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Friday, August 03, 2012

SHAMEFUL News from the GOP led US House of Representatives

The following is an interesting conglomerate of articles written about the tax bill being voted on recently in the House of Represenatives. This was prepared by the Americans for Tax Fairness.

Following the House vote yesterday to approve the GOP bill to extend all the Bush tax cuts, including those for households with incomes above $250,000, the richest 2 percent of Americans, one week after the Senate did the opposite, there were some great highlights in our daily clips that I wanted to share with you below.

The one Republican who voted no to extending Bush tax cuts: Marketwatch, 8/1/2012
Rep. Timothy Johnson [was] the only Republican to vote against a bill in the House extending Bush-era tax cuts for everyone by one year….  The Illinois representative has already broken ranks with many in his party when, in March, he said he was no longer bound to follow a pledge to the Americans for Tax Reform group not to raise taxes, according to the publication Roll Call. “I would never in a million years have considered this as some kind of a locked-in-granite pledge. Frankly, I didn’t even remember it. That shows you how obscure it was to me,” Johnson said to Roll Call.

Capitol Hill Whodunit as Congress Feuds Over Bush Tax Cuts: Daily Beast, Patricia Murphy, 8/1/2012 The Capitol Hill whodunit unfolded as the Republican-controlled House agreed 256 to 171 to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for all taxpayers for one more year…. The Senate rejected the same bill last week but passed its own version of the House Democrats’ bill, extending the Bush tax cuts for those with income up to $250,000. “The two approaches demonstrate a glaring difference in priorities,” [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid said. “But there’s another difference between the two plans: Democrats’ proposal is the only one with a chance of actually becoming law. President Obama has said he would sign it tomorrow.” By contrast, the White House said Tuesday night that the president would veto the Republicans’ tax-cuts-for-all bill…. A New York Times/CBS poll of three swing states out Wednesday found 58 to 62 percent of those surveyed supporting Obama’s plan to boost taxes on those earning more than $250,000.

House Votes to Extend Tax Cuts, Accomplishes Nothing: Forbes, Kelly Phillips Erb, 8/1/2012. What’s really going to happen is that – at least until November – the Democrats are going to oppose any plan that holds rates steady for the top 2% of taxpayers (those making $250,000 or more) and the Republicans will oppose any plan that doesn’t extend the cuts for all taxpayers…. Democrats are taking a gamble that most Americans will continue to support their version of the plan (the one that passed the Senate). Most polls indicate that there is not wide support for extending the cuts to all taxpayers. So, I’m asking you: do you support extending the cuts to all taxpayers, all but the top 2% of American taxpayers or not at all?

Faith leaders oppose GOP tax plan: The Associated Baptist News, Bob Allen, 8/1/2012 More than 60 Christian leaders and theologians – including several Baptists – signed an open letter Aug. 1 criticizing a proposal backed by House Republicans to extend Bush-era tax cuts to the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans, while allowing enhancements to middle-class tax credits added in 2009 by President Obama to expire. The letter, coordinated by Faith in Public Life, came as the GOP-controlled House prepared to vote on a competing plan to a Senate bill that would renew tax cuts due to expire Dec. 31 on all but the wealthiest taxpayers. The House plan keeps those cuts in place but reduces benefits for the middle and lower classes. The faith leaders said how Congress votes on the tax measures “will have a profound impact on working families and the poor.” They specifically opposed any plan that fails to extend improvements in the Child Tax Credit, which reduces the federal income tax on families by up to $1,000 for each qualifying child under 17, and the Earned Income Tax Credit, a refundable federal income tax credit for low to moderate income working individuals and families.

“These tax credits help families meet basic needs, reduce poverty, and remove barriers to work,” the letter said. “It is hypocritical for lawmakers who talk about family values to abandon improvements in these effective, family supporting programs.”
The faith leaders said reducing those credits would jeopardize the economic security of more than 15 million families and 36 million children. “This is simply unconscionable,” they wrote…. “Favoring the wealthiest 2 percent over working families is irresponsible public policy that fails a basic moral test,” the leaders said….
“Ultimately, these choices reflect our values and reveal our priorities as a nation,” they said. “We urge members of Congress to put families and workers before ideological agendas that favor the powerful.” ….
Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners and a member of First Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., called the Republican budget “an immoral document” because of how its priorities and principles apply differently to the rich and poor.
“I certainly don’t believe that all our Republican lawmakers came to Washington to hurt poor people, but it’s time for some of them to challenge the dominant forces in their party and face the consequences of such indefensible choices,” Wallis said in a press release.

Bush Tax-Cut Votes All About November National Journal, Nancy Cook, 8/2/2012
Mitt Romney….will paint the Democrats as politicians willing to raise taxes on small-business owners. Never mind that a new analysis from the Tax Policy Center estimates that Romney’s tax plan, well informed by the House Republicans, would disproportionately raise taxes on middle- and lower-income people who rely on tax credits and deductions: the same benefits Romney has vaguely promised to clear from the code in favor of lowering marginal rates.

Obama Says Romney’s Tax Plan Favors Wealthy Only New York Times, Jackie Calmes, 8/1/2012
Mr. Obama cited a new study from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, two centrist Washington-based policy research organizations. The analysis concluded that the sort of tax code that Mr. Romney has proposed “would provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers.”
…if Mr. Romney reduced or eliminated other tax breaks to offset the revenue loss of his tax cuts — as he has promised, without specifics — the changes would shift $86 billion of the tax burden away from the high-income taxpayers and onto everyone else. Americans would lose some or all of existing tax breaks for mortgages, college tuition and health insurance….
The Tax Policy Center is widely respected in both parties, and its director was an economic adviser to President George W. Bush.

Mitt Romney's Tax Plan The Atlantic, Clive Crook, 8/1/2012
William Gale and colleagues look at a tax plan with Romney characteristics--they can't score the actual plan precisely, because it's too vague--and are decidedly unimpressed. Our major conclusion is that a revenue-neutral individual income tax change that incorporates the features Governor Romney has proposed - including reducing marginal tax rates substantially, eliminating the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT) and maintaining all tax breaks for saving and investment - would provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers. This is true even when we bias our assumptions about which and whose tax expenditures are reduced to make the resulting tax system as progressive as possible….

Paula Dwyer writes a nice column on the findings. I agree with her conclusion. Romney's plan looks "both politically infeasible and mathematically pie-in-the-sky".

Obama Emphasizes Deficit Credentials, Broadens Fight Over Bush Tax Cuts Huffington Post, Jon Ward, 8/1/2012
"To cut the deficit, we need everyone to pay their fair share." That's how President Barack Obama ended a 30-second commercial his reelection campaign released on Tuesday…. A two-front battle is Obama maintaining the fairness argument while trying to undercut Romney's advantage among voters for whom fiscal responsibility is a top priority. And that's a lot of voters.

The deficit ranks behind only the economy/jobs and health care in recent polls when voters are asked what issues are most important to them. Obama has been arguing for some time that Romney's tax plan will add $5 trillion to the deficit. But he got some ammunition Wednesday from the Tax Policy Center, when Urban Institute-Brookings Institution joint venture issued a report saying that Romney's plan to cut rates for all tax brackets, lower the corporate rate, and keep taxes on investments low, without adding to the deficit, would require taxes to go up for middle- and low-income earners….

Romney is either going to screw the working-class or that he'll be a fiscal profligate….

August 3, 2012 at 10:57 AM in Economy, Populism, Taxes | Permalink