You have to scroll to the bottom of the article to see this video. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have its own link.
You have to scroll to the bottom of the article to see this video. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have its own link.
Below, in the body of this post, links are provided to sites at the IRS and US Treasury Department to research or report fraudulent calls or emails.
The text and links are copied directly from web pages to which the links will take you. Quoting from a portion of what’s below:
“Remember, too, the IRS does not use unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issue. For more information on reporting tax scams, go to http://www.irs.gov and type “scam” in the search box.”
We have recently been receiving threatening phone calls (on a cell phone number, in this case) from what is purported to be the IRS. The voice is digital. It claims that the phone call is a final warning before the IRS sues you. It them gives you a phone number with a Washington, DC area code to return the call.
If you call back, they ask you for your Social Security Number, among other things.
NEVER GIVE OUT YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER, DRIVERS LICENSE NUMBER OR CREDIT CARD NUMBERS UNLESS YOU ARE CERTAIN TO WHOM YOU ARE SPEAKING!
If you are told to call a number for the IRS, your bank, or any other institution or company which then asks YOU for information THEY should have, call back at a number you know is correct, such as on the back of your credit/debit card, or at the IRS.gov website.
More info and links below the jump.
Juxtaposition can be a really cool thing. Check out both apps.
The www.barackobama.com/tax-calculator claims to calculate what your taxes would under a Mitt Romney tax plan versus what your taxes will be under Obama in a 2nd term.
On October 19,2011 the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published this article written by Phil Izzo for the WSJ blog . It includes what is fast becoming a favorite app for seeing where you stand in the 99% (or perhaps the 1%, if you’re lucky).
You can read the article, or click on the link below to go straight to the app:
Also check out a version of the calculator created earlier by Robert Frank (July 28, 2011) for The Wealth Report that also looks at total wealth. Frank has now upgraded his calculator with “Frank’s Rich-O-Meter 3.0”.
NOTE: This post includes portions originally posted as, “What Percent Are You? (Link to INTERACTIVE Calculators)”, published April 2, 2012.
Republicans — i.e., Rightwingers, Conservatives, Tea Party-types, Libertarians/Anarchists, etc. — usually win on ‘framing’.
Progressives argue about why this is. The solution for Progressives seems simple (like tell the truth and use rational arguments), but implementation of a successful strategy has proven elusive.
What the Right does is frame issues in ways which bypass people’s normal higher intellectual faculties, and instead aim for the ‘gut’. Rightwing messengers strike fear into their listeners with words and phrases having visceral impact, like freedom, ‘loss of liberty’, taxes, ‘change’, Socialist, Fascist, Communist, Death Panels, appeasement, ‘gays’, and, weirdly, Canada, Europe, the United Kingdom, etc.
Some of these Rightwing political ‘hooks’ are lies, distortions, or simply make no real sense, but fear and anger are powerful motivators, and if there’s one thing the Right is great at, it’s instilling fear and anger; then these scared and angry people vote their fears.
So, how do Progressives harness this strategy? Lying and fear-mongering (not to mention staying ‘on message’) is something which are not usually part of the Progressive mind-set. Progressives just don’t do well at it.
Until now. Continue reading
Foreign profits earned by American companies are not taxed by the United States until the profits are ‘brought home’ (i.e., repatriated).
Republicans have floated the idea of a ‘tax holiday’ on repatriated foreign profits so that companies are given an incentive to bring overseas profits home, so they can reputedly be invested, and thus create jobs here in the States.
Not only is this a bad idea in terms of tax policy, but even discussing it is bad tax policy. Allow me to relate an anecdote to explain, but be patient. It will take a little while to get back to my point. Continue reading
As I promised on today’s show, this commentary includes graphics and links upon which I based this opinion. This is a slightly longer, more detailed version since I don’t have to worry about air time.
So you can do your own research and validate me … Or not. ;) Let me know what you think.
Thanks to Elizabeth, Scott and Greg for calling in and participating.
You’ve been hearing a lot lately about the end of the Bush tax cuts. You’ve also been hearing lots of different opinions on what we should do about it.
Extend it for everyone? Let it expire for everyone? Extend it for the middle class but not for the rich?
And then we get into, What is the middle class? What qualifies as rich? Where are the cut-offs? Who decides? Why should the rich pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than the middle class, or the poor?
Once we’ve thrashed that around for a while, we get to ask, Do tax cuts stimulate the economy? How much? Who gets them? Is it better for the economy to give big cuts or small ones? Are there better ways to do it? Does cutting taxes for the rich really provide an incentive for them to create jobs?
And on and on, blah, bl-blah, bl-blah.
At the end of the day, this boils down to only one question that matters: What taxing and spending policies most benefit America and the greatest number of Americans?
As you listen to this, it’s going to sound like I just want to beat up the rich with taxes, but there’s a punch line at the end that literally changes the equation.
Let’s start with some basics. And I’ll be providing links to my sources when I post this commentary on my website, ThinkwingRadio.com, so you can check them out yourself.
According to the U.S. Census, 2009 median income by state ranged from about $69,272 in Maryland to $36,646 in Mississippi. Average median for the U.S. was $49,777.
What qualifies as median income varies quite a lot depending on where you live in the United States. So based on the national Census figures, let’s call middle-income somewhere between $40k and $70k per year.
In a recently updated study, in the United States as of 2007, the top 1% of households owned 34.6% of all private wealth.
1% … 34.6% of all private wealth. In terms of financial wealth, the top 1% of households had an even greater share: 42.7%.
The next 19% had 50.5%. So, just 20% of the people owned 85% of all the nation’s wealth. These are a lot of numbers to digest on the radio, so I’ll repeat that: Just 20% of the American people owned 85% of all the wealth.
This left only 15% of the wealth for the bottom 80% of American workers. That same 80% owns only 7% of total financial wealth. Let me put this another way.
If you had a pizza that was divided up like this in front of five people, 4 of them would have to share about 1/2 of a slice. That’s how wealth is divided up in this country.
According to FactCheck.org and The Tax Policy Center, those reporting adjusted gross income of more than $250,000 are projected to make up about 2 percent of households in 2010. Adjusted gross is usually a lot less than actual earnings.
It is estimated that 2% will earn 24.1 percent of all income, and pay 43.6 percent of all personal federal income taxes.
Letting the current tax rates expire for those folks costs them nothing unless their adjusted gross income exceeds that $250,000 adjusted gross.
But you know what? While that’s all interesting, it’s actually a little besides the point. Here’s the point.
Rich people actually make more money when they pay a higher share of the tax burden. That seems counter-intuitive at first, but it makes sense when you think about it.
In a Slate.com article, Timothy Noah pulls together a lot of different sources of information into a very readable 40 page article that examines a lot of disparate data and reaches some very interesting conclusions. On Page 16 of the PDF version, there’s a particular chart based on work done by Larry M. Bartels at Princeton. I’m supplementing that chart with another which is more intuitively understood, which again will be on my website.
This data shows that under Democratic presidents, everyone makes more. Even the top 5% of earners whose marginal tax rates went up.
Reading the article, I don’t think that Noah risks suggestion as to why that is, but I think I will try.
There are lots of interesting and informative charts and graphs, but there is one that’s particularly interesting.
Under Republicans, tax rates tend to be less progressive. That’s to say that the rich pay a lower fraction of income as taxes, and that’s made up by higher taxes on people much further down the wealth chain. The result is that rich people have more money to slosh around (theoretically investing in new business and new jobs), but mostly put it into financial instruments, collectibles like art, and perhaps investments overseas.
Why? Because in spite of the Supply Side common wisdom, people in the lower 80% of earners just don’t have enough spending power for discretionary purchases. They hunker down. And that’s why Supply Side economics is a fundamentally flawed theory.
Rich people don’t invest money until there’s demand for whatever product or service they want to provide.
The 80% of cash-strapped Americans can’t create much new demand, so the rich bide their time and do other things with their money. The rich stay rich, buy don’t tend to get much richer because they have no customers. Most of them still save their money and invest it in economically non-productive assets like land, art, etc., perhaps even sending surplus assets overseas for international investments.
Under Democrats, everybody makes more money after taxes. The lower 80% of earners get a few more dollars in their checks every week, and they tend to spend it. The rich pay a few more dollars in taxes from their income, and are annoyed, but not much hurt.
But here’s the magic! Because rich people take more of the tax bullet for the average Joe, Joe has more money to spend. Joe buys gifts for the wife and kids. Maybe Joe can now qualify for a mortgage on a new small house or a modest car loan. Joe’s not feeling rich, but he feels like he’s got a little room to breathe, and so much stuff is wearing out, or the kids need new clothes and stuff. Joe is grateful to have the money to buy those things which will make his family’s life better. It’s called ‘pent-up demand’, and Joe’s got plenty of that.
So Joe, and his neighbor and his trash collector and his sales clerk all have a few more bucks every week, and they all have pent-up demand.
Rich people notice this. Their money has been pretty much parked in financial instruments with low-but-safe yields. Their stocks have been languishing, though, because the companies they own haven’t had any customers… Until after the middle class tax cut.
Suddenly, things are picking up. Store stocks are running a bit slow, so they place bigger orders which put’s more folks back to work, and they have their pent-up demand, and now the cycle has been flipped and is once again heading uphill.
What we see here is the fundamental failure of the Supply Side Model of economics. No entrepreneur will invest in a business until he sees potential demand. Customers with extra money in their pockets ARE that demand.
This might be called the “Rising Tides Lifts All Boats” side of economics.
Under Democratic leadership, taxation becomes more progressive, which is a nicer way of saying that the rich bite the bullet and take a larger share of the tax burden in the interests of the greater good.
On its face, on an abstract philosophical level, that seems unfair. But IS it unfair if the rich end up also making more money at higher tax rates?
Let me try to summarize this for you, but remember: I’m going to be posting all this online with my links and side notes. That way, if you want to dig deeper and reach your own conclusions, you can.
In the chart I have in front of me, over a span from 1948-2005, a span of 57 years, every income group did better under Democratic presidents, including the rich.
Under Democratic presidents, the highest 5% of earners made an extra 0.2%/yr.
And the reason that the rich did better by sharing more of the tax burden? Because their investments were worth more. Their businesses did better, so their stock prices went up. With increased business activity, their savings and financial instruments became worth more and their interest yields grew.
In this sense, taxes on the rich — whatever your views about the justice of a progressive tax system — turns out to be a good investment for the country AND the rich.
In 1953, GM President Charles Wilson was testifying before Congress for the position of Secretary of Defense. When asked a question about potential conflicts of interest, Wilson’s actual but frequently misquoted response was “… for years I thought what was good for the country was good for General Motors and vice versa”.
This is how we all have to see it, especially those with wealth who are understandably concerned about their taxes. “What’s good for America is good for the Rich, and vice versa.”
American Community Survey
Annual Social and Economic Supplement
Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009
Page 7 (PDF 12)
INCOME IN THE UNITED STATES
Real median household income in the United States fell between the 2008 and 2009 ACS— decreasing by 2.9 percent from $51,726 to $50,221. State estimates in the 2009 ACS ranged from $69,272 in Maryland to $36,646 in Mississippi.4 The median household incomes were lower than the U.S. median in 29 states and higher in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Wisconsin had a median household income of $49,993, which was not significantly different from the U.S. median.
And it’s happened again: Firefighters watch couple’s home burn to the ground (because they hadn’t paid $75 subscription fee) – 12/6/2011 www.dailymail.co.uk
Battle cries are great things, because they remind us what we’re fighting for. Here are some terrific ones.
“Remember the Alamo!” “Remember the Maine!” “Remember the Lusitania!” “Remember Pearl Harbor!” “Remember Gene Cranick!”
Gene Cranick? You might remember hearing about Gene . He’s the man whose house burned to the ground while the fire department watched, because he hadn’t paid a $75 opt-in fee for the city fire department.
Remember Gene Cranick, because he is your possible future. A Tea Party future. A future of “One for me … and all for me.”
Glenn Beck likes this future. He agrees with it. And so does his producer, Pat Gray.
I’m going to play an audio clip for you. While you’re listening to it, keep in mind that the second voice is NOT Gene Cranick. It’s producer Pat Gray doing a crude and insulting imitation of Gene Cranick
Here they are in their own words, courtesy of YouTube and ThinkProgress.org:
Beck On Family Whose Home Burned Down As Firefighters Watched Oct 6, 2010. (1:46 to 3:36)
“Those who are just on raw feeling are not going to understand,” Glenn Beck said.
“Compassion, compassion, compassion, compassion,” he mocked.
This, in front of Glenn Beck’s “Charity” poster. The thing that’s sad, that makes me angry, is the mockery. This family had just lost everything. Family heirlooms, children’s pictures, every memento they ever owned.
It’s bad enough that Glenn Beck and Pat Gray think it’s acceptable to lose your house and all your possessions, and for four of your pets to burn to death over $75. I think that’s pretty cold-blooded, but they’re entitled to their opinion.
But listen to their mockery of him!
When I saw Gene Cranick’s interview with Keith Olbermann, I was touched. I couldn’t help but be struck by this man’s dignity as he explained his willingness to accept his fate, while expressing his disappointment with the policies and people that allowed it to happen.
Gene Cranick is not a trained speaker. His accent is rural Tennesseean and he is not skilled in articulating his thoughts and feelings. And why should anyone expect him to be?
But he expressed courage and acceptance and showed great strength at a moment of terrible tragedy and adversity. [Personal Disclosure: Our house burned down on September 13, 2008. It was in the middle of Hurricane Ike, and the courageous Houston Fire Department firefighters DID try to extinguish the fire, against instructions to take shelter! – Mike]
Glenn Beck and Pat Gray couldn’t see any of that. Instead, they mocked him!
This the future that Glenn Beck and his ilk want for you. A future where firemen are ordered to watch your house burn. A future without a safety net for old people. A future without medical care for sick people. A country with opt-in fire departments.
If this is the country they envision, why do they want a country at all?
What is the point of a nation, if not to help those who need it when they need it? When Louisiana has a Katrina, 49 other states should line up to help. When Washington has a Mount St. Helens, 49 other states should line up to help. Whether it’s floods in Pennsylvania, earthquakes in California or Alaska, or tornadoes in Oklahoma, there should always be 49 other states lined up to help. That’s the whole point of being a part of a nation. It’s supposed to make us all stronger and safer. There’s no point to any kind of union or community if the operative slogan is, “Everyman for himself!”
If it comes to that, we’ll all have to become survivalists; locked in our bunkers, stocked up with food, weapons and ammo, and watching the world through gun slits.
“Remember Gene Cranick!” This is the Tea Party future of user fees, personal responsibility, and pay to spray.
“Remember Gene Cranick!” This is the Tea Party future of heartlessness, cruelty, and mocking of the unfortunate.
“Remember Gene Cranick!” This is the Tea Party that wants to take away your minimum wage, your Social Security, and your unemployment insurance, and dismember the government regulations that protect your health and safety on the job.
“Remember Gene Cranick!” This is the Tea Party country where employers can coerce you into working off the clock with impunity, because there’s nothing to say that they can’t.
“Remember Gene Cranick!” If you can’t pay the toll, stay off the road. If you can’t afford housing, go find a refrigerator box or a bridge. If you can’t afford vaccinations or medical care, hurry up and die. Or as Scrooge would say, “If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”
“Remember Gene Cranick!” You better go through that mail really, really carefully, otherwise the fire department might stand by and watch your house burn down. If you don’t pay the city fee, don’t expect firefighting.
“Remember Gene Cranick!” Three dogs and a cat died — burned to death — in Gene Cranick’s house while the firefighters stood by and watched. The burning question (pun intended) that has never been answered is this: What if the Cranick’s had been trapped in that house. Would the town firefighters have watched them burn to death with their dogs and cat for lack of a $75 fee?
“Remember Gene Cranick!” Because if you don’t vote, if you don’t consider the consequences of how you vote, soon you could be living in his world.
See Gene Cranick’s initial interview with Keith Olbermann.(Oct 5, 2010) MSNBC.com
Hear Glenn Beck’s Mockery of Gene Cranick YouTube.com
Read the transcript of Glenn Beck mocking Gene Cranick GlennBeck.com
Tennessee Firemen ignore burning house over unpaid subscription fee London Telegraph