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Health Care & Environment
01.17 As Planet Heats Further, Even Davos Elite Warns Humanity Is 'Sleepwalking Into Catastrophe' [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.17 Could a Green New Deal Save Civilization? [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.16 Immediate fossil fuel phaseout could arrest climate change – study [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.15 Solar Farms Shine a Ray of Hope on Bees and Butterflies [Wonderful!]
01.14 V.A. Seeks to Redirect Billions of Dollars Into Private Care [The most public and efficient healthcare in America has been demonized and will be destroyed rather than improved, raising total per-capita costs]
01.14 Why thousands of Los Angeles teachers are going on strike [Well at least we got a big tax-cut for the super-rich, that was the most important thing.]
01.08 Monarch butterfly numbers plummet 86 percent in California [0:58 video; Do You Care?]
01.08 Carbon emissions up as Trump agenda rolls back climate change work [Making America Less Great Again]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
01.19 Republicans’ lack of alarm over the shutdown reveals a disturbing truth [Sociopaths have little or no conscience, empathy or morality...]
01.19 Arizona: Four women convicted after leaving food and water in desert for migrants [morality is against the law]
01.18 With Mattis Gone, Trump Is Already Sowing More Global Chaos [Trump plays General—what could go wrong...]
01.18 Impeach Donald Trump
01.18 President Trump Directed His Attorney Michael Cohen To Lie To Congress About The Moscow Tower Project [An impeachable offense]
01.18 10 Things We All Lose If Bernie Chooses Not to Run in 2020 [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
01.17 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lambasts US government shutdown in first House speech [3:27 video; Intelligent government is desperately needed]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
01.17 Trump's economy is great for billionaires, not for working people [chock-full of pesky facts that government and media ignore and distort]
International & Futurism
01.17 White people assume niceness is the answer to racial inequality. It's not [More equality requires us to fix ignored and distorted problems]
01.16 Global tensions holding back climate change fight, says WEF [Consistently stupid and harmful policies... Seeing a pattern?]
The Crisis on Withering Heights
Where's All the Money Coming From?
Monday, 30 March 2009
With huge deficits coming on like fiscal tornados for future repayment, Congress and President Obama have to face the music and stop dodging the question as to when they are going to be paid for and by whom?Where is the revenue coming from to help reduce the tidal waves of red ink during the massive deficit spending by Washington to bolster Wall Street greed, stimulate the economy and rescue homeowners?
The scale of federal deficit is witnessed by the new frequency with which the dollar word "trillions" is used in the news media. An adjustment of major proportions is needed. It was only ten years ago when economists projected out the Clinton’s budgetary surpluses as "as far as the eye can see." They were scurrying to figure out how this surprising surplus was going to affect the U.S. Treasury bond market. How quaint!
So, who is going to have to pay more into the Treasury? Not the oil and gas industry whose advertised protests against removing unjustified tax breaks are saturating the radio and television stations. Not the real estate or defense industries. Certainly not the financial industry.
How about the very wealthy? Well Barack Obama is letting George W. "red-ink" Bush’s tax cuts expire. So people earning over $250,000 a year will pay more. Mr. Obama plans to give 95% of the taxpayers some tax relief. Granted the Federal Reserve is printing money big time now, in order to spend it fast.
The right-wing, commercially-funded Think-Tank establishment wants tax cuts across the board. And the Cato Institute's fellows are also defending foreign tax havens! But most corporatists still want an even bigger military budget which already devours fifty percent of the entire federal government’s discretionary budget. Their faith is that future economic growth will dissipate deficits whose purpose ironically is to promote growth
On Capitol Hill—better described as Withering Heights during the past decade—there is little interest or fortitude to confront the revenue question. Who or what can you tax more to make a difference on the massive deficits?
For starters, close the "tax gap" which is defined as the difference between taxes owed and taxes actually paid. This amount is estimated to be $290 billion every year by the IRS. Several thousand more IRS tax collectors will pay for themselves many times over and help preserve some public sense of fairness by those Americans who regularly do pay their taxes.
This figure of $290 billion does not include the huge tax shelters and offshore tax havens harboring trillions of dollars from U.S. corporations and very wealthy Americans who do not wish to share onshore tax responsibilities. Some members of Congress, notably Senator Byron Dorgan, want legislation to bring back some revenues from these tax escapees.
Another huge source of revenue, with very little if any fallout on the average taxpayer, would be a Wall Street sales tax on speculative derivatives (not stocks or bonds). With an estimated $500 trillion traded in such bets on bets or bets on debts last year, a 1/10th of 1% sales tax could bring in $500 billion yearly.
Consumers pay sales taxes in most states of 5 to 7 percent on necessities, while Wall Street’s casino gamblers buy trillions of dollars in derivatives and pay no sales tax. Unfair! Also such a transaction tax will help tamp down wild and destabilizing speculation, which has already pushed our economy to its knees.
A carbon tax would be another important source of revenue to keep the deficit lower and provide incentives to shift faster to energy efficiency and renewable energy such as various kinds of solar and geothermal.
There are other activities that our society as a whole would rather see diminished that can be subjected to increasing taxes. These could include the addictive and gambling industries and anti-social behavior such as corporate crime and fraud. Note that companies do not hesitate imposing "penalties" on consumers for far lesser infractions of their private, one-sided, fine print credit card and other form contracts.
Of course another $300 billion could come to the Treasury if Congress just restored the tax rates on corporate profits that were paid in the relatively prosperous nineteen sixties.
Then there is the reasonable argument that if taxes on "unearned income" -- that is dividends and capital gains on investments’should never be lower than the tax on "earned income" by human labor. Well, today, taxes on the former—capital gains and dividends—can be half the rate as income taxes on work. Bringing them closer together could raise more revenue or bring down worker taxes in the process.
Ideas for Ralph: Perhaps we should outsource the mining of public land in the Rocky Mountains or sell the Southern States to the highest bidder, with profits to eventually pay off the National Debt.
With huge deficits coming on like fiscal tornados for future repayment, Congress and President Obama have to face the music and stop dodging the question as to when they are going to be paid for and by whom?
Otherwise bankrupt corporate capitalism may be on its way to bankrupting its savior: Washington socialism!
Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate and three-time presidential candidate.
Copyright © 2009 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on March 31, 2009.
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