Monday, April 16, 2012

Republicans Kill Buffett Rule, Refuse to Tax the Rich

The GOP doesn't mind raising your taxes, or cutting programs you might need, but they'll never make the super rich or large corporations pay their fair share in taxes.

The Paying a Fair Share Act, commonly referred to as the "Buffett Rule" (formally Senate bill 2230), was struck down in the Senate today, largely among party lines.

The Buffett Rule didn’t have a prayer of passing, or of even getting an up-down vote. Republicans using a filibuster against the “motion to proceed” and with the Democrats not having the 60 votes to move forward, would have made taxing the rich "their fair share" impossible.

On a 51-45 (46) vote, the Senate on Monday rejected the Buffett Rule, which would have ensured millionaires pay at least a 30 percent effective tax rate on all their income. Sixty votes were needed to break a filibuster on the bill.

Republican Senator Susan Collins voted for the tax hike, while Democratic Senator Mark Pryor from Arkansas voted against it. Blanche Lincoln, another Democratic Senator from Arkansas, was also known to vote against the wishes of the people and her political party.

The GOP accuses Obama of "gimmicks", when it's the GOP who are proposing gimmicks.

Republicans say it is a bad idea to raise taxes on "investors" like Mitt Romney and the "job creators" like Wal-Mart, especially in a "fragile economy". But it's only fragile for regular working Americans and the poor; the wealthy have been doing exceptionally well with record profits, excessive CEO pay, and huge bonuses.

According to a CNN/ORC poll out today, 72 percent of the nation’s registered voters supported the measure.

Republicans accused President Barack Obama of pitting Americans against each other. Democrats argued that it was time for the tax code to treat the wealthy and the middle class fairly.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) said "They shouldn't be allowed to hide behind tax loopholes that rig the system in their favor. The wealthiest one percent takes home the highest share of the nation’s income since the early ’20s, the roaring ’20s. Times are tough for many middle class American families. Millionaires and billionaires aren’t sharing the pain or the sacrifice, not one bit. Last year there were 7,000 millionaires who didn’t pay a single penny in federal income taxes."

The Wall Street Journal reports that "A White House report released last week said 1,470 families making more than $1 million a year paid no federal income taxes at all."

Republicans cite a Joint Committee on Taxation report last September, which found that some 0.2% of households made more than $1 million in 2011 but paid 22.5% of all individual income taxes.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) said ""The problem is, we've got a president who seems more interested in pitting people against each other." (Is that the rich against the poor?)

Republicans used the excuse that taxing millionaires and billionaires 30% would only take in $47 billion over a decade, and wasn't enough to solve the national deficit. The Republicans said the same thing about taxing corporate jets - - that it was just peanuts, so why even bother?

But the Republicans found it imperative to block all federal grants for "Big Bird" and National Public Radio. The NPR only receives 2% of its funding from the government, and only received about $5 million in taxpayer dollars in direct funding during the 2010 fiscal year.

The Republicans bitterly complained about the Solyndra subsidy for solar panels (started under Bush), and how the company went bankrupt and lost $500 million in taxpayer dollars. But year after year the Republicans vote to give big oil companies billions of dollars.

The Republicans said the Buffett Rule would have hurt small businesses and job creators, but that's not true either. Individuals with more than $1 million in income are already paying an income tax rate of 35%.

The people who would have been affected are only those wealthy individuals (think of Warren Buffett and Mitt Romney) who are paying the 15% tax rate on capital gains and dividend income. Romney wants to keep these tax rates the same, and lower the top marginal rate by 20%.

So despite public opinion polls (they're not buying the Republican's lame excuses) the Republicans are voting against the will of the American always.

Obama and his wife paid about 20.5 percent of their income in taxes in 2011, compared to an estimated 13.9 percent rate paid by the Romney last year. But the bigger difference is, Obama is willing to raise his own taxes, whereas the Romneys wants their tax rates left unchanged, or even lower.

Clearly, today’s GOP is no longer the party of Ronald Wilson Reagan.

On Thursday Republicans - in firm control the House of Representatives - are expected to debate and likely approve a bill to give a one-year, 20-percent tax deduction on business income to owners of businesses with fewer than 500 employees.

Republicans are portraying that tax cut as one for "small businesses," a group they say the Buffett Rule will harm.

But if someone like Karl Rove is a "small business", and has only himself as an employee, and he earned a million dollars in consulting fees and TV appearances, the GOP bill would further lower his tax rate from the upper income tax bracket of 35% to 20%.

Most small business owners don't pay themselves $1 million a year, unless they're a drug dealer.

As I was channel surfing today, I briefly monitored Fox News for a while. I heard Megyn Kelly whining that Obama had "stacked" the National Labor Relations Board with his appointees, but then she admitted that when the Republicans had the White House, they stacked the NLRB with people who were pro-business.

The NLRB is an independent agency of the United States government charged with conducting elections for labor union representation and with investigating and remedying unfair labor practices. The Republicans want to eliminate the NLRB.

Besides the NLRB (and busting labor unions with "right to work" laws), the GOP also wants to eliminate the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the minimum wage...while cutting taxes for big corporations and millionaires.

Why would any sane Republican voter, who has to work for a living (being paid a wage or salary, or has a small business), and earns less than a $1 million a year, ever vote for a Republican?

Because they like the idea of outlawing birth control?

1 comment:

  1. Well, as long as idiots continue to vote against their own interests, can't see anything changing. Maybe an IQ test before being able to vote would help. Good post, although this stuff is depressing. Thanks Bud.