Democrats & Liberals Archives

The bigger the hand, the bigger the mouth...

If you are a quadriplegic, companies that market and sell wakeboarding products are not very likely to spend any effort getting the message out to you. Subsequently, when the income tax-cuts were presented to the American public as godsend, the message about how corporations were benefiting from the package was somehow missing.

"These are the basic ideas that guide my tax policy: lower income taxes for all, with the greatest help for those most in need. Everyone who pays income taxes benefits - while the highest percentage tax cuts go to the lowest income Americans. I believe this is a formula for continuing the prosperity we've enjoyed, but also expanding it in ways we have yet to discover. It is an economics of inclusion. It is the agenda of a government that knows its limits and shows its heart." - President George W. Bush

What exactly is the definition of "economics of inclusion"? Does it mean that the top 1%, with an average income of $384K or higher would save $26k for a total of 41% of the entire package. While the bottom 80%, making less than $75k would save a combined 17.4% of the package?
Or does it mean that corporations, using accelerated depreciation, the repeal of the alternative minimum tax, extension of the depreciation write-offs for tax losses and the tax shelters for multinational corporations allowing the corporations to shift taxable profits offshore to subsidiaries?

I don't know; I guess it's something you learn from Harvard Business School.

"My tax cut plan is not just about productivity, it is about people. Economics is more than narrow interests or organized envy. A tax plan must apply market principles to the public interest. And my plan sets out to make life better for average men, women and children." - President George W. Bush

Again, I'm confused. When he says people and public interest, does he mean multinational corporations? Because the tax relief package that Bush put forth had $25 billion in tax rebates for those corporations.

This type of approach isn't new and certainly isn't isolated to just the Bush administration. It's quite the contrary. But the simple fact that 80% of American families have been paying more taxes consecutively each year while corporations have been paying less and in many cases, receiving subsidies (code for corporate welfare), proves that the people writing the legislation are listening to the wrong voices.

Take, for instance, these historical stats:

- Family income taxes rose from 17.3% of median income in 1955 to 37.6 percent in 1998.
- In the past two decades, after-tax income of the middle class, which had been rising, has collapsed to inflation-adjusted 1969 levels.
- The share of all property taxes paid by corporations has dropped from 45% in 1957 to 16% in 1995.
- 41% of America's largest corporations earned $25.8 billion in profits between 1996 and 1999 but avoided paying taxes; they in fact, got rebate checks.
- By exploiting the tax shelter workaround, companies like Enron, paid no federal taxes 4 of the 5 years prior to their implosion in 2002. Instead of paying $112MM they got a $278MM tax refund.
- Between 1989 and 1995, 1/3 or large ($750MM or more) corporations no income tax and that a majority of corporations both foreign and US controlled, paid no US income tax.

1995 was the last time the US GAO study was completed.

Now, all governments require money to operate; that's a given. And deciding what the priorities are for running the nation is the responsibility of our elected officials. But when corporations benefit much more so from legislation like the recent tax cut/relief law and the majority of tax paying Americans are subsidizing the tax refunds for these multinational corporations, it appears that there is a complete disconnect with the priorities of this country.

When a company purposely misinforms a product's intended use, it's called fraud. But when a government markets a tax-rebate plan that benefits multinational corporations to the general public under the guise that the general public will reap the major benefit, what is that called? Bait and switch?

Posted by john trevisani at September 8, 2005 2:49 PM
Comments
Comment #79042

Why are we debating something that went into effect four years ago? You know, if the Democrats stopped talking about Bush’s policies and focused specifically about their own policies and ideas (in other words, what they would do if they ran the show) they might start winning elect… Oh, forget it. They just don’t want to listen. Seams they don’t want to win, either.

Posted by: TheTraveler at September 8, 2005 3:26 PM
Comment #79055

The Traveller, that’s not how the game is played. There is no audience outside party members for plans from Democrats right now. In about 6 months from now, there will be a vast audience looking to see what Democrat’s plans are. That’s the time to watch out. A lot of folks who voted Republican in the last two elections will be looking for an alternative to what has taken place with deficits, national debt, Iraq, Katrina, education, and wages.

If the 2006 elections were held today, I have little doubt Democrats would retake control of the Senate. This one party government has demonstrated it is not healthy for America.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 8, 2005 4:40 PM
Comment #79066

David,

Is it the administration in conjuntion with existing tax laws (loopholes)that are the problem?

I think that alot of the subsidies that are given out to corporate America should be eliminated.
It would begin to erode the ties between local, state and Federal governments and corporate America, which would be a step in the right direction for those of us who would like to see wholesale changes in our government.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at September 8, 2005 5:12 PM
Comment #79068

David:

I actually think a one party government might be better for America. Here’s why.

There are currently multiple parties, but really only two that have been able to garner substantial electable support. So we have essentially a two party system.

While the good side to this is the check and balance a minority party provides, the bad side is the gridlock that the minority party brings.

The system doesn’t allow the minority party to support the majority party, even when they agree on an issue. Once the minority supports the majority, the minority party begins to lose its own electability. So they look for areas of disagreement and they focus on how to regain control, thereby becoming the majority.

The system almost forces the two parties to look out selfishly for their own interests, rather than the best interests of the country.

If there were multiple parties, but once elected, the winning party took full control of government, you might at least have a clearer view of their leadership abilities. They might fail or they might succeed, but they alone would have responsibility.

Currently, each party can point the finger of blame at the other side, even if they are a minority, because they do retain some power.

By the way, were you as against the one party domination when Democrats held authority?

Posted by: jeobagodonuts at September 8, 2005 5:14 PM
Comment #79072

joe,

While i agree that single party control would break the gridlock, imo, it would also break the check and balance, silence voices and opinions that need to be heard and grease the tube for pork-barrel projects to slide on by without public notice. Our government is set up with three branches because three is the minumum necessary for a properly balanced and functioning American government. It would be my delight to see the power in America spread evenly (with fluctuations of course) between three different parties. A third party allows middle ground, compromise and a check (albeit small) on corporate/PAC intereference and influence.

Posted by: jo at September 8, 2005 5:28 PM
Comment #79075

David,

If the 2006 elections were held today, I have little doubt Democrats would retake control of the Senate.

I don’t, for the simple reason that they don’t voice a plan. Even during campaigns, they spend too much time talking about Bush instead of themselves. Take this article. It’s a rehash of a four year old argument. Everyone already knows where they stand on the Bush tax cuts. What we don’t know is the Democrat’s tax plan. Although some of us have some very disturbing suspicions…

If the Democrats want to lay out their plans to the American people They need to realize they do have an audience. Me. And all the people you just mentioned who are looking for an alternative. We’re listening, but not hearing much, other than the Bush is a bad president. But he’s going to be out soon, so those of us who are looking to the future don’t care about that. Ok, we know you’re an alternative. Now tell us why you’re better.

Joebag,

I actually think a one party government might be better for America.

I’d prefer a no party government, myself. I think people are getting sick of the partisanship and I suspect we will be seeing more and more independents running as the parties grow less and less popular (if they can get less popular). We may even see some elected on ‘06.

Posted by: The Traveler at September 8, 2005 5:41 PM
Comment #79077
Subsequently, when the income tax-cuts were presented to the American public as godsend, the message about how corporations were benefiting from the package was somehow missing.

Why is benefitng corporations automatically assumed to be bad? Would tax cuts be good if they didn’t benifit—if they injured corporations? Who do you think hires, pays people’s salaries and provides them with goods and services?

I think a more powerful liberal critique of the tax-system might focus instead on personal taxes, drawing comparisons between the tax burdens of those private citizens on the very top and those in the middle or at the bottom. Comparing the personal tax burden of the lower classes with that of corporations seems too much like comparing apples and oranges.

I don’t think individuals should get special breaks, but I think corporations should (since our economic system depends on them so heavily).

Of course I realize that the personal wealth of those on the top is correlated to corporate wealth, but how do you separate them in any constructive discussion about reforming the tax code? I’m interested in such a discussion, as long as its not motivated merely by mere class envy or a misguided bashing of corporations just because they’re corporations.

Posted by: sanger at September 8, 2005 5:51 PM
Comment #79084
Who do you think hires, pays people’s salaries and provides them with goods and services?
Small Businesses hire, pays wages (as opposed to huge salaries and stock options), delivers service and products while corporations steal from American laborers their due wages and benefits (under 35 hr work week, cut health and other benefits) then hire foriegn workers in unsafe and inhumane working conditions to further line their pockets with the wealth that rightfully belongs to American laborers who invest the American wealth in the American society.
Posted by: jo at September 8, 2005 6:08 PM
Comment #79095

If taxes are going to be cut it is better to give the cuts to employers rather than individuals. Most companies (large or small) are in business to make money and grow. Growth means more employment. Most small companies are striving to be large companies.

Targeting tax cuts at individuals really doesn’t accomplish much sustainable growth (if any). I do like using tax incentives in combinations with penalties to enforce environmental laws, spur growth in certian technologies (how many of you wish we had a hydrogen economy for our automobiles right now?).

My biggest problem with our government (I’m talking both parties here…although most blame has to go to GOP since they are in majority)….as I was saying, government wants to cut taxes drastically, fight a war, assist national disasters, and not cut PORC spending. They had rather increase medicare copays and other items. If you look at our overall government spending it has not been reduced…yet, our government income is reduced.

If we all truly are going to sacrifice for the war on terrorism and rebuilding New Orleans, Biloxi, etc… we should put up or shut up. A slight increase in taxes (nothing growth stifling mind you) would go a long way to show our support for the war and the hurricaine victims….IF….big IF here….we can trust our government officials to spend the extra revenue properly.

Regarding the two parties….Is there really that much difference between them? One taxes and spends, the other tax cuts and spends more.

Posted by: Tom L at September 8, 2005 6:43 PM
Comment #79099

Most small companies are merging into big companies that pay CEOs obscene amounts after cutting out jobs, sending scores of middle class people to the unemployment line and sending jobs outside the country to avoid (eek!) RESPONSIBILITY to the society that gave them the environment in which they were able to prosper. A good lot of INDIVIDUALS are striving to start new small businesses that will actually (eek!) contribute to the (horrors) American society… that is if they can save/find the start up capital before the big corporations steal it out from under them.

Posted by: jo at September 8, 2005 7:10 PM
Comment #79100
If the Democrats want to lay out their plans to the American people They need to realize they do have an audience. Me. And all the people you just mentioned who are looking for an alternative. We’re listening, but not hearing much, other than the Bush is a bad president. But he’s going to be out soon, so those of us who are looking to the future don’t care about that. Ok, we know you’re an alternative. Now tell us why you’re better.

Unfortunately, even when the Democrats try to explain how their plans will benefit America, the Right-Wing media shows swift-boat veterans against Kerry, the President and Vice-President talk about flip-flopping on issues when they in fact lied to the UN and Congress about WMDs, and so on and so forth.

The only time Cindy Sheehan was shown on television was when they were bashing her.

How can anyone get any message out when the Media is owned and controlled by the Republican Party.

Got a few bucks? Rent a movie called “OutFoxed”

Posted by: Pat at September 8, 2005 7:14 PM
Comment #79165

Pat:

Don’t buy into it. Simply work on using intelligent and logical thought processes, and you will arrive at a much better understanding of how things work. Truth is that both sides position the other side, truth is that both sides play dirty because it works, and both sides blame the other side for playing dirty.

I find it interesting that many on the left shouted long and hard that the media was unbiased, when the right first began claiming there was a left leaning bias. Now here you are claiming, from the left, that the media is indeed biased…only to the the right. It wasnt lost on me that Bush was not called a flip flopper until Kerry was thusly branded.

Is the only argument that some on the left have the kindergarten chant “I’m rubber, you’re glue, the things you say bounce off me and stick to you”.?

Simply use logic and reasoning to help yourself understand the principles of the game, and you will recognize the truths inherent in the process. They are not one sided nor unfair. They may be atrocious, they may be dirty and beneath us, but recognize them for what they are, rather than buying into simplistic tripe.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at September 8, 2005 10:41 PM
Comment #79252
I don?t, for the simple reason that they don?t voice a plan. Even during campaigns, they spend too much time talking about Bush instead of themselves.

Traveler, I keep throwing Democratic plans at you, and you keep spewing this bullshit.

Just about every day of the week Democrats come up with a new plan or an effective alternative to the Republican agenda. Here’s Senator Clinton’s plan to make our military strong enough to achieve it’s ongoing missions as well as future tasks. And it’s thanks to Senator Boxer that they’re getting IED jammers.

I already mentioned that you’re not going to get the Democratic agenda from FOX News or Rush Limbaugh.

Posted by: American Pundit at September 9, 2005 3:54 AM
Comment #79267

sanger:

Why is benefitng corporations automatically assumed to be bad?

Because the playing field in unequal. Corporations have direct access into the policy making process for the laws that they directly benefit from. Average citizens do not have the same access. And as i’ve noted, the number of citizens able to maintain a middle-income lifestyle has dwindled in the past 50 years.

I don’t think individuals should get special breaks, but I think corporations should (since our economic system depends on them so heavily).
i couldn’t disagree more. Corporations, both national and internation, have a different set of rules that pertain their survival. Citizens do not. When a corporation changes its nationality to avoid paying taxes by, as in the case with Tyco, moving from New Hampshire to Bermuda as their permanent residence; it’s okay. But if, as a citizen, i did the same, i would be arrested. The rules are different. In my view, they should be different but to suit the citizens not the corporations.
Of course I realize that the personal wealth of those on the top is correlated to corporate wealth, but how do you separate them in any constructive discussion about reforming the tax code?
As, in the case of the offshore accounts, the wealthy store stock options offshore, as the new tax code allows, the wealthy get wealthier without any downside. Which is why the class discussion is actually pertinent to this discussion? Because if the numbers suggested that all classes stayed at a similar scale, it would be tough to defend changes. But what we have now is more of the wealthy (and mostly corporations) making the rules to benefit the wealthy. Consistently, decade after decade, the wealthy own more of the world and nation’s wealth, while the working and middle class fall farther and farther behind. The pie isn’t growing bigger; it’s just that the slices are way out of whack. Posted by: john trevisani at September 9, 2005 8:47 AM
Comment #79270

AP,

You do link to a lot of plans. The point is that the representatives and the senators and the candidates are the ones that should be talking about these plans. But they talk more about Bush than themselves for the most part. I know this from watching C-Span. Not only do they fail to present their plans effectively, but they put their opponent’s name in the news instead of their own.

As for the posters on WatchBlog, just look at this article. It did not present one new piece of information. We have all known how you felt on this issue for years. If I were a writer here, I would take the Democrat’s plan for taxes and write an article about that. The debate would be more productive, and we’d have an enhanced understanding of the Democratic Party’s vision for America.

I already mentioned that you’re not going to get the Democratic agenda from FOX News or Rush Limbaugh.

Yes, you did. It’s a fairly obvious statement, and you’ll continue to get no argument from me.
Thanks for the links.

Posted by: TheTraveler at September 9, 2005 8:51 AM
Comment #79323
The point is that the representatives and the senators and the candidates are the ones that should be talking about these plans.

Traveler, Democratic Senators don’t send me private emails about their plans. I find out about them from the newspapers, press releases, and media interviews.

And we’ve been talking about Democrat’s plans in this column quite a bit. Carla just posted a good one about our Katrina ideas, Paul posted another. Most of my articles involve Democratic Party solutions — check the archives for articles I’ve written about Democrat’s healthcare plan, energy policy, how to win in Iraq, and many more.

You know what I’d like to see? I’d like to see some Republicans talking about Republican plans over on the other side. Jack recently brought us the good news that removing Saddam has allowed Iraqi bogs to get boggier, and Chops just told us about Bush’s plan to give Katrina victims a $2,000 debit card (which just got scrapped, it looks like).

I’m tired of reading about how we should hate gays and Muslims and multiculturalism and liberals over there. How about some Republican plans to make America great?

Posted by: American Pundit at September 9, 2005 1:12 PM
Comment #79367

Traveler, Democratic Senators don’t send me private emails about their plans. I find out about them from the newspapers, press releases, and media interviews.

I know. I’m just trying to show a better way of presenting this information. The party’s present methods aren’t winning elections for them.
It is a fact that overall, the party spends more time talking about Bush than their own plans.
If you’ve watched anything on C-Span this week, you’ll have seen that, even though the party might have plans, they’d rather discuss Bush. And do you know what the real problem is? Most of it is it is the same stuff they’ve been saying for the last four years! Originality is definitely lacking. The term “flogging a dead horse” comes to mind.
Bush is weak and unpopular, but so is the Democratic Party. It seems so obvious to me that the party’s focus needs to be directly on itself if they expect to start winning. They need to get over the “the Republicans are in charge so we can’t do anything” attitude and start acting a serious representing the people. And themselves.

I hope you realize, AP, that I’m not a Republican. And just because I support the war and several other policies, I’m not a big Bush fan either. I’m perfectly willing to vote Democrat if they present the best candidate, and I often do in state and local elections. It’s on the national scale where the Democrats are having problems. Those problems involve the way they present themselves and their plans to the public.

As for what gets posted on the red side, I don’t write the articles, I just debate them.

Posted by: TheTraveler at September 9, 2005 3:04 PM
Comment #79534
It is a fact that overall, the party spends more time talking about Bush than their own plans.

For one, I’d like to see some data to back up that statement. I think you’re wrong, and I’m not just going to take your word for it.

It’s possible your statement is true based on a narrow sampling of C-Span broadcasts this week, but during the same time period I’ve seen seen several Democratic plans and alternatives put forth: Senator Clinton wanting to roll FEMA back out of the DHS, and Senator Reid’s comprehensive plan for giving the Katrina victims a hand up are just two examples.

And BTW, the media’s non-existent coverage of the Senate Democrat’s plan is a great example of how the minority party is ignored. The so-called “liberal media” didn’t cover it at all.

Traveler, maybe, in all your political wisdom, you can tell us what to do when you invite all the major news media for a press conference about a huge policy proposal, and nobody shows up because there’s zero chance of the ruling party adopting it. The same thing happened when we put out our energy policy several weeks ago.

Posted by: American Pundit at September 10, 2005 12:45 AM
Comment #79572

Traveler, maybe, in all your political wisdom, you can tell us what to do when you invite all the major news media for a press conference about a huge policy proposal, and nobody shows up because there’s zero chance of the ruling party adopting it. The same thing happened when we put out our energy policy several weeks ago.

Easy. When you fire Howard Dean, do it live on national television. Buy air time for it. Advertise the event before hand. “Watch the restoration of leadership and competence to our once-great party.” I can guarantee high ratings from the entire political spectrum.
Dean’s replacement who, unlike Dean will be a natural born leader, will speak about the Democrat’s vision of America’s future during his acceptance speech. Of course you’ll have to pick someone who can speak in an interesting and inspiring manor, unlike your recent presidential candidates.
You may not like the sound of this, but I guarantee it’ll get your message across and bring you votes.

In all seriousness, AP, if you actually have to ask how to get the news media to cover you, you can’t be considered a serious political contender. Awareness and name recognition are a huge part of politics. One of the problems is your party’s lack of creativity in these areas. Press conferences are not the only way to get your point across.

Posted by: TheTraveler at September 10, 2005 9:03 AM
Comment #79653

Its funny that you keep asking for the Democrat’s plan when Bush has no plan… the Republican’s plan for the next election is the same as the last… make fun of the other candidate (“looks like herman munster”); make up lies about war record (didn’t earn his medals and threw away his medals); attack the spouse (wife negotiated the price of her manacure, wife has bad attitude, etc); tell everyone the democrats are going to go door to door and take away your guns (when has a democrat done that?).

What is the Reublican plan…
Lie to everyone and cut taxes for the rich, raise taxes on the poor and middle class, go on vacation for half of your term, attack a nation that has never attacked us or killed even one American, send all the good jobs overseas and create a million minimum wage jobs, put all your friends in high offices (even though they’re totally unqualified); Tell everyone you’re going to beef up homeland security and then take all the funding and put it into pork like building a bridge to no-where in Alaska for $200 million, the music hall of fame, the rock and roll museum, the history of paper museum and so on and so on.

Posted by: Pat at September 10, 2005 8:13 PM
Comment #79842

Pat,

Which country have we attacked that has never attacked us or killed even one American? Surely you don’t mean Iraq. Our soldiers were shot at plenty of times patrolling the no-fly zone.

Posted by: SirisC at September 12, 2005 10:22 AM
Comment #82992

go president Bush!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: cher at October 1, 2005 10:49 AM
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