Archive for the ‘taxes’ Tag

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From the June 4, 2013, edition of “Viewpoint.”

John Fugelsang:

I’m John Fuglesang and I’d like to appeal to all you kind Americans out there, and ask you to open your hearts and lend a hand to one of the most persecuted, oppressed and voiceless groups in all of America. Of course I’m talking about the tea party.

Recently, we learned that during its time when it was headed by Douglas Shulman, certain mid-level bureaucrats at the IRS office in Cincinnati targeted tea party groups unfairly. Now, I know this is shocking — the idea that something interesting could ever happen in Cincinnati. But tea partyers had to face the worst thing any decent American ever faced, my friends: increased, inconvenient amounts of paperwork to prove that groups holding signs saying “Impeach Obama” shouldn’t pay taxes because they’re obviously not political.

Now, this kerfuffle caused the tea party to experience the worst human-rights abuses since the Stark family went to that wedding on “Game of Thrones.”

Becky Gerritson, my friends, president of the Wetumpka, Alaska, tea party, said, “This is not an accident. This is a willful act of intimidation intended to discourage a point of view.”

Yes, the tea party was intimidated into complete silence to such an extent that the only place she was allowed to say this was before a committee of congressmen in front of millions of viewers on CSPAN, CNN and Fox News.

Now let me ask: How would you like it if the IRS wanted to know if you’d been cheating on your taxes, when all you did was carry around a big sign that said, “Taxes are a crime against humanity”?

It’s not right, and the tea party needs your help. They need 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status so they can hide the identities of their completely non-political donors; they need ink so they can keep on non-politically drawing Hitler mustaches on posters of Obama; and they need funds to buy vintage military outfits that best express the America they believe in — and they need a lot of money for that, because authentic Confederate soldier uniforms can get a little pricey.

But don’t take my word for it. Please listen to Lester Derndack, a tea party member who suffered the oppression of the Obama administration first-hand. Lester?

Frank Conniff as Lester Derndack: I applied for tax-exempt status from the IRS and was subjected to all sorts of abuse. I was given extra paperwork that I was forced to sign and spend the whole better part of an afternoon working on. And look at our Muslim president — he’s allowed to serve in office with only two birth certificates. Have you seen them things? I had a nightmare of copies and triplicates that took up an entire hour. I’m telling you, I do not recognize America anymore. Benghazi!

That is very brave, Lester. You’re proof that real teabaggers don’t choke. And there are millions more — exactly, completely like him.

So won’t you please help? These tea party members have been silenced and they now have no voice in society, as they’ve said thousands of times on the thousands of radio and cable TV shows they’ve appeared on relentlessly. These loyal patriots who only want to bring down our government and turn the country over to Wall Street oligarchs have been trying to scrimp and scrape by with only a few million-dollar contributions from billionaire, anonymous supporters like the Koch brothers.

Without your help, they might suffer the fate of Emerge America, a liberal group targeted by the IRS for being political, that was actually, really forced to disclose its donors and lose tax-exempt status, which still hasn’t happened to a single one of these tea party groups that shouldn’t pay taxes because they’re so not political.

Are you going to let the IRS get away, my friends, with breaking zero laws and ensuring people pay their taxes?

All of your contributions are tax-deductible. And remember: If you care about the tea party, do everything you can to impeach the president who appointed Douglas Shulman to run the IRS.

http://current.com/shows/viewpoint/videos/john-fugelsang-the-irs-has-silenced-us-say-tea-party-members-on-thousands-of-radio-and-tv-shows/

Posted June 5, 2013 by tmusicfan in Uncategorized

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http://current.com/shows/viewpoint/videos/fugelsang-cutting-medicare-to-fix-budget-is-like-invading-iraq-when-you-were-attacked-by-15-saudis/

John Fugelsang:

America’s broke and it’s the 10-year anniversary of the Iraq invasion. So if you’re mad about the former, thank the millions of Americans who opposed the latter. Because this anniversary is a fitting time to talk about the destructive budget battle that now divides our nation.

The Republican Party is outraged over the deficit — although George W. Bush never once balanced a budget in eight years, but of course those were freedom deficits.

Now after the credit-card-with-no-limit presidency of Mr. Bush, the credit card bill has arrived — in your mailbox. It’s called austerity. Last decade we had two wars off the books while cutting taxes for the wealthy and this decade, y’all get to pay for it.

Now there are ways to fix our deficit that don’t hurt the poor or the middle class. A carbon tax of $20 per ton could cut the deficit by $1.2 trillion. Treating capital gains as income could raise over $530 billion. A financial transaction tax could reduce the deficit by an estimated $350 billion. But apparently we don’t really hate deficits that much.

So here’s an even better idea: Let’s build a time machine, go back to 2003, and stop President Bush and his Republican and Democratic allies from invading and occupying Iraq. Because today we know from estimates by the Costs of War Project, the war will eventually wind up costing the U.S. taxpayers at least $2.2 trillion.

That’s in addition to the 190,000 people killed — the men and women in uniform, the contractors and civilians. Two trillion dollars America would have in the bank, if we hadn’t had a bloody unconstitutional dine-n-dash of a war.

Now please keep this in mind as some of the people who told you how necessary the Iraq War was — both in politics and media — are now telling you how necessary austerity is.

The people who were wrong about everything are now telling you we’ve got to repeal everything since the New Deal.

The same people who said Iraq definitely had WMDs are now telling us you’re going to have to definitely eat more Mickey D’s. The ones who promised we’d be greeted as liberators are now telling us you may have to be liberated from some of your earned entitlement benefits. The politicians who guaranteed democracy would flourish in the region now say surpluses will flourish if we voucher-ize Medicare.

The guys who said two wars in Iraq would bring down gas prices then, are telling you now that the Keystone Pipeline will bring down gas prices.

The folks who said Iraq would be a cakewalk are now saying, “Let ‘em eat cake.”

So let’s thank some of the people who opposed the Iraq invasion: people like Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Ron Paul, Arianna Huffington, Ted Kennedy, Robert Byrd, Pat Buchanan — yeah, I said it — Michael Moore and the last two popes. They knew how un-Christian a concept pre-emptive war was: “Forgive us our trespasses as we trespass against those we think might trespass against us.”

Or go ahead and listen to the ones who were wrong: Limbaugh, George Will, Kristol, Krauthammer, McCain, Condoi Rice, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Coulter, Hannity, O’Reilly, Scarborough, Bush and way more Democrats than I should be able to name.

Unlimited funds then, austerity now. And they want your Medicare, and they want your Social Security. And they’re gonna get it, unless America wakes up in a way we didn’t wake up 10 years ago.

Because, my friends, going after Medicare to fix a budget crisis is like going after Iraq when you were attacked by 15 Saudis.

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Stewart “Four weeks, ladies and gentlemen.  Just twenty some days.  Our country will be heading over the fiscal cliff, that we ourselves dug, and put in our way.  It’s the set of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes that can only be averted if our nation’s leaders are able to display bare bones competence, and middle-school maturity.  So, is there a deal?”

Reporter 12-4-12 “There’s, of course, no deal.”

Stewart “Of course!  Is there a prospect for a deal?”

Reporter “There’s not a prospect for a deal.”

Stewart “Of course.  But, the ongoing talks?”

Reporter “There aren’t even very many talks going on.”

Stewart “You’re killing us.  Give us something.”

Reporter “But, for the first time, there are numbers on pieces of paper from both sides.”

Stewart “Numbers on paper!  We have numbers on paper.  From both sides.  We’re going to be OK.  How were negotiations being conducted before they decided to put numbers on paper?  Were they communicating by pheromones, like ants? … Were the two sides just spray-painting the side of a camel and hoping it wanders past the other sides office, or other equally absurd examples of something?  So, tell us about this paper, with numbers on them?”

Reporter 2 “$4 trillion of deficit reduction over the next 10 years.  It includes $1.6 trillion in higher taxes on households making more than $250,000 a year.  There’s also $400 billion in cuts to entitlement programs.  There’s also some fresh new spending, $50 billion next year in stimulus spending, all for infrastructure.”

Stewart “All right.  So, we’ve got a little tax hike here, a little entitlement trim there, basically telling the government it needs a mix of diet and exercise if it wants to reduce its chances of succumbing to heart disease, or a swollen prostate… Basically, this plan is around, somewhat, what Obama said he was going to do about the budget, while he was on the campaign trail.  I guess we could put that another way.”

Rep Jim Gerlach (R-PA) 11-30-12 “The proposal that came forward yesterday, really is a joke.”

Sen John Cornyn (R-TX) 11-30-12 “I’m not surprised that my colleague Senator McConnell laughed at that proposal.”

Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC) 12-2-12 “The President’s plan does nothing but damn us to becoming Greece.”

Rep Ted Poe (R-TX) 12-2-12 “So ridiculous.”

Sen Orin Hatch (R-UT) 12-1-12 “Disastrous.”

Sen Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) 12-2-12 “Very disappointing…disappointed…I’m very disappointed.”

Stewart “Really?  ‘Cause you really don’t sound that disappointed, quite frankly…To their credit, though, the Republicans didn’t just complain about the President’s plan.  They put forward, on paper, numbers of their own.”

Luke Russert (MSNBC) “You see the offer there on your screen.  $800 billion through tax reform.  $600 billion in health savings.  $300 billion in mandatory savings.  $200 billion entitlement scale revision.  $300 billion further discretionary savings.  That nets to a total of $2.2 trillion in savings.”

Stewart “All right.  So, the GOP proposal is, if I’m adding that up correctly, is $1.2 trillion in cuts, $1 trillion in savings, and they leave the tax rates alone for the top 2%, and they, wait a minute.  The fiscal cliff, the thing we’re trying to avoid, had $1.2 trillion in cuts, but half of those cuts were going to be defense.  This has $1.2 trillion in cuts, but they’re just saying, why don’t we just make the whole thing cuts to entitlements and domestic spending, and not cut defense at all.  Basically, they’re trying to entice Democrats through saying, I don’t want you to fall off this cliff, so why don’t you voluntarily jump off this steeper cliff, but don’t worry.  Your fall will be cushioned by lava.  Now, obviously it’s a negotiation.  People take a hard line position.  It’s a starting point.  With the tax bite being the lowest it’s been in America since the 1950’s, most likely we’re going to raise it back to the rate it was in the 90’s, for the upper 2% at some point.”

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) 11-9-12 “Raising tax rates is unacceptable.”

Stewart “OK, so what exactly is your idea of a negotiation?”

Boehner 12-2-12 “The President’s idea of a negotiation is, roll over and do what I ask.”

Stewart “At least, once he has you on your back, he asks….I cannot wait until the Democrats get a hold of this Republican proposal.  They’re going to tear it to shreds.”

Rep Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) 12-3-12 “The good news is, he’s put something in writing.  The bad news is, it doesn’t really get us moving forward.”

Rep Xavier Becerra (D-CA) 12-3-12 “The Republican plan failed the very first test of fairness.”

President Barack Obama 12-4-12 “Unfortunately, the Speaker’s proposal, right now, is still out of balance.”

Stewart “Out of balance?  Fails the fairness test?  Where’s your hysterical rhetoric?  Where’s your I laughed in their bleeping faces?  Where is your DISAPPOINTED?  Where is your this proposal is an insult, this proposal will destroy America?….You know what?  Maybe it’s just time to stop this back and forth of offers.  It’s pretty clear that Republicans aren’t ever going to come to the table with anything even remotely reasonable, so I’ll be the one to say it.  I know it would be disastrous.  I know it will doom our economy for years to come.  But, let’s just go over the bleeping cliff.  Fine.  Let’s just go.  Just leave the negotiating table and send us over the cliff.  “Cause you know why?  At least, for a few seconds, it’ll feel like we’re flying.”

 

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-december-4-2012/cliffpocalypsemageddonacaust—totally-solvable-budget-problem—numbers-on-paper

My letter to Speaker John Boehner   Leave a comment

Dear Mr Speaker,

As a citizen of the Unites States of America, I am saddened by the way our government is spending so much time and money fighting itself.  I am writing to you, in vain hope that you may be able to improve this situation.  When you say no deal will be reached by January first to avoid the upcoming tax rise, it makes me understand why Congress has such low approval numbers.  We the citizens are tired of you guys fighting each other.  You can tell what the people of the United States want, by the way we elect our representatives.  If you hold a rigid ideology that works against our will, how could you know that you are doing the right thing?
In the debt ceiling debacle Congress spent 18.9 billion dollars on nothing.  No one got tax breaks with that money.  No one got any benefits.  No infrastructure was built.  It was thrown away on a stupid political argument.  Nothing more, and nothing less.  Since you are on the verge of doing the same thing again, I feel I must write to you and implore you to stop.  When everyone’s taxes go up on January first, money will come out of the economy.  The extra 10 or 15 dollars in my paycheck that I no longer have, will not be spent in our economy.  When you add me to the millions of other Americans, it is obvious that it will begin to shrink our economy immediately.  If you think this contraction is good for America, please continue on your present course.  If you think America should be expanding and growing, please seriously reconsider your position.  We can turn this economy around if we work together.  As the poet once said, divided we stand, together we rise.

Thank you for taking a moment to consider my position.

Sincerely,

Tim Lewis

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Ezra Klein “Republicans won in 2010, and they leveraged that win to secure the roughly $1 trillion in cuts in the Budget Control Act. Democrats won in 2012, and they intend to leverage that win to secure the roughly $1 trillion in revenue from the expiration of the high-end Bush tax cuts.

After that’s done, the White House is proposing another $600 billion in spending cuts and another $600 billion in tax increases. Add in the $1 trillion or so in expected savings from ending the wars, and you’ve got about $4.2 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years. Add in the savings on expected interest payments and you’re at almost $5 trillion. Subtract the White House’s stimulus request, and you’re somewhere a bit north of $4.5 trillion. That’s their opening bid.

But that’s not all: There’s also a proposal to end debt-ceiling crises forevermore.

The idea comes from a most unlikely source: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), who proposed in July 2011 to permit the president to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling unless Congress affirmatively voted to stop him. And even if Congress did vote to stop him, the president could veto, and then Congress would need to overturn his veto.

The effect of this policy would, in general, be to finish off the debt ceiling. Republicans are laughing this off as a ridiculous, pie-in-the-sky proposal. McConnell abandoned this plan shortly after he proposed it, and he certainly doesn’t support it now. But it’s actually a great idea — one that could do more to protect our economy than anything else in the debt deal. Even better, it would cost us nothing. Measured by its cost-effectiveness, it’s perhaps the best idea in American politics today.

The debt ceiling is an anachronism. It’s an accountability mechanism from the days when Congress didn’t much involve itself in federal budgeting. Today, Congress exerts full control over the federal budget. The debt ceiling isn’t imposing accountability on the executive but calling into question whether Congress will pay the bills it has already chosen to incur.

But it’s not an adorable anachronism, like grandfather clocks. It’s a dangerous one, like bloodletting, lobotomies and burning people you suspect to be a witch. If we crash through the debt ceiling, a global financial crisis could — and likely will — result. Even once we return to sanity and begin paying our bills again, America’s borrowing costs are likely to be permanently higher, and the market’s confidence in our political system is likely to be permanently harmed. The Bipartisan Policy Center estimates that the near-miss we had in 2011 cost us $18.9 billion. That’s $18.9 billion we spent for no reason. It didn’t buy us one service or lower taxes by even a dime.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/11/30/the-best-idea-in-american-politics-kill-the-debt-ceiling/

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From the debate last night:

Q: Mr. President, I voted for you in 2008. What have you done or accomplished to earn my vote in 2012? I’m not that optimistic as I was in 2012. Most things I need for everyday living are very expensive.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, we’ve gone through a tough four years; there’s no doubt about it. But four years ago I told the American people and I told you I would cut taxes for middle-class families, and I did. I told you I’d cut taxes for small businesses, and I have. I said that I’d end the war in Iraq, and I did. I said we’d refocus attention on those who actually attacked us on 9/11, and we have gone after al-Qaida’s leadership like never before, and Osama bin Laden is dead.

I said that we would put in place health care reform to make sure that insurance companies can’t jerk you around, and if you don’t have health insurance, that you’d have a chance to get affordable insurance, and I have. I committed that I would rein in the excesses of Wall Street, and we passed the toughest Wall Street reforms since the 1930s. We’ve created 5 million jobs, gone from 800,000 jobs a month being lost. And we are making progress. We saved an auto industry that was on the brink of collapse.

Now, does that mean you’re not struggling? Absolutely not. A lot of us are. And that’s why the plan that I put forward for manufacturing and education and reducing our deficit in a sensible way, using the savings from ending wars to rebuild America and putting people back to work, making sure that we are controlling our own energy, but not just the energy of today but also the energy of the future — all those things will make a difference. So the point is, the commitments I’ve made, I’ve kept. And those that I haven’t been able to keep, it’s not for lack of trying, and we’re going to get it done in a second term.

But you should pay attention to this campaign, because Governor Romney’s made some commitments as well, and I suspect he’ll keep those, too. You know, when members of the Republican Congress say, we’re going to sign a no tax pledge so that we don’t ask a dime from millionaires and billionaires to reduce our deficit so we can still invest in education and helping kids go to college, he said, me too. When they said, we’re going to cut Planned Parenthood funding, he said, me too. When he said, we’re going to repeal “Obamacare,” first thing I’m going to do — despite the fact that it’s the same health care plan that he passed in Massachusetts and is working well — he said, me too. That is not the kind of leadership that you need, but you should expect that those are promises he’s going to keep.

http://www.npr.org/2012/10/16/163050988/transcript-obama-romney-2nd-presidential-debate

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Mitt Romney, 10/3/12:I will not reduce the taxes paid by high income Americans.Mitt Romney, 2/22/12: There were so many misrepresentations in there it’s going to take me a little while. Number one, I said today that we’re going to cut taxes on everyone across the country by twenty percent—including the top one percent.

Mitt Romney, 10/3/12: The key to great schools? Great teachers. So I reject the idea that I don’t believe in great teachers or more teachers.

Mitt Romney, 6/8/12: He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government.

Mitt Romney, 10/3/12: Actually, it’s a lengthy description, but number one, pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan.

Mitt Romney, 3/27/12: If they’re 45 years old and they show up and they say I want insurance because I’ve got heart disease, it’s like: “Hey guys, we can’t play the game like that.” You’ve got to get insurance when you’re well, and then if you get ill, then you’re going to be covered.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/10/05/1140797/-Mitt-Romney-debates-himself?detail=email