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Letters to the Editor

Anti-tax GOP

July 7, 2011

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To the editor:

Republicans are rapidly becoming solely anti-tax, anti-spending and socially conservative. The first position is being forced on them by Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, which pressures Republicans to veto any tax initiative. The second is the Tea Party’s support for Rep. Ryan’s “Roadmap to Prosperity.” The last is currently promoted by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition. Reed, do recall, was partnered with Abramoff (serving time) in bilking six Indian tribes out of millions.

Reed’s faith is apparently that of the Old Testament: retributive justice and betrayal with an overwhelming self-righteousness. His social agenda, which includes the surprising declaration that Israel belongs only to the Jews and includes Samaria and Judea (Palestine), is like those who believe that the stars in their courses fight for their personal agendas. They are to the rest of us a nuisance at best and a menace at worst.

The more troubling declarations about taking away funding reduces our representatives of every vestige of real power. Representatives will lose their social roles, competence and political consequence. What will remain will be the new PACs, holders of political franchises and owners of vast corporations. Removing funding for social programs (Social Security, Medicare, health care), firing government workers (reducing jobs) and cutting taxes (multimillionaires and corporations benefiting the most) will make the deficit far worse. These same programs made Calvin Coolidge’s era collapse economically.

Have Tea Party Republicans lost faith in charity toward their fellows? Norquist gives us one answer when he reportedly declared at Reed’s recent F&FC conference, “We don’t need a president with ideas.”

Comments

Carol Bowen 2 years, 9 months ago

Could the number of non-taxpayers be increasing because of job loss?

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George Lippencott 2 years, 9 months ago

Hey vertigo, I did my due diligence on tax rates and it does not support the general argument you made. It does support it at the high end. See:

http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/loyal-opposition/2011/jul/8/the-truth-about-tax-rates/

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George Lippencott 2 years, 9 months ago

Vertigo says “Even if the discussion is restricted to federal taxes (for which the statistics are better), a vast majority of households end up paying federal taxes. Congressional Budget Office data suggests that, at most, about 10 percent of all households pay no net federal taxes. The number 10 is obviously a lot smaller than 47.”

Of course, if you include payroll taxes more people pay - in fact most. But - big but - payroll taxes pay for your own social security and your Medicare. The only operating expense they pay is Medicaid (about 2-3%). For those not paying income taxes there is a good chance they are on Medicaid so again they are paying for their own consumption.

Excise and investment taxes throw me. Normally excise taxes are collected on things like yachts. Exactly what are people not paying federal income tax doing paying excise taxes? There must be a problem there somewhere.

I do not know what you mean by investment taxes unless you are talking taxes on dividends, capital gains and the like. Those are normally included in regular income and taxed as such. I could find no explanation in your references.

Perhaps we are capturing data on some rich people who pay no federal income taxes because they have taken all the loopholes our federal leaders have given them. By all means, close those loopholes. People with high net worth should not be able to escape taxes. I do, however, expect this set is small. If not we should collectively hang our elected leaders - all of them!!

Therefore, IMHO your reduction from 47 to 10 % is based primarily if not exclusively on payroll taxes - taxes paid for ones own enhancement. And oh by the way low income earners get considerably more back in Social Security and Medicare Payments then they ever pay in (on average). Sounds like a tax and spend canard to conceal the facts.

Point remains that somewhere between a third and a half of taxpayers pay no federal income taxes toward the operation of the federal government. That is a travesty. Everyone should have his or her mite in the public purse if only to feel the pinch of the federal purse.

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usnsnp 2 years, 9 months ago

As said before, it is a crock of S that 47% of the workers do not pay federal taxes. Everyone that works has Federal taxes taken out of their wages, a large number of them get a portion of it back, the reason they get money back is because their wages are low. Most of theis people only have a few basic decuctions. So if 47% of workers that are getting some or most of their Federal taxes payed back, with only have a few basic decuctions, it means that there is something wrong with what people are being payed.

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jayhawxrok 2 years, 9 months ago

We need the EPA, if anything they need more enforcement power and not less. I'd favor a sensible immigration policy but not storm stroopers lining the border, the latter is a bit hollywood.

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labmonkey 2 years, 9 months ago

Americans have stopped buying American made goods. It is cheaper to produce stuff overseas, but supply goes where demand goes. If we do not demand American made goods, we do not get them. With high unemployment, revenue intake is decreased. Increase employment, increase tax revenue (that is if increased employment comes from the private sector and not government jobs).

If you increase corporate taxes, you are more likely to send more private jobs overseas. Businesses already have the new health care law, possible cap and trade, and other unecessary regulations that is scaring them from hiring. Add to that corporate taxes?

Possible solution...

1) Take cap and trade off the table... period. Also, neuter the EPA's regulatory power.

2) No corporate income tax on businesses who hire 100% of their employees in the United States.

3) Cut Medicare and SS. It will be done, whether by choice or not. Lets start to stem the bleeding now and make the cuts a little less painful. By that token, raise the full payout retirement age to 70. Also go after SS fraud (it isn't welfare that the scum live off of folks... it is SS disability fraud).

4) Bring our troops home and put them on the Mexican border. New illegal border crossings and drug flow brought to a trickle. We also save billions and infuse millions in economic activity in some of our poorest areas.

5) Decriminalize marijuana. Why are we tieing up the court systems and jails with a drug that is less harmful than alcohol?

6) Instead of incarcerating non-violent criminals, make them pay heavy fines and perform community service. That way, they do not cost the tax-payer money to house them.

7) No sales tax on anything produced 100% in the United States, and a 1% national sales tax on anything produced in China.

I know most of these are political suicide... but they are ideas...

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George Lippencott 2 years, 9 months ago

vertigo (Jesse Crittenden) replies… It's not just intake, it's federal tax rates that are lowest in 60 years.

Congress has no control over your state, local and personal property taxes.

Well, my friend just 30 years ago we had a marginal rate of 45% - before the Reagan tax cut. Do not know where you are getting your information but it is not accurate.

All taxes count toward the total you take from me. Arguing for a general federal tax increase and not taking into account increases in other taxes is despicable.

You also forget that most of the middle

1 Has seen little income increase in two decades 2. Has seen what investments they had decimated in the great financial debacle caused in no small part by the federal government 3. Has seen the value of their home decline by 20% through no fault of their own.

You have no right to more tax income. Learn to live with what you have like the rest of us do!

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jayhawxrok 2 years, 9 months ago

No, you're wrong on that point. Federal income tax was withheld, along with SS and medicare....might get a chunk or all of it back but you can't work and have no federal tax withheld.

The real number is more like 10%

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/14/business/economy/14leonhardt.html

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jayhawxrok 2 years, 9 months ago

Tha't s a misleading statistic - people may not owe additional tax at the end of the year in April, but they paid income tax through payroll deduction all year long. Yes, unemployment benefits are taxable also.

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George Lippencott 2 years, 9 months ago

While I agree with your points on the rich, I am not quite sure how you meant the points on the non-tax payers. They are certainly not all on the dole. Some non-tax payers have a net worth that would make Mr. Gates blush but because of careful planning pay no taxes. Some even qualify for programs for the poor, as they seemingly have no income.

But - big but - there are still a lot of people – between a third and a half - who have no stake in our arguments as they do not pay to support our government. For those receiving public assistance there is a natural tendency to want to increase their take, as there is no tax impact on them if that happens. Not good. Everyone should pay something so the cost of government is imprinted.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 9 months ago

Repub Ryan's budget adds $ 6 trillion to the deficit.

The People's Budget ( Obama and democrats are aware of this)

This is the only budget that does everything this country needs:

* Creates good-paying jobs
* Fully maintains our social safety net
* Invests in education
* Ends our costly wars
* Closes the tax loopholes that have made offshoring jobs profitable
* Ends oil and gas subsidies that pollute our country at taxpayer expense
* Creates a national infrastructure investment bank to help us make intelligent investments for the future

This budget represents the future we believe in as American

This is one of those occasions we all hope we'll live to see: We really can make a difference right now if we speak up loudly with one voice.

The People's Budget represents not just common sense; it represents the will of the American people.

The People's Budget is getting mainstream attention, but it won't hold that attention unless we speak up about how important our values really are. These aren't just words on a page or numbers in a table—these dollars and cents mean lives helped or hurt, people succeeding or falling by the wayside, and families lifted up or dragged down. This is about America.

http://www.pdamerica.org/get-informed/view/critical-vote-on-the-peoples-budget-scheduled-for-9-am-tomorrow/

What the Peoples Budget does very specifically:

http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=70&sectiontree=5,70

http://www.npr.org/2011/04/15/135435883/the-nation-obama-should-fight-for-peoples-budget

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/4/14/while_obama_touts_compromise_with_gop

http://www.thenation.com/blog/159939/fighting-peoples-budget

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verity 2 years, 9 months ago

From NYT April 13, 2010 "Yes, 47% of Households Owe No Taxes. Look Closer." http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/14/business/economy/14leonhardt.html

"That’s the portion of American households that owe no income tax for 2009. The number is up from 38 percent in 2007, and it has become a popular talking point on cable television and talk radio. With Tax Day coming on Thursday, 47 percent has become shorthand for the notion that the wealthy face a much higher tax burden than they once did while growing numbers of Americans are effectively on the dole.

Neither one of those ideas is true. They rely on a cleverly selective reading of the facts. So does the 47 percent number. . . .

"If anything, the government numbers I’m using here exaggerate how much of the tax burden falls on the wealthy. These numbers fail to account for the income that is hidden from tax collectors — a practice, research shows, that is more common among affluent families. “Because higher-income people are understating their income,” Joel Slemrod, a tax scholar at the University of Michigan, says, "We’ve been overstating their average tax rates."

State and local taxes, meanwhile, may actually be regressive. That is, middle-class and poor families may face higher tax rates than the wealthy. As Kim Rueben of the Tax Policy Center notes, state and local income taxes and property taxes are less progressive than federal taxes, while sales taxes end up being regressive. The typical family pays a lot of state and local taxes, too — almost half as much as in federal taxes.

There is no question that the wealthy pay a higher overall tax rate than any other group. That is an American tradition. But there is also no question that their tax rates have fallen more than any other group’s over the last three decades. The only reason they are paying more taxes than in the past is that their pretax incomes have risen so rapidly — which hardly seems a great rationale for a further tax cut."

This is just a part of the article which includes a lot of other fun facts and figures.

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tbaker 2 years, 9 months ago

"...and socially conservative."

Hummmm...not sure you can back that one up Stu. Anti tax and anti spending - you've nailed those two points for sure but to claim "republicans" are falling in line with Ralph Reed? I don't see the evidence. The smart conservatives know pounding the drum for conservative social issues is a losing proposition in a presidential campaign.

As far as taxing people goes, we have finallyt reached a point in this country where raising taxes on anyone or everyone, rich or poor, truely will have very little effect. Take for example that group of folks the president loves to pick on, the ones making over $250,000 a year. Ignore for the moment that most of them are running small businesses who drive most of the hiring and employment in the country. Instead of just raising this groups taxes, lets assume the IRS confiscates EVERYTHING they make, 100% of all the income earned by those making over $250K a year.

The amount collected would cover slightly more than HALF of the $1.6 trillion in deficit spending the will happen in just this year, to say nothing of the out years. Beside radical reforms and steep reductions in marginal rates, there is no tax component to the solution for the mess we're in. We've finally reached a point where huge cuts in spending are needed that will require entire cabinet-level agencies to be shut down. But then people like you come along and carp about the GOP being anti-tax. Most thinking people realize, as I have just pointed out, we are way, way past the point where raising taxes could have helped solve the problems our country faces.

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Frightwig 2 years, 9 months ago

Forty-seven percent of Americans pay zero federal income tax. That might be part of the problem.

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George Lippencott 2 years, 9 months ago

I am not at the top and I am tired of my taxes going up and up while theirs do not

No one has every answered me as to why when the Democrats had complete control of the Congress they did not raise taxes on the rich. My suspicion is that they did not have the votes. Too many Democrats are beholding to special interests (read rich) just as the Republicans. The only taxes that will go up are those on the middle.

This whole rich thing is a canard by the Democrats to conceal their power grab in order to rearrange society in their desired manner with no compromise in sight! They want to destroy the middle and makes us all equal (except for the elites)

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jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

Class warfare has been going on for some time, and those at the top are winning, if they haven't already won.

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donttreadonme 2 years, 9 months ago

tool (anonymous) says… I truly feel Obama had every intention of inciting serious class warfare and dividing this nation..."

I truly feel that Republicans have every intention of inciting class warfare and dividng this nation.

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shovelready 2 years, 9 months ago

I truly feel Obama had every intention of inciting serious class warfare and dividing this nation. I think he's succeeded. And as he himself has said, elections have consequences.

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nativeson 2 years, 9 months ago

Both parties are so far off the mark that the discussion is moot. Republicans are clinging to the concept that economic growth with lower taxes will increase government revenues to a point of surplus. This is folly.

Democrats make those who propose changes to entitlement programs the villian such as the one made by Representative Ryan. Yet these programs represent the largest proportion of the federal budget. Entitlement programs will be reduces regardless of whether Congress does it or they simple run out of funding. The trajectory of costs is unsustainable.

The answers are all unacceptable to the public. Revenue enhancements and less benefits. So, we can point to politicians and blame them for our plight. However, in the end our society in general will not support the changes required to balance the budget. They will vote those who propose real change out of office. The threat of default will likely be the only reality that will force a political compromise with limited choices.

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Liberty_One 2 years, 9 months ago

"Representatives will lose their social roles, competence and political consequence."

And that is bad how?

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lunacydetector 2 years, 9 months ago

'you cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.'

if you don't understand the phrase 'you cannot multiply wealth by dividing it,' i'll be back later to explain its meaning. it's okay...it won't be a problem at all. just let me know if any of you don't understand its meaning.

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jayhawxrok 2 years, 9 months ago

The Democrats have capitulated to the Reps time and time again and the Reps have yet to step up and do their part. The hypocrisy of the right wing is astounding. They raised the debt ceiling every year Bush was in office, twice in one year....they watched him bail out companies without demanding accounting of the expenditures or our repayment....they whine about spending but even the Tea Party reps are asking for big federal dollars for pet projects in their districts......they whined and moaned about Bush nominees not getting up or down votes, but there are hundreds of Obama nominees they now won't give an up or down vote - many with bipartisan support....when Libya started to unravel the Reps whined that Obama should at least do air strikes or somehow support the rebels in an internationa capacity - then Obama did just that and they all faked indignation that he would do such a thing.

The idea that tax cuts create jobs is absurd. We had eight years of Bush tax cuts and bled jobs. The idea that rolling back the tax cuts to rates the rich had in the 1990's when they prospered is somehow the same as a tax hike, is dishonest. Oil companies don't need or want subsidies, but right wing Reps won't discuss ending them....while we citizens are paying $3.50 a gallon for gas. Closing loopholes that reward companies for taking jobs overseas is opposed by the Reps, calling that also a tax hike.

Let's face it, the Republican party has been hijacked once again. Previously the far right Christian conservatives took it over and made social issues their litmus tests for candidates and all the good little goose stepping Republicans lined up to bash their fellow citizens if they coud gain political favor with the checkbooks of the far right. Now the tea party insanity, started not as grass roots but as a planned opposition to Obama, has sucked in a lot of people too busy or too lazy to read anything for themselves...they are the party of NO when a Democrat is in charge but the party of Blank Checks when a Republican is in a similar position.

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labmonkey 2 years, 9 months ago

Charity is when one chooses to give, not forced to give via force (and that is not hyperbole... try not paying your taxes and see where you end up).

I realize that taxes must be raised at some point, but I will not support one penny until we see substantial, permanent spending cuts across the board.

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