6 Things Missing From The Budget Agreement

by Frank James

December 11, 2013 1:13 PM
 
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., walk to announce a tentative agreement Tuesday between Republican and Democratic negotiators on a government spending plan.House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., walk to announce a tentative agreement Tuesday between Republican and Democratic negotiators on a government spending plan. 

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

The essence of the budget deal reached by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is better understood by looking at what’s missing, rather than what’s included in it.

The agreement by the budget committee chairs is no grand bargain. It’s more like a mini-bargain. And all the missing elements are absent precisely because the yawning ideological rift between Washington Democrats and Republicans made it impossible to include those items and still have the votes to get to “yes” and avoid a government shutdown in mid-January.

In short, it’s the really hard stuff that didn’t make it into the agreement.

So what’s missing? Plenty. Here are some of the holes: Continue reading “6 Things Missing From The Budget Agreement”

Fiscal compromise sets stage for new year of mini-cliffs

Fiscal compromise sets stage for new year of mini-cliffs

Tom Shoop

This article has been updated.

My, my, how far lawmakers’ ambitions for the fiscal cliff negotiations have fallen in the past two weeks.

Aiming to pull the country back from the fiscal cliff, the Senate early Tuesday easily approved a measure that would delay automatic budget cuts known as the “sequester” and raise taxes on household income above $450,000. The deal, worked out between the White House and Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, still needs approval by the House. Continue reading “Fiscal compromise sets stage for new year of mini-cliffs”

Half avoid taxes, get US help, but many not poor

politics

Half avoid taxes, get US help, but many not poor 

ALAN FRAM | September 18, 2012 07:50 PM EST |

WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney got the math about right. But when he said 47 percent of Americans pay no income taxes and are “dependent on government,” he blurred together half or more of the entire country, ranging from the nation’s neediest to its middle class, and even some of its richest families.

Forty-six percent of the country’s potential taxpayers – some 76 million – paid no federal income taxes last year, according to a study by the Tax Policy Center.

While it’s true most of those nonpayers are poor, the numbers include many others who got tax breaks because they are old, have children in college or didn’t owe taxes on interest from state and local bonds. And of those who didn’t write checks to the IRS, 6 in 10 still paid Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes, and more than that paid federal excise taxes on items such as gasoline, alcohol and cigarettes, said Roberton Williams, who analyzes taxes at the center. Continue reading “Half avoid taxes, get US help, but many not poor”