Tag Archives: tax cuts

NY Times offers examples of what we could buy if the Bush Era Tax Cuts for The Wealthy were allowed to expire

From the NY Times Blog By The Numbers
What Else Would $60 Billion Buy?

$60 Billion: The approximate amount that extending the Bush tax cuts on income above $250,000 a year — which Congress seems on the verge of doing — will cost a year, in inflation-adjusted terms. On average, the affluent households that benefit from these cuts will save $25,000 annually. What else might that $60 billion a year buy?

•As much deficit reduction as the elimination of earmarks, President Obama’s proposed federal pay freeze, a 10 percent cut in the federal work force and a 50 percent cut in foreign aid — combined.

•A tripling of federal funding for medical research.

Universal preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds, with relatively small class sizes.

•A much larger troop surge in Afghanistan, raising spending by 60 percent from current levels.

•A national infrastructure program to repair and upgrade roads, bridges, mass transit, water systems and levees.

•A 15 percent cut in corporate taxes.

•Twice as much money for clean-energy research as suggested by a recent bipartisan plan.

Free college, including room and board, for about half of all full-time students, at both four- and two-year colleges.

•A $500 tax cut for all households.


Members of Congress wealth increases 16% in last year, but they vote NO to extension of Unemployment Benefits prior to the Holidays

Just before they broke for the Thanksgiving holiday Congress took another vote on extending Unemployment benefits for the nearly 2 million Americans still looking for work. The GOP voted overwhelmingly NOT to extend the benefits. Now they’re comfortably at home or on vacation somewhere ready to enjoy their lavish Thanksgiving holiday.

Before Congress adjourned for their Thanksgiving break, House Republicans blocked a bill that would have reauthorized the programs for three months, insisting that its $12 billion cost be offset with spending cuts elsewhere in the budget. Many expect Democrats to cut a deal by Christmas, preserving the benefits perhaps by attaching them to a reauthorization of expiring tax cuts for the rich.

Next we’ll see them try to use this as leverage to force the President into extending tax cuts for the wealthy. They will try to hold Democrats and The President responsible for THEIR NO VOTES while lobbying behind the scenes for their wealthy friends, donors and benefactors.

For all the complaining and lies they’ve thrown at the President over the economy they have had a good years. Their personal wealth went up over 16% from 2008 to 2009. Guess it hasn’t been a bad year for the fat cats in D.C. and those filling their coffers. Never mind the struggles of unemployment, lost homes, lost retirements, lost insurance for the millions of Americans now feeling the pain of George W. Bush’s dismal handling of the economy. Anyone think it’s not a coincidence we didn’t start to see and feel the full effects of his failures until he walked out of office free and clear.

In the House, the study found, median wealth grew to $765,010, up from $645,503 in 2008. In the Senate, median wealth grew from $2.27 million in 2008 to $2.38 million in 2009.

The new data comes as lawmakers consider whether to extend tax cuts for couples making $250,000 or more – a move that apparently would benefit many members of Congress. The Obama administration wants to confine the tax breaks to earnings under $250,000, although it has signaled it might be open to a compromise with Republicans over the issue.

Researchers at CRP also identified 251 millionaires in Congress, including eight lawmakers worth $10 million or more.

The top three on the list were Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), with holdings exceeding $303.5 million; Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), with $293.4 million; and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) at $238.8 million.


Politico recently reported we now have 237 millionaires in Congress.

The CRP numbers are somewhat rough estimates – lawmakers are required to report their financial information in broad ranges of figures, so it’s impossible to pin down their dollars with precision. The CRP uses the mid-point in the ranges to build its estimates.

Senators’ estimated median reportable worth sunk to about $1.79 million from $2.27 million in 2007. The House’s median income was significantly lower and also sank, bottoming out at $622,254 from $724,258 in 2007.

But CRP’s analysis suggests that some lawmakers did well for themselves between 2007 and 2008, even as many Americans lost jobs and saw their savings and their home values plummet.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) gained about $9.2 million. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) gained about $3 million, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) had an estimated $2.6 million gain, and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) gained about $2.8 million.

Some lawmakers have profited from investments in companies that have received federal bailouts; dozens of lawmakers are invested in Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America.

Did you catch the part in bold? Read it again if you need to. Read it slowly. We are supposed to trust that these very millionaires go to work every day in D.C. reminded of the pain and struggles of regular Americans? It’s very doubtful that any of these folks have ever experienced a complete wipe out of their savings or lost a home, had to tell a child there is no chance of college, or spend months sometimes years trying to find a job.


What did the Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthy really do to the economy?

An excerpt from Tax.Com

The 2008 income tax data are now in, so we can assess the fulfillment of the Republican promise that tax cuts would produce widespread prosperity by looking at all the years of the George W. Bush presidency.

Just as they did in 2000, the Republicans are running this year on an economic platform of tax cuts, especially making the tax cuts permanent for the richest among us. So how did the tax cuts work out? My analysis of the new data, with all figures in 2008 dollars:

Total income was $2.74 trillion less during the eight Bush years than if incomes had stayed at 2000 levels.

That much additional income would have more than made up for the lack of demand that keeps us mired in the Great Recession. That would mean no need for a stimulus, although it would not have affected the last administration’s interfering with market capitalism by bailing out irresponsible Wall Streeters instead of letting the market determine their fortunes.

In only two years was total income up, but even when those years are combined they exceed the declines in only one of the other six years.

Even if we limit the analysis by starting in 2003, when the dividend and capital gains tax cuts began, through the peak year of 2007, the result is still less income than at the 2000 level. Total income was down $951 billion during those four years.

Average incomes fell. Average taxpayer income was down $3,512, or 5.7 percent, in 2008 compared with 2000, President Bush’s own benchmark year for his promises of prosperity through tax cuts.

Had incomes stayed at 2000 levels, the average taxpayer would have earned almost $21,000 more over those eight years. That’s almost $50 per week.

The changes in average and total incomes are detailed on the next page in Table 1, the first of four tables analyzing the whole data.

Now that we have looked at the whole eight-year period, what does the new data show about 2008, the worst recession ear since the 1930s, show when compared to the peak year of 2007, when the average taxpayer made $63,096, which was 2.5 percent more than in 2000.

In only two of the eight Bush years, 2006 and 2007, were average incomes higher than in 2000, but the gains were highly concentrated at the top. Of the total increase in income in 2007 over that in 2005, nearly 30 percent went to taxpayers who made $1 million or more.

Now surely some will say that it is not fair to saddle George W. Bush and those who supported his tax cuts with the economic figures from 2001 and 2008. The first would be on the theory that President Clinton should be charged for that year (just as Bush should be charged with 2009, the first year of the Obama administration). The second is on less solid ground, but let’s consider it for the sake of argument.

Just measuring the second through seventh years we find that total income was still nearly $2 trillion lower than if 2000 level income continued. Stacking the deck in President George W. Bush’s favor does not change the awful performance or even soften it much.

The tax cuts cost $1.8 trillion in the first eight years, according to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center, whose reliability the last administration went out of its way to praise. Those cuts were heavily weighted toward the people candidate George W. Bush famously called “haves and the have-mores . . . some people call you the elite. I call you my base.”

In the two years since 2008, the cuts’ total cost grew to $2.3 trillion, the Tax Policy Center estimated.

One of every eight dollars of the tax cuts went to the 1 in 1,000 taxpayers in the top tenth of 1 percent, the annual threshold for which was in the $2 million range throughout the last administration. The only other large beneficiary was parents with children under 17 who make enough to pay income taxes, thanks to the $1,000-per-child tax credit Republicans started championing in the mid-1990s.

Now let’s look at wages, the source of most people’s income. In 2008 the average taxpayer made $58,000. That was $5,100 less than in 2007, a decline of 8.1 percent.

The number of taxpayers reporting any wages in 2008 was 1.26 million fewer than in 2007, a scary figure when you consider that most people do not expect to be out of work for an entire year and that the population grew by more than a percentage point. In August 42 percent of the unemployed — 6.2 million people — had been out of work for 27 weeks or more, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. The average for all jobless workers was 33.6 weeks of unemployment, the equivalent of going from New Year’s Day through August 23 without a paycheck.

The number of taxpayers with incomes below $100,000 with any wage income fell in 2008 by 1.8 million. Because married couples file many tax returns, this means more than 2 million people who worked in 2007 earned no wages in 2008.

Total wages in 2008 fell by nearly 4 percent, compared with a year earlier, for the 87 percent of Americans whose total income was less than $100,000. Since 2000, population grew more than wages.

Those reporting negative incomes quadrupled from less than 600,000 in 2000 to nearly 2.5 million in 2008. Their losses worsened slightly from -$64,000 on average to -$66,000.

You can read more and see the charts and analysis HERE.


FEAR vs HOPE

President Obama took on the GOP and Senator John Boehner (R-OH) in Cleveland in his continued fight for the middle class today. Today the President reminded us exactly why we elected him to lead our country.

He spoke of the disaster and misguided proposal of the GOP to grant permanent, budget-busting tax cuts to the wealthiest Americansand elaborated on his own proposals.

Some notable portions:
I know that folks are worried about the future. I know there’s still a lot of hurt out here. And when times are tough, I know it can be tempting to give in to cynicism and fear and doubt and division -– and just settle our sights a little bit lower, settle for something a little bit less. But that’s not who we are, Ohio. Those are not the values that built this country.

We are here today because in the worst of times, the people who came before us brought out the best in America. Because our parents and our grandparents and our great-grandparents were willing to work and sacrifice for us. They were willing to take great risks, and face great hardship, and reach for a future that would give us the chance at a better life. They knew that this country is greater than the sum of its parts -– that America is not about the ambitions of any one individual, but the aspirations of an entire people, an entire nation.

That’s who we are. That is our legacy. And I’m convinced that if we’re willing to summon those values today, and if we’re willing to choose hope over fear, and choose the future over the past, and come together once more around the great project of national renewal, then we will restore our economy and rebuild our middle class and reclaim the American Dream for the next generation.

Near the end:
A few weeks ago, the Republican leader of the House came here to Cleveland and offered his party’s answer to our economic challenges. Now, it would be one thing if he had admitted his party’s mistakes during the eight years that they were in power, if they had gone off for a while and meditated, and come back and offered a credible new approach to solving our country’s problems.

But that’s not what happened. There were no new policies from Mr. Boehner. There were no new ideas. There was just the same philosophy that we had already tried during the decade that they were in power — the same philosophy that led to this mess in the first place: Cut more taxes for millionaires and cut more rules for corporations.

Instead of coming together like past generations did to build a better country for our children and grandchildren, their argument is that we should let insurance companies go back to denying care for folks who are sick, or let credit card companies go back to raising rates without any reason. Instead of setting our sights higher, they’re asking us to settle for a status quo of stagnant growth and eroding competitiveness and a shrinking middle class.

Cleveland, that is not the America I know. That is not the America we believe in. A lot has changed since I came here in those final days of the last election, but what hasn’t is the choice facing this country. It’s still fear versus hope; the past versus the future. It’s still a choice between sliding backward and moving forward.

It doesn’t take a genius or financial wizard to understand that tax cuts for the top 2% in our country does nothing to help the rest of Americans. Just look back over the last 8 years since the Bush Tax cuts for the wealthy went into effect what it has done to our economy.


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