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Republicans will actually raise your taxes – unless you are wealthy

• Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz tells the truth about taxes in the NYT – Republicans, Not Biden, Are About to Raise Your Taxes (except if you’re rich, in which case they will go down).  The law initially lowered taxes for many, but there are automatic stepped increases starting after this election year, increases every two years through 2027 for people making under $75K (about 65% of the population).  Some excerpts:

• The current poverty line for a family of four is $26,200: People with incomes between $10,000 and $30,000 — nearly one-quarter of Americans — are among those scheduled to pay a higher average tax rate in 2021 than in years before the tax “cut” was passed. The C.B.O. and Joint Committee estimated that those with an income of $20,000 to $30,000 would owe an extra $365 next year — these are people who are struggling just to pay rent and put food on the table.

• By 2027, when the law’s provisions are set to be fully enacted, with the stealth tax increases complete, the country will be neatly divided into two groups: Those making over $100,000 will on average get a tax cut. Those earning under $100,000 — an income bracket encompassing three-quarters of taxpayers — will not.

• At the same time, Trump has given his peers, people with annual incomes in excess of $1 million dollars, or the top 0.3 percent in the country, a huge gift: The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated the average tax rate in 2019 for this group to be 2.3 percentage points lower than before the tax cut, saving the average taxpayer in this group over $64,000 — more than the average American family makes in a year.

2020-11-03T09:13:38-05:00October 31st, 2020|Home, Musings|

What he said…

• Frank Bruni, writing in the NYT about the election of our president, captures the essence of how I feel quite nicely in his How Will I Ever Look at America the Same Way Again? column. An excerpt:

“In him we forgave florid cruelty, overt racism, rampant corruption, exultant indecency, the coddling of murderous despots, the alienation of true friends, the alienation of truth itself, the disparagement of invaluable institutions, the degradation of essential democratic traditions.

He played Russian roulette with Americans’ lives. He played Russian roulette with his own aides’ lives. In a sane and civil country, of the kind I long thought I lived in, his favorability ratings would have fallen to negative integers, a mathematical impossibility but a moral imperative. In this one, they never changed all that much.”

2020-10-29T14:57:47-05:00October 29th, 2020|HomeRecommended|

A threat to the rule of law…

• From the New York Times:

“A group of 20 Republican former federal prosecutors endorsed former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Tuesday, calling President Trump “a threat to the rule of law in our country” who uses the Justice Department “to serve his personal and political interests.”

“He has politicized the Justice Department, dictating its priorities along political lines,” the signatories said in an open letter. “We do not support his re-election.”

The letter from the former U.S. attorneys includes signatures from appointees of every Republican administration since President Eisenhower’s.

“The president has clearly conveyed that he expects his Justice Department appointees and prosecutors to serve his personal and political interests in the handling of certain cases — such as the investigations into foreign election interference and the prosecution of his political associates — and has taken action against those who have stood up for the interests of justice,” the letter said.”

2020-10-27T15:59:01-05:00October 27th, 2020|HomeRecommended|

No, health care providers are most decidedly *not* inflating COVID-19 numbers

Adding to his seemingly unending stream of self-serving lies and distortions, the current president this weekend claimed that since doctors and hospitals “get more money” if they report a death as COVID-related, they are inflating COVID-related numbers, and he continued to claim that the pandemic “is going away.” The recent spikes in reported cases and ensuing deaths (as predicted by the same scientists the president has disparaged) make the latter claim ridiculous on its face. In a statement issued Sunday, the American College of Emergency Physicians  called the president’s assertions “reckless and false.” The American College of Physicians, which represents internal medicine doctors, denounced the president’s allegations as “a reprehensible attack on physicians’ ethics and professionalism.” The Council of Medical Specialty Societies said Trump’s claims “promulgate misinformation that hinders our nation’s efforts to get the Covid-19 pandemic under control.”  The number of excess deaths in the US has to be attributed to something, and it’s not traffic deaths.

2020-10-31T15:27:28-05:00October 27th, 2020|Home, Musings|

BIDEN WILL MAKE AMERICA LEAD AGAIN

William McRaven, from a 10/19 op-ed for The Wall Street Journal:

We need a president who understands the importance of American leadership, at home and abroad. We need a leader of integrity whose decency and sense of respect reflects the values we expect from our president. We need a president for all Americans, not just half of America.

This week I went to the polls in Texas. Truth be told, I am a pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, small-government, strong-defense and a national-anthem-standing conservative. But, I also believe that black lives matter, that the Dreamers deserve a path to citizenship, that diversity and inclusion are essential to our national success, that education is the great equalizer, that climate change is real and that the First Amendment is the cornerstone of our democracy. Most important, I believe that America must lead in the world with courage, conviction and a sense of honor and humility.

If we remain indifferent to our role in the world, if we retreat from our obligation to our citizens and our allies and if we fail to choose the right leader, then we will pay the highest price for our neglect and shortsightedness.

I voted for Joe Biden.”

McRaven was a Navy admiral and commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command from 2011-14. 

2020-10-22T12:11:54-05:00October 22nd, 2020|Home, Musings|

A Reasoned Response to the Unreasonable “Great Barrington Declaration”

This is a thoughtful essay in the NYT by John Barry, writing on the numerous flaws implicit in the arguments advocating population immunity as the solution (e.g. the “Great Barrington Declaration”) to the pandemic:  “Herd Immunity? Or ‘Mass Murder?’

We don’t need to add more than a million additional deaths to the toll in order to get through this (not to mention the destructive effects on overburdened health care workers and systems, long term ill effects on survivors, and inequitable effects on less fortunate societies whose populations do not have access to advanced health care measures).

2020-10-19T09:49:38-05:00October 19th, 2020|Home, Musings|

The New Poll Taxes

• NY Times opinion columnist Jamelle Bouie talks about long lines at the polls in low-income areas acting as the equivalent of poll taxes – one of the many ways voter suppression continues to manifest itself. From Bouie’s lates newsletter: “Voters in affluent precincts don’t face long lines. White voters don’t tend to face long lines. Long lines for voting are most common in areas where Black Americans and Hispanics make up a majority of voters, and they are generated by concrete policy decisions: cuts to voting resources in the form of fewer polling stations, poll workers and voting machines.

The culprits, as has often been the case in decisions that limit access to the ballot, are Republican lawmakers and officials who have made the reduction of voting resources a deliberate strategy for shrinking the size of the electorate. In Georgia, for example, the Republican former secretary of state (and current governor) Brian Kemp closed 214 polling stations between 2012 and 2018, often in rural, high-poverty areas with significant Black populations. In Texas, as well, Republicans have fought to reduce options for early voting, contributing to long waits this past week.

When you see long lines for voting, Americans devoting entire days to exercising their right to suffrage, you should remember that these lines are a choice meant to burden our ability to choose our leaders. You should be angry.”

And then there’s Paul Krugman’s How the G.O.P. Can Still Wreck America column.  Sigh. Please make sure you vote.

2020-10-16T14:38:04-05:00October 16th, 2020|HomeRecommended|

DJT, President for ALL Americans? Evidently not.

From the NYT: “The Trump administration has rejected California’s request for disaster relief aid for six major wildfires that scorched more than 1.8 million acres in land, destroyed thousands of structures and caused at least three deaths last month.” The depths of Trump’s petty vindictiveness are breathtaking.

2020-10-16T12:38:58-05:00October 16th, 2020|Home, Musings|
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