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From this Monday evening's The Rachel Maddow Show, guest host Ezra Klein does a recap of the column he wrote earlier that same day, debunking the right wing's latest talking point that the Affordable Care Act is ?the largest tax increase in the history of the world.?
Since the Supreme Court decision, Republicans have been calling the Affordable Care Act ?the largest tax increase in the history of the world.? Politifact rates this false. Kevin Drum?s got a table of the 15 significant tax increases since 1950, and the Affordable Care Act, which amounts to a tax increase of 0.49 percent of GDP, comes in 10th. Austin Frakt took Drum?s table and made a chart: [...]
So no, the Affordable Care Act isn?t the ?biggest tax hike in history.? It?s not even the biggest tax hike in the past 60 years. Or 50 years. Or 30 years. Or 20 years.
But it does include a number of tax hikes. The individual mandate, however, isn?t one of the big ones. It?s only expected to raise $27 billion during the next decade. The largest tax increase in the law is on high earners, who will see their Medicare payroll taxes increase by 0.9 percentage point and who will also pay a slightly higher rate on investment income. That raises more than $200 billion. There?s also the tax on unusually expensive health insurance plans, which raises $30 billion in the first decade, and much more in the second. There?s a $60 billion tax on insurance companies. You can find the whole list here.
And as Derek Thompson at The Atlantic rightfully pointed out: 2 of the Last 3 GOP Presidents Signed Larger Tax Increases Than Obamacare.
And as Klein noted in the clip above, President Obama has also cut taxes as he did in the stimulus, by extending the Bush tax cuts for two years and as he's promising to do with extending most of the Bush tax cuts for the lower and middle class permanently. None of those facts seem to matter to Republicans much, who are just desperate to paint Democrats as tax and spend liberals and make paying taxes of any sort a dirty word rather than all of our duty to make sure our government functions and that we protect the most vulnerable in our society and our society and democracy as a whole.
I don't know about anyone else, but I'm really just exhausted from watching and listening to this Libertarian wing and bunch of extremists that have taken over the Republican Party and the media's unwillingness to call them out as the dangerous ideologues that they are. Klein did a good job of calling out their lies and the fact that they want to demagogue the issue of paying taxes here. Sadly segments like this one have been the exception when it comes to Republicans and their reaction to the Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act. For the most part they've been aided and abetted by our corporate media, and not just Fox.
By all means the people of this area should receive federal help during such an emergency, but they also ought to be charged heavily for it. Those same right wing extremists like to talk about personal responsibility, so surely they wouldn't accept freeloading off of the generosity of fellow Americans without paying them for the services, right?The other obvious point of the Colorado fires...
The always-excellent Maureen Ryan talked to Homeland executive producer Alex Gansa about the second season of the show, which stars Claire Danes as bipolar CIA agent Carrie Mathison and Damian Lewis as former prisoner of war who had been turned and returned to the United States as a sleeper agent. He told her what the lay of the land is at the beginning of the second season, which begins in September, after Carrie made a desperate bid to stop Brody from committing an act of terrorism, something he actually stopped himself short from doing after receiving a phone call from his daughter:
Well you have to understand the Brody has been completely exonerated in the eyes of the intelligence community and actually even Carrie. I mean Carrie had this sort of epiphany before the ECT about [Abu Nazir's dead son] Issa, but before that, I think she is fairly sanguine about the fact that she was wrong, which is what sent her into the ECT, into the mental institution. She said, “Look, I was wrong. I made a mistake. I intruded on this person’s life. I accused him of things that were not true.”
She had no idea about the vest. She has no idea that Dana made a call to Brody and talked him off a ledge. All she knows is that the bomb never went off, which in her mind and in the CIA’s mind and in her period of intense instability psychologically leads her to believe that she was wrong. Which is why she gets into the car with her sister at the end of the finale and says, “I can’t live like this anymore. I need help. I have to go get some help.”
I wrote about this earlier today with The Wire, but one of the things I find fascinating about both that show and Homeland is that they illustrate the limits of assuming that people behave predictably, and thus, the limits of law enforcement and intelligence gathering. The Wire is much more broadly focused, but one of the significant themes of the show is the cops’ uneasy relationship with Omar, someone who intervenes powerfully in the game, but whose motivations don’t map neatly on to the accepted dynamics of it. Brody, similarly, is someone whose motivations can’t be cleanly sifted from a mass of facts and intelligence. Even when Carrie figures out that he’d bonded with Issa and been turned after Issa’s death, he makes decisions that are opaque to her. It’s because Carrie’s brain is wired differently than David Estes’ or Saul’s, her superiors in the agency, that she’s able to read Brody at all. But even his mind isn’t clearly and easily fathomable to her. You can only do so much to analyze and predict the urges of the human heart.
Many of these veterans described themselves as “dedicated conservatives”, “rock-ribbed Republicans”, and “Tea Party members.” Yet despite their ideological leanings, Walsh’s insult drove them to defend Tammy Duckworth and strongly condemn the Tea Party freshman.
Bob Frick wrote: “As a dedicated conservative and Republican and Tea Party member, you overstepped Congressman. Before I am either of the aforementioned, I am an American. I am a retired American soldier. How dare you refer to or determine what a hero is when you never served.”
Similarly, William Gilliam posted: “I am a rock-ribbed Republican and a Vietnam Veteran. Your comments about Tammy Duckworth’s military service and resultant injuries are just dead wrong. Unless and until you have the courage to sign up yourself, don’t disparage anyone else’s service nor their willingness to talk about it.”
A leading veterans group has also called on Walsh to resign.
Here is a sampling of veterans defending Duckworth and denouncing Walsh:
Tammy Duckworth — a double amputee who lost both her legs in Iraq — is hitting back against Rep. Joe Walsh’s (R-IL) claim that she exploits her military service and battle wounds for political purposes. During an interview with MSNBC’s Martin Bashir Tuesday afternoon, Duckworth — who is challenging Walsh’s House seat — said the hurtful comments offended all veterans across America and noted that her experiences in war do inform her policy views:
DUCKWORTH: If anybody highlights my military service, it’s Mr. Walsh, who actually attacked it on a regular basis. Yes, my wounds do inform my discussions with the constituents when I talk about health care. I know very deeply in a deeply personal way what access to affordable health care means, so when he votes against Medicare for our seniors not once, but three times, he’s voting against the people of the district. So yes, I talk about the fact that had I not had the great health care that I have from the VA [Veterans Administration], I would probably be bankrupt and that’s why we need to make sure we preserve Medicare as we know it.
Military and veterans advocacy organizations have condemned Walsh’s comments, but the Congressman has refused to apologize.
President Obama today will sign into law legislation that will prevent student loan interest rates from doubling as scheduled, as well as provide transportation funding that will save and create millions of jobs. House Republicans had bogged down the transportation funding over demands that the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline be approved, but they dropped that demand last week.
The North Carolina legislature overrode Gov. Bev Perdue’s (D) veto to pass a budget that defunds Planned Parenthood. The lawmakers tried to block state funds to Planned Parenthood last year, but after a judge blocked the provision, they got around a potential legal challenge by not specifically naming the women’s health organization. Instead, the bill stops the state health department from contracting with “private providers” of family planning services, which includes Planned Parenthood. The budget redirects $343,000 in family planning funding away from private groups to county health departments.
Today in North Carolina, the Republican-dominated General Assembly overrode Gov. Bev Perdue’s (D-NC) veto of the rewritten Racial Justice Act. The landmark legislation allowed North Carolina death row inmates to reduce their sentences to life in prison without parole if they could show their sentences were based on widespread racial bias. The rewritten bill severely limits the use of statistics to prove widespread discrimination. In her veto statement, Gov. Perdue said: “[t]his year?s Senate Bill 416 is not a ?compromise bill?; it guts the Racial Justice Act and renders it meaningless.? The veto-override passed the House 72-48 and the Senate 31-11.
Heavy storms over the weekend knocked out electricity for millions of Americans across the mid-Atlantic, including hundreds of thousands of residents of the District of Columbia. Pepco, the utility corporation that has a monopoly over electric services in the D.C., is estimating that it won’t have power restored to 90 percent of households until Friday.
?How many times have we been through this before?” asked D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. “Friday is just not good enough.? Indeed, Pepco is a popular target for discontent in D.C., and for good reason. In the last few years, the company has cut service and maintenance, even while it made millions in profits and paid its executives fat bonuses:
As the good-government website OurDC notes,”From 2008 to 2010, Pepco CEO Joe Rigby earned $8.8 million and Pepco top officers earned more than $22 million. During that same period, Pepco reported $882 million in profits, paid no federal and state income taxes and received $817 million in tax refunds.” Yet as the money rolled in, the Maryland Public Service Commission allowed Pepco to cut back on maintenance, in order to divert funds to dividends and management bonuses…Pepco faces a simple reliability equation: The more it spends on improving service, the less is available for dividends and executive bonuses. CEO Rigby is a major shareholder, so in effect awards himself a commission when he keeps infrastructure spending low and dividends high.
Adding insult to injury, according to Citizens for Tax Justice, Pepco has not paid any net federal corporate income tax for the last decade (despite those millions in profits):
Pepco Holdings: The company recorded small restructuring charges in 2010. The study reallocated these charges to the years they were actually spent. This slightly increased U.S. pretax profits in 2010 and slightly reduced them in 2011. Tax deferrals, primarily from accelerated depreciation, reduced the company?s taxes substantially, as did other factors. The company does not appear to have paid any net federal income tax for at least a decade.
In the last four years, Pepco has actually paid a negative 39.5 percent corporate tax rate, meaning it received millions in tax subsidies from the government. And for that, D.C. residents received a company that can’t get the power back on for a week after a storm.
Yes, the only southern state committed to implementing Obamacare is the home of both Obamacare sworn enemies Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul. So what gives?
Kentucky has a Democratic governor who just won re-election and is not running again (his Obamacare support pretty much proves he won't run against McConnell in 2014.)
Kentucky has large numbers of poor people and low-wage workers who would benefit from expansion, and a powerful private medical industry - including the national headquarters of insurance giant Humana - that will profit handsomely under Obamacare.
Kentucky may hate Obama, national Democrats and the concept of big gubmint interference, but we love us that big gubmint cash.
Despite the Supreme Court ruling that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, Republican governors are considering refusing billions in Medicaid funds which promise to insure millions of lower-income Americans without health care. The Court found that while the Medicaid provision is constitutional, the federal government cannot take away federal funds from states that refuse to open the program to more residents.
A ThinkProgress survey reveals that ten GOP governors have said definitively that they will not accept the funds, while 19 are still considering other options. Sixteen states, all with Democratic governors, have committed to expanding their programs:
We may be racist morons who vote repug, but we're not stupid.
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