Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tax Time Once Again;

Hey! Hope everyone is doing okay!
Watched another new episode of Lost last night. It was pretty good, I guess. Or at least decent. I don't know. It feels like sort of a chore to me to have to keep up with Lost at this point, but we're so close to the end...
Anyway, I hope Jorge Garcia continues to find work after Lost reaches its conclusion. He's managed to create a pretty popular character out of Hurley when that character could have been a complete disaster if played by someone else.

What else? Also watched The Daily Show last night.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
That's Tariffic
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

This segment about American taxpayers and the outrage surrounding those who don't pay taxes makes some really interesting points. Many Americans, particularly (but not exclusively) conservatives, have been expressing anger about the fact that the poorest 40+% of American households don't really pay any federal income tax (a study first published on The Drudge Report). Of course, as Stewart points out, these people only manage to avoid paying taxes through a nefarious scheme that involves being poor and struggling really hard to make ends meet. Nonetheless, the media has glommed on to this statistic and is trying to drum up controversy with it. Stewart goes on to point out the fact that the Exxon corporation, an American company which made $35 billion dollars in profits last year, paid no money whatsoever in taxes to the U.S. government during that time period, instead managing to pay taxes only to foreign governments (probably governments with lower tax rates) by way of a corporate structuring scheme involving offshore subsidiaries and other loopholes. $35 billion in profits without paying a penny in taxes, and people are upset that the poorest percentage of our population isn't having more money taken out of its minimum wage checks! (keeping in mind that these people are, in most cases, still paying things like state income tax, sales tax, property tax, and other taxes)

Well, in a sort of fortuitous turn of events for Obama, taxes are about to increase on some of the wealthiest part of the American population without Obama having to actually call for a tax increase (to date, Obama's tax credits and other programs have actually reduced taxes to some degree for over 90% of the population). Bush's tax cuts are going to expire at the end of the year. This means that taxes will probably go up for some folks who are making over $250,000 a year, and the government can recoup some of the more than $2.5 trillion that the wealthy managed to save as a result of the tax scheme. (the Bush tax cuts gave more than half of their tax savings to the top 5% of income earners) This comes at sort of a good time, as experts like Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke have begun to make serious calls for a new plan to reduce the U.S. deficit. Rolling back the Bush tax cuts certainly isn't going to fix the deficit problem, but it's a step in the right direction, and it's a step which can occur without Obama having to to really be the bad guy (all of that being said, a combination of entitlement and spending cuts along with some form of further tax increase will probably be necessary in order put the federal budget back on the right trajectory).
It will be interesting to watch the Tea Partiers and all of these other so-called "deficit hawks" who've been criticizing Obama (for increasing the deficit as he struggled to do things keep the economy afloat and reform health care) as they all shift gears to fight these tax cut rollbacks. I would imagine that these Tea Partiers are all about keeping the federal deficit under control- but not if it means a move to reinstate a pre-Bush era tax scheme that will most heavily impact the wealthiest part of the country.
Ahhh... tax season. Somehow it seems even nuttier than usual this year., but when you have a recession combined with a paranoid political climate in which the opposition keeps trying to brand the president as a socialist- well, things are just bound to get a little wacky.

Ehh... I don't have much else. Maybe more later. Hope you guys are enjoying hump day. Let's hope the rest of the week involves a nice downhill roll....

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