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Mattie Duppler

ATR Analysis of Budget Proposal


Posted by Ryan Ellis, Mattie Duppler on Wednesday, December 11th, 2013, 2:38 PM PERMALINK


Below is Americans for Tax Reform’s analysis of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (BBA13). We are deeply troubled by both the increase in the TSA user fee and the temporary relaxing of the spending caps for 2014 and 2015, but we are pleased by the permanent, large, long-term spending cuts contained in the legislation.

Long-Term Government Spending

Over the long term budget horizon, BBA13 is a large net spending cut.  Long-term numbers are not available, but the spending cuts included in the plan are permanent and mandatory.  It would take an act of Congress to amend them.  Meanwhile, the spending increases in the bill are limited to 2014 and 2015 only, leaving the 2016-2021 sequester budget caps unchanged. 

BBA13 does not set up an annual “patch” or “cliff” or give an excuse for Congress to re-adjudicate these cuts every year or two.  The 2014-2015 divergence from the discretionary spending caps’ trend line was a one-time event not repeated in the window.  The cuts to pay for this anomaly, however, are permanent and will reduce government spending by many times more than the small spending increases in 2014 and 2015.  BBA13 is a short-term discretionary spending increase dwarfed in size by a long-run mandatory spending cut.

Continuing Successful Spending Caps

There are also new sequester budget caps in 2022 and 2023 that didn’t exist before. This secures $22 billion in additional spending restraint. The sequester has netted the only real year-over-year reduction in outlays in the modern era, and extending them for as long as possible is a proven way to continue to rein in spending.

TSA Ticket Fee

By far, the worst element of BBA13 is the per-ticket airline fee hike that goes to the Transportation Security Agency (TSA.)  The TSA is a bloated, unionized government agency which should be privatized.  The TSA should not receive a special portion of money from every airplane ticket sold. 

ATR supports repealing the entire TSA ticket fee permanently, and replacing it with permanent spending cuts elsewhere.  ATR supports fully privatizing the TSA, which currently costs taxpayers $8 billion per year.

BBA13, however, structures the TSA ticket fee not as a tax, but as an offsetting receipt to pay for TSA “services.”  In so doing, this fee straddles the line between a tax increase and a user fee without technically crossing into tax hike territory – nevertheless, it should be replaced with spending cuts.  The provision is scored by CBO as a spending cut in the form of an offsetting receipt and has been since TSA was first created by Congress.

This is a very, very bad way to write legislation.  CBO’s scoring methodology here is gimmicky, and it does not hold up to strict scrutiny as a serious policy initiative. 

ATR is strongly opposed to this provision of BBA13, and urges Congress to replace it with permanent spending cuts elsewhere.

Government Employee Pensions

Federal employees currently receive both a 401(k) style pension and a defined benefit pension.  They have to contribute a percentage of their salary toward this defined benefit pension.  BBA13 increases this by 1.3 percentage points of salary for employees hired after January 1, 2014 (and who have not worked for the federal government for more than five years previously). 

This will take years to phase in, since it applies only to new employees.  However, once it is completed, it should save taxpayers $2 to $3 billion per year in today’s dollars by having government employees contribute more towards their own pension plan.

Military Pensions

When someone serves 20 years in the military, they get an immediate pension equal to 50 percent of their military annual salary.  Under current law, this pension amount increases with inflation annually.  Under BBA13, it would only increase at inflation-minus-one percentage point.  Upon retirement age (62), the veteran is held harmless by having their pension going forward plussed-up and their full COLA restored from there. 

This should save taxpayers about $1-2 billion per year in today’s dollars in perpetuity.

 

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ATR Applauds House GOP "No Net Tax Hike" Balanced Budget Plan


Posted by Ryan Ellis, Mattie Duppler on Tuesday, March 12th, 2013, 10:59 AM PERMALINK


The House Budget Committee this morning released a ten-year balanced budget plan that does not raise net taxes. The blueprint will bring the federal budget into balance by the end of the decade by capping discretionary spending, reforming entitlements and getting the nation’s debt under control.
 

Spending Restraint

The House GOP budget is the only blueprint offered by leaders in Washington that balances – and it does so by the end of the ten year budget window and without raising taxes. Families and employers balance their budgets every day; the plan put forward today by the House Budget Committee shows it is time for lawmakers to do the same.

Brings spending in line with historical revenue levels. Spending has averaged 21 percent of GDP in the modern era; the House GOP budget brings outlays down to 19 percent. This balances the budget not on the backs of taxpayers, but by forcing politicians to come to terms with their spending priorities

Enforces BCA spending levels. The plan maintains and extends the Budget Control Act’s spending levels, leaving in place spending reductions promised to taxpayers.

Slows out-of-control spending. The House GOP budget lops $4.6 trillion from outlays over the next ten years. This means federal spending will rise at 3.4 percent, rather than 5 percent, for the next ten years.
 

Mandatory Reforms

Saves Medicaid from federal control. The House budget removes the federal incentives that increase Medicaid enrollment and prevent reform by block granting Medicaid to the states. The plan also repeals Obamacare Medicaid expansion, saving states from their own budget crises that would follow once the federal funding for the expansion runs out.

Reforms the social safety net. The plan addresses the rocketing costs of low-income assistance programs by repealing institutional incentives to increase participants. Food stamps (SNAP) is block-granted to the states.  The budget strengthens work requirements for the TANF program which have proven to reduce welfare rolls.

Saves Medicare for future generations. The GOP House budget will offer health care choices to seniors that will decrease costs by allowing private insurance companies to compete with Medicare. The plan maintains federal support for insurance premiums—regardless of what plan a beneficiary chooses.
 

Tax Reform without Raising Taxes

On the revenue side, the House GOP budget calls for no net tax increase.  The current law revenue baseline (19 percent of GDP as a durable revenue target) is adopted, meaning the government will have to live within its means.  Taxpayers already send far too much of their income (higher than the historical average) to Washington, and should not be asked to write an even bigger check to the IRS.  The fiscal cliff already raised taxes by $600 billion.  $1 trillion of Obamacare taxes came online with the fiscal cliff.  Taxpayers are doing their part, and then some.  It's time for the big spenders to start doing theirs.

The budget also makes sure that the government's tax take is less destructive to jobs and economic growth.  It works in tandem with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp's (R-Mich.) ongoing comprehensive tax reform efforts.  To this end, the budget gives the broad outlines of a far simpler and easier to comply with tax system which:

Simplifies tax brackets.  Replaces the current seven-bracket income tax (top rate of 39.6 percent) with a simple, two-bracket system of 10 and 25 percent

Eliminates the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), which forces millions of taxpayers to calculate their taxes two different ways and pay the higher result

Cuts the corporate income tax rate down to 25 percent.  The U.S. corporate income tax rate is the highest in the developed world, so lowering this rate closer to the average marginal rates of our competitors is a necessary step in bringing jobs and capital back to the United States

Implements international tax reform.  This budget envisions transitioning the tax system toward a more competitive system of international taxation.  Under current law, U.S. employers often have to face taxation abroad and from the IRS on the same income earned overseas.  This puts our employers at a big competitive disadvantage.

Most importantly, this budget envisions tax reform taking place within the fixed tax revenue target of current law.  "Tax reform" would not become a code word for "tax hikes," as too often happens in Washington.  Tax reform is not about bringing in more tax revenue to the government.  It's about bringing in the same amount of revenue more intelligently, with lower tax rates and a tax base which subjects all consumed income to taxation once and only once.
 

Obamacare Repeal

The FY 2014 budget repeals Obamacare.  This common sense idea saves $1.8 trillion in spending on a program the American people never asked for and don't want.  Implicitly, the budget also repeals the $1 trillion in new Obamacare tax increases by re-purposing that money within comprehensive, revenue-neutral tax reform.  Obamacare is replaced by consensus-driven reforms to healthcare like ending the tax bias in favor of employer-provided health insurance, moving toward a consumer driven healthcare model where patients--not insurance companies or government bureaucrats--are put in charge of their medical decisions, and medical liability reform.

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Top Five Tax and Spending Lies from the State of the Union


Posted by Ryan Ellis, Mattie Duppler, Chris Prandoni on Wednesday, February 13th, 2013, 11:06 AM PERMALINK


Obama Claim #1:  “[The American people] know that broad-based economic growth requires a balanced approach to deficit reduction, with spending cuts and revenue, and with everybody doing their fair share.”

Reality:  According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), tax revenues to the federal government will double over the next decade, from $2.5 trillion in 2012 to $5 trillion in 2023.  Tax revenues will settle in at 19 percent of economic output, a full percentage point higher than the historical average.  That means that tax revenues every year will be running $150 billion to $200 billion higher than what we’ve come to experience as the norm since the Second World War. 

American taxpayers are already doing their part, Mr. President.  It’s time for Washington to go on a spending diet.

Obama Claim #2:  “We should do what leaders in both parties have already suggested, and save hundreds of billions of dollars by getting rid of tax loopholes and deductions for the well-off and well-connected.”

Reality:  Most so-called “tax expenditures” are actually common, everyday tax benefits enjoyed by the middle class.  As for denying these tax preferences to high-income households, that was already done as part of the fiscal cliff deal.  Besides, the tax code is already very steeply-progressive, and is only getting more so.  Washington’s giant debt and deficit problems are caused by overspending, not undertaxing.

Obama Claim #3:  “The American people deserve a tax code that…ensures billionaires with high-powered accountants can’t pay a lower rate than their hard-working secretaries.”

Reality:  This is a straw man argument and is intellectually-dishonest.  CBO has already shown that billionaires pay taxes at a far greater rate than a middle class family.

A typical middle income family faces an average federal tax rate (total federal taxes divided by income) of 11 percent.  The top one percent of families face an average tax rate of 29 percent.  That’s nearly three times as high. 

The middle quintile of taxpayers finance less than 10 percent of all federal taxes paid.  The top one percenters finance over 22 percent of all federal taxes.  This is more than twice as much as the middle quintile.

Whether it’s expressed as percent of income paid in taxes or as percent of all taxes paid to the government, it’s clear that progressivity is not one of the problems in our tax code.  Tax reform is not about punishing households (many of whom are small businesses paying taxes using individual rates), but about creating a pro-growth tax system that creates jobs and wealth for all Americans.

Obama Claim #4:  “Over the last few years, both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion...Democrats, Republicans, business leaders, and economists have already said that these cuts, known here in Washington as ‘the sequester,’ are a really bad idea.”

Reality:  The President is claiming credit for the sequester savings while at the same time demanding the cuts be avoided. The $2.5 trillion in savings the President claims to have “worked together” with Congress to achieve are derived partially from spending caps in the Budget Control Act, and partially from $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts scheduled to take place over the next ten years. President Obama can’t avert those cuts while counting the savings as a successful token of bipartisan deficit reduction. Not mentioned in the speech? This “really bad idea” was Obama’s idea.

Obama Claim #5:  “So tonight, I propose we use some of our oil and gas revenues to fund an Energy Security Trust that will drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good.”

Reality:  President Obama is triple-counting these tax hikes. Elsewhere in the speech he suggests that the tax increases on oil and natural gas companies should be used to reduce the deficit, pay for the sequester, and now to create a new “Energy Security Trust.” Raising taxes on oil and natural gas companies gives the government about $5 billion dollars in additional revenue annually, which is enough to avert about six percent of the sequester, reduce the deficit by 0.5 percent, or create a new “Energy Security Trust” but not do all three. And the repercussions of these tax hikes would be substantial, killing 48,000 jobs and reducing our domestic production by 700,000 barrels of oil. 

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Congressman Mike Simpson Supports $2 Trillion Tax Increase


Posted by Ryan Ellis, Mattie Duppler on Thursday, March 29th, 2012, 4:29 PM PERMALINK


On Wednesday night, Congressman Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) voted for a budget which calls for nearly $2 trillion in tax increases and contains phony and fraudulent spending cuts.  As one of only 38 Congressmen in the 435-member U.S. House of Representatives to do so, Congressman Simpson should answer to his constituents as to why he supports this budget.

The vote rejecting this budget was 382-38, one of the lowest support levels for a budget on record.

The budget in question was offered by Congressman Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio).  It seeks to mirror the recommendations of President Obama’s Debt Commission, often known as “Simpson-Bowles” for the co-chairs of that commission appointed by President Obama.

The budget has the following elements:

$2 trillion in Higher Taxes:

--The budget calls for raising income taxes by sharply curtailing income tax deductions and credits.  It would greatly limit such common, everyday tax breaks as the mortgage interest deduction, charitable deduction, and tax-free health insurance from work.  The budget seeks to raise $1.2 trillion over the next decade from these tax hikes, even after a reduction in tax rates

--In addition, the budget calls for tax brackets and other tax provisions which increase with inflation to grow at a slower rate.  This is a tax increase on every American who pays taxes.  This would raise taxes by $89 billion over the next decade

--The budget also calls for more income to be subject to Social Security payroll taxes.  More and more wages and self-employment income would have to pay taxes into the now-bankrupt Social Security system.  Roughly speaking, the amount of wages and self-employment income subject to the 12.4% Social Security tax would grow from about $100,000 today to about $150,000 under this budget.  This is estimated to raise taxes by $77 billion over ten years

--The tax increase budget also calls for workers to have to pay taxes on employer-provided health insurance.  If the value of this tax benefit grows at more than about 6% a year (and it’s been growing faster than that for decades), workers will have to start paying taxes on the insurance they receive at work.  It’s unknown how much this will raise taxes

--Finally, the budget claims savings from lower interest payments on the national debt.  $205 billion is due to tax hikes in the budget, so these savings should be linked to the tax hikes

*All together, the budget voted on last night was a ten-year tax hike of nearly $2 trillion*

In addition to the $2 trillion in tax hikes in this budget, it is also filled with fraudulent “spending cut” gimmicks:

--The LaTourette-Cooper budget double counts spending cuts that have already happened. $500 billion of their supposed savings comes from the cuts already set in law by the August 2011 debt limit deal.

--The budget dishonestly claims to net $650 billion in cuts from new discretionary caps. However, the plan does not include the $424 billion in supplemental war spending the authors also call for in their budget.

--Taken together, the budget plan includes almost $1 trillion in phony spending cuts. This fraudulent accounting means the purported savings from discretionary spending cuts amounts to only $200 billion.  Even giving the authors credit for all the claimed mandatory spending cuts, their fake discretionary cuts means the bill – at best – offers one dollar in spending cuts for every one dollar in tax hikes.

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Congressman Don Young Supports $2 Trillion Tax Increase


Posted by Ryan Ellis, Mattie Duppler on Thursday, March 29th, 2012, 4:25 PM PERMALINK


On Wednesday night, Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska) voted for a budget which calls for nearly $2 trillion in tax increases and contains phony and fraudulent spending cuts.  As one of only 38 Congressmen in the 435-member U.S. House of Representatives to do so, Congressman Young should answer to his constituents as to why he supports this budget.

The vote rejecting this budget was 382-38, one of the lowest support levels for a budget on record.

The budget in question was offered by Congressman Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio).  It seeks to mirror the recommendations of President Obama’s Debt Commission, often known as “Simpson-Bowles” for the co-chairs of that commission appointed by President Obama.

The budget has the following elements:

$2 trillion in Higher Taxes:

--The budget calls for raising income taxes by sharply curtailing income tax deductions and credits.  It would greatly limit such common, everyday tax breaks as the mortgage interest deduction, charitable deduction, and tax-free health insurance from work.  The budget seeks to raise $1.2 trillion over the next decade from these tax hikes, even after a reduction in tax rates

--In addition, the budget calls for tax brackets and other tax provisions which increase with inflation to grow at a slower rate.  This is a tax increase on every American who pays taxes.  This would raise taxes by $89 billion over the next decade

--The budget also calls for more income to be subject to Social Security payroll taxes.  More and more wages and self-employment income would have to pay taxes into the now-bankrupt Social Security system.  Roughly speaking, the amount of wages and self-employment income subject to the 12.4% Social Security tax would grow from about $100,000 today to about $150,000 under this budget.  This is estimated to raise taxes by $77 billion over ten years

--The tax increase budget also calls for workers to have to pay taxes on employer-provided health insurance.  If the value of this tax benefit grows at more than about 6% a year (and it’s been growing faster than that for decades), workers will have to start paying taxes on the insurance they receive at work.  It’s unknown how much this will raise taxes

--Finally, the budget claims savings from lower interest payments on the national debt.  $205 billion is due to tax hikes in the budget, so these savings should be linked to the tax hikes

*All together, the budget voted on last night was a ten-year tax hike of nearly $2 trillion*

In addition to the $2 trillion in tax hikes in this budget, it is also filled with fraudulent “spending cut” gimmicks:

--The LaTourette-Cooper budget double counts spending cuts that have already happened. $500 billion of their supposed savings comes from the cuts already set in law by the August 2011 debt limit deal.

--The budget dishonestly claims to net $650 billion in cuts from new discretionary caps. However, the plan does not include the $424 billion in supplemental war spending the authors also call for in their budget.

--Taken together, the budget plan includes almost $1 trillion in phony spending cuts. This fraudulent accounting means the purported savings from discretionary spending cuts amounts to only $200 billion.  Even giving the authors credit for all the claimed mandatory spending cuts, their fake discretionary cuts means the bill – at best – offers one dollar in spending cuts for every one dollar in tax hikes.

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Congressman Tim Johnson Supports $2 Trillion Tax Increase


Posted by Ryan Ellis, Mattie Duppler on Thursday, March 29th, 2012, 4:16 PM PERMALINK


On Wednesday night, Congressman Tim Johnson (R-Ill.) voted for a budget which calls for nearly $2 trillion in tax increases and contains phony and fraudulent spending cuts.  As one of only 38 Congressmen in the 435-member U.S. House of Representatives to do so, Congressman Johnson should answer to his constituents as to why he supports this budget.

The vote rejecting this budget was 382-38, one of the lowest support levels for a budget on record.

The budget in question was offered by Congressman Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio).  It seeks to mirror the recommendations of President Obama’s Debt Commission, often known as “Simpson-Bowles” for the co-chairs of that commission appointed by President Obama.

The budget has the following elements:

$2 trillion in Higher Taxes:

--The budget calls for raising income taxes by sharply curtailing income tax deductions and credits.  It would greatly limit such common, everyday tax breaks as the mortgage interest deduction, charitable deduction, and tax-free health insurance from work.  The budget seeks to raise $1.2 trillion over the next decade from these tax hikes, even after a reduction in tax rates

--In addition, the budget calls for tax brackets and other tax provisions which increase with inflation to grow at a slower rate.  This is a tax increase on every American who pays taxes.  This would raise taxes by $89 billion over the next decade

--The budget also calls for more income to be subject to Social Security payroll taxes.  More and more wages and self-employment income would have to pay taxes into the now-bankrupt Social Security system.  Roughly speaking, the amount of wages and self-employment income subject to the 12.4% Social Security tax would grow from about $100,000 today to about $150,000 under this budget.  This is estimated to raise taxes by $77 billion over ten years

--The tax increase budget also calls for workers to have to pay taxes on employer-provided health insurance.  If the value of this tax benefit grows at more than about 6% a year (and it’s been growing faster than that for decades), workers will have to start paying taxes on the insurance they receive at work.  It’s unknown how much this will raise taxes

--Finally, the budget claims savings from lower interest payments on the national debt.  $205 billion is due to tax hikes in the budget, so these savings should be linked to the tax hikes

*All together, the budget voted on last night was a ten-year tax hike of nearly $2 trillion*

In addition to the $2 trillion in tax hikes in this budget, it is also filled with fraudulent “spending cut” gimmicks:

--The LaTourette-Cooper budget double counts spending cuts that have already happened. $500 billion of their supposed savings comes from the cuts already set in law by the August 2011 debt limit deal.

--The budget dishonestly claims to net $650 billion in cuts from new discretionary caps. However, the plan does not include the $424 billion in supplemental war spending the authors also call for in their budget.

--Taken together, the budget plan includes almost $1 trillion in phony spending cuts. This fraudulent accounting means the purported savings from discretionary spending cuts amounts to only $200 billion.  Even giving the authors credit for all the claimed mandatory spending cuts, their fake discretionary cuts means the bill – at best – offers one dollar in spending cuts for every one dollar in tax hikes.

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Congressman Kurt Schrader Supports $2 Trillion Tax Increase


Posted by Ryan Ellis, Mattie Duppler on Thursday, March 29th, 2012, 4:01 PM PERMALINK


On Wednesday night, Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) voted for a budget which calls for nearly $2 trillion in tax increases and contains phony and fraudulent spending cuts.  As one of only 38 Congressmen in the 435-member U.S. House of Representatives to do so, Congressman Schrader should answer to his constituents as to why he supports this budget.

The vote rejecting this budget was 382-38, one of the lowest support levels for a budget on record.

The budget in question was offered by Congressman Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio).  It seeks to mirror the recommendations of President Obama’s Debt Commission, often known as “Simpson-Bowles” for the co-chairs of that commission appointed by President Obama.

The budget has the following elements:

$2 trillion in Higher Taxes:

--The budget calls for raising income taxes by sharply curtailing income tax deductions and credits.  It would greatly limit such common, everyday tax breaks as the mortgage interest deduction, charitable deduction, and tax-free health insurance from work.  The budget seeks to raise $1.2 trillion over the next decade from these tax hikes, even after a reduction in tax rates

--In addition, the budget calls for tax brackets and other tax provisions which increase with inflation to grow at a slower rate.  This is a tax increase on every American who pays taxes.  This would raise taxes by $89 billion over the next decade

--The budget also calls for more income to be subject to Social Security payroll taxes.  More and more wages and self-employment income would have to pay taxes into the now-bankrupt Social Security system.  Roughly speaking, the amount of wages and self-employment income subject to the 12.4% Social Security tax would grow from about $100,000 today to about $150,000 under this budget.  This is estimated to raise taxes by $77 billion over ten years

--The tax increase budget also calls for workers to have to pay taxes on employer-provided health insurance.  If the value of this tax benefit grows at more than about 6% a year (and it’s been growing faster than that for decades), workers will have to start paying taxes on the insurance they receive at work.  It’s unknown how much this will raise taxes

--Finally, the budget claims savings from lower interest payments on the national debt.  $205 billion is due to tax hikes in the budget, so these savings should be linked to the tax hikes

*All together, the budget voted on last night was a ten-year tax hike of nearly $2 trillion*

In addition to the $2 trillion in tax hikes in this budget, it is also filled with fraudulent “spending cut” gimmicks:

--The LaTourette-Cooper budget double counts spending cuts that have already happened. $500 billion of their supposed savings comes from the cuts already set in law by the August 2011 debt limit deal.

--The budget dishonestly claims to net $650 billion in cuts from new discretionary caps. However, the plan does not include the $424 billion in supplemental war spending the authors also call for in their budget.

--Taken together, the budget plan includes almost $1 trillion in phony spending cuts. This fraudulent accounting means the purported savings from discretionary spending cuts amounts to only $200 billion.  Even giving the authors credit for all the claimed mandatory spending cuts, their fake discretionary cuts means the bill – at best – offers one dollar in spending cuts for every one dollar in tax hikes.

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Congressman Jared Polis Supports $2 Trillion Tax Increase


Posted by Ryan Ellis, Mattie Duppler on Thursday, March 29th, 2012, 3:54 PM PERMALINK


On Wednesday night, Congressman Jared Polis (D-Colo.) voted for a budget which calls for nearly $2 trillion in tax increases and contains phony and fraudulent spending cuts.  As one of only 38 Congressmen in the 435-member U.S. House of Representatives to do so, Congressman Polis should answer to his constituents as to why he supports this budget.

The vote rejecting this budget was 382-38, one of the lowest support levels for a budget on record.

The budget in question was offered by Congressman Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio).  It seeks to mirror the recommendations of President Obama’s Debt Commission, often known as “Simpson-Bowles” for the co-chairs of that commission appointed by President Obama.

The budget has the following elements:

$2 trillion in Higher Taxes:

--The budget calls for raising income taxes by sharply curtailing income tax deductions and credits.  It would greatly limit such common, everyday tax breaks as the mortgage interest deduction, charitable deduction, and tax-free health insurance from work.  The budget seeks to raise $1.2 trillion over the next decade from these tax hikes, even after a reduction in tax rates

--In addition, the budget calls for tax brackets and other tax provisions which increase with inflation to grow at a slower rate.  This is a tax increase on every American who pays taxes.  This would raise taxes by $89 billion over the next decade

--The budget also calls for more income to be subject to Social Security payroll taxes.  More and more wages and self-employment income would have to pay taxes into the now-bankrupt Social Security system.  Roughly speaking, the amount of wages and self-employment income subject to the 12.4% Social Security tax would grow from about $100,000 today to about $150,000 under this budget.  This is estimated to raise taxes by $77 billion over ten years

--The tax increase budget also calls for workers to have to pay taxes on employer-provided health insurance.  If the value of this tax benefit grows at more than about 6% a year (and it’s been growing faster than that for decades), workers will have to start paying taxes on the insurance they receive at work.  It’s unknown how much this will raise taxes

--Finally, the budget claims savings from lower interest payments on the national debt.  $205 billion is due to tax hikes in the budget, so these savings should be linked to the tax hikes

*All together, the budget voted on last night was a ten-year tax hike of nearly $2 trillion*

In addition to the $2 trillion in tax hikes in this budget, it is also filled with fraudulent “spending cut” gimmicks:

--The LaTourette-Cooper budget double counts spending cuts that have already happened. $500 billion of their supposed savings comes from the cuts already set in law by the August 2011 debt limit deal.

--The budget dishonestly claims to net $650 billion in cuts from new discretionary caps. However, the plan does not include the $424 billion in supplemental war spending the authors also call for in their budget.

--Taken together, the budget plan includes almost $1 trillion in phony spending cuts. This fraudulent accounting means the purported savings from discretionary spending cuts amounts to only $200 billion.  Even giving the authors credit for all the claimed mandatory spending cuts, their fake discretionary cuts means the bill – at best – offers one dollar in spending cuts for every one dollar in tax hikes.

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Congressman Ed Perlmutter Supports $2 Trillion Tax Increase


Posted by Ryan Ellis, Mattie Duppler on Thursday, March 29th, 2012, 3:49 PM PERMALINK


On Wednesday night, Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) voted for a budget which calls for nearly $2 trillion in tax increases and contains phony and fraudulent spending cuts.  As one of only 38 Congressmen in the 435-member U.S. House of Representatives to do so, Congressman Perlmutter should answer to his constituents as to why he supports this budget.

The vote rejecting this budget was 382-38, one of the lowest support levels for a budget on record.

The budget in question was offered by Congressman Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio).  It seeks to mirror the recommendations of President Obama’s Debt Commission, often known as “Simpson-Bowles” for the co-chairs of that commission appointed by President Obama.

The budget has the following elements:

$2 trillion in Higher Taxes:

--The budget calls for raising income taxes by sharply curtailing income tax deductions and credits.  It would greatly limit such common, everyday tax breaks as the mortgage interest deduction, charitable deduction, and tax-free health insurance from work.  The budget seeks to raise $1.2 trillion over the next decade from these tax hikes, even after a reduction in tax rates

--In addition, the budget calls for tax brackets and other tax provisions which increase with inflation to grow at a slower rate.  This is a tax increase on every American who pays taxes.  This would raise taxes by $89 billion over the next decade

--The budget also calls for more income to be subject to Social Security payroll taxes.  More and more wages and self-employment income would have to pay taxes into the now-bankrupt Social Security system.  Roughly speaking, the amount of wages and self-employment income subject to the 12.4% Social Security tax would grow from about $100,000 today to about $150,000 under this budget.  This is estimated to raise taxes by $77 billion over ten years

--The tax increase budget also calls for workers to have to pay taxes on employer-provided health insurance.  If the value of this tax benefit grows at more than about 6% a year (and it’s been growing faster than that for decades), workers will have to start paying taxes on the insurance they receive at work.  It’s unknown how much this will raise taxes

--Finally, the budget claims savings from lower interest payments on the national debt.  $205 billion is due to tax hikes in the budget, so these savings should be linked to the tax hikes

*All together, the budget voted on last night was a ten-year tax hike of nearly $2 trillion*

In addition to the $2 trillion in tax hikes in this budget, it is also filled with fraudulent “spending cut” gimmicks:

--The LaTourette-Cooper budget double counts spending cuts that have already happened. $500 billion of their supposed savings comes from the cuts already set in law by the August 2011 debt limit deal.

--The budget dishonestly claims to net $650 billion in cuts from new discretionary caps. However, the plan does not include the $424 billion in supplemental war spending the authors also call for in their budget.

--Taken together, the budget plan includes almost $1 trillion in phony spending cuts. This fraudulent accounting means the purported savings from discretionary spending cuts amounts to only $200 billion.  Even giving the authors credit for all the claimed mandatory spending cuts, their fake discretionary cuts means the bill – at best – offers one dollar in spending cuts for every one dollar in tax hikes.

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Congressman Collin Peterson Supports $2 Trillion Tax Increase


Posted by Ryan Ellis, Mattie Duppler on Thursday, March 29th, 2012, 3:30 PM PERMALINK


On Wednesday night, Congressman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) voted for a budget which calls for nearly $2 trillion in tax increases and contains phony and fraudulent spending cuts.  As one of only 38 Congressmen in the 435-member U.S. House of Representatives to do so, Congressman Peterson should answer to his constituents as to why he supports this budget.

The vote rejecting this budget was 382-38, one of the lowest support levels for a budget on record.

The budget in question was offered by Congressman Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio).  It seeks to mirror the recommendations of President Obama’s Debt Commission, often known as “Simpson-Bowles” for the co-chairs of that commission appointed by President Obama.

The budget has the following elements:

$2 trillion in Higher Taxes:

--The budget calls for raising income taxes by sharply curtailing income tax deductions and credits.  It would greatly limit such common, everyday tax breaks as the mortgage interest deduction, charitable deduction, and tax-free health insurance from work.  The budget seeks to raise $1.2 trillion over the next decade from these tax hikes, even after a reduction in tax rates

--In addition, the budget calls for tax brackets and other tax provisions which increase with inflation to grow at a slower rate.  This is a tax increase on every American who pays taxes.  This would raise taxes by $89 billion over the next decade

--The budget also calls for more income to be subject to Social Security payroll taxes.  More and more wages and self-employment income would have to pay taxes into the now-bankrupt Social Security system.  Roughly speaking, the amount of wages and self-employment income subject to the 12.4% Social Security tax would grow from about $100,000 today to about $150,000 under this budget.  This is estimated to raise taxes by $77 billion over ten years

--The tax increase budget also calls for workers to have to pay taxes on employer-provided health insurance.  If the value of this tax benefit grows at more than about 6% a year (and it’s been growing faster than that for decades), workers will have to start paying taxes on the insurance they receive at work.  It’s unknown how much this will raise taxes

--Finally, the budget claims savings from lower interest payments on the national debt.  $205 billion is due to tax hikes in the budget, so these savings should be linked to the tax hikes

*All together, the budget voted on last night was a ten-year tax hike of nearly $2 trillion*

In addition to the $2 trillion in tax hikes in this budget, it is also filled with fraudulent “spending cut” gimmicks:

--The LaTourette-Cooper budget double counts spending cuts that have already happened. $500 billion of their supposed savings comes from the cuts already set in law by the August 2011 debt limit deal.

--The budget dishonestly claims to net $650 billion in cuts from new discretionary caps. However, the plan does not include the $424 billion in supplemental war spending the authors also call for in their budget.

--Taken together, the budget plan includes almost $1 trillion in phony spending cuts. This fraudulent accounting means the purported savings from discretionary spending cuts amounts to only $200 billion.  Even giving the authors credit for all the claimed mandatory spending cuts, their fake discretionary cuts means the bill – at best – offers one dollar in spending cuts for every one dollar in tax hikes.

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