29 November 2012

Bernie Sanders and Bill Moyers Discuss Solutions for America / Iran's Nuclear Aspirations / Extending Middle Class Tax Cuts for 98% of Americans and 97% of Small Businesses

On “Moyers & Company,” Bill Moyers talked with Bernie Sanders about the pressing issues facing the United States including the wealth and income gap, the disappearance of the middle class, attacks on Social Security, and the influence of big-money interests in American politics.

In the clip below, Sanders describes how “dialing for dollars” distorts our leaders’ perspectives on who they’re actually representing, and how money’s influence is transforming both our politics and society.

“You’re looking at a nation with a grotesquely unequal distribution of wealth and income, tremendous economic power on Wall Street, and now added to all of that is big money interests -- the billionaires and corporations now buying elections,” Sanders told Moyers.

“I fear very much that if we don’t turn this around, we’re heading toward an oligarchic form of society.”


Reuters reports Iran will continue to "press on with enrichment" certainly raising concerns in the US and Israel and providing additional fodder to the war mongers.

But Iran still contends that their enrichment is for nuclear power and despite claims by the Associated Press to the contrary Iran is attempting to work with IAEA inspectors.

Yet the US continues to contend that Iran has failed to cooperate with IAEA inspectors.  The US has now set a March deadline "for Iran to start cooperating in substance with a U.N. nuclear agency investigation, warning Tehran the issue may otherwise be referred to the U.N. Security Council."

It remains unclear just exactly the US would push for beyond the already devastating sanctions that are in place.  The US military has clearly demonstrated through simulation after simulation that war with Iran would be disastrous.

The only real solution that has not been tested since the fall of the Shah is a reestablishment diplomatic relations.  It may be that through diplomacy and compromise lies the only path to peace.

Perhaps "diplomacy" and "compromise" will become the next members of an axis of evil for lawmakers in D.C. who seem ready to push their own country off a cliff.  Compromise with Iran, legislators can't even compromise with Americans.


From The White House Blog, an entry by Amy Brundage:

Countering Claims That The President’s Tax Proposals Would Hit Small Business
  • First, even under the GOP’s own flawed definition of small business, approximately 97% of taxpayers with small business income would be completely unaffected by the President’s plan: According to estimates by Tax Policy Center, about 97% of taxpayers reporting business income would not be impacted by the President’s tax proposals -- which only affect those earning over $250,000.  This has been confirmed by the independent Congressional Research Service, which concluded that “only a small fraction of businesses will be affected [by allowing the temporary income tax cuts to expire for people earning over $250,000 a year], around 2% to 3%.” 
  • Second, what Congressional Republicans Define as “Small Businesses” Include Millionaires and Billionaires, Law Partners, Hedge Fund Managers, and Passive Investors. Congressional Republicans define as small businesses any individual who receives “small business income”. Under this definition:
    • Over half of the 400 Highest Earners in the United States Would Be “Small Businesses”: According to IRS data, in 2009, among the 400 taxpayers with the highest adjusted gross income – group that averages over $200 million each in taxable income – at least 237 would have qualified as “small businesses” under this definition.
    • Hedge Fund Managers and Law Firm Partners are “Small Businesses”: It counts any type of partnership income, proprietor income, or S corporation income as “small business” income. That includes:
      • income received by partners in law firms – each and every one of whom would be considered a “small business” under this definition
      • income received by partners in hedge funds – each and every one of whom would be considered a “small business” under this definition
      • passive income on investments
      • income from renting out a property like a vacation home.
    • This is why, last time Republican Congressional Leaders tried this argument they couldn’t produce one so called “small business job creator.” Last fall, when the GOP was blocking measures of the American Jobs Act that could have supported over a million additional jobs; they argued that asking millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share would hurt “small business job creators.”  But after pressed by independent media outlets such as National Public Radio, Republicans in Congress and their wealthy allies could not produce a single millionaire job creator for NPR to interview. [LINK]
  • Third, in contrast to the President’s small business proposals, which would encourage and directly reward new hiring and investment, the GOP’s so called “small business” tax proposal could actually discourage firms from creating jobs or making new investments this year, while giving away tens of billions of dollars to millionaires and billionaires. The legislation sponsored by Majority Leader Cantor and passed by the House of Representatives provides across-the-board tax cuts (a 20 percent deduction) on qualified “small business” income for firms with fewer than 500 workers – including well-compensated hedge fund managers and law firm partners, and even to companies that are actively laying off workers or cutting wages.
    • In some cases this proposal actually encourages postponing new hires and investments. Because new employees and expenses are deducted from this year’s taxable income, for some companies the decision to expand payrolls and invest in their businesses can actually translate into their receiving a smaller tax benefit under the Republican’s proposal.
    • In addition, the benefits are dramatically skewed - half of the $46 billion cost goes to those making more than $1 million, translating into an average tax cut of $45,000 for those millionaires.
    • The biggest beneficiaries are not small businesses making investments and creating jobs, but rather the very wealthiest Americans - like law partners and investment managers, the so called “small business job creators” Republicans in Congress claim would be hurt by the President’s position.
 And from NPR's desk about Mr. Boehner's claims that "Raising taxes on the so-called top 2 percent, half of those taxpayers are small business owners that pay their taxes through their personal income, tax filing every year."

Turns out there's not much credence to it.  Listen to the story here.

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