House Republicans revolted this evening and rejected Speaker John Boehner’s “Plan B” which would have extended the Bush tax cuts for everyone making $1 million or less, among other provisions. According to Boehner, he canceled a scheduled vote on his plan after it became clear he could not get enough support from Republicans for it to pass. The House is now in recess until after Christmas.
House Republicans plan to vote tonight on their so-called “Plan B,” which would void the tax increases and spending cuts scheduled for the end of the year. Instead, the GOP’s two measures would cut spending from a series of consistent GOP punching bags — food stamps, Obamacare, and Wall Street reform among them — and then extend the Bush tax cuts on income up to $1 million.
However, Plan B would allow the lapse of several key tax credits — including expansions of the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit — meaning that it would raise taxes on millions of low-income and middle-class families. The Tax Policy Center found that nearly one-quarter of Americans in the lowest income quintile would see their taxes go up by an average of $934.
But don’t tell House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) — fresh off his failed Vice Presidential bid — who claimed on the House floor that “there’s not a single tax increase that we’re proposing here”:
With respect to taxes, heh, what we are trying to do here is limit the damage to the taxpayer. There’s not a single tax increase that we’re proposing here, not a single. What we’re saying is, prevent as many tax increases as possible from hitting anybody in this economy.
As CNBC’s Robert Frank wrote, “drilling down deeper, you find that some of those low-income earners could see a sizable increase. One in five of Americans who earn less than $20,000 a year will see an increase of $1,070 – a sizeable amount for low-income earners.” In addition to raising taxes on the middle-class, Boehner’s Plan B would preserve a slew of tax breaks for the wealthy.
Corporate Criminal Fines Hit A Record High | Global banks UBS and HSBC recently agreed to $1 billion fines for, respectively, rigging a key interest rate and laundering money for drug cartels and terrorists. The list of bank fraud this year, in fact, is quite extensive. And its not only banks that have been forced to pay up. Money paid by corporations for criminal activity goes into a government fund, and, as Reuters’ Alison Frankel noted, “In the fund’s most recent fiscal year, which ended on Sept. 30, it took in a record $2.7 billion.”
Out of 17 developed countries, single parents in the US are have the fewest resources and the greatest economic hardship, a new report from Legal Momentum shows.
In other countries, parents raising a child alone are offered help from the state and have relative economic stability. But the assessment in the US is different. Not only do American single parents have the largest number of children, they also have the fewest resources to help them raise the kids:
We find that U.S. single-parent families are the worst off. They have the highest poverty rate. They have the highest rate of no health care coverage. They face the stingiest income support system. They lack the paid-time-off-from-work entitlements that in comparison countries make it easier for single parents to balance caregiving and jobholding. They must wait longer than single parents in comparison countries for early childhood education to begin. They have a low rate of child support receipt.
Single parents in the United States also fare worse than their international counterparts when it comes to employment. A huge percentage of single American parents — 25 percent — hold low-wage jobs, higher than any other developed country in the study:
The US was the only country in the study to offer absolutely no paid maternity leave, and just 12 weeks of unpaid leave, to expecting mothers. Some US parents enjoy paid parental leave provided by an employer, but the lowest income Americans (precisely those who match the profile of the average single parent) are those most likely to have no paid leave. By comparison, the countries with the highest amount of leave — both France and Germany — offer 162 weeks total, some paid and some unpaid.
There are a few different solutions that could help with solving the economic difficulties faced by single parents. First, alleviating their tax bill through programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit would help parents see more of the money they make come back into their families. Second, about half of pregnancies in the United States are unintended, and the majority of those pregnancies are to single or unmarried women. There is no reason to suggest that single parents are unfit to raise children, but strengthening access to highly effective methods of birth control would help parents who do not want children to avoid the responsibilities of being a single parent.
Cities and states have seen their budgets decimated during the Great Recession, as revenue plunged due to dropping home prices and high unemployment. They had to make some desperate choices to save funds, including laying off scores of public safety workers (or even turning off their streetlights).
Oakland was no different, laying off 200 police officers, despite the city having the fifth-highest crime rate in the country. However, the city chose to fire those officers while preserving a $17 million payment to the National Football League’s Oakland Raiders and Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics:
Oakland, California, the fifth-most crime ridden city in America, faced a $32 million budget deficit last year. It closed the gap by dismissing a fourth of its police force, more than 200 officers.
Untouched was the $17.3 million that the city pays to stage 10 games a season for the National Football League’s Oakland Raiders and to host Major League Baseball’s Athletics in the O.co Coliseum. The funds cover debt financing and operations and are supplemented by $13.3 million from surrounding Alameda County, based on data compiled by Bloomberg from public records.
Nearly every single NFL stadium was built with public money or benefits from public infrastructure built specifically nearby. This money, as many studies have shown, does not provide much economic benefit to the surrounding community. It merely lines the pockets of the already wealthy owners of professional sports franchises.
Adding insult to injury, the National Footbal League itself is a non-profit entity, like other pro sports leagues. The federal government loses about $91 million in revenue due to sports leagues not having to pay taxes.
House Republicans today, in addition to voting on Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) so-called “Plan B” — which extends the Bush tax cuts on income up to $1 million — will also vote on a bill to replace the spending cuts scheduled for the end of the year.
As The Hill reported, the bill closely mirrors a measure passed by House Republicans in May known as the “The Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012.” (Here is the underlying legislation, which will include these minor tweaks.) That bill voids both the military spending cuts and domestic spending cuts set to take place in 2013 and replaces them with a host of cuts to domestic spending, including:
– Cuts to food stamps that could knock millions of low-income Americans out of the program;
– Cuts to Meals on Wheels, a program that delivers meals to seniors or other individuals who are unable to prepare their own food;
– Cuts funding to health exchanges that will be created under Obamacare and funding for Medicaid included in the same law;
– Cuts to the Dodd-Frank financial reform law that will yield no cost savings, but will make bailouts of big banks more likely;
– Denying the Child Tax Credit to the parents of American children, if the parents are undocumented immigrants.
The White House threatened to veto this set of spending cuts back in May, calling them “a particular burden on the middle-class and the most vulnerable among us.”
The inclusion of these cuts is ostensibly to placate House Republicans upset at Boehner for advancing “Plan B,” which does nothing on the spending side of the federal government’s ledger. Plan B already includes provisions that will cut taxes for some of the wealthiest Americans while raising them for low- and middle-income families.
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) is forging ahead with his plan to vote on his so-called “Plan B,” a bill that would extend the Bush tax cuts on income up to $1 million. Boehner is calling the bill a “net tax cut,” but as ThinkProgress noted yesterday, it will raise taxes on millions of middle-class families by letting several key tax credits lapse.
According to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center, nearly fifty percent of Americans in the richest 1 percent would see a tax cut under Boehner’s bill, while almost one-quarter of Americans in the lowest income quintile will see their taxes go up by an average of $934, compared to current policy, as this table shows:
Boehner’s plan would raise just 15 percent of the revenue of Obama’s campaign proposal to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire on income in excess of $250,000. 50 percent of the revenue loss would benefit those with incomes above $1 million. (HT: Greg Sargent)
In his effort to preserve lower tax rates for the wealthy, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) is now trying to buy the votes of hawkish members of his party by moving to block any cuts to military spending in the next fiscal year.
The debate over the coming “fiscal cliff” has always included the threat of a a trillion dollars worth of automatic cuts known as “sequestration,” spread evenly between military and non-military spending over the next ten years. That balance is now threatened by Boehner’s ‘Plan B’ legislation, prepared in a bid to circumvent his talks with President Barack Obama on how to avoid the looming set of tax rate increases and spending cuts due to take effect on Jan. 1, 2013:
Posted late Dec. 19 by the House Rules Committee, Boehner’s “Plan B” addition would require $19 billion in new discretionary spending cuts. It also would allow the president and the White House Office of Management and Budget to conduct a sequestration round if fiscal 2013 discretionary spending levels exceed specific limits, known as caps.
But the Boehner measure would prohibit the president from tapping the defense budget in 2013 to get under spending caps.
“Any sequestration order issued by the president … to carry out reductions to direct spending for the defense function (050) for fiscal year 2013 … shall have no force or effect,” states the legislation.
Since the ‘Supercommittee’ failed to agree to deficit reduction terms in Nov. 2011, protecting military spending has been a top priority of members of the Republican Party. House Armed Services Committee Chair Howard ‘Buck’ McKeon (R-CA) has been at the forefront of the effort, clamoring for months that any further cuts in military spending “will force us to pull back further from the world.” Meanwhile, as Congressional Republicans continue claiming to favor a reduction in government spending, the House and Senate are prepared to pass a military spending bill over $1.7 billion dollars above President Obama’s request.
Nearly one million workers will see their pay increase in January due to scheduled increases in the minimum wage, according to a release by the National Employment Law Project. These workers in in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington will have their hourly pay rise by between 10 and 35 cents per hour, “resulting in an extra $190 to $510 per year for the average directly-affected worker,” NELP found. This table shows the increases in each state:
If the federal minimum wage had kept up with inflation since the 1960s, it would be over $10 today, a far cry from the current $7.25. And as the Economic Policy Institute noted, “Based on current projections of inflation growth over the next ten years, the federal minimum wage will lose nearly 20 percent of its purchasing power by 2022, equaling $5.99 in today’s dollars.”
Nearly one in four American workers is expected to be in a low-wage job over the next decade (which doesn’t just harm the individual worker, but is detrimental to the workers’ children). Raising the minimum wage would especially benefit women, as “women comprise 54.5 percent of workers who would be affected by a potential minimum-wage increase.”
Welcome to ThinkProgress Economy’s morning link roundup. This is what we’re reading. Have you seen any interesting news? Let us know in the comments section. You can also follow ThinkProgress Economy on Twitter.
- The Treasury Department plans to sell off its remaining shares in General Motors over the next year. [Washington Post]
- Swiss bank UBS is the first global bank since 1989 to plead guilty to fraud. [New York Times]
- The House plans to vote today on Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) “Plan B,” which would extend the Bush tax cuts on income up to $1 million. [The Hill]
- Housing starts declined 3 percent last month, but are still up 21.6 percent from this time last year. [Wall Street Journal]
- The much-reviled Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) is getting closer to breaking even for taxpayers. [CNN Money]
- Senate Republicans want to cut a $60 billion Hurricane Sandy aid bill down to $24 billion. [Reuters]
- A bipartisan pair of senators want the Government Accountability Office to examine what sort of economic benefits big banks receive due to their size. [The Hill]