Tag Archives: House of Representatives

We’ve averted the fiscal cliff – or have we?

Passed by the Senate at a 2 am vote on January 1, 2013; passed by the house at an 11 pm vote that same night; signed into law by the President on January 2, 2013, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 is perceived as a deal struck by congress at the eleventh hour that largely eliminated the Fiscal Cliff.

Has this legislation really averted the Fiscal Cliff?

The Fiscal Cliff is the sharp decline in the budget deficit that could have occurred beginning in 2013 due to increased taxes and reduced spending as required by previously enacted laws.

But the deal to avert the Fiscal Cliff doesn’t achieve any of that. Instead, it…

A) Does not reduce the Federal Government’s budget deficit

B) Does not avoid increased taxes

C) Does not reduce spending

A) The Fiscal Cliff deal does not reduce the budget deficit.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the legislation to avert the Fiscal Cliff will reduce revenues and increase spending, overall adding nearly $4.0 trillion to the Government deficits over the next 10 years.

B) The Fiscal Cliff deal does not avoid increased taxes.

As a result of the deal, the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan Washington research group, estimates that taxes on 77.1% of U.S. households are going up in 2013.

Among the households facing higher taxes, the average increase in taxes would be $1,635, the Tax Policy Center said.

  1. The two-year old 2% cut to payroll taxes is being allowed to expire. The payroll tax, which was reduced to 4.2% in 2011 and 2012, returns to 6.2% in 2013. This is expected to take about $120 billion out of the economy, which should have a negative impact of about 0.7% on GDP growth.
  2. Marginal income and capital gains tax rates are increased for those with annual income over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples. The top income rate is going up from 35% to 39.6%. The top capital gains rate increases from 15% to 20%.
  3. A phase-out of tax deductions and credits for incomes over $250,000 for individuals and $300,000 for couples is reinstated.
  4. Estate taxes are set at 40% of the value above $5,250,000, indexed for inflation, up from 35% of the value over $5,120,000.
  5. A 2.3% tax on gross sales of medical devices (such as heart valves and hip replacement parts – a tax firms making equipment must pay even if they have no profit at all.
  6. A new 3.8% surtax on investment income (possibly including profits from the sale of a home) for individuals making more than $200,000 a year or couples with $250,000 or more.
  7. An increase of Medicare tax on wages above $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples.  The current 2.9% Medicare payroll tax will be increased to a total of 3.8%.
  8. A raise in the threshold for allowed Itemized Medical Deductions from 7.5% of adjusted gross income to 10%, burdening those with the largest medical expenses by limiting how much of these costs they can deduct on their taxes.

C) The Fiscal Cliff deal does not reduce Government spending.

The budget sequestration created by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (the directed automatic across-the-board cuts totaling $110 billion per year for 10 years beginning on January 2, 2013, split evenly ($55 billion each) between defense and non-defense discretionary spending) is delayed by two months.

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 does include, however, over $67 billion in tax breaks for ‘renewable energy’, Hollywood, multinational corporations, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands rum industry, NASCAR, plug-in electric scooters and others.

Who Doesn’t Want Crippling Sanctions Against Iran?

More than three-quarters of the House and Senate signed letters to President Obama urging him to impose "crippling sanctions" on Iran.

The letters further urge the president to sanction Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran's banking system, and Iran's ability to import refined petroleum.

Congress

81 Senators joined signing the Senate letter led by Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY)

and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Who didn't sign?

13 Democrat Senators did not sign off on this call, including:

– Harry Reid
– John Kerry
– Christopher Dodd
– Max Baucus
– Robert Byrd
– Patrick Leahy

8 Republican Senators did not sign off on this call, including:

– Orrin Hatch
– Richard Lugar
– Richard Shelby

Complete language of the Senators' letter.

List of Senate signatories.

Complete language
of the House's letter
.

List of House signatories.



Introducing: The President of the United States of America

43 U.S. Senators (out of 100) – 43% are not Democrats.

177 U.S. House Representatives (currently out of 430) – 41% are not Democrats.

22 U.S. (“Red”) States (out of 50) – 44% did not elect Obama President.

58,343,671 U.S. people (out of 125,225,901) – 46.6% did not vote for Obama.

192 countries (out of 193 in the world) – 99.5% did not elect Obama President.

 

Yet…

 

– He’s delivered 8 times the number of speeches in “blue” states he won than in “red” states in which he was not elected (116 vs. 15).

– He’s visited more foreign countries than he has “red” states in which he was not elected.

– He’s delivered 48 more speeches in foreign countries than in “red” states in which he was not elected.

– His signature domestic legislative achievement – health care – was voted into law with zero bipartisan support (in fact – the only bipartisanship in reference to this bill is the opposition to it: 33 Democrats and 174 Republicans in the House)

Is Barak Obama, then…

The President of the World?

or perhaps

The President of the Democratic States of America?