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Saturday, July 30, 2011

9 Things The Rich Don't Want You To Know About Taxes

3. In fact, the wealthy are paying less taxes.
The Internal Revenue Service issues an annual report on the 400 highest income-tax payers. In 1961, there were 398 taxpayers who made $1 million or more, so I compared their income tax burdens from that year to 2007.
Despite skyrocketing incomes, the federal tax burden on the richest 400 has been slashed, thanks to a variety of loopholes, allowable deductions and other tools. The actual share of their income paid in taxes, according to the IRS, is 16.6 percent. Adding payroll taxes barely nudges that number.
Compare that to the vast majority of Americans, whose share of their income going to federal taxes increased from 13.1 percent in 1961 to 22.5 percent in 2007.
(By the way, during seven of the eight George W. Bush years, the IRS report on the top 400 taxpayers was labeled a state secret, a policy that the Obama administration overturned almost instantly after his inauguration.)

Friday, July 29, 2011

9 Things The Rich Don't Want You To Know About Taxes

2. The wealthiest Americans don’t carry the burden.
This is one of those oft-used canards. Sen. Rand Paul, the tea party favorite from Kentucky, told David Letterman recently that “the wealthy do pay most of the taxes in this country.”
The Internet is awash with statements that the top 1 percent pays, depending on the year, 38 percent or more than 40 percent of taxes.
It’s true that the top 1 percent of wage earners paid 38 percent of the federal income taxes in 2008 (the most recent year for which data is available). But people forget that the income tax is less than half of federal taxes and only one-fifth of taxes at all levels of government.
Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance taxes (known as payroll taxes) are paid mostly by the bottom 90 percent of wage earners.  That’s because, once you reach $106,800 of income, you pay no more for Social Security, though the much smaller Medicare tax applies to all wages. Warren Buffett pays the exact same amount of Social Security taxes as someone who earns $106,800.

9 Things The Rich Don't Want You To Know About Taxes

1. Poor Americans do pay taxes.

Gretchen Carlson, the Fox News host, said last year “47 percent of Americans don’t pay any taxes.” John McCain and Sarah Palin both said similar things during the 2008 campaign about the bottom half of Americans.

Ari Fleischer, the former Bush White House spokesman, once said “50 percent of the country gets benefits without paying for them.”

Actually, they pay lots of taxes—just not lots of federal income taxes.

Data from the Tax Foundation show that in 2008, the average income for the bottom half of taxpayers was $15,300.

This year the first $9,350 of income is exempt from taxes for singles and $18,700 for married couples, just slightly more than in 2008. That means millions of the poor do not make enough to owe income taxes.

But they still pay plenty of other taxes, including federal payroll taxes. Between gas taxes, sales taxes, utility taxes and other taxes, no one lives tax-free in America.

When it comes to state and local taxes, the poor bear a heavier burden than the rich in every state except Vermont, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy calculated from official data. In Alabama, for example, the burden on the poor is more than twice that of the top 1 percent. The one-fifth of Alabama families making less than $13,000 pay almost 11 percent of their income in state and local taxes, compared with less than 4 percent for those who make $229,000 or more.

9 Things The Rich Don't Want You To Know About Taxes pt. 1

For three decades we have conducted a massive economic experiment, testing a theory known as supply-side economics. The theory goes like this: Lower tax rates will encourage more investment, which in turn will mean more jobs and greater prosperity—so much so that tax revenues will go up, despite lower rates. The late Milton Friedman, the libertarian economist who wanted to shut down public parks because he considered them socialism, promoted this strategy. Ronald Reagan embraced Friedman’s ideas and made them into policy when he was elected president in 1980.
For the past decade, we have doubled down on this theory of supply-side economics with the tax cuts sponsored by President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003, which President Obama has agreed to continue for two years.
You would think that whether this grand experiment worked would be settled after three decades. You would think the practitioners of the dismal science of economics would look at their demand curves and the data on incomes and taxes and pronounce a verdict, the way Galileo and Copernicus did when they showed that geocentrism was a fantasy because Earth revolves around the sun (known as heliocentrism). But economics is not like that. It is not like physics with its laws and arithmetic with its absolute values. 
Tax policy is something the framers left to politics. And in politics, the facts often matter less than who has the biggest bullhorn.
The Mad Men who once ran campaigns featuring doctors extolling the health benefits of smoking are now busy marketing the dogma that tax cuts mean broad prosperity, no matter what the facts show. 
As millions of Americans prepare to file their annual taxes, they do so in an environment of media-perpetuated tax myths. Here are a few points about taxes and the economy that you may not know, to consider as you prepare to file your taxes. (All figures are inflation-adjusted.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Devin Leigh Music

Padner, I tell u what... If you live in Texas, If you love live music, if you love cold beer, then you need to get yourself to a Devin Leigh show.
Devin is one of the states finest artists and travels the land singing his brand of music that mixes real country, with old school rock rhythms and some deep tracks you may not have heard in a while.
His new album, Music For The Sole, is a culmination of over a decade of experience in the Texas music business and all the blood, sweat and tears that goes with it.
Devin has roots in rockabilly music, acoustic shows, mainstream country, and now a growing solo career.
Devin Leigh performing at Woody's Tavern in Ft. Worth.

In my opinion, a multi-talent. Writes his own music, plays guitar, sings, and even gives you some harmonica.  Check out his website or Facebook for show dates in your town and treat yourself to a heapin' helpin' of Devin Leigh.

Glenn Beck Terrorism

Want to see the effects of radical, right wing politics on disturbed individuals, look no further than the massacre in Norway this week.
This time an island camp full of children was shot up.
The BBC is covering the story.
Of course, we've seen this story before..

Remember Sen. Gifford's assassination  attempt and massacre in Arizona (a nine year old girl was killed)?
Remember the controversy surrounding Sarah "crosshairs" Palin?

How bout McVeigh and Nichols? They blew up a a day care with their target. No remorse. Rush Limbaugh couldn't have scripted this any better.

"Detailing his motives for the first time, McVeigh told the book's authors Oklahoma was his revenge for Waco and the government's fiery confrontation with an obscure religious sect there. "

Radicals with military experience is a pretty common thread...

Don't forget Waco.
The child rapist and murderer, David Koresh...

Now we have Glenn Beck calling the victims in Norway, "Hitler Youth."
Alex Wong / Getty Images
Alex Wong / Getty Images
Conservative commentator Glenn Beck has compared the Norwegian summer camp on Utoya, site of the massacre where many of the 76 victims tragically died, to the Hitler Youth of Nazi Germany.
Beck said on his radio show that the Labour Party youth camp on the island of Utoya, where 68 people were believed killed by the suspect Anders Behring Breivik, had "disturbing" similarities to the Nazi youth movement. "There was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like the Hitler Youth, or whatever," Beck said on Monday on his syndicated program, heard across 400-plus stations. "I mean, who does a camp for kids that's all about politics? Disturbing."

Yeah Glenn, You're "Disturbing." So are the people listening to you.

Monday, July 25, 2011


The Weekly Wrangle

The thoughts and prayers of the Texas Progressive Alliance are with the people of Norway as we bring you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff has an update on redistricting litigation that's being filed.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on the Lite Gov.'s latest move: Dewhurst announces for Senate, commits to gutting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

A couple of Republican bloggers thought they were breaking news with murmurings of a Texas Senate Demoratic primary challenge by Sylvia Garcia to Mario Gallegos. By the end of the day the senator, the former county commissioner, and their shared political consultant shot the rumor down in flames. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs reminds you why you just shouldn't believe anything posted on conservative blogs.

Lightseeker at Texas Kaos takes a shot at connecting some sad dots in Republican Lies, their connection to our looming doctor shortage and corporate power. It turns out that making public policy by using the repeated Big Lie will come back to bite you in the ass after all.

Neil at Texas Liberal has begun to read Rick Perry's book "Fed Up!" Neil is finding this great work to be very enjoyable so far.

At WhosPlayin, Regina responds to all those forwarded emails, and gives a dozen good reasons why she can't support Rick Perry for President.