Tax day linkfest

Although most Americans say their income taxes are fair, today is “Christmas in April” for Republican politicians trying to stir up resentment about the tax burden. As I mentioned yesterday, last year’s stimulus bill contained tax cuts for 98 percent of American families and particularly helped lower and middle-income families. Gail Collins commented,

Thanks to the tax credits in President Obama’s stimulus plan and other programs aimed at helping working families, couples with two kids making up to $50,000 were generally off the hook this year.

Naturally, anti-tax groups held rallies to thank the president for doing so much to reduce the burden on the half of the country least able to pay. Not.

One of the biggest tax breaks in the stimulus bill reduces taxes owed by $400 for individual filers and $800 for married couples filing jointly, but reportedly this credit and the accompanying “Schedule M” have confused many taxpayers.

Here’s a truly disturbing trend mostly ignored by the media. Annie Lowrey reports that in recent years the IRS has shifted toward more audits of mom-and-pop businesses and less scrutiny of the big corporations that “can defraud the federal government for much more vast amounts than their smaller counterparts.”

At today’s anti-tax rallies, some speakers will argue for a “flat tax,” meaning that the income tax would be set at the same level regardless of your income. That’s a bad idea, which hasn’t worked in countries that have adopted it.

Other conservatives, such as Representative Steve King and presidential contender Mike Huckabee, will repeat their support for a “fair tax,” which would replace the income tax with a huge consumption tax. That’s a terrible, horrible, no-good very bad idea.

Speaking of conservative fantasy-land, Senator Chuck Grassley decided to make stuff up during a conference call with reporters yesterday:

Grassley spoke of his belief that America is sliding toward a European-style economy. Actually, he said the Obama adminstration is moving the country in that direction, so he envisions President Barack Obama will ask for a tax increase via a value-added tax, since he can’t politically backtrack and increase income taxes on middle income people.

“They are going to need European-type taxes to maintain it, and that’s where the value-added tax comes in,” Grassley said. “…They just can’t get enough money from taxing wealthy people, to do all the things that they want to do. So you can add a value-added tax, and it is a hidden tax, because it is built into the price of the commodity you’ll buy. So, they can increase taxes on middle income taxpayers, contrary to what they promised in the election.”

Riiiight.

Today’s rallies will surely generate a lot of media coverage, as well as some controversy over how significant the “tea party” movement is. Blog for Iowa cross-posted a piece from News Corpse casting doubt on the political strength of tea partiers.

I’m watching several upcoming Republican primaries as a test of the tea party in Iowa. If Dave Funk does surprisingly well in the third Congressional district, Chris Reed wins in the second district, or Mike La Coste or Jim Budde exceed expectations in the first district, that will be a sign of real grassroots power for the movement, but I expect candidates with more GOP establishment connections to win all three of those primaries.

Share any thoughts about taxes or tea partiers in this thread. I’ll be back later to comment, after waiting in line at the post office for who knows how long to mail my return (note to self: get this done earlier next year!).

  • I can't wait for Conlin to expose Chuckles for the fraud he is

    Not that many folks here in “beautiful land” will believe her – I still remember the cries of Taxanne from her gubernatorial race.

    Still, to get back on topic, I agree that the Schedule M info was poorly handled by the Feds. Not only does the IRS web site do a poor job of telling people how to claim it, the site almost comes across as saying that by lowering withholding you’ve already received the credit.

    To make things worse some consumer advice sites have propagated this mistake, telling people not to file Schedule M if their withholding went down. Everyone should download the form, fill out the worksheet, and file it.

    • I'm old enough to remember

      those Taxanne bumper stickers and David Yepsen’s hit job.

      Thanks for the info on Schedule M. It’s not too late for people to file amended tax returns if they missed out on that.

  • As for the Tea Party anti-tax rallies today?

    As a long-time (30 plus years) activist friend who is in town today put it, when referring to the Tea Party tax day protest. “I really hate to see these kind of Tax Day protests when amateurs get involved.”

    I personally have not filed in over twenty years.  I do not wish to pay taxes to a government that uses my tax dollars to engage in wars and conduct designed to further an agenda which benefits corporations and the wealthiest one per cent of our population.

    The following link pretty much outlines my entire world view on this subject:

    http://www.warresisters.org/pa…

    Right now I have Grassley and Harkin squarely in my sights (metaphorically speaking) and will be lobbying (ok, so maybe “berating” is a better term)them on Defense appropriations when I travel to DC in a couple of weeks.

    Ok, off to join the much smaller Tax Day protest at the main post office now, following our weekly anti-war vigil and visit to the offices of our elected officials in the DM Federal Bldg.

    • You should be in prison

      I know that sounds combative and I apologize to dmd, but there are good programs out there that need funding and shame on you for being a traitor to the human race.  

      • I HAVE been in prison...

        for protesting nuclear proliferation and anti-war activities.

        I also help feed and clothe the homeless, and spent years living in solidarity with the homeless.  My gross income is less than $7200 per year.  No need to file. I believe in each person taking responsibility for themselves, providing according to their abilities, and taking according to their needs.  

        If everyone would spend a few hours a week taking care of the needs of the community, we wouldn’t need taxes to pay somebody else to do the job for us.

        That’s basically what Thoreau and Ghandi proposed. And I try in my own little way to make that happen.

        Sorry, but I am not a liberal, or a Democrat.  I am instead a radical.

        And I am used to people saying I belong in prison, including Federal magistrates who make it happen.

        • File

          You’re not an activist, just a shit starter who likes to gripe.  

          • Not Happening...

            I pay state and local option sales tax.  I pay road taxes.  I pay Social Security tax and the percentage of federal income tax that is not used to fund the military.  

            I am not paying for the military budget.  I will accept prison before I will pay for it.  

            As your name implies, you are a “Moderate”.  We do not view the world through the same lens.

            I am sure that you think that you are “reasonable” and “realistic” in your outlook.  I do not agree.

            The United States is a consumer nation.  Concentration of wealth is the aim of the system that you support. Consumption at the expense of most of the rest of the world is not an option for me.  And I am not paying for a military system that is used to promote capitalism.

            As a self-proclaimed “moderate” you uphold this system, support killing foreign nationals so your comfortable lifestyle is not hindered, and you are my adversary.

            I wish I could say I knew more about you, but you use an anonymous screen name, so I have no idea who you are in real life.

            As you can see, I am who I am.  I have served time in prison rather than renounce my views.  If I believed that these wars were just, I would have served time in theatre of combat.  Instead, I oppose just about every single thing you stand for, and will go toe to toe with you every step of the way.  I will be in the street, I will be in your face, and I will continue to lobby your elected officials every single week, sometimes risking arrest at their offices.  

            I do not like the idea of a federal government, I do not like the idea of a national identity, and I will work to the end that these abominations are eradicated from the face of the Earth.

            So, what in your “moderate” opinion, does an activist do?

            • Humanity is fucked up

              Humanity will continue to kill.  Poverty will continue whether you do anything about it, you’re a waste of time and fecal matter on society.  You’re activism is just boredom, you solve nothing and get nowhere.

              You like the attention so you throw around Ghandi as a point of reference.  No matter what we do with scum like yourself, it will end up looking like a martyr so you win in the end.

              Comfortable lifestyle? I think not, it’s not my fault I was born in the United States and don’t join you on your meaningless quest futility, you attention whore.  

  • National identity

    We’re born where we are born, we can’t control that.  I doubt there’s a God so that shit is pretty random.  If someone wants to fill out the paperwork and wait in line fine.  We have national identities and borders because there are limited resources and there is such a thing as overpopulation.  We’re not going to redistribute food and water in an adequate way so you have to have borders.

    You’re not going to be in face you idealist attention whore.  You will die and hopefully less people will pick up your “mission” of trying to start shit in order to cure their boredom.    Che Guevara, how many homosexuals did he kill or imprison in his “search” for a fairer society?

    You say you don’t believe in a federal government, but yet in order to achieve these goals you have to impose your will on others so the parts of a federal government that people all over the world hate, you will chose to impose.

    • Interesting Comments...

      Attention whore?  Perhaps.  

      And all you saw was “Che Guevara” in my signature?  So you are not familiar with Octavio Paz and the La Malinche saga, and the struggle of the indigenous in Chiapas?  

      As for “imposing” my will on others to form a government? Hardly, I am willing to argue, discuss, and seek to persuade, but I am an anarchist. I seek no government at all.

      As for dying, yes we all will die. As for what comes next? For clarification, however, are you suggesting that I will die at your hand?

      And yes, I am an idealist.  I propose an ideology that many find unpalatable.

      And if you are angry at my refusal to pay war taxes, so be it.  Now, please take your anger and magnify it times ten. That is what I feel about the industrial whores who profit from war at taxpayer expense, and then find a way to pay far less than their fair share of taxes by hiding behind corporate personhood.  

  • Obviously not

    I do not seek to kill you, I can’t wait for your ideology to die out fill in the blanks.

    In order for you to achieve your goals you do have to impose your will on people if you truly believe in those goals.  Otherwise, you’re just a dude with an ego.  You were just a dude with an ego

    when you talked about violating Fallon’s property and heaven knows what kind of dog and pony show you put together to piss off Bowell.  Having read your posts here, you probably merely weren’t just asking questions, but also trying to get your name in the paper.

    I’ve known you were an anarchist, you said so in the past.  You’re either committed to the cause or just a blowhard.  

    I assumed you were a fan of Guevara, maybe that needs clarification.

    • Ok

      So many of your criticisms of me as a person are fair.  

      Let’s get back to the question at hand, if we might.

      Your tax dollars funded a bail-out of Goldman Sachs which just issued a little over five billion dollars in bonuses.

      Following the recent Supreme Court decision on Citizens United, Goldman Sachs can now provide nearly unlimited funding to election campaigns.  

      Do you realistically think that the votes of elected officials are therefore essentially bought and paid for?    

      Are you going to willingly fund the bail-out of Goldman Sachs, so they can use your tax dollars to buy the votes of elected officials?  

      The historical Tea Party occurred after Parliament had repealed most of the Townshend Acts which were the impetus of the whole “Taxation Without Representation” thing.  

      However, the tax on tea remained. And tea was subsidized by the Crown, and even with the taxes, it was cheap.  

      And folks decided that, even so, they would refuse to pay any tax to the Crown whatsoever, feeling that paying the taxes gave legitimacy to the Crown’s position to tax the colonists.

      Since there is no way in hell you could possibly have the influence on elected officials that folks like Goldman Sachs have, do you feel that your interests are being effectively represented?  

      There are things that I am not willing to pay for. And I accept the consequences.  

       

  • I supported the bank bailout

    They held too many assets, they need to be broken up, but they held too many assets to do nothing.  i would like to see them broken up.  You can break up their assets.

    Your fundamental disagreement is with wealth and capitalism as a whole.  I have no problem with people taking a risk and falling on their face.  The reason we couldn’t let the banks fail is that they held too many assets due to deregulation.

    I don’t agree with the Supreme Court decision.  I would have kept the McCain-Feingold limits in place?  Are those limits picked out of thin air? Yes, but I prefer them over publicly funded elections.

    I don’t like a lot of the DoD spending.  I don’t like NASA, it should be privatized.  I don’t like abstinence education funding, etc.  I still pay my taxes and will continue to do so.  I can not respect you for not doing so.

    The government is involved in a lot of shit, those regulations impact corporations.  Corporations are not people, but corporations employ people so their survival is vital to freedom and logic.  

    To expect lobbyists to not get paid for their work is absurd.  Simply because someone takes a contribution from a regulated person or PAC of workers for that entity does not necessarily lessen my representation.  I’m a freelance writer who is employed by one of those evil corporations.

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