Local Stories, Events
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07.11 7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It [Fox News and Betsy DeVos never talk about this stuff so it must be Bull Shit, right?]
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
07.19 Trump administration won't ban pesticide tied to childhood brain damage [There is no truth to the persistent rumor that chlorpyrifos pesticide was heavily used at Trump's childhood home in Queens]
07.17 Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen forced out by board [Given that states have lost abortion rights on political grounds recently, Wen's philosophical approach to protect abortion rights based on ‘health care’ was smarter – therefore it was that smarter strategy that was killed at the secret meeting.]
07.17 What is happening in America's Cancertown is tragic, immoral and evil [Niggardly white government policies could change to produce better students, better jobs and net revenue instead of costs. But it seems they enjoy more cruelty—like Trump.]
07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]
07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]
07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]
07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]
07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]
07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]
07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
07.18 Inside Trump's DC hotel, where allies and lobbyists flock to peddle their interests [Also, too much ignored by media, the $millions "donated" corrupting moderate Democrats and Republicans every election cycle must stop]
07.18 This Republican's Case for Medicare for All [A well-informed Republican is rare, so let's hold him in the light so others may learn]
07.18 Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after president attacks Ilhan Omar [1:03 video shows Trump pandering to his ignorant idolaters, and together they're making America a greater shit-hole country]
07.16 Contempt [Variations of frequent loss & theft of property title by organized legal efforts against black owners]
07.15 Australia 'deeply concerned' about China's treatment of Uighur people [What are the reasons, exactly, that justify harsh imprisonment of a million people?]
07.15 Zuma tells South Africa corruption inquiry he is victim of foreign plot [Unaccountable corrupt governments are so in fashion these days...]
High Crimes vs. Human Rights
07.19 Conscientious objectors of first world war – their untold tales [The record proves they were morally right by avoiding violent early deaths of their cousins and themselves]
Economics & Corrupt Capitalism
International & Futurism
07.19 Iran makes 'substantial' nuclear offer in return for US lifting sanctions [Was barbaric Saudi Arabia—whose citizens were more involved in the 9-11 attacks—the wrong ally all along?]
07.19 “The Task Ahead Is Enormous, and There Is Not Much Time” [Read this and learn. Or read Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) | Twitter and/or President Trump (@POTUS) | Twitter. Are you serious? Or are you in hideously criminal denial?]
07.18 ‘No rioters, only a tyrannical regime’: Thousands of Hong Kong seniors march in support of young extradition law protesters [Most people around the world have more in common with these Hong Kong Chinese protestors than with the ignorant people at Trump rallies]
07.18 Dozens Arrested as Over 1,000 Jewish Activists and Allies Shut Down Entrances to ICE Headquarters Demanding Closure of Trump Detention Camps [Obviously these are not the immoral and less educated right-wing jews who support Netanyahu, Trump and ICE, and who slowly exterminate Palestinians when no one is looking]
07.17 Trump Murdered the Iran Deal—And Europe Isn’t Too Happy About It [Only psychopathic Saudi Arabia and Russia are U.S. ’allies’ now...]
07.15 Australia now has the highest minimum wage in the world [From 1960 to 2018 – the U.S. has fallen from 1st place to below the tenth place and off the chart]
A Tax Break Nobody Needs
Wednesday, 8 September 2010
It's time to disallow writing off stock market losses against ordinary income. There’s no defense for a tax break so skewed toward the affluent, especially one as gratuitous as this.
Cutting the federal deficit is a hot topic on Capitol Hill, and some kind of action seems certain. Congress is about to take up taxes for the first time in President Obama’s term (including the expiration of the Bush tax cuts), and a report from the President’s national debt commission is expected come December. Both bodies should take a hard look at ending a needless tax break; getting rid of it would raise billions, and make the Tax Code a touch fairer in the bargain.
This little-remarked giveaway is the write-off which the IRS allows every year for stock market losses: when net losses exceed gains, taxable income can be reduced by up to $3,000. This is “I-want-it-now” tax law, and it turns a private loss into a hurry-up claim on the public purse. With the deficit soaring, it richly deserves repeal.
The same as now, capital losses could be written off dollar-for-dollar against capital gains. The same as now, losses could be carried forward indefinitely until they were wiped out. What the repeal would disallow is writing off stock market losses against ordinary income (which, as we shall see, was poor policy in the first place).
It makes much more sense to balance capital losses against capital gains, and leave earned income out of the equation.
Let’s quickly take a look at who gains from this special write-off, and who pays for it. Then let’s look at the hefty inflow to the Treasury if the write-off were written off for good.
Roughly half of all Americans own no stocks, so losses in the market offer no tax advantages to them. While it’s true that more people than ever do own stocks, most have their holdings in tax-sheltered retirement accounts; the write-off doesn’t help them, either. It turns out that the benefits flow entirely to a privileged minority: those well-off enough to have non-retirement investment portfolios. There’s no defense for a tax break so skewed toward the affluent, especially one as gratuitous as this.
And who picks up the tab? Like any other tax deduction, it’s paid for by taxpayers in the aggregate; in this case, the many pony up to benefit the few. Far better for the Treasury, and better for tax fairness, if Congress shows some spine and calls a halt.
The result would be an annual drop in tax expenditures (the revenue the government foregoes via the tax breaks it hands out), and a corresponding uptick in Treasury receipts. Year after year, the deficit would be that much less. Nobody can predict Wall Street’s ups and downs, or individual investors’ either, so the actual numbers could vary widely. All the same, the market’s slump in 2008 and the first half of this year have almost certainly front-loaded the benefits of a repeal.
Portfolio values sank by the hundreds of billions during the sell-off; year-end figures showed that investors took a total hit of $6.8 trillion in 2008. Of course not all the losses were realized, and stocks went on to rally sharply for most of 2009. But by mid-year 2010 the markets had once again soured, and the major indices were nowhere near their former levels. So while it’s impossible to know hard numbers, it’s a safe bet that on-the-books losses hover near a record high.
Which means it’s an opportune time to disallow writing off those losses against ordinary income. It serves no purpose, the money goes to people who scarcely need it, and it’s an annual drag on the Treasury; the sooner it’s repealed the better for the federal deficit.
And everybody cares about cutting the deficit, right?
Gerald E. Scorse, who writes from New York City helped pass a bill that tightens the rules for reporting capital gains.
Mr. Scorse's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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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 September 8, 2010.