Showing posts with label Taxes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Taxes. Show all posts

Jul 12, 2013

On Tammy Baldwin's Small Business Innovation Act

Needed with the newly introduced Small Business Innovation Act of 2013, is a tax code change for the self-employed making sub-poverty [less than $9,750] annually and still getting gouged by taxes at rates exceeding that of multi-billionaires. Why are
entrepreneurial, self-employed individuals making sub-poverty money getting punished by the tax code for being entrepreneurial, innovative and self-employed?

Wisconsin's newest senator, Tammy Baldwin announced her first authored initiative in the U.S. senate, introduced as the United States veers further into plutocratic territory, rivaling now the gilded age in wealth inequity.

Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) is pushing the rights and social utility of startups and small businesses, calling for funneling public money to get folks started in business.

Good for Baldwin.

If Republicans really believe in the value of free enterprise, they'll leap to her side and advocate for what is actually common sense, something you do not often see in Washington.

Baldwin introduces the "Small Business Innovation Act of 2013 to help fuel small business job creation and economic growth that is so desperately needed in Wisconsin. The legislation, Baldwin’s first bill in the U.S. Senate, will help provide startup businesses the capital they need to grow their companies and create jobs."

While we wait for Paul Ryan, Scott Walker and House and Senate Republicans to leap over each other to join Baldwin, one feels compelled to point to a needed change in the tax code for a particular small business, entrepreneurial enterpriseself-employed, low-income Americans.

Self-employed folks looking to make ends meet in a depression-era, jobs-lacking economy who make less than $9,750, are still forced to file income tax forms, if their incomes are above $400 and below $9,750, and they get taxed heavily.

Concomitant with the Small Business Innovation Act of 2013, we need to change the tax code, with real reform, [not pay-backs to the Koch brothers and other billionaires as Republicans advocate], to address how the self-employed, low-income tax payers making below-poverty income are now gouged. 

True also is the fact that tax deductions are available for the below-poverty, self-employed, but tax deductions certainly cannot be counted on in many situations and the fact that Americans—those who happen to be self-employed—are taxed at all while make less $9,750, it is an outrage.

The taxes imposed on the low-income self-employed are vicious, with tax liabilities from combined state-federal taxes comprising some 30 percent in many cases. 

Ask a graduate student who grabbed a gig to make it through school.

Say a new, entrepreneurial, innovative college graduate [or anyone for that matter] lands a freelance editing gig, makes $9,000 in total income; she would have a combined state-federal tax liability of some 30 percent. 


Whereas, someone who works as an employee and makes less than less than $9,750 owes no taxes, and in fact does not have to file (though she should anyway).

This situation begs the question: Why does an entrepreneurial, self-employed individual making sub-poverty money get punished by the tax code for being entrepreneurial, innovative and self-employed?

My question for Republicans is: Will you join Sen. Baldwin in advocating the
Small Business Innovation Act of 2013, and blast and change the tax code wherein sub-poverty, self-employed, single Americans pay higher rates than billionaires? 

Timely as always, Paul Krugman asks today: "Do Republicans have anything to offer to "disaffected working-class white voters"?"

May 16, 2013

The Real IRS Scandal—AstroTurf Schemes Using 501(c)(4) Foul-up

Astroturf front, Americans for Prosperity
Clare Kim and Lawrence O'Donnell have the story on what's up with the IRS.

And it's not persecuted Tea Baggers.

It's the AstroTurf schemes using 501(c)(4) status resulting from a 1959 screw-up that lets the Koch brothers and Karl Rove funnel money ripping off taxpayers.

From The Last Word:

Internal Revenue Service agents have been struggling to do their jobs–which have been made essentially impossible by an incorrect interpretation of the law that the IRS made in 1959. It was then that the IRS changed the language of the law without any authority to do so. Here is how the tax law was written in its latest update in 1954 on 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations. The 501(c)(4) designation was to apply only to: “Civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.”

But a 1959 interpretation guideline written by the IRS says that: ”To be operated exclusively to promote social welfare, an organization must operate primarily to further the common good and general welfare…”

With absolutely no legal oversight, the IRS changed the world “exclusively” to mean “primarily” and then the IRS never defined what it meant by primarily. MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell explains that the tax code must be enforced with the word “exclusively” so that no political organizations would ever be able to get 501(c)(4) status. “No Tea Party organizations, no Democratic party organizations, no Republican party organizations, no Libertarian party organizations, no party organizations of any kind should ever get 501(c)(4) status and that is exactly what the law already says,” O’Donnell said Wednesday night.
On a related note, see Hey, Mitch McConnell. Let me see if I got this right: "When the IRS hassles Tea Party groups, it's wrong. When they hassle the NAACP and environmental groups, it's OK."


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Nov 8, 2012

Protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in Grand Bargain

FDR signs the Social Security Act in 1935
Time to get back to work, Mr. President. The forces of feudalism are forever busy.

Outside of the idiot caucus, and it pundits, no one wants the most successful social insurance programs in U.S. history diminished.

And no one, rational, wants the working class targeted in the coming the Grand Bargain.

Facing the elimination of public debt in 2001, the GOP under Bush-Cheney drove up the debt in the hopes that later structural deficits would force massive cuts to social insurance, education, stimulus spending and research.

Now is the time of reckoning of the lost decade.

Let's not reward what Bush-Cheney did.

In 2001, Fed Chair Alan Greenspan testified before the Senate Budget Committee on the potential dangers of having zero federal debt, a fiscal legacy that Bush, Cheney and his rightwing ideologues were desperate to avoid.


And avoid and reverse this no-debt legacy they did.

Greenspan’s was an ambiguous and wide-ranging testimony—recounted by former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neil in The Price of Loyalty—that included Greenspan’s “fear that large surpluses would create a drag on the economy,” among other expressed cautions and concerns about the then-proposed Bush tax cuts (O’Neil p. 63) for the super-rich, now set to expire.

But the damage was done and Greenspan gave political cover (then and in later statements) to the reckless Bush tax cuts.

Said Greenspan in his subsequent testimony before the House Committee on the Budget (March 2, 2001):

At zero debt, the continuing unified budget surpluses now projected under current law imply a major accumulation of private assets by the federal government. Such an accumulation would make the federal government a significant factor in our nation’s capital markets and would risk significant distortion in the allocation of capital to its most productive uses.
A significant distortion to productive uses of capital? You mean like AIG, Citibank and Goldman Sachs?

Greenspan has since more or less apologized for his role in the train-wreck of the Bush-Cheney years that the GOP wants brought back, in part because the GOP friends in the Tea Party cannot stand the site of a black president reelected by other 'mud people.'

If President Obama takes Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid off the table, the American people will be behind him, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson be damned.

- A version of this piece has previously appeared

Jun 10, 2009

GOP Lies and Lies

Update: See Bruce Murphy's piece that argues GOP is desperate against Doyle, mocking the silly notion that Doyle is doomed.

But lying is the Republican way.

Faced with the hollowed-out economy executed by the Bush-Cheney administration, 47 states this year face ballooning budget deficits, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

State legislatures and governors from California to Maine are fighting to clean up the fiscal carnage.

So the over-heated GOP shills in Wisconsin snipe and gripe, screaming about the state budget addressing the $6 billion deficit: The worst ever, sure to draw the wrath of the people.

Yes, the state budget not yet approved is the cause of economic misery and generates outrage across the state. Right.

And Jim Doyle is sure to feel this wrath and outrage. Milwaukee talk radio and GOP shills are never wrong.

Where were these fiscal Republican geniuses the last eights years that saw the Bush administration applaud and actually brag about economic progress as 1,000,000s of jobs were outsourced? Smirking no doubt.

Where were these geniuses the last eight years that saw in 2001 the projected elimination of all public debt [and states arguing about what to do with their surpluses] morph into Bush bequeathing $10 trillion debt to the new administration and the 50 states in fiscal crises? That's easy, they were applauding King George's leadership and courage.

Remember the "deficits don't matter" assurance infamously voiced by our intrepid former vice-president.

As the GOP scolds, do yourself a favor and don't buy their snake oil.

Their public record and commitment to honest commentary ain't the best as the omission of inconvenient facts make clear.

If we could get a honest policy discussion from Republicans, our country and our fellow states would not be in this mess.

Mar 27, 2009

Hey Wisconsin, Remember the Fear of Zero National Debt

As Gov. Doyle grapples with the giant budget deficits, it's worth recalling a time when zero national debt was feared and states argued about how much fiscal revenue they should shave off their budgets.

In 2001 Fed Chair Alan Greenspan testified before the Senate Budget Committee on the potential dangers of having no federal debt [we're at $11 trillion now], a fiscal legacy of the Clinton administration that Bush, Cheney and his rightwing ideologues were desperate to avoid.

It was an ambiguous and wide-ranging testimony, recounted by Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neil in The Price of Loyalty, that included Greenspan's "fear that large surpluses would create a drag on the economy," among other expressed cautions and concerns about the then-proposed Bush tax cuts (O'Neil p. 63).

But the damage was done and Greenspan gave political cover (then and in later statements) to the reckless Bush tax cuts for the super-rich.

Said Greenspan in his subsequent testimony before the House Committee on the Budget (March 2, 2001):
At zero debt, the continuing unified budget surpluses now projected under current law imply a major accumulation of private assets by the federal government. Such an accumulation would make the federal government a significant factor in our nation's capital markets and would risk significant distortion in the allocation of capital to its most productive uses.
A significant distortion?

The GOP commitment to make a fiscal mess of things is long-standing, notes Joe Conason in Salon today, and "and Republicans who are complaining about Barack Obama's spending are hypocrites," and avoid even addressing the arguments for stimulus spending (see Krugman, Dec. 1, 2008). Writes Conason

In our time, the Republican Party has compiled an impressive history of talking about fiscal responsibility while running up unrivaled deficits and debt. Of the roughly $11 trillion in federal debt accumulated to date, more than 90 percent can be attributed to the tenure of three presidents: Ronald Reagan, who used to complain constantly about runaway spending; George Herbert Walker Bush, reputed to be one of those old-fashioned green-eyeshade Republicans; and his spendthrift son George "Dubya" Bush, whose trillion-dollar war and irresponsible tax cuts accounted for nearly half the entire burden. Only Bill Clinton temporarily reversed the trend with surpluses and started to pay down the debt (by raising rates on the wealthiest taxpayers).
As is clear among honest observers, among the pathological programs pursued by the Bush administration was its enterprise to turn the national debt from prospects that were made in 2001 of the debt being completely paid off in 10 years to upping the debt to $10 trillion when it left office.

The wish list that the rightwingers, like Grover Norquist, desired from the future administrations dealing with the massive debt: Eliminating those awful programs like Social Security and Medicaid and Medicare which they hoped would become unsustainable because of the debt purposefully piled up by Bush and Cheney.

Bush bequeathed more than that: Millions of jobs shipped overseas, $trillions of unregulated financial products that may yet cost the dollar its role as reserve currency, states' deficits like Wisconsin's and on and on.

Obama has been scrupulously careful not to put the blame on the GOP; it's the wrong message for the guy sent in to clean up the mess. But Conason, Krugman and others should continue to further an understanding of the political-economic commitments of the GOP.

- See also Krugman: Large fiscal expansion needed (Dec. 1, 2008)