The Senate on Wednesday took a symbolic up-or-down vote on both parties’ proposals to replace the Bush tax cuts, narrowly passing the Democratic plan to extend low rates for the middle class while letting them expire for earnings over $250,000 a year. The Republican “Tax Hike Prevention Act,” which would preserve the Bush-era rates for another year but eliminate tax credits that benefit roughly 20 million low income families, was defeated 45-54. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell declined to filibuster the vote because “it doesn’t pass constitutional muster and won’t become law” (the Constitution requires all tax measures to originate in the House) and has little chance of success in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Nevertheless, the Senate vote was a revealing look at the extraordinarily polarized and dishonest battle that lies ahead.
The “Tax Hike Prevention Act,” which now heads to the House alongside Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plan, seems a puzzling name for a bill that proposes to drop the 2010 expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit (which helped 9.1 million families afford their children’s college tuition last year). All told, nearly 20 million families are expected to see their taxes rise under the “Tax Hike Prevention Act,” far less than the 2.1 million high-income households that would face Clinton-era tax rates under the Democrats’ plan. But according to Senate Republicans, tax credits for the poor don’t count as tax cuts—they’re simply “expanded stimulus spending through the tax code.”
This is remarkably dishonest, even by the standards of Washington politics. Although many of the households that receive benefits through the tax code pay little or nothing in federal income tax because they are too poor, they still have to pay state and local tax, sales tax and payroll tax. For a married couple with one child living below the poverty line, the extension of the EITC and Child Tax Credit means an extra $1,934 to pay for food, healthcare and education. Disparaging these low income tax breaks as temporary spending while promoting an Estate Tax extension that benefits less than 1 percent of the population is entirely inconsistent and deeply cynical.
If Republicans want to make the case that the economy is still too weak to support higher taxes on the rich, they should do so. But then how is it possible that argument doesn’t go double for the working poor?
Can you believe it? Mitt Romney’s tax plan favors the rich EVEN MORE than President Bush’s plan did.
Yes, yes I can believe it.
Republicans said a payroll tax cut would help create jobs, and now they’re opposed to their own idea. Republicans said the Economic Development Administration is great for the economy, and now they’re opposed to that, too. Republicans have traditionally supported infrastructure investment, but the “infrastructure bank” idea appears likely to be killed by the GOP. Many Republicans endorsed the TANF Emergency Fund last year as an incredibly effective method of lowering unemployment, and the congressional GOP killed that, too.
Republicans are blocking qualified Treasury Department nominees who could also be working on economic policy. Republicans are blocking qualified Federal Reserve nominees who could also help improve the economy, while demanding that the Fed do nothing to promote economic activity. The GOP is demanding that Congress and the White House agree to immediately take money out of the economy and eliminate public-sector jobs, even when conservative economists say that’s crazy. What’s more, these same Republican officials have made it abundantly clear that failure to give them the cuts they want would force them to crash the economy on purpose.
And it’s against this backdrop that one of the most powerful Republican officials on Capitol Hill has argued, more than once, that his “top priority” isn’t job creation, but rather, “denying President Obama a second term in office.”
Some of France’s wealthiest people have called on the government to tackle its deficit by raising taxes - on the rich.
Sixteen executives, including Europe’s richest woman, the L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, offered in an open letter to pay a “special contribution” in a spirit of “solidarity”.
Later the government is due to announce tighter fiscal measures as it seeks to reassure markets and curb the deficit.
They are expected to include a special tax on the super-rich.
Before the announcement, expected on Wednesday evening, a letter appeared on the website of the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur.
It was signed by some of France’s most high-profile chief executives, including Christophe de Margerie of oil firm Total, Frederic Oudea of bank Societe Generale, and Air France’s Jean-Cyril Spinetta.
They said: “We, the presidents and leaders of industry, businessmen and women, bankers and wealthy citizens would like the richest people to have to pay a ‘special contribution’.”
They said they had benefited from the French system and that: “When the public finances deficit and the prospects of a worsening state debt threaten the future of France and Europe and when the government is asking everybody for solidarity, it seems necessary for us to contribute.”
They warned, however, that the contribution should not be so severe that it would provoke an exodus of the rich or increased tax avoidance.
The move follows a call by US billionaire investor Warren Buffett for higher taxes on the American ultra-rich…
Read More: BBC News
THIS is how you act like a responsible member of society. Not by hiding behind words like “class warfare” and “socialism” and deflecting the attention of the people to meaningless things, but by actually tackling the problem by doing your part to make things right.