Tuesday, October 18, 2011

More on 9-9-9 plus the Retirement Heist

Well, the 9-9-9 plan has been taking some hits. The Tax Policy Institute says it would raise taxes on 84 percent of Americans -- and that would be all of us from the lower end of the income scale, of course. The annual increases mentioned range from $2,700 for people making under $20,000 to $4,500 for people making $40,000 - $50,000. Have you got that laying around your house?

So here are my suggestions if anyone really thinks this 9 fetish is the way to make policy:

  • Exempt the first $20,000 or $25,000 in income for every household. (It would be very important to index that amount to annual inflation.)
  • Exempt food from the sales tax and keep Cain's exemption for used goods. You can buy used clothes, but you can't buy used food, Herman.
  • Add an additional 9 percent tax on earned income over $250,000 (okay, maybe that income number could be a bit higher if someone insists $250,000 is just too low).
  • Include a 9 percent capital gain and a 9 percent inheritance tax.
I still have no idea how a tax plan like this would come out in terms of revenue, but clearly it would be more fair to taxpayers than Cain's plan. And we could call it the 9 plan, which would get away from the the 999 > 666 problem.


I finally watched the Oscar-winning documentary Inside Job the other day. Michael Leddy at Orange Crate Art also watched it very recently, and he summed it up for me: "Want to get angry, or angrier? Watch it."

Just when I thought my jaw couldn't drop any more from the incompetence and avarice of Wall Street, I saw this last night on the Daily Show:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Ellen Schultz
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

To summarize, investigative journalist Ellen Schultz' book Retirement Heist documents how large U.S. corporations purposely gutted their workers' and former workers' pension funds, in effect stealing the money to add to their profit margins or fatten their executive pension funds. They did this by lobbying Congress to change pension law so they could "safeguard" the pensions. Watch the video if you want to get really angry.

An op-ed from today's Star Tribune, which gave a brief history of clashes between American populists and corporations, made the point that we don't seem to use terms like "robber baron" anymore.

But I'd say Retirement Heist and Inside Job make a good case for bringing it back into common usage.


Michael Leddy said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Pat.

Here’s a nice pizza graphic showing the likely consequences of 9–9–9.

Ms Sparrow said...

I also saw the Daily Show segment on the corporate raids on employee pensions. It didn't surprise me at all. It occurs to me that the sleazy behavior of all those MBA's (looking down on us from their windows on Wall Street) just proves that MBA actually stands for Machiavellian Bastard Anti-Americans! They are happily trashing our country with their pomposity and greed.