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On the News With Thom Hartmann: Obama’s “Buffett Rule” Would Increase Taxes for Millionaires and Billionaires, and More

On the News With Thom Hartmann: Obama’s “Buffett Rule” Would Increase Taxes for Millionaires and Billionaires, and More


Thom Hartmann here – on the news…

You need to know this. President Obama is set to unveil his $3 trillion debt-reduction plan today – and millionaires aren’t going to get off so easy this time. In what will be called the “Buffett Rule” – the President is expected to propose partially closing the capital gains tax loophole. This lets many of America’s millionaires and billionaires like Warren Buffett and Paris Hilton – who just collect dividend checks all day by the pool – skate by paying only a 15% tax rate – far lower than the rate working stiffs pay. Under the President’s new plan – the richest of the rich will pay at least the same tax rate as average middle class taxpayers. Seems fair, right? Not if you’re Republican Budget Chairman – and guy who wants to throw Grandma off a cliff by privatizing Medicare – Paul Ryan – who decried any tax increase on the rich as “class warfare.” Coincidentally – at the same time – Ryan and the rest of his Republican buddies came out against tax cuts for middle class families – the payroll tax-cut included in President Obama’s “American Jobs Act.” In fact – under Ryan’s Republican budget proposal that nearly every single Republican in House voted for – taxes would actually go UP on middle class families – and go down on millionaires and billionaires. So to recap – Republicans are calling a tax hike on billionaires “class warfare” – but are at the same time pushing for a tax hike on the middle class. There is class warfare all right in America – and as Warren Buffet said – it’s his class – the rich – that’s winning. Thank to shills like Paul Ryan.

According to reporting by Sam Stein – President Obama pledged to veto any Gang of 12 deficit-reduction plan that includes cuts to Medicare without tax hikes on wealthy Americans. Turns out – the American people are on his side. According to a new Gallup poll – nearly three-quarters of Americans support a balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes both tax increases and spending cuts. But despite that – Republicans are demanding the Gang of 12 focus ONLY on spending cuts – and the hell with what the people actually want. The ironic thing is – Republicans are also ignoring those within their own party. According to the same Gallup poll – only 26% of Republicans support the spending cuts-only approach being pushed by Republicans like Eric Cantor and Tea Party Members of Congress. Of course – how are the Republicans supposed to know what the American people want when most of them spent their entire August recess hiding from the voters?

In the best of the rest of the news…

What will Rick Perry bring to American as President? Lots and lots of poverty. While Perry loves to tout his job creation record in Texas – where he created mostly government jobs thanks to President Obama’s stimulus package – as well as a slew of low wage jobs – Perry is mum about his record of increasing poverty in the Lone Star state. Last year – poverty in Texas ticked up to 18.4% with nearly 1 in 5 Texans now living in poverty. That’s much higher than the national average of about 15% – which is also a troubling number. Not only that – Texas ranks toward the bottom in the nation in how much money is spent improving the lives of its citizens – and ranks dead last in health insurance coverage – with nearly a quarter of Texans uninsured. If Rick Perry really intends to bring what he did in Texas to the rest of the nation – then welcome to third world America.

Last week – the media jumped on President Obama’s administration over a loan to solar company Solyndra that went bust. In what was dubbed “Solyndra-Gate” – it was suggested that the loan was granted for political reasons – and that the whole deal reeked of crony capitalism. But as we’re getting used to these days – the media dropped the ball. Not only does Solyndra represent just 1.3% of the Department of Energy’s entire loan portfolio – and is the only company receiving loans to fail – but former President George W. Bush has more fingerprints on the Solyndra loan than does President Obama. It was Bush who created the loan program – and spent 2 years urging the Department of Energy to approve the Solyndra loan – which it finally did only 2 months into President Obama’s term. Not only that – regarding the accusation that the Obama administration granted the loan in return for campaign contributions – one of Solyndra’s top investors got their money from the Walton family – a notorious contributor to the Republican Party – not exactly fans of the Obama presidency. So here we have another scandal manufactured by Republican hacks for the media – when the media SHOULD be looking into the greatest crime of all – the destruction of the American middle class at the hands of Republicans and the oligarchs who own them.

The people have had enough of the banksters infecting our body politic. Over a thousand demonstrators converged on Wall Street over the weekend to demand banksters be held accountable for their high crimes that, according to the World Bank, have impoverished 64 million people around the planet. The demonstrators are also demanding major structural reforms to our economy – and calling for workers to go on strike – for seizures of abandoned building and properties – and for demonstrations to begin across the nation. Taking a page from Tahrir Square in Egypt – the demonstrators have pledged to stay in the streets for months if necessary. The banksters have stretched this nation to the brink – putting more and more Americans in desperation. Now – the backlash against the oligarchs may be just around the corner. As the group leading the protests declared: “It’s time for democracy, not corporatocracy.”

And that’s the way it is today – Monday, September 19th, 2011. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.

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