• CaptCT commented on the blog post Unions Out in Force Against NAFTA-Style Korea Free Trade

    2010-12-09 12:16:09View | Delete

    Wow! Now, they are vociferously denouncing the deal!

    Holy crap! Pretty soon they’ll be vehemently castigating the administration. This is getting serious!

  • King should issue a strongly-worded press release like Trumka did.

    That’ll show ‘em.

  • Wow! Another strongly worded press release from Trumka!

    If this doesn’t get Obama to rethink his trade policies, I don’t know what will.

  • CaptCT commented on the diary post Jane Hamsher on Larry O’D's Last Word: “People Are Hurting. We Need Leadership” by Scarecrow.

    2010-12-02 11:53:49View | Delete

    Perfect example of what I’m talking about. Here’s one thing you can do: Buy milk that isn’t loaded with growth hormones. Small farmers everywhere will thank you. Buy chicken that’s not raised in a factory farm and isn’t an E coli incubator. Don’t eat at McDonald’s, and tell the company it’s because they’re destroying the [...]

  • CaptCT commented on the diary post Jane Hamsher on Larry O’D's Last Word: “People Are Hurting. We Need Leadership” by Scarecrow.

    2010-12-02 07:45:13View | Delete

    Yes, leadership is lacking, but not just at the Executive Branch. It’s lacking among union leaders, activist organizations, bloggers, and among us too. Progressives should be using their collective powers to force change on corporate America. For instance, in the documentary Food Inc., which I highly recommend, the growing demand for milk produced without growth [...]

  • CaptCT commented on the blog post Fiscal Commission Final Report

    2010-12-01 09:30:53View | Delete

    Krugman pans the Social Security proposal: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/

    Bowles-Simpson, the revision, is out. It has not improved.

    I think it is worth pointing out that like so many proposals from that side of the political spectrum — for this is, very much, bipartisanship as a compromise between the center-right and the hard right — this one involves a fundamental piece of strange logic. Namely, it argues that in order to head off the dire prospect of future cuts in Social Security benefits, we must … cut future Social Security benefits.

    Also: in response to the point many of us have made about raising the retirement age — that only the affluent have seen life expectancy rise faster than the retirement-age rises already in the law — the plan promises special exemptions for those with physical hardships.

    Let’s think about that. Right now we have a retirement system that has the great virtue of not being intrusive: Social Security doesn’t demand that you prove you need it, doesn’t ask about your personal life, doesn’t make you feel like a beggar. And now we’re going to replace that with a system in which large numbers of Americans have to plead for special dispensation, on the grounds that they’re too feeble to work for a living. Freedom!

  • CaptCT commented on the blog post Fiscal Commission Final Report

    2010-12-01 08:45:31View | Delete

    Yeah, they put back lots of exemptions, including these:

    mortgage interest for primary residences, the exemption for employer-provided health insurance, the child tax credit and tax breaks for charitable giving and retirement savings.

    But they would cap the amount of mortgage interest deduction at $500,000 per year (and make it for primary residences only), rather than the current $1.1 million per year. They would also cap retirement fund deductions at $20,000 per year. So, that is a progressive tax increase.

    The child tax credit and EITC are beneficial to lower and middle class families, so it is good that they are keeping those.

    The charitable giving deduction is a big one, but at least that has some positive social value. Redefining what qualifies as a charitable deduction might be another interesting exercise.

  • CaptCT commented on the blog post Fiscal Commission Final Report

    2010-12-01 08:18:02View | Delete

    Knoxville, I think you’re right: it doesn’t seem like a huge loophole. Here is the definition:

    Capital Loss Carryforward: The net amount of capital losses that are not deductible for the current tax year but can be carried over into future tax years. Net capital losses (total capital losses minus total capital gains) can only be deducted up to a maximum of $3,000 in a given tax year. Any amounts exceeding $3,000 can be put toward offsetting capital gains in the current year or simply deducted in the next year(s).

    $3000 is not a huge amount of money for guys like Warren Buffet. It’s more of a help to small investors, it seems.

  • CaptCT commented on the blog post Fiscal Commission Final Report

    2010-12-01 08:02:50View | Delete

    Oh. So, they would have to eliminate the loss carryforwards to make this thing “fair” — to eliminate a tax loophole for the super rich?

    I’m not holding my breath.

  • CaptCT commented on the blog post Fiscal Commission Final Report

    2010-12-01 07:55:39View | Delete

    OK, I understand that. But income taxes come with lots of deductions, too, and many of those will be eliminated. Will the investment income deductions (for expenses, etc.) be eliminated the same way that income tax deductions will be eliminated?

    The devil is in the details.

    Also, regarding SS benefits, they established a means testing concept for getting benefits sooner, for people who can’t work after age 62, I think. Again, who would qualify for that? And how will their total SS income over time be affected if they start claiming it early? Lots of details are missing.

  • CaptCT commented on the blog post Fiscal Commission Final Report

    2010-12-01 07:30:53View | Delete

    Re: Tax Reforms:

    The Commission recommends RAISING taxes on capital gains and dividend income, taxing them as ordinary income (29%) rather than the current low rate of 15%. Guys like Steve Jobs and Warren Buffet get a huge chunk of their income in capital gains.

    So, the top INCOME tax rate falls from 35% to 29%, but capital gains and dividend taxes RISE from 15% to 29%. Also, mortgage interest deductions are eliminated for second homes, boats, etc., which are used primarily by the wealthy.

    This makes it less clear whether tax revenues will rise or fall. I would like to know what the net effect will be on tax revenues, and how taxpayers at each income level are likely to be affected (will taxes increase or decrease, and for which groups?)