Local Stories, Events
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Health Care & Environment
06.19 Engineers boost output of solar desalination system by 50% [Trump fires scientist. It would be far better to enable their good work.]
06.19 We’ll Never Solve Immigration If We Don’t Solve Climate Change [Why is our President so willfully stupid?]
06.18 The Worst Patients in the World [Is THIS the dumbest thing we can do? Then let's do it!]
06.18 Navy Contaminates Local Groundwater and Sewer System in Maryland [Is THIS the dumbest thing we can do? Then let's do it!]
06.18 Trump's order to trim science advisory panels sparks outrage [Is THIS the dumbest thing we can do? Then let's do it!]
06.17 Hopes for climate progress falter with coal still king across Asia [Governments must subsidize very rapid installation of renewable energy to displace all fossil energy—aka DEATH ENERGY—power plants that must be made illegal ASAP]
06.17 Oil companies double down on plastics as public outcry grows [Obscene!]
06.15 So much plastic is being made that "recycling has no impact" [Non-recyclable plastic must be made illegal to manufacture, use]
06.15 We must transform our lives and values to save this burning planet [Increased ice melt in polar latitudes has been disguising reality in the middle latitudes. This effect will soon be replaced by record heat as ice volume and seasonal melting increasingly declines.]
06.15 This all-male council in Texas just voted to ban abortion [1:59 video; Bad assumptions foment ignorant actions...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
06.19 America has never gone this long without hiking the federal minimum wage [The poor would spend every penny and help the economy and decrease health costs. Only dummies don't understand the costly effects of penury.]
06.19 When migrants arrived in droves, this poor New Mexico city opened its arms [A good example for us all: This is the way we must respond to human suffering]
06.18 It's A Horrible Idea To Privatize The Tennessee Valley Authority And Other Public Energy Assets [Is THIS the dumbest thing we can do? Then let's do it!]
06.18 Tobacco's 'Special Friend': What Internal Documents Say About Mitch McConnell [His immorality is in complete control]
06.17 Climate change leadership would create a new 'American century' [We must incentivize the strategic good, again, before it's too late.]
06.17 Drug Cop Worth $400 Million After Bets on Brooklyn Real Estate [A better role-model than Trump or Kushner!]
06.15 White House physicist sought aid of rightwing thinktank to challenge climate science [When your President is a quack he naturally surrounds himself with sycophants]
06.18 As promised, Trump slashes aid to Central America over migrants [Is THIS the cruelest thing we can do? Then let's do it!]
06.18 ‘The Saudis couldn’t do it without us’: the UK’s true role in Yemen’s deadly war [If you act psychopathic you are psychopathic; 3:40 Video: Where have all the flowers (and morals and young men) gone, long time passing, sung by Marlene Dietreich]
06.17 'Blatant Theft': Netanyahu Unveils Illegal Settlement Named 'Trump Heights' in Occupied Syrian Territory [Great deal: the U.S. gives Israel $Billions every year, and they name an illegal settlement—to be built on Palestinian land—after Trump]
Economics & Corrupt Capitalism
06.15 'Eye-Popping': Analysis Shows Top 1% Gained $21 Trillion in Wealth Since 1989 While Bottom Half Lost $900 Billion [More equality or bring back the guillotines!]
International & Futurism
06.19 Trump Enabled an ‘Act of Organized Crime’ in Guatemala [Trump and other mafia-dons cause refugees and migrants as much as global warming]
06.19 Madrid’s new rightwing council suspends low-emissions zone [“Stupid is as stupid does.” –Forrest Gump]
06.19 Donald Trump’s reckless Iran policy casts doubt on the US as global leader [America's reputation has plummeted more speedily since Trump's dubious election, with professionals willfully replaced with less competent appointees or left unfilled in many federal government agencies]
06.18 'If This Is True, They Are Even Bigger Lunatics Than We Realized': UN Officials Reportedly Believe Trump Planning 'Massive' Bombing Campaign in Iran [Never underestimate the stupidity of the Trump Administration]
06.18 Iran will not wage war against any nation, says Hassan Rouhani [Economic sanctions are cruel punishment to innocent civilians causing hate for generations. We will reap what Trump sows.]
06.17 Saudi Arabia May Execute Teenager for His Protests — Including When He Was 10 [America's “best ally” is psychopathically insane]
06.17 Why Venezuela Is the Vietnam of Our Time [Powerful, clear writing!]
Obama, Read Your Reagan on Capital Gains Taxation
Tuesday, 26 January 2010
Tax breaks on Wall Street gains, with two small exceptions, fail three fiscal policy tests. They serve no purpose. They’re a limitless drain on the Treasury. And they’re inequitable: they favor wealth, not work.
The Tax Reform Act of 1986 was President Ronald Reagan’s last fiscal legacy. It showcased his deep belief in trickle-down economics, cutting the top rate on personal income nearly in half.
But Reagan also signed off on a longtime liberal goal: equal taxes on income from work and income from wealth. The bill raised the tax on long-term capital gains from 20 percent to 28 percent, the same top rate that applied to ordinary income. No longer would gains made on Wall Street be taxed at a lower rate than wages on Main Street.
Reagan hailed the bill as “a sweeping victory for fairness.” A generation later, our runaway federal deficit gives President Obama powerful new grounds to bring back Reagan’s liberal breakthrough.
The president knows we’ve been backsliding for the longest time. Listen to this from the Tax Fairness Plan posted on Obama’s website in 2008: “For decades, America has been victim to an anti-tax sentiment that has led to tax cuts that favor wealth, not work.”
Nothing favors wealth, not work, more neatly than the tax break on capital gains. President Clinton lowered the tax on long-term gains to 20 percent. President Bush cut it again, to 15 percent, little more than half the rate paid by middle-class Americans on their wages. Bush’s action pushed the rate to a 70-year low; it’s now at 77 years and counting, going back to 1933.
The Bush tax cuts are due to expire at the end of the year, which would return the capital gains rate to 20 percent. Instead, taking his fairness cue from Reagan, the president should shepherd us back to the equal-tax path.
You can see how Reagan got there by looking at the reason that’s always given for low capital gains taxes—the claim that buying stocks stimulates the economy, growing new businesses and new jobs. Nice try, but The Gipper saw through it.
Only a trace amount of all the churning on Wall Street grows anything. Small companies with big dreams raise seed money through initial public offerings (IPOs) and secondary offerings. These investments deserve a bigger tax break than they get now; there’s a strong case for making them tax-free. All other stock market gains should be taxed the same as wages (which they were, back when).
Finally, let’s get serious about the pickle we’re in. The U.S. deficit hit a record $1.4 trillion for fiscal 2009. According to the National Debt Clock, we’re sinking nearly $4 billion deeper every day. Sooner or later, Congress will be forced to mete out the pain.
Tax breaks on Wall Street gains (except as noted) fail three fiscal policy tests. They serve no purpose. They’re a limitless drain on the Treasury. And they’re inequitable: they favor wealth, not work. Income is income, and should be taxed the same no matter where it comes from.
“A sweeping victory for fairness”—Ronald Reagan, October 22, 1986, at a signing ceremony on the south lawn of the White House. Barack Obama? I’m leaving a message, hoping to hear.
Copyright 2010 Gerald E. Scorse. Gerald E. Scorse helped pass a bill that tightens the rules for reporting capital gains*. He has an MBA from Baruch College.
*“The basis reporting legislation follows years of hard work by Prof. Jay Soled of Rutgers University, Prof. Joseph M. Dodge of Florida State University, and more recently...Gerald E. Scorse, who read about the work of the two professors and decided to make this reform his cause.” —Excerpt from David Cay Johnston’s "Tax Notes" column of 10/13/2008. See TaxAnalysts.com.
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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 January 26, 2010.