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One of the fundamental challenges of our time is building an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.

And as many Americans rush to file their taxes this weekend, it’s worth pointing out that we’ve got a tax system that doesn’t always uphold the principle of everyone doing their part.

Now, this is not just about fairness.  This is also about growth.  It’s about being able to make the investments we need to strengthen our economy and create jobs.  And it’s about whether we as a country are willing to pay for those investments.

In a perfect world, of course, none of us would have to pay any taxes. We’d have no deficits to pay down.  And we’d have all the resources we needed to invest in things like schools and roads and a strong military and new sources of energy – investments that have always bolstered our economy and strengthened the middle class.

But we live in the real world, with real choices and real consequences. Right now, we’ve got significant deficits to close.  We’ve got serious investments to make to keep our economy growing.  And we can’t afford to keep spending more money on tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans who don’t need them and didn’t even ask for them.

Warren Buffett is one of the wealthiest men in the world.  But he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.  That’s just the way the system is set up.  In fact, one in four millionaires pays a lower tax rate than millions of hardworking middle-class households.

As Warren points out, that’s not fair and it doesn’t make sense.  It’s wrong that middle-class Americans pay a higher share of their income in taxes than some millionaires and billionaires.


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guardian.co.uk, Friday 13 April 2012 14.24 EDT

White House says president believes he should pay more tax as returns show he and Michelle paid 20.5% on $789,674

The White House has said the president believes he should pay more tax as the release of Barack Obama‘s returns showed he was taxed at a higher rate than his Republican presidential rival, Mitt Romney, last year but below many ordinary Americans.

The president’s joint tax return with his wife, Michelle, released by the White House on Friday, reveals they paid tax at a rate of 20.5% on income of $789,674 in 2011.

The Obamas’ earnings fell by nearly $1m on the previous year as sales of the president’s bestselling books declined. The first couple paid $162,074 in income tax. They also donated a similar amount to 39 charities.

The vice-president, Joe Biden, and his wife, Jill, paid tax at 23% on income of $379,035.

The release of the returns was politically charged because the president has built part of his re-election campaign around accusing the Republicans of giving millionaires tax breaks paid for by cutting services to the less well off.

The White House has also targeted Romney, who paid tax at less than 15% over the past two years on his multimillion-dollar income from a vast fortune.

Obama has been campaigning for the imposition of the “Buffett rule” that would see those earning more than $1m a year, whether from salary or investments, pay tax at a rate of at least 30%. The rule is named after the business magnate, Warren Buffet, who called for the rich to pay more to the treasury because he said it is wrong that he should be taxed at a lower rate than his secretary.

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February 15, 2012

Addicting Info  By

Rick Santorum is currently the poster boy for conservatism and the candidate leading the national polls among Republicans. Every day, Romney gets a little weaker, and Santorum gets a little stronger. And that makes him a threat to be the Republican Presidential nominee who faces President Obama in the general election this fall. But who exactly would the American people really be voting for if they elected Santorum? The answer could make you throw up in your mouth a little bit.

If Americans were to elect Rick Santorum to the Presidency, they’d be electing a second George W. Bush. In fact, Santorum would be even worse. If Rick Perry is the dumber version of Bush, Rick Santorum is the extreme version. According to Congressional Quarterly, Santorum supported Bush policies over 95% of the time from 2001 to 2005. Here is just a sample of the many Bush supported policies that Santorum voted for.

Tax Cuts) Santorum loves tax cuts. In fact, he voted for the 2001 Bush tax cuts, the repeal the Inheritance Tax in 2002, the 2003 Bush tax cuts, and he voted for extending the Bush tax cuts in 2006. These tax cuts are partly to blame for the large deficits created by Republicans that continue to plague our economy today and has contributed to the largest increase in income inequality since the Great Depression. But Santorum would be worse than Bush because he wants to cut taxes even more for corporations and the wealthy.

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Crooks and Liars

February 05, 2012 07:00 AM

By-  Jon Perr

Federal Election Commission filings released this week showed that conservatives groups are amassing an ocean of cash for the 2012 presidential campaign.  Thanks to the likes of the Koch brothers, the Walton clan and other of the usual suspects on the right, in 2011 conservative SuperPAC’s outraised their liberal counterparts by more than seven to one.  But if they win, rich Republican donors could more than get back the millions they invested.  As it turns, just one law they are trying to buy – the elimination of the estate tax – could put billions of dollars back into their families’ bank accounts.  Of course, that gaping hole would have to be filled by all other American taxpayers.

As Mother Jones reported, as of December 31, 2011 conservative SuperPAC’s reaped $60 million of now-unlimited contributions, compared to just $8 million for liberal groups.  That tidal wave of corporate cash and play money from the wealthy has filled the coffers of Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, Mitt Romney’s Restore the Future, Newt Gingrich’s Winning the Future and a litany of other right-wing SuperPACs.  And as Amanda Terkel detailed, at a secret conclave last week, the Koch brothers pledged to raise much more to defeat President Obama:

At a private three-day retreat in California last weekend, conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch and about 250 to 300 other individuals pledged approximately $100 million to defeat President Obama in the 2012 elections.

A source who was in the room when the pledges were made told The Huffington Post that, specifically, Charles Koch pledged $40 million and David pledged $20 million.

But that figure is chump change compared to the eye-popping return on investment the Kochs can expect if their side wins in November.  Ending the estate tax, a policy endorsed by Mitt Romney and every other Republican presidential candidate, would literally be worth billions of dollars to the heirs of Charles and David Koch.  As ThinkProgress explained last year:

According to a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation, the Koch brothers’ heirs’ would save a combined $17.4 billion in estate taxes thanks to Romney’s plan.

Each of the Koch brothers — Charles and David — is worth about $25 billion. They are each married, so they would receive an exemption on the first $10 million that they pass down, and then theirs heirs would pay a 35 percent tax, or $8.7 billion, on the rest of their vast fortunes.

Now, this is an exceedingly rough calculation, as it’s almost certain that the Koch’s have engaged in extensive estate planning and would pay nowhere near that amount. But 35 percent is the rate on the books, and Romney’s plan to eliminate the estate tax entirely would undeniably save the Kochs a boatload of money.

Here’s why.  Despite Republican mythology about family farms and businesses being lost to the so-called “death tax,” by 2009 only 0.24 percent of estates even paid the levy. And that was before the December 2010 compromise President Obama inked with Congressional Republicans extending the Bush tax cuts further slashed the estate tax. The reduced 35 percent tax is now applied only to couples with estates greater than $10 million, a change which will cost Uncle Sam roughly $15 billion a year. Now, the Tax Policy Center calculated, only 0.1 percent of estates are impacted. Only 50 family farms and small businesses will be affected, and they contribute “less than one tenth of 1 percent point of the total revenue the tax will collect.” Who pays the estate tax?

TPC estimates that 8,600 individuals dying in 2011 will leave estates large enough to require filing an estate tax return (estates with a gross value under $5 million need not file a return in 2011). After allowing for deductions and credits, an estimated 3,270 estates will owe tax. Roughly 90 percent of these taxable estates will come from the top ten percent of income earners and nearly half will come from the top one percent alone./em>

Estate tax liability will total an estimated $10.6 billion in 2011. The top ten percent of income earners will pay 98 percent of this total. The richest 1 in 1,000 will pay $5.4 billion or 51 percent of the total.

Among that richest 1 in 1,000 are the Koch brothers and the family behind Walmart, the Walton clan.

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Addicting Info- February 3, 2012

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A day after Mitt “Moneybags” Romney stated his lack of concern for the economically disadvantaged (an old school Republican touchstone), President Obama shot back by finally using the right-wing’s bullets against them.  Despite constantly being smeared as a secret Muslim, Barack Obama in fact subscribes to Christianity.  Today’s perverse version of Christianity typically refers to super rich, white proselytizers who flagrantly manipulate the pure teachings of Jesus and spew bilious hatred towards gays, women, single moms, blacks, and the poor and middle-class. It also tends to refer to making a bunch of bombs to kill a bunch of Middle Easterners so that some  defense contactor can continue to eat caviar.  So it’s only natural for thinking people to stay within 100 yards of it. But, much like everything else under the sun, the Republicans love co-opting it blatantly injecting it into politics in order to claim higher ground.

Former president Bush, a simple-minded lummox with virtually nothing to offer other than his ability to relate to even dumber people, understood that invoking Jesus’ name would guarantee universal support of his hawkish foreign policy no matter how severely flawed and unreasonable it may have been.  For that reason, I have been constantly saying that President Obama should put on his best decider face, hold a press conference on the white house lawn, and state that his good homeboy JC told him that he should return taxes on the highest earners to the levels during the Clinton era. But that’s not the style of the guy of the president who sings Al Green.

During the National Prayer Breakfast in D.C. that took place yesterday, the president revealed that his Christian (or Christ-like) faith heavily influenced his economic policies– including calling for the wealthy to pay more taxes and overhauling the healthcare system. He explained to the attendees that the nation’s challenges require smart policies coupled with a strong values system, and not of the philandering on your dying wife, or subscribing to anti-gay policies and making anti-gay rhetoric only to have secret gay sex variety.

It’s hard for me to ask seniors on a fixed income or young people with student loans or middle-class families who can barely pay the bills to shoulder the burden alone,’President Obama said.

“For me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that, for unto whom much is given, much shall be required,’ he added, referencing verse 48 of chapter 12 in the Gospel of Luke. “To answer the responsibility we’re given in Proverbs to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute,” added Obama.

VIDEO & MORE HERE

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