Tax Cuts for the Super Rich – Republicans and conservative Democrats have rejected every suggestion that we do more to avoid deep cuts in public services and help the ailing economy, but are eager to cut checks averaging $3 million each to the richest 120,000 people in the country, otherwise known as extending the Bush tax cuts for the super rich.
According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, making all of the Bush tax cuts permanent, as opposed to following the Obama proposal, would cost the federal government $680 billion in revenue over the next 10 years. For the sake of comparison, it took months of hard negotiations to get Congressional approval for a mere $26 billion in desperately needed aid to state and local governments.
And where would this $680 billion go? Nearly all of it would go to the richest 1 percent of Americans, people with incomes of more than $500,000 a year. But that’s the least of it: the policy center’s estimates say that the majority of the tax cuts would go to the richest one-tenth of 1 percent. Take a group of 1,000 randomly selected Americans, and pick the one with the highest income; he’s going to get the majority of that group’s tax break. And the average tax break for those lucky few — the poorest members of the group have annual incomes of more than $2 million, and the average member makes more than $7 million a year — would be $3 million over the course of the next decade.
Who are these lucky few? Read the next Bad Deeds entry below to find out about two of them.
The Billionaire ‘Kochtopus’ Brothers Who Bankroll Tea Party Groups – David and Charles Koch own virtually all of Koch Industries, a conglomerate headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, whose annual revenues are estimated to be a hundred billion dollars. The Kochs operate oil refineries in Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota, and control some four thousand miles of pipeline. Koch Industries owns Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, Georgia-Pacific lumber, Stainmaster carpet, and Lycra, among other products. Forbes ranks it as the second-largest private company in the country, after Cargill, and its consistent profitability has made David and Charles Koch among the richest men in America. Their combined fortune is thirty-five billion dollars.
The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation. These views dovetail with the brothers’ corporate interests. In a study released this spring, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the United States. From 2005 to 2008, the Kochs vastly outdid ExxonMobil in giving money to organizations fighting legislation related to climate change. Indeed, the brothers have funded opposition campaigns against so many Obama Administration policies—from health-care reform to the economic-stimulus program—that, in political circles, their ideological network is known as the Kochtopus.
Over the July 4th weekend, the advocacy wing of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation—an organization that David Koch started, in 2004, held a summit called Texas Defending the American Dream in a hotel ballroom in Austin. Koch did not attend the summit, and his name was not in evidence. And on this occasion the audience was roused by a series of speakers denouncing President Barack Obama. The summit served, in part, as a training session for Tea Party activists in Texas. An advertisement cast the event as a populist uprising against vested corporate power. However,he pitch made no mention of its corporate funders.
Republicans Defend The Constitution — Except The Parts They Don’t Like – A hot-and-cold take on the Constitution is surprisingly common within the Republican Party, particularly among those who portray themselves as strict Constitutionalists and who frequently accuse Democrats of twisting the document to serve political aims.
Republicans have proposed at least 42 Constitutional amendments in the current Congress. As an example, Republican Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia won his seat in Congress campaigning as a strict defender of the Constitution. He carries a copy in his pocket and is particularly fond of invoking the Second Amendment right to bear arms. But it turns out there are parts of the document he doesn’t care for — lots of them. He wants to get rid of the language about birthright citizenship, federal income taxes and direct election of senators, among others. And, he would add plenty of stuff, including explicitly authorizing castration as punishment for child rapists.
Other widely supported Republican amendments would prohibit government ownership of private companies, bar same-sex marriage, require a two-thirds vote in Congress to raise taxes, and — an old favorite — prohibit desecration of the American flag (forget the First Amendment).
During the health care debate, Rep. Pete Hoekstra, D-Mich., introduced an amendment that would allow voters to directly repeal laws passed by Congress — a move that would radically alter the Founding Fathers’ system of checks and balances.
The problem with such a view, says constitutional law scholar Mark Kende, is that divining what the framers intended involves subjective judgments shaded with politics. Virginia Sloan, an attorney who directs the nonpartisan Constitution Project, agreed. Sloan said that while some proposals to alter the Constitution have merit, most are little more than posturing by politicians trying to connect with voters. “People are responding to the politics of the day, and that’s not what the framers intended,” she said. “They intended exactly the opposite — that the Constitution not be used as a political tool.”
Un-American and Un-Christian Behavior – We started this great nation with values that did not exist anywhere else in the world. We have stumbled, we have made mistakes and we have faltered along the way, however we live another day with the hopes of perfecting our union. Yet here we are once again, at a defining moment that will test the strength of our freedoms and our commitment to our founding principles.
What people like Michelle Malkin, Andrew Breitbert and countless other conservatives have made their money on, is the ability to distract their audiences from the real issue, by focusing on the most insignificant portion of the opposing argument.
It seems that it might be easier for Ms. Malkin and her friends to just kick all of the Muslims out of the country. And why not follow it up with the Jews and then maybe they can send black people back to Africa, too? (Or all the brown-skinned people to Mexico? – JLV)
Even though the American White supremacy movement was founded in Christian fundamentalism, and even though George W. Bush claimed to have “visions” from his Christian God to go to Iraq and kill over 100,000 INNOCENT Iraqis, even though Timothy McVeigh was born into the Christian faith, we would never think for a millisecond that Jesus Christ or any verses of the bible were the cause of these horrendous, stupid acts of men. Therefore it is un-American and against everything that we believe in as a country to associate the 1.6 billion Muslims or 23% of the world’s population with the acts of a few, very evil men. I pray that all of the Muslims who might hate Christians because of George Bush’s actions, or the blacks or Jews or non-Whites who might hate Christians because of the historical genocide of their people, or the Christians who might hate Muslims for the acts of Osama bin Laden and his culprits, I hope they know that the overriding theme of Jesus Christ, Muhammad, Abraham and Lord Buddha was to love all people of all races and all religions.
The Republican Strategy for Victory this November is to Stall Economic Recovery at Your Expense – Republicans are rooting against the American economy and American workers. They believe that they will do better politically in the 2010 midterm elections — and the 2012 presidential — if the economy does worse. And for the last twenty months they have done everything they can to assure that outcome.
Generally their view is that whatever is in the short-term interest of the big Wall Street banks, insurance companies, big oil and their wealthy donors is what is “good for the economy.” They implemented their program of tax cuts for the rich and allowing the reckless Wall Street banks to do whatever they pleased for eight long years. The result was a $2,000 decrease in real income for most Americans, a massive increase in incomes for the top two percent of the population, zero net private sector job creation, and the collapse of our economy.
But it’s not just their commitment to “trickle down” economics that has caused them to do everything in their power to block economic recovery. They believe that their political fortunes will rise if the fortunes of the rest of us decline. We can’t let them be right. We have to show them that those who sacrifice the economic well-being of their fellow Americans for partisan political gain will not ultimately be rewarded with political success.