"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)

Monday, December 10, 2012

CBS Fiscal Cliff Reports (Ben Stein Video on "Eliminating Mortgage Deduction is "Foolish")

Ben Stein has some of the most rational comments I have seen on reasons for keeping the mortgage deduction.  When the GOP first brought up eliminating the mortgage deduction from income tax, it didn't make sense.  Then your realize that the majority of Republicans involved in the talks on the 'fiscal cliff' are millionaires themselves so the mortgage deduction means little to them.  

The mortgage deduction may mean little to the wealthy but for the middle class who own their home, pay a mortgage, and have seen everything else rise, it means lower taxes which is money back in their pocket. It can also make a difference when people go to buy a house as the tax deduction means you can get more house for your money.

The war on the middle class continues today with Republicans talking about eliminating the mortgage deduction.  Why not eliminate the loopholes that have allowed people like Romney, hedge funds, and oil and gas owners to pay less interest then then middle class in income taxes.  Mortgage interest, medical, state taxes, and charitable donations need to stand at least for those making under $250,000.  I actually have no problem with those standing for everyone for their main property.  

Do Republicans want to send the housing marking into a tailspin by eliminating the mortgage deduction in order to make Obama look bad?.  Note to Republican leadership:  You lost and Obama is not running again.  Middle class Republicans are starting to turn on House Republicans for bottling up the bill that would continue tax cuts on the middle class.  They never had the Democrats support but now they are losing Republican support some of which they may never get back.

Republicans need to listen to Ben Stein and quit thinking like a millionaire and remember the roots a lot of them came from which was not millionaire status.  
9 December 2014Stein: Eliminating mortgage deduction is "foolish" 
Play CBS News Video 
The "Fiscal Cliff" 
(CBS News) The battle over how to reduce the federal deficit continues this week in Washington. One of the suggestions under consideration doesn't pass muster with our contributor Ben Stein: 
My late father, the economist Herbert Stein, had a few favorite quotations.
One of them was from a European thinker named Oxenstierna, if I have that name right. The quote went simply, "Observe, my son, with what little wisdom the world is governed." 
This comes to mind as our nation is convulsed by fiscal problems, especially a titanic budget deficit. 
This bipartisan mess, caused by GOP tax cuts that went too far and Democrat spending that went too far, is stirring talk of the need for tax increases and spending cuts. 
Some of this - tax increases on the very rich - makes perfect sense to me.
But one of the ideas getting noodled around is just plain foolish. That's the idea of junking or severely limiting, the deduction for tax purposes of interest on home mortgages. 
Look, we are just barely limping off the bottom of a residential housing catastrophe, and home buying and building are finally, after a genuine nightmare, reviving. 
If we could get housing roaring back, that would go a long way towards full recovery for our economy. 
Obviously, taking away the home mortgage interest deduction is the very last thing the housing market needs. 
I'm not saying it would hit every home buyer, but a home is an investment. If we lower the return on an investment, well, you get the picture. 
This bad idea is apparently meant to substitute for tax increases on the wealthy. 
But this is strange. The rich, by definition, are RICH. That's why they are CALLED "rich." They can afford to pay more tax. 
The middle income home buyers, or some of them, need that home mortgage interest deduction to buy. 
So we have the question: Do we want to clobber housing, hurting millions of homebuyers, builders, construction workers and timber people? Or tax the people who have two Cadillacs and a Bentley? 
How can this even be an open question? 
Observe, my friends, with what little wisdom the world is governed.

The last statement by Ben Stein is a keeper and describes the obstructionist Republicans we see today in the Congress.  A few are waking up but a lot more need to see the light and realize they are heading down a path to defeat in 2014 because of their stubbornness in refusing to work with Democrats,  The American people deserve better out of their elected representatives and the majority are disgusted with the Republicans putting Party over Country once again.

Most Congressional Republicans still don't get it as they are demanding to keep the tax cuts for the wealthy (who can afford the tax increase) while continuing their attacks on seniors, poor, and middle class taxpayers.  This time they are going after social security and medicare to help balance the budget while at the same time refusing to pass the bill in the House to make the Bush Tax cuts permanent for the middle class.  Not a way to win votes.  

Are Republicans so scared of Grover Norquist that they will go off a cliff rather then vote to raise taxes on the wealthy?  Today's GOP is pitting their wealthy donors against the middle class and poor.  IMHO it is a dumb move to tie Social Security and Medicare to tax hikes on the wealthy because those two programs are not part of the budget as President Reagan said:
 “Social Security, let’s lay it to rest once and for all… Social security has nothing to do with the deficit. Social Security is totally funded by the payroll tax levied on employer and employee. If you reduce the outgo of Social Security, that money would not go into the general fund or reduce the deficit. It would go into the Social Security Trust Fund. So Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or raising or lowering the deficit.”  
It is absurd and abject stupidity to try and convince voters programs like Social Security and Medicare programs are entitlement programs when every working person pays into those programs out of every paycheck.  Look no further then Federal Civil Service who used to be exempt from Medicare and Social Security as to see the Congress spin on both of those programs as needing civil service to participate (translation = dollars) or they were going broke in ten years.  

First one to fall was Medicare in 1983 to get more money from civil service to save Medicare.  Later they split civil service into two groups in starting in 1986 -- current employees were offered a choice to stay with the regular CSRS or switch to FERS which included social security.  FERS went into effect for all new hires starting in 1986.  They gave the pitch in 80's on how much better FERS would be in the end but most long time civil service didn't buy the koolaid and kept the original CSRS.  Have yet to hear anyone who stayed in CSRS complain about the program but have heard all kinds of complaints about FERS over the years.  Then the Congress took one more step in making sure that if you retired on CSRS and worked to gain Social Security benefits that the Windfall Elimination Provision would take affect lowering your amount of Social Security benefits until you reach 30 years under Social Security.

What is it with members of Congress wanting to keep going after Social Security and Medicare like it is a giant pot of money for them in the general fund.  The money out of every paycheck goes direct to Social Security and cannot be used to fund the Government today.    

It hard for me to believe that these millionaires in Congress want to go after social security and medicare benefits to lower the deficit when they are not part of the budget.  Why not go after the fraud in medicare like Obama has proposed?  That doesn't seem to be something most GOP in Congress want to talk about.  Why?  Is it because they are beholding to their big donors who are involved in making profits from healthcare even if part of it comes from Medicare fraud?  Always thought that was the reason they fought Obamacare as well -- wealthy donors involved in healthcare.  

You are probably getting the idea that I am fed up with the current obstructionists Republicans in Congress and you would be correct.  They are an insult to anyone who has the ability to think and reason.  Perfect place for them is at the end of the unemployment line in 2014.  

Read More about the Fiscal Cliff at CBS:
These are only two days of headlines, but CBS has done a very good job of compiling the information leading up to the fiscal cliff at their website.    

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