This Is What's the Matter With Kansas: Sam Brownback tried to create a conservative utopia. He created a conservative hell instead. [more inside]
State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax. The policy goals are contained in a set of funding proposals obtained by the Guardian. The proposals were co-ordinated by the State Policy Network, an alliance of groups that act as incubators of conservative strategy at state level.
On Friday afternoon, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) apologized to conservative non-profit 501(c)4 groups for singling them out for heightened scrutiny during the 2012 campaign season. While the abuses were initially blamed on "low-level" workers in the agency's Cincinnati office, new questions were raised Saturday with a report that senior IRS officials were aware of the practice as early as 2011. That senior IRS officials knew of the politically-selective practices "seemingly contradicts public statements by the IRS commissioner." [more inside]
"Used to be that the idea was 'once every two years voters elected their representatives.' And now instead it's 'every ten years the representatives choose their constituents.'"
Obama won Ohio by two points, and Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown won by five, but Democrats emerged with just four of Ohio’s 16 House seats. In Wisconsin, Obama prevailed by seven points, and Democratic Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin by five, but their party finished with just three of the state’s eight House seats. In Virginia, Obama and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine were clear victors, but Democrats won just three of the commonwealth’s 11 House seats. In Florida, Obama eked out a victory and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson won by 13 points, but Democrats will hold only 10 of the Sunshine State’s 27 House seats. The Revenge of 2010: How gerrymandering saved the congressional Republican majority, undermined Obama's mandate, set the terms of the sequestration fight, and locked Democrats out of the House for the next decade. It's not a new problem. But if the Supreme Court guts the Voting Rights Act, it could get a whole lot worse. And the electoral college may be next. (What's gerrymandering, you ask? Let the animals explain. Meet the Gerry-mander. Peruse the abused. Catch the movie. Or just play the game. Previously.)
Buying useful things, like roads and universities and health care and solar energy and spaceships, should be better stimulus than fighting wars.
"Liberals have not always been very good at communicating why liberalism works. There’s many reasons for this, but part of it is that it can be hard to defend the obvious from an absurd and deceptive attack. For half a century you had to be a crank to oppose what Roosevelt accomplished; liberals got out of the habit of arguing for their beliefs. I hope this page will help. Liberals don’t need to apologize for their vision of how American society should work. Liberalism saved American capitalism and democracy, defeated Naziism, created a prosperous middle class, and benefited every sector of society, from the back streets to Wall Street. " Mefi's own Zompist (previously) on Why Liberalism Works.
As internal leaks from the Romney camp suggest a campaign in serious disarray, and poll-of-polls meta-analyses show him with little time to recover his position before November, Mother Jones has acquired video from a private Romney fundraiser at which the candidate said of Obama supporters: There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. Ezra Klein puts aside the political ramifications and crunches the numbers about who does and doesn't pay income tax in America. The Romney camp responds to the leak.
Paul Ryan. Seven-term congressman for Wisconsin's 1st District. Chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee. Architect of the controversial Ryan Budget -- a "Path to Prosperity" [PDF - video - CBO] that would slash trillions from the federal budget, sharply curtail taxes on the wealthy, and transform Medicare into a private voucher system. Proponent (vid) -- and renouncer -- of Ayn Rand 's Objectivism. Social Security beneficiary. Hunter. Weinermobile driver. And as of this morning, the 2012 Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States of America. [more inside]
“We’re getting a lot of calls from high earners who are asking whether they should get out of France,” said Mr. Grandil... “Even young, dynamic people pulling in 200,000 euros are wondering whether to remain in a country where making money is not considered a good thing.” French president François Hollande's plan to tax income above a million euros ($1.24 million) a year at 75% is alarming some.
Congressional Republicans favor letting the payroll tax increase at year's end. Jeb Hensarling claims this is because "not all tax relief is created equal for the purposes of helping to get the economy moving again." However, his logic may be backward[s].
Worst. Congress. Ever. "With the debt ceiling impasse and legislative gridlock sucking all the air out of Washington, Foreign Policy asked the experts: Is this really the worst Congress ever?"
60 percent of Americans using a prominent tax deduction believe they get nothing from "government social programs." Cornell professor Suzanne Mettler describes what she calls the "submerged state," in which tens of millions of Americans benefit from $1 trillion of federal subsidies to private activities while believing they receive no benefits from the government. [more inside]
9 Things The Rich Don't Want You To Know About Taxes - "4. Many of the very richest pay no current income taxes at all: Paulson made himself $9 billion in fees in just two years. His current tax bill on that $9 billion? Zero... 9. Other countries do it better: no one in Germany or the rest of the modern world goes broke because of accident or illness" (via) [more inside]
Your 2010 Federal Taxpayer Receipt. "In his State of the Union Address, President Obama promised that this year, for the first time ever, American taxpayers would be able to go online and see exactly how their federal tax dollars are spent. Just enter a few pieces of information about your taxes, and the taxpayer receipt will give you a breakdown of how your tax dollars are spent on priorities like education, veterans benefits, or health care." [more inside]
The Program for Public Consultation carried out a different kind of budget poll -- they asked each of their respondents to generate a package of tax increases and spending cuts sufficient for substantial deficit reduction, then averaged the results. The outcome was not what you might expect. The mean package included twice as much tax increase as spending cut: big deficit-reducing moves included substantial income tax increases for the highest brackets and deep cuts in defense spending. Republicans cut less spending than Democrats, as did people who identified as "very sympathetic to the Tea Party." Hardly anybody likes the reduction of the estate tax. Why is the public consensus so different from the Washington consensus? Read the full report (.pdf) Or try the interactive budget exercise.
Fed up with anti-smoker sentiments and taxation of cigarettes, Audrey Silk decided to plant her own tobacco at her home in Brooklyn.
Right Wing astroturfing A non-scientific analysis of the patterns in forum board discussions on a variety of topics. The gist: discussions of issues in which there's money at stake (like climate change, public health and corporate tax avoidance) are often characterised by amazing levels of abuse and disruption by rightwing libertarians who are pro-corporate, anti-tax, anti-regulation. Discussions of issues in which there's little money at stake tend to be a lot more civilised than debates about issues where companies stand to lose or gain billions.
The Honourable Gordon Campbell has resigned as Premier of British Columbia. Citing his spectacular unpopularity, his resignation comes after almost a decade in power. His tenure has been dogged by scandal, and most recently, a barrage of protest over the newly implemented HST. His most lasting legacy may prove to be the implementation of North America's first carbon tax.
Bruce Bartlett, senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House, speaks out against Republicans - The monumental hypocrisy of the Republican Party is something amazing to behold. And their dimwitted accomplices in the tea-party movement are not much better. They know that Republicans, far more than Democrats, are responsible for our fiscal mess, but they won't say so. And they adamantly refuse to put on the table any meaningful programme that would actually reduce spending. Judging by polls, most of them seem to think that all we have to do is cut foreign aid, which represents well less than 1% of the budget. [more inside]
The Obama Coalition "These general findings suggest the possibility that the political strength of voters whose convictions are perhaps best described as Social Democratic in the European sense is reaching a significant level in the United States. With effective organization and mobilization, such voters are positioned to set the agenda in the Democratic Party in the near future."
After a ballot measure to raise property taxes in Colorado Springs was overwhelmingly defeated, tax opponents called for the city to shrink the government. The City of Colorado Springs now plans to make deep cuts to basic services, including parks, police, and even the street lights.
Today, Oregon voters will decide whether or not to increase taxes on businesses and the rich. Ballots for Measures 66 and 67 are due today at 8pm, polling is extremely tight, and at this point the election will be decided by turnout. With the opposing sides having collected a combined $10.1 million in donations, Oregonians have spent the last month deluged by political ads, canvassers, and phone calls. Whatever the outcome, this election has at least had the effect of making "spadea" into a household word. [more inside]
HowISpentMyStimulus.com In January, Congress approved $152 billion in economic stimulus checks for millions of American households, intended to boost the economy and avert a recession. Just how this money will be spent remains to be seen. We hope this website helps shed some light on where the stimulus money is going.
The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush. "The next president will have to deal with yet another crippling legacy of George W. Bush: the economy. A Nobel laureate, Joseph E. Stiglitz, sees a generation-long struggle to recoup." [Via Firedoglake.]
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) published their latest Infrastructure Report Card in 2005. America's infrastructure got a D. The ASCE estimate that it will cost $1.6 trillion over a five-year period to bring the nation's infrastructure to good condition. They also have a Critical Infrastructure blog. [Via Gristmill.]
Cost of Government Day - "n. the date of the calendar year, counting from January 1, on which the average American has earned enough in cumulative gross income to pay for his or her share of government spending (total federal, state, and local) plus the cost of regulation."
The First Law of Petropolitics, in short, argues that the price of oil and the pace of freedom operate in an inverse correlation. As the price of oil goes up in what I call petroauthoritarian states—like Iran, Sudan, Venezuela—the pace of freedom goes down. These regimes can afford to be less responsive to their people and outside pressure. And as the price of oil goes down, the pace of freedom goes up because these regimes have to open up to the world if they want to deliver for their people, and they have to empower their people more.But how to lower oil prices and help freedom on its proverbial march? Many, from Alan Greenspan to Andrew Sullivan to Ray Magliozzi from Car Talk think the answer may be to . . . raise the gas tax? The Pigou Club is an ever-updated list of economists, politicians and others who have advocated Pigouvian (or is it Pigovian?) taxes to not only lower oil prices, but reduce greenhouse gases, fix the federal deficit and strengthen our national security. Though some remain more than a little hesitant to jump on the bandwagon and others remain skeptical that the movement is anything more than "just talk," this could be an idea whose time has come, especially since the gas tax isn't as regressive one would think.
GOP Senators have lost their bid to kill the currently-defunct estate tax. This defeat of the permanent repeal effort is a major triumph for the 98% of Americans who've never been in danger of having to pay the tax.
Ever wonder who gets the spin money from the government to sell us everything from wars to reforms to reconnect the Army with the American people. A rundown on the seven biggest PR firms doing business with the government, and their refusal to come clean about what it is they're doing with our tax money. PRWatch has much, much more, including exposing the funding and associations pushing Social Security "reform"
Tax Man Bush says tax cuts stimulate the economy. Unfortunately, he's fallen more than 2.2 million jobs short of the projection made by his own economists.
What's a bigger waste of taxpayer money: Throwing a concert in a tunnel for a public works project years late and over budget or putting on a New Year's fireworks display for TV cameras only?
"We've got a conservative, evangelical Christian,Republican governor, trying to get a massive turnout of black voters to pass a tax increase so he can raise taxes on Republican constituents." Alabama Governor has massive and unexpected change of heart.
The bait and switch. A last-minute revision by House and Senate leaders in the tax bill that President Bush signed today will prevent millions of minimum-wage families from receiving the increased child credit that is in the measure.
many of haliburtons subsidiaries pay no taxes as they are ensconsed in offshore tax havens. the vice president is collecting substantial sums in deferred payments, and sizable government contracts are being awared to this company without competition. should we ask our vice-president to encourage his former employer to pay corporate taxes like the most of the rest of americans and american businesses, considering the hefty sums of money being handed them by the american tax payer?
State income tax or not? Massachusetts voters get to decide on Nov. 5th. Is this a real possibility or just a publicity stunt for Carla Howell and the Libertarian party?
I'm curious, isn't this exactly opposite of what we're being told? I'm always hearing the wealthy are benefitting somehow from GWB's new tax plan. I'm certainly no-where near the top 5%, and now I don't want to be.
White House predicts budget deficits until 2005. Uh... cause of the war, not monster tax cuts to businesses and billionaires... yeah, that's the ticket!
"The sky won't fall, it will probably just trickle down." On whom? (Guess who.) Out here in Washington State voters just approved another in a series of initiatives that, collectively, choke off the state government's primary funding sources. What else are the results of the initiative process around the country? And are The People responsible enough to be trusted with it?
The tax bill was based on conservative ideology: not only did it offer the largest rate breaks to the richest people, but it had the explicit purpose of reducing the activities of the federal government.
Europe's left makes Dubya's tax cut look small: Based on Congressional Budget Office projections, Mr. Bush's tax proposal would provide American taxpayers with an accumulated relief of about 3.6% of gross domestic product between 2002 and 2006. Compare this with the plan from Germany's coalition of Social Democrats and Greens: Finance Minister Hans Eichel will hand back 4.1% of GDP of the world's third-largest economy between 2001 and 2005.
75% of Americans favor Government funding of faith-based organizations. However, when asked about specific faiths, that number drops dramatically to 38% for Buddhist Temples and 29% for the Nation of Islam. So what did they expect, their own religion should get funds, but no others?
Proposed IRS rule could limit the freedom to link. The US Internal Revenue Service is proposing a rule that might make it inadvisable for not-for-profit organizations to provide links on their Web sites to any political site. The IRS is proposing to interpret any link to a political site from the pages of a nonprofit as evidence that the nonprofit is "engaging in political activity" and thus in danger of losing its 503(c) status.
"Tax Clarity was created to help you decipher what the tax plans by both presidential candidates mean to you personally." Enter some information from your paycheck and find out how much you'd save using either Bush's or Gore's tax plans. via dandot.