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Apr 182011

No, I’m not talking about the fact that Passover begins tonight…  Today is tax day.  The extension of the Bush tax cuts for another two years that came as a result of the “negotiations” during the Lame Duck session of the 111th Congress gave us the extra day to file our 2010 returns.

But the real difference is that this year, we’re not just blindly going along with the broken system that allows some of our biggest corporations to pay nothing at all, while you and I are being bled dry.

US Uncut had over 100 actions around the country over the weekend, shining a bright light on some of those corporate tax dodgers… and they did it quite creatively in San Francisco!

Unfortunately, the mainstream corporately owned media chose to cover only the sparsely attended Tea Party gatherings, furthering the fake story of it being the right wing “movement’s” second anniversary. (Aside: I mentioned the so-called right wing movement on the show this morning, and my boyfriend quickly brought in a note proclaiming “I just had a right wing movement. I flushed it and wiped my Cheney.” Now you know what I deal with behind the scenes.

Anyway, instead of reporting on the actual news, these corporate propaganda outlets instead gave us made up shit®  like these stories about the alleged Tea Party rally in Wisconsin yesterday…

From CNN:

From Fox (We Make Shit Up®):

While this is what the crowd was actually shouting and doing while Palin was screeching:

And this was what was going on while Breitbart was bitching:

Go to hell, indeed, Andrew Breitbart.

No, we’re not taking this lying down at all (though some who will participate in a Passover Seder will attempt to sip wine while laying prone… or something like that).  Instead, we’re finally speaking out about the fact that the poor and those of us who are heading in that direction are being saddle with more and more of the tax burden, while the uber-wealthy and others who actually have their own personal budget surpluses are seeing smaller and smaller tax bills with each passing year.

This morning, I was joined by AlterNet editor and senior writer Joshua Holland to talk about his “Tax Day Question: Who’s Paying What?” in which he alerts us to these frightening facts:

The federal income tax bill for a person making $15,000 is 51 percent higher today than it was 30 years ago — a big jump.

If you make $20,000, your federal income taxes have gone up only slightly. You would have paid $2,498 in 1981, and this year you would pay $2,575.

If you make $50,000, your federal income taxes would have declined by 19 percent, from $10,710 to $8,625.

If you make $100,000, you’d be paying 33 percent less today than in 1981.

Someone making a really good living that brought in $250,000 would pay 47 percent less – that person’s federal income tax bill dropped from $126,953 in 1981 to $67,398 today.

If you brought in a half-million dollars, your tab would have dropped by 49.5 percent, saving you around $150,000. It’s about the same decrease for someone making a cool million.

These figures only consider taxable income, and the super-wealthy avoid paying their share of taxes through a variety of loopholes that decrease their adjusted income – the amount subject to taxes. But looking just at the rate-changes, a person making $10 million would have seen his or her tax bill drop by 50.4 percent.

Nice, huh? Or not…

We also discussed the other piece he wrote on Friday, “Are We In The Process of Creating a New and Enduring American Underclass?”. The quick answer to that question is, of course, yes.

By the way, President Obama promised that this year, we’d all get a Federal Taxpayer Receipt.  I’d rather get an actual receipt with my refund check, but this will suffice. Click on the link and check it out…

This being Monday, I was joined in hour two by Nicole Belle of Crooks and Liars for our weekly “Fools on the Hill’ segment, watching the Sunday news shows so you don’t have to. Here’s what Nicole suffered through this week:

Most of what we do at Crooks and Liars is to look at the abdication of the media in informing the public.  I absolutely blame that abdication on the fact that we have so many ill-informed and misinformed Americans.

One of the most common ways that the media abdicates their responsibility is also the most insidious.  It is the way they frame the debate, not only in the questions they ask, but of whom they ask the questions.  On This Week with Christiane Amanpour, the producers opted to follow an interview with Treasury Secretary Geithner with four freshman reps from the Tea Party Caucus.  When the Democrats swept into Washington in 2008, did we see a bunch of freshman Democrats being booked on the Sunday shows?  Nope.

Now I’m sure the producers will say that the Tea Party Caucus is inherently newsworthy, because the media is always enthralled by them.  Hence the coverage of the tea party protests despite dwindling participation, but no notice of the month long protests for workers in Madison or even the thousands of protesters organizing for action against climate change this weekend.   But if one caucus is newsworthy,  then the question must be asked: when will they give equal time to the Progressive Caucus?  Unlike the Tea Party, who are latching on to Paul Ryan’s budget as their own, the Progressive Caucus has offered up their own budget suggestions, ones for which the media offers no air time.

Just as egregiously as ignoring the progressive side of the equation, the media also fails us when it ignores its responsibility to act as adversaries to those they interview.  Amanpour offers no challenge as these  teabaggers talk.  Allen West talks about lowering taxes to gain revenue for more investment.  Explain how that works.

Another failure of the media is to simply muddy the waters  of what should be clear dialog.  The Chris Matthews Show characterizes its format as “current events discussion”.  So why on earth would Matthews introduce the topic “What if there is no Hell?”?

Frankly, I don’t want my media or politicians delving into the subject of whether Hell exists. It’s exactly this pandering to religious beliefs that makes it possible for creationists to insist on Intelligent Design to be on par with evolution. But I suspect that Tweety had another agenda in bringing up the topic. After giving his panel a chance to affirm their own piousness, Matthews takes an interesting tangent for anyone tired of hearing Republicans proclaim their ownership of the discussion of faith: “Why does the right wing love the Old Testament so much?”

And bless his little non-Communion receiving soul, Andrew Sullivan comes up with the answer: “Jesus loved the poor. He thought they were better than the rich.”

Another aspect to not challenging the politician in front of you is to allow him to not answer your questions.  Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer asked Paul Ryan, who has literally been crying all over the place on how mean Obama has been to him, to comment on the audio of Obama caught on a live mic.  Ryan declined and launched into his talking points.   But I think Obama raised an important point that the American people deserve to know: why did Ryan vote for two unfunded wars and the unfunded Bush tax cuts.

The media also loves to create these narratives around charismatic individuals, creating these fanboy cults of personality.  So GOP flavor of the month Donald Trump is now a front runner in the Republican presidential polls, despite a rather dismaying gap in understanding  how government works.  So Candy Crowley lands the big ‘get’ for Sunday: the interview with the Donald, but says nothing when he says that we should just take Libya’s oil.  Um, huh?

Finally, because I like to end the segment on a positive note, I’d like to remind everyone that even with all the tricks and shenanigans played on us by the media and the politicos, many Americans see through it and have rejected the memes and narratives.  Listen to the crowds boo Sarah Palin and get Andrew Breitbart so flustered that he repeatedly tells the crowds to ‘go to hell’.

And on that note, go forth, drink wine, eat matzoh and, as I used to think they were saying, have a decent pesach…

*** Podcast of today’s show coming asap. My podcast company is experiencing tech issues today. Ugh****

***Podcast now posted….



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