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Donald Trump says he doesn't benefit from his new tax cuts. But, of course, he does. Although there are many details of the plan...
Popular Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has been chosen to deliver the Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union address tonight. Ideas about how best the government might respond to the limping economy and tackle the enormous federal budget deficit are sure to feature prominently in both speeches. Daniels comes to such a discussion with baggage, however, having head the Office of Management and Budget under George W. Bush from 2001 to 2003, when the projected budget surplus of $236 billion ran down the sink hole to become a $400 billion deficit.
Warren Buffett, an icon of American super wealth, skewers the anti-tax political theocracy dominating Republican politics in a New York Times op-ed today. GOP justifications for refusing to raise taxes for billionaire Americans at a time of record deficits are preposterous, he writes, adding that taxes have never stopped wealthy people from investing. He points out that Clinton-era tax rates were clearly more effective in adding jobs than the slashed rates of the Bush years. He adds that most of the mega wealthy only pay taxes on investment income, whereas lower- and middle-class Americans pay payroll taxes, too. He says the game has been rigged in his favor by the country's billionaire-friendly Congress and that the country's fiscal policy is unethical and absurd.
If Americans are unhappy about a federal budget which grows more out of balance by the day, and they are, it is becoming clear that they are also unhappy about the prospect of default and the seeming unwillingness of elected leaders to seek common ground.
Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall have been among the more outspoken critics of the partisanship that seems to grip the nation's capitol every time the words "debt" "deficit" or "spending cap" come up.
Senator Mark Udall has become something of a broken record on the subject of the national debt and deficit, and what it will take to solve the problems: bipartisan cooperation, broad spending cuts and targeted tax increases.
Income tax cuts for the wealthy will liberate the U.S. economy to create jobs and generate revenue and shrink the deficit. That line has become a policy standard on the right and a talking point repeated on stumps all across the nation. It is a cornerstone of the GOP Ryan Budget plan being pushed on Capitol Hill. Yet analysis and statistics and personal anecdotes pile high and deep against that tack as an effective real-world national economic policy. GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor who led the state down a path toward deficit swampland, is the latest to try to rework history to suit the tax-cut narrative. As Dave Weigel at Slate points out, Pawlenty's recent big economic speech twists and turns and makes a dead stop at the Bush years, when "tax cuts for the wealthy" national budget policy went into full effect and revenues plummeted and the deficit skyrocketed and the economy withered.
Across the political spectrum, Coloradans strongly oppose cutting Social Security to reduce the deficit, according to a poll released today (pdf) and conducted by Lake Research Partners. The poll was commissioned by Social Security advocate groups that are sounding alarms about Republican proposals to deeply cut into entitlement programs to attack the deficit. What's getting lost in the rhetoric around the budget, the groups say, is that Social Security doesn't contribute a dime to the deficit yet the Republican budget plan nevertheless opens the program up to cuts. More significant, they say, is that the GOP plan to cut Medicare benefits through privatization will eat up ever larger portions of seniors' Social Security income.
It looks increasingly as though the Tea Party wing of the Congressional Republican caucus is winning the battle within the caucus on whether or not to avoid budget compromise with Democrats and shut down the government Friday. Republicans cheered the prospect of a shut down behind closed doors this week and some of them have been openly stumping with shut-down rhetoric in their districts. Should it happen, the reality of severely reduced government operations and spending will arrive with a jolt Saturday morning. The Washington Post offers bloggy details.
The Washington Post reports that its most recent joint poll with ABC News found that nearly two-thirds of respondents support a combination of raising taxes and cutting federal spending in order to tackle the deficit.