GOP’s Debt Solution: Soak the Poor

A single mother struggling to keep a roof over her child’s head would probably love to trade places with a six-figure earner and bear the burden of paying federal income tax on a comfortable salary.

By Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News

magine a bulky schoolyard bully routinely holding you and your classmates upside-down by your shoes and pocketing the money that falls out, using the amount gained from his extortion to buy a new bike at the end of each semester. Now imagine enduring this process every day, all year, throughout each grade of school.

What if one day, the bully actually complained that you weren’t bringing enough lunch money to school because he wanted a nicer bike? Would you comply and let him rob you of a larger amount, or would you and your fellow classmates surround the teacher and demand the bully return the money he stole?

Despite billionaire Warren Buffett‘s pleas to reduce the deficit by shifting the tax burden to the super-rich, Republican members of Congress have officially come out in favor of raising taxes on the poor, while fiercely protecting trillions in tax handouts for billionairesbig oil and corporate jet owners. Right-wing politicians and corporate-media pundits have now set their sights on “lucky duckies,” or the bottom half of Americans who don’t pay federal income taxes. As law professor Edward Kleinbard noted, this statement is misleading and ignores the need for meaningful reform of our tax code.

Jon Stewart creatively dismantled the poor-people-don’t-pay-taxes argument on The Daily Show, highlighting conservatives who dismissed the $700 billion in revenue gained from ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy in 2010. According to Stewart’s calculations, taking exactly half of everything owned by the bottom 50% of Americans would also generate $700 billion, exactly as much revenue as increasing the tax rate for the richest Americans by a modest 3%. Stewart sarcastically suggested Republicans trim the deficit by seizing all assets owned by the bottom half of Americans.

It’s incredibly audacious for the rich to ask the poor to pay more in taxes in order to protect theirbudget-busting tax breaks, especially considering America’s wealth disparity. The gap between the richest and everyone else has grown to levels even greater than on the eve of the crash that triggered the great depression, with the top .001% of Americans now owning 976 times more than the bottom 90%. In 1928, the richest only owned 892 times more than the bottom 90%.

And of course, those accusing the working poor of freeloading ignore the fact that 1 in 4 American jobs don’t even pay poverty wages, or that the federal income tax is inherently designed to avoid hitting the poor, the elderly and working families with children. Such bold accusations also ignore the reality that all of the aforementioned groups still pay roughly one-third of their income in sales, property, payroll and excise taxes.

A single mother struggling to keep a roof over her child’s head would probably love to trade places with a six-figure earner and bear the burden of paying federal income tax on a comfortable salary. But would a six-figure earner be willing to work three part-time minimum wage jobs and still worry about how the rent is going to be paid at the end of the month? Would he really be eager to forgo paying federal income tax if it meant he had to scrape quarters together to buy beans, lentils and ramen noodles for dinner?

Big oil doesn’t need $4 billion per year in taxpayer subsidies – they’re making record profits. Excessive tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires won’t create jobs – the unemployment rate doubledafter ten years of the Bush tax cuts. And corporate jet owners don’t need a tax break while public employees nationwide are losing their jobs to budget cuts.

America needs to surround our teacher before recess and make a strong statement together – the bullies don’t need to rob us of our lunch money to continue their excessive lifestyles. Let’s stop subsidizing wealth for the sake of wealth, and leave struggling middle-class families alone.

Carl Gibson, 24, of Lexington, Kentucky, is a spokesman and organizer for US Uncut, a nonviolent, creative direct-action movement to stop budget cuts by getting corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. He graduated from Morehead State University in 2009 with a B.A. in Journalism before starting the first US Uncut group in Jackson, Mississippi, in February of 2011. Since then, over 20,000 US Uncut activists have carried out more than 300 actions in over 100 cities nationwide. You may contact Carl at

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.”

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News Alert: Fox Misinforms!

In refuting Stewart’s claim, Fox naturally went ahead and misinformed its viewers.

From Altetrnet, By Joshua Holland

Jon Stewart Was Right About Fox ‘News’ Viewers Being the Most Misinformed Citizens

In refuting Stewart’s claim, Fox naturally went ahead and misinformed its viewers.
“Fox News’ attempts at humor have failed miserably over the years. Think of its snooze-fest “comedies” — shows like the “Red Eye” (filler broadcast at 3am) and the rapidly canceled “1/2-Hour News Hour.” But its capacity for unintentional humor is truly unparalleled.

On Monday, the Fox Nation website featured a report aboutJon Stewart’s much-discussed dustup with Chris Wallace last weekend. During the back and forth, Stewart asked Wallace, “in polls, who are the most consistently misinformed media viewers? The most consistently misinformed?” His answer: “Fox viewers. Consistently. Every poll.”

Fox Nation offered a sneering rebuttal to that claim, dismissing it as yet more evidence of the Vast Liberal Conspiracy to oppress conservatives. The piece would be hilarious if not for the fact that it casts the Right’s counterfactual worldview in sharp relief.

The site answered Stewart by posting the results of some Fox viewer polls and then asking, “Does this sound misinformed to you?”

91 percent believe the stimulus legislation lost jobs

• 72 percent believe the health reform law will increase the deficit

72 percent believe the economy is getting worse

60 percent believe climate change is not occurring

Does this sound misinformed? Why, yes, very much so! Maybe a step above the level of angry seniors whose hypertension spikes over right-wing chain-emails, but just a step, and there’s plenty of audience overlap.

On the first point: as the Washington Post reported last summer, “Obama’s much-maligned economic stimulus package added as many as 3.3 million jobs to the economy during the second quarter of this year, and may have prevented the nation from lapsing back into recession, according to a report released Tuesday by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.” Yet nine out of 10 Fox viewers believe the opposite to be true.

The CBO also said that the Affordable Care Act will decrease projected deficits in the future, and that repealing it would make our fiscal outlook significantly worse. Seven out of 10 Fox viewers believe the opposite to be true.

The consensus among economists is that the U.S. economy is in a very sluggish, lackluster period of recovery. A few predict that we may be heading toward a “double-dip” recession at some point in the future, but I’m unaware of a single expert, anywhere on the political spectrum, who would argue that the economy is now actuallygetting worse than it has been over the past three years. Yet seven out of 10 Fox viewers believe it is….

And 60 percent of Fox viewers believe that climate change isn’t occurring, which means that 60 percent think that virtually all of the world’s climatologists are engaged in a grand conspiracy to deceive the public in order to … well, to destroy capitalism, according to some of the more unhinged conservative voices in the debate. That should come as no surprise – a leaked memo from Fox News’ Washington managing editor ordered the network’s correspondents to “refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question.”

But all that’s just a punchline. The joke is that in an attempt to push back against the demonstrably accurate claim that Fox viewers are the most misinformed news consumers, Fox Nation… misinformed its readers.

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