Alliance for Democracy

America Spoke, wants to tax the wealthy, not make cuts to SS/Medicare/Medicaid, approves of new taxes‏

 

America Speaks happened today. During the past few days, I and others have written about this nationwide conversation via 26 town meetings on Our Budget, Our Economy. Because of the involvement of Pete Peterson and the Peterson Foundation many, including myself, feared that the process and the questions being addressed would leave a lot to be desired and would be designed for use to justify cut to entitlement programs, specifically to Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid.

Well, if Mr Peterson thought that these town meetings would conclude that Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid and other “entitlements” would need to be slashed in order to cut the national deficit, he was disappointed. The American people spoke quite loudly. They want no or the most minimal cuts to Medicare/ Medicaid, they want to cut defense spending, they want to tax the wealthy, they support a new tax on carbon and a securities transaction tax, and, while the question of single payer healthcare was ruled out in the conference literature, in people’s comments they want single payer to be considered when making changes to healthcare.

Here are some of the results (note that these figures are national, not Portland; Portland only results were not supplied):

On the question of if we should cut Medicare and Medicaid by

  • 5%, 27% supported this option (STO)
  • 10%, 16% STO
  • 15%, 19% STO
  • or not at all, 38% STO

.That is 65% wanting no change or the minimum change.

On the question of Social Security, participants could select as many of these options as they favored:

  • Raise age for receiving full benefits to 69 years of age, 52% STO
  • Limit increases in starting benefits for all but the lowest wage earners, 30% STO
  • Change the formula for raising benefits each year to reflect a lower rate of inflation, 32% STO
  • Raise the 12.4% payroll tax gradually to 13.4% by 2025, 25% STO
  • Raise the 12.4% payroll tax gradually to 14.4% by 2025, 42% STO
  • Raise the limit on taxable earning so it covers 90% of total earnings in America, 85% STO
  • Create personal savings accounts within the system, 27% STO
  • No Change, 23% STO

What garnished the most support: Make those people who currently only pay the payroll tax on the first approximately $106,000 of income pay the tax on almost all of the rest of their income. Let’s say it together “Tax the Wealthy.”

On the question of reducing the deficit by reducing funding for defense, the American people support making the deepest cuts which were offered:

  • Reduce overall spending in this category by 5%, 16% STO
  • Reduce overall spending in this category by 10%, 18% STO
  • Reduce overall spending in this category by 15%, 51% STO
  • Make no change in defense funding, 15% STO

That is right, 51% support cutting military spending by 15%. And so many comments were received voicing support for spending cuts in military spending greater than 15% that it was number one in the list of Additional Options Generated by Participants. There were only four such additional options.

And on the question of raising existing taxes, here are the results:

Raise personal income taxes by 10% for everyone, 20% Supported this option (STO)
Raise personal income tax reates by 20% for everyone, 8% STO
Raise personal tax rates by 10% for everyone in the top two tax brackers, 18% STO
Raise personal tax rates by 20% for everyone in the top two tax brackets, 48% STO
Create an extra 5% tax for people earning more than $1 million a year, 68% STO
Raise the tax rate on capital gains and dividends, 48% STO
Raise the top corporte income tax rate to 40% from 35%, 59% STO
No change, 44% STO

 Tax the wealthy, increase taxes on corporations.

We were asked what types of changes to tax deductions and credits we would support in order to reduce the deficit. Those changes which shifted tax burden to the wealthy and encouraged manufacturing in America were supported by substantial amounts if not majorities, especially limiting corporate depreciation for equipment. Most importantly here is that 84% support continuing the business deduction for domestic production.  My interpretation is that good paying manufacturing jobs for Americans is supported.  Here is the list with the percentage support. Again participants could vote for as many as they liked:

  • Limit the value of itemized deductions to 28%, 44% STO
  • Convert the mortgage interest deduction into a credit, 42% STO
  • Limit the deduction for state and local taxes, real estate, and personal property, 42% STO
  • Limit corporate depreciation for equipment, 51% STO
  • End the business deduction for domestic production, 16% STO
  • No change, 45%

On the question of creating new taxes, people did not want a value added tax (indirect sales tax) but don’t in general mind having new taxes.

  • Create a 5% Value Added Tax, 27% STO
  • Create a carbon tax, 64% STO
  • Create a securities transactions tax, 61% STO
  • No Change, 35% STO

The four additional options generated by participants were

  1.  
    1.  
      1. Reduce overall defense spending by more than 15%
      2. Remove the limit on earnings subject to Social Security payroll tax (this was as opposed the question posed which called for removing the limit on 90% of income earned by Americans)
      3. reform the tax code by moving to a flat tax
      4. Single-payer system should be another option for health care.

If you want to view the documents which were guided discussion and decision making, visit the America Speaks website, www.usabudgetdiscussion.org. The two documents were Federal Budget 101, and Federal Budget Options Workbook. The last one had the discussion of the options which were voted on.

David e. Delk, Alliance for Democracy – Portland Chapter

America Speaks happened today. During the past few days, I and others have written about this nationwide conversation via 26 town meetings on Our Budget, Our Economy. Because of the involvement of Pete Peterson and the Peterson Foundation many, including myself, feared that the process and the questions being addressed would leave a lot to be desired and would be designed for use to justify cut to entitlement programs, specifically to Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid.

Well, if Mr Peterson thought that these town meetings would conclude that Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid and other “entitlements” would need to be slashed in order to cut the national deficit, he was disappointed. The American people spoke quite loudly. They want no or the most minimal cuts to Medicare/ Medicaid, they want to cut defense spending, they want to tax the wealthy, they support a new tax on carbon and a securities transaction tax, and, while the question of single payer healthcare was ruled out in the conference literature, in people’s comments they want single payer to be considered when making changes to healthcare.

Here are some of the results (note that these figures are national, not Portland; Portland only results were not supplied):

On the question of if we should cut Medicare and Medicaid by

  • 5%, 27% supported this option (STO)

  • 10%, 16% STO

  • 15%, 19% STO

  • or not at all, 38% STO

.That is 65% wanting no change or the minimum change.

On the question of Social Security, participants could select as many of these options as they favored:

  • Raise age for receiving full benefits to 69 years of age, 52% STO

  • Limit increases in starting benefits for all but the lowest wage earners, 30% STO

  • Change the formula for raising benefits each year to reflect a lower rate of inflation, 32% STO

  • Raise the 12.4% payroll tax gradually to 13.4% by 2025, 25% STO

  • Raise the 12.4% payroll tax gradually to 14.4% by 2025, 42% STO

  • Raise the limit on taxable earning so it covers 90% of total earnings in America, 85% STO

  • Create personal savings accounts within the system, 27% STO

  • No Change, 23% STO

What garnished the most support: Make those people who currently only pay the payroll tax on the first approximately $106,000 of income pay the tax on almost all of the rest of their income. Let’s say it together “Tax the Wealthy.”

On the question of reducing the deficit by reducing funding for defense, the American people support making the deepest cuts which were offered:

  • Reduce overall spending in this category by 5%, 16% STO

  • Reduce overall spending in this category by 10%, 18% STO

  • Reduce overall spending in this category by 15%, 51% STO

  • Make no change in defense funding, 15% STO

That is right, 51% support cutting military spending by 15%. And so many comments were received voicing support for spending cuts in military spending greater than 15% that it was number one in the list of Additional Options Generated by Participants. There were only four such additional options.

And on the question of raising existing taxes, here are the results:

Raise personal income taxes by 10% for everyone, 20% Supported this option (STO)
Raise personal income tax reates by 20% for everyone, 8% STO
Raise personal tax rates by 10% for everyone in the top two tax brackers, 18% STO
Raise personal tax rates by 20% for everyone in the top two tax brackets, 48% STO
Create an extra 5% tax for people earning more than $1 million a year, 68% STO
Raise the tax rate on capital gains and dividends, 48% STO
Raise the top corporte income tax rate to 40% from 35%, 59% STO
No change, 44% STO

 Tax the wealthy, increase taxes on corporations.

We were asked what types of changes to tax deductions and credits we would support in order to reduce the deficit. Those changes which shifted tax burden to the wealthy and encouraged manufacturing in America were supported by substantial amounts if not majorities, especially limiting corporate depreciation for equipment. Most importantly here is that 84% support continuing the business deduction for domestic production.  My interpretation is that good paying manufacturing jobs for Americans is supported.  Here is the list with the percentage support. Again participants could vote for as many as they liked:

  • Limit the value of itemized deductions to 28%, 44% STO

  • Convert the mortgage interest deduction into a credit, 42% STO

  • Limit the deduction for state and local taxes, real estate, and personal property, 42% STO

  • Limit corporate depreciation for equipment, 51% STO

  • End the business deduction for domestic production, 16% STO

  • No change, 45%

On the question of creating new taxes, people did not want a value added tax (indirect sales tax) but don’t in general mind having new taxes.

  • Create a 5% Value Added Tax, 27% STO

  • Create a carbon tax, 64% STO

  • Create a securities transactions tax, 61% STO

  • No Change, 35% STO

The four additional options generated by participants were

  1.  
    1.  
      1. Reduce overall defense spending by more than 15%

      2. Remove the limit on earnings subject to Social Security payroll tax (this was as opposed the question posed which called for removing the limit on 90% of income earned by Americans)

      3. reform the tax code by moving to a flat tax

      4. Single-payer system should be another option for health care.

If you want to view the documents which were guided discussion and decision making, visit the America Speaks website, www.usabudgetdiscussion.org. The two documents were Federal Budget 101, and Federal Budget Options Workbook. The last one had the discussion of the options which were voted on.

David e. Delk, Alliance for Democracy – Portland Chapter

 

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