House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, talking about Occupy Wall Street. “Believe it or not, some in this town have actually condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans,” he continued. “But you sent us here to fight for you and for all Americans. You sent us here to bring about real change in Washington, real change to your federal government. And we’re committed to do that.” Pitting of Americans against Americans? Isn’t that what you do, Eric? Let’s be honest with ourselves before we criticize others. (via shortformblog)
Representative Michele Bachmann noted recently that 47 percent of Americans do not pay federal income tax; all of them, she said, should pay something because they benefit from parks, roads and national security. (Interesting that she acknowledged government has a purpose.) Gov. Rick Perry, in the announcement of his candidacy, said he was dismayed at the “injustice” that nearly half of Americans do not pay income tax. Jon Huntsman Jr., up to now the most reasonable in the Republican presidential field, said not enough Americans pay tax.
Representative Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, and several senators have made similar arguments, variations of the idea expressed earlier by Senator Dan Coats of Indiana that “everyone needs to have some skin in the game.”
This is factually wrong, economically wrong and morally wrong. First, the facts: a vast majority of Americans have skin in the tax game. Even if they earn too little to qualify for the income tax, they pay payroll taxes (which Republicans want to raise), gasoline excise taxes and state and local taxes. Only 14 percent of households pay neither income nor payroll taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center at the Brookings Institution. The poorest fifth paid an average of 16.3 percent of income in taxes in 2010.
Economically, reducing the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit — which would be required if everyone paid income taxes — makes no sense at a time of high unemployment. The credits, which only go to working people, have always been a strong incentive to work, as even some conservative economists say, and have increased the labor force while reducing the welfare rolls.
The moral argument would have been obvious before this polarized year. Nearly 90 percent of the families that paid no income tax make less than $40,000, most much less. The real problem is that so many Americans are struggling on such a small income, not whether they pay taxes. The two tax credits lifted 7.2 million people out of poverty in 2009, including four million children. At a time when high-income households are paying their lowest share of federal taxes in decades, when corporations frequently avoid paying any tax, it is clear who should bear a larger burden and who should not.
-The New York Times. Without a doubt, this is the best editorial I have read all year. Read the entire piece here.
The total damages from Hurricane Irene have yet to be assessed, but already the White House and congressional Republicans are fighting over the bill.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor started the dialogue by insisting that federal disaster aid to affected states and communities be balanced with spending cuts elsewhere in the budget.
That’s the same stance Cantor earlier in the week when it came to aid for his own Virginia House district, which was the epicenter of the East Coast’s unlikely earthquake.
Asked Tuesday about offsetting hurricane aid, White House press secretary Jay Carney went out of his way to note that Republicans, Cantor included, didn’t object when the Bush administration spent money it didn’t have on tax cuts, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Medicare prescription drug coverage.
“I guess I can’t help but say that I wish that commitment to looking for offsets had been held by the House majority leader and others, say, during the previous administration when they ran up unprecedented bills … and never paid for them,” Carney said.
You’re telling me there’s no metaphorical hostage-taking here? Fuck that.
For shame, Republican party. This is a new low.