On Seattle’s head tax

If taxes on corporations kill jobs, as opponents of Seattle’s head tax claim, shouldn’t we tax only the middle class? 🙂

After all, the rich will just take their money and invest it elsewhere — in other states or, perhaps, the Cayman Islands.

Indeed, tax avoidance is a national and international problem and is a big reason why economic inequality is so large. Amazon and other large corporations have benefited tremendously from state and city services. It’s time for them to reinvest in the community. If they move some divisions elsewhere, that wouldn’t be a total loss: their presence has caused over-crowding and homelessness.

Scary Koch brothers to spend $400 million on midterms and $20 million to defend GOP tax bill

Koch network to spend $400 million during 2018 midterm election cycle

Koch network to spend $20M selling GOP tax overhaul ahead of midterm elections

Likewise, Sinclair deal spooks liberals ahead of 2020 presidential race and Sinclair Deal Threatens to Put Right-Wing Slant on Election News.

These developments, combined with the existing reach of conservative media outlets such as Fox News, the bubble effect of the Republican tax bill, and the willingness of some corporations to throw peanuts to the plebes in exchange for their huge tax breaks, may allow the GOP to eke out another election victory in November.

Choose your battles wisely

I saw a facebook post that was encouraging overturning of I-200 (the voter-approved initiative which prohibits affirmative action and similar racial preferences). I support over-turning I-200 but that’s not my highest priority. My highest priorities are economic inequality and environmental justice.

As I commented on the post, many people think the bill is of mixed benefit, all things considered. Specifically, overturning I-200 risks alienating some voters who progressives need on other issues. I know a Chinese lady who voted for Trump because, she said, her son was at a disadvantage getting into an Ivy League school because of affirmative action. I don’t think she is a racist.

Do we fight about identity politics? Or do we fight about economic and environmental justice? Or both?

Our resources and political capital are limited. So, yes, I support overturning I-200. Given a choice between spending political capital on that bill and spending it on other issues, what’s the best choice?

We have legalized marijuana and gay marriage — which are good to have. But Washington State have the most regressive tax system in the nation, and I want our legislators to tackle that issue, which is a foundation for so much more that we want: education, public transit, an adequate social safety net, housing, environmental stewardship, and guaranteed health care for all.

Extreme wealth inequality

The Billionaire Bonanza: 5 Things You Need To Know About The Inequality Gap

There are now 2,043 dollar billionaires worldwide. Nine out of 10 of them are men.

In 12 months, the wealth of this elite group of 2,043 has increased by $762 billion — enough to end extreme poverty seven times over.

In the period between 2006 and 2015, ordinary workers saw their incomes rise by an average of just 2 percent a year, while billionaire wealth rose by nearly 13 percent.

Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett, the three richest people in the U.S., own the same wealth ($248.5 billion) as the bottom half of the U.S. population.

GOP Tax Plan: raise taxes on the middle class, students and the elderly, so the rich can get yet more tax breaks

The GOP Plan Is the Biggest Tax Increase in American History, By Far

The big deficits in GOP tax plan aren’t a glitch — they’re the whole point. “Slashing taxes is going to cause big budget deficits. But the reason Republicans don’t really care is because they can use the resulting fiscal crisis to go after Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.”

White House Says Cutting Meals on Wheels Is ‘Compassionate’

To pay for tax cuts for billionaires, the US Senate just repealed the credit for elderly and the permanently disabled.

GOP Tax Scam

  • Both the House and Senate bills dramatically lower the federal deduction for state and local taxes (SALT), making it tougher to raise funds for public schools. That means that you will be taxed on part of your income that was already taxed to support public schools.
  • The House bill also eliminates the tax deduction for student loan interest, taxes tuition waivers as income, and eliminates the small tax credit for teachers to buy school supplies.

Pray before raping

The could have added: “destroying the environment, deregulating Wall Street, making it harder for minorities to vote, damaging the neutrality of the Internet, concentrating media ownership in Trump-friendly corporations, reversing the New Deal, squashing unions, supporting neo-Nazis,” etc.

Quickie Link: Walmart Workers Cost Taxpayers $6.2 Billion In Public Assistance

Report: Walmart Workers Cost Taxpayers $6.2 Billion In Public Assistance

Walmart’s low-wage workers cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $6.2 billion in public assistance including food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing, according to a report published to coincide with Tax Day, April 15.

Americans for Tax Fairness, a coalition of 400 national and state-level progressive groups, made this estimate using data from a 2013 study by Democratic Staff of the U.S. Committee on Education and the Workforce.

“It found that a single Walmart Supercenter cost taxpayers between $904,542 and $1.75 million per year, or between $3,015 and $5,815 on average for each of 300 workers.”

Senator Reuven Carlyle explains why he voted against the McCleary deal: the entire burden is placed on the middle class

Video: Sen. Carlyle’s McCleary Floor Speech


Reuven Carlyle explaining his opposition to the McCleary deal

(Excerpts)

70% of low income people in King County are going to see a tax increase.
There is a perception that this is about taxing rich folk in the big cities [but it’s not so].

There is not one business in this state that does not win in terms of lower taxes in this deal. And the middle class is going to feel it deeply and seriously.

The entire weight, the entire obligation, the entire bill is being sent to the middle class, seniors, working folk, renters, and so many others. We have lots of people who are, effectively, house rich and cash poor because we’ve had an explosion in the past 10, 15 years of value in homes.

To put all of that burden, in a state with the most regressive tax system in the nation, all of the burden, exclusively on the middle class . We’re better than this. We could have made it fair, we could have made it equitable, and we could have made it widespread.

We haven’t closed any tax breaks of meaningful size. We haven’t done anything. We haven’t asked anyone else [other than the middle class] to contribute. Hundreds of millions of dollars in business taxes will be reduced. Hundreds of millions in this deal. And yet a retired grandma in Ballard will see 100s of dollars of increase for a home she’s lived in for 20 years.

To put that entire bill on that grandma in the middle class is just not right.

This middle class property tax increase is just too much, too high, too unfair, and too narrowly applied.

Bloomberg: Sweden's economic miracle based on high taxes

Sweden’s economy has outperformed its OECD peers over the past two decades

High taxes, strong unions and an equal distribution of wealth.

That’s the recipe for success in a globalized world, according to Magdalena Andersson, the Social Democratic economist who’s also Sweden’s finance minister.

The 50-year-old has been raising taxes and spending more on welfare since winning power in 2014. She’s also overseen an economic boom, with Swedish growth rates topping 4 percent early last year, that has turned budget deficits into surpluses.

….

The numbers are compelling. Sweden has one of the world’s highest tax burdens, with tax revenue about 43 percent of GDP, according to OECD data. The equivalent figure for the U.S. is about 26 percent. Sweden’s economy has grown almost twice as fast as America’s, expanding 3.1 percent last year, compared with 1.6 percent in the U.S.

Sweden has the highest labor force participation in the European Union. Andersson attributes this to tax-funded parental leave and affordable daycare, which make it easier for both parents to work.

In contrast to most of its European peers, Sweden has budget surpluses. The EU average will be a shortfall of 1.6 percent in 2018, while the estimated deficit in the U.S. of 5.7 percent of GDP, EU Commission data published in February show.

A Reverse-Trump Tax Plan Delivers an Economic Miracle in Sweden