Thursday, February 02, 2012

Republican Party Class War Against The Middle Class And Campaign Finance Reform


Earlier this morning we talked about Romney's revealing "slip of the tongue" in terms of not caring for poor people. (A tangent: people should never confuse the Christian Jesus, the one who talked a lot about caring for poor people, with the Mormon Jesus, who they claim was resurrected as the Aztec and Mayan feathered serpent deity Quetzalcoatl and who, like Romney, didn't concern himself with the poor. Tangent over.) The video above has nothing to do with Quetzalcoatl or the Mormons; it's about American democracy itself. It shows Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), standing on the Senate floor, introducing an amendment to overturn Citizens United, which was, in effect, the culmination of the efforts of the wealthy to overturn both the meaning of the American and the French Revolutions. Citizens United was the bloodless coup d'etat by the wealthy to take over America and relegate democracy itself to the scrap heap of history. Bernie's amendment makes it clear that:
• Corporations are not persons with constitutional rights equal to real people.

• Corporations are subject to regulation by the people.

• Corporations may not make campaign contributions or any election expenditures.

• Congress and states have the power to regulate campaign finances.

There's a reason why American corporations, despite the lies propagated by the GOP and their media outlets, are the most undertaxed corporations in the industrialized world. And that reason is the very nature of the political elites in this country-- the wealthy... and not just Willard M. Romney.
Some members of Congress are threatening to allow the U.S. to default on its debt obligations-- and send financial markets into a tailspin-- unless the President agrees to large, sudden cuts in the budget deficit without any increase in tax revenue. But the most recent data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development(OECD),theOffice of Management and Budget and the Census Bureau reveal that the U.S. is already one of the least taxed countries in the developed world. Only two OECD countries have lower taxes as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) than the United States.

Overall, U.S. Taxes Are Third-Lowest Among OECD Nations

* In 2009, total federal, state and local taxes in the United States were 22.6 percent of our gross domestic product, ranking 26th among the 28 OECD countries for which data are available. Only Chile (18.2 percent) and Mexico (17.5 percent) had lower taxes.

* In 2009, total taxes in the 25 OECD nations with higher taxes than ours ranged from 24.6 percent of GDP in Turkey to 48.2 percent in Denmark.

* In most cases, the difference in tax levels between the U.S. and OECD countries is not even close. Of the 25 OECD nations with taxes higher than ours, 22 of them have taxes that are at least 25 percent higher, and 15 have taxes at least 50 percent higher.

Corporate Income Taxes

Many corporate leaders have noted that other OECD countries have lowered their corporate tax rates in recent years, but fail to mention that these countries have also closed corporate tax loopholes while the U.S. has expanded them. As a result, the U.S. collects less corporate taxes as a share of GDP than all but one of
the 26 OECD countries for which data are available.

* In 1965, U.S. corporate income taxes were 4.0 percent of our GDP, compared to 2.3 percent of GDP in other OECD countries.

* But by 2009, U.S. corporate taxes had fallen to only 1.3 percent of our GDP, while corporate income taxes of the other OECD nations collectively stood at 2.4 percent.

* Many countries experienced unusually low corporate tax receipts in the last couple years due to the recession. But even when U.S. corporate taxes recently peaked in 2007 at 3.2 percent of GDP, the average for the other OECD nations was well ahead, at 3.8 percent of GDP.

* In 2009, only Iceland had lower corporate taxes as a share of GDP than the U.S.

Personal Income Taxes

* In 2000, the year before President George W. Bush took office, personal income taxes were 12.3 percent of our GDP.

*Since the Bush tax cuts were enacted, personal income taxes have plummeted. Even with the brief economic bubble that caused income tax receipts to rise in 2007, personal income taxes were consistently well below their 2000 level as a share of GDP ever since the Bush tax cuts were enacted.

* In 2009, U.S. personal income taxes were just 7.7 percent of GDP.

Social Insurance Taxes

* Social insurance taxes and other wage taxes have risen rapidly worldwide.

* Since 1965, social insurance taxes in the U.S. have risen from 3.2 percent of GDP to 6.2 percent of GDP in 2009.

* In other OECD countries, social insurance and other wage taxes rose from 6.1 percent of GDP to 10.8 percent over the same period.

Sales, Excise and Other Consumption Taxes

* In 1965, total federal, state and local consumption taxes in the U.S. were 5.5 percent of GDP. By 2009 they were 4.1 percent.

* In other OECD countries, consumption taxes were 9.6 percent of GDP in 1965, and 9.1 percent in 2009.

Property & Wealth Taxes

* Property and wealth taxes in the U.S. (about 90 percent of which are state and local real estate taxes) fell from 3.9 percent of GDP in 1965 to 2.9 percent in 1980, and have held stable thereafter. They were 3.2 percent of GDP in 2009.

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