Tag Archives: John Ensign

Tom Coburn: $30 Billion In Millionaires Aid Is ‘Sheer Washington Stupidity’

When I initially read this story, my jaw had become semi-paralyzed in an open position.  Talk about “jaw-dropping” moments, this story is astounding.

I am certainly no fan of Tom Coburn ever since  Rachel Maddow exposed Coburn as being complicit in trying to hide the John Ensign scandal.

However, he may have earned a small bit of redemption by telling the following story.  The emphasis are mine…

The Huffington Post

Millionaires are receiving billions in taxpayer-funded support every year that helps them pay for everything from child care to bad debts to boats and vacation homes, according to a report released Monday by Sen. Tom Coburn.

People who individually earned more than a million dollars in 2009 even managed to collect a total of nearly $21 million in unemployment insurance.

“From tax write-offs for gambling losses, vacation homes, and luxury yachts to subsidies for their ranches and estates, the government is subsidizing the lifestyles of the rich and famous,” wrote Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, in an accompanying letter. “Multimillionaires are even receiving government checks for not working. This welfare for the well-off — costing billions of dollars a year — is being paid for with the taxes of the less fortunate.”

Calling the giveaways “sheer Washington stupidity,” Coburn detailed in the study more than $30 billion a year that comes out of the U.S. Treasury to aid people who make more than a million a year.

For Coburn, who describes his survey as the first-ever compilation of federal aid for the richest, such a startling figure makes no sense when most of the country is struggling to get by. He also thinks it reveals some sensible targets for Congress’ stymied debt-trimming super committee.

“Even in these difficult times, the United States remains a land of opportunity and not everyone is in need of government handouts,” wrote Coburn in the accompanying letter.

“The income of the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans has risen dramatically over the last decade. Yet, the federal government lavishes these millionaires with billions of dollars in giveaways and tax breaks,” he wrote, referring to the growing income gap recently documented in stark fashion by the Congressional Budget Office.

“The government’s social safety net, which has long existed to catch those who are down and help them get back up, is now being used as a hammock by some millionaires, some who are paying less taxes than average middle class families,” Coburn contended.

And what the report “reveals is sheer Washington stupidity with government policies pampering the wealthy costing taxpayers billions of dollars every year,” Coburn argued.

Coburn totaled up all the federal money for millionaires over several years that his office could find. Among the handouts for the well-heeled are:

  • $18.15 million in child care tax credits
  • $74 million in unemployment checks
  • $89 million for preservation of ranches and estates
  • $316 million in farm subsidies
  • $608 million in business entertainment deductions
  • $9 billion in retirement checks
  • $21 billion in gambling losses
  • $28 billion in mortgage breaks for mansions, vacation homes and yachts

Some of the payments, such as for Social Security and Medicare, stem from payroll taxes and are not means-tested when they are paid out. Advocates of such payments believe the government made a promise to individuals that it must keep, regardless of their wealth.

Some other payments, such as the millions received by the wealthy to preserve land or to use alternative energy sources, arise from programs that proponents consider beneficial overall, even if the rich get the money.

But Coburn doesn’t see much justification for these payments, considering how well the wealthy have done over the last 30 years compared to everyone else. “Fleecing the taxpayer while contributing nothing is not the American way,” he wrote.

He also sees policies that help the rich avoid taxes as government-sanctioned redistribution of wealth.

“Americans are generous and do not want to see their fellow citizens go without basic necessities. Likewise, we expect everyone to contribute and to demonstrate personal responsibility,” Coburn wrote.

“Government policies intended to mainstream wealth redistribution are undermining these principles. The tragic irony is the wealth in these cases is trickling up rather than down the economic ladder,” he continued. “The cost of this largess will thus be shared by those struggling today and the next generation who will inherit $15 trillion of debt that threatens the future of the American Dream.”

Coburn does not argue that taxes should be raised on the wealthy, however. Simply ending giveaways for people who don’t need them would help, and he recommends limiting or cutting payments to millionaires in the safety net programs; ending farm and conservation payments to the rich; means-testing tax breaks and other payouts; and reforming provisions of the tax code that help pay for vacation properties and mansions.

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Family values? Seriously?

I was going through my blogroll list and came across this site

There was no text to go with the pictures but none was actually needed. 

I will say that the so-called Family Values  family (Rick Santorum’s picture) and the Obama family, who is viewed by the right wing as just the opposite of a family values  family, show a vast contrast in that way of thinking.

Just saying…

The Conservative Lie

 

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PolitiQuotes – The Week In One-Liners

Politico

The week’s top ten quotes in American politics: 

“So it’s like a quasi-vegetable byproduct paste that you smear on your toast for breakfast. Sounds good, doesn’t it?” — President Barack Obama, ripping on Vegemite, a staple food down under, during an appearance with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. 

“She’s a 50-year-old adult bully, a has-been comedian.” — Sarah Palin, dinging comedian Kathy Griffin, who frequently targets the Palin family in jokes. 

“If they care at all about their children or grandchildren, and sometimes I doubt that – I think, you know, grandchildren now don’t write a thank-you for the Christmas presents, they’re walking on their pants with the cap on backwards listening to the enema man and Snoopy Snoopy Poop Dogg, and they don’t like them!” — Former Sen. Alan Simpson, discussing kids these days during a conversation about Social Security funds. 

“There are consequences to sin.” — Sen. John Ensign, being realistic about the fallout from his recent affair as he announced his retirement this week. 

“We sleep with the guns.” — Chuck Heath, father of Sarah Palin, telling BBC how he fears for the safety of his family. 

“I wouldn’t let that guy run a 7-Eleven, let alone a country.” — New York Times columnist David Brooks, expressing doubt about Newt Gingrich’s competency to serve as president.

“Her Excellency, Madam President… I love saying that.” — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, introducing the president of Kyrgyzstan at a State Department event. 

“Big Bird needs to be pushed out of the nest.” — Rep. Doug Lamborn, calling for an elimination of federal funding for public broadcasting. 

“I think they already know the color of my underwear.” — Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, lamenting “the gratuitous minutiae and sexist questioning during her confirmation process.” 

“Taking fiscal advice from Jay Jacobs and state Democrats is like taking life advice from Charlie Sheen – It may get a lot of media attention but it will end up in disaster.” — Erie County Republican Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy, knocking the New York Democratic chairman.

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Monday Morning Blog Round Up

Barbara Bush: Palin should stay in Alaska
 

Allen West Does Not Practiceth What He Preacheth
 

The Chertoff Connection: Body Scanners Are About Profits Not Protectio..

Senator John Ensign may support DADT repeal

Retired general: Senate GOP doesn’t trust our military

Republicans Slam GOP’s Climate Change Denial As ‘Incomprehensibl..

Admiral Mullen: New START Is ‘Absolutely Critical’ Calls For A V..

Sarah Palin Scouting Office Space In Iowa, Hints At 2012 Presidential ..

Malkin fudges facts in crusade against the Dream Act

Plane Lands Safely At JFK Airport; No Sign Of Fire

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Sharron Angle: ‘Sometimes Dictators Have Good Ideas’

Oh for goodness sake!  I thought we’d never have to hear from this woman again…

Huffington Post

Nevada Republican Sharron Angle — who fell short in her quest to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid earlier this month — found herself back in the spotlight on Wednesday after questionable comments she reportedly made towards the end of her campaign came to light.

“Sometimes dictators have good ideas,” explained the Tea Party darling at a private campaign event, according to Nevada political journalist Jon Ralston. At the Las Vas Sun, he writes, “Her staff fretted the line would get out. It did not. Until now.”

Angle, who developed a reputation for sparking controversy over the course of her campaign, reportedly made the remarks in arguing that the country’s Social Security system should be privatized. She cited right-wing dictator Augusto Pinochet and a system he implemented in Chile in 1981 to make her point.

Angle invoked the same reference over the summer. Ralston reports, “[She] had not used it since her staff shut her down. But that day, with no media there, saying her staff had warned her not to use it, she raised the Chile example again.”

The Nevada Republican’s position on Social Security repeatedly proved to be a stumbling block throughout her campaign. While Angle has taken a hiatus from the political realm since her defeat to Reid, she recently signaled her intention to make a roaring comeback. The Las Vegas Review Journal reports:

Angle, making a spontaneous visit to the Las Vegas Republican TownHall group, vowed to continue her crusade to shake up a national political scene she says has drifted too far from values the Founding Fathers held dear, even though she lost by 5 percentage points a race pundits once thought would be the biggest prize in a Republican wave.
“Our freedom is at stake. We knew that two years ago when we started running for the U.S. Senate, when you started helping me, you knew we couldn’t stop,” Angle told an audience of a few dozen Republicans in a banquet room at Charlie’s Lakeside restaurant. “And we can’t stop now.”

One day following Angle’s loss in Nevada’s midterm election, HuffPost’s Nick Wing reported on the possibility that the conservative firecracker could inject herself into the 2012 political mix. Whether a congressional or gubernatorial campaign, or a bid to unseat GOP incumbent Sen. John Ensign — who despite being embroiled in immense controversy stemming from a 2009 sex scandal recently signaled he intends to seek another term — it seems that for Angle, all options remain on the table.

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Sponsor of National Prayer Breakfast received money from alleged terrorist group

Remember the “C” Street fiasco, exposed by Rachel Maddow last year?  Well, they’re back in the news again…

The Washington Post

A group of Ohio ministers has asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the organization that sponsors the National Prayer Breakfast because it received money six years ago from an alleged Islamic terrorist organization trying to finance illicit lobbying.

ClergyVoice, the activist group that wrote to the IRS commissioner Wednesday, complained that the Fellowship Foundation violated its obligation as a tax-exempt organization not to deal with such entities.

The foundation, an Arlington-based religious enterprise associated with a house at 133 C St. SE where several members of the House and Senate have rented rooms, acknowledged Wednesday that it had received two $25,000 checks, in May and June 2004, from the Missouri-based Islamic American Relief Agency.

The charity was included on a Senate Finance Committee list of terrorist financiers in January of that year.

The foundation said the agency’s money was neither retained nor used to finance foreign trips it has organized for lawmakers such as Sens. John Ensign (R-Nev.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). The group’s vetting of donors has been tightened, President Richard E. Carver said in an interview Wednesday. “Hopefully, we would not see a repeat of this kind of experience,” he added.

The Islamic American Relief Agency was raided and shuttered by federal agents in October 2004, but in the months after its inclusion on the Senate committee list, it mounted a quiet lobbying effort to clear its name. Carver initially said his group had checked up on the charity at the time the money came in and found nothing, but then said later in the day that he had received incorrect information and that no such checking had occurred.

Extensive government wiretaps and data collected in the raid led to multiple federal indictments of the relief agency’s officers. They culminated in a guilty plea four months ago by chief executive Mubarak Hamed in which he acknowledged sending a $25,000 check to the International Foundation in May 2004. Carver said that was one of the names for his group.   Continue reading…

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Details On C-Street’s Midnight Intervention For Ensign

Senator John Ensign of Nevada

Image by treviño via Flickr

Talkig Points Memo

When Sen. John Ensign’s housemates on C Street found out about his affair with the wife of an aide, they burst into his room and woke him up to stage an intervention.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), a fellow C-streeter, had found out about the affair weeks earlier and confronted Ensign, according to the New Yorker, which is out with a long story about Ensign (R-NV), the C-Street House, and the Fellowship.

After the confrontation, which was “filled with recrimination and tears,” Coburn had Ensign write the now-infamous letter to his mistress, Cindy Hampton (also an aide). Three ministers then drove Ensign to a FedEx box to deliver it. That, however, didn’t end the affair.

And so, according to the New Yorker, Coburn told a handful of fellow Congressman at C Street’s weekly dinner about the transgression.

Continue reading…

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10 Republican Lies About the Bush Tax Cuts

The talking point from the GOP regarding ending the ten-year fiasco of the Bush Tax Cuts is that Dems want to raise taxes (by eliminating the Bush Tax cuts.)   The concept of “raising taxes” is being thrown around all over the blogosphere, print media and television.   Although they know that eliminating (as scheduled) the BTCs after its ten years run is not raising taxes on anyone.  Crooks & Liars has more:

Crooks & Liars

So it’s come down to this. On Saturday, David Stockman, the legendary Reagan budget chief who presided over the Gipper’s supply-side tax cuts, announced that the “debt explosion has resulted not from big spending by the Democrats, but instead the Republican Party’s embrace, about three decades ago, of the insidious doctrine that deficits don’t matter if they result from tax cuts.” The next day, the former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan, who famously helped sell the 2001 Bush tax cuts to Congress, declared them simply “disastrous.”

Sadly, Stockman and Greenspan are just about the only voices in the Republican Party speaking the truth about the fiscal devastation wrought by the expiring Bush tax cuts. After all, the national debt tripled under Ronald Reagan, only to double again during the tenure of George W. Bush. And as it turns out, the Bush tax cut windfall for the wealthy accounted for almost half the budget deficits during his presidency and, if made permanent, would contribute more to the U.S. budget deficit than the Obama stimulus, the TARP program, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and revenue lost to the recession – combined. Of course, you’d never know it listening to the leaders of GOP.

And that’s just the beginning. Here, then, are 10 Republican Lies about the Bush tax cuts:

For the details, data and charts for each, continue reading after the break.

Lie #1: Democrats Plan Across the Board Tax Hikes on January 1st

On July 19, Michigan Republican Dave Camp sent out an email blast warning of the “Democrats’ ticking tax time bomb” claiming “Americans to pay higher taxes starting January 1, 2011.” On July 20, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) declared, “Should Democrats get their way, every income tax bracket will increase on Jan. 1, 2011. Every single one.”

It’s no wonder Politifact deemed the charge “False.” As the fact checking site put it:

“For many months, Democratic officials have consistently said that they intend to let only the tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals lapse. The cutoff they usually suggest is $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for married couples filing jointly. President Obama campaigned on just such a plan.”

Which is exactly right. During the 2008 campaign, candidate Obama pledged to roll back the Bush tax cuts for couples earning over $250,000 a year while delivering tax relief for 95% of working households. President Obama has already delivered on the second promise. (Ironically, and despite the Tea Party’s rage, total federal, state and local taxes hit their lowest level since 1950.) Last week, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner confirmed Obama’s intent to make good the first:

“We believe it is appropriate to let those tax cuts that go to the most fortunate expire.”

The shrill voices of the GOP aren’t merely lying on this point. The expiring Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, were after all, passed by a Republican Congress and signed by a Republican President. As Ezra Klein recently put it, “Republicans now blaming Democrats for Bush tax cuts.”

Lie #2: Democrats Want a $3.8 Trillion Tax Increase

If nothing else, Republicans like Sarah Palin deserve a hand for having the chutzpah to pretend Democrats want a $3.8 trillion tax increase over the next decade.

On Sunday, Palin literally wrote that talking point on her hand in an appearance with Chris Wallace of Fox News:

“My palm isn’t large enough to have written all my notes down on what this tax increase, what it will result in…. Democrats are poised to cause the largest tax increase in U.S. history, it’s a tax increase of $3.8 trillion in the next ten years and it will have an effect on every single American who pays an income tax.”

Of course, this second Republican fraud is merely the flip-side of the first. Restoring upper bracket tax rates to their Clinton-era levels will impact only a sliver of American taxpayers. As ThinkProgress noted:

For one thing, according to the Pew Economic Policy Group, an extension of all of the Bush tax cuts will cost $3.1 trillion over ten years, once the costs of servicing the debt are factored in. But no one has proposed allowing them all expire, and it’s incredibly disingenuous of Republicans to claim otherwise, especially since it was a budget gimmick by former President George W. Bush to include the ten-year sunset at all.

Extending just the cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans will cost $830 billion over ten years.

Lie #3: Tax Cuts Pay for Themselves

But even that cost is one Republicans refuse to pay. As Jon Kyl, the second-ranking Senate Republican, told Chris Wallace three weeks ago:

“[Y]ou should never raise taxes in order to cut taxes,” Jon Kyl said on Fox News Sunday. “Surely Congress has the authority, and it would be right to — if we decide we want to cut taxes to spur the economy, not to have to raise taxes in order to offset those costs. You do need to offset the cost of increased spending, and that’s what Republicans object to. But you should never have to offset cost of a deliberate decision to reduce tax rates on Americans.”

Three days later, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) explained how his party miraculously turns bulls**t into gold:

“There’s no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue. They increased revenue because of the vibrancy of these tax cuts in the economy. So I think what Senator Kyl was expressing was the view of virtually every Republican on that subject.”

It’s no wonder, as Ezra Klein joked, that If a Democrat said something like that, “He’d be laughed out of the room.”

But how about the Congressional Budget Office’s estimations? “The new CBO data show that changes in law enacted since January 2001 increased the deficit by $539 billion in 2005. In the absence of such legislation, the nation would have a surplus this year. Tax cuts account for almost half — 48 percent — of this $539 billion in increased costs.” How about the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget? Their budget calculator shows that the tax cuts will cost $3.28 trillion between 2011 and 2018. How about George W. Bush’s CEA chair, Greg Mankiw, who used the term “charlatans and cranks” for people who believed that “broad-based income tax cuts would have such large supply-side effects that the tax cuts would raise tax revenue.” He continued: “I did not find such a claim credible, based on the available evidence. I never have, and I still don’t.”

Lie #4: The Bush Tax Cuts Didn’t Add to the Deficit

Of course, McConnell and Kyl were simply joining Judd Gregg, Tom Coburn, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, Kay Bailey Hutchison and the rest of the new Republican alchemists selling Arthur Laffer’s supply-side snake oil. Even John McCain, who voted against the 2001 Bush tax cuts, got the religion just in time for the 2008 Republican primaries, arguing “Tax cuts, starting with Kennedy, as we all know, increase revenues.”

But it was House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) who offered the purest expression of that fantasy in defending the Bush tax cuts:

“It’s not the marginal tax rates … that’s not what led to the budget deficit. The revenue problem we have today is a result of what happened in the economic collapse some 18 months ago.”

“We’ve seen over the last 30 years that lower marginal tax rates have led to a growing economy, more employment and more people paying taxes.”

As it turned out, not so much.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities demolished the mythology promoted by President Bush (“You cut taxes and the tax revenues increase”) and the usual suspects on the right. CBPP found that Bush tax cuts accounted for almost half of the mushrooming deficits during his tenure:

And as another recent CBPP analysis revealed, over the next 10 years, the Bush tax cuts if made permanent will contribute more to the U.S. budget deficit than the Obama stimulus, the TARP program, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and revenue lost to the recession put together.

The Bush tax cuts didn’t come anywhere close to paying for themselves. And making them permanent is the very worst thing the so-called deficit hawks could do to reduce the U.S. debt.

Lie #5: Expiring High Income Tax Cuts Will Hurt Small Business

As Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) complained, allowing the Bush cuts to lapse for the wealthiest Americans would amount to “a job-killing tax hike on small business during tough economic times.” Mike Pence echoed that argument, fretting “the idea that you would raise taxes on small businesses owners and job creators in the middle of this recession doesn’t make any sense.”

As it turns out, very few small business owners would be impacted.

John McCain introduced this fraud along with Joe the Plumber during the 2008 campaign. McCain proclaimed Obama’s plan to restore Clinton-era tax rates for taxpayers making over $250,000 meant “the small businesses that we’re talking about would receive an increase in their taxes right now.” In February 2009, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) regurgitated the long-debunked talking point:

“I don’t think raising taxes is a great idea, and when our good friends on the other side of the aisle say raising the taxes on the wealthy, what they are really talking about is small business.”

Of course, they’re not talking about small business. As CNN concluded in October 2008, “fewer than 2% of small business owners would pay more under Obama’s plan.” But in case there was any doubt about the Republicans’ deception on the point, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center quickly put it to rest:

Out of 34.7 million filers with business income on Schedules C, E or F, 479,000 filers fall into the top two brackets, according to an analysis of projected 2009 filings by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

The other 34.3 million – or 98.6% – would be unaffected by Obama’s proposed rate hike.

Lie #6: The Estate Tax Devastates Small Businesses and Family Farms

In June, Florida Republican Senator George Lemieux summed up the impact of his party’s successful effort to temporarily kill the estate tax in 2010. “The joke is don’t go hunting with your children because right now there’s no estate tax in this country this year.” But the billions lost to the U.S. Treasury so that the heirs of billionaires could reap a staggering one-year windfall is no laughing matter.

The Republican scam over the so-called “death tax” is as bogus now as it was when President Bush first perpetrated it ten years ago. The “alternative” House GOP budget, fittingly unveiled by Rep. Paul Ryan on April Fool’s Day 2009, would eliminate the estate tax altogether. While Nevada Senator John Ensign griped, “It destroys a lot of small businesses and a lot of family farms and ranches in America,” House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) groused:

“People who aren’t wealthy, who may have built up value in land over generations and many family farms find themselves in situations where they’ve got to sell the farm in order the pay the taxes.”

Sadly for conservative myth-makers, that claim, too, is completely false.

As the Washington Post explained, under President Obama’s proposal (exempting couples with estates under $7 million with a 45 percent rate for amounts beyond that) 99.76% of estates would pay no taxes whatsoever. While CBPP estimated that only 1 in 500 estates is impacted by the current law, in 2009 the Tax Policy Center quantified just how few family farms or small businesses are actually impacted by the estate tax proposals under consideration:

We estimate that under the Obama proposal, 100 family farms and businesses would owe tax. (We define such estates as those where farm or business assets are valued at under $5 million and comprise the majority of estate assets.) The Lincoln-Kyl proposal would cut the number to 40. Even under current law, fewer than 2,700 family farms and businesses would owe tax.

And that wasn’t good enough for Arizona’s Jon Kyl, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate. Thanks to his obstructionism in December, the estate tax temporarily expired for one year as of January 1, 2010. (Barring new legislation in Congress, in 2011 the rate will jump back up to its pre-2001 Bush tax cut level of 55%, starting at $2 million per couple.) That could cost the U.S. Treasury billions this year. In the mean time, the message from the GOP to the wealthiest Americans is “die here, die now, pay less.”

Lie #7: The Bush Tax Cuts Helped All Americans

In February 2004, President Bush proclaimed, “we cut taxes, which basically meant people had more money in their pocket.” Of course, some people are more equal than others.

As the Center for American Progress noted at the time, “for the majority of Americans, the tax cuts meant very little,” adding, “By next year, for instance, 88% of all Americans will receive $100 or less from the Administration’s latest tax cuts.”

But that’s just the beginning of the story. As the CAP also reported, the Bush tax cuts delivered a third of their total benefits to the wealthiest 1% of Americans. And to be sure, their payday was staggering. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities detailed that by 2007, millionaires on average pocketed $120,000 from the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. Those in the top 1% stashed an extra $45,000 a year. As a result, millionaires saw their after-tax incomes rise by 7.6%, while the gains for the middle quintile and bottom 20% of Americans were a paltry 2.3% and 0.4%, respectively.

And as the New York Times uncovered in 2006, the 2003 Bush dividend and capital gains tax cuts offered almost nothing to taxpayers earning below $100,000 a year. Instead, those windfalls reduced taxes “on incomes of more than $10 million by an average of about $500,000.” As the Times revealed in a jaw-dropping chart:

“The top 2 percent of taxpayers, those making more than $200,000, received more than 70% of the increased tax savings from those cuts in investment income.”

So it should come as no surprise, as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders lamented last week, that under President Bush the 400 richest taxpayers saw their tax rates halved – and their incomes double.

Lie #8. Extending Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthy is the Best Way to Stimulate the Economy

In 1993, Senator Phil Gramm (yes, that Phil Gramm) said of President Clinton’s proposal to raise top-bracket tax rates to help erase the Reagan-Bush deficits, “I believe hundreds of thousands of people are going to lose their jobs…I believe Bill Clinton will be one of those people.” He was wrong on both counts.

Now, implicit in the Republican propaganda for making the Bush tax cuts permanent at a time of record income inequality is that more windfalls for the wealthy is the best way to stimulate the economy. As Florida GOP Senate hopeful Marco Rubio defended more tax cuts for the rich, “Jobs in America are created by people that have money or access to money.”

Again, the numbers tell a different story.

Analyses from the Congressional Budget Office and former McCain economic adviser Mark Zandi concluded that upper class tax breaks provide just about the lowest return on investment (32 cents on the dollar) of any federal stimulus activity. As the Washington Post summed it up:

Why? As the CBO notes, most Bush tax cut dollars go to higher-income households, and these top earners don’t spend as much of their income as lower earners. In fact, of 11 potential stimulus policies the CBO recently examined, an extension of all of the Bush tax cuts ties for lowest bang for the buck. (The CBO did not examine the high-income tax cuts separately, but the logic it used suggests that extending those cuts alone would have even less value.) The government could more effectively stimulate the economy by letting the high-income tax cuts expire and using the money for aid to the states, extensions of unemployment insurance benefits and tax credits favoring job creation. Dollar for dollar, each of these measures would have about three times the impact on GDP as continuing the Bush tax cuts.

It is true, as the New York Times and AP each reported over the last several days, that the recent decline in consumer spending among the richest 5% of Americans is contributing to the slowdown of the economic recovery. But giving them more money isn’t the answer.

Lie #9. Bush Tax Cuts Produced 52 Straight Months of Job Growth

One month after the start of the recession which bears his name, President Bush in January 2008 proclaimed “America has added jobs for a record 52 straight months.” Now, two and a half years later, former RNC chief Ed Gillespie is still bragging:

“The fact is, under the Bush tax cuts, we did have 52 months of-in uninterrupted job creation, longest in the history of the country.”

While it is technically true the U.S. experienced moderate job growth between 2003 and 2007, the claim is also irrelevant.

The verdict on President Bush’s reign of ruin was pronounced even before Barack Obama took the oath of office. January 9, 2009, the Republican-friendly Wall Street Journal summed it up with an article titled simply, “Bush on Jobs: the Worst Track Record on Record.” The Journal noted that “The Bush administration created about three million jobs (net) over its eight years, a fraction of the 23 million jobs created under President Bill Clinton’s administration.” Just days after the Washington Post documented that George W. Bush presided over the worst eight-year economic performance in the modern American presidency, the New York Times on January 24 featured an analysis (“Economic Setbacks That Define the Bush Years”) comparing presidential performance going back to Eisenhower. As the Times showed, George W. Bush, the first MBA president, was a historic failure when it came to expanding GDP, producing jobs and fueling stock market growth.

But it was the release of a Census Bureau report last September (“Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2008″) which in 67 pages laid bare the economic devastation and human toll during the Bush presidency. As The Atlantic (“Closing The Book On The Bush Legacy”) rightly noted, “It’s not a record many Republicans are likely to point to with pride”:

On every major measurement, the Census Bureau report shows that the country lost ground during Bush’s two terms. While Bush was in office, the median household income declined, poverty increased, childhood poverty increased even more, and the number of Americans without health insurance spiked. By contrast, the country’s condition improved on each of those measures during Bill Clinton’s two terms, often substantially.

Lie #10: The Rich Pay Too Much in Taxes Already

In February 2009, Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann declared, “We’re running out of rich people in this country.” Just in time for tax day two months later, Bush flunkie Ari Fleischer comically expanded on that Republican meta myth.

Unsurprisingly, Fleischer took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to make his plea on behalf of the nation’s bedraggled wealthy. The top 10% of taxpayers, Fleischer argued, are “supporting virtually everyone and everything” and “their burden keeps getting heavier.” As he put it:

“It’s also what’s called redistribution of income, and it is getting out of hand.”

Oh, it’s gotten out of hand all right. Just not, as the data make abundantly clear, in the direction Fleischer claims.

As for the richest 2% of Americans, they will pay more in income taxes if President Obama gets his way. But then again, the last time the top income tax rate was 39%, as it was under Bill Clinton, the United States enjoyed a booming economy, rising incomes, low unemployment and expanding budget surpluses. A booming economy, that is, for everyone.

UPDATE: Almost on cue, Eric Cantor on admitted the Bush tax cuts “dig the hole deeper” on the deficit, but supports making them permanent nevertheless. Meanwhile, Karl Rove doubled-down on the fraud that they led to “the largest amount of revenue being received by the government.”

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