Friday, December 7, 2012

tax revenues

Dear Friend,
With just 27 days left in the 112th Congress, we are headed for a major showdown in this lame duck session.
We know what the Republicans want: to keep taxes on the wealthy and large corporations unconscionably low and military spending sky-high; to gut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security; and to make brutal cuts to important domestic programs like food stamps and unemployment insurance.
Fortunately Democrats in the House of Representatives, under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi, are fighting back. Just yesterday, House Democrats filed a discharge petition to force a vote that will finally end the Bush tax cuts for people making more than $250,000 a year.1 We need Representative Bill Flores to sign the discharge petition to allow a vote on the Bush tax cuts as soon as possible.
At a time when the political and media establishment in Washington, DC, are ginning up panic over the so-called "fiscal cliff," speaking up in support of this discharge petition is a major opportunity to send a loud and clear message to Congress. If they are serious about addressing the national debt and deficit, there is a simple way to do it: letting the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy permanently expire at the end of 2012.
More than a decade after they were signed into law, it is clear now that the Bush tax cuts were a huge mistake. Without the implementation of those disastrous cuts, our economy "would have been in much stronger shape to weather all the fiscal storms of the past 10 years and much better prepared for those of the next 10."2 There is absolutely no reason for Congress to repeat that mistake by extending the Bush tax cuts yet again.
This is a fight we can win if we are relentless. We need to speak up and lay down our marker today to let our elected representatives in Washington, DC, know that we expect them to hold the line against what has turned out to be one of the most disastrous economic policies enacted in our nation's history. Click below to automatically sign our petition.
Thank you for fighting to end the Bush tax cuts once and for all.
Murshed Zaheed, Deputy Political Director 
CREDO Action from Working Assets
1. Faiz Shakir, "House Democrats File Discharge Petition To Force Vote On Middle Class Tax Cuts," The Gavel — House Democratic Leader's Blog, December 4, 2012.
2. Michael Linden & Michael Ettlinger, "The Bush Tax Cuts Are the Disaster that Keeps on Giving," Center for American Progress, June 7, 2011.

The problem with the budget is spending not income. It is not possible to overcome an exponential function with a linear one. The gorilla in the room is military expenditure. This talk about taxes is circus for the masses. A way to kick the can a little farther down the road.

Several top Republicans abruptly abandoned Norquist this week, declaring themselves unbeholden to his pledge, which forbids signers from raising any type of revenue. 
But privately, several Republican activists told Business Insider that they are neither surprised nor upset by Norquist's fall from grace, underscoring a growing schism between the ATR chief and his fellow conservatives. 
"For those of us in the trenches, this is old news," a top Republican Senate aide told Business Insider. "I think his power has been vastly overstated." 

To understand the disagreement between Norquist and his fellow Republicans, it's important to understand what is in his infamous anti-tax pledge, known in Republican circles as simply "The Pledge."
It reads: 
I, ______, pledge to the taxpayers of the state of ________, and to the American people that I will:
ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and
TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.
The basic premise is one that the majority of conservatives agree with: That Republicans should never agree to new tax revenues because Democrats will find a way to use those revenues to increase spending.
The schism stems from the second clause, which defines tax credits and deductions as revenue, rather than as spending. What that means is that, according to the pledge, the elimination of any tax credit or deduction — including industry subsidies and tax loopholes — qualifies as an increase in taxes. 
"Spending is money going out of the Treasury, taxes are money going into the Treasury," ATR communications director John Kartch explained in an email to Business Insider. "To collect less in taxes is to bring less money into the Treasury. It has nothing whatsoever to do with spending, which is to send money out of the Treasury."
The problem is that almost everyone else besides Norquist — including Republicans, Democrats, and economists — agrees that tax credits and deductions are actually "tax expenditures," or spending through the tax code. 
"Republicans and Democrats argue from opposite sides of the balance sheet — whether we should increase revenues or cut spending," explained the Senate aide, who asked not to be named in order to speak candidly. "But Grover is totally isolated in considering the elimination of tax credits to be a tax increase." 
A really simple example is the $78 million tax break for NASCAR racetrack owners, one of myriad special interest loopholes and exceptions that riddle the tax code. Cutting this loophole would be tantamount to the government spending $78 million less to this industry.

Read more:

Every day, more Republicans in Congress are backing away from Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquit’s anti-tax pledge. For more than 20 years, the pledge, which stipulates that those who sign will never — under any circumstance — vote to raise taxes while in Congress, has virtually been a requirement for Congressional Republicans.According to ATR, just 16 of the 234 House Republicans and 6 of the 45 Senate Republicans that comprise the 113th Congress did not sign the pledge.
However, the pledge may not have the staying power it once did. As of this writing, more than a dozen House Republicans — including Majority Leader Eric Cantor — and 10 GOP senators have distanced themselves from the pledge to one degree or another. Here are just a few examples or what members had to say:
 Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH): “The only pledge that keeps me up at night is the pledge I owe to the people of New Hampshire and our country to work as hard as I can to make sure America doesn’t go bankrupt.”
 Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA): “I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge . . . I don’t worry about that because I care too much about my country. I care a lot more about it than I do Grover Norquist.”
 Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN): “Well, I’m not obligated on the pledge. I made Tennesseans aware, I was just elected, that the only thing I’m honoring is the oath I take when I’m sworn in this January.
 Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA): “When I go to the constituents, it’s not about that pledge. It’s about trying to solve problems.”
 Rep. Peter King (R-NY): “A pledge is good at the time you sign it . . . In 1941, I would have voted to declare war on Japan. But each Congress is a new Congress. And I don’t think you can have a rule that you’re never going to raise taxes or that you’re never going to lower taxes. I don’t want to rule anything out.”
 Rep. Timothy Johnson (R-IL): “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.”
Other Senators that have signed the pledge and distanced themselves from Norquist includeSen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE), and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY). House Republicans also jumping ship include: Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY), Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI), Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA), Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR), Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA), Rep. Jon Runyan (R-NJ), Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE),Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA), Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH), Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), Rep. John Kline (R-MN), Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN),Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE), Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA), Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY), Rep. Allen West (R-FL), Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL), and Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA).
– Greg Noth

By Pat Garofalo on Jun 20, 2012 at 9:30 am

According to a study prepared by the congressional Joint Economic Committee and verified by independent experts, the House Republican budget authored by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) would raise taxes on families making less than $200,000, even while it gives millionaires a tax cut:

So although households earning $100,000 to $200,000 a year would save about $7,000 from the lower tax rates in the GOP plan, those savings would be swamped by eliminating major deductions, according to the report by the Democratically controlled congressional Joint Economic Committee.

The net result: Married couples in that income range would pay an additional $2,700 annually to the Internal Revenue Service, on top of the tax increases that are scheduled to hit every American household when the George W. Bush-era cuts expire at the end of the year.

Households earning more than $1 million a year, meanwhile, could see a net tax cut of about $300,000 annually.

“Ryan seems to want to have his cake and eat it, too, and this report shows that you can’t,” added Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY). “If you want to cut taxes on the rich and not raise the deficit, you’re going to have to basically clobber the middle class.”

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