Top Of My Head

Thoughts on everything from Politics to Video Games

Category: Taxes (page 2 of 3)

Paul Ryan’s Budget Cuts

$58 billion dollars.  That’s it.  For the remaining 7 months of the year, the grand total of his cuts amounts to $58 billion dollars.  All of it is coming from Non-Security Discretionary spending.  We’re going back to the spending of 2008.  Woo Hoo!  Gonna be good for the country.

Except, it’s not.

You see the Republicans got their tax cut extension for the one group in America who can afford it:  the rich.  Do you have any idea how much money that is?  No?  Well, let me tell you.  Giving a tax cut to the people who 1) caused the economic mess and 2) haven’t been hiring and 3) treat their employees like chattel in a bad economy, because – well, where the heck are you going to go?  has cost the country’s coffers $139 billion.

So, we gave a tax cut to the rich and powerful, but those who need the assistance will end up losing. Does that make sense?

I understand we have to cut our budget, but when the economy is just starting to improve – now is not the time to do so. The rich can afford to pay their taxes. If you’ve ever read Paul Ryan’s Roadmap for America, you’ll see that he considers a single person earning $50,000 per year rich enough to pay 25% of their hard-earned salary to the Federal Government. If you’re married, you get to earn $100,000. But, people who earn $379,000, can’t afford 39%? Excuse me?

Considering, with the dismantling of medicare and the underfunding of Social Security, that I won’t ever take Federal money, I find it really disgusting that Ryan is going after the single middle class so hard. The Republicans don’t or won’t support gay marriage, but they sure love to take our money at tax time, don’t they?

Just my little rant for the day…

More about Taxes

I’ve been planning an article on how tax cuts for the wealthy are not good for America.  If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I am against any budget plan that  includes an extension of the Bush tax cuts or lowers the tax rate.  But, enough about me.

I was checking out The Bilerico Project this morning, as I do, and I came across an article by Terrance Heath called the Thirteen Things We Know About Taxes.  I think you should head over there and check it out.  It is well written, well done and I couldn’t have said it better myself.

 

Tax Cuts Won’t Work

Let me start by saying that I like both Paul Ryan and President Obama.  I’m sure that both men are sincere in their beliefs that their budget plans are good for America.  I believe that Paul Ryan is being misled by the old thinking that raising the upper classes automatically raises the bottom classes.  Thirty years after Reagan’s trickle down theory began, we know this isn’t true.  And, yes, I can state many numbers and statistics to prove it.  President Obama doesn’t want to hurt the lower classes.  He knows that they have been hit the most by this recession.  He knows that the slow recovery is not helping.  He wants to put more money in their pocket.

Both men are wrong.

You cannot pay off debt by lowering your income.  It just doesn’t work.  You can cut costs, but if you don’t have the money to pay the bills, you’re just going to get into a deeper hole.

Ryan’s budget plan of substidizing insurance to cover medicare may save the government money, but it is only going to hurt the people who can ill afford that hurt.

Obama’s budget plan that makes cuts across the board is more reasonable.

But, if both plans insist on tax cuts, neither plan will work.

Even David Stockman, Ronald Reagan’s Budget Director, has agreed.  President Obama invoked Stockman’s name in his speech.  Stockman spoke with NPR’s Scott Simon (hear complete interview here) and stated the following:  “The problem with the Ryan plan is it is trying to balance the budget on the back of the poor and you can’t do that.  The President’s talking about reducing the deficit entirely on the top 2% of the population and that won’t work neither.  And, neither side is being honest with the middle class and that is that we’re going to have to have tax increases to pay for this huge amount of government we seem to want…”

You should really listen to the whole interview.  David Stockman is the man who said tax cuts without spending cuts would result in the debt we now have.  But, thirty years ago, nobody was listening.

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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Tax Cuts & Unemployment

Paul Ryan and the Republican Party want you to believe that a huge tax cut for the rich and corporations (that are run by the rich and for the rich) will lead to low unemployment.

I’m here to tell you that it just isn’t true.

Paul Ryan’s plan makes an assumption that by cutting the upper tier from 35% to 25% will result in an unemployment rate of 2.8%. Maybe, India and China will have that low of unemployment, but not here.

Despite what CBS’s show, “Undercover Boss”, will lead you to believe – rich people do not give a rat’s ass about the rest of us. They will take their tax cuts earned on the working man’s back and run. Oh, sure there are exceptions to this, but they’re few and far between. Don’t believe for one moment that allowing the rich to keep more money in their pockets will result in huge hirings.

IT JUST DOESN’T HAPPEN.

Do you know when our lowest unemployment in the last twenty years was?

It wasn’t after the last tax cuts for the rich went into effect – 2003. Those were supposed to help and, yet, unemployment remained in the 6% range.

Our lowest unemployment in twenty years was Oct. 2006 – 3.6% (not adjusted for seasonal). This was back when taxes were higher.

The Bush tax cuts never made the unemployment rate even get close to that.

And, now, the Republicans are touting a change to the tax code, taking away deductions for us middle class people – which essentially is a tax raise for us – to give a huge 10% tax cut to the all ready wealthy. And, they’re lying to us, saying this will create jobs.

Contact your representative and let them know that tax cuts for the weathy are bad for the rest of us.

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Paul Ryan & Republican Tax Cuts

Tax cuts sound like a good thing, don’t they? More money in your pocket. Except Paul Ryan and the Republican Party have finally shown their hand. They don’t plan on cutting taxes for me or for you. They’re sticking to their bread and butter: rich people and corporations.

They’re going to remove a great many of our cherished deductions. And, somehow, all of this will be good for America.

No, no it won’t.

The tax plan revealed today is nothing more than Ryan’s own Roadmap for America. In there, Ryan outlined a plan to remove the mortgage deduction. How much money did you think it’ll cost you in taxes without that deduction?

I can tell you what it will cost me… With my mortgage deduction, I paid $8,577 in federal income taxes last year. Without the deduction, I will have to pay $9,404. I did the math.

Now, I remember Ryan’s Roadmap plan, another item he had in there was single people would be taxed @ 25% if they made more than $50,000 per year.

Guess where I’m going to fall?

If that goes through, I’ll be paying $17, 851 in federal income taxes.

Guess what plan I’m against?

All of us single people should start rising up and demanding better goverment. I haven’t received enough goverment support to warrant paying 25% of my money in fed taxes. I’m not a rich fatcat.

Those of us who make the factories run, who write the reports, mop the floors, sell the cars, etc, we’re the ones who deserve a tax break – not the guys who all ready get the biggest piece of the pie.

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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?

Sarah Palin and Tax Cuts

On December 1st, Sarah Palin tweeted the following:

“Pls refer to Jan.1 tax changes appropriately: they’re OBAMA TAX HIKES & they’ll slam every American’s savings, investments & job opportunity”.

On December 2nd, she tweeted this:

“Dear Sen.Gregg:Yes, Obama’s tax policy means “generating massive revenues” but that means govt will engage in massive spends;that’s not good”

and this:

DC politicians: Trust businesses & families to spend our own hard earned $ wiser than you can spend it; I’ll tune in Obama Tax Hike talk…”

and this:

“today from here in Iowa @ book signing;No doubt hard working Iowa residents will agree that Obama Tax Hikes (29 days from now) will slam ’em”

And, she’s wrong. These aren’t Obama’s tax hikes – they’re President Bush’s. Like it or not, the Republicans in Congress didn’t have the 60 votes necessary to make the tax cuts permanent. And, now, those tax cuts are expiring. According to PoliticFact, my tax percent will be raised to 28% and someone who makes twice as much as I do, will pay the same percent in taxes. Isn’t that nice?

Apparently, despite what Glenn Beck says about making stuff up, you can just make stuff up and still have people listen to you.  It’s a shame that Palin’s 322,396 followers will just believe what she tweeted.  They won’t look to see if what she’s saying is true.  Nothing upsets me more than someone just making stuff up and spouting it as if it were actual fact.  I cannot believe that there are Americans in this country who are so enamored with this woman that they made her book number two on the New York Times Best Seller list.  (I know, I was shocked to find that her followers can read, but maybe it has a lot of pictures in it.)

Taxes and More Taxes

The election is over and now it is time for the lame duck Congress to get back to work. But, even though it won’t do any good, I wanted to bring up taxes.

Everyone thinks – Warren Buffett the exception – that they pay too much in taxes. Because I have an extra taxable amount added to my normal salary this year, Cheryl and I have been paying a lot of attention to just how much we’ll owe in taxes come April 15th. By my calculations, between the two of us, we’ll owe a grand amount of $12,126, a tax rate of 13.40%. For a fun time, I thought, “Hey, what if we could file our federal income taxes jointly?” So, I used the IRS Withholding Calculator and did just that. If we were married, our tax amount would be $11,281, a tax rate. That is a tax rate of 12.47% and a total of $845 less. It makes me mad every time I think about it.

What is it that Cheryl and I receive from the federal government that is worth the extra $845? Do we have extra rights? Extra protections? Will the government take care of us when we’re old and gray in a better manner than a straight, married couple?

No, no and – I know you’re shocked – no.

We receive NOTHING for the extra dollars removed from our paychecks every single year. And, if Paul Ryan gets his way, it will only get worse. (Check out Paul Ryan’s Roadmap for America and you’ll see his plan for two tax tiers.)

By denying gay couples the legal right to marry at the Federal level, the nation is over-taxing approximately 770,000 couples in this country.  Let’s make a big assumption, because I don’t have actual figures on incomes, that our over-taxed amount is what every other gay couple pays more than straight couples.  That works out to an extra $650,650,000 in the nation’s tax coffers.

Do we get a thanks for that?

No, we don’t.

Maybe, that’s the real reason why the right-wing doesn’t want us to get married.  That’s a lot of dough!

As a gay person, I purpose that in the next election, we come together to fight for our marriage rights.  We fight for equality.  We’re paying a lot of money to be considered second class citizens.

Who’s with me?

Below is a video I made last August.

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