Read a little. Learn a lot. • Tightly-written news, views and stuff • Follow us on TwitterBe a Facebook FanTumble us!

13 Feb 2012 16:47


Politics: GOP caves on payroll tax cut; 10-month extension set to pass

  • 10 month extension of the payroll tax cut is likely to pass source
  • » Good news for Democrats:  GOP leadership has indicated that they’ll pass a 10-month extension of the payroll tax without any offsets in spending. Democrats had wanted to balance the tax cut, in part, with higher taxes on the rich; Republicans wanted to do so, in part, with cuts to unemployment benefits. Ultimately, they couldn’t agree, and so it will be passed with no offsets at all. Why is this good news for Democrats? Well, the GOP took a hard-line against the payroll tax cut–which largely benefits the middle-class–last December, making the once-benign policy a partisan issue. Democrats, by and large, were okay passing it sans offsets–the suggestion to pay for it via tax cuts on the rich was more a general effort to increase taxes on the rich–and so the fact that the extension is going to pass is a political and legislative win for Democrats. But the extension expires in ten months–right around the presidential election–so this fight is only over in the short-term.

29 Jan 2012 12:17


U.S.: GOP: We’ll make this payroll tax cut extension work, we swear

  • There is broad agreement on doing the payroll tax holiday through the end of the year … The problem is paying for it. … (Democrats) just don’t want to cut any spending. That is what made it problematic. But we will get it done. We will get it done before the end of February.
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell • Emphasizing that the payroll tax cuts that proved a thorn in the GOP’s side back around Christmas will get extended through the new year, no matter how many arms McConnell has to twist. The thing is, though, he’s not the guy who has to do the hard work. It’s Boehner in the House, who pissed off his rightward-leaning members by ignoring their wishes to score a deal. However, even Boehner is confident: “I’m confident that we’ll be able to resolve this fairly quickly,” he said. The tax cuts expire at the end of February, but there’s no word on how they plan to pay for this. source

23 Dec 2011 14:28


Politics: Obama on signing the two-month payroll tax-cut extension … finally

  • I promise you, the American people, your voices made a difference on this debate. You reminded people in this town what this debate and what all of our debates should be about: It’s about you; it’s about your lives; it’s about your families.
  • President Obama • Speaking about the debate around the payroll tax cuts, which finally reached his desk today after a solid week of hand-wringing by the House GOP. Here’s the plan from here on out, according to the president: “We’re going to have to roll up our sleeves together, Democrats and Republicans, to make sure that the economy is growing and to make sure that more jobs are created.” Think he’s making headway? source

22 Dec 2011 20:08


Politics: A rare concession: House GOP loses on payroll tax-cut issue

  • The GOP lost one. The tell-tale signs were everywhere. On a day where John Boehner lost support from the GOP establishment on blocking a payroll tax-cut plan — which mind you, was just for two months, and otherwise would’ve been a big GOP victory because of the Democratic concessions made — the political kayfabe finally gave way to inevitability. Here’s how it went down. (Photo by Gage Skidmore, that guy who takes all the GOP politician photos on Flickr)
  • cause For months, Republicans were soft on the idea of extending payroll tax cuts into 2012, a key issue for Democrats, because they thought it didn’t stimulate the economy. Eventually, the Senate passed a limited extension, but the House wouldn’t go for it.
  • reaction For days, House speaker John Boehner faced significant pressure over the House’s stance, and eventually his own party started criticizing the late-December move, which they believed could give the Democrats major leverage in 2012.
  • result Today, Boehner  gave in, with the House speaker allowing for a voice vote on the issue. “We have fought the good fight,” Boehner said. “Why not do the right thing for the American people even though it’s not exactly what we want?” source

22 Dec 2011 10:00


Politics: Karl Rove: Republicans lost the payroll tax cut battle, and badly

  • That’s what he says in a new op-ed column: “The GOP leaders have somehow managed the remarkable feat of being blamed for opposing a one-year extension of a tax holiday that they are surely going to pass,” he writes. “This is no easy double play.” He also suggests that Republicans in Congress might have helped hand Obama an early 2012 victory. When you’ve lost Rove, you know you’ve messed up pretty badly. source

18 Dec 2011 11:20


Politics: So … who’s paying for the payroll tax cut, anyway? Homeowners

  • $17 per month charges on new homeowners’ mortgages source
  • » Those who refinance will feel the pinch, too: To help pay for the $33 billion cost of the extended-by-two-months payroll tax cut, the federal government will increase the cost for homeowners to get their homes insured by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who currently back nine out of ten home mortgages in the U.S. The fee, currently around 0.3 percentage points, would jump by 0.1 percentage points, which translates to roughly $17 per month for most homeowners. However, this fee would not affect current homeowners unless they refinance starting next year. Is this the best way to handle the extension?

16 Dec 2011 21:13


Politics: Worst compromise ever: Democrats get slight payroll tax cut extension

  • deal The Democrats, after much pushing, got through a modest two-month extension of the payroll tax cuts which Republicans had long fought against. This sounds like a pretty crappy victory.
  • compromise However … it came at a cost: Democrats had to give up on their plan to tax millionaires, and Obama has to make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. Wow, they sure twisted the GOP’s arm! source

09 Nov 2011 13:54


Politics: OWS members start trek to Washington DC

  • 240 mile march by Occupy Wall Street, from NYC to DC source
  • » Hitting the road: A group of OWS protesters have embarked on this lengthy walk, expecting to arrive in Washington DC on November 23rd, the congressional committee deadline on whether to keep the Bush-era tax cuts extensions President Obama agreed to last year. The Occupy movement, obviously, would like to see these cuts expire; while this would raise the tax burden of middle-income Americans to a remote extent, it would also cause a very large influx of revenue from the class most buoyed by the Bush tax policy — that vaunted 1%. The march consists of a mere dozen or so protesters right now, but they expect (we suspect rightly) to gain large numbers as they work their way towards the capitol.

27 Oct 2011 15:24


Politics: Wide gap between Democrats, Republicans on deficit cuts

  • $2.2 trillion in cuts offered by super committee GOP source
  • » Cut spending, or do a little of everything? The above figure is, in fact, about $800 billion less than the deficit reduction the Democratic plan would have achieved, which relied on a nearly even mixture of spending cuts and tax increases (including some politically tough cuts to Medicare). The GOP plan, conversely, offers no such tax increases, instead relying on heavier spending cuts to Medicare, Social Security, and low-income welfare programs such as food stamps, along with lowering tax rates which they’re claiming will stoke hundreds of billions of extra economic activity. So, basically, the same argument is playing out exactly like it does every time, though now there’s only twelve people instead of a full Congress.

09 Oct 2011 22:45


Biz: Some among upper-middle class don’t pay income taxes, either

  • 4,025 number of people among the $75,000-$100,000 tax bracket who didn’t pay income taxes in 1996
  • 476,624 number of people among the same tax bracket who didn’t pay income taxes in 2009 … wait a second source
  • » Beyond numbers, into percentages: Now, if you break this down by percentages among tax brackets, it’s still a fairly small number — 1 percent of the total number, versus 76 percent of people who made less than $25,000. But there’s a difference here — the people making between $75,000 and $100,000 can generally afford to pay taxes, and they’re the largest-growing group of the bunch. Now, what’s the reason for all this? Well, between 1996 and 2009, a couple of presidents (whom you might know as Bush and Obama) enacted a series of changes to the tax code which effectively made it possible for more people to receive tax cuts that whittled the amount owed down to nothing. They most likely pay taxes in other ways — payroll and sales tax, for example — however. Force them to pay, you take money out of the pockets of the poor. So, what’s the balance?