All Articles Tagged "tax cuts"
The latest on the fiscal cliff talks indicate that House Republicans are joining forces around Speaker John Boehner, a rare occurrence over the past couple of years. The New York Times says this should make it easier for him to get a caucus on board to sign off on a deal. But these politicians are really on some stuff so you never know. (Case in point: Republicans voted against a UN treaty strengthening rights for the disabled even though it fell in line with laws that we’ve had in place for decades. Jon Stewart’s awesome take down here.)
But, the Times says, Republicans met yesterday, and came out of it with praise for Boehner. Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor even joined in the fun.
“Mr. Cantor signed on this week to Mr. Boehner’s package including $800 billion in new revenue, putting him squarely on the same page with the speaker,” the paper says. “Several Republicans said Wednesday that the combination of the onerous nature of the potential tax increases and spending cuts and the realities of the recent election combined to bolster Mr. Boehner’s support.” It only takes near-financial collapse to help them see the light.
Meanwhile, President Obama is keeping the pressure on, hosting a Twitter Q&A to discuss maintaining middle class tax cuts, a continuation of his My2K social media push he started last week. To reach business leaders, he appealed to them directly yesterday (even emptying a room of reporters to do so) asking them to accept higher taxes and vowing not to allow Republicans to use debt ceiling negotiations for leverage. “I will not play that game,” he said unequivocally. He has also met with business leaders at the White House and appeared on Bloomberg TV to talk about the issue, Politico reports.
The Atlantic has some great pie charts that break down the different plans for avoiding the fiscal cliff. A little dry, but it’s important to be in the know. (Separately and kind of not related, one of the people behind the Bowles-Simpson plan, 81-year-old former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson, is pushing young people to get behind a deficit reduction push on social media with this video below, which has some serious LOL. h/t Mashable)
While all of this politicking is happening, Americans are genuinely worried about what’s going to happen. (Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has said that the administration is ready to go over the cliff if an acceptable deal isn’t reached, but that seems premature.) A Quinnipiac University poll released today shows 53 percent of voters believe that falling off the fiscal cliff will personally impact them in a negative way. Forty-eight percent of participants optimisitically believe that an agreement will be reached by the end of the year, ABC News says.
The consequences of not reaching a deal could have grave consequences for the black community. “Spending cuts to domestic programs… would impact African-Americans in more ways than one,” BET reports. “In addition to reductions in programs that some families depend on, such as Head Start, African-Americans, who are overrepresented in public sector jobs, could find themselves on the unemployment line.”
Public sector job cuts have already been a blight on the financial well-being of African Americans, black women in particular. Black Women’s Agenda, a 35-year-old Washington-based nonprofit, has officially thrown its support behind President Obama’s proposal. “”We believe that the President’s proposal best serves the interests of not just the constituencies that we and our collaborating organizations represent, but also the majority of the American people,” said the organization’s president Gwainevere Catchings Hess in a statement.
The Congressional Black Caucus has also thrown its support behind many of the President’s proposals, including an end to tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the middle class, implementation of Affordable Care Act, and an extension of unemployment benefits.
The President called in to the Tom Joyner show yesterday to talk about the fiscal cliff, reiterating his points about the pain that allowing ourselves to go over will cause.
“[T]his is a solvable problem,” the President said. “It should not be a crisis. And the main thing that I need folks to do is just contact your members of Congress and say to people, don’t let middle-class taxes go up right now. Don’t let working people carry the burden of deficit reduction when millionaires and billionaires aren’t doing their fair share,” reads the EurWeb transcription. Get on the horn with your Congresspeople!
The Daily Finance’s article titled, “How Rich is Rich? Where America Draws the Wealth Line,” reveals one thing: everyone, including the wealthy, is insecure about their financial status. But the title question – how much money actually makes you rich – remains murky.
Earlier in the nation’s history, $1 million was the deciding factor, but today, being a millionaire is not so special (to some folks, anyway). There are 8.4 millionaires in America. Having a billion would make you one of 400. So in a not-so-far-fetched version of America’s future, being a millionaire will make you middle class. But the main indication of someone’s financial fortitude is not surprising for those who follow politics: taxes – the trigger that will spring America’s upper-class to action.
“One way of dividing the rich from the middle class is through the top tax rate,” the Daily Finance reports. “There are a few problems with the highest tax bracket as a wealth line, the biggest of which is that the top rate often has more to do with political maneuvering than any measure of wealth.” When President Obama tried to lower the qualifications of the top tax bracket from $373,651 to $250,000, the trigger was again pulled.
“Some of the loudest complaints about Obama’s attempt to set the rich line at $250,000 have come from Northeastern cities,” Daily Finance reports. “According to these critics, the high cost of living in urban centers means that a quarter of a million dollars barely buys a middle-class existence.” So, $250,000 annually is apparently still not rich enough. According to a study of America’s wealthiest 1%, there will never be such a thing as rich enough. “Even the country’s richest people are worried about their finances. When a survey by PNC Advisors asked how much money it would take to make them feel secure, most answered that they would need around twice as much money as they currently had,” Finance Reports.
So in the end, wealth is relative, and the country’s non-millionaires are screwed.
(Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama is seeking to revive a version of the so-called grand bargain with congressional Republicans that would combine long-term U.S. deficit reduction through entitlement benefit cuts and tax increases with immediate steps to boost job growth. Obama plans to press Congress for billions of dollars in fresh spending to reduce unemployment as he also pursues a compromise on long-term deficit cuts. He will begin by laying out his ideas in a speech shortly after the U.S. Labor Day holiday, which is Sept. 5. With the U.S. unemployment rate at 9.1 percent and economic growth slowing, Obama’s aides are working on a mix of tax cuts and infrastructure spending beyond the measures he has been promoting over the last several weeks, an administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because details for the speech haven’t been completed.
(Washington Examiner) — D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown will present a budget to his peers that will include a limitation on income tax deductions, which would have the city’s top earners paying more. Other council members who support the mayor’s other tax proposal, a rate increase on those who make $200,000 or more annually, say they will fight to get it back in the city’s 2012 budget. The income tax increase proposed by Mayor Vincent Gray would raise about $35 million. But it divides into two parts: an increase in the rate for incomes of $200,000 or more, and a reduction in the itemized deductions those same earners can claim. Brown says he will nix the rate increase and keep the deduction limit in the $5.5 billion operating budget he will put before the council on May 25. The mayor proposes the budget and the chairman sculpts the version the council will vote on.
(Washington Post) — As President Obama prepared to sign his $858 billion tax dealFriday, White House aides moved quickly to soothe the anger among liberal constituency groups that bitterly opposed the measure. An e-mail distributed to black leaders declared the package a “major victory for African-Americans,” arguing that a series of middle-class tax cuts will give “targeted” aid to minorities. The White House also invited one of its key African American surrogates, the Rev. Al Sharpton, to Friday afternoon’s bill signing and scheduled a private meeting with top labor union leaders who had railed against extending the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy.
(Bloomberg) — The U.S. Congress passed an $858 billion bill extending for two years all Bush-era tax cuts, sending the measure to President Barack Obama for his signature. Before the House voted 277-148 for final passage on the tax-cut agreement, members defeated an amendment crafted by some Democrats to express their displeasure with the bill and especially with a Republican-backed estate-tax proposal. Enough Democrats voted with House Republicans to accept the deal that Obama negotiated with congressional Republicans who gained scores of seats in last month’s election. Republicans said the bill would provide certainty about tax rates and would create jobs.
(Afro) — Having won the endorsement of the man dubbed America’s “First Black President,” Bill Clinton, the Obama administration on Dec. 10 peddled the tax deal made with Republicans as a boon for the African- American community. “We feel we really were winners in this deal because we got a lot of priorities through that not only helps economic recovery but helps families that really need that assistance in this pivotal time,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said during a conference call with the Black press. Cecilia Rouse, a member of President’s Council of Economic Advisers, reaffirmed that the president had not been happy about acceding to Republican demands for an increased estate tax cut and a two-year extension of President Bush’s high-income tax credit, which together costs $114 billion in revenue.
(Huffington Post) — A lot has been said about the proposed tax giveaway to the wealthiest Americans and the austerity measures recommended by President Obama’s deficit commission. However, an analysis of the impact that both proposals would have on black and brown Americans has been missing from the conversation. U.S. Census Bureau projections show that the nation is expected to become majority-minority by the year 2042. And, although Census figures indicate that people of color will comprise about 42 percent of the elderly population by 2050, they are likely to become a majority of older adults by the year 2070.
(The State Column) — Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Barbara Lee said Friday that she will not support President Obama’s unemployment extension and tax proposal plan. “You put those together and this is an assault on the working poor and middle-income people,” Ms. Lee said. “What is so outrageous about this whole thing is we know the pain and suffering people are going through right now as a result of the bush era tax cuts,” the California Democrat added. Ms. Lee said she is particularly upset with Mr. Obama’s reluctance to push for an expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts for those making more than $250,000. A number of Democrats, including House Democrats, have criticized Mr. Obama the proposal.