Archive for Saturday, January 10, 2009

Obama OKs changes in tax proposal

January 10, 2009


— Pushed by fellow Democrats, President-elect Barack Obama agreed to modest changes in his proposed tax cuts on Friday after inviting lawmakers to “just show me” ideas for fixing an economy shedding jobs at an alarming rate.

Democratic congressional officials said that Obama aides came under pressure in closed-door talks to jettison or significantly alter a proposed tax credit for creating jobs. Further, Democrats sought inclusion of relief for upper middle-class families hit by the alternative minimum tax. The so-called AMT was originally designed to make sure the very wealthy did not escape taxes, but it now hits many more people because of inflation, despite measures by Congress every year to prevent it from reaching tens of millions of middle-income families.

Congressional officials said aides to the president-elect had agreed to increase the $10 billion originally ticketed for energy tax breaks, although the final total remained unclear. Two officials said at least $20 billion would be reserved, but others indicated it could go higher.

Details were not available, but Obama has spoken in the past about increasing tax breaks for production of alternative energy sources such as wind power. The energy tax provisions make up a small part of a massive economic stimulus bill — expected to reach over $800 billion over two years — that congressional leaders hope to pass before mid-February.

With more than 11 million Americans out of work, Obama pressed Congress for action and said the U.S. is undergoing “a devastating economic crisis that will become more difficult to contain.” His warning was underscored by a government report showing that unemployment hit a 16-year high of 7.2 percent in December.

But congressional Democrats are making it clear they want to put their own stamp on the revival plan, despite the inevitable delays. Some Obama ideas, like a $3,000 job creation tax credit, might get scrapped.


Godot 9 years, 2 months ago

Bush and Obama are working together to give Obama access to the remaining $350 billion of the TARP before Congress has a chance to put restrictions on it. Looks like the banks masters succeeded in pressuring their lackeys more free money. Congressional Oversight Panel found many probelms with the way the TARP has been handled thus far.“Because the questions we asked one month ago are important as ever, in this second report we lay out exactly what questions have been answered, what haven’t been answered and why these questions are important,” said Elizabeth Warren, the Chair of the Oversight Panel. “The American people have a right to know how their taxpayer dollars are being used, and so far, they have not gotten the transparency and accountability they deserve.”The report highlights four key areas that demand special attention: Bank Accountability—the Panel still does not know what banks are doing with the taxpayer money they have received. Transparency—confidence in markets can only be restored when information is transparent and reliable, but we still have no clear mechanism to ensure transparent and accurate asset valuation and no confidence that the dangers posed by toxic assets have been addressed. Foreclosures—Treasury has yet to take any steps to use TARP funds or develop plans to “maximize assistance to homeowners,” as required by law. Overall Strategy—Treasury���s shifting explanations for its purposes and the tools used have exacerbated the Panel���s concern that Treasury does not have a coherent overall strategy and goals for use of the TARP funds. The full report, including a question-by-question grid detailing each of Treasury’s responses to the Panel’s questions, can be found at, the Panel is encouraging all Americans to pose their own questions, make their own suggestions, and share their personal stories through its website".

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