Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tax Cut the throat of Our Economy!

It's no secret that the rich and power-hungry Republicans are pressing for a full extension of President Bush's 2001 tax cuts -- including income tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. But they are now also including a push for a different set of "Big Daddy War-Bucks" Bush tax cuts -- passed in 2003 -- on capital gains and dividends.

The office of royal Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) is seeking signatures on a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- obtained by TPM -- asking for a full extension of both sets of tax cuts.

"We are writing to request the House consider legislation providing an up-or-down vote to extend the expiring provisions in The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (P.L.#107-16) and The "Jobs and Growth" {LOL} Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 (P.L.#108-27)," the letter reads.

The 2003 cuts are also set to expire at the end of the year. Kingston and his supporters want a vote on the entire basket before the House adjourns in October for election season. "We request an up-or-down vote on the expiring tax provisions before Congress recesses for the October District Work Period," the draft reads. "A balanced and open debate would give Members an opportunity to put their best ideas forward and develop a bipartisan solution for "creating jobs" {i.e. Create more wealth for the rich}."

Commenting on the letter, Kingston told TPM in an interview that the point isn't so much to win the entire policy fight as it is to show the demand for an open debate on the tax cuts, followed by an up-or-down vote on the consensus package.

"Whether it's the '01 or the '03, it wouldn't matter to me so long as we could get a good open debate," Kingston said shortly after filibustering the Dream Act.

It's no surprise that Republicans would want to see all of President Bush's tax cuts extended. In fact they've been fairly explicit about it. But the debate on Capitol Hill has been largely centered on the 2001 cuts, and this latest move represents a broadening of the GOP argument for high-income tax cuts.

Kingston says would likely oppose Pelosi if she used her power as Speaker to influence the outcome -- by, for instance, holding separate votes on middle-income and higher-income tax cuts.

"it would depend on what the tax cuts are," Kingston said. "If this was about class politics, and rewarding one group over another, I'm going to vote no." Wow, big surprise there! They really seem worried about the National Debt.

"Again it's trying to control the process, trying to be outcome focused rather than solution-oriented," Kingston lamented. "I, as a Republican, believe Democrats have a lot of good ideas. I believe a lot of Democrats think Republicans have good ideas.... Leadership in both parties squash both ideas."

"There are a lot of Democrats right now who want to have a vote on the Bush tax cuts in their full entirety."

Kingston's letter currently has 22 signatories, but hopes to land as many as 100.

Funny enough, Kingston may have Democratic support as well. As TPM first reported last week, Rep. John Adler (D-NJ) is also seeking an extension of many of the 2003 Bush tax cuts.

You can read the entire draft below.

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi


Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Pelosi:

We are writing to request the House consider legislation providing an up-or-down vote to extend the expiring provisions in The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (P.L.#107-16) and The Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 (P.L.#108-27).

If Congress fails to act before the end of the year, American families and small businesses will incur a $3.8 trillion tax increase- over $200 billion of which comes next year. This increase will hit millions of small businesses and threatens to take more money out of the private sector. The pending tax increase will impact every American who pays taxes. In addition to eliminating the lowest tax bracket, the tax increases include reinstating the marriage penalty, cutting the child tax credit and resurrecting the Estate Tax.

We request an up-or-down vote on the expiring tax provisions before Congress recesses for the October District Work Period. A balanced and open debate would give Members an opportunity to put their best ideas forward and develop a bipartisan solution for creating jobs. Thank you for your consideration.

It's a popular misconception that Republicans are concerned about our nation's debt problem. It's maybe less inaccurate to say they're concerned about government debt, but that's not really their root concern either, is it? In reality, it's the collective management of our resources they are opposed to, because this puts power in the hands of the people, not (business) corporations.
How have I arrived at this conclusion, you may ask? Because of the way they approach individual (personal) debt. Not only is that kind of debt "okay", Republicans go out of their way protecting their corporate masters' freedom to enslave us with usurial and wealth-destroying practices.
Before I go on, let's take a look at just where we stand financially. Forgive the age of this article (6 years old) and the source (dang Socialists):
US consumer debt has reached staggering levels after more than doubling over the past 10 years. According to the most recent figures from the Federal Reserve Board, consumer debt hit $1.98 trillion in October 2003, up from $1.5 trillion three years ago. This figure, representing credit card and car loan debt, but excluding mortgages, translates into approximately $18,700 per US household.
Outstanding consumer credit, including mortgage and other debt, reached $9.3 trillion in April 2003, representing an increase from $7 trillion in January 2000. The total credit card debt alone stands at $735 billion, with the household card debt of those who carry balances estimated to average $12,000.

I'm sure this comes as no surprise to most of you reading this. Nothing is more depressing than trying to add a few more dollars over the minimum payment on your credit card, just so you can pay it off a year or two before you move into an assisted living facility.
“But with debt levels substantially higher now than they were 20 years earlier, the household sector is more vulnerable now than in the past to rising interest rates,” according to the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal Washington, D.C., think tank. Americans currently spend a near-record 18.1 percent of their after-tax income to cover all debts, with debt service taking the biggest share of income from the lowest-income families.
“We’ve never had so many who owed so much,” said David Wyss, chief economist with Standard & Poor’s.
So yeah, it's a problem. A huge problem actually, and one that adversely impacts the lives of thousands on a daily basis. But instead of working towards solutions for this problem, such as curbing the out-of-control interest rates of predatory lenders, Republicans stubbornly oppose such interventions, and actually try to reshape the issue into either the "freedoms" mantra or one of economic growth:
All the fresh publicity about alleged dirty doings by Goldman Sachs, etc., is beside the point: Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) has produced a bill that skips over the real issues to focus on a Democratic bugaboo — supposedly abusive lending.
Thus, Dodd's bill fails to end bailouts, as many have noted. Instead, it adds new restrictions on credit — which are likely to cost our economy tens of thousands of jobs a year.
Reductions in credit directly result in declines in job creation. We know, for instance, that the two most common sources of funds for starting businesses are home-equity and credit-card debt. The bursting of the housing bubble largely eliminated the first option; now Washington is trying its best to kill the second.

Make no mistake: the pundits, think-tankers and Republican candidates for office know that personal debt is actually the real threat to our freedoms and prosperity, they just don't give a shit. And if you study connections like these, you'll understand why:
Community Financial Services Association of America (CFSA): Established in 1999 to ensure consumer confidence in, and long-term success of, the payday advance industry. CFSA spent $2.5 million in lobbying in 2009.
Consumer Rights League: Founded in 2007 by Michael Flynn and Terry Kibbe. Last fall filed federal complaints against Center for Responsible Lending alleging lobbying violations, which have not been proven.
Defend America PAC: Led by U.S. Rep. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the ranking member on the House banking committee, this PAC from 2006-2010 has given $797,000 to Republican lawmakers, including $10,000 this election cycle to North Carolina Senator Richard Burr. Koch Industries has kicked in $5,000 to the PAC this year.
Michael Flynn: Editor of and co-founder of Consumer Rights League. Formerly worked for the Reason Foundation and Richard Berman's lobbying firm.
Nicknamed "Dr. Evil," Berman has created dozens of pro-business front groups and websites including, which has attacked the Center for Responsible Lending, and, which offers guidance on credit and payday loans.
This ain't rocket science folks, it's simple follow-the-money, conflict-of-interest, bought-and-paid-for corporate advocacy with ideological trappings. And if we're not careful, these snake-oil salesmen are going to sweep our democracy under the rug come November.
Run-of-the-mill Democratic voters out there might be struck with apathy this election season, but those of us who consider ourselves "informed activists" don't have that luxury. If you've read this far, that means you. Can I guarantee that your efforts will make a difference? Maybe not, but I can guarantee that your complacency will have terrible results!!!!

-Dead Press- Journalism that's not sold-out!

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