Nel's New Day

April 18, 2017

DDT’s Missing Tax Returns, More IRS Info

Filed under: Legislation — trp2011 @ 7:24 PM
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Your federal income tax payment is due today, April 18. Technically, April 15 is the legal deadline, but not when that date is on a weekend. Then the date is pushed back because of Emancipation Day, the anniversary of freeing slaves and celebrated only in Washington, D.C. on April 16 every year. Its public employees had April 17 off because the 16th was on a weekend so taxes were then due on April 18. Taxpayers in Maine and Massachusetts don’t have to pay state taxes until tomorrow because of Patriots’ Day, a legal holiday celebrated on the third Monday in April, but their federal taxes are still due today.

April 15 was still a day of protest. In the past, Tea Party members led small groups to oppose payment of taxes for all the government benefits that they receive. This year, opposition came from people representing the 74 percent of the population who want Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to release his tax returns. DDT may have ignored North Korea in his weekend tweets, but he addressed the marches in 200 cities and at least 48 states with at least 120,000 people. The number was probably much higher than that because several cities undercounted its crowds. Seattle and Washington, D.C. each numbered at least 25,000. DDT’s response was that he didn’t need to release his returns because he had already won the election, trying to cover up the continuing ramifications of his massive financial connections including collusion with Russia. He called the marches “small” and accusing the protesters of being “paid.”

The myths of small crowds and paid protesters began with the National Women’s March and the airport protests over Trump’s first Muslim ban during his first two weeks in office and continued for every gathering. Last February, Breitbart started the lie that George Soros is funding the protest movement.

Even hundreds of protesters marched at Mar-a-Lago where DDT vacationed for the seventh of 13 weekends since his inauguration brought out hundreds of people. His trips have cost taxpayers more than President Obama’s trips over his entire eight years, and Palm County (FL) alone has been charged $2 million for his trips. They chanted “Pay! Your! Taxes!” and waved signs calling him “Chicken in Chief” because of DDT’s shift in 40 years by refusing to release his returns. “Chicken Don” symbols replaced the women’s march pussy hats.

Debbie Wehking, a 66-year-old a school principal from Miami, said:

 “He needs to show us his tax returns so that we can tell who’s influencing his decisions, who he owes money to, who he’s doing business with — really so we can figure out whether he needs to be impeached.”

DDT was forced to take a longer route to his golf club to avoid the crowds. In Washington, D.C. a sign stated, “My taxes pay for your golf.” His claim that he cannot release his tax returns no longer holds any water because this is a new return. Also, presidents and vice presidents are automatically audited every year but still made public. In another opaque movement, DDT will no longer release White House visitor logs.

Republicans like Oregon’s representative Greg Walden claim that DDT should have his privacy. Others say that it doesn’t matter or that no one cares contradicted by the marches. Over one million people have already signed this petition.

Last year, individuals paid 49 percent of all federal tax revenues with businesses paying only nine percent of the $3 trillion. Worker and employer payroll taxes, commonly called Social Security and Medicare, account for another 33 percent, and another 3 percent comes from excise taxes with the last five percent labeled as “other.” Business taxes were down from an average of 14 percent last year, and huge corporations like GE and PG&E may pay absolutely nothing. Up to 118 individual breaks benefit companies and the wealthy by almost $1.15 trillion, and 80 corporate breaks net them $185.2 billion.

Technically, the federal corporate income tax is 35 percent, which the GOP wants to drop by over 50 percent. Yet the average taxation for 258 profitable Fortune 500 firms over eight years was 21.2 percent, and 100 of them paid zero taxes in at least one of those years. For example, major polluter North Carolina-based Duke Energy netted $18.2 billion in those eight years and paid no taxes for seven of them while getting $482 billion rebates. That makes their tax rate a minus 2.6 percent.

At least 23 percent of income taxes go to the military, not counting veterans benefits, debt from earlier wars, etc. Yet only 22 percent for this amount is for pay and benefits; almost half of military taxes go to multinational corporations making billions in profits. Domestic needs such as education and the safety net get far less money. [visual] For example, in 2015 taxpayers gave just one corporation, Lockheed Martin, $36 billion, 80 percent of its entire revenues. That money was six times the amount for all foreign aid in 2016.

How government spends your taxes:

  • Defense: 15 percent, not counting veterans benefits and almost 50 percent higher than 20 years ago. [visual]
  • Health care: 13 percent.
  • Interest payments: 6 percent, because of the $20 trillion in national debt largely caused since the George W. Bush tax cuts and wars.
  • Income security: 13 percent, including retirement and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families at its lowest level since 1998.
  • Benefits for veterans: 5 percent for 22 million veterans.
  • Education: 3 percent.
  • Social security: 24 percent.
  • Medicare: 15 percent.
  • Foreign aid: under 1 percent.
  • Other: Under 5 percent, including crop subsidies, space travel, highway repairs, and national parks.

Republicans want to eliminate many of the programs above, but they would be hurting their own constituents. GOP-managed states, aka red states, typically get more federal money back than they send to Washington. Nine of the 11 states that get more than $2 back for every dollar sent to Washington, D.C. are red, and eight of the ten states most dependent on federal funding are red. South Carolina, the queen of federal welfare, gets the most money: for every $1 that the state pays in federal taxes, it receives $7.87. One legislator said, “If you shut down 25 percent of all the federal dollars coming into South Carolina, the economy of South Carolina would collapse.” The federal $59.4 billion sent to South Carolina in 2014 was nine times the state’s annual General Fund budget. South Carolina was ranked the eighth most dependent state in Social Security payments. The state also has the ninth highest level of poverty with almost 28 percent of its children living in poverty along with a horrible health care system, bad public schools, climate-changing coal fired plants with no regulations, lower drinking water standards and other ways to damage its residents.

Only one of the least-dependent ten states, those receiving less money from the federal government that it sends, is red. In short, the lower the financial benefit of federal government in a state, the more likely it is to vote for federal government.

The practice of sending more federal money to Southern states than the government receives is an inheritance from the 20th century when that region voted Democrat, and senior members of Congress sent federal money to their states with contracts, projects, and installations. The other part of the equation is the extreme poverty in those areas. The need for a “safety net” in red states requires hundreds of billions of dollars annually to help the neediest because their own states won’t provide aid.

GOP-controlled red states belie the fantasy that cutting taxes drives growth. Blue states accomplish growth from investments in education, infrastructure, urban quality of life, and human services. These states have nine of the 10 top-ranked universities in the country, the highest median household income in nine of ten states, the greatest generation of technological innovation, and the highest average life expectancy. Despite globalization, local conditions of education, research and development, and promotion of idea exchange and talent development are vital. North Dakota’s oil helped its economy, but it looks more like Saudi Arabia than Silicon Valley. Hubs of “blueness” like Austin (TX) can exist in red states, but are forced to fight against government repression of wage rules and public investments.

Possibilities for blue states? A Bluexit (“Bloo-ksit”) along the lines of Brexit, the British exit from the European Union. If red states want only the U.S. military, paper currency, and the national anthem determined at the federal level, blue states can keep its resources to build up its cities and states.

Happy Tax Day!

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April 6, 2013

Red States, the ’47 Percent’ Moochers

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 1:41 PM
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The terms “red” and “blue” have become deeply entrenched in our nation’s political DNA throughout this century: President Obama was elected by blue states on the West Coast, in the Northeast, and the northern Midwest—and yes, New Mexico, while Romney lost despite the deep red states of the South and Plains areas. These are the states that dominate the House of Representatives and keep the country from making any progress. But these red states have other characteristics than just voting for the GOP.

Red state people think that they send too much of their money to the federal government; they want their taxes lowered. The blue states have a sense of responsibility to other citizens. Ironically, people in red states are really lucky that the blue states are there to send them money because most of them take more than they give

Which ten states send more to the federal government in taxes than they get in return? New Jersey, Nevada, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Illinois, Delaware, California, New York, and Colorado. These are all blue states except for Colorado, and that state seems to be evolving. Which states take more than they give? The ones in red—all really red states except for New Mexico and Florida.

Map 1 Red

Red states also have other negative attributes. The teen birth rate is way higher in red states, probably because their leadership pushes the idea that morality and abstinence-only education are contraceptives. The seven states with the highest rates do not require schools to teach contraception, and some states do not require sex education at all.

Divorce is also highest in red states although separation of couples is also high in the Northwest.

Map 4 red

The problem of obesity is primarily in the South, Midwest, and Plains areas.

Map 5 red

The highest rate of crime is largely across the Bible Belt of the red states.

People in red states are more likely to die in road crashes, and the least deadly states–those with the fewest crash deaths per 100,000 people—are overwhelmingly blue. Only red Alaska fit into the ten states with the fewest road deaths, but they have almost no roads compared to the rest of the United States.

Tom Elias pointed out other differences between red and blue states in the Santa Monica Mirror: adults holding college degrees.

  • Most blue states have the greatest number of people achieving college degrees with North Dakota one exception. Red states have the fewest, sometimes as little as 60 percent of those in the blue states.
  • • Red states tend to have a far higher percentage of persons abusing drugs, led by West Virginia with 25.8 persons out of every 100,000 dying of drug overdoses, Utah with 18.4 and Alaska with 18.1 in 2008.
  • • Red states are poorer, Mississippi the poorest with 22.4 percent of its populace below the federal poverty line, followed by Alabama and Kentucky (both 19 percent), Arkansas, West Virginia, Louisiana, South Carolina, Texas, Georgia and Tennessee.

And gun violence is higher in red states.

More evidence of a severely divided nation exists, as Jonathan Cohn wrote:

“The borders of the United States contain two different forms of government, based on two different visions of the social contract. In blue America, state government costs more—and it spends more to ensure that everybody can pay for basic necessities such as food, housing, and health care. It invests more heavily in the long-term welfare of its population, with better-funded public schools, subsidized day care, and support for people with disabilities. In some cases, in fact, state lawmakers have decided that the social contract provided by the federal government is not generous enough. It was a blue state that first established universal health insurance and, today, it is a handful of blue states that offer paid family and medical leave.”

He contrasted this with the other states:

“In the red states, government is cheaper, which means the people who live there pay lower taxes. But they also get a lot less in return. The unemployment checks run out more quickly and the schools generally aren’t as good. Assistance with health care, child care, and housing is skimpier, if it exists at all. The result of this divergence is that one half of the country looks more and more like Scandinavia, while the other increasingly resembles a social Darwinist’s paradise.”

In his New Republic essay, Cohn explained that John Winthrop, an early governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony 400 years ago, told his fellow Puritans (the first settlers of the United States), that the common good must supersede self-interest. As Samuel Adams wrote regarding the new country of the United States, “A Citizen owes everything to the Commonwealth.” Out of this came the first public schools, libraries, and firefighters as well as assistance help for the needy.

Catholic values of the European immigrants who came centuries later promoted the Progressive era reforms and the New Deal—minimum wage, Social Security, labor laws, etc.

Slower to industrialize, the South failed to help people in poverty, keeping the class divisions of the society of their previous European experience. In prerevolutionary Virginia, for example, public spending and taxes were half that in Massachusetts. Appalachia spent even less than Virginia. After the Civil War, Southern whites were opposed to helping former slaves; because of the Southern politicians, Social Security originally omitted agriculture and domestic workers from benefits. By shrinking the government and what they see as its welfare state, the South could exempt assistance for the people who they perceive as undeserving.

According to Cohn, people who live in the blue states are healthier, wealthier, and generally better off than people in the red states.

  • The four states with the highest poverty rates are all red: Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Texas. (The fifth is New Mexico, which has turned blue.) The five states with the lowest poverty rates are all blue: New Hampshire, New Jersey, Vermont, Minnesota, and Hawaii.
  • The numbers on infant mortality, life expectancy, teen pregnancy, and obesity break down in the same way with red states, the worst and blue states, the best.
  • In high school preparation for careers in math and science, Massachusetts is best, followed closely by Minnesota and New Jersey. Mississippi is worst, along with Louisiana and West Virginia.

Blue states have a better economy. Red states tend to have lower taxes, something that they want to incorporate across the nation. Yet a new report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy shows that so-called “high tax states” have experienced more economic growth per capita and less decline in their median income level over the last ten years than the nine states that do not tax income.

The great concern among blue states should be that the red states want to infiltrate the entire United States with their Third World mentality. Blue state residents could tolerate the moochers of the red states if they would leave the rulings in the blue states alone. But red states are not content to do this. They use lofty principles in opposing federal programs: they are “standing up for liberty”—the same way they claim to have done this before the Civil War and before the Civil Rights Movement. Their liberty is the desire to force entire classes of people to follow their narrow morality while letting them suffer, at the same time driving the country into economic disaster.

It’s the blue states (and blue counties in the red states) working to keep the dream of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” described by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, that can continue to move the United States toward success.

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