FROM Roberton 'Bob' Williams
Tax Fairness and the Presidential Campaign Is America's tax system fair? President Obama calls progressive taxation " the defining issue of our time ," an question of "economic fairness." The Republicans call it "class warfare." Elizabeth Warren, who helped the Consumer Protection Bureau and is now a Democratic candidate for the US Senate, recently spoke out against the tax disparity on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show. Should the rich pay a higher tax rate? Is that a penalty for achieving the American Dream?
Tax Fairness and the Presidential Campaign When Mitt Romney released his tax returns, they showed a rate of just 14 percent on $20 million in profits, dividends and interest. The next day in his State of the Union address, President Obama called for tax reform that's become known as the Buffett Rule, calling economic fairness "the defining issue of our time." The President called for a 30 percent minimum tax on millionaires. "Tax fairness" will be part of his reelection campaign. Romney says it's all about "envy," and Republicans call it "class warfare." We ask a prominent pollster if Americans really care. Whatever happened to "progressive" taxation, where the richest pay the highest rates of all? With lower rates, do they really invest in creating new jobs? If their rates are increased, will they be penalized for achieving the American Dream?
The Flat Tax America's "progressive" income tax takes a larger percentage from high earners than those lower down on the scale. At the moment, there are six tax "brackets," ranging from 10 to 35 percent. Republican presidential candidates Herman Cain and Rick Perry want to replace "progressive" taxation with new versions of the so-called "flat tax," which begins with the idea that all income should be taxed at the same rate. Abraham Lincoln levied the first "flat tax" to finance the Civil War. Since then, the idea's been revived by candidates of both parties, including California Democrat Jerry Brown, when he ran for president in 1992 and Republican Steve Forbes in 1996. What is the "flat tax?" Is it simple? Is it fair? Why do proposals often shift the burden from wealthy taxpayers to those in the Middle Class?
Income Redistribution: Basic Fairness or 'Class Warfare?' The stimulus package already passed and signed into law provides tax credits for 95 percent of American workers. Now the President wants to increase taxes on the wealthy, partly by letting the Bush tax cuts expire. One of his goals is to reduce the growing gap between the rich and the poor. We hear a debate and look at other factors that cause economic dislocation, including technology, changes in the work force and increased anxiety.
Income Redistribution: Basic Fairness or 'Class Warfare?' 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.
Candidates Vow to Help Swing Voters on Eve of Last Debate John McCain and Barack Obama both know that when it comes to the economy, the next president will have to hit the ground running. But the ground keeps shifting and the crisis has produced demands for detailed proposals from both candidates. On Monday, Obama outlined a rescue plan worth about $110 billion. Yesterday, McCain countered with about $52 billion. After a day when stocks have been falling again, voters will see the candidates under pressure tonight in unpredictable circumstances. We compare what they've come up with so far on foreclosures, investments, home mortgages and all kinds of taxes. With three weeks until election day, which constituencies are they aiming at? In the debate, will McCain attack as promised? Will Obama dare to be dull?
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Trump plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.