Saturday, April 30, 2011

WWJD to Poor People?

“The Ryan budget put a fear into me, for the very first time in my life, that in retirement I could go broke from medical bills.  This is a real fear for those of us on the downside of the baby boom who are not grandfathered into Medicare as we know it.  It is also a fear for those in Medicare, or soon to be, because they would be one line of legislation away from being swept into fending for themselves in the insurance market – where insurers will not fall all over themselves to offer good coverage at reasonable prices to eighty-year old diabetic cardiac patients.”


“The cumulative effect of all of these changes is not simply that millions will be moved out of the middle class, it is the end of the middle class as we have known it all of our lives. There simply will not be a middle class – there will be haves and have not’s. It will not be the America we want or knew.”   Read More......

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Study estimates that illegal immigrants paid $11.2B in taxes last year, unlike GE, which paid zero

A study estimates that undocumented immigrants paid more than $11 billion in taxes last year, far outpacing corporate behemoth GE, which paid nothing.
A study estimates that undocumented immigrants paid more than $11 billion in taxes last year, far outpacing corporate behemoth GE, which paid nothing.

I bet most of you didn't know undocumented immigrants contributed more - much more - to the national treasury last year than General Electric. Surprised? Yet it's true.
While GE - which earned a whopping $14 billion last year - is reported to have paid nothing, nada, zero in taxes (GE denies it), the undocumented paid billions in state and local taxes in 2010.

No, it's not me talking; it's the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (, a prestigious, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that works on federal, state and local tax policy issues.

Obviously the old saying, "Nothing is certain but death and taxes," is not to be believed anymore. Or rather, only half of it can be believed.

Because death, of course, remains as dreaded and inevitable as ever, but with taxes the story is different.

"The rich are different from you and me," the famous F. Scott Fitzgerald quote, is a much more accurate description of what's going on in the country.

To no one's surprise, taxes are still as certain for working people - and whatever is left of the middle class - as they ever were. But for, well, GE and other corporate giants, the only certainty is that many found ways to contribute as little to the country's coffers as possible.

At the same time, Republicans in Washington are involved in a mighty struggle to protect the tax breaks of the country's richest 2%, while happily proposing to cut the most basic social services to Americans who really need them.

Closer to home, Gov. Cuomo has announced the so-called millionaires tax will not be renewed once it expires in December, although since it was established in 2009 it has brought in as much as $5 billion annually.

There is no doubt, when it comes to taxes the rich are really different.

Ironically the vilified undocumented population, among the poorest and most vulnerable in the country, does its part when it comes to taxes.

They pay sales taxes and property taxes - even if they rent, ITEP said. At least half of them pay income taxes. And, I believe, if they were ever legalized, close to 100% would do the same. "Add this all up," ITEP said, "and it amounts to billions in revenue to state and local governments."

ITEP estimates that households that are headed by undocumented immigrants (which may include members who are U.S. citizens or legal immigrants) paid $11.2 billion in state and local taxes last year. That included $1.2 billion in personal income taxes, $1.6 billion in property taxes and $8.4 billion in sales taxes.

New York is fourth in the country in tax revenue - $662.4 million - from households headed by undocumented immigrants, after California, Texas and Florida.

"These figures should be kept in mind as politicians and commentators continue with the seemingly endless debate over what to do with unauthorized immigrants already living in the United States," ITEP wisely advises.

"[These] immigrants - and their family members - are adding value to the U.S. economy; not only as taxpayers, but as workers, consumers and entrepreneurs as well."

Enough with those people - and they are many - who think they are the only ones paying taxes, and who accuse the undocumented of being "leeches" who contribute nothing. How about redirecting their fury to the real leeches, those with enough means and political clout to exploit every single loophole in our tax laws not to pay their fair share?

  • In Corporations We Trust

    First Citizens United, now this:

    The Supreme Court gave corporations a major win Wednesday, ruling in a 5-4 decision that companies can block their disgruntled customers from joining together in a class-action lawsuit. The ruling arose from a California lawsuit involving cellphones, but it will have a nationwide impact.
    In the past, consumers who bought a product or a service had been free to join a class-action lawsuit if they were dissatisfied or felt they had been cheated. By combining these small claims, they could bring a major lawsuit against a corporation.
    But in Wednesday's decision, the high court said that under the Federal Arbitration Act companies can force these disgruntled customers to arbitrate their complaints individually, not as part of a group. Consumer-rights advocates said this rule would spell the end for small claims involving products or services.

    AMERICAblog News


    I Can Haz Capitalism?

    Rising gas prices aren’t due to the problems in the Middle East, if you will remember, prices started rising before the protests in Egypt. Speculators on Wall Street drive up the price of a barrel of oil by betting on how high the price will be tomorrow.

    Glad to see the pay-no-tax-and-receive-money-back plan is working so well for Big Oil:

    All is well in Big Oil land. Profits are up for BP and Exxon is so worried about the stunning profit headlines that are about to hit today that they are scrambling to soften the blow. Now more than ever, it's time to bring an end to their freeloading handouts. They want capitalism, so let's give it to them. No more handouts to the richest industry on the planet.

    AMERICAblog News

    2675599046_0be3373a8f_tWhy does Exxon hate America?

    Sunday, April 24, 2011

    Happy Easter

    I don’t have a handy picture of Jesus, so here is a photo of some of his favorite creatures. a-cat-hug-a-bunny-19504-1241619416-10-1And one of my favorite creatures:



    Friday, April 15, 2011

    BP plotted to influence what scientists say about oil spill’s impact, internal emails reveal

    In other news, water is wet:

    As The Guardian reports today, BP officials sought to tailor the findings of company-funded research. Last May, BP announced that it was ponying up $500 million to fund "an open research program studying the impact of the Deepwater Horizon incident." That mega-project is now known as the Gulf of Mexico Research Institute (GRI). And to judge by the emails released via Greenpeace, company leaders were deeply concerned with how to spin to the group's findings given they footed its research bills.

    "Can we 'direct' GRI funding to a specific study (as we now see the governor's offices trying to do)," BP environmental official Russell Putt asked in a June 2010 email. "What influence do we have over the vessels/equipment driving the studies vs the questions?"

    Another email written by a BP environmental officer, Karen Ragoonanan-Jalim, indicates that company officials met in Houma, Louisiana, to discuss how they might "steer the research" to best serve the oil company's interests, writing that officials discussed how "BP can influence this long-term research programme" to "undertake the studies we believe will be useful."

    BP plotted to influence what scientists say about oil spill’s impact, internal emails reveal - Yahoo! News

    Saturday, April 9, 2011




    Iz Caturday!


    Barking Prairie Dog Award to: The Rude Pundit

    “Oh, hey, here's a fun quote from yesterday's House debate on a useless stop-gap spending bill: Indiana Republican Mike Pence on Planned Parenthood funding: "It seems like liberals in the Senate would rather shut the government down so they can continue to borrow money from China to support the biggest abortion provider in America." (ed: say what?)Yeah, he really did say that. If he'd have figured out a way to work in gay people, it would have been the scariest statement ever heard by his constituents.”

    “Fun facts that you should have heard elsewhere but probably haven't: Federal funding of Planned Parenthood was started by President Richard Nixon with the support of Congressman George H.W. Bush. The rumor is that they were once considered Republicans. Conservatives supported it because contraception kept women from having more babies and kept them all off welfare. An ounce of prevention, you know. But that's when "conservative" didn't simply mean "bugnuts." History is awesome.”

    The Rude Pundit


    Friday, April 8, 2011

    Trump Conducting Hawaii Investigation Into Obama's Birthplace

    2675599046_0be3373a8f_tThe Crazy just writes itself:

    I am saying I want to see the birth certificate. It’s very simple. I want to see the birth certificate. How come his own family doesn’t know which hospital he was born in? How come-- forget about birth certificates. Let’s say there’s no birth certificate. How come in the hospital itself, okay? This is one of the…in the hospital itself, there’s no records of his birth. In other words, it doesn’t say how much they paid, where is the doctor, here’s your room bill.

    The Page by Mark Halperin | Trump Conducting Hawaii Investigation Into Obama's Birthplace

    Boehner Gets Paid While Soldiers Wait When Congress Shuts Down Government - Bloomberg

    You may point out that it’s not just the Orange Boner getting paid, but he IS the one conducting the shutdown. To be fair, we need to cut Grandma’s Medicaid so the top 1% richest people in the nation can continue to pay no tax at all. Or big corporations that not only pay no tax, they also get rebates.

    So, gentle Middle Class person, how is this tax time of year treating YOU?

    Elected officials, including Republican House Speaker John Boehner, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Obama, all would be paid as usual during a shutdown, unless Congress changes the law. Soldiers, law enforcement officers and other government employees whose jobs are deemed essential would continue to work yet wouldn’t get paychecks until the budget standoff is resolved.

    Boehner Gets Paid While Soldiers Wait When Congress Shuts Down Government – Bloomberg

    political-pictures-john-boehner-millionaire-taxesDick. Why do you hate America?

    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    ThinkProgress » Scott Walker Gives $81,500 Government Job To Top Donor’s 26-Year-Old College Dropout Son


    Since taking office in January, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has stripped public workers of their collective bargaining rights, proposed wage cuts to local government employees, and insisted that his “state is broke” and that its public workers are overpaid. But Walker applies a different standard to himself.

    Today, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reveals that Walker is using state funds to pay more than $81,500 a year to the 26-year-old son of a major campaign donor with no college degree and two drunken-driving convictions.

    ThinkProgress » Scott Walker Gives $81,500 Government Job To Top Donor’s 26-Year-Old College Dropout Son

    In The Nation, sociologist and activist Frances Fox Piven argues that the Republicans are hyping the debt threat to justify cuts to social programs: Corporate America's unprovoked assault on working people has been carried out by manufacturing a need for fiscal austerity. We are told that there is no more money for essential human services, for the care of children, or better public schools, or to help lower the cost of a college education. The fact is that big banks and large corporations are hoarding trillions in cash and using tax loopholes to bankrupt our communities.

    Republicans' Budget Declares War on Medicare


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