Musings on Tax Day.

According to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office:

the U.S. has made a deep dent in its deficit. The federal deficit lingered above $1 trillion from 2009 to 2012, reaching higher than $1.4 trillion in 2009 amid the recession. But the shortfall dropped to $680 billion in fiscal 2013. And CBO’s latest projections Monday show the deficit continuing to drop to $492 billion this fiscal year and then to $469 billion in 2015.

But after 2015, CBO says that it will start to rise and could reach $1 trillion in 2022 through 2024.

Those are some big numbers. And we should never, ever forget exactly where those numbers came from:

deficits

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Here are some more big numbers:

The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that the U.S. Treasury will lose approximately $50 billion a year because of the deferral of corporate taxes on foreign profit. The projected cost from 2013 to 2017 is more than $265 billion.

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“I like to pay taxes. With them, I buy civilization.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Supreme Court Justice (Republican appointee).

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The bar patrons were so sure that their bartender was the strongest man around that they offered a standing $1000 bet. The bartender would squeeze a lemon until all the juice ran into a glass, and hand the lemon to a patron. Anyone who could squeeze one more drop of juice out would win the money.

Many people had tried over time: weightlifters, longshoremen, etc., but nobody could do it.

One day, this scrawny little fellow came into the bar, wearing thick glasses and a polyester suit, and said in a small voice, “I’d like to try the bet.”

After the laughter had died down, the bartender said, “OK”; grabbed the lemon; and squeezed away. Then he handed the wrinkled remains of the rind to the little fellow. But the Crowd’s laughter turned to total silence…. as the man clenched his little fist around the lemon…. and six drops fell into the glass.

As the crowd cheered, the bartender paid the $1000, and asked the little man: “What do you do for a living? Are you a lumberjack, a weight-lifter, or what?”

The little fellow quietly replied: “I’m with the IRS.”

[h/t don ardell]

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Nobody whines more about the taxes they pay than rich people:

Rich People Are Mad They Have to Pay So Many Taxes
on Their Ballooning Incomes

No group of Americans is less happy about the taxes they pay than the wealthy, The Wall Street Journal reports, glossing over the fact that they are paying more in taxes in large part because they are seeing most of the increase in incomes. This is like being mad that you paid more in sales tax on your Bentley than your doorman paid in taxes for a Ford.

The Journal, being the literal journal of Wall Street, takes great pains to articulate the anguish of the wealthy while downplaying that contributing factor. “Higher earners’ share of the overall federal tax burden has been climbing fairly steadily,” the Journal’s John McKinnon writes, “even before lawmakers negotiated the fiscal-cliff deal at the end of 2012.” He tells the story of a business owner that saw her taxes “rise from around $600,000 in 2012 to more than $700,000.” That’s a steep increase. And, McKinnon continues, it was “driven mainly by changes in investment-tax rates on the $2 million in dividends she received from her firm.” Oh. Well. Sorry? “She was really shocked by the increase,” her attorney said. “That one hit home.” Which home? Not the Aspen one, I hope.

I can think of a lot of people who would love to have a $700,000 tax bill today on $2 million. Jeezus.

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“There is a mass delusion in whitebread suburban America that they are the real America, and that they are being oppressed by high taxes to pay for poor minorities, even though the reality is actually the reverse: urban centers pay the bills for parasitic suburban lifestyles, which are ultimately unsustainable socially, fiscally and environmentally.”
David Atkins (thereisnospoon), blogger

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Paul Ryan’s proposed budget increases taxes on middle- and working-class people, guts programs for the sick, the poor and the elderly, and gives enormous tax breaks to corporations and the wealthiest Americans. What a shocker.

By a vote of 219-205 yesterday the Republicans rammed through their “reverse-Robin Hood” budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

For the next decade, the Republicans basically propose taking from the middle class and the poor and giving to the wealthy. This is a crass and clear class warfare tactic coming from the Republicans in the House. By cutting $5.1 trillion in education, health care, help for seniors, food assistance for the poor and proposing huge tax breaks for the super wealthy, the Ryan budget upends not only our economy, but our society and our values.

According to Brookings, if you are in the top 1 percent of wage earners (over $633,000) the Ryan plan would cut taxes in half. If you are among the 75 percent of Americans making between $20,000 and $200,000 you likely would be facing a tax increase.

Paul Ryan, a.k.a. Satan.

Paul Ryan, a.k.a. Satan.

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“The tax which will be paid for the purpose of education is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.”
Thomas Jefferson

Sounds about right.

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