Political Nutz

Observations on the pathetic state of American politics

Category Archives: Taxes

Taxpayer Funding for the NRA

Why are U.S. taxpayers forced by law to fund the NRA? See this little tidbit:

Title XVI of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996  (Page 331) created the Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice & Firearms Safety (CPRPFS).

“The Corporation may obtain surplus property and supplies  without cost, but may sell at fair market value surplus rifles, ammunition…to citizens of the United States over 18 years of age who are members of a gun club affiliated with the Corporation.”   The NRA is such a corporation.

It’s a taxpayer giveaway.  Why can’t the military sell the surplus weaponry themselves and return the profits to taxpayers?

 

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NY Times Identifies “Real Spending Problem”: Tax Deductions

Washington DC has been obsessed with run-away government spending. The GOP has focused particularly on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security,  and education conveniently ignoring $1.1 trillion per year in tax breaks for the rich.  Today’s Times’ editorial points out a few of these wholly indefensible deductions that benefit exclusively already wealthy Americans at the expense of the lower and middle classes.

Another Whiner Rich Guy

What a disappointment.  I’ve been a Phil Mickelson fan for years; I enjoy his aggressive approach to golf and the way he treats fans at tournaments.  But now he’s complaining –essentially– that he makes too much money. Poor Phil! He only managed about $18 million after taxes last year.  Playing golf!  While staying at the most luxurious places on earth, traveling in his yacht and private jets.  And he’s whining that he has to pay too much in taxes.  He may have to sell his $8 million California home and move to some poverty-ridden place like Florida.  What a crushing burden.  Think of the cost of sailing the yacht through the Panama Canal.  Come to think of it, maybe Phil should just stay in Panama.

Republicons Spin the Election Results

Before many of the final state results were in last night, Speaker Boehner was already offering a twisted interpretation of voters’ intentions.  “With this vote, the American people have also made clear that there is no mandate for raising tax rates.”

Really!  An overwhelming victory at the Presidential level, Dems gaining seats in the Senate and even a few in the House and the Party of No continues to believe Americans want more tax relief for the rich.  Then, of course, Mr. Boehner suggests there’s a route to bipartisan progress… as long as the Democrats just agree with everything the Right wants.  Maybe Mr. Boehner will go on a mission to some poverty-stricken country with Mr. Romney and get a grip on what really happened.

Mitt Doesn’t Care About Me

I’m part of that 47% that pays no income tax so Mitt Romney doesn’t want to be my president.  I’ll keep that in mind as November 6th rolls around.

It’s not really my fault: I just have no income.  After forty plus years of working I’m retired and living on my own savings.  No Social Security.  I do have Medicare insurance but I did pay several tens of thousands of dollars into the program over the decades.  I didn’t save enough, though, to get into one of Mitt’s $50K per plate fund raisers so I don’t meet his criteria for which Americans matter to the Republican Party.

More Out-of-Touch Mitt

Good grief!  Mitt Romney defines “middle income” beginning at the household income of $250,000 a year.  I wonder if he realizes that’s a quarter of a million dollars.   How uninformed and out of touch with reality can he be?  The median U.S. household income is just over $50,000 and less than 2% of American families bring home over $200K a year.  These numbers are easy to find but Romney seems obsessed with making things up to suit his super-rich view of the world.

Romney’s Taxes… He Just Doesn’t Get It

Mitt Romney has proudly proclaimed that he paid a whopping 13% in taxes over the past ten years.  He seems to think this is somehow a noble gesture on his part and we should all be glad that he contributed so mightily to the U.S. coffers.  He just doesn’t understand the sense of unfairness we middle class folks feel when we pay 13.2% just for Social Security and Medicare which by the way Mr. Romney did not contribute to at all since his income was all in some type of non-wages category.  While Romney has collected 20  million bucks a year running for president the guy who drives the local garbage truck earning $48,000 a year pays 13% into FICA and 25% in income taxes. Mr. Romney may not have done anything illegal tax-wise but he is painfully clueless and arrogant about how most of Americans live… and pay their fair share in taxes.

Tax Exemption for Olympians? Phooey!

So President Obama has again sided with the Republicans; this time on Marco Rubio’s proposed Olympic Tax Elimination Act.  No need to “punish success,” Senator Rubio says.  Give me a break!  What about policemen, doctors, teachers…?  They contribute mightily to America and get no special tax treatment.  Never mind the fact that Olympians already get to deduct their expenses for training, equipment and travel.  Singling out a few hundred elite athletes just makes no sense… and it’s eminently unfair to the  rest of us.  But, then again, tax fairness in the Republican mind means only that those with the least money should pay the most.

August 8 addendum, Matthew Yglesias gets it right: Tax the Olympians:  Sen. Marco Rubio and President Obama team up for a ridiculous new tax break for Olympic medal winners.  He writes…

If they gave out awards for dumb new policy ideas, President Obama and Republican rising star Sen. Marco Rubio would both be medaling this week. Their achievements? Rubio’s completely pointless bill offering a tax break to recipients of Olympic medals and—even worse—the president’s decision to hop on the bandwagon rather than show the country he has a firmer grasp on the issues than his adversaries do. In the scheme of things, of course, winning Olympic prizes is not an important sector of economic activity, and the medals’ tax status doesn’t really matter. But the overall shape of the tax code does matter a great deal, and the speed with which a bipartisan consensus emerged around making it worse bodes quite poorly for efforts to make it better.

In a bit of counter argument, Smart Money notes that Olympic stars and wannabes can confront expenses as high as $250,000 with little chance of any financial return on investment. Well, it’s their choice and their dream. Go for it but don’t expect me to foot part of the bill. What about the graduate or medical student taking on tens of thousands of dollars of loans each year to prepare to contribute in a meaningful way to society? Or artists or musicians who follow their muse with no help from the taxpayers?

I cheer for U.S. athletes and hope those who are able contribute to the U.S. Olympic Committee. But let’s not muddle the tax code to give a few hundred kids a tiny, specialized tax break.

Truth About Corporate Taxes

This should come as no surprise: the Republican corporatists have been greatly exaggerating the effective tax rate paid by U.S. companies.  The Congressional Budget Office reports that U.S. corporations paid on average just 12.1% in income taxes, not even half of the nominal 35% rate they complain about so vociferously and among the lowest rates in the world.  All last week the media bombarded us with stories of the U.S. having the highest corporate tax rate after Japan lowered theirs.  But with all those loopholes and deductions, companies pay a fraction of what you and I pay.  And many companies, like Big Oil, get those ridiculous subsidies for simply running their business, effectively taking money from working class people and channeling it into CEO bonuses.

So let’s review: the federal deficit is in the tank, corporations and the super-rich are paying about 15% or less in income taxes, middle-class folks are paying about 35%.  And the Republican Party thinks it’s somehow fair to cut taxes again for companies and the rich and increase taxes on everybody else, especially the very poor.  If corporations are people as the Supreme Court has declared, then they should pay taxes like people and go to jail when they commit crimes like the banks and mortgage companies did leading to the Great Recession.

New GOP Plan to Help Unemployed: Fire 200,000

The GOP rejected an extension of the payroll tax cut tonight.  OK, no surprise and there are reasonable arguments for and against the measure.  But again the Republican “logic” behind their plan to pay for unemployment benefits is mind-boggling.  Mr. McConnell and his nutcase cohort propose firing 200,000 federal employees as a way to save money.  Does he think people don’t see this as just a measure to help ensure unemployment stays high through the 2012 campaign season.

 

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