How dare Mitt Romney feed the right-wing lie that 47% of Americans are moochers who don't pay any taxes! We all pay taxes, even those too poor to owe federal income taxes, and I guarantee you the pain of paying taxes hits the poor and middle class far more severely than it hits Mitt Romney and the 1%! Follow me below, and you'll see our tax system is actually quite regressive.
Federal income taxes are one of the few progressive taxes left in America, though less progressive than they used to be. State and local taxes, payroll taxes, sales and consumptions taxes and many others are regressive with respect to income.
But why do we only compare taxes to income? The ability to pay taxes without feeling it comes from wealth as much as or more than from income, and wealth is far more unequal in our nation than income. Take a look at the numbers below comparing taxes with wealth--the results are shocking!
One of the greatest lies, one of the most common talking points on the right, is that "nearly half of Americans pay no taxes." I don't know how many times I've heard it, even from people who should know better.
Of course, what they are talking about is net federal income taxes ONLY, not including payroll taxes, state and local taxes, and so on. The federal income tax is one of our few progressive taxes, and even so it is much less progressive than it used to be (and of course, the economy did much better back when taxation was more progressive).
State and local taxes are quite regressive with respect to income, and everyone with employment pays payroll taxes, which are very regressive. With respect to total taxation, our whole tax system is barely progressive, and it is regressive at the highest income levels.
All this is with respect to income. But why do we measure regressivity against income alone? What about wealth or net worth, which is also a factor in ability to pay?
This morning there was a headline and description on the AOL web site that said:
Rich are Getting Richer and... That's Fine?
About 85% of US wealth is held by the
top 20% of the country, but new study
says that's OK with most Americans.
That's OK? Really? I clicked on the link, which went to an AOL Daily Finance article about an academic study on income inequality. The point of the study? The rich are getting richer and most Americans are NOT OK with that.
So AOL completely misrepresents their own story. But that aside, the study is worth a look...
The extreme fringe of the "pro-life" movement has sunk to a new low with a video in support of Amendment 62 (the "personhood amendment") on the Colorado ballot. The video is so over-the-top, you have to see it to believe it... (just mark it with a "dislike" if you click to view)
You tube video
And don't think this is just a Colorado issue.
Can you imagine the conniption fit the Republicans would be throwing if Democrats had acted the way Republicans are now when the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, their version of medicare "reform" and plenty of other measures were passed using the evil, totalitarian method of reconciliation?
Remember all the Republican fuss about upperdown votes? Yet this Republican congress has far eclipsed all previous records for use of the filibuster, and just about every other form of obstructionism possible.
I guess it's OK if you're a Republican.
This AP article on health reform today speaks volumes about the role of insurance industry lobbyists in health reform this year. The article assumes it is a GOOD thing that they are at the table, because only they can move "reform" forward, of course in a way that is to their own benefit. We need to push reform urgently, but we dare not let down our guard about what those who profit from denying health care are aiming for. Let's take a look at some excerpts from the article, written by Ricardo Alonso-Zalivar:
A diary that has made it to the top of the rec list today raises once again the issue of religion on DKos. I should probably stay away from these diaries, but since I make my living in religion, I often get sucked in. I got there late for this one, but still made a few posts at the end.
What happened illustrates my sigh.
Ok, so I'm driving home today listening to the local Air America station, and it's the top of the hour, so the brief news summary from CBS comes on. And what do I hear? Mind you, I'm not choosing to subject myself to right wing radio (which I do every now and then just to see what they are saying). I'm listening to Air America to get away from Republican drivel for a while.
So I hear some Republican congressman (don't remember which one) going on about all the terrible spending in the stimulus bill, saying, "It's not like this is Monopoly money, you know." Then I hear Dick Cheney's creepy voice as if from the dead warning about how worried he is that Obama is reading Al-qaeda their rights instead of protecting the American people.
My question is, why is this news?
I sometimes check AOL as a sample of what the middle-right, moderately-to-low-informed public is thinking. On AOL polls, McCain generally gets about 55 to 60% and Obama 40 to 45%, so when the AOL debate poll barely gave Obama a win, that's actually a significant win for him. AOL users are not completely low-information--they are at least using the internet--and they don't tend to be hyper-partisan, even if there are some obvious nut-cases in the comments. (The comments run very heavily in McCain's favor--not too many Obama supporters make comments on AOL, even though it wouldn't be a bad place, since there are more potentially persuadable people there than on the partisan sites.)
Right now there is an AOL article and poll up about ACORN. It's the same absurd hysteria that Faux News has been pushing for days now. Here are some things to note about the article and poll:
Voter registration in Colorado ends October 6 and early voting begins October 20, and there is a big push from Obama, Udall, and Governor Ritter for people to vote by mail. This will be important, because there are 18 ballot measures on the Colorado ballot this year, which will make voting lines very slow. And the election could very well hinge on the outcome in Colorado.
However, a caller to the local Jay Marvin show this morning (there was a guest host today) said she is helping process forms (I assume she meant forms for a mail-in ballot, although it sounded at one point as if she were referring to actual ballots), and fully 20% of the forms are invalid.
Why? It's a simple matter of ballot or form design:
Occasionally I venture into the mainstream media equivalent of junky strip malls to see what's being said, for example the political commentary on America Online. AOL has a straw poll that shows McCain leading in every state (the last time I checked), so it gives you a flavor of who hangs out there--it doesn't say much at all about the real election, since it is an invalid poll for anything but amusement.
Today, there is a front-page-linked article here by a commentator named Mark Impomeni, titled "GOP Convention Bounce Showing Up Early." He argues that McCain is already showing a good bounce, with more to come, but that it will be a close race overall. He's probably right about that. But in the course of his argument, he makes the statement, "Conservatives for the first time have a reason to vote for the McCain ticket, rather than against the Democrats."
Is this an admission that there is no good reason to vote for McCain?
Last night was for the hard right base. They don't care if Palin lied (she did, a lot), or if she was snide and sarcastic (she was, and it just made them like her more), or if there was an utter lack of policy substance in her speech (there wasn't much). She also did nothing to demonstrate her preparedness to step into the Presidency at a moment's notice (it will take more than reading a teleprompter well--just saying), but Republicans as a whole don't care about governing. Winning elections is more like winning a football game to them.
Anyway, Giuliani and Palin gave the far right the red meat they wanted (probably hunted from a helicopter), and the blood is still dripping off their grinning faces.
Tonight, McCain will make a fake "move to the middle".