The Buffett Rule dies in Congress, but, like Tupac, and Jesus, it shall rise again

    I was all set to write about Tupac, and how I’d known that he was a hologram all along, but then I started reading about today’s failure by the Senate to act on the so-called Buffet Rule, which would have imposed a minimum tax of 30% to all individuals making more than one million dollars a year, and now I feel obligated to post something about it… Apparently, the Democrats were unable to get the 60 votes they needed in order to break a Republican filibuster and proceed to full consideration measure. The vote was 51 to 45, in favor of moving forward, with only one Republican, Susan Collins of Maine, crossing party lines to support it. The measure, had it passed, would have raised approximately $46.7 billion in new tax revenue over 10 years, according to the analysis of the Joint Committee on Taxation. (All proceeds were to have been directed toward debt reduction.)

    By way of background, it’s worth noting that, under our current system, a staggering number of America’s most wealthy individuals pay absolutely no income tax whatsoever. Here, with more on that, and the growing inequity within the American system, is a clip from a letter that I received earlier today from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

    …One of the most interesting pieces of information that I’ve seen in the last few weeks comes from a recent study done by University of California economist Emmanuel Saez. This study, based on an analysis of American tax returns, showed that in 2010, 93 percent of all new income growth went to the top one percent of American households. Everyone else, the bottom ninety-nine percent, divided up the remaining seven percent.

    In other words, the outrageous income and wealth inequality in America continues to get worse. Almost all new income is going to the wealthiest people in our country, the people who need it the least, while the middle class continues to collapse and tens of millions of Americans struggle daily just to put food on the table, fill up their gas tanks to get to work and pay for their housing. We have not seen this level of greed from the people on top in the last hundred years.

    Later today, I expect that the Democratic Leadership in the Senate will bring up the “Buffet Rule” legislation. This bill is a modest effort to ensure that millionaires, who currently enjoy the lowest effective tax rate in decades, experience a tax rate that is at least the equivalent of what middle-class workers pay. Not surprisingly, it is likely that Republicans in the Senate, whose main interest in life is to represent the rich and the powerful, will move to defeat this measure.

    The “Buffet Rule” is a progressive step forward, but we must go further. Not only must we create a fair and progressive personal income tax system, but we need to end the enormous loopholes that large and profitable corporations currently enjoy…

    And, here’s Bernie on MSNBC yesterday, making the case as to why the wealthy should be contributing at a rate equivalent to that which their employees are being asked to contribute.

    Fortunately, it doesn’t look as though the Democrats are going to back down this time. They know that this is an argument that they can win in the court of public opinion, and, because of that, they’re going to keep hammering away at it in the run-up to this November’s election… Following, with more on that, is a clip from the Huffington Post concerning the Democratic strategy going forward, as articulated by New York Senator Chuck Schumer.

    …Schumer vowed to keep bringing the Buffett Rule back until Republicans give in, the way they did on the payroll tax cut fight.

    “We’ll keep pushing this issue all year long, and we think we’ll pick up more and more Republicans,” Schumer said.

    He added that the idea is not just to score campaign points, but to show people that Democrats are more in line with them on tax policy, and to ultimately pass the bill.

    He suggested that the likely presence of Mitt Romney atop the GOP presidential ticket would help, because Romney has already been dubbed a poster child for the issue after paying a 13.9 percent tax rate on his last public return — less than many in the middle class.

    “It could be called the Buffett Rule, it could be called the Romney Rule,” Schumer said. “I don’t think he’s going to want to have this present inequity remain when he’s an example of it.”

    House Republicans are planning to counter the Buffett Rule push later this week with an attempt to cut taxes. A proposal by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) would cut small business taxes by 20 percent. Since his bill would provide a disproportionately large benefit for the wealthy, it would mark an especially sharp contrast with the Democratic measure…

    And you read that right – the Republican response is to further cut taxes on the rich, shifting even more of the burden to the poor and middle class. But, who are we to complain? It is, after all, what Jesus would have wanted, right?

    …Speaking of heroes, that, like Jesus, have risen from the dead, I’d love to know more about the financial arrangements that made it possible for Tupac to return to us, and whether we might see him shilling for Doritos in the not too distant future, or perhaps endorsing Republican candidates, now that he’s found his voice. (If they can have him say “What up, Coachella!”, which the real Tupac never said during his lifetime, given the fact that the annual event didn’t start until three years after his tragic death, then apparently they can have him say absolutely anything.) Here, for those of you who missed it, is footage of the newly risen rap star entertaining the filthy and stoned children of the 1% a few days ago in the California desert.

    This entry was posted in Art and Culture, Politics, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

      26 Comments

      1. Edward
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 6:16 am | Permalink

        I’d love to set Tupac holograms loose in all the gated communities of Florida, just to see what happens.

      2. K2
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 6:55 am | Permalink

        “Yo…. I came back from the dead….. so persuasive was the Dorito taco shell at my local Taco Bell.”

      3. K2
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 7:04 am | Permalink

        I heard that “Jesus would have wanted small government and low taxes on job creators” piece on NPR yesterday and felt the need to pull my car over and vomit into my car’s ashtray. How is it not obvious to more people that our leaders are twisting our religion in order to further enrich the 1%? It’s like we’ve crossed over into the Twilight Zone. People are actually saying that Jesus would have been against programs to help hungry children. Just think about that a a moment. How fucked up is that? And how in the fuck did we get here?

        I think it’s time for a hologram of Jesus to come back and start walking the halls of Congress.

      4. anonymous
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 7:10 am | Permalink

        One wonders if, ten months from now, we’ll start to see Craigslist postings like this coming from Coachella attendees.

        http://www.technolog.msnbc.msn.com/technology/technolog/woman-impregnated-motorhead-concert-seeks-father-craigslist-715264

      5. Alice Krum
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 8:09 am | Permalink

        I’m tired of living in a nation of stupid people. In a sane country, every one of the individuals who voted this measure down would be tarred, feathered, and run out of town on a rail. Instead we celebrate them as defenders of the American way, heroically hold the forces of Socialism at bay.

      6. mark k
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 8:35 am | Permalink

        If this would have passed, it would have covered the national dedt for all of 1 hour. lets stop the class warfare, and fix this the right way, raising taxes on the rich without closing loop holes does nothing. Why dont we actally do something like pass a flat tax, or a consumption tax. The rich are not evil, they have employed me for the last 30 years and provided me with a pretty nice life, no hate here.

      7. Eel
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 9:01 am | Permalink

        Why is it class warfare to suggest that the rich pay the same percentage as the rest of us?

        The fact that Romney pays 13.9% on his income, while I pay a rate of 28%, is not only unfair, but obscene.

        And I wholeheartedly agree about the removal of loopholes. Sanders does as well. He says as much in the quote above.

        And, as for it being a drop in the bucket in relation to our national debt, I’m not sure why that matters. Are you suggesting that we also not cut programs that only cost $47 billion over ten years?

      8. Star Child
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink

        Why do the GOP say it’s class warfare when something like the buffet tax is presented but NOT class warfare when say they want to cut unemployment benefits or social programs for the poor and needy? If some one can enlighten me?

      9. Tommy
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        Chuck Schumer found his way to a TV camera and a microphone? That is very surprising.

      10. Eel
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink

        Yes, that completely invalidates his argument. Good point, Tommy.

      11. John Galt
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink

        While we’re talking of “paying one’s fair share” let’s look at the lazy poor who contribute absolutely nothing in taxes. Let’s start with them, before we approach the overburdened rich, asking for them to contribute toward the funding of luxury items, like schools and roads. Surely we can find a way to tax the handouts that the poor subsist on. Let’s think creatively.

        http://www.politicususa.com/fox-news-poor-people-taxes/

      12. Tommy
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

        I forgot Eel, no fun or joking aloud on mm dot com. I think you reminded me of this a few weeks back. I am truly sorry; I will read the rules again as a refresher. In the mean time, kiss my ass

      13. kjc
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        “Chuck Schumer found his way to a TV camera and a microphone? That is very surprising.”

        lol. it pains me to have that guy on “my side”.

      14. Eel
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        Sorry, I thought that you were being a prick, when you were just trying to be funny. It happens.

        As for the subject matter at hand, Mark K is right, the money generated by way of the Buffett Rule would just be a drop in the bucket. That’s why we need to end the Bush Tax Cuts, which, as of 2010, had already cost us $2.5 trillion. That’s the real obscenity.

        http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/06/07/237560/10-years-bush-tax-cuts/?mobile=nc

      15. Dan
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink

        a flat tax would not solve the gap in wealth inequality. It may slow it down, but you need progressive taxes to balance the inequality. The rich SHOULD pay a higher percentage. They can get richer simply by have more money, not for ingenuity or hard work. Simply by having more money, you have access to higher return investments, savings, and other opportunities. i.e., economy of scales

        the regressive tax we have now where capital gains are taxed at half of what income is, is a major problem. But even after that, a flat tax would still lead to wealth inequality.

      16. Jamie
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        In other news….I think EOS left us.

      17. Tommy
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        I too apologize for the kma comment Eel. Jamie – why would you assume for a minute that EOS has left. He (or she) doesn’t respond to every topic in the forum that invokes either God or God, Jr.

        The right have already racheted up the rhetoric about punishing job creators. Sadly, taxes have been lower than ever for the last decade but jobs have not been magically created. Unfortunately, most on both sides of the aisle have no real appetite to put it all on the line at the risk of losing an election.

      18. TeacherPatti
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        K2, I heard that too. I had to turn it off after one of them said something about because Jesus paid one laborer at the beginning of the day and one at the end, therefore, we should not have unions/collective bargaining because he paid them separately and not together.

        That was truly one of the stupidest things I have ever heard and it pains me to even type the words.

      19. Meta
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        According to reports, the hologram of Tupac cost between $100,000 and $400,000 to produce.

        http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/report-tupac-hologram-at-coachella-cost-at-least-100k-20120416?link=mostpopular3

      20. Knox
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        Emmanuel Saez is mentioned in today New York Times.

        Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty have spent the last decade tracking the incomes of the poor, the middle class and the rich in countries across the world. More than anything else, their work shows that the top earners in the United States have taken a bigger and bigger share of overall income over the last three decades, with inequality nearly as acute as it was before the Great Depression.

        Known in Washington and the economics profession by the of-course-you-know shorthand “Piketty-Saez,” the two have been denounced on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal and won mention in White House budget documents.

        Mr. Saez, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, has won the John Bates Clark Medal, an economic laurel considered second only to the Nobel, as well as a MacArthur Fellowship grant. Mr. Piketty, 40, of the Paris School of Economics, has won Le Monde’s prize for best young economist, among other awards.

        Both admire, even adore, the United States, they say, for its entrepreneurial drive, innovative spirit and, not least, its academic excellence: the two met while re-searchers in Cambridge, Mass. But both also express bewilderment over the current conversation about whether the wealthy, who have taken most of America’s income gains over the last 30 years, should be paying higher taxes.

        “The United States is getting accustomed to a completely crazy level of inequality,” Mr. Piketty said, with a degree of wonder. “People say that reducing inequality is radical. I think that tolerating the level of inequality the United States tolerates is radical.”

        As much as Mr. Piketty’s and Mr. Saez’s work has informed the national debate over earnings and fairness, their proposed corrective remains far outside the bounds of polite political conversation: much, much higher top marginal tax rates on the rich, up to 50 percent, or 70 percent or even 90 percent, from the current top rate of 35 percent.

        The rest of the article can be found here-

        http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/17/business/for-economists-saez-and-piketty-the-buffett-rule-is-just-a-start.html?_r=1

      21. Tommy
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        Berkeley, Paris, and East Coast Elite (Cambridge, Mass.) ? These two probably will not be making the rounds on Hannity and Captain Phone Sex any time soon. I bet they were friends with Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn back in the day. I have no doubts that they eat Arugula.

      22. Posted April 17, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        Patti,

        I heard that nonsense on the radio the other day, too.

        That was one of the dumbest things I’ve heard in a while.

      23. Feingold by Proxy
        Posted April 17, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        Democratic leaders did the right thing by holding a vote on the Buffett Rule yesterday, but it’s no surprise that they lost.

        Until they make this a bigger fight and attack the heart of the problem, corporate-backed Republicans strong-arming for their donors will win every time.

        Democratic leaders should stand strong and go beyond the Buffett Rule to strike at two major pillars of inequity in our democracy: the disastrous Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest and the corporate tax code that allows major companies to evade their responsibility.

        What they don’t understand is that this debate isn’t just about one rule — it’s about creating a system in which everyone’s voice is heard, and everyone contributes his or her fair share.

        Thousands of your fellow progressives have already added their voices, and now it’s even more important to show the Democratic leadership they need to go further.

        Democratic leaders have the ability to set the progressive legislative agenda and make this about the larger issues that can truly restore balance. But just as they wouldn’t have supported the Buffett Rule if we hadn’t pushed, they won’t embrace the whole fight if we stay silent, either.

        Thanks for uniting as a progressive,

        Russ Feingold
        Founder
        Progressives United

      24. Meta
        Posted April 18, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

        Video of Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, Brian Deese, explaining the “Buffett Rule” very simply at a white board.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=PLl7Of0cwnY

      25. john
        Posted April 19, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        Is the Buffet rule where you owe more then a billion dollars in taxes, then sue because you don’t want to pay them? You can tax me at 100% if I don’t have to pay. The people you libs look up to are morally bankrupt. PAY YOUR FUCKING TAXES BUFFET!

      26. TaterSalad
        Posted May 2, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        …………….and Elizabeth Warren gets caught in yet………another lie.

        http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2012/05/02/MSM-Covers-Elizabeth-Warren

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


      4 + = ten

      You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

        Connect

        Aubree’s ad Farmer ad BUY LOCAL... or shop at Amazon through this link Banner Initiative Sea Serpent