think-progress
think-progress:

Pitiful, America.

"The good news is, you are living in a country with a very low tax burden. The bad news is, because of that low tax burden you are living in a country where good, deserving people, who need government’s help continue to suffer. They suffer depravations that none of the other countries on that chart would allow them to suffer — in healthcare and other needs. They suffer depravations that are unthinkable in the United Kingdom — in Margret Thatcher’s time or in our time. Their suffering, is the price we pay to be at the bottom of that list." - Lawrence O’Donnell

think-progress:

Pitiful, America.

"The good news is, you are living in a country with a very low tax burden. The bad news is, because of that low tax burden you are living in a country where good, deserving people, who need government’s help continue to suffer. They suffer depravations that none of the other countries on that chart would allow them to suffer — in healthcare and other needs. They suffer depravations that are unthinkable in the United Kingdom — in Margret Thatcher’s time or in our time. Their suffering, is the price we pay to be at the bottom of that list." - Lawrence O’Donnell

shortformblog

Bloomberg News poll reveals a majority of Americans believe in Obama mandate

shortformblog:

  • 65% of voters believe that President Obama has a mandate to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans after being reelected last month. That includes 45 percent of the Republicans surveyed as well.
  • 64% of voters believe that President Obama also has a mandate top protect programs like Medicare and Social Security during his next term. Considering Senate Republicans are now relying on filibusters of their own proposals related to the “fiscal cliff,” something tells us that Speaker Boehner was probably correct in telling House Republicans not to make holiday plans this year. source

nyt-agenda

A Closer Look at the 47 Percent

nyt-agenda:

By MICHAEL COOPER

“Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax,” Mitt Romney said at a fund-raiser earlier this year, according to a video posted by Mother Jones.

The figure comes from the Tax Policy Center, which found that 46.4 percent of households paid no federal income tax in 2011. 

But most households did pay payroll taxes. Of the 18.1 percent of households that paid neither income taxes or payroll taxes, the center found that more than half were elderly and more than a third were not elderly but had income under $20,000. Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the center, wrote in a blog post last summer that about half of those were off the rolls because they had low incomes. 

“For example, a couple with two children earning less than $26,400 will pay no federal income tax this year because their $11,600 standard deduction and four exemptions of $3,700 each reduce their taxable income to zero,” he wrote. “The basic structure of the income tax simply exempts subsistence levels of income from tax.”

A major reason that many poor people no longer pay federal income taxes is the Earned Income Tax Credit, which has long been supported by Republicans. The credit was added to the tax code when Gerald Ford was president, and was expanded by President Reagan in 1986 and by George H.W. Bush.

When President Reagan urged the passage of the 1986 tax overhaul, he said that ”millions of working poor will be completely dropped from the tax roles,” which he said would make the tax overhaul package ”one of the best anti-poverty programs this country has ever seen.”

Let`s start with fat cat. I`m glad he [Pres. Obama] used the word fat cat. It helped me go on a diet, I lost 30 pounds.

Let`s be blunt here. We had been called a lot of different things by a lot of different people. Whether he used that term or another term, it`s really meaningless, and what we have accomplished over the last four years, which now segues right into the Lehman weekend. No disrespect to everyone who talks about the Lehman weekend. I was one of the 12 individuals sitting there for the three days of the Lehman weekend. When Governor Romney or Congressman Ryan say, are we different than four years ago? I mean, come on. January 2009, we lost 800,000 jobs. The most in 60 years. OK? The stock market`s up since the president took office almost 100 percent. We have 500,000 more manufacturing jobs than we`ve had. That`s the best since the `90s. Our exports as a percent of GDP have been gaining double digits ever since he`s been in office. …

They all give the president grief about clarity. This is very straightforward. We could pass right now tax relief for 98 — the extension for 98 percent of this country. Let`s do it. Then let`s have the argument on the last 2 percent and see which way it goes, but let`s bring clarity to 98 percent of this country.
Robert Wolf, former president of UBS Bank on “Up with Chris Hayes” Sunday. 
letterstomycountry

letterstomycountry:

liberalsarecool:

“Please Raise My Taxes” via LinkedIn town hall meeting with President Obama.

For those who can’t watch clips online, question came from a man who retired at a young age, thanks to the success of a start-up company he worked for that “did quite well” (the man was later identified as the former director of marketing at Google). He asked the president, “Would you please raise my taxes? I would like very much to have the country to continue to invest in things like Pell Grants, and infrastructure, and job training programs that made it possible for me to get to where I am.”

We all benefited from someone investing in us.

We’re a massive, modern nation with a vast economy. We face real challenges, and they’re not the kind of challenges individuals can hope resolve on their own — we need cooperative solutions built around shared action.

This is kind of what Elizabeth Warren was getting at: a lot of people in this country were able to take advantage of certain opportunities with the help of government programs; whether it’s Pell Grants, temporary & disability assistance, guaranteed federal loans for graduates students (like myself), or what have you.  When those programs are in jeopardy due to a lack of tax revenue, there is a case to be made that those who willingly took the benefit of those programs (and became successful as a result) should contribute to their upkeep so “the next kid who comes along” will have the same access to opportunities that you had.

This isn’t to say there aren’t principled arguments to be made against government aid for all the things I just mentioned.  Libertarians make these arguments all the time, and I don’t find them unreasonable.  But essentially what you’re dealing with are two worldviews in which society looks different in a lot of fundamental ways: I guarantee you that if we stopped having the Federal Government guarantee loans for graduate students, for example, less people would be able to go to law school or Med School, because there’s no way private companies would underwrite as many students.  And while this can be argued as a good thing for the legal profession, the same argument cannot be made for the Medical profession, which continues to be desperate for new blood.