Your morning jolt: If a deal’s at stake, consider bigger tax hikes, says Saxby Chambliss

Signs of pessimism in Washington, over Congress’ inability to reach a deficit reduction agreement in the next seven days, includes this from Politico.com:

Supercommittee co-chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), speaking bluntly to a closed House Republican meeting Tuesday said any deal that the panel produces will either be an “abject [failure] or a ‘kiss your sister agreement.’”

One assumes that [failure] is something unprintable. On the other hand, green sprigs of hope include the decision by U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., to release a 37-page report this week critical of government subsidies for wealthy Americans.

He called it “Subsidies of the Rich and Famous.” From the Associated Press:

The report found that in an average year, those earning $1 million or more each year benefit from tax breaks and federal grant programs totaling $30 billion. His report noted that in tax year 2009, nearly 1,500 millionaires paid no federal income tax.

Among the government subsidies cited in the report are unemployment checks, farm subsidies and funds for the preservation of ranches and estates.

Read the report here. The best line from a section on mortgage deductions for second and third homes:

Even a yacht can be considered a second residence, as long as the luxury boat has a sleeping, cooking and toilet facility and an individual lives in it for at least two weeks a year.

On a similar note, Bloomberg/Business Week reports that the European turmoil over Greece and Italy, has some Republicans in Washington rethinking their opposition to tax increases as part of a deficit-reduction deal. The piece ends with this:

Senator Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia Republican, said his party’s lawmakers should consider bigger tax increases if it would lead to a larger debt-reduction deal, because the political price they would pay will essentially be the same.

“You’re going to be criticized by the same people irrespective of what the number is,” said Chambliss.

***
Now that he has been restored to the top tier of GOP candidates for president, it’s no surprise that the scrutiny of former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich has resumed. From the Washington Post:

Newt Gingrich made between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in consulting fees from two contracts with mortgage company Freddie Mac, according to two people familiar with the arrangement.

Previous reports had put the cash at a single payment of $300,000.

***
A look by OpenSecrets.org at the wealth of members of Congress says U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, may be among the poorest of its 535 members – and could be as much as $430,000 in debt. The same report says that nearly half of Congress – 47 percent — are millionaires. In that category, among Georgia members, U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Roswell, edged out U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson.

***
Darrell “No Relation” Galloway, chairman of the 14th District GOP, reports this morning that Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson and Tax Commissioner Carolyn Walker have renounced their Democratic affiliation and joined the Republican camp. Their defection was put together by Walker GOP chairman Nathan Smith. State GOP chairman Sue Everhart attended the Tuesday evening festivities.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, center, speaks with reporters about the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project during an event at the Georgia Ports container terminal Tuesday. AP/Georgia Ports Authority, Stephen Morton

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, center, speaks with reporters about the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project during an event at the Georgia Ports container terminal Tuesday. AP/Georgia Ports Authority, Stephen Morton

***
First thing this morning, to show that he’s a polite winner, Gov. Nathan Deal issued a press release pledging that he and U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson would “support efforts to deepen not only the Port of Savannah but also the Port of Charleston.”

On Tuesday, after a tour of the Port of Savannah with Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood gave a much-needed thumbs-up to federal funding for a dredging of the Savannah River channel.

South Carolina and Georgia have been competing for the same federal cash. The difference, according to a report by Orlando Montoya of Georgia Public Broadcasting, is the power of The Ask.

In other words, that odd-couple trip to Washington by Deal, a Republican, and Reed, a Democrat, paid off:

As to why Savannah’s project merits funding over similar ones nationwide, LaHood says, Deal and Reed reached out.

“What I’m saying is that these guys called me, they came to see me, they talked to me about this port,” LaHood says. “When people come and see me, we funded 13 ports. We haven’t been ignoring ports.”

***
We’ll close this morning with a bit of weirdness – an email from an enterprising publicist:

”I was wondering if you would be interested in speaking to legendary mentalist The Amazing Kreskin about an offer that he’s extending to Herman Cain and his accusers. The world renowned mind reader has offered to meet with each accuser separately for 10 or 15 minutes and, by asking only a few questions and listening to their verbal responses and thoughts, will announce who is lying and who is telling the truth.”

Or, we could make a reservation for January and turn Kreskin — “‘Zing” to his friends? — loose on the General Assembly.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

94 comments Add your comment

Darrell

November 16th, 2011
9:46 am

FYI – Carolyn Walker is actually the County Tax Commissioner not Treasurer.

Centrist

November 16th, 2011
9:57 am

No sense is watching the Supercommittee until at or past their deadline. NOTHING gets done until (or after) the last minute. Even if they stay at an impasse (which is likely) – sequestration doesn’t happen for over a year past the next election. A new Congress is not bound by a prior Congress, so sequestration likely gets dropped anyhow. This is all continued gamesmanship instead of doing the people’s business.

Actually increasing taxes on millionaires/billionaires who pay lower rates via capital gains simply is not going to happen – they pull the political strings. Politicians from BOTH parties are NOT going to hurt their campaign contributors, all Senators and many House members themselves.

One more zing from liberal Mr. Jim Galloway at the fading Cain – expect his guns to turn on Gingrich. Romney will get targeted after he wins the nomination. This doesn’t matter in Georgia, but is just a microcosm of the leftist media in general.

amazing

November 16th, 2011
10:01 am

Galloway is not throwing zings at Cain.Cain’s idiotic behavior is the source of his problems.

Ol' Timer

November 16th, 2011
10:05 am

Could it be that some among the GOTP are shaking off the tyranical pledge of Grover Norquist and starting to look albeit in a condescending fashing at the diminishing middle class and the tax burden they’re bearing while the super wealthy skate through one loophole after another?

Miracles never cease. Or, could it be the politicians have had a reality check by looking into the faces of the angry OWS demonstrators? Remember Louis XVI?

Aquagirl

November 16th, 2011
10:06 am

Senator Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia Republican, said his party’s lawmakers should consider bigger tax increases if it would lead to a larger debt-reduction deal, because the political price they would pay will essentially be the same.

That’s an amazingly open admission of the #1 concern of the Republicans….covering their political @$$es. Opposition to raising taxes is solely a political strategy, not economic. Maybe now they can drop the pretense that taxing somebody’s yacht will end western civilization as we know it.

DannyX

November 16th, 2011
10:08 am

No surprise who the American public will blame if the super committee does not reach a deal, the Republicans. A new CNN poll shows 42% will blame the Republicans, 32% will blame the Democrats.

The American people strongly support a combination of tax cuts and spending cuts.

As Harry Reid said, “IMPEACH NORQUIST!!!!”

gsueagle

November 16th, 2011
10:10 am

Saxby a true RINO. i hope people remember when it is time to vote.. we need a true conservative to run against saxby.

RealTalk

November 16th, 2011
10:10 am

Can’t Wait Til Saxby is GONE….. You Sir are a Coward!

RealTalk

November 16th, 2011
10:12 am

Herman Cain is the Nicest and Best Man in this Race. An Actual Decent Man. What a Bunch of Haters. None of these Accusations are even close to being True, but all you Drones wish They Were. Sad…… Wonder Why our Country is in the Shape it is?

td

November 16th, 2011
10:12 am

Ol’ Timer

November 16th, 2011
10:05 am

Did you know that the government could confiscate the entire money for the top 1% and it would not pay off the deficit much less bring down the debt? Why can you libs not see that we have a spending problem in this country and not a revenue problem.

KID

November 16th, 2011
10:19 am

Obama all the way back in 2012!

clem

November 16th, 2011
10:23 am

1.6 million from freddie mac to be historian….nice work if you can get it and believe it

Centrist

November 16th, 2011
10:24 am

@ td – You are absolutely correct, but there IS a fairness issue at play. No doubt that our progressive tax system is mostly progressive with incomes between $100K and $ million per year – where a vast majority of tax revenue comes from. Above higher thresholds, income is taxed at lower capital gain rates as it can and is reported via qualified stock instead of wages.

Mudfoot

November 16th, 2011
10:35 am

Aquagirl

“Maybe now they can drop the pretense that taxing somebody’s yacht will end western civilization as we know it.”

Maybe, but doubtful. As long as the GOP base is buying this load of crap the GOP will be selling it. Ya gotta admit it’s worked for them, ignorance is up and intelligence continues on the downslide

boib

November 16th, 2011
10:46 am

@RealTalk: How do you choose which words will be capitalized?

Centrist

November 16th, 2011
10:47 am

@ Mudfoot – If the Democrats wanted to start taxing themselves and their rich benefactors, they could have done it during the first two years of Obama’s administration when he had a Democrat House and Senate.

Democrats don’t really want to do this any more than Republicans, but they hypocritically use it as a false populist campaign issue.

Whoodini

November 16th, 2011
10:49 am

Mudfoot, I was thinking the same thing. However, along the lines of, as long as the Dem base is buying the lead sheep’s load of crap, he’ll keep on selling it. You’re exactly right in that the ignorance is up, and their intelligence continues it’s downward spiral.

ByteMe

November 16th, 2011
10:52 am

“You’re going to be criticized by the same people irrespective of what the number is,” said Chambliss.

True dat.

Aquagirl

November 16th, 2011
10:54 am

Wonder Why our Country is in the Shape it is?

The creeping evils Of random Word capitalization. It’s even Worse Than gay Marriage.

Mudfoot

November 16th, 2011
10:57 am

Centrist

You’re probably right, and it’s working

Mudfoot

November 16th, 2011
11:00 am

“Mudfoot, I was thinking the same thing. However, along the lines of, as long as the Dem base is buying the lead sheep’s load of crap, he’ll keep on selling it. You’re exactly right in that the ignorance is up, and their intelligence continues it’s downward spiral.”

Was that an actual reply or were you trying to illustrate my point? If the latter, excellent job

tbird

November 16th, 2011
11:02 am

One way to increase tax revenues is to deal with the corruption in the Greene County Tas Assessor’s office. These folks have reduced Mercer and Jamie Reynolds tax assessment by 60+million dollars on Reynolds Plantation. This move has broken many laws and it’s time for some District Attorneys to begin investigations into extensive corruption in Greene County.

However, there is very little chance this will happen because of the big bucks the Reynolds family gives to the Republican party in Georgia and nationally.

Anthony

November 16th, 2011
11:03 am

Aquagirl : That’s an amazingly open admission of the #1 concern of the Republicans….covering their political @$$es. Opposition to raising taxes is solely a political strategy, not economic.

You completely miss the point. Republicans are opposed to raising taxes in general. The statement by Chambliss is if taxes are raised in the grand deal, whether it be $1 or $500B, the opposition will be the same.

clem

November 16th, 2011
11:04 am

just because you have majority in house and senate does not mean you can do as you please if you are the prez, the senate has 60 vote threshold on most issues in addition to the holds they can place.

for the 111th congress, the Senate had 57 Democrats; two Independents, who caucus with the Democrats, and 41 Republicans. however, lieberman was just as likely to vote republican as was ben nelson.

Not So Casual Observer

November 16th, 2011
11:05 am

Are you Libs proposing that someone who lives on a boat should be deprived of the home mortgage deduction?

Are you Libs proposing that simply due to the “floating” nature of a second home, the home mortgage deduction should be eliminated?

OR, is this just another example of “Lib envy”? Someone has something you do not and that person should be punished!

Why not aspire to something better rather than attempting to bring the rest down to your level?

DannyX

November 16th, 2011
11:05 am

Republicans are a strange bunch. No new taxes they say! Reduce the deficit! Offset new spending!

In the mean time Sonny Perdue was firing off a letter to Obama begging for more stimulus money. His letter begging for more stimulus money was made on behalf of all Republican governors, they all signed it. Rick Perry signed it and used stimulus money to balance the Texas budget instead of using their rainy day fund.

Now we have Governor Deal going to DC begging for ports pork, strings attached education dollars and transportation funds.

In the state of Georgia Republicans are not technically raising taxes, they are extending tolls and adding toll lanes. They are even trying to get Georgia voters to do their dirty work for them, asking voters to give them a big waiver, the Republican cowards want voters to okay the biggest tax increase in Georgia history! No one said anything about Republican voters raising their own taxes. Silly Republicans voters in this state will fall for anything.

Republicans are are not very good at governing, we are now just starting to recover from the Great Bush Recession and what do the Republicans want next? They are trying to shove idiot presidential candidates down our throats. Republicans hate America.

td

November 16th, 2011
11:06 am

Centrist

November 16th, 2011
10:24 am

My friend that is not a truely accurate picture of what people pay.

The top 1% (household making over $343,927 per year) makes 16.9% of all income in the US and pay 36.7% of all Federal income taxes.

The top 5% (households making over $154,643 per year) makes 31.7% of all income and pays 58.7% of all Federal income taxes.

The top 25% (households making over $66,193 per year) makes 65.8% of all income and pays 87.3% of all Federal income taxes.

The bottom 50% (households making less than $32,396 per year) makes 13.5% of all income and pays 2.3% of all Federal income taxes.

http://www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/250.html

If you look at the census data then you will fine that the bottom 47% are headed mostly by single parents and they receive some sort of Federal benefit (TANF, FS, Medicaid, housing assistance, EITC…).

The tax system is very progressive and what the real problem is a family problem. If parents stayed together then more people would be in those upper brackets and not needing Federal assistance.

Whoodini

November 16th, 2011
11:06 am

What I’m saying is that BOTH are selling us a load. One is just as bad as the other.

Not So Casual Observer

November 16th, 2011
11:07 am

aquagirl missed a point? Of course, doing so fit her pre-programmed position, so what is the problem?

Always Skeptical

November 16th, 2011
11:07 am

So it appears that Rep. Sanford Bishop spent his time in Congress actually working for his constituents instead of working to enrich himself at our expense. He’s got a mortgage and puts his pants on one leg at a time….just like the rest of us. How refreshing…..

ByteMe

November 16th, 2011
11:09 am

td: the top 400 families control the same amount of wealth as the bottom 50% — something like 175 million people. Same stats, different take on them.

Centrist

November 16th, 2011
11:12 am

@ td – Let’s break it down a little further:

The top 5% of incomes are above $160K and paid well over half of the federal income taxes (58.72%). Even liberal NY Senator Schumer says that in many parts of the country, households earning around $250,000 a year would be considered middle class and not wealthy. He said it was “hard to ask more” of households in that income range. “Many of them are not rich, and in large parts of the country, that kind of income does not get you a big home or lots of vacations or anything else that is associated with wealth in America.” He also said that a large number of small-business owners would be impacted if taxes were increased on people earning between $250,000 to $300,000.

We have a top progressive wages tax bracket of 35%, and their exemptions and deductions are phased out raising their effective tax rates even more to the highest levels (more progressiveness in taxpaying than just the tax brackets). This is where most of the specialized schooled professionals and successful small business owners who create jobs fit. How much MORE of a “fair share” should they pay, and what will their reactions be in regard to productivity and employees be if they get hit with yet even greater taxes?

The economists Jon Bakija, Adam Cole and Bradley Heim have done the most authoritative research on who these top 1 percenters (earn over $380K) are. Roughly 31 percent started or manage nonfinancial businesses. About 16 percent are doctors, 14 percent are in finance, 8 percent are lawyers, 5 percent are engineers and about 2 percent are in sports, entertainment or the media.

Here is “fairness” issue (but little relative revenue). The top .02% of incomes (300,000 Americans) make more than a million a year – some pay no or little in taxes – that AMT didn’t catch them like middle class taxpayers. Those capital gains, credits, loopholes, and trusts were made for them by BOTH Democrats and Republican politicians.

n

November 16th, 2011
11:14 am

Don’t worry, any small flicker of Republican rationality/honesty will soon be vigorously disavowed and extinguished by fellow flat-earthers.
After all, Grover Norquist is the non-elected High Potentate and Supreme Ruler of our soon-to-be Third World outpost.

Shine

November 16th, 2011
11:16 am

TD, Did you know that the government could confiscate the entire money for the top 1% and it would not pay off the deficit much less bring down the debt? Why can you libs not see that we have a spending problem in this country and not a revenue problem.

Are you implying the top 1% dont have a little over a trillion (teh deficit) in accetts? bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

td

November 16th, 2011
11:18 am

ByteMe

November 16th, 2011
11:09 am

Is the top 400 families the same as the top 1%? If you are a single parent household then you make $32,396 per year. If you are married and your spouse makes the $35,000 per year then you are in the top 25% of wage earners.

Not So Casual Observer

November 16th, 2011
11:18 am

td @ 11:06,

The numbers never sway the opinions of the Left because they “feel” for the little people. Why should one-half the population pay their fair share when demonizing the successful is sooooo much easier.

Balance the budget and pay down the debt with tax cuts not increases – works every time you give an incentive to produce rather than an incentive to sit and draw welfare and/or unemployment.

Drastic spending cuts are required and there will be no pain for the general population if the cuts come in the areas that only aid the Members of Congress and the WH. We have seen enough lately with the “loans” to WH supporters that were poor choices by all reasonable measure and the earmarks and other spending solely to raise campaign money.

A billion cut here and a billion cut there and soon you have saved some real money!

Al

November 16th, 2011
11:19 am

Safe bet that Saxby is not running for re-election in 2014. Good for Georgia. Good for America. Let’s get a real conservative Republican elected! Georgia needs a real Senator, not a sell out. Clark Howard, are you reading this?

ByteMe

November 16th, 2011
11:20 am

td: it’s the difference between “income” and “assets”. People with “assets” don’t need to pay “income” taxes… they pay cap gains instead…. at a lower rate than the little people pay.

n

November 16th, 2011
11:20 am

It is hard to pay income tax if you have no income.

Phone Booth Guy

November 16th, 2011
11:21 am

Al is right! Vote CLARK HOWARD for SENATOR in 2014.

Shannana

November 16th, 2011
11:24 am

The government needs to get by on the money they have coming in and not on a raise they give themselves in the form of new taxes. The US Government needs to learn to tighten its belt like the rest of Americans are being forced to do. The first thing I think they should consider cutting is the salaries, benefits and pensions of our lovely career politicians.

td

November 16th, 2011
11:24 am

Shine

November 16th, 2011
11:16 am

I guess the word money should have been replaced by income. Are you saying the government shoul conficate all the assets of the top 1%?

Marlboro Man

November 16th, 2011
11:25 am

1500 millionaires in the 47% the cry babies keep wanting to talk about. Duh.

Independent voter

November 16th, 2011
11:26 am

The republican better listen to Saxby because if they dont pass the debt deal.
American will get rid of alot of republicans in office.

tc

November 16th, 2011
11:27 am

@Always Skeptical

November 16th, 2011
11:07 am
“So it appears that Rep. Sanford Bishop spent his time in Congress actually working for his constituents instead of working to enrich himself at our expense. He’s got a mortgage and puts his pants on one leg at a time….just like the rest of us. How refreshing”

So you are impressed that Rep Bishop is a $430k in debt! He is a poor business person, irresponsible, and makes poor decisions is why he is $430k in debt. And he has a key role in decisions that impact the health of our economy. You think that makes sense! That kind of thinking and leadership is exactly why our country is in the mess that it is!!

double

November 16th, 2011
11:27 am

centrist what if intrest ,dividend,qualified dividend,how is it reported,and taxed?

Shine

November 16th, 2011
11:28 am

Hopefully a good democrat will run for senate. I am fed up with the kooks.

Shine

November 16th, 2011
11:29 am

Td, oh, so you dont know what you are sating? Welcome to Club Reality as we all figured that out long ago.

Centrist

November 16th, 2011
11:29 am

@ n posted “It is hard to pay income tax if you have no income.”

Do you mean “REPORTED” income? The untaxed underground economy is huge. On top of that there are government unemployment benefits, and an additional myriad of welfare programs including food stamps, WIC, school breakfast/lunch, Medicaid, TANF, SSI, childcare, public/rent-subsidized housing, free cellphones, and child and earned income tax credits (checks if no taxes owed). Next come charities. Cheating on the dole is a career for a large segment of our society which cuts into benefits of those who truly need these things.

R U Kidding Me?

November 16th, 2011
11:30 am

td @ 10:15am

November 16th, 2011
10:05 am

“Did you know that the government could confiscate the entire money for the top 1% and it would not pay off the deficit much less bring down the debt? Why can you libs not see that we have a spending problem in this country and not a revenue problem”

Did you know the federal budget is about $2 Trillion? Did you know the national debt is about $14 Trillion? Do you know we would have to TOTALLY shut down the federal government for 7 years to get us out of debt? That means no military, no infrastructure, no federal law enforcement or federal court system, no anything. Got it? Is that what you want because that’s what you preach.

Why can’t you conservative wingnuts see that we have a spending problem AND a revenue problem? It’s going to take both cuts and revenue increases to solve the problem. Unless you want to shut the whole place down for the next 7 years while 100% of our taxes go to erase the national debt. Now that may sound pretty good to you, but it’s insanity.