If nothing else, we need a concrete sort of ideal to work towards — any gains at all at this point will be of benefit to all of us (even to the intractable filthy rich 2% and the corporations — after all once they get done grinding the entire country into dust, what will they have to rule over, exactly?). I just got done reading this article Emergency Labor Network Crafts Program to Reverse the American Tax Shift which discusses alternative means of addressing the current recession, debt-ceiling limit, deficit and so on. First of all, as anyone who has done household finances knows, you need to address debts with both cutbacks and revenue. You can’t go on getting pricey restaurant dinners when you’re trying to pay down a sizeable debt, and you need to look for other sources of revenue (maybe a second job, maybe renting out an extra bedroom in your house) as well. Often, both approaches will be what gets you out of the red line. The principle really is about the same up to the government level.
And the main thing to remember is this: we had a surplus of government revenue up until ten years ago when Bush made huge tax cuts for that filthy rich 2%. The claim was that this would stimulate the economy and get us all on a go-go merry train where everyone made out like bandits. Except that ten years later, we’re completely in the hole, and “everyone” turned out to be only the filthy rich — just 2% of the country, with the rest of us looking like idiots at them, thinking that we are them, and they are us and we just might have a chance if we worked just a bit harder, and all we do is spin along on that hamster wheel — while that 2% goes merrily along setting even more things up to ruin even that spinning in place. Look out, because they’re set to wreck that hamster wheel.
Anyway, first they explain the source of today’s problems:
The program offered and discussed at the ELN conference was dubbed the “RATS Tax Program,” an acronym that stands for “Reverse the American Tax Shift” of the past 30 years. The shift has occurred on three levels. For one, in the personal income tax – from the “top 10 percent” wealthy households and investors enjoying capital gains, dividends, carrying interest, and rental income, to the 100 million “bottom 90 percent” households, whose income is almost exclusively “earned” from wages, salaries and pensions. Since 1980, a tax shift in favor of capital incomes benefiting the top 10 percent households – together with a 50 percent decline in tax incomes from the corporate income tax (from about 20 percent to 10 percent of federal tax revenues), and a doubling of payments into the payroll tax (from roughly 20 percent to 40 percent of federal tax revenues) – has resulted in a total annual shift in income by 2011 approaching $1 trillion a year. In other words, a “Great American Tax Shift.”
Which is basically a nicer way of saying what I just said above.
So they offer a very sensible ten point plan to address the deficit:
- Repeal the Bush tax cuts on all capital incomes (capital gains, dividends, interest, inheritance) and related corporate tax cuts for accelerated depreciation and credits.
- Restore the capital gains and dividends tax rates, from their current 15 percent to their levels of 70 percent in 1980.
- Restore the top income bracket personal income tax rate to the 70 percent from 1980.
- End tax loopholes for corporations and millionaires.
- Lift the annual income cap on the Social Security payroll tax for all earned income (wages and salaries) above its current $106,800 ceiling. Extend the 12.4 percent payroll tax to all capital incomes over $100,000 per year. (Note: per the Social Security Trustees, this would provide 150 percent of what is needed to resolve all funding issues for Social Security retirement and disability benefits.)
- Increase the Medicare payroll tax by 0.25 percent, from its current 1.45 percent, for both employees and employers over the next ten years. Add a second 0.25 percent for each in 2022. (Note: per the Social Security trustees, this would resolve all funding problems for Medicare.)
- End multinational corporations’ offshore tax fraud. Make multinational corporations bring back their $1 trillion current cash hoard in their offshore subsidiaries and pay their 35 percent tax. If they refuse, place a 50 percent tariff on all their imported goods to the United States.
- Repatriate wealthy investors’ $4 trillion illegally sheltered hoard now in 27 offshore tax havens identified by the IRS and pay their legally required taxes. If they refuse to repatriate within 90 days, impose 10 percent penalties for consecutive 90 days. If the 27 countries’ tax havens refuse to cooperate in the repatriation, freeze their assets in the US until they comply.
- Stop the states’ corporate tax cut competition and tax revenue “race to the bottom.” Introduce a federal “State Corporate Relocation Equalization” tax to even out state-to-state corporate tax differentials. Use the federal revenue from the equalization for state job training.
- Tax the banksters (commercial and noncommercial banks). Levy a three-part financial transactions tax as follows: 1. A tax of 10 cents on all common stock trades. 2. A tax of $1 per $1,000 value for all corporate bond sales. 3. A tax of 5 cents per dollar value on all forms of derivatives trading and swaps by counterparties.
Way too sensible. It would work, too. No wonder no one will listen to it. Instead, we get crap like this (from Obama: Time To ‘Pull Off The Bandaid, Eat Our Peas’ In Debt Talks)
Obama told reporters at a briefing Monday. “So what I’ve said to them is let’s go. It is possible for us to construct a package to involve both parties to take on their sacred cows.”
Right, because both Republicans and Democrats have been holding the country hostage, making impossible demands, both bent on ruining the country, neither giving in ONE INCH, because
Obama is urging Republicans to back away from their insistence on no new tax increases and Democrats from refusing to agree to any changes to entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security.
Oh for fuck’s sake. Stop behaving like Democrats never concede any ground. It’s ALL the Democrats do. Time for the Republicans to suck it up. Jesus.
How can you possibly equate intractibility with tax cuts that benefit only the filthy rich & corporations with intractibility with basic entitlements that benefit us ALL? I can’t make this shit up.
Look, ask the greedy rich & the corporations to share some of the pain, before asking the poor, the destitute, the sick, etc., for yet more to be dumped on them. They’ve had a great year! If you don’t believe me, just check this out: Executives’ Pay at Big Companies Rose 23 Percent Last Year. So why shouldn’t they share in the pain of the austerity programs? They can afford it — unlike the rest of us (who have ALREADY been sharing the pain, thankyouverymuch).