Tax Cuts

Pres. Clinton explains Romney’s $5 trillion tax cut for the rich (video)

No surprise there.  In my opinion, Mitt Romney has proven himself to be the most lying, shape shifting presidential nominee in our country’s history.

America Blog

President Clinton explains that Mitt Romney’s $5 trillion tax cut for the rich will lower taxes by $250,000 for the wealthy, while increasing taxes $2,000 for the middle class.

Why The GOP’s Payroll Tax Cut Cave Is An Even Bigger Deal Than You Think

TPMDC

The GOP’s accession to reality on the payroll tax cut is being cast as a key victory for Democrats and President Obama. Republicans caved, the payroll tax will almost certainly be renewed, and the economy won’t take a tough hit just as the recovery’s beginning to accelerate.

But it also reveals a flaw — a potentially huge flaw — in the conservative movement’s generational strategy to roll back the federal safety net.

These might sound like two wildly disparate issues, but they’re actually variations on a years-long theme. And the outcome of the payroll tax debacle bodes poorly for the GOP on the rest of their long-run goals.

Here’s why.

For years and years, conservative elites have rested their hopes of shrinking the federal government, including its most popular programs, on the theory that if they just “starve the beast” — keep taxes low until the budget comes under enough strain that those programs have to be slashed — then Democrats will ultimately fold, rather than touch off a fiscal crisis.

Republicans have scrimmaged with this strategy over the past year. The debt limit fight was premised on the Republicans’ threat that they’d put the country’s creditworthiness at risk to force Democrats to agree to spending cuts. And Democrats basically caved.

Fast forward to the end of 2011, Republicans used the looming expiration of the payroll tax cut to demand further cuts to government services.

“There’s no debate about whether these extensions ought to be paid for,” House Speaker John Boehner said in November.  But of course Republicans ruled out financing the payroll cut with a small tax on millionaires, and demanded they be paid for with spending cuts elsewhere in the budget.

When Democrats resisted, that strategy blew up in his face, the payroll tax cut nearly lapsed, and Republicans took a beating with the public.

So with the payroll tax cut set to lapse once again, the entire GOP leadership has backed off the demand that the policy be offset. Democrats weren’t going to let the GOP set the ground rules for that fight. And instead of entertaining the idea of even a small, temporary tax increase on wealthy people, Republican leaders have agreed to finance the payroll tax cut with yet more debt — over the strong objections of their own members.

Tax cuts, and benefit programs are different beasts, and that’s why Republicans have agreed to isolate the payroll holiday from other expiring provisions. But the key is that when Republicans recognized that the public was wise to them — that their tactics were putting a popular policy in jeopardy — they backed off.

The same dynamics govern the longer fight over programs like Medicare and Social Security. At some point in the months and years ahead, when policymakers are forced to weigh cuts and big reforms to those programs against higher taxes on the wealthy, Republicans will stand to own the consequences, if they push revenues off the table.

What Democrats have to do is remember how they won the fight over the payroll tax cut, and stick to the same playbook.

(Ed. Note: Emphasis are mine)

SENATE REPUBLICANS KILL ECONOMIC AID FOR MIDDLE CLASS

Now it’s on the record, the GOP are only concerned about the top 2% of this country and the rest be damned…

Huffington Post

Senate Republicans and a handful of Democrats Saturday defeated a bill to reauthorize unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless and a plethora of tax provisions for the middle class not because of the bill’s trillion-dollar deficit impact, but because it did not include tax cuts for the rich.

“In economic times like these, 9.8 percent unemployment, you should not raise taxes on anyone,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) told HuffPost.

Two bills were defeated. By a vote of 53-36, the Senate rejected a measure by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) that would have preserved Bush era tax cuts for lower- and middle-income taxpayers, but would have allowed cuts for people earning more than $200,000 a year to expire. Democrats Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Jim Webb (Va.), Russ Feingold (Wisc.) and Independent Democrat Joe Lieberman (Conn.) joined Republicans in voting nay. The Senate also rejected a bill by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) that would have extended all the cuts, but not for anybody making more than $1 million.

The Baucus bill would have preserved Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Extended Benefits Programs created in 2008 as a customary response to rising unemployment. The programs provide up to 73 weeks of federally-funded benefits for when layoff victims exhaust the standard 26 weeks of state-funded aid. The programs lapsed last week, threatening a holiday cutoff for two million unemployed.

After Saturday’s vote, it seems the only way Democrats will be able to overcome Republican opposition to the benefits will be by attaching them to a reauthorization of tax cuts for the rich.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said after the vote that he expected a tax cut deal to be reached by Thursday.

Sen. Schumer said at a press conference that some Democrats would be willing to drag the tax debate on into January. “There are lots of people in our caucus who do have that appetite, there are some who don’t. We’ll have to see what happens.”

Corker declined to say whether he thought unemployment would be included in the deal, as did Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Continue reading here…

NOTHING FOR THE LITTLE GUY – Bailouts Are For Banks: Unemployed People Get Zilch

As Nancy Pelosi pointed out yesterday in a press conference, the GOP want tax cuts for the top 2% money-makers in the country.  The cost would be about $700 Billion because the Republicans want to add the cost of those tax cuts to the deficit.  Yet…they have told the Dems that the $18 Billion cost of helping the unemployed can only be passed if it’s paid for in advance.  In other words the Dems can’t add $18 Billion to the budget, but the Republicans insist on adding the $700 Billion for tax cuts to their cronies be added to the deficit.

What I don’t understand is why aren’t the Dems shouting from the roof tops  and on every news outlet that the GOP does not want to help the middle class but advocates soley for the rich?

Huffington Post

In Washington, the agenda has long since moved on from bailing out megabanks to figuring out how to stop paying for things that regular people need — luxuries like health care, retirement benefits and unemployment insurance.

In the suburbs of Denver, Anthony Roebuck and his family find themselves confronting an action list that seems cruelly divorced from the proceedings in the nation’s capital: They have to figure out how to keep the heat on through the Colorado winter now that his unemployment check has run out.

The latest extension of emergency unemployment benefits expired on Tuesday, as a dysfunctional Congress let the deadline go without striking a deal to keep the money flowing. That put Roebuck — who drew his last check on Monday — among the two million or so unemployed Americans facing the imminent loss of their benefits between now and the end of the year.

A sheet metal worker by trade, Roebuck, 44, is accustomed to earning his own way through the force of his hands. Since May, he and his family have subsisted on his wife’s paycheck from her job as a university administrator, plus a nearly $500 weekly unemployment check.

They slashed away at their grocery bill, cutting out non-essentials such as the fried snacks favored by his 15-year-old son. They traded in their late-model Jeep Cherokee for an elderly Dodge sedan. They quit going to church on Sunday to save the gas money required to get there.

Now, the math is set to get uglier still, as they contemplate how to run the household minus his unemployment check — a situation that seems not only impossible but also unfair.

How could there have been so many billions for Wall Street, so much room to lower taxes for people with golf memberships and country houses, yet a $500-a-week check to help him pay the rent while he looks for another job suddenly threatens to bankrupt the nation?

Continue reading here…

Sunday Talk Shows Reveal Republican Cluelessness

Republicans Can’t Name Any Spending They Want to Cut (Again and Again)

Asked 7 Times, Fiorina Fails To Give A Frustrated Wallace One Solution To Cut Spending

 

Bauer On Whether He’ll Disclose Donors Behind His Israel Ads: ‘No, Of Course Not!’

H/t: Think Progress

GOP ‘Pledge’ Underwhelms

The GOP has released their new “contract for America” entitled “Pledge to America”.   Here is a look at what some of the news outlets are saying:

Newsweek 

The new “Pledge to America” is unlikely to inspire the nation, but Republicans will win big in November even without a coherent, forward-looking platform.

Huffington Post

The “Pledge to America,” circulated to GOP lawmakers Wednesday, emphasizes job creation and spending control, as well as changing the way Congress does business. It steered clear of controversial issues such as Social Security and Medicare, big drivers of deficit spending.

Daily Kos

Tonight, CNN contributor Erick Erickson of RedState, The Republican’s answer to the Daily Kos and its founder Markos Moulitsas just tore apart and ripped into shreds the House GOP’s new plan to be unveiled tomorrow… “Pledge To America.” This is the GOP’s pathetic attempt to recapture  Newt Gingrich’s 1994 “Contract With America” which failed miserably and has been aptly renamed “Contract On America.”          http://www.washingtonpost.com/…

Politico

Republican ‘Pledge to America': Spending caps, tax cuts…

Lieberman Organizing Against Obama On Bush Tax Cuts

As TPM DC puts it, Senator Joe Lieberman is making sure “no millionaire is left behind” if the middle class gets Obama’s tax cuts:

President Obama has been absolutely clear that he wants to see the Bush tax cuts for the top two income brackets expire. So who better to lead the charge in the Senate to see all the Bush tax cuts extended than Joe Lieberman (I-CT).

“I know that many people, including the President, have argued that the tax cuts should not be continued for people making more than $200,000 a year,” Lieberman told the Stamford Chamber of Commerce today. “But to me these are the people we need to be using their income to spend and invest to spur growth and job creation.”

Thus, he adds, “I have had promising discussions over the past several days with colleagues from both sides of the aisle who see a bipartisan path forward on a permanent extension of the middle-class tax cuts and a temporary extension of the tax cuts for the highest income brackets to make sure that nobody’s taxes go up while the economy is still struggling to recover.”

The statement comes just as Democratic leaders coalesce around a legislative game plan to pass Obama’s proposal.

Now, this doesn’t represent a change of position for Lieberman. He’s been arguing that the top-bracket tax rates should be extended for another two years since the debate heated up. And, for that matter, he’s also insisted that he won’t stand in the way by joining a GOP filibuster if Harry Reid tries to extend the tax rates for the lower brackets alone.

But it looks like he wasn’t kidding when “[I'll do] everything I can to make sure Congress extends the so-called Bush tax cuts for another year and takes action to prevent the estate tax from rising back to where it was.”

They’re Not Embarrassed | Video Cafe

 

Crooks & Liars 

The Democrats need to use this footage for some campaign ads this year. Rachel Maddow lays out how the Republicans have continually flip-flopped on their own campaign issues once Democrats decide to embrace them whether it be health care reform, campaign finance reform, aid to small businesses or cap and trade. As she said in the clip of this rank hypocrisy, they’re just not embarrassed. But then since the media largely gives them a pass on this kind of stuff, why should they be?

Same Old Song

TPMDC

Looking  over the Republican game plan for November and it’s hard to tell, absent any outside reference points, whether it’s from 1980, 1990, 2000, or 2010.

For 18 months, Republicans have been torn between their ideological nature, and their need to appear different from the party that ended the Bush era in the crapper. In a sign of just how confident they feel that their electoral fortunes have turned, that tension is seemingly now gone. In the last two weeks, unabashed Republicans have started revealing the details of their governing agenda — one that will be familiar to those who were alive between 1994 and 2006, and which remains broadly unpopular with voters.

In the words of Mitch McConnell, Republicans feel like they’ve gotten their groove back. After the jump we run through the top 5 Republican retro-grooves we expect they’ll be playing throughout the August recess.

1. Limit Social Security: Late last month, House Majority Leader John Boehner called for Social Security to be means tested — i.e., limited to those with limited resources — and for the retirement age to be raised to 70. On the latter point, he has the support of some leading Democrats.

2. Cut Taxes For The Rich: It is the near-unanimous position of the Republican party, according to GOP leaders, that Bush-era tax cuts that benefit the rich should be extended, without being paid for by spending cuts or tax increases in other areas — even as they deny unemployment benefits on the grounds that they cost too much. The tax cuts cost almost $700 billion; the unemployment benefits about five percent of that. Some Republicans say tax cuts ought not be paid for because that puts downward pressure on the size of government. Others say, against all evidence, that tax cuts raise revenue.

3. Don’t Regulate Wall Street: Yesterday, Boehner added another item to his list of Democratic initiatives he says Republicans would fight to reverse. This one, though, is much more popular than health care reform. Boehner says just-passed rules meant to reign in Wall Street “ought to be repealed.”

4. Limit Corporate Governance: In their pursuit of a complete agenda, Republicans are fielding suggestions from their base voters. But for the most part, they’re listening to some of the most conservative interest groups in Washington, who are calling for lower corporate taxes, and gutting regulation.

5. Stop Federal Regulations: Just how do we know that the GOP is giving deference to their corporate interests? Because minutes after he met with the very lobbyists and trade representatives who publicly asked for less regulation, Boehner came out and called for a moratorium on new federal regulations. As Speaker Pelosi points out, this would put babies at risk. But more than that, as David Kurtz explains, it would strangle recently passed health care and financial reform legislation, and essentially bring the government to a halt.

 All before our very eyes.