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Taxes

Visualize Cutting Education To Pay For Tax Cuts For The 1%

by: Publisher

Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 00:00:00 AM EDT

This is what it looks like when we defund schools in order to give a tax cut to the richest 1%. To invest in our future everyone should pay their fair share.
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Will This Be What The History Channel Shows On October 17, 2016?

by: Publisher

Tue Oct 23, 2012 at 16:00:00 PM EDT

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Mitt Romney Debates Mitt Romney On Israel, Taxes, Education, Healthcare and Abortion

by: Publisher

Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 22:51:08 PM EDT

Foreign Policy Speech ...
Finally, I will recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel. On this vital issue, the President has failed, and what should be a negotiation process has devolved into a series of heated disputes at the United Nations. In this old conflict, as in every challenge we face in the Middle East, only a new President will bring the chance to begin anew.

Private Fundraiser ...

"I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say there's just no way ... the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish ... [S]o what you do is, you say, you move things along the best way you can. You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem...and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it."
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Mitt Romney Debates Mitt Romney On Israel, Taxes, Education, Healthcare and Abortion

by: Publisher

Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 22:51:08 PM EDT

Foreign Policy Speech ...
Finally, I will recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel. On this vital issue, the President has failed, and what should be a negotiation process has devolved into a series of heated disputes at the United Nations. In this old conflict, as in every challenge we face in the Middle East, only a new President will bring the chance to begin anew.

Private Fundraiser ...

"I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say there's just no way ... the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish ... [S]o what you do is, you say, you move things along the best way you can. You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem...and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it."
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Mitt's Remaining Taxing Questions

by: Publisher

Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 16:27:31 PM EDT

Mitt Romney finally filed his taxes for 2011 and on Friday, Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan made their 2011 returns public along a letter from Romney's accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers attesting to Romney's tax rate over the last 20 years.

Romney is hoping these disclosures will end discussion of his personal finances and allow him to turn his campaign in advance of the October 3 debate. However, these disclosures raise perhaps as many questions as they answer.

  • Mitt's enormous IRA: Romney's IRA is valued at over $100,000,000. How did he build up such a big retirement fund given the $6,000 legal annual contribution limit. Even assuming a healthy 10% rate of return it would take 78 year for an IRA to grow that much. Did Bain undervalue the assets it contributed in Mitt's IRA?

  • Cayman Islands: In this 2010 video courtesy of BuzzFeed, Paul Ryan calls the Cayman Islands "the place you hide your money". We know his running mate Mitt Romney had an offshore bank account there? How long has he had the account? How much money was in it? And how much tax was he able to avoid thereby?

  • Residency: M. S. Bellows of the Guardian has an interesting theory about why Romney refuses to follow the tradition of disclosing his tax returns. Perhaps he is not so worried about the bottom line (how much taxes he paid) but the top lines (his mailing address)!
    Tax returns require taxpayers to state their residence address, and the Romney returns already produced, although partially redacted, state clearly that they lived in 'Belmont, MA 02478' in 2012 (tax year 2011) and 2011 (tax year 2010)... But the Romneys, arbitrarily, refuse to disclose a copy of the returns they filed in 2010 or 2009 (for tax years 2009 and 2008) - which, perhaps not coincidentally, bracket the time period when Romney allegedly committed fraud by voting in Massachusetts when he actually resided in California. So here's the question: did Romney put his son's basement's address on the returns he filed in 2009 and 2010? Or did he truthfully use his real (non-Massachusetts) address, thus implicating himself in voter fraud?

  • Missing Millions: According to Rick Newman at US News & World Report, Mitt's preliminary 2011 tax return showed $20,901,075 in adjusted gross income. His final return shows $13,696,961 in AGI. A $7,204,114 error is not small change! Where does the discrepancy arise?

  • Missing Thousands: Similarly, Paul Ryan's final return show $64,122 in income that he "forgot" to list in his original return. To Romney that might not be much, but it still represents 20% of Ryan's income. How could Ryan who chairs the House Budget Committee lose track of 20% of his family income?

  • Donations: Romney had a political problem with his 2011 return. Earlier this year, he said he never paid less that a 13% tax rate, but this year's taxes were going to work out to a 12.2% rate. In order to avoid this embarrassment, he voluntarily chose to claim only $2.25M out of the $4.02M in donations they listed. This increased their tax rate to 14.1%. According to William Douglas and David Lightman:
    In 2011, the Romney's charitable cash contributions included $1.115 million to the Mormon church and $214,516 to Tyler Charitable Foundation, a Romney family foundation. The Romneys also claimed a deduction of $920,573 for noncash contributions that were not spelled out in a statement accompanying the return.
    Romney could file an amended return at any time during the next three years and receive a refund of this excess tax. Does he plan to do this? And if not, how does that square with his statement in July
    "I don't pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due I don't think I'd be qualified to become president."

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A Special Kol Nidre for Congress

by: Publisher

Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 18:50:20 PM EDT

Kol Nidre is the traditional Aramaic declaration recited for the Yom Kippur evening service. This solemn ceremony is meant to release the community from oaths which were made in error or under duress. The Rabbinical Assembly of New Haven has created a variant of the Kol Nidre formula for use by Congressmen, Senators and otehr politicians trapped by their pledge to Grover Norquist.

Dissolution of "No New Tax" Pledge

All vows, renunciations, bans, oaths, formulas of obligation, pledges,  and promises that were made by members of the House of Representatives or the Senate and other public officials, lawmakers,  city officials and candidates for office in the United States of America  before this Yom Kippur 5773 (17 September 2012), whether in writing or orally, to not raise taxes or impose new taxes, all are undone, repealed, cancelled, voided, annulled, and released, and regarded as neither valid nor binding by our community.  They are hereby released and forgiven by this Earthly Court, and so may they be released and forgiven by the Highest Court.

Thus ordered, thus decreed and thus released by the signatories below, constituting a rabbinic court of three under our authority and the authority of the Rabbinical Assembly of New Haven, Connecticut,  USA, and others who have joined with us.

Beit Din
  • Rabbi Jon-Jay Tilsen,  
  • Rabbi Yaakov Komisar, and
  • Rabbi Baruch A. Levine

Witnesses

  • Rabbi Murray Levine,
  • Rabbi Alan H. Lovins, and
  • Rabbi Joshua Ratner

כל נדרי ואסרי וחרמי וקנמי וכנויי וקנוסי ושבועות והבטחות והתחייבויות דנדרו ודאשתבּעו
ודאחרימו ודאסרו ודהבטחו והתחייבו חברי בית הנבחרים והסנאט ופקידי הציבור
ומחוקקים וחברי וועדי העיר ומועמדים למשרד בארצות הברית עד יום כפור זה שנת
ה׳תשע״ג בין בכתב ובין בעל פה בכוונה ללא להעלות מיסים וללא להטיל מיסים חדשים
כלּהון יהון שרן שביקין שביתין בטלין ומבוטלין לא שרירין ולא קימין.  אין כאן לא נדר
ולא אסור ולא חרם ולא קונם ולא קנס ולא שבועה ולא הבטחה ולא התחייבות ויש כאן
מחילה וסליחה וכפרה.  וכשם שמתירים בבית דין של מטה، כך יהיו מֻ תרים מבית דין של
מעלה.  

כך צוים וכך גוזרים וכך מתירים אנחנו، חתומי מטה، בישיבת בית דין של שלשה של כנסת
הרבנים בניו היבן ומצטרפים עלינו עוד רבנים מוסמכים כאן בעיר ניו היבן קנקטקט במדינת
אמריקה הצפונית.

   
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Newsweek: Romney asked Ryan for 10 years of tax returns

by: Publisher

Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 21:26:45 PM EDT


This week, Newsweek reported that Romney asked Paul Ryan for 10 years of tax returns before picking him as his running mate — showing that he understands their importance as a vetting tool. Romney refuses to give the American people the same level of disclosure that he asks of others.  
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Yet Another Theory Why Romney Won't Show His Tax Returns

by: Publisher

Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 22:06:06 PM EDT

M. S. Bellows of the Guardian has an interesting theory about why Romney refuses to follow the tradition of disclosing his tax returns. Perhaps he is not so worried about the bottom line (how much taxes he paid) but the top lines (his mailing address)!
Tax returns require taxpayers to state their residence address, and the Romney returns already produced, although partially redacted, state clearly that they lived in 'Belmont, MA 02478' in 2012 (tax year 2011) and 2011 (tax year 2010)... But the Romneys, arbitrarily, refuse to disclose a copy of the returns they filed in 2010 or 2009 (for tax years 2009 and 2008) - which, perhaps not coincidentally, bracket the time period when Romney allegedly committed fraud by voting in Massachusetts when he actually resided in California. So here's the question: did Romney put his son's basement's address on the returns he filed in 2009 and 2010? Or did he truthfully use his real (non-Massachusetts) address, thus implicating himself in voter fraud?
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Obama and Romney's Campaign Manager Exchange Memos

by: Publisher

Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 12:34:45 PM EDT

Memo from Obama's campaign manager Jim Messina to Romney's campaign manager Matt Rhoades:
Dear Matt:

I am writing to ask again that the Governor release multiple years of tax returns, but also to make an offer that should address his concerns about the additional disclosures. Governor Romney apparently fears that the more he offers, the more our campaign will demand that he provide. So I am prepared to provide assurances on just that point: if the Governor will release five years of returns, I commit in turn that we will not criticize him for not releasing more-neither in ads nor in other public communications or commentary for the rest of the campaign.

This request for the release of five years, covering the complete returns for 2007-2012, is surely not unreasonable. Other Presidential candidates have released more, including the Governor's father who provided 12 years of returns.  In the Governor's case, a five year release would appropriately span all the years that he has been a candidate for President.  It would also help answer outstanding questions raised by the one return he has released to date, such as the range in the effective rates paid, the foreign accounts maintained, the foreign investments made, and the types of tax shelters used.

To provide these five years, the Governor would have to release only three more sets of returns in addition to the 2010 return he has released and the 2011 return he has pledged to provide.  And, I repeat, the Governor and his campaign can expect in return that we will refrain from questioning whether he has released enough or pressing for more.

I look forward to your reply.

Jim Messina


Matt Rhoades's reply follows the jump.
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Obama and Reagan on Taxes

by: Publisher

Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 13:00:19 PM EDT

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A Tale of Two Budgets

by: Publisher

Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 12:58:26 PM EDT

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Approaching Warren Buffett Without Violating Grover Norquist

by: Publisher

Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 16:03:05 PM EDT

Warren Buffett, (left) the third wealthiest person in the world, believes that the richest Americans should pay their fair share in taxes. "How can this be fair?" Buffett asked, regarding how little he pays in taxes compared to his employees. The so-called "Buffett Rule" would require billionaires to pay at least the same marginal income tax rate as Americans making $388,350 per year.

Nearly all of his income is taxed at the 15% top marginal rate for dividends and capital gains, the same rate as workers making under $44,000 in wages. The income for most Americans, the 99% if you will, is from wages, not investment income, unlike many in the 1%. Wages for the 99% are taxed up to a 35% marginal rate. Treating investment income the same way we treat wages would go a long way to restoring tax fairness.

Buffett also believes firmly in the inheritance tax, saying that repealing it would be like "choosing the 2020 Olympic team by picking the eldest sons of the gold-medal winners in the 2000 Olympics".

Unfortunately, making these common sense changes is impossible because of Grover Norquist (right). Grover Norquist is the founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and over 95% of all Republican Congressmen have signed Norquist's "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" requiring them to "oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business; and to oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates".

These Congressmen hold a majority in the House of Representatives and block any action in the Senate through their misuse of the filibuster.

It would therefore seem impossible to get past Norquist, but there is a gambit that just might work.

First, do absolutely nothing until January 2013 at which time, absent action by Congress and President Obama, all of the Bush tax cuts will finally expire restoring 2001 marginal tax rates:

  • 15% for first $43,850 (assuming married filing jointly),
  • 28% on the next $62,100,
  • 31% on the next $55,500,
  • 36% on the next $126,900, and
  • 39.6% on any remaining income.

Once rates are restored to the levels we had in the Reagan and Clinton era — a time of economic prosperity it is well to remember — Democrats will have enormous leverage to push Republicans to accept a more progressive tax code. By packaging the Buffet Rule with lower rates for the 99%, the Democrats would force Republicans into voting for the Buffet Rule as part of a package of tax cuts for the vast majority of working Americans (retroactive to January 1, 2013) in order to keep their pledge. Should they fail to do so, they would be widely and rightly pilloried for serving not the 1% but the .01% making in excess of $5,000,000/year and spitting in everyone else's eye.

This change would be considered a tax cut according to Grover Norquist's pledge, and could be at least partially offset by increasing the tax on investment income from 15% to something more comparable to the income blue-collar Americans earn through their blood, sweat and tears.

The alternative would be to vote out Congressmen who insist on voting according to their pledge to a lobbyist instead of according to common sense and the wishes of the overwhelming majority of Americans. But that's just crazy talk.

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TED Talk On Taxes Too Hot For TED

by: Publisher

Thu May 17, 2012 at 19:13:31 PM EDT


Nick Hanauer gave this TED talk based on his column for Bloomberg View reevaluating the conventional wisdom on taxation and job creation. TED is refusing to post this talk until after the election. However, it available here thanks to the speaker. The relationship between the tax structure and unemployment is important for society to understand, and we welcome this contribution to the debate.  
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Either we do this to kids, or raise taxes on millionaires: You choose

by: DocJess

Mon May 14, 2012 at 06:20:48 AM EDT

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Buffett Optimistic vs. Cancer; Pesimistic vs. GOP Senate Fillibuster

by: Publisher

Wed Apr 18, 2012 at 17:00:00 PM EDT

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Mitt Direction: Even Kerry Can't Save Romney Now

by: Publisher

Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 21:40:49 PM EDT

On CNBC, Mitt Romney claimed a precedent for only revealing two years of tax returns  
Larry Kudlow: Why not release your tax returns? Why not go back 10 years?

Gov. Mitt Romney: Well, we've had people run for president before, and they've released two years. John Kerry released two years of taxes...  I've released one already, put the estimate out for the next year. We'll have two years of taxes.


Actually, Kerry is no precedent. When Sen. John Kerry began his Presidential Campaign early in 2003, he followed the example of Romney's father and made public 20 years of tax returns. Now, here are with the Republican primary all but over, and Romney is still hoping to appease his critics with two years of tax returns. As Mitt's father Gov. George Romney said: "one year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show."

Why is he going to such great lengths to conceal his tax records? We already know he pays an effective Federal tax rate of 14.8% (compared to around 25% for most Americans) and just 0.1% for Social Security and Medicare (compared to 7.65% for most Americans). We already know Romney has accounts in Switzerland, Luxembourg and the Cayman Islands which are notorious tax havens.

What else does Mitt have to hide?

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How To Get Ahead In Business Without Paying Any Taxes

by: Publisher

Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 12:54:09 PM EDT


How exactly did Mitt Romney get so obscenely rich?

Robert Reich explains the magic of private equity in 8 easy steps.

Video follows the jump.

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Reagan Agrees With Obama On Taxes On Millionaires

by: Publisher

Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 10:53:46 AM EDT


The Buffett Rule, named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, would ensure that every American pays their fair share of taxes. A look back in time shows that President Obama is not the only president who thinks restoring fairness to the tax code is a good idea.
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It's Tax Season: Guess Who's Not Paying Their Fair Share?

by: Publisher

Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 09:06:54 AM EDT

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How Does Mitt Romney's Tax Bill Compare With The Rest Of Us?

by: Publisher

Sat Apr 14, 2012 at 00:00:00 AM EDT

Rick Santorum has suspended his presidential campaign, but Mitt Romney continues to take the heat. As we approach Tax Day, billionaire Mitt Romney is being held up as the poster boy for the Buffet rule. Romney pays under 14% in Federal taxes far less than most Americans. Under the proposal legislation, people like Romney would have to pay at least 30%.

Benjy Sarlin reports:

On Monday, the Obama campaign went after Romney on a conference call for all of these things and more, starting with a renewed push to get the Republican frontrunner to release more of his taxes.

"Our message to Mitt is simple: If you don't have anything to hide, release your taxes just like every other candidate for president does," campaign manager Jim Messina told reporters. He highlighted Romney's use of a Swiss bank account and Cayman Islands investment fund as particular areas of concern.

Messina noted that Romney reportedly turned over 23 years of tax returns to John McCain's campaign when he was being considered as a running mate in 2008 and suggested he do the same for the public.


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American Jews and the Buffett Rule

by: Publisher

Wed Apr 11, 2012 at 20:54:36 PM EDT


Strong Support for Shared Sacrifice

— by David Streeter

In recent days, President Barack Obama has spoken about the importance of implementing the Buffett rule-which would ensure shared sacrifice for all Americans by adjusting tax rates so that the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share. When speaking about the Buffett rule yesterday, Obama said:

America has always been a place where anybody who's willing to work and play by the rules can make it. A place where prosperity doesn't trickle down from the top, it grows from the bottom; it grows outward from the heart of a vibrant middle class....

In the next few weeks, we're going to vote on something called the Buffett Rule-very simple: If you make more than $1 million a year ... what the rule says is you should pay the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle-class families do. You shouldn't get special tax breaks. You shouldn't be able to get special loopholes.

And if we do that, then it makes it affordable for us to be able to say for those people who make under $250,000 a year-like 98 percent of American families do-then your taxes don't go up. And we can still make those investments in things like student loans and college and science and infrastructure and all the things that make this country great.

 

Last week, the Public Religion Research Institute conducted a poll of Jewish voters in which they found overwhelming support from American Jews for the principles embodied in the Buffett rule:

  • 73% of respondents agreed that "The economic system in this country unfairly favors the wealthy."
  • 81% of respondents favor "Increasing the tax rate on Americans earning more than $1 million a year."

This tremendous support by American Jews for the core values surrounding the Buffett rule is not surprising, given the deep support among Jews for ideals such as tikkun olam (repairing the world) and helping the needy.

On this issue of basic fairness, as with so many others, it is clear that the Democratic Party is the true political home for most American Jews.

Transcript and video of Obama's remarks follows the jump.

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Yet More Profitable Companies Avoid Paying Any Taxes

by: Publisher

Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 00:00:00 AM EST


From 2008-2010 Verizon did not pay any federal corporate income taxes, despite billions in profits. According to Citizens for Tax Justice's new report, Facebook is raking in many extra millions because of tax loopholes that let them pay nothing. Share this graphic on Facebook if you agree that this is outrageous.
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The Big Money Behind Romney And His Super-PAC

by: Publisher

Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 20:21:30 PM EST


Time Magazine has analyzed the Federal Election Commission filings for January to determine who has been contributing to the Super PAC's which have been dominating the Republican primaries:
The group supporting Mitt Romney, who swept Florida's primary on Tuesday, identified bankers, investors and prominent businessmen who together contributed more than $30 million last year. The group's three most generous donors gave $1 million each, or 400 times the amount they could legally give directly to Romney. All were hedge fund managers. The pro-Romney group Restore Our Future spent much of the money it raised on ads supporting the former Massachusetts governor or fiercely attacking his rivals... To be sure, the Romney-leaning super PAC isn't alone in its high-dollar contributions to support candidates. Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife gave $10 million this month to the pro-Gingrich Winning Our Future super PAC, making the couple by far the key backers to a group that had only raised $2 million through the end of December
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Discussions of Wealth in America

by: Publisher

Wed Feb 01, 2012 at 09:14:27 AM EST


If a man has an apartment stacked to the ceiling with newspapers, we call him crazy. If a woman has a trailer house full of cats, we call her nuts. But when people pathologically hoard so much cash that they impoverish the entire nation, we put them on the cover of Fortune magazine and pretend that they are role models.
Class warfare or simply paying your fair share?

Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) last night on CNN actually said:
I'm not concerned about the very poor.

to which conservative writer Jonah Goldberg (National Review) asks "What is wrong with this guy?" and Michelle Malkin quips "Let them eat food stamps."

Meanwhile, Romney has not addressed the questions raised by Brian Beutler about possible offshore tax avoidance scheme raised on his on-the-record press call last week.

The briefing cleared up several questions, but left others unanswered - including one from TPM that will either exculpate Romney from allegations that he's used investments in offshore entities to avoid U.S. taxes, or reveal that his campaign has not fully addressed those allegations.

On the call, Romney's trustee pledged get back to us with this information. But despite multiple inquiries in the days since the conference call, the Romney camp has not set the record straight one way or another....

An IRA can't finance investments with debt, and, in the United States, it can't invest in entities that lever up, without being hit by the UBIT.

But if an IRA invests in an offshore fund, and that fund levers up, it can avoid the UBIT altogether. And at 35 percent that's no small tax to get around, according to multiple tax experts.

When first questioned about this on the call, Romney's trustee noted, "Governor Romeny's IRA is not structured in the Caymans, it's not located in the Cayman's. It's tax deferred just like your IRA, and my IRA."

But in a followup, I asked if his IRA had invested in any offshore entities that would have made it subject to the UBIT if those entities were located on U.S. soil. Romney's staff has yet to provide the answer.

They talk about class warfare - the fact of the matter is there has been class warfare for the last thirty years. It's a handful of billionaires taking on the entire middle-class and working-class of this country. And the result is you now have in America the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of any major country on Earth and the worst inequality in America since 1928. How could anybody defend the top 400 richest people in this country owning more wealth than the bottom half of America, 150 million people? The other reason Romney pays a lower tax rate than most of us is that so-called "carried interest" (the commission charged by hedge fund managers) is treated as long-term capital gains and taxed at 15%. According to Mother Jones, Bain Capital

spent $300,000 between August 2007 and April 2008 lobbying the House and Senate on bills that threatened the carried interest loophole. Along with other private equity titans like Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Apollo Management, Bain and its ilk paid lobbying shops, public relations firms, and trade groups like Ogilvy and the Private Equity Growth Capital Council an estimated $15 million between January 2009 and April 2010 to convince lawmakers to keep the loophole alive. The force of those combined lobbying efforts kept the carried interest loophole wedged open, denying the federal government some $10 billion in revenues.
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Deja Vu: Massachusetts Governors Mitt Romney & John Kerry

by: Publisher

Mon Jan 30, 2012 at 09:25:46 AM EST


Gingrich's ad "The French Connection" points out linguistic and policy similarities between Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). Now that Romney has given us a glimpse of his taxes we see yet another similarity, "both ended up paying Buffett-rule-esque rates... despite incomes that put both of them squarely in the top percent of earners." This financial advantage is easily seen on the airwaves in Florida where Romney is outspending Gingrich by 5 to 1.

According to AP, if you "add up the wealth of the last eight presidents, from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama. Then double that number. Now you're in Romney territory."

Romney is currently trailing in the polls. However, speculation is flying that Rick Santorum might suspend his campaign to attend to his daughter Bella's pneumonia, or drop out entirely if as expected he performs poorly in Florida tomorrow. Having been endorsed by former candidate Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich said, "I think that the election will be substantially closer than the two polls that came out this morning. When you add the two conservatives together we clearly beat Romney. I think Romney's got a very real challenge trying to get a majority at the convention."

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A Call For Fairness or Class Warfare?

by: Publisher

Thu Jan 26, 2012 at 18:00:00 PM EST

Taxes are on the forefront of discussion this week. At his State of the Union Speech, Obama called on the 1% to pay their fair share of taxes and give back to the society which made their success possible:
Tax reform should follow the Buffett Rule.  If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes.  And my Republican friend Tom Coburn is right:  Washington should stop subsidizing millionaires.  In fact, if you're earning a million dollars a year, you shouldn't get special tax subsidies or deductions.  On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year, like 98 percent of American families, your taxes shouldn't go up.  (Applause.)  You're the ones struggling with rising costs and stagnant wages.  You're the ones who need relief.  

Now, you can call this class warfare all you want.  But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes?  Most Americans would call that common sense.

By simply letting George W. Bush's tax cuts and other measures expire, the annual budget deficit could be slashed by $7.1 trillion!

Meanwhile, under pressure, Gov. Mitt Romney finally disclosed his 2010 tax return for last year showing an effective tax rate of 13.9% on $21.6 million of income (or over $33,000 per day) in 2010 and expects to pay 15.4% on $20.9 million in 2011.

When Mitt Romney's father Gov. George Romney (R-MI) ran for President he released 12 years of tax returns saying "One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show." When Mitt Romney applied for the job of Vice-President he provided John McCain with over 23 years of tax returns. (McCain passed over Mitt Romney and chose Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.) Now Mitt Romney is running for President and he expects one year of tax returns to satisfy everyone. People are especially concerned about the time he spent at Bain Capital.

According to Dealbook, David Rubenstein, founder and chairman of the Carlyle Group, defend Mitt Romney's tax rate:

Mr. Romney was just following the tax laws when he paid a rate of 13.9 percent on income of more than $21 million in 2010. "If you change the law, we'll pay the taxes," Mr. Rubenstein said to scattered applause during a debate at Davos on the future of capitalism.

Michael Brendan Dougherty explains how Mitt Romney's 500-page 2010 tax return gives us insight into the alternate universe America's elite lives in:
  1. Very few American households create tax forms the length of a Tom Wolfe novel.
  2. Romney's effective tax-rate may not be all that much lower or higher than most households, it still sounds pretty low to the average person looking at what's withheld from their wages.
  3. Although many more Americans have something in the market, almost none of them can imagine an IRA with $100 million in it. That's strange even to most rich people.
  4. Tithing to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Romney gives a serious amount of money to his church. [$4,100,000] And although lots of people give something, a tithe is a commitment most Americans actually can't understand making. This detail makes Romney seem conspicuously religious in a way that most Americans, even most Evangelicals are not.
  5. The big buzzy words out of this release (sure to be used by Gingrich) are "Cayman Islands" and "tax shelter" and "Swiss bank account."
The new DNC video asks "why Romney puts so much of his money in secret Swiss bank accounts and other overseas tax havens."

Bloomberg just polled  1,209 investors to find out what they thought about the "Romney tax".

2/3rd or 60% of those polled thought that the low 15% rate was "unwarranted":
  • 21% said the rate was fine
  • 13% said they had no idea
That was for investors all over the world. Here in the U.S.:
  • 67% said there was no justification for the lower 15% rate
  • 27% said that the rate was fine

As Obama said on Tuesday,
We don't begrudge financial success in this country.  We admire it.  When Americans talk about folks like me paying my fair share of taxes, it's not because they envy the rich.  It's because they understand that when I get tax breaks I don't need and the country can't afford, it either adds to the deficit, or somebody else has to make up the difference - like a senior on a fixed income; or a student trying to get through school; or a family trying to make ends meet.  That's not right.  Americans know it's not right.  They know that this generation's success is only possible because past generations felt a responsibility to each other, and to their country's future, and they know our way of life will only endure if we feel that same sense of shared responsibility.  That's how we'll reduce our deficit.  That's an America built to last.
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1% Chutzpah

by: Publisher

Thu Nov 17, 2011 at 13:01:05 PM EST

Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction:
Hensarling (TX) co-chair, Toomey (PA), Upton (MI),
Kyl (AZ), Camp (TX),  Sen. Portman (OH),

Murray (WA) co-chair, Kerry (MA), Baucus (MT),
Clyburn (SC), Becerra (CA), Van Hollen (MD)

The after-tax income of the top 1% of US Households has almost quadrupled since 1979. Meanwhile those at the bottom experienced an 18% increased according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Accordingly 68% of Americans are asking the richest to do their fair share and pay an extra couple of percent on their marginal tax rate for their income beyond $1,000,000. Nevertheless, the Republicans on the "Supercommittee" charged with reducing the deficit are intransigent. They have signed Grover Norquist pledge to never increase taxes and want to balance the budget by cutting expenses. This puts onus largely on the backs of the working poor who will suffer the most from reductions in social security and other entitlements.

However, the Republicans did offer a token compromise. Yesterday, they offered to eliminate certain deductions. Millionaires would no longer be able to write off interest paid for their yacht or summer home.

However, in exchange they want to make the Bush tax cuts permanent and expand them, slashing one-fifth of the income tax for millionaires by reducing the top rate from 35% to 28%.

That's not tax reform.

That's chutzpah.

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The Story of Broke: Still Plenty of Money to Build a Better Future

by: Publisher

Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 00:00:00 AM EST

New 8-minute video from award-winning Internet filmmaker Anne Leonard - creator of The Story of Stuff and The Story of Citizens United v. FEC

The United States isn't broke; we're the richest country on the planet and a country in which the richest among us are doing exceptionally well. But the truth is, our economy is broken, producing more pollution, greenhouse gasses and garbage than any other country. In these and so many other ways, it just isn't working. But rather than invest in something better, we continue to keep this 'dinosaur economy' on life support with hundreds of billions of dollars of our tax money. The Story of Broke calls for a shift in government spending toward investments in clean, green solutions-renewable energy, safer chemicals and materials, zero waste and more-that can deliver jobs and a healthier environment.

It's time to rebuild the American Dream; but this time, let's build it better.

Annotated script follows the jump.

Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.  

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Ask Millionaire Mitt Romney to Release His Tax Returns

by: Publisher

Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 19:14:30 PM EST


Does Romney Want to Hide the Fact That He Pays a Lower Rate Than Hardworking Middle Class Pennsylvanians?

Keystone Progress, a multi-issue advocacy organization, confronted Mitt Romney today, calling on him to immediately release his tax returns, something he has never done during his two decades of running for or holding elective office.

Keystone Progress made the demand during Romney's visit to Philadelphia for a $10,000 a seat fundraiser at the posh Rittenhouse Hotel.

A recent Time Magazine report indicated that Romney, who is worth as much as $250 million, may pay a tax rate as low as 14 percent - a rate lower than many hardworking middle class Granite State families. Without seeing his tax returns, it's impossible to know how Romney is making his millions and what his exact tax rate is.

More after the jump.

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Biden Explains Back to Work Act Trade-offs

by: Publisher

Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 21:46:13 PM EDT


-- VP Joe Biden

Watch them and see how they choose. Are they going to put 300,000 teachers back in the classroom, 15,000 firefighters back on the job and thousands of police officers back on the beat or vote to save people with incomes of more than $1 million a one-half of 1 percent increase on the their taxes for every dollar they make over a million?

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