Category: Fact Check



“The most effective way to strengthen Social Security for the next 75 years is to eliminate the cap on the payroll tax on income above $250,000. Right now, someone who earns $110,100 pays the same amount of money into Social Security as a billionaire. That makes no sense,” said Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the chairman of the Defending Social Security Caucus. He also chairs the Senate aging subcommittee.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/04/24-2

Advertisements

But much more of the increase in the deficit was because of tax cuts under George W. Bush, Medicare Part D (which expanded coverage for prescription medicines) and – most of all – the financial crisis that brought down the economy and sharply reduced tax revenue starting in September 2008.

Our modern debt surge is much more about declining federal government revenue than it is about runaway spending. If you believe strongly that our fiscal issues are primarily about “runaway spending,” please read our book.

The smart approach is to begin the long and not-so-nice work of controlling deficits while allowing the economy to grow.

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/05/is-there-a-fiscal-crisis-in-the-united-states/


Following GOP strategy, Fox News is again blaming the Obama administration for rising gasoline prices — a claim that has been repeatedly debunked by energy analysts. But back in the summer of 2008, when the average U.S. gasoline price hit a record high of $4.11, Fox said that “no President has the power to increase or to lower gas prices.”

In 2008, Fox’s coverage occasionally even mirrored the facts: expanding domestic oil drilling willnotsignificantlylowerprices, and the only way to reduce our vulnerability to gas price spikes is to use less oil. Perhaps there was more room for reality-based coverage at Fox when there wasn’t an incumbent president to defeat?

http://mediamatters.org/blog/201203050007


UpTakeVideo’s Channel – YouTube.


Here’s a quick and fascinating breakdown by total amount held and percentage of total U.S. debt, according to Business Insider:

 

  • Hong Kong: $121.9 billion (0.9 percent)
  • Caribbean banking centers: $148.3 (1 percent)
  • Taiwan: $153.4 billion (1.1 percent)
  • Brazil: $211.4 billion (1.5 percent)
  • Oil exporting countries: $229.8 billion (1.6 percent)
  • Mutual funds: $300.5 billion (2 percent)
  • Commercial banks: $301.8 billion (2.1 percent)
  • State, local and federal retirement funds: $320.9 billion (2.2 percent)
  • Money market mutual funds: $337.7 billion (2.4 percent)
  • United Kingdom: $346.5 billion (2.4 percent)
  • Private pension funds: $504.7 billion (3.5 percent)
  • State and local governments: $506.1 billion (3.5 percent)
  • Japan: $912.4 billion (6.4 percent)
  • U.S. households: $959.4 billion (6.6 percent)
  • China: $1.16 trillion (8 percent)
  • The U.S. Treasury: $1.63 trillion (11.3 percent)
  • Social Security trust fund: $2.67 trillion (19 percent)

So America owes foreigners about $4.5 trillion in debt. But America owes America $9.8 trillion.

 

Who owns America? Hint: It’s not China – Global Public Square – CNN.com Blogs.


The Bush tax cuts did the opposite: $3 trillion worth of tax cuts were predicated on the premise that we were returning the people “their” money. As it turned out, the money wasn’t there to return. Even without the tax cuts, the wars, or anything else, the government would have entered 2011 with $1.3 trillion in debt, not $2.3 trillion in savings. Basically, in the grip of careless enthusiasm about the economic future, we borrowed $3 trillion from bond markets and handed it out to citizens in rough proportion to how rich they already were. In the middle of a recovery. This is not a useful thing for the government to do.

 

 

Deficits: There never was a surplus | The Economist.


The Chart That Should Accompany All Discussions of the Debt Ceiling – James Fallows – Politics – The Atlantic.


Washington’s spending has recently been higher as a percentage of the nation’s economic output than at any time since World War II. But by the same measure, Washington’s revenues are the lowest in more than 60 years.

So does the U.S. have “a spending problem,” as Republicans keep repeating in the current debate over how to reduce the nation’s record deficits? Or is the problem that taxes are not high enough? Those questions frame a long-running partisan debate, and as usual we won’t offer an opinion one way or the other. But for those seeking their own answers, we can offer some fiscal history and factual context.

Some key facts we think are worth considering:

 

Fiscal FactCheck | FactCheck.org.


Liaquat Ahamed: U.S. taxes are too low | Video | Reuters.com.


President Obama’s ‘Long-Form’ Birth Certificate – Document – NYTimes.com.


From the Archives

Senate Republicans yesterday blocked a proposal to tax the windfall profits of the nation’s biggest oil companies and eliminate some of the firms’ tax breaks, rejecting Democratic claims that the measure would help assuage consumer anger over $4-a-gallon gasoline.

Tax Hike On Oil Profits Blocked – washingtonpost.com.


In fact, most Americans have no idea that Barack Obama has lowered taxes. According to a 2010 CBS News/New York Times Poll, only 12% of Americans knew that Obama has lowered taxes. 53% thought that he kept taxes the same, and 24% believed that Obama has raised taxes.

Not surprisingly, only 2% of Tea Party supporters knew that Obama had lowered taxes. 44% of them thought that the President has raised their taxes.

The right believes this because they got the idea from Fox News and talk radio. Four days ago, Fox News.com ran a story claiming that Obama is going to raise taxes. The tax increase boogeyman is a favorite of the right, because it is easy to put out there and it motivates their base every time.

Barack Obama Is Now The Biggest Tax Cutter In American History.


Why Gas Is So Expensive Today (Hint: It’s Not Libya) – Chris Peterson.

The current spike in gas prices is not primarily a result of anything to do with the freedom fighters in the Arab world. Nor is it a result of OPEC’s production levels, which would suggest a far lower $/gallon than can be found on the open market.

Rather, the spikes are primarily a result of the speculative market on oil. This speculative market is driven by the practices of the biggest banks, who have special exemptions to treat commodities like a casino, who have zero incentive to appropriately hedge their bets, who do not provide the liquidity they were designed to provide, and who generally provide nothing of value to society except to push prices of things higher and higher so that very rich people will continue to invest with them.


Put simply, Republicans are conducting a radical attack on the Democratic Party, aimed at the roots of Democratic power and sustenance. The battle is occurring in Washington and around the country, and even if the right doesn’t succeed completely, the fight will almost certainly leave Democrats weakened and defensive.

Look at the targets conservatives have taken aim at in the last couple of years: access to the ballot box, unions, organizations representing the poor, organizations protecting reproductive rights, and more. The assault is not just on ideas or policies (though there’s plenty of that, too) but on the institutions that undergird the Democratic Party and the progressive movement.

Crushing the Democrats’ Base.


Let’s begin with a multiple choice test. The United States of America is:

a) a for-profit corporation;
b) a family, like the typical American family in a 1960’s sitcom;
c) a nation — with a national economy and nation-sized problems.

If you answered “c,” there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that you answered the question correctly. The bad news is that you probably have no future as a pundit, where recycling bad metaphors is an essential job skill. (On second thought, that’s probably good news too. You undoubtedly have better things to do with your time.)

Two metaphors keep reappearing in our national debate like comets on a too-tight orbit. One says that the government’s finances are like a family budget, and the other says that the country needs to be run more “like a corporation.” Both are routinely used as “nonpartisan” illustrations of the need to cut spending.

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard these misleading analogies, I’d have enough money to buy Alan Simpson a cow.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: The United States Isn’t a Company and It Isn’t a Family — It’s a Country..

%d bloggers like this: