Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Announcement from “Brooklyn for Peace”

*A "deal" is starting to take shape between the Obama administration and Congressional leaders, the details of which have started to leak out. This message will provide you with sources you can refer to for more information.

*What's important to recognize is that this "deal" does not favor or protect the 98%.* The administration appears ready to walk away from its pledge to stand firm on raising taxes on the top 2% of income earners ($200,000 for individuals, $250,000 for families). So far only the issue of revenues (taxes) seems to be where tentative agreements have been reached. Spending cuts remain, so far as we know, still under negotiation (both domestic social programs and military spending).

Second, it is important to recognize that all of the details resolved between the White House and Congressional leadership can be rewritten when bills come to the Congress for a vote. This is where public pressure becomes critical!

It is reported that Joe Biden, on behalf of Obama, has agreed to tax increases only for individuals earning $400,000 or more and households earning $450,000 or more.

*We should be clear that such a deal will result in cuts to programs that are essential to survival for many Americans in order to provide tax cuts to people who earn $200,000-$399,999 or families that earn $250,000-$449,999. Social programs and the social safety net will be targeted for cuts so that those who earn more in a year than most American households earn in 4-5 years get their tax cuts.

* (Real median household income in 2011 was about $50,500 and per capital incomes was $26,700. That means half of households earned less than $50,500. Adjusted for inflation, these numbers are actually lower than they were in 2007.)

Given that specifics of program cuts are still in play, and Pentagon contractors will pull out all the stops to see that none of their appropriations are significantly affected. That will put the burden of cuts on the backs of those who are least able to endure them.

*This is why the Jobs-Not-Wars Campaign is so important ...

*This means that we are going to be right back in this exact same situation with the Republicans holding the debt ceiling hostage to extract massive cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

We need to respond loudly to members of Congress and the White House with a simple message: WE won the elections. The votes of the majority sent a clear message - don't mess with Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other critical safety net programs, tax the rich and big corporations, take money from the generals and put it into creating jobs and rebuilding our public infrastructure.

We should repeat what we have said, "No deal is better than a bad deal."  With the onset of sequestration, the President will have more leverage to force the Republicans to protect the unemployed and other vulnerable people while negotiations continue on the overall resolution. One netizen observed, "Important to remember that it is not this deal or no deal ever, it is this deal or wait 10 hours and get massive amounts leverage for a better deal."

In an article that appeared today (of all places) on Fox News, Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer (ret.) made the point very well:

*Sequester and the fate of America's national security*
*"....The sequestration presents us with an opportunity to actual make some hard decisions – not pleasant ones – about what will be the spending priorities of our defense and security establishments. There are bottomless pits of money, such as the Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDO) that have accomplished virtually nothing over the course of the wars of the last decade but continue to suck down dollars like a Florida sinkhole sucks down cars.

We need an effective defense – not an expensive defense. We have the latter. The two are not necessarily mutually exclusive concepts – but the latter has been the preference of both this White House and the Congress...."* The Jobs-Not-Wars Campaign will provide a sample e-blast endorsing organizations can use or adapt to mobilize a response. Watch your mail for that.

Here is information about the "deal"…………..
Elements of the deal:

1. 39.6% tax rate for individual income over 400k/family income over $450k.
2. Alternative Minimum Tax patched permanently.
3. Dividends and capital gains taxed at 20% (currently 15%) of the $400k/$450k levels.
4. Personal Exemption Phase-out (PEP) at $250k. Limitation on itemized deductions (Pease) at $300k. [Explained below, affects only high income earners]
5. Unemployment Insurance extended through 2013.
6. Business corporate tax extenders through 2013
7. EITC, Child Tax Credit and Opportunity Tax Credit extended cuts for 5 years.
8. Estate tax raised to 40 percent on an estates worth $5 million or more.
9. One year deferral on reduced payments to Medicare providers
10. Payroll cut expires (immediate 2% more taken from paychecks)
11. Sequester remains unclear. President wants to offset with taxes and spending cuts. GOP only wants to offset with spending cuts.
12. No agreement on debt ceiling (which keeps it a political football).


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