The Obama budget and tax plan would shift America's wealth from the top down. Is it time to close the gap between rich and poor or would increased taxes stifle growth by removing incentives for the wealthy to keep on working? Are there other causes of income inequality? Also, as promised, Obama's turnaround on stem-cell research. On Reporter's Notebook, are the days of giving defense contractors a blank check really over?
FROM THIS EPISODE
The Government Accountability Office, an arm of Congress, says 95 ongoing major defense programs exceed their budgets by a total of $295 billion taxpayer dollars. Last week, President Obama issued a memorandum to all agencies and departments on fiscal responsibility. At a press conference, he singled out the defense lobby. He has picked a fight that won’t be easy to win? Winslow Wheeler, who worked for both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, is Director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information.
Winslow Wheeler, Center for Defense Information
The gap between rich and poor has been growing fast. The Bush tax cuts give $20 a year to the bottom fifth of wage earners and $118,000 to millionaires. President Obama’s stimulus package already passed and signed into law provides tax credits for 95 percent of American workers. The Obama budget says wealth is not “trickling down” and that raising taxes on the top three million families will help “economic opportunity to trickle up.” Republicans call that “class warfare.” We hear a debate and look at other factors that cause economic dislocation, including technology, changes in the work force and increased anxiety.
Roberton 'Bob' Williams, Tax Policy Center
Amity Shlaes, Syndicated Columnist, Bloomberg
Daniel Gross, Daily Beast (@grossdm)
Dalton Conley, Chairman of the Sociology Department, New York University
One of the hallmarks of the last administration was the restriction on human embryonic stem-cell research. Today, as he promised in last year’s campaign, President Obama lifted the Bush restrictions, although he said that, as a person of faith, he understood them. Jeffrey Young covers healthcare for The Hill.