Republicans Oppose Earned Income Tax Credit With Selective Use Of “Fraud” Friday, Jan 31 2014
In trying to find common ground with the radical, selfish modern Republican Party President Obama hoped they could agree on what is usually a favorite Republican pastime. Giving out tax breaks. That is why he proposed expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit for working Americans:
Obama had cast an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) - which helps working households to the tune of about $60 billion each year - as an area where the two parties could find common ground, even name-checking a similar proposal from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Tuesday night.
It seemed like a really good idea at a time when American families are seeing their wages stagnate if they even have a breadwinner who can find a job and their bills rise through the roof if they can even afford their own home. Indeed, one quick look at the Earned Income Tax Credit shows just how much good it can do for working Americans:
In the 2012 tax year, working families with children that have annual incomes below about $36,900 to $50,300 (depending on marital status and the number of dependent children) may be eligible for the federal EITC. Also, working-poor people without children that have incomes below about $13,900 ($19,200 for a married couple) can receive a very small EITC. In the 2010 tax year, the most recent year for which the data are available, some 27 million working families and individuals received the EITC.
Research indicates that families mostly use the EITC to pay for necessities, repair homes, maintain vehicles that are needed to commute to work, and in some cases, obtain additional education or training to boost their employability and earning power.
The EITC reduces poverty directly by supplementing the earnings of low-wage workers. There has been broad bipartisan agreement that a two-parent family with two children with a full-time, minimum-wage worker should not have to raise its children in poverty. At the federal minimum wage's current level, such a family can move above the poverty line only if it receives the EITC as well as SNAP (food stamp) benefits.
Moving out of poverty is particularly important for young children. Research has found that lifting low-income families' income when a child is young not only tends to improve a child's immediate well-being, but is associated with better health, more schooling, more hours worked, and higher earnings in adulthood. A bourgeoning literature links EITC receipt to improved school performance, suggesting that the social cost of the EITC is substantially less than the immediate direct budget cost.
Ah, but therein lies the hitch. You see, if we were talking about doling out billions in Corporate Welfare for low-road employers that refuse to pay a fair wage and are fighting a minimum wage increase it would be just fine with Republicans. If we were talking about giving billions in tax breaks to selfish millionaire who hide their profits overseas all would be sunshine and apple pie. But you see, we are talking about giving a break to the very folks that Republicans hate the most.
Working Americans. Americans that are working harder while their wages fall and they struggle to make ends meet. Americans that are losing sleep every night worrying about how they are going to feed their children, pay the power bill, make the mortgage, the car payment, the insurance and somehow have something left for their families to get some kind of enjoyment out of life. Yes, Americans like me and you.
Talk about giving them a break and what do you get from Republicans?:
"My biggest concern is just the amount of fraud," said Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), a senior House Ways and Means Committee member. "Too much of it is not going to the families that actually need it. And again, our biggest goal is to get people into better jobs so they don't have to rely on the Earned Income Tax Credit.
But of course if it is their millionaire buddies and contributors fraudulently stashing money overseas to avoid paying taxes on it, Republicans are all for fraud:
On Friday, the Republican National Committee passed a resolution calling for a repeal of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), effectively endorsing offshore tax evasion. FATCA was passed in 2010 and requires foreign banks to report deposit information on account holders from the United States, a requirement that U.S. banks must comply with. The purpose of the law is to prevent U.S. citizens from evading taxes by stashing their money in offshore accounts. If the repeal became law, Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a nonpartisan research and advocacy organization, projects that the U.S. budget deficit would balloon by billions of dollars.
"It is mind-boggling that a major political party would even consider endorsing a resolution to facilitate tax evasion," said Heather Lowe, legal counsel and director of government affairs at GFI. "Tax haven secrecy is estimated to cost U.S. taxpayers $150 billion per year....Tax evasion and illegality do not belong in the official platform of any political party. FATCA is the most important reason why you can't just park your money in a Swiss bank and stop paying taxes anymore. Repealing the law would cripple the [United States] and global efforts to fight offshore tax evasion. Foreign financial institutions should not be able to harbor the illicit assets of U.S. tax evaders."
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has played a key role in preventing the proper functioning of FATCA to date. He has blocked several treaties that are necessary for the law to be fully functional. "Ratification of the agreements has widespread support. Sen. Paul should allow an up-or-down vote on the treaties," Lowe said.
Anything that helps folks that actually work though, is a non-starter for Republicans and they won't consider it without another huge giveaway for themselves and their ilk:
Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and other Republican tax writers also remain fixated on their increasingly long-shot goal of overhauling the tax code - and have suggested that any changes to the tax credit are not a priority, and would be accomplished through tax reform.
"If it's an overall look at the program, I think it's certainly worthwhile," said Camp, who acknowledged the program has benefited many taxpayers.
But a simple expansion, he said, "would not be helpful."
The saddest part is that some folks just refuse to see the festering greed that is the agenda of the modern Republican Party and will support them against their own interests even as they rot this country from the inside out. It makes it hard to decide what is the worst problem in America today. Greed or Stupidity.
Bang Bang Bang! Friday, Jan 17 2014
“Bang!”, Boy that shot in the foot feels really good. Let me try it again in the other foot—two shots should feel twice as good; “Bang! Bang!” Just what is it in Kentuckians that makes them enjoy pain so much that we keep sending the same old politicians to Washington? We deplore the idea of a politician so firmly seated that he thinks he is invincible and not accountable to the folks back home. We look with disdain at those we send to Washington who put political party above those he represents, and above all, when party trumps our national interests. The days of earmarks are hopefully soon gone forever, leaving party bosses almost powerless. The problems of Washington are created by voters when we do not hold elected officials accountable. We allow politicians to count on our inattention, that we will have amnesia between elections, and that voters lack the wherewithal to correlate their actions back to their electorate. Politicians count us as dumb or dumber and lacking in the guts to hold them accountable.
Take Kentucky's 1st Congressional District whose Representative counts on our inattention. He pushes very hard to save 18,000 coal miner jobs, a commendable effort. In the same Congressional session, he voted against the creation of approximately 21,000 non-coal jobs in Kentucky. Go figure. He voted to remove about 400,000 Kentuckians from food assistance programs. He must have concluded these folks should get a job, Chief Executive Officer seems to pay well. Look these people in the eye, tell them they are not “good Enough” to eat. To have voted forty or more times unsuccessfully to do away with the Affordable Care Act appears to be a waste of taxpayer time and borders on either stupidity or insanity or both. Forty times voting against laws that help people is ludicrous and a disservice to the people in the 1st District.
Take our Senior Senator. No, you take our senior senator, I don’t want him. He could have played in the James Bond movie “Dr. No” as Dr. No. Never in recent times has one U.S. Senator done so much to hold down progress in our Nation. His announced plans to hold our Nation hostage to his goals of disembodying all actions of the U.S. President casts grave doubts on his sincerity to his oath of office. Stonewalling judicial appointments ensures a perpetual backlog of court cases throughout the country. The worst fears of Kentuckians in having a politician serve so long that they place their own job retention above all else have been realized. 20 years of trying to eliminate limits on rich folk’s political contributions, as if the Supreme Court has not already made the little guy virtually powerless in contribution terms.
As a “Muddy Boots” soldier my disdain for ”Sent Down” Battalion Commanders was complete. Sent downs were sponsored by a General who was grooming a person for higher command. The Army improved greatly when centralized Battalion Command Selection Boards were charged with the responsibility of selecting commanders who actually knew something about a battalion. Such is the case with Kentucky’s Junior Senator, sent down by his father to become his replacement as chronic presidential candidate. Sent down hardly does justice to a U.S. Senator who has proven to be Senator SpringButt. He springs up like a Weeble child’s toy. The springing and weebling does little to conceal the probable reality that he is in the Commonwealth to use us as a stepping stone or doormat in ascending to the presidency; then to use a scimitar to destroy the very institutions that make our Nation the envy of the rest of the world.
Kentuckians need to vote out those who do not serve the people of the Commonwealth.