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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.

24 Jan 2012 01:11


Politics: Mitt Romey’s tax forms finally released: Here are the highlights

  • 14% the effective tax rate for
    Mitt Romney in 2010
  • $21M the amount he made in 2010 — a tally which mostly came from investments
  • $3M the amount Romney paid in federal taxes that year, according to forms he just released
  • $3M the amount in charitable deductions he paid — and got deductions for — that same year source
  • » The “duh” sentence in this story: “His tax bill is significantly higher than the amount paid by most Americans.” What tipped you off, Wall Street Journal, the fact that there’s “million” in the amount?

22 Jan 2012 12:05


Politics: Finally: Mitt Romney will release tax returns later this week

  • Speaker Gingrich had a good week. It was not a great week for me. We spent a lot of time talking about tax returns and the changing result in Iowa.
  • Mitt Romney • Discussing his loss in South Carolina and revealing that he would finally release his tax forms after much goading. His dad, George, famously released his own tax returns when he ran for president in 1968. “I’m not going back to my dad’s year,” Mitt said, but he would (on Tuesday) release his 2010 return and an estimate of his 2011 taxes. We will not be happy until he tells us where his money pit issource

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.

03 Nov 2011 21:57


Biz: Study: Many corporations pay low tax rates; some pay none

  • 35% the corporate tax rate set by the U.S. government
  • 18.5% the average “real” tax rate paid by 280 Fortune 500 companies source
  • » And some companies don’t even pay: Two notably large companies that don’t pay any taxes … and in fact owe less than nothing somehow? General Electric and Pepco. (On a side note: DC residents looooooove Pepco, because the power goes out all the time around here.) Both companies defend their businesses practices.

13 Jul 2011 23:20


Politics: GOP Senator sounds suspiciously socialistic

  • We give money away to a few people at the expense of the many.
  • GOP Senator Lindsay Graham • Pushing to close tax loopholes that benefit upper-income earners. While it seems obvious (to most) that we ought to close tax loopholes, Republicans in Congress have, for the most part, resolutely opposed any modification of the tax code that brings in additional revenue. To hear a prominent Republican say something like this is a faint glimmer of hope that maybe–and that’s a big maybe– Republicans will bend a bit on revenues; this could, in turn, translate into a deal to raise the debt-ceiling. Which would be nice. source

13 Jul 2011 22:34


Politics: Talk about drawing a line in the sand

  • I’ve reached my limit. This may bring my presidency down, but I will not yield on this.
  • President Obama • Toward the end of a budget meeting with Republicans. It’s not clear what policy he won’t yield on, but from the texture of the debate thus far, we’re guessing it’s the inclusion of revenue increases in the deal to raise the debt-ceiling.source

03 Jul 2011 20:31


Politics: Two Senate Republicans budge on raising revenue. Well, kinda.

  • I think it’s clear that the Republicans are opposed to any tax hikes, particularly during a fragile economic recovery. Now, do we believe tax reform is necessary? I would say absolutely.
  • Sen. John Cornyn • Opening the door for the possibility of raising revenue … very slightly. See, Cornyn is OK with changing the tax code so as to fix loopholes in it. But he won’t willingly offer to raise taxes, no ifs, ands or buts. Sen. John McCain is in the same boat, willing to consider “revenue raisers” — without offering details. Now, this all seems like “whatever,” until you realize that this is the closest any members of the GOP have gotten to the idea of raising taxes — or any revenue at all, that is. How pathetic is it that this as far as the GOP has been willing to compromise on this issue? Why should Democrats have to do all the compromising? This isn’t even a step forward. This is like kicking your foot forward a quarter-inch by accident. This redefines movement. source

15 Jun 2011 22:15


Politics: Pawlenty’s extreme tax proposal

  • 73% Pawlenty’s tax cut for the 400 richest Americans source
  • » During his time as Minnesota’s governor, Tim Pawlenty staked out a few moderate stances. This is understandable, as Minnesota is a moderate state. But moderation doesn’t fly in the current incantation of the Republican party (just ask Mike Castle or Bob Bennett). It especially doesn’t fly for Republicans who want to be President, and perhaps no position is as sacrosanct to the modern Republican party as that of low taxes. Still, Pawlenty’s proposed tax plan is really extreme, even by supply-sider standards; for example, he proposes that millionaires alone receive a 41% tax cut. So, while it’s understandable that T-Paw wants quell the concerts of Republican primary voters by tacking to the right, we wonder if he really needed to adopt a tax plan that, in the words of Ezra Klein, “makes George W. Bush look like Robin Hood.”

13 Apr 2011 16:59


Politics: Surprisingly defiant tone for Obama in budget speech

  • So… how y’all feel about that speech? Reviews streaming in following President Obama’s remarks about U.S. budgetary issues are somewhat mixed, but that’s what you’d expect when the speech in question struck such a starkly firm, at times defiant tone. Indeed, the favorite words of the administration, like “bipartisanship,” “compromise,” and “common ground” were all there, but there was also a lot of base-feeding red meat to his pitch that likely inflamed conservative orthodoxy and left liberals feeling better than they had expected.
  • The Paul Ryan Plan President Obama flatly and sternly dismissed Rep. Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity,” stating the plan would “end Medicare as we know it,” has a “deeply pessimistic” vision for America, and there’s “nothing courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill.”
  • The Tax Man plan? The crux of the President’s rebuttal is that taxes on our highest income earners not only must go up, but that they should go up — a marked departure from more moderate rhetoric he’s used in the past years, likely due to the opposition’s success in injecting the word “socialism” into the debate. source