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Health Care & Environment
07.20 Until Emissions Drop, Nothing Has Been Accomplished: The Climate Resistance Handbook Is Here. [Trump can't be bothered as the world turns into a large cinder. His laser focus is on personal greed.]
07.20 With Petition to Congress, 100,000+ People Demand Green New Deal 'That Fixes Our Food System' [Realtime proactive response to reality—now and threatening—doesn't get attention in this greed focused administration]
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!]
07.11 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?]
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'
07.20 Fact check: Trump says Puerto Rico got $92 billion. They've seen only a fraction [If he opens his mouth, Trump's lying.]
07.20 Trump Denies Being at North Carolina Rally [Not sure if Trump supporters 'get' satire, but here goes....]
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]
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
07.20 US to deploy troops to Saudi Arabia in face of 'credible' regional threats [Working with Osama bin Laden's godfathers, Trump wants to profit like Erik Prince (for-profit education secretary Betsy DeVos' brother) of Blackwater infamy (hurriedly renamed ‘Academi’), the U.S. taxpayer to pay inflated costs while Trump siphons off long-term emolument largesse]
07.20 Iran on 'dangerous path' with seizure of Stena Impero, says UK [Which is this, a tit or a tat?]
07.20 'Dark satanic mills': Tony Abbott continues his crusade against wind turbines [Too much CO2 air pollution makes you stupid, and turns your country into an “Idiocracy” (1:36 video clip)]
07.20 Bolsonaro declares 'the Amazon is ours' and calls deforestation data 'lies' [Lazy and willfully stupid whenever it serves his purpose, just like Trump. “And the rest of you can all go to hell.” Again, just like Trump. Has your country turned into an “Idiocracy”? (1:36 video clip)]
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]
Taxes in America: A Long Rightward Lurch
Tuesday, 5 October 2010
The super rich get more than half of their income from capital gains—which are taxed at only 15 percent.
Nothing raises the blood pressure of Tea Partiers faster than taxes. “Taxed Enough Already,” their signs shout. “Taxed alive and again when we’re dead,” they say.
That’s the Tea Party view, and it’s on view nonstop. The facts, though, point the other way. We’re living in a Golden Age of low federal taxes, especially for eye-popping incomes. It’s a great time to be a billionaire in America, or even a measly millionaire.
Warren Buffett, a multi-billionaire, revealed in 2006 that his tax bill was “far, far less as a fraction of my income than the secretaries or the clerks or anyone else in my office.” The numbers shamed him: “There’s class warfare, all right,” he said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”
What makes the Tea Party wrong and Buffett right? Several provisions slant the U.S. Tax Code heavily in favor of heavy earners. Taxes may be the bane of the Tea Party, but they’re a relative boon for America’s have-mosts. Let’s look at some of the ways the Code keeps Warren Buffett’s fortune in Warren Buffet’s hands—and even chips in, redistributing income upward.
The major contributor is the 15 percent levy on long-term capital gains and corporate dividends. The top 1 percent of U.S.households owns nearly 40 percent of all privately-held stock. The super rich get more than half of their income from capital gains. The current 15 percent rate on gains is at its lowest since FDR’s first term. For middle-class Americans, the rate on wages is 25 percent. Taxing income from wealth at little more than half the rate of income from work: it’s the perfect way to make sure that Warren Buffett (and all the Buffett wannabes) pay effective tax rates nowhere near what their incomes might suggest.
“How can this by fair?” Buffett asked. “How can this be right?”
The Code also sets marginal rates, which were gutted by President Reagan. He whacked taxes in 1981 and again in 1986, taking the top rate all the way down from 70 percent to 28 percent. He also sent the federal deficit soaring, which modest tax hikes later repaired—until, of course, a double dose of tax-cut elixir from President Bush.
Whose bread do the Bush tax cuts really butter? Dick Cheney knows, and he’s laughing all the way to the bank. Cheney, famously declaring that “deficits don’t matter,” cast the tie-breaking Senate vote adding dividends to the tax-cut bonanza.
Taxes turn progressive when rates rise along with income. Fewer brackets mean less progressivity, and Reagan cut the number of brackets from 15 to four. There are six today.
Fewer tax brackets, coupled with a low threshold for the top bracket, give high incomes another edge. Taxes turn progressive when rates rise along with income. Fewer brackets mean less progressivity, and Reagan cut the number of brackets from 15 to four. There are six today, with the top four at 25, 28, 33 and 35 percent—a narrow spread, easily offset by provisions like the capital gains rate. The top rate kicks in at about $400,000 of taxable income, which author and tax expert David Cay Johnston calls “bizarre.” It’s a long way, he points out, from $400,000 to $1 million, $5 million, $100 million and hedge-fund billions: “Why don’t we have higher rates for those incomes?”
The top rate kicks in at about $400,000 of taxable income—and stays there, no matter how much more you earn.
Even the bottom marginal rates help top earners. A millionaire, filing singly, pays the same 10 percent on the first $8,375 of taxable income as the working poor—and so on, up the income scale. As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes, the real winners from extending Bush’s middle-class tax cuts wouldn’t be middle class: “In fact, a family making more than $1 million will receive more than five times the tax cut benefit, in dollar terms, as a middle-class family making $50,000 to $75,000...” (Italics in original.)
The Tax Code doesn’t overtly discriminate, but it’s hardwired to make every tax break worth more at the top.
The Tax Code is also loaded with deductions that effectively rain dollars down on the rich. The Code doesn’t overtly discriminate, but it’s hardwired to make every tax break worth more at the top. All deductions get written off at 35 percent, starting with personal exemptions and standard deductions. This alone trims $7,315 off the tax bill of a post-65 couple. The serious money goes to itemizers, with Uncle Sam picking up five-figure amounts for mortgage interest on pricy real estate.
President Obama once proposed capping the mortgage deduction at 25 percent, the middle class rate. His idea quickly died, attacked as class warfare. This summer, in a piece titled “The Class War We Need,” conservative columnist Ross Douthat was incensed to learn that the owners of McMansions were defaulting at twice the usual rate. “The rich are different from you and me,” he wrote. “They know how to game the system.”
They also know that Congress always stands ready to tilt the tax laws their way. When the market crashed in 2008, lawmakers rushed to pass a one-year suspension of required distributions from retirement accounts. Only the haves stood to gain. Those who actually needed the distributions had to take them and pay taxes. The haves took a pass and saved thousands. Back to Douthat: “In case after case, Washington’s web of subsidies and tax breaks effectively takes money from the middle class and hands it out to speculators and have-mores.”
It’s taken a fortune in lobbying, but America’s tax laws are bearing golden fruit. As even a conservative can see, they’re redistributing income to the top.
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 October 5, 2010.