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American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5092

PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:26 pm    Post subject: American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 Reply with quote

Rather than speculate about how we are farked, or use Thelma and Louise as a metaphor, it might make sense to have a discussion about what happened and what it means. You can find a copy of the enrolled bill that Obama signed here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hr8enr/pdf/BILLS-112hr8enr.pdf

I didn't have the heart to read the whole bill after going through the table of contents, and my first alert that this might not be as good as we hoped was a Jonathan Wisman article from the New York Times. Ari Fleisher (Bush's flack) commented that "..it's inarguable that this adds $4 trillion to the federal debt."

My initial take is that this is how far to the right the national discussion has moved, that the "conservative" Republicans in Congress don't see that locking in the temporary tax cuts of the Bush era is a victory for their idea of cutting taxes but not cutting spending. The simple fact is that very little was done in the way of cutting out in-equitable aspects of the tax code, and the permanent designation of these cuts for most of the middle class, and the small rise in taxes for higher incomes puts the balance sheet at $4.6 trillion less revenue, and $650 billion in new revenues. (from Bowles/Simpson op-ed piece.) So let's look in a little more detail.

The Bad. Of course the bill became a Christmas tree for tax credits for those with juice with critical swing votes. Milk subsidies and NASCAR benefits have capture much of the press, but there is a long list, some of which I like (tax credits for energy efficiency), and some of which are pretty stupid (tax credits for bio-diesel and ethanol fuels). If there was any fundamental reform in the bill I wouldn't really object to small grease to get it through; that has always been the way of reform, and those that think the Tea Party folks are any different are just not paying attention. But one of the few progressive aspects of the bill is higher rates for what are pretty clearly very wealthy people.

The not so bad, but could have been better. There is an end to the vacation on Social Security taxes, which was critical symbolically to the Dems, but will have a slowing effect on the economy, and doesn't (I think) raise the salary level at which the tax is collected. There are small progressive changes in both inheritance taxes and investment taxes (capital gains)--but pretty small and still favoring the wealthy. Taxes on estates rise to 40%--but the first $5 million is sheltered. My kids breathe a sigh of relief. Capital gains are 18.8% for incomes greater than $250,000, and only 23.8% for incomes over $450,000. (Source: E. J. Dionne Jr.) Now I support sheltering capital gains under two conditions: it encourages innovation and American jobs. While this is an improvement, it does nothing to send a price signal for either US jobs or discouraging financial gambling.

The future: It is clear that Obama would have supported cuts in both Social Security and Medicare in exchange for more revenue and resolution of the looming battle over the debt ceiling. Any number of conservative pundits have commented that a much better bill for the Republicans was thrown over by rebellious Tea Party wing nuts. (My point from the beginning is that it is important to know the field you work in, and to listen carefully, and deal at the right time. Most of these fools had no idea that they were voting down a deal that was better for their core values. On this issue, Boehner was right--but couldn't lead.) I think that Keynsian economics have worked over the past four years, despite a grievous wound to the economy. It is too early in the recovery process to turn the austerity screws tight--we've seen this wreak havoc in Spain, Ireland and Greece. About a third of the deficit accumulated under Obama is simply from the shrinking of the economy. Revenues will go up as the economy recovers, and as military costs in Afghanistan and Iraq go down. But making the lower taxes for the middle class permanent, rather than temporary, will make long term deficit reduction more difficult, and deficit elimination almost impossible.
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swchandler



Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 5746

PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to agree that much more revenue was needed overall, and while it wouldn't of ever happened, I believe that all of the Bush tax cuts should have expired permanently. Although income tax rates can be increased in the future, I seriously doubt that it can be done any time soon, especially considering the political division in Congress. Yet, we do have the debt ceiling and the sequester approaching very quickly in the next 2 to 3 months. No doubt, Republicans will be looking to cut the crap out of spending, to include hacking deeply into Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. To counter any spending cuts, the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress should target a reform of the tax code, to include addressing eligibility requirements for exemptions, limits to deductions and questionable loopholes. Also, to strengthen SS, Medicare and Medicaid, more revenue will need to be addressed, so lifting the salary ceiling and possibly increasing contribution rates are ways to do that. Overall, I think that it's fair to balance any cuts with even more revenue. However, the big question is what would be done with any savings and added revenue. There are certainly sound arguments to both pay down the deficit and stimulate the economy, but figuring it all out and negotiating it between parties will be a continuing battleground of sorts.
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stevenbard



Joined: 11 Nov 1993
Posts: 4024

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Workers making $30,000 will take a bigger hit on their pay than those earning $500,000 under new fiscal deal
By Hayley Peterson

PUBLISHED:00:00 EST, 3 January 2013| UPDATED: 06:25 EST, 4 January 2013
Middle-class workers will take a bigger hit to their income proportionately than those earning between $200,000 and $500,000 under the new fiscal cliff deal, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

Earners in the latter group will pay an average 1.3 percent more - or an additional $2,711 - in taxes this year, while workers making between $30,000 and $200,000 will see their paychecks shrink by as much as 1.7 percent - or up to $1,784 - the D.C.-based think tank reported.

Overall, nearly 80 percent of households will pay more money to the federal government as a result of the fiscal cliff deal.

AS YOU IMPLIED MAC, THE CORPORATE PORK IS SICKENING.
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nw30



Joined: 21 Dec 2008
Posts: 1619
Location: The eye of the universe, Cen. Cal. coast

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gotta love the title of these bills, kinda like the "Affordable Healthcare for America Act", what a joke.
The titles must have been written on "opposite day".
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stevenbard



Joined: 11 Nov 1993
Posts: 4024

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/04/trillion-dollar-coin-petition_n_2409704.html

The new Trillion dollar coin with Obama's head on it, and Bush's tail?
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14003

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sheeeeeeyyiit ... yer tax dollars at work.

I wanted to guesstimate whether it's worth increasing our attic insulation. After a lot of clicking, I found a DOE site designed expressly for that purpose. Its database of hundreds of thousands ... or was it millions ... of homes implied really useful results. I entered dozens of numbers, from zip code to area and types of all windows to the year our water heater was made and the R factor of our existing insulation, hit CALCULATE, and waited for its wisdom.

It estimated that our current total power bill runs about $875/yr (it's well over $2,000 and we keep the place chilly all winter and warm all summer) and that adding more insulation to our present R30 will save us $3,950 per year.

Can you imagine the money the DOE spent gathering that database and building this look-up table, just to produce BS like that? Do you REALLY want these people running your health care, your banking system, your federal infrastructure, your Fed, your small business?


Last edited by isobars on Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14003

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stevenbard wrote:
The new Trillion dollar coin

Give this clown another four years and that's about what an American Gold Eagle may be worth (it's about $1,800 now).
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pueno



Joined: 03 Mar 2007
Posts: 2619

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mikey wrote:

Do you REALLY want these people running your health care, your banking system, your federal infrastructure, your Fed, your small business?

Yes, in fact.

The reason you pay well over $2000 for heat and you're still cold is because Exxon/Mobil and BP and Shell and Halliburton and Schlumberger and Koch Industries manage the government's energy policies.

But, of course, fools like you believe that those huge conglomerates have your best interests at heart.

Mikey, you really are a funny guy. Laughing Laughing Laughing
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keycocker



Joined: 10 Jul 2005
Posts: 3315

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

By the way gold has dropped from $1800 to $1653 since Mike told us that the price was heading frantically upward.
Good thing he is lying about his gold reserves.
Pueno should get a laugh out of that. He seems to like clowns.
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pueno



Joined: 03 Mar 2007
Posts: 2619

PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

keycocker wrote:
By the way gold has dropped from $1800 to $1653 since Mike told us that the price was heading frantically upward.
Good thing he is lying about his gold reserves.
Pueno should get a laugh out of that. He seems to like clowns.

The price dropped because Mikey stopped buying.
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