Black People : Taxing the Fat Cats would have Created Jobs!

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by Ankhur, Dec 9, 2010.

  1. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Published on Thursday, December 9, 2010 by CommonDreams.org
    Obama Tax Deal Further Concentrates Wealth and Power: Stop the Death Spiral to Plutocracy
    by Chuck Collins

    In 2010, an essential moral test of a public policy choice is: Does it further concentrate wealth and power in the hands of a few?

    Or does it disperse concentrated wealth and power *and strengthen possibilities for a democratic society with greater equality, improved health and well-being, shared prosperity and ecological sustainability?

    Does it move us toward Plutocracy or Peace and Plenty?

    Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said, "We can have democracy or concentrated wealth. But we cannot have both."

    By the Brandeis Test, President Obama's "Tax Compromise" fails. By extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and instituting a significantly weakened estate tax, more wealth will flow into the hands of the richest one percent *and within that to richest one-tenth of one percent.

    Most of us are aware of President Obama's willingness to trade away his campaign promise to let the tax cuts for high income households expire. This will cost $60 billion next year and an estimated $700 billion if it is permanently extended.

    But Obama also backed away from his position on the federal estate tax, which was to freeze it at 2009 levels (wealth exempted to $3.5 million, 45 percent rate). He now supports the Kyl-Lincoln amendment which would raise the exemption to $5 million ($10 million for a couple) and drop the rate to 35 percent. The cost difference between these two measures is at least $100 billion over ten years.

    For the last generation, this richest one percent, with some admirable exceptions, has been using its considerable wealth and clout to push for public policy changes that have further concentrated wealth.

    We are now in what I could characterize as "Death Spiral To Plutocracy." As wealth concentrates, a hyper-organized segment of this wealth-holder class uses its wealth, privilege and power to change the rules of the economy to further concentrate wealth and privilege.

    The logical progression of these policies is a society governed by wealth, a modern high-tech version of the Gilded Age of 1900.

    For thirty years, liberal Presidents and Democratic Congress members have cut deals with a growing a bi-partisan (mostly Republican Party) Pro-Plutocracy faction. We've won victories for working families *family leave, increased minimum wage, expanded health care, middle class tax cuts *but the price has always been very expensive tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. Under Clinton and Bush II, you couldn't get anything faintly progressive done without a big bone to the wealthy or corporate class *another capital gains tax cut or corporate loophole.

    Such compromises have been central to the Obama political strategy: To get a stimulus package to save the economy, Congress allocates a third of $780 billion for tax breaks to corporations (and still didn't get one GOP vote).

    To get broader health care coverage for the uninsured, lawmakers surrender the "public option" that would have forced competition and cut into the power and profits of the health industry cartel.

    To get a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau included in the June 2010 financial reform bill, lawmakers allow Wall Street to keep its risky casino operation in place *laying the groundwork for future bubbles, meltdowns and bailouts.

    This is a very costly strategy. It diverts trillions of dollars from the Treasury that could be used for long overdue investments in infrastructure, education, energy independence *things that could truly boost the real economy. But worse, it sets up future political battles where the very wealthy and powerful corporations continue to have most of the ammo. In the post "Citizens United" campaign finance environment, this is premeditated surrender.

    There are only a few ways to intervene to prevent the "Death Spiral to Plutocracy" *and reverse course. They all require an engaged citizenry to clearly say: "We want an economy that serves everyone, not just the wealthy."

    The first intervention is through progressive income, wealth and estate taxes. We urgently need to reinstitute a progressive estate tax. Instead of cutting a deal to institute the Republican estate tax proposal that greatly weakens the law, Congress should press for the Responsible Estate Tax Act which would chip away at concentrated wealth.

    The second is through robust campaign finance reform that closes the nexus between wealth and political power. Anything that puts a speed bump between wealth and political influence helps slow the Death Spiral.

    The third is to mobilize the silent faction of the wealthy elites that actually see their stake in the common good. Not everyone in the wealth-holding class are actively lobbying to protect their power and privilege. We need a progressive counter-weight to organized defenders of power and privilege. The Wealth for the Common Good network is an inspiring start *with several thousand business leaders and wealthy individuals advocating for policies to broaden prosperity and opportunity. They can counter the deep mythology around wealth creation and deservedness that often justify tax cuts for the wealthy and support the positions of engaged citizens.

    Senator Bernard Sanders is proposing a filibuster against the tax cuts www.commondreams.org
     
  2. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Published on Thursday, December 9, 2010 by The Nation
    House Dems Reject Obama's Tax Deal; Pelosi Promises a Fight for a Fairer Plan
    by John Nichols

    After he brokered a deal with congressional Republicans to extend Bush-era tax cuts and establish a sweeping estate-tax exemption in return for maintaining unemployment benefits, President Obama essentially told congressional Democrats: Take it or leave it.

    Give choice between accepting 'take it or leave it offer' on Obama-brokered tax deal with Republicans, the House Democratic caucus has decided to 'leave it.' (File)House Democrats have decided to leave it.

    In a stunning setback for the president's attempt to cobble together a compromise with Senate Republicans leaders, members of the House Democratic Caucus voted Thursday morning to reject the agreement. [1]

    With strong support from her members, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi now says she will fight for a better deal.

    The caucus vote took place in a closed meeting Thursday, after several days of lobbying by the White House. While some media reports has suggested that Democrats were warming to the plan, Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio, a prime mover in the fight to block the deal [2], says the opposite appears to be the case.

    DeFazio says the caucus was "virtually unanimous" in its support of his resolution declaring that Democrats oppose floor action on the deal as it is currently organized.

    "We have tremendous concerns about what was given away by the White House to Mitch McConnell and the Senate," announced DeFazio, following the vote. "We have given our leadership license to force the Senate and the White House back to the table to get a better deal for the American people."

    The vote was non-binding. But it gives Pelosi ammunition as she argues with the White House for a reworking of the agreement- [3]perhaps with an eye toward dropping the estate-tax exemption that is particularly unpopular with House Democrats.

    Pelosi's spokesman, Brendan Daly, declared immediately [4] after the caucus vote that: "this means we will not bring this [agreement] to the floor as is. It has to be changed."

    Minutes later, the Speaker office issued a statement from Pelosi that said: "We will continue discussions with the President and our Democratic and Republican colleagues in the days ahead to improve the proposal before it comes to the House floor for a vote. Democratic priorities remain clear: to provide a tax cut for working families, to create jobs and economic growth, to assist millions of our fellow Americans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and to do this in a fiscally sound way."

    The caucus message is clear.

    DeFazio, who with Washington Democrat Jim McDermott, collected 55 signatures from House Democrats on a petition demanding the vote, said of President Obama: "He basically said, 'Take it or leave it.' "We left it. "


    www.commondreams.org
     
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