Reject the Fiscal Cliff, Tax the Rich

Invest in Infrastructure and Services

Democratic Socialists of America logo

Democratic Socialists of America logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 A statement of the National Political Committee of the Democratic Socialists of America

November 20, 2012

 DSA rejects the “fiscal cliff” hysteria of the corporate establishment and the pressure for a “Grand Bargain” that would cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. While unemployment remains high and economic growth slow, the government should not impose austerity measures that reduce essential programs that benefit the middle and working classes and that further shred the safety net for the most vulnerable. Rather, government policy should prioritize investments in job creation, public education and healthcare reform, while raising essential revenues by taxing the large corporations and wealthiest citizens who can afford to pay.

 

Immediately after the election, Wall Street-backed foundations such as Third Way and the Concord Coalition organized a “Campaign to Fix the Debt” to spin the election results as a mandate for a “bi-partisan” focus on reducing the deficit as the highest national priority. For decades the billionaire Pete Peterson has funded groups that claim that the universal entitlement programs Social Security and Medicare are bankrupting the nation and that their future growth must thus be drastically trimmed.  These neoliberals scored an initial success in 2011 when the Simpson-Bowles Congressional Commission put to a vote a long-term “budget compromise” that would have instituted three times as much in budget cuts than in tax increases. But despite President Obama’s evident willingness to reach such a one-sided compromise, Tea Party insistence on no tax increases, even on the wealthiest, scuttled the deal. The “resolution” of this manufactured, alleged “budget crisis” was to postpone a decision on further deficit reduction until the end of 2012, hence the contrived “fiscal cliff.” Continue reading

13 Ways to ‘Tax the Rich’

By Jack Rasmus

Jack Rasmus

The ‘Occupy Wall St.’ movement across the USA has raised the slogan of ‘We Are the 99%’ and the related ‘99% vs. the 1%’. Thus far the idea of taxing the rich has remained stated in general terms. For greater impact it must be further clarified, or else it will be misinterpreted and co-opted by politicians pushing false ideas while claiming to tax the rich but not really doing so—such as the recent proposals by Republican presidential candidate Cain’s phony 9-9-9 or even Obama’s ‘millionaires tax’. The following is an effort to suggest various measures to ‘tax the wealthiest 1%’ that represent true, progressive tax the rich proposals.

Tax Program #4.1: Professional Investors’ Tax Haven Repatriation Tax.

About $4 trillion today is held in offshore tax havens by US investors, individuals and institutions, in island nations like Cayman islands, Vanuatu, Seyschelles, Isle of Man, Cyprus, etc., and in more traditional havens like Switzerland, Lichtenstein, and so forth. The IRS has identified 27 of these, which it calls ‘special jurisdictions’. If just $2 trillion >of that $4 trillion was required to be re-deposited in US banks, those investors would have to pay the 35% top tax bracket personal income tax on the $2 trillion in the first year, raising about $700 billion. Future earnings on the remainder would also be taxed in the second to fifth years, yielding another $200 billion a year. Refusal to repatriate could result in a 10% penalty after 90 days, followed by similar penalties. Countries that refused to cooperate should have their US based assets frozen and then taxed until compliance.

Continue reading

Medicare cuts are not acceptable !

Against Congressman Lungren

by Duane Campbell

The Alliance for Retired Americans, affiliated with the AFL-CIO and some twenty unions, held a Town Hall Meeting on the Crisis in Social Security Funding today in in the Rancho Cordova (Sacramento,) California district of U.S. Congressman Dan Lungren. Some 80 people turned out to analyze the attacks on social security and Medicare in the Ryan Republican Budget. Speakers from OWL (Older Women’s League) , the Alliance and Health Access as well as retirees from numerous unions discussed the attacks on Medicare, on Medicare, and the current Republican imposed crisis of refusing to increase the debt ceiling. Analyses of the effects of the proposed Medicare cuts and Medicaid cuts to the specific 3rd. Congressional District of California were shared. The current Congressperson in the 3rd. in Republican Dan Lungren who barely survived a close election challenge in 2010. Literature on each of these topics can be found at the Alliance web site at http://www.retiredamericans.org.
The meeting was attended by at least 80 people. The great majority were over 50 years of age and affiliated with unions. The Ryan Budget bill was described by speakers as an assault on Medicare and a repeal of the Affordable Care Act of 2009. Speakers also discussed the Republican sponsored effort to pass a regressive Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Speakers argued that the Republicans are holding the country hostage by refusing to raise the debt ceiling; they will only do so if the federal government caps domestic spending at a fixed percentage of GDP and passes a balanced budget amendment. Both of these policies would have disastrous long-term results for the U.S. economy. The Republicans also refuse to raise taxes, even by permitting the last set of “temporary” Bush-era tax cuts to lapse. Continue reading

The Jobs Crisis will not be Cured with the Same Policies

Washington, DC – On the heels of two months of dismal job growth, a panel of workers, economists and national leaders detailed solutions on how to deal with the jobs crisis at a forum on Monday at the AFL-CIO.  Titled “The Jobs Crisis — Moving to Action: A Dialogue Between Workers and Policymakers,” the forum, moderated by Bob Herbert, drew a sharp contrast between the policies that got our country in this economic crisis and are currently being advocated to get it out, and what is needed in order to spark a real economic recovery.

“The most grievous of all of America’s wounds is its chronic, insidious unemployment,” stated Bob Herbert, Distinguished Fellow at Dēmos and moderator of today’s panel.   “America as we’ve come to know it – a vibrant, prosperous nation with a vast and growing middle class – cannot survive if the current, tragic levels of joblessness and underemployment become the norm.”

“I want to see decent, safe jobs for all Americans. I don’t want a handout. I just want a fighting chance,” said unemployed Working America member Shonda Sheen, from Yellow Springs, Ohio. Continue reading

On the Tenth Anniversary of G. W. Bush’s Tax Cuts: Where Has All The Money Gone

by Jack Rasmus

Jack Rasmus

This month marks the tenth year anniversary of the first of George W. Bush’s three general tax cuts, passed between 2001-2003, which reduced taxes by a total of $3.4 trillion over the decade, 2001-2010. These general cuts were followed by a series of additional $1.1 trillion industry-specific tax cuts in 2004-2006 that, together with the 2001-2003 cuts, would raise the total Bush era tax cuts to approximately $4.5 trillion.

Various studies during the last decade estimated that 80% of the $3.4 trillion in general tax cuts–$2.7 trillion–were distributed to the top 20% richest households, and most of that to the wealthiest 1%. Thus, conservatively, together with the $1.1 trillion enacted specifically for businesses, a total of about $3.8 trillion in tax cut income were distributed to corporations, investors and the wealthiest households during the Bush years.

That $3.8 trillion is just about equal to the total growth under Bush in the federal government debt between 2000-2008. Bush entered office in 2001 with a federal debt of about $5.6 trillion and left it with approximately $9.5 trillion. The federal debt has since risen to $14.3 trillion, due to continuing costs of war and defense spending, falling tax revenues due to the current recession, direct bailouts, and the continuing negative impact of health care costs on Medicare and Medicaid. So where has all that $3.8 trillion in tax cut money gone, one might ask? To expand jobs? No. Today there are fewer jobs in the U.S. than there were when Bush came into office. Workers wages? No. Real wages are lower today than a decade ago. Continue reading

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