GOOD

Obama Wants the Rich to Pay Higher Taxes—It'll Never Happen

President Obama argues the wealthy should pay higher taxes; almost all Republicans oppose him.



President Obama sent a message to Congress today outlining a plan to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion through a combination of tax increases on the wealthy, corporate tax reform, spending cuts and efficiencies.

You can check out the report here for a wonky look at what the White House envisions, but the graphic above is probably more relevant to what’s going to happen in Congress: The vast majority of Republicans have promised to oppose any tax increases, regardless of circumstance, which takes compromise off the table.


The key to deficit reduction is always figuring out how to fairly balance the impact of spending cuts and revenue increases needed to close the gap. Traditionally, Republicans endorse spending cuts, while Democrats support higher taxes; deficit reduction deals during the George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations used a little of each to increase fiscal responsibility.

Today, that doesn’t look likely to happen. Republicans, led by House Speaker John Boehner but fueled by the Tea Party, are insistent that fiscal adjustments should focus on spending cuts and reductions in spending on earned benefit programs like Medicare and Social Security. President Obama and the Democrats have consistently argued that major cuts need to be balanced with tax increases, both by ending the Bush administration’s tax cuts on the wealthy and by closing corporate tax loopholes. Obama attracted vociferous criticism from the left for his willingness to reduce beloved Democratic programs in exchange for tax hikes.

While some Republican leaders flirted privately with a grand bargain during this summer’s fiscal negotiations, they have repeatedly taken public positions opposing all tax increases, including signing Americans for Tax Reform’s pledge. This refusal to consider tax increases regardless of history, context, or economic conditions is the definition of ideologically blinkered, as the president said today and repeatedly during his administration. And if House Republicans refuse to support compromise and Senate Republicans filibuster it, there’s little chance of anything getting done.

“The Speaker says we can’t have it ‘my way or the highway,’ and then basically says, my way—or the highway,” the President said in the Rose Garden. “If we’re going to meet our responsibilities, we have to do it together.”

It’s important to understand that discretionary spending, where cuts have been focused, are already at their lowest levels as a share of the total economy since the 1950s. Tax receipts are also at record low levels, in part because of the flagging economy but also because of numerous reductions in the past decade and as part of President Obama’s economic stimulus policy. There is little evidence that returning tax rates to their Clinton-era levels would hurt growth, but it would reduce the deficit significantly. Corporate tax reform, even while garnering more revenues, would in theory create faster growth through more efficient investment decisions.

A balanced approach to deficit reduction lessens the negative repercussions of fiscal consolidation—economists present significant evidence that spending cuts will reduce our already-low economic growth, and cuts will go deeper the less revenue is included—but also for issues of justice. If the wealthy continue to pay historically low tax rates, profitable agricultural and petroleum companies are lavished with subsidies, and world-leading defense spending continues to grow without oversight, it’s going to be hard to convince citizens who see reductions in social services, job cuts, and public investment that their government is acting in the public interest.

For these reasons, the White House has threatened to veto any deficit reduction plan that cuts earned benefits to make room for lower taxes on the wealthy.

President Obama has consistently advocated for higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations since his 2008 campaign, though he has included tax cuts in emergency stimulus measures designed to forestall a second recession. Indeed, the majority of the public supports including tax increases in a deficit reduction deal. The latest twist on the president’s tax advocacy has him seizing upon legendary investor Warren Buffet’s proposal for more tax equity by endorsing a “Buffet rule”: People making over $1 million shouldn’t pay less in taxes than those in the middle class.

It’s a simple proposition and a popular one, yet nearly an entire political party opposes it and has the power to block it from becoming reality.

Articles
Center for American Progress Action Fund

Tonight's Democratic debate is a must-watch for followers of the 2020 election. And it's a nice distraction from the impeachment inquiry currently enveloping all of the political oxygen in America right now.

For most people, the main draw will be newly anointed frontrunner Pete Buttigieg, who has surprisingly surged to first place in Iowa and suddenly competing in New Hampshire. Will the other Democrats attack him? How will Elizabeth Warren react now that she's no longer sitting alone atop the primary field? After all, part of Buttigieg's rise has been his criticisms of Warren and her refusal to get into budgetary specifics over how she'd pay for her healthcare plan.

The good news is that Joe Biden apparently counts time travel amongst his other resume-building experience.

Keep Reading Show less
Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert

This election cycle, six women threw their hat in the ring for president, but is their gender holding them back? Would Americans feel comfortable with a woman leading the free world? Based on the last election, the answer is a swift no. And a new study backs this up. The study found that only 49% of American men would feel very comfortable with a woman serving as the head of the government. By comparison, 59% of women said they would feel comfortable with a woman in charge.

The Reykjavik Index for Leadership, which measures attitude towards women leaders, evaluated the attitudes of those living in the G7 countries as well as Brazil, China, India, and Russia. 22,000 adults in those 11 countries were surveyed on their attitudes about female leadership in 22 different sectors, including government, fashion, technology, media, banking and finance, education, and childcare.

Only two countries, Canada and the U.K., had a majority of respondents say they would be more comfortable with a female head of state. Germany (which currently has a female Chancellor), Japan, and Russia were the countries least comfortable with a female head of state.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.

Culture