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October 19, 2011

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The "Embarrassment of Riches"

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 12:42 AM PDT

Jared Bernstein:

9-9-9: The Most Massively Regressive Redistribution of Taxes Ever Seriously Considered, by Jared Bernstein: The Tax Policy Center's analysis of candidate Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan is out and man, it provides us with an embarrassment of riches in terms of which data to feature.

So let's stick with the "embarrassment of riches" theme and look at dollars of federal tax change by income class.

The first figure shows that average tax payments go up, on average, for the bottom 80% of households, including the bottom fifth (average income, $10,100) by about $1,700, and for the middle fifth (avg inc: about $50,700) by about $3,200.  The average tax payment for the top fifth (avg inc: $273,000) falls by about $23,500.


Source: TPC, see link above.

But aggregating things up that way obscures just how extremely regressive 9-9-9 really is.  If you break out the top 1% (avg inc: $1.8 million) and the tippy-top 0.1% (avg inc: $7.9 million), that's where you really see the plan go to work.  It reduces the tax burden of the top 1% by $300,000 and that of the top 0.1% by…get ready for it…$1.7 freakin' million.


Souce: TPC, see link above.

Conclusions:

–to implement the 9-9-9 plan would truly be the most dramatic and regressive shifting of the tax burden in the history of our nation...

"A Call for Economic Justice"

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 12:24 AM PDT

The local scene:

Editorial: A call for economic justice, Register Guard, Eugene, Oegon: Nearly 2,000 people made a statement in Eugene on Saturday — a statement of economic and political discontent that made up in intensity for what it lacked in specificity.
It was fascinating — and revealing — to see the wide range of people who participated in the march. They were young, old and all ages in between. They were employed, unemployed, underemployed and still in school. They were frustrated voters on the political left, center and yes, some on the right. ...
What they shared in common was a profound dissatisfaction and anger with an economic inequality that has become the grinding norm... What they shared was a desire, a demand for an "economic justice" that meant different things to those who marched but that bound them together in a common cause. ...
Protesters marched in Eugene — and across the nation — to voice their frustration not only with Wall Street but also with federal lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats, who for decades have laid the legal groundwork for a tectonic shift of wealth and opportunity from the middle class to the wealthiest Americans.
There was an impressive sense of order and cooperation among not only the protesters, but also the police who accompanied the protesters as they marched from the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza across the Ferry Street Bridge to Alton Baker Park and back. The event's organizers wisely chose to work closely with city officials and police to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings, but it also was clear that the police officers were sympathetic to marchers' call for economic justice and governmental accountability. ...

links for 2011-10-19

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 12:06 AM PDT

The GOP's (Lack of a) Jobs Plan

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 10:35 AM PDT

The GOP wants to take us backwards:

GOP: 'Deregulate Wall Street!', by Ezra Klein: In recent days, more than 900 cities have hosted protests under the Occupy Wall Street banner. But the enthusiasm ... hasn't trickled up to the GOP presidential campaign. There, the candidates want to leave Wall Street alone. ... They want to deregulate -- actively and aggressively.

"I introduced the bill to repeal Dodd-Frank," bragged Rep. Rep. Michele Bachmann... But Herman Cain was not to be outdone. "Repeal Dodd-Frank, and get rid of the capital gains tax," he countered. Repealing the capital gains tax would make it vastly more profitable to earn a living through investment income rather than wage income. A hedge-fund manager, for instance, might escape income taxation entirely. It would give smart, young college students even more reason than they have now to go into the hedge fund game than, say, medicine.
"Dodd-Frank obviously is a disaster," agreed Rep. Ron Paul. "But Sarbanes-Oxley costs a trillion dollars, too. Let's repeal that, too!" Sarbanes-Oxley ... is the law passed in the wake on the Enron scandals. It sought to make balance sheets more transparent and financial statements more trustworthy. It is not well liked by the financial sector.
Mitt Romney, while not quite as carefree in his denunciations of the financial-regulation reforms, largely agrees with his co-candidates. His jobs plan promises that a Romney presidency would "seek to repeal Dodd-Frank and replace it with a streamlined regulatory framework," though it doesn't give much detail on what that streamlined framework would be. He also says that "the Sarbanes-Oxley law passed in the wake of the accounting scandals of the early 2000s should also be modified as part of any financial reform."
So three years after the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the consensus in the Republican Primary is that we should deregulate Wall Street not just to where it was before the bubble burst, but to somewhere nearer to where it was before Enron crashed. ...

Romney's jobs plan is to repeal Dodd-Frank? Speaking of jobs, how about the GOP jobs plan?:

Republicans Getting a Pass on Their Jobs Plans, by Kevin Drum: Greg Sargent wants to know why the media is giving Republicans a huge pass on their various "jobs plans":

Obama and the Senate GOP have both introduced jobs plans. In reporting on the Senate plan, many news organizations described it as a "GOP jobs plan." And that's fine — Rand Paul said it would create five million of them. But few if any of the same news orgs that amplified the GOP offering of a jobs plan are making any serious effort to determine whether independent experts think there's anything to it. And independent experts don't think there's anything to it — they think the GOP jobs plan would not create any jobs in the near term, and could even hurt the economy. By contrast, they do think the Obama plan would create jobs and lead to growth.
Why aren't these facts in every single news story about the ongoing jobs debate? Why aren't they being broadcast far and wide? ...

I ... suspect that reporters are simply so used to Republicans embracing nonsense that they evaluate it on a whole different plane than they do "serious" proposals. GOP campaign plans are treated more as optics than as actual policy, as ways to signal a candidate's conservative bona fides more than as blueprints for actual legislation.

But Greg is right: this should stop. There's no reason to give these guys a pass on their laughable jobs plans that virtually no one thinks will create any actual jobs. ...

Perry's jobs program -- have people drill holes in the ground and then, for the most part, fill them up again -- sounds quite Keynesian. But it's mostly a way to argue for deregulation of his bread and butter, the energy industry, rather than a serious job creation proposal (the claim that it is a favor to the energy industry rather than a serious jobs proposal is bolstered by the other leg of his jobs plan, to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency). This is characteristic of all the GOP jobs proposals -- pick something that you don't like, the EPA, Dodd-Frank, health care legislation, Sarbanes-Oxley, etc. -- and then argue the eliminating it will create jobs. Then wait for the press to report it as a serious job creation proposal (or at least fail to point out that the claims can't withstand scrutiny).

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