, health care, education, farm subsidies, bailouts, green energy research, bank bailouts, unemployment, NPR, etc. The list goes on and on. If you like these things, then we have to be willing to pay for them. If we, as a nation, decide that we’re not going to pay for them, then we can cut them all, put thousands of Americans out of work and everyone of us will scramble to pay for college without government loans and grants. We will have to find a way to put enough money aside to pay for our own retirement. When we lose a job, well, you better have 8 months of savings set aside because there will be no help coming. And, you can kiss public schools goodbye because the feds give 70% of the support to our local school systems.

But, you can have a hefty tax cut for the rich people who don’t have to worry about any one of those things. They have the cash to do it all. They earned that cash on our backs. It’s our labor that makes them that money.

It’s just something to thing about this morning.

Say No to Tax Cuts

Everyone, but Warren Buffet, thinks that they pay too much in taxes. It just isn’t true. And, if we cut taxes, we won’t be able to pay off our National debt.

Let’s look at some things.

I have a credit card with a very modest balance. If tomorrow I quit my job and took one that paid 10% less, what are they chances the credit card will be paid off anytime soon?

That’s exactly what Paul Ryan and the Republicans are trying to do with the budget plan. They want to lower revenue at a time when the government needs to pay its credit card bill.

Now, I saw someone post a comment on another website about how Social Security doesn’t affect the National Debt.

You would think that we pay in 6% and our employer pays in 6% and the money sits there until we retire. Well, that’s not what has been happening. Like a bank loaning out your savings account, the government has been using Social Security. Unlike a bank, you’re not earning any interest.

The reason Social Security hurts the National Debt is because now the government has to pay the money back. If they don’t, there’s a lot of people who will get hurt. Any budget plan should include a provision that simply states hands off Social Security funds. Further, we should all have to pay on our entire incomes – all of it. The income caps should be removed.

Well, kids, that’s all the time I have for today. I need to return to work.

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Reducing Debt

The GOP plan – written by my Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan – will NOT reduce our deficit until 2040. That’s 29 years from now. I understand that it took more than 29 years for us to get into this debt ridden mess, but I think we can do better than taking 29 years to get out of it. If the Republicans are truly concerned about the National Debt and the deficit, let’s see them remove the tax cuts for the rich.

The businesses bailed out by TARP are run by… Anyone? No? Okay, the wealthy, the rich. The people who led our companies into this mess. And, what will we do as a nation? Cut their taxes by 10%. And, while we do so, we will raise taxes on the middle class – all in the name of “fairness” and deficit reduction.

Well, it’s crap.

I oppose any budget plan that includes a tax cut – especially those for corporations and the wealthy. Tax cuts are just the government reducing the amount of money it takes in. If we want programs to be funded, such as education or medicare, then we have to pay taxes to keep them funded. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t cut spending, we need to cut spending. I’m saying that we shouldn’t reduce taxes for the well-off at the price of the less well off.

I’m not liking the idea that – if you’re single and making $50,000 per year – you should pay 25% of your salary in federal income taxes, just like a single person who is making $100,000. Do you really think someone making $50,000 per year should be paying the same percentage as someone making double that?

I’m, also, not liking the idea of removing deductions. Hey, I realize that my mortgage deduction really equates the government subsidizing my home, but the government, also, subsidizes your kids, so we’re even. That mortgage deduction is the difference between me eating out a few times a month and eating at home. When I eat out, I keep my local restaurants in business. (Yes, when I eat at home, I keep grocery stores in business, but I’ll always have to buy food at a grocery store.)

According to the plan, the standard deduction will be $12,500 for singles and $25,000 for those people whose relationships are determined to be okay for tax deductions by the government: in other words, straight, married couples. That should keep a lot of people out of the 25% tax range – not for me and not for a lot of my friends. I had more than that amount in deductions, plus there will be no more pre-tax health care deductions, which will hurt the middle class even more.

This plan is NOT good for middle class America. If Paul Ryan and the GOP are truly serious about debt reduction, this isn’t the way to do it.

Gay Tax InEquality

I know that I harp on this subject a lot.  The tax inequality between a gay couple and a straight married couple is unfair.  By not allowing gays to get married, you make two people pay more in taxes than a straight married couple.  How can that possibly be fair?  How can people fight against gay marriage when faced with the facts that this means an inequality in taxes?  I truly believe those people who keep insisting on lower taxes and smaller government, yet keep fighting against gay marriage are – quite possibly – the world’s biggest hypocrites.

So, last week, I went and saw my parents and I tried to explain the tax inequality to my mother – who doesn’t get it.  I’m writing this article for her.  Maybe, she’ll get it.  You can do the math, just like I did, by going to the IRS website and filling out the numbers.  It works out the same every time – the gay couple pays more.

Gay Couple Salary 401k Federal Tax
Person #1 $60,000.00 $3,000.00 $7,700.00
Person #2 $40,000.00 $2,000.00 $3,483.00
Total $100,000.00 $5,000.00 $11,183.00
Straight Couple Salary 401k Federal Tax
Person #1 $60,000.00 $3,000.00
Person #2 $40,000.00 $2,000.00 Difference
Total $100,000.00 $5,000.00 $10,644.00 $539.00

That probably doesn’t sound like a lot, but over the course of a lifetime together, that’s quite a bit of money.  Now, if the spouses are evenly split with their salary, the difference works out to the gay couple paying $6.00 more than the straight couple.  Still, not a lot of money, but the amount isn’t really the point – it could just be a penny more – the fact that gay people pay more in taxes is unfair.  Further, I don’t know about your friends, but I don’t know too many couples who are completely and equally matched in salary.  I would say that roughly 90% of the couples I know – when both members work – one spouse consistently out earns the other spouse.  It is certainly true in my household.  I earn almost twice as much as Cheryl does.

One other item regarding taxes:  when a straight couple gets married, each spouse is able to place the other on their employer provided healthcare.  They do not pay any extra on this benefit.  Unmarried, domestic partners have to pay income taxes on the portion of the premium paid for by their employer.  Does that sound fair or even intelligent?  43 million Americans are without healthcare and we make it harder for domestic partners to add their other halves to employer sponsored healthcare.  Does that make sense?  What is wrong with people?

American Workers – Unite!

There was a time in America where you graduated from high school, started a job at a local business, worked there for thirty years and retired – with a full pension and, in some cases, medical benefits.  That was back when American Corporations still cared about their employees.  It was back before the Supreme Court stated that Corporations are people and should have the same rights.  It was back when unions were strong in this nation.  It was back when “the average CEO of a major corporation made 42 times the average hourly worker’s pay”. (Quote link)

Sadly, those days are gone.

Those of us who are not among the wealthy have been handed a bunch of malarkey from our leaders – the politicians, the management at many companies and even our talk show hosts.  We’ve been told that what’s bad for business is bad for jobs.  We’ve been told that moving factories to Mexico and importing goods from China is good for American companies and, therefore, good for those of us who work for a living.  We’ve been told that tax cuts for the rich and lowering the corporate tax rate will help bring jobs back to our neighborhoods.   We’ve been told that regulating the financial market is bad and deregulation is good.

All of this has been one great big lie.  Case in point: tax cuts.  Corporations are paying lower taxes than they have in half a century and, yet, they didn’t keep people on the payrolls.  Wonder why?  Another case is the financial market breakdown.  We’ve spent the last 30 years (and especially the last eighteen years) dismantling the regulations enacted during the depression that were designed to prevent the exact kind of meltdown our financial market suffered in 2008.  And, we’ve been told it was a good thing.

Now, Mitt Romney, in an opinion piece in USA Today, claims that people on unemployment don’t really want to work.  Does this man have a clue?  Does he get it?  He says (and I’m quoting because unlike Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, I don’t make shit up!), “The indisputable fact is that unemployment benefits, despite a web of regulations, actually serve to discourage some individuals from taking jobs, especially when the benefits extend across years.”

I’ve been on unemployment three times in my life – never for more than six months – it was some of the worst times.  The idea that an American worker prefers unemployment is absurd.  My salary on unemployment would drop by 72%.  I can’t make my bills on that.  Now, I’m very fortunate – I am employed and in the last nine years, I have been unemployed for a grand total of one week – and I was paid by my ex-employer for that week and the one after it.  I have a friend who has been unemployed for a year and a half.  I can tell you that she’d rather be working.  In fact, I do not know one unemployed person who has said, “Gee, I love my unemployment insurance!  I guess I won’t look for a job!”

Romney is trying to convince the American Public that the unemployed are lazy and don’t want to work.  Where have we heard that before?  (Hint: Rush Limbaugh)

He goes on to say this (and the emphasis is mine):

“The system is also not designed for a flexible economy like ours in which some employees move from job to job for short periods, and are therefore ineligible for unemployment compensation when they are faced with a protracted spell without work.

To remedy such problems we need a very different model, perhaps establishing individual unemployment savings accounts over which employees would exercise direct control when they lose their jobs, or putting in place financial incentives for employers to hire and train the long-term unemployed.”

How many people in our economy really “move from job to job for short periods”?  I’m betting not many.  Even contractors work for just one company and, apparently Mitt has never been on unemployment, it is tracked for all of your employment.  Every state is different, but most states ask about your work history for the previous year and then you’re covered.  I believe he’s way off base.

But, his idea of unemployment savings accounts?  What is his problem?  So, now we’re responsible for our own retirement (no company pensions) and we’re going to have to come up with money to put aside in case our employer lays us off?  Just where is the average American worker supposed to get the money?  American Families are hard pressed for cash now, imagine them trying to save for college, health care, retirement AND unemployment.

As far as put in place incentives for employers, please – big eye roll – they all ready have plenty of incentives.  But, I do have a plan – triple their taxes and give them a tax break for every new hirer.  Take away their profits in taxes unless they hire more people.  Make companies that earned a profit, but laid off employees pay 85% of the profit in taxes unless they hire back 50% of the laid off employees.  How’s that for an incentive?  Start putting high tariffs on products made overseas and imported here – include American companies in the mix, so they have an incentive to build plants here.

American companies have had it easy for the last thirty years and take a good look at where it’s gotten us.  It’s time for the American Workers to take back the wheel and drive this bus!

Why I’m voting Democrat in November

We had eight years of Republican plans, tax cuts, wars and where did it get this country?

Before Bush II, 90% of the nation’s wealth was held by 10% of Americans.  After Bush II, 90% of the nation’s wealth is held by 1% of Americans.

We are in the midst of two wars, a financial meltdown and unemployment that hasn’t been this high since 1982 – under Ronald Reagan.

And, how do the Republicans want to get us out of this mess?

They want to drive down the same potholed road of tax cuts and deregulation.  We’ve driven down this road before and it is why, in the word’s of our President, we’re in a ditch.

Thanks to the Tea Party’s misguided movement, the Republicans have decided to come to their senses and cut the deficit.  They are claiming lower taxes will make the world go round and it is simply not true.

Their idea of lower taxes is to make the upper 1% pay less than the lower 50%.

Their idea of change is business as usual.

Their idea of health care is to hand you a band aid while you bleed to death.

There is no way I’m going to vote Republican come November.  We can’t hand them back the keys to the kingdom.  There is too much at stake to let the party of no back in control.

Vote Democrat in November 2010.

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