How the Republicans Tried to Kill the Payroll Tax Cut…and Why

With the election year approaching, both parties are going to tell you that they will fight for you, the average American. Both will claim that, in the waning days of 2011, they pushed to lower your taxes, to boost the economy, to save the middle class.

Here’s how it really went down.

As part of the Democrats’ stimulus bill in 2009, the Making Work Pay credit reduced taxes by 6.2 percent, up to $400, on earnings, phased out between $75,000 and $95,000. (The numbers were double for couples.) It expired at the end of 2010.

Instead of renewing the MWP credit, Republicans insisted on replacing it with a two-percentage-point cut in employees’ payroll taxes, which reduced the average tax cut for low-income taxpayers and quadrupled the average tax cut for high-income payers — even though the poor are far more likely to spend those tax cuts and stimulate the economy.

The payroll tax cut cost almost twice as much as the MWP credit, but it didn’t affect the Social Security trust fund because the Treasury filled the hole with general revenues. In other words, they borrowed and increased the deficit. Apparently, Republicans didn’t care as much about the budget deficit as they did about tax cuts for the rich.   Continue reading “How the Republicans Tried to Kill the Payroll Tax Cut…and Why”

There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This

by Norman Horowitz

There’s gotta be something better than this,
There’s gotta be something better to do.
And when I find me something better to do,
I’m gonna get up, I’m gonna get out.
I’m gonna get up, get out, and do it!
There’s gotta be some respectable trade;
there’s gotta be something easy to learn.
And if I find me something I halfwit can learn,
I’m gonna get up, I’m gonna get out.
I’m gonna get up, get out and learn it!

Sweet Charity

Corporate management. Congress. Presidential candidates. There’s gotta be something better than this.

I grew up in a middle-class Jewish environment naively believing that the world was an orderly place run by those who knew what they were doing and that there would be peace and prosperity for all because we were led by brilliant people.   Continue reading “There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This”

5 Ways to Sound Stupid When Discussing the Debt Ceiling

In the past week, I’ve had conversations with people who voiced the following myths. Read and learn, lest you embarrass yourself in the same way.

Myth #1: Federal debt has been increasing under all presidents since World War II.

Reality: Federal debt steadily declined from the mid-1940s to the early 1980s, then it increased dramatically (with a brief hiatus in the mid-to-late 1990s). Ronald Reagan reversed four and a half decades of safe, responsible fiscal policy, and every successor except Bill Clinton followed his lead. See for yourself:   Continue reading “5 Ways to Sound Stupid When Discussing the Debt Ceiling”

Quote of the Day: Ezra Klein

Obama wasn’t lying when he talked about the many Republican-friendly tax cuts included in the stimulus, the many conservative ideas that formed the core of the health-care law and the trillions in GOP-demanded spending cuts that were added to his budget proposals. But McConnell wasn’t lying when he said that Republicans cared more for defeating the president than for anything else — and that “anything else” includes passing policy initiatives they had long supported.

— Ezra Klein (Washington Post)

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