February 14: Be Mine, Billionaire

Feb 14, 2012Tim Price

daily-digest-150 What you need to know to navigate today's most critical debates.

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Military Cuts and Tax Plan Are Central to Obama Budget (NYT)
President Obama unveiled his budget proposal for 2013, and in a break with tradition, he's decided to lay out what he actually wants instead of compromising in advance and then getting dragged farther to the right.

Comparing taxes under Obama’s and Romney’s budgets (WaPo)
The president's budget proposal seeks to raise revenue mostly by increasing tax rates for the highest earners, while Mitt Romney cunningly plans to raise taxes on the poor and middle-income as a further incentive to stop having so little money.

An American budget for the rich and powerful (FT)
Jeffrey Sachs argues that while Obama's budget is marginally more progressive than what the GOP wants, it's the difference between someone who's aware there are poor people versus someone who thinks they're made up to scare rich children.

Obama budget would double bank tax size (WaPo)
The president has also proposed a "Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee" for bigs banks that would raise $61 billion and help pay for his mortgage refi plan, as if crashing the economy and accepting $700 billion in bailout money means they owe us something.

GOP Drops Demand For Offsetting Payroll Tax Cut (TPM)
Facing pressure from Democrats who were daring them to raise taxes on workers in an election year, Republicans have agreed to renew the payroll tax cut for the rest of the year and reclassify it as one of those tax cuts that magically pays for itself.

Check out “The 99 Percent Plan,” a new Roosevelt Institute/Salon essay series on the progressive vision for the economy.

At Volcker Rule Deadline, a Strong Pushback From Wall St. (NYT)
Bankers flooded regulators with comment letters yesterday declaring their opposition to the ban on prop trading and warning that it would cause economic instability, as opposed to the crisis that occurred without the ban, which was just a little hiccup.

Policy Follies in the Housing Market: The First-Time Homebuyers Tax Credit (HuffPo)
Dean Baker notes that the tax credit mostly succeeded in encouraging people to buy homes they immediately lost a ton of money on and causing sales to drop off a cliff after it expired, but it was a Republican idea, so no one takes the blame.

What Expanded Safety Net? (Baseline Scenario)
James Kwak explains that while the middle class is receiving a greater share of benefits, it's not because we're being more generous to them, but because we're being less generous to the poor -- and because health care costs are out of control.

It's the Wealth Gap, Stupid (MoJo)
Reid Cramer writes that income inequality is a less significant problem than America's growing wealth gap since the amount of money that the richest Americans make in a year is often just a drop in the buckets and buckets of money they already have.

America’s billionaire-run democracy (Salon)
Bill Moyers and Michael Winship argue that no matter who wins this year's presidential election, thanks to the rise of super PACs, anyone who doesn't have a cool million or so to chip in to his or her favorite mouthpiece has essentially already lost.

With additional research by Roosevelt Institute intern Elena Callahan.

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