anti-tax zealots

NC GOP's tax cut scam costs state retirees dearly

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And before you say "cognitive dissonance," they know exactly what they're doing:

Just minutes after approving two tax cut bills that will cost the state more than $150 million in the next fiscal year, Senate lawmakers argued the state can't afford to give its retirees a permanent cost-of-living increase.

State retirees haven’t had a substantial cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, since before the recession, and House Bill 231 wouldn't change that. Instead, it’s a one-time bonus of 0.5 percent this fall and again in 2020. About 216,000 retired workers are in the state's defined retirement system. Their average pension is only about $21,000, so the bonus works out to about $105 each year. The cost of the bonus is about $25.5 million per year.

Both of those numbers are averaged, which means a whole bunch of people make less, and their bonus will also be less. And just so we're clear about the time frame, "before the recession" means 12 years ago. Just looking at inflation alone, what cost $1.00 in 2009 costs $1.20 in 2019. A 20% increase in costs to retirees that Republicans have ignored, while passing multiple tax cuts. They say those tax cuts will (and have) increased revenues, and yet here we are 12 years later with no COLAs for these folks who served our state dutifully. The word "shameful" doesn't cover it.

Trump's tax giveaway for the wealthy is squeezing poor college students

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Whether it's a flaw or a feature, it needs to be fixed asap:

A little-noticed provision in President Trump’s sprawling new tax law is treating middle- and low-income college students as if they are trust-fund babies, taxing sizable financial aid packages at a rate first established 33 years ago to prevent wealthy parents from funneling money to their children to lower their tax burdens.

Students with large financial aid packages are finding their nontuition assistance for items such as room and board taxed by as much as 37 percent, even if their family income tax rates are much lower.

Do the math. A poor kid receiving $11,000 a year for room and board is coughing up $4,000 of that in taxes. If that's "winning" I'd hate to see what happens when we start losing. This should not have come as such a surprise to lawmakers, because they've already been raked over the coals for over-taxing survivor benefits for Gold Star families:

The AOC effect: 70% marginal tax rate dissected

A high level of energy can spur growth or destroy:

Progressive House Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for a sharp tax hike on the highest incomes in order to fund a massive “Green New Deal” plan that would phase out fossil fuels by 2030, as she tries to push the political debate to the left.

“It’s ambitious,” the New York Representative told 60 Minutes in an interview scheduled to air Sunday. “It’s going to require a lot of rapid change that we don’t even conceive as possible right now.”

Several of my more intelligent (than me) friends have been explaining why this is a good idea, using frequent references back to when the tax rate for the wealthy was even higher than she's proposing. And those arguments are intellectually sound. But here's the thing: After some of the nasty battles we've fought within the party over the last several years, it's become apparent that many Democrats simply do not understand the ideological makeup of American voters. We haven't had a "landslide" Presidential election in numerous cycles, and for all practical purposes, our country is split 50-50. To say that's a "delicate balance" is a vast understatement. I'll continue below the fold, for brevity's sake:

DC follows in North Carolina's corrupted footsteps

Thomas Mills drops several truth bombs on our current political climate:

As I’ve said before, North Carolina Republicans were Trumpists before Trump. They were willing to trash the state’s reputation as a forward thinking, welcoming state in order to pass tax cuts that disproportionally benefited the wealthy while dramatically cutting the services that helped people climb out of poverty and stay in the middle class. And they were willing to pander to the ugliest strains of reactionary populism to do it.

It’s pandering to populism in exchange for a huge kickback for the wealthiest Americans. The country club Republicans who want to enrich themselves and their friends and the movement conservatives who believe that tax cuts are a panacea for every ill don’t have the numbers to get much done. So, they’ve cut deals with social conservatives, many of whom harbor nasty resentments, to get elected and to get their tax cuts.

It truly is a sad state of affairs. The GOP has learned to give the worst elements of our society what they want, the racists, the sexists, the Islamophobes, the holier-than-thou gay-haters, etc., all in an effort to line the pockets of the wealthy even more. Here's more:

The Republican two-step: Same dance, different music

Small to mid-size farmers will likely suffer greatly under US Senate tax bill

For every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction:

In this season of giving, the U.S Senate is rushing to pass a tax bill next week that would overwhelmingly benefit corporations and the richest households. If passed, this tax plan would not only raise the tax load on millions of low- and middle-income families, it would also mean the elimination of vital programs that help many Americans get by every day. The reason: Math.

By increasing the U.S deficit by more than $1.5 trillion over the next ten years, Congress would have to reduce spending in fiscal year 2018 alone by a total of $136 billion due to spending rules.

Before we look at some of the specific agricultural support programs that are vulnerable under this plan, I'll go ahead and answer your inevitable question, "Why would Republicans intentionally go after their solid base (rural farmers) when they could probably find these cuts elsewhere?" Because US Senate contests are state-wide, not really fitting the profile of "representative." While individual Congressional districts might be particularly hurt by these cuts, Senators will not feel the adverse effects of that. Here are some of the programs at risk:

Meadows attempts to spread his disease to Democrats

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And they need to run like scalded dogs:

In a bid to help shape and build support for the tax package, the North Carolina Republican has been reaching across the aisle to a handful of moderate Democrats, he told The Hill in an interview. The outreach includes Rep. John Delaney (Md.), who has said he's running for president in 2020, and Rep. John Garamendi, the former California insurance commissioner and lieutenant governor.

Meadows's top ally, former Freedom Caucus chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), has taken part in many of those informal, bipartisan discussions. A number of skeptical, moderate Republicans could peel off from the GOP tax-reform bill, so Meadows and Jordan are looking to make up for those losses with Democratic votes.

Oh, hell no. If those Democrats truly are interested in coming up with some bi-partisan approach that will give them some leverage on this issue, they need to deal with a genuine moderate Republican (if they can find one) and not a Tea-Party megalomaniac like Mark Meadows. Seriously, this dude would shut down government and throw us into another deep recession if he thought it would give him half a point in the polls and an extra five minutes in front of a camera. And while this idea might look good on paper:

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