The third Tom Steyer Ad –
This could get interesting. AFter Republicans passed laws to Drug Test the poor as a condition of receiving SNAP, an enterprising Democrat turns it around.
The poor must prove they’re clean before they can receive benefits from the government. Why not hold the rich to the same standard?
Ever since the earliest days of government benefits, when social workers would inspect the homes of welfare recipients for cleanliness, the poor have been asked to prove their worth in order to receive help from the state.
Now, a Wisconsin Congresswoman is asking: Shouldn’t the wealthy have to prove their worth for all the government benefits they receive, too?
Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI) is introducing the Top 1% Accountability Act of 2016, which would require drug testing for all tax filers claiming itemized deductions totaling over $150,000. Moore’s bill would require those with the higher itemized deductions to submit a clear drug test to the IRS or take the standard deduction, which is lower. The bill is intended to highlight the fact that it’s not just the poor who receive aid, even if they’re the ones asked to prove their standing. Aid to the wealthy comes mostly in the form of tax breaks, which allow them to keep money that they would otherwise be required by law to pay to the government.
“We don’t drug test wealthy CEOs who receive federal subsidies for their private jets, nor do we force judges or public officials to prove their sobriety to earn their paychecks,” Eric Harris, a spokesperson for Moore told me. “Attaching special demands to government aid exclusively targets our country’s most vulnerable individuals and families.”
The number of government tests and requirements for poor people receiving government aid has grown in recent years. Utah in 2012 passed a law requiring drug testing for recipients for Temporary Aid to Needy Families, Alabama passed a similar law in 2014, and Arkansas followed in 2015. Other states, including Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Kansas require drug testing if “reasonable suspicion” exists.
These drug tests target people with almost no income who, in the case of states such as Arkansas, receive as little as $204 a month. And the drug tests hardly ever turn up positive. In 2014 Governor Rick Snyder signed a law in Michiganimplementing a pilot program to drug test welfare recipients in three counties; none of the people in the pilot program have tested positive for drugs.
Middle-class and wealthy Americans may not be getting housing vouchers, but they are getting tax deductions, which come when people itemize their taxes rather than take the standard deduction. Itemizing taxes isn’t worth it unless you’ve spent more on tax-deductible items (including mortgage interest, charitable giving, and also the odd luxury item, such as a yacht) than the standard deduction, which was $12,600 this year for a married household filing jointly. According to one report, more than 95 percent of tax filers making over $200,000 itemized their deductions in 2011, compared to just 13 percent of those with incomes of $50,000 or less….Read the Rest Here…
This is America on conservatism.
They gave tax cuts to millionaires…
They gave tax cuts to billionaires…
They gave tax cuts to companies shipping American jobs overseas…
And then they “deregulated” Wall Street and the banks to steal.
Home of the Brave, Land of the Free, Land of Opportunity?
A steady fall since Raygun economics.
The American Dream is supposed to mean that through hard work and perseverance, even the poorest people can make it to middle class or above. But it’s actually harder to move up in America than it is in most other advanced nations.
It’s easier to rise above the class you’re born into in countries like Japan, Germany, Australia, and the Scandinavian nations, according to research from University of Ottawa economist and current Russell Sage Foundation Fellow Miles Corak.
Among the major developed countries, only in Italy and the United Kingdom is there less economic mobility, according to Corak.
The research measures “intergenerational earnings elasticity” — a type of economic mobility that measures the correlation between what your parents make and what you make one generation later — in a number of different countries around the world.
Economists aren’t certain exactly why some countries have a greater degree of mobility than others, but they do point to certain similarities.
Greater current inequality: The more unequal a society is currently, the greater the chance that the children will be stuck in the same sphere. This is because wealthy families are able to provide things like tutors and extracurricular activities — and the time to pursue them — that poorer families often cannot.
Also, education matters a lot more now than it did 100 years ago in terms of getting a good job.
“The rich can pump a lot more money into their kids’ future,” said Corak.
This helps explain why counties like China, India and many South American nations also exhibit relatively little economic mobility.
Families: Having a stable home life is also associated with the ability to climb the economic ladder, said Corak. The United States tends to have higher rates of divorce, single-parent homes, and teenage pregnancy than many other industrialized counties.
Social policies: Counties that redistribute wealth — through, say, higher taxes on the richand more spending on the poor — tend to have greater social mobility, said Francisco Ferreira, an economist at the World Bank.
This is especially true when it comes to education spending. Critics have long contended that the U.S. system for funding education — where school funding is largely based on property taxes — perpetuates inequality far more so than a system that taxes the whole country for schools, then redistributes that money to the districts that are most needy.
If why Americans have a harder time making it into the middle class is a bit of a mystery to economists, why Americans cling to the belief that it’s still easy to do is even more baffling.
It could be because, during the late 1800s and early 1900, the United States was a much more mobile country than Britain, said Jason Long, an economist at Wheaton College in Illinois.
“It’s clear that Americans still believe that America has exceptional mobility, and that’s not true,” said Long. He calling it “vexing” that “lots of people could be systematically mistaken about verifiable, factual information.”
But no society has total mobility. Class is always going to be somewhat correlated to one’s upbringing, Corak noted.
What would MLK do? What would MLK say?
There is very little evidence that MLK would have anything good to say about today’s Republican Party. Indeed – for many folks today’s Republican have gone about as low as you can go.
Here is a mash up of points by MLK and “Willard” Romney…
It is becoming ever more painfully obvious that the Republican Tax Giveaway to the Rich is a major element in the country’s finances being in freefall. The Chamber of Commerce has increasingly become noting but a propaganda arm of the Republican Party, much like Faux News.
Michael Teahan, like his father, mother, and uncles before him, is a small business owner. The 52-year-old has spent most of his adult life running his own businesses: a restaurant, a coffee bar and various companies involved in the espresso machine business.
“I was the only person in my family to go to college, because that’s not what we did — we all opened up businesses,” Teahan says. “For some people, that’s a big hurdle … for us, it was like having lunch.”
Teahan currently operates Espresso Resource, a company that imports espresso machine parts from Europe to sell to U.S. restaurants and coffee shops. And he’s doing very well for himself: The two-man operation clears about $1 million a year in total sales, Teahan says — enough to secure himself annual income in excess of $250,000.
That makes Teahan one of the few small business owners to actually benefit from the Bush administration’s tax cuts for the wealthy. He says the cuts save him about $12,000 a year, compared to what he paid before they were enacted. But as debates over the federal budget deficit have intensified, Teahan has found the political discussion increasingly divorced from the reality of his experience as a small business owner.
Tax cuts for the wealthy, according to Teahan, will do nothing to bolster his firm. They won’t affect his hiring decisions, they won’t encourage him to buy new equipment or help him move into a bigger warehouse. He says all of those decisions — the nuts and bolts of actually running a small company — depend on the his customers’ economic conditions, not his personal tax rate.
“What we do in business, how we spend our money, how we allocate our resources — that has very little to do with tax policy,” Teahan says. “I map my business based on my customers, and what my customers want to buy, and what they can afford to buy.” Read the rest of this entry »
Interviews of Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Ted Turner –
This group are pretty much on the same page. I think it would be interesting to add the Koch brothers into this mix, and perhaps have a roundtable. The Koch brothers are among the principal financiers of the Tea Party, and right wing in this country.
My personal belief is that the economy will not come back until two things happen:
First, we have to somehow defeat and eliminate the culture of corruption which infests Wall Street, the Banks, corporations, and Congress. Until you get a handle on that, there just isn’t any reason to believe the system isn’t gamed to the advantage of the already rich, and the corrupt – driving the small investor who is the backbone of the economy out.
The next thing is to get back to the metaphorical economic relationship of the car to the windshield wipers. The car is what drives the market. The windshield wiper is an accessory, which wouldn’t exist without the car. You don’t build a car around a fancy new windshield wiper design – it’s the other way around. The economic mavens in this country have spent far too much time and money investing in technologies which can only be described as windshield wipers – while pawning the ability to make cars to China.
Until you get back to owning th car – there won’t be another American Bill Gates, whose operating system has been the vehicle for which countless accessories dance the tune.
Nor will there be meaningful jobs.
Back when the real estate bubble began to bust, conservatives, and their coonservative lackeys were all over the media announcing that it was the borrowers fault for taking on loans they couldn’t possibly afford. Stories of black people, in particular lacking financial savvy and making bad decisions abounded. Ergo – the meltdown was the responsibility of the feckless dishonest home buyer…
Well folks, as I have been predicting here for over a year – the REAL mortgage crisis is in high end homes. Not only were home prices jacked up during the mortgage Ponzi, but the number of high end homes skyrocketed far beyond what the income levels of the population in a given area could support.
What this means is that there are a whole bunch of multimillion dollar homes out there…
Without a bunch of folks who can afford them.
No need for tears, but the well-off are losing their master suites and saying goodbye to their wine cellars.
The housing bust that began among the working class in remote subdivisions and quickly progressed to the suburban middle class is striking the upper class in privileged enclaves like this one in Silicon Valley.
Whether it is their residence, a second home or a house bought as an investment, the rich have stopped paying the mortgage at a rate that greatly exceeds the rest of the population.
More than one in seven homeowners with loans in excess of a million dollars are seriously delinquent, according to data compiled for The New York Times by the real estate analytics firm CoreLogic.
By contrast, homeowners with less lavish housing are much more likely to keep writing checks to their lender. About one in 12 mortgages below the million-dollar mark is delinquent.
Though it is hard to prove, the CoreLogic data suggest that many of the well-to-do are purposely dumping their financially draining properties, just as they would any sour investment.
“The rich are different: they are more ruthless,” said Sam Khater, CoreLogic’s senior economist. Read the rest of this entry »