“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.
Joe Conanson: “No new taxes” for GOP — except a national sales tax
Republicans swear they won’t raise taxes — but Rand Paul and Paul Ryan want to tax everything you buy
Can you guess which tax is bad, bad, bad when suggested by Democrats but perfectly acceptable when proposed by Republicans? Listening to Rand Paul and Paul Ryan, among others, the answer is a national sales tax or value-added tax, known in Europe as a VAT. While Republicans argue ferociously to preserve the Bush tax cuts for America’s wealthiest families, the notion of a new federal tax on goods and services – which would disproportionately penalize working consumers — is becoming fashionable among their party’s most prominent figures.
The Kentucky Republican Senate candidate made headlines yesterday when he proposed a national sales tax to replace the income tax, but Paul is scarcely alone in preferring a tax that falls most heavily on the middle class, workers and the poor. Rep. Ryan’s budget “roadmap,” released earlier this year to much fanfare in the conservative and mainstream media, relies on an 8.5 percent “business consumption” tax — yet another name for what Europeans call a VAT. From Arizona to Maine, Republican candidates seem increasingly eager to impose a national sales tax — and although they usually say this new tax would “replace” the income tax and abolish the IRS, such fantasies aren’t contemplated by Ryan, the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee.
Robert Sheer: Invasion of the Robot Home Snatchers
The Titanic that is the U.S. housing market has just sprung its biggest leak, and even some of the largest banks responsible for this mess, like Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, are now imposing a temporary moratorium on foreclosures. They have done so very reluctantly and only after courts throughout the nation, and the attorneys general of 40 states, questioned the legality of a securitized system of homeownership that has impoverished tens of millions.
How do you foreclose on a home when you can’t figure out who owns it because the original mortgage is part of a derivatives package that has been sliced and diced so many ways that its legal ownership is often unrecognizable? You cannot get much help from those who signed off on the process because they turn out to be robot signers acting on automatic pilot. Fully 65 million homes in question are tied to a computerized program, the national Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS), that is often identified in foreclosure proceedings as the owner of record.
If the closest adviser to the President on LGBT issues – the one he sent to make nice with the Human Rights Campaign’s black-tie supporters last Saturday – describes a 15-year-old suicide as having “made a lifestyle choice” we are absolutely doomed. . . . .
If a presidential adviser had made such a boneheaded remark about any other American minority group – let alone an incredibly loyal group that has provided the Democratic Party its margin of victory in any number of tight races across the nation – would that presidential adviser still have a job?
Does Valerie Jarrett live in the early 1990s? Does she really believe that being LGBT is a ‘choice’ and a ‘lifestyle’ – and will she really get away with insulting the memory of a dead gay teen with this horrifying out-of-touch language?