Category Archives: Taxes
by Lisa Longo, 2/9/15
“Tax cuts to the rich create jobs”. “Tax cuts for the working poor and middle class stimulate the economy”. Only one of these is true, and it is time to figure out which. And we can, using some basic math.
Is taxing the rich socialism? Is it “un-American” to ask the rich to pay more taxes? Or is income inequality at the root of our economic problem? And how can we know which is the “right” theory? On the one hand you have Democrats calling for an increase to the minimum wage, affordable health care for all and an increase in both the benefit and wage base of the Social Security system as a method of putting more money on “Main Street” to stimulate the economy. On the other side you have Republicans insisting we give more money to “Wall Street” and just saying no to everything until they get their way.
In order to decide who is really “right”, I decided to do some math. I find that when I can break an argument down to mathematical components it provides useful data to help me understand the issues better.
Here are some computations and assumptions for this problem:
An average family needs to make approximately $4,000 per month, net of taxes to cover all expenses. That comes to $23.08 per hour net, which is $27.69 gross for a base hourly wage if we assume average taxes paid equal 20%.
That is the minimum wage at which a person does not “need” any assistance to pay for living, insurance, food, transportation and health care. It does not include saving for retirement, vacations or other expenses that are “discretionary”, for example vacations, gifts, going out to dinner or the movies, buying clothes or getting your hair cut or nails done. And forget about getting sick and not being able to work, republicans don’t want paid sick leave either.
Now, let’s compare discretionary income and how taxes work, and how a tax cut or increase impacts different income levels:
continue reading at Lisa Longo
by Lawrence Davidson, To the Point Analyses, 12/27/14
Part I – Predictions
I can make high-probability predictions for 2015 and the near-beyond without the benefit of a crystal ball, tarot cards or tea leaves. The only thing that I need is a list of items from the new 2015 U.S. federal budget. Here are some of my forecasts and the budget items that make them so highly probable:
1. There will be more deadly truck-related accidents than necessary on the nation’s highways in 2015. That means more deaths, injuries, highway delays, stress and frustration. How do I know? Because the 2015 budget rolls back the safety requirement that truckers need to get more rest between driving assignments. The regulation that was rolled back was itself barely adequate. It restricted drivers to a 70-hour week with mandated rest times between long periods behind the wheel. Nonetheless, despite obviously being in the public interest, this regulation could not survive the pressure of the lobbies representing the trucking industry and its corporate customers. Now we are back to truckers working 85-hour weeks with hardly any mandated rest at all.
2. Either in 2015 or soon thereafter there will be another major banking crisis requiring the outlay of enormous sums of public money to avert economic meltdown. How do I know? Because the 2015 federal budget rolls back the requirement, put in place after the last financial crisis, that forced the trading of derivatives to be done by corporate entities separated from the banks and not covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Company. In other words, if the banks wanted to devise unreasonably risky investment strategies for their more gullible customers, they had to insulate these strategies from their main banking operations that are crucial to the national economy. In addition the government was not required to insure such undue risks through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Although obviously in the public interest, these regulations could not survive the pressure coming from the banking lobbies and so, once more, we all must be prepared to pay the price of this version of insufficiently regulated capitalism.
3. The political influence of the nation’s wealthiest individuals will increase by a factor of ten in 2015, making the United States more of a plutocracy and less of a democracy than at any time since the 1920s. How do I know? Because the new federal budget emasculates what little was left of the 2002 McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act by increasing tenfold the amount of money individuals can give to political parties. This is the result of conservatives’ demanding that political campaigns be underwritten wholly by private funds. Common sense tells us that such an arrangement can only confirm political power in the hands of those who are already economically dominant. By the way, most countries claiming to be democracies regulate against just this dominance of private money because it is recognized as politically corrupting.