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What Republicans won’t tell you about the tax cuts

The secret to Bush’s tax cuts is that the middle class will pay more taxes. There is a great article at Bloomberg.com today.  Here are a few excerpts:

Candidates Are Ignoring $1.35 Trillion Minimum Tax `Time Bomb’

By Ryan J. Donmoyer Oct. 31 (Bloomberg) — Congressional candidates this fall are furiously debating Iraq, Medicare and extending tax cuts. Most are staying quiet about an imminent legislative challenge: how to stop a tax increase that will hit more than 20 million households next year, some with incomes as low as $50,000.

Unless Congress acts, the alternative minimum tax will gradually impose $1.35 trillion in additional taxes over the next 10 years. Yet only six candidates in the 28 most-competitive House and Senate races across the country even mention it on their campaign Web sites.

Most candidates are avoiding the subject because the cost of stopping the tax increase would obstruct key elements of their agendas, such as the expansion of prescription-drug benefits for the elderly planned by Democrats, or Republicans’ plan to make permanent President George W. Bush’s 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.

Looks like no one wants to talk about this. Although, lets give the devil its due, the Democrats have addressed this issue. Not locally in the individual races because people don’t want to hear about tax increases. 

The minimum tax was created as a parallel tax system in 1969 to prevent 155 wealthy people from reducing their liability through excessive exemptions, credits, and other deductions. Because it wasn’t indexed for inflation, the tax increasingly affects people with modest incomes by denying deductions such as personal exemptions, property taxes, and medical expenses.

45 Million Households

The tax affected 3.8 million households this year; that number will grow almost six-fold in 2007. By 2016, about 45 million American households face higher bills if changes aren’t made, according to an estimate this month by the nonpartisan staff of the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.

And what will happen if we don’t address this?

Rangel, who is in line to become chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee if Democrats win control of the House, has said fixing the minimum tax is Congress’s “responsibility.” Some of Bush’s tax cuts, especially those for investors and multimillion dollar estates, would have to be pared or abolished to pay for a permanent fix without worsening the budget deficit, he said.

“Clearly we’re going to have to raise the money within the system,” Rangel, 76, said in an interview last month.

Bush and other Republicans have responded that Rangel and other Democrats are planning tax increases if they take power.

`Taxes Are Going Up’ “If the tax cuts we pass are not made permanent and they are left to expire, your taxes are going up,” Bush said at an Oct. 26 fund-raiser for Republican House candidate Jeff Lamberti in Iowa.

 John Buckley, chief tax counsel for the Democratic staff of the House Ways and Means Committee, said the minimum tax reclaims many of the benefits provided by Bush’s tax cuts. That is because the tax cuts lowered rates under the normal system, without altering the alternative minimum tax rates. By law, taxpayers must calculate their liability under both systems and pay whichever is higher.

As a result, twice as many households will pay the minimum tax if Bush’s tax cuts are made permanent than if the cuts are allowed to expire.

More here

October 31, 2006 Posted by | Economy, Government Policies | Leave a comment

Seniors Protest….with donuts!

These Republicans are afraid of their own shadow!  Is it guilt maybe.  But what you are about to read is totally unbelievable!

Granny Get Your Gun…Oops, Make That Donuts

by James Parks, Oct 27, 2006

Seems like in Allison Park, Pa., near Pittsburgh, the biggest threat to public security is 40 senior citizens carrying donuts. Yesterday, staff at Rep. Melissa Hart’s (R-Pa.) district office called for three armed police from nearby Hampton Township to disperse the group of seniors, all members of the Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans (PARA), who sought to deliver donuts to Hart’s office to protest the new Medicare law.

The AFL-CIO is urging members to call Hart’s office and tell her: Shame on you for treating your own constituents like criminals simply because they wanted to express their opinion. You can call Hart at her Allison Park office at 412-492-0161 or at her Ellwood City office at 724-752-0490.

Under the new Bush administration Medicare Part D rules passed by Congress in 2003, out-of-pocket prescription expenses between the annual amounts of $2,251 and $5,100 are not covered—a nearly $3,000 “donut hole.” Of the 11.8 million Medicare enrollees whose plans include a coverage gap, the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates at least 6.9 million of them could hit the donut hole.

The badly crafted law means some 170,000 seniors in Pennsylvania must pay full price for their prescriptions while still paying their full monthly premiums. Hart backed provisions in the Medicare drug bill that prevent the government from negotiating lower prescription drug prices with pharmaceutical companies and she voted for the bill that created the donut hole.

PARA issued a report this month that finds Keystone State seniors who received their medications through Medicare Part D paid more in drug co-pays and monthly premiums, were subjected to significant coverage gaps and had more significant restrictions on covered medications than those in the other major categories.

More at link above.

Evidently Ms Hart had no answers for these seniors.  I can’t believe she called the cops on Seniors. 

October 28, 2006 Posted by | Current News, Government Policies, Seniors | 1 Comment

Now the Troops are balking at this war in Iraq

I first noticed this on a CNN crawl.  Then I switched to MSNBC and the host was discussing this with a retired General.  65 active duty service members asking Congress to end the war in Iraq. Even they so no solution in “staying the course”.  Now GW is saying he never said that. Hah! There are recordings galore where he repeated and repeated “we have to stay the course”.  Lets hope we have a new congress to deal with this request!

Here’s the info we have so far:

Active troops ask Congress
to end Iraqi occupation

Monday, October 23, 2006

Active troops ask congress to end Iraqi occupation

from Alexander Mooney

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Sixty five active duty service members are officially asking Congress to end the war in Iraq — the first time active troops have done so since U.S. invasion began in 2003.

Three of the service members will hold a press conference Wednesday explaining their decision to send “Appeals for Redress” under the Military Whistleblower Protection Act to their members of Congress. Under the act, National Guard and Reservists can send communications about any subject to their member of Congress without punishment.

I will update this post as more becomes available.

 

October 23, 2006 Posted by | Current News, Government Policies, Iraq, World News | Leave a comment

Yellow Magnets Ribbons – Just Words!

Yellow Magnet Ribbons on all the conservatice cars and SUVs. “Support Our Troops”!  And how did this administration support our troop?  Let’s ask how they didn’t support our troops.  And this is over and above the reason of attacking Iraq in the first place.

Older gear and guns from Viet Nam. Not enough flak jackets, the wrong kind of helmets, Jeeps and Humvees not fitted for protection from the bombs. Then of course they cut the Vets budget and are not taking care of our returning vets.

Now the Bush Admin, Big Pharma lobbies and our Conservative House of Representatives have another surprise for the vets.

From Stars & Stripes:

Military Update:

Move to cut Tricare drug costs fails in Congress


Discount dropped from defense bill after House balks at measure

By Tom Philpott, Special to Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Thursday, October 19, 2006
Pressured by the White House and drug industry lobbyists, Congress has killed a Senate-passed provision that would have forced pharmaceutical manufacturers to grant the Department of Defense deep discounts on drugs dispensed through the Tricare retail pharmacy network.House Republicans were under enormous pressure last month to sideline a provision inserted in the 2007 defense authorization bill that would cut 40 percent or more off the cost of many drugs available to Tricare beneficiaries through retail network pharmacies and stores.DOD officials contend that the Veterans Health Care Act of 1992 requires drugmakers to include Tricare retail drugs in Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) discount agreements negotiated with the Department of Veterans Affairs. The discounts already apply to drugs dispensed through base pharmacies, the Tricare mail order program and VA pharmacies.To avoid having to grant more discounts, drug manufacturers have filed a lawsuit challenging DOD’s contention. The Senate Armed Services Committee voted to make that lawsuit moot with clarifying language in its defense bill that federal discounts are to apply to Tricare retail drugs, too.After the Senate passed its bill, White House politicos began to pressure House Republicans to fight the Senate provision in final negotiations over the defense bill, in effect, undercutting their own Defense Department as it strives to curb soaring drug costs.

“Tremendous forces” targeted conferees from the armed services committees as they began to negotiate over the bill, said a staff member. “Pharmacies, drug manufacturers … the politics went right through the roof.”

Given that pressure, Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Texas, introduced a “motion to instruct” House conferees to accept the Senate’s drug discount provision when negotiating behind closed doors. Edwards, joined by several Democratic colleagues, argued that applying FSS discounts for Tricare retail drugs would save $251 million in 2007 alone. It also would suck the wind out of plans to hold down Tricare costs by raising co-payments on military retirees and others who use the more costly retail network.

Opposing Edwards’ motion was Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., chairman of House Veterans Affairs Committee and a friend to drug manufacturers. Eli Lilly & Co. has its headquarters within miles of Buyer’s district. The company this year is his second largest campaign contributor, providing $10,000.

Read more here

Hardly surprising is it! Not with this admin and this congress. Has anyone even heard about this before? Has it been on Main Stream Media?

October 21, 2006 Posted by | blog roll, Current News, Government Policies, Op Ed, Veteran Affairs | 3 Comments

Rights and Liberties eroding

At Alternet a headline reads:

Pentagon Monitoring Peace Activists’ E-Mails

Now why would the Pentagon be doing this?

“This information is being provided only to alert commanders and staff to potential terrorist activity or apprise them of other force protection issues.”

So the Peace Activists are a threat to the forces?

More information keeps coming out, thanks to the ACLU, about the Bush Administration’s equation of protest with terrorism — and the snooping it then engages in.

Homeland Security is monitoring peace groups and even peering at their e-mails. “This information is being provided only to alert commanders and staff to potential terrorist activity or apprise them of other force protection issues.”

It then shares that information with Joint Terrorism Task Forces, which include the FBI and state and local law enforcement, as well as with the Pentagon’s notorious Talon (Threat and Local Observation Notice) program.

For instance, an April 12, 2005, Talon document, just released by the ACLU, shows that the Pentagon was concerned about “suspicious activity” at an upcoming event sponsored by the Broward Anti-War Coalition in Florida.

This peace group, according to the document, was planning — hold your breath here — “guerrilla theater and other forms of subversive propaganda” at the Fort Lauderdale Air and Sea Show.

The source of the information was the Miami-Dade Police Department, and members of Army Recruiting and the Miami Joint Terrorism Task Force were briefed on it, the document states.

“guerrilla theater and other forms of subversive propaganda” at the Fort Lauderdale Air and Sea Show.   Wow,  guerrilla theater!  Very subversive activity. And what type of subversive propaganda?  Now what type of propaganda would Peace Activists have? Pamphlets against the War?  Speeches against the war?

And here’s another group they were monitoring:

Another Talon document, dated March 1, 2005, released by the ACLU, reveals that Homeland Security agents are monitoring e-mails of such scary groups as the Quakers.

“The source received an e-mail on 25 Feb 05, subject: upcoming peace/anti-war events. The e-mail was from the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in Northeast Ohio,” the document states. And that source is identified as “a special agent of the Federal Protective Service, US Department of Homeland Security.” The document adds, “Source is reliable.”

The Joint Terrorism Task Force of Dayton, Ohio, was briefed on this one.

The planned activity of the Quakers that so concerned the Pentagon, Homeland Security, and the Joint Terrorism Task Force was this: “On 19 Mar 05, there will be a ‘Stop the War NOW!’ rally in commemoration of the second anniversary of the U.S. Invasion/Occupation of Iraq. The Akron rally will have a march and reading of names of war dead. … The Akron march begins at noon and goes past a local military recruiting station and the FBI office. The march will end at the Federal Building in Akron, for a rally, followed by reading of names of U.S. and Iraqi war dead.”

Big threat here! No, my friends, it is just another way of eroding our rights and liberties.

October 20, 2006 Posted by | Government Policies, Rights & Liberties | Leave a comment