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Allowing taxes to go up an average of $2,200 per family of four would pose an additional hardship on middle-class families who have already suffered through the Great Recession and its aftermath.
The fairest way to address the current fiscal situation and to promote economic growth and to protect middle-class families is to extend tax cuts for the middle class and allow cuts for the wealthiest two percent to expire.
Please support a deal that allows the Bush-era tax cuts to expire for the wealthiest 2% and extends tax cuts for those earning under $250,000.
The election is over and it's time to make it count. Grassroots power is not just for elections.
Congress has until December 31st to make a critical and historic choice. They can ask the richest 2% of Americans to pay their fair share, or they can put more money in wealthy pockets at the expense of the struggling middle class.
There is too much money and power in too few hands and the system is rigged to keep it that way. It's time to level the playing field. It's time to make things right.
The first step is telling Congress, loud and clear: Don't give more tax breaks to the people who need them least.
Yesterday was The Election. Today is The Action.
The Action is a grassroots movement that demands Congress end the Bush-era tax cuts for the richest 2%--those making more than $250,000 per year. The Action is for critical investments that create and sustain jobs. Keystone Progress is leading The Action efforts in Pennsylvania because we believe this issue is crucial to our economy, our pocketbooks and the entire progressive agenda
It's time to join The Action.
There are many ways to get involved:
This is a unique opportunity to protect the middle class AND to build a unified progressive movement that can win on every issue we care about. Please join The Action today and get as involved as you can.
There has been much talk about the so-called "Fiscal Cliff," but little discussion about how the issue would affect working families and the most vulnerable people in Pennsylvania. Senior citizens, the disabled, and low-income families would be hardest hit if Congress does not come to an agreement on taxes and spending by the end of the year.
Some Mercer County residents delivered a turkey today to Rep. Mike Kelly's office in Greenville as a reminder of those who would be hardest hit if a deal is not reached that preserves the social safety net. Inspired by the new movement called "The Action," they told Kelly's staff that they expect Kelly to represent the interests of working families in negotiations.
Kelly's staff agreed to arrange a meeting with members of Keystone Progress, but remained non-committal about how Kelly would vote.
The Rescue of the Auto Industry -- By the Numbers
At the height of the financial crisis, some people, including Mitt Romney, said we should "let Detroit go bankrupt." And Bain Capital was one of the many private investors that refused to invest in the auto industry when it stood on the brink of collapse.
Fortunately, President Obama saved the U.S. auto industry and now it's roaring back. For example, just today we learned that General Motors is adding another 2,000 jobs in Michigan. These jobs are coming to Michigan as part of larger effort to insource thousands of jobs at the world's largest automaker.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Here's a look at the auto rescue -- by the numbers.
- More than 1 million: Jobs saved by the auto rescue.
- $85 billion: Total spent by the U.S. government on the auto rescue.
- $60 billion: Amount the government will likely recover.
- $7.2 billion: Savings to taxpayers from reduced unemployment, Social Security, and other benefits in 2009 and 2010.
- $97 billion: Estimated losses in personal incomes prevented by the auto rescue.
- 26 percent: Remaining stake (of the initial 61 percent stake) held in GM by the government.
- 0: Number of Chrysler shares currently held by the government.
- 167,000: Number of jobs the automakers and their suppliers are forecasted to add by 2015.
- 2.5 million: Number of people employed by the U.S. auto industry today, up from 2.3 million in August 2009.
- 3.3 million: Cars and light trucks sold by GM and Chrysler in the past 12 months, up from 2.9 million in the previous period.
BOTTOM LINE: Mitt Romney said to "let Detroit go bankrupt," but we didn't do that and now the auto industry is helping to fuel the recovery in states across the country, particularly Michigan and Ohio.
Tom Joseph, Public News Service-PA
HARRISBURG, PA - Pundits and politicians are throwing around a lot of numbers these days on who is, or who isn't, paying taxes. One group aims to separate the facts from fiction. Chuck Marr, the director of federal tax policy for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, has co-authored a new report on the tax issue. He says one of the biggest misconceptions out there is that about half of Americans, 47 percent, do not pay taxes.
"We're talking here about federal income taxes. For working-class and middle-class people, payroll taxes that pay for Social Security and Medicare are actually taxes that they do pay, and in fact, most people pay more in payroll taxes than in income taxes."
Marr says the 47 percent and 57 percent figures cited lately regarding people who do not pay federal income taxes were taken from reports that looked at numbers during the recent recession, when people lost jobs, and were paying much less than in previous years.
"When a person's income falls during a recession, they pay less tax, and same with a business, and that allows them to help them get back on their feet. You wouldn't expect someone to pay the same amount of tax if they're making half the money that they used to make."
Prior to the recession, in 2007, the percentage of people not paying federal income tax was 40 percent, according to the report.
Marr says other taxes such as state, local and sales taxes are also a big part of the equation. According to the report, when considering all taxes, the bottom 20 percent of households pay an average of 16 to 17 percent of their incomes in taxes.
A recent report from the Keystone Research Center shows sixty-one percent of Pennsylvania taxpayers live in a ZIP Code where the average income is less than $75,000, but the average tax rate is higher than the ritzy neighborhoods of Santa Barbara, California; Fisher Island, Florida; or San Francisco.
The report, "Misconceptions and Realities about Who Pays Taxes," is at www.cbpp.org.
A Pre-Labor Day Look at the State of Working Pennsylvania
Tom Joseph, Public News Service-PA
HARRISBURG, PA - Just before Labor Day, a new report indicates when it comes to earning power, the typical middle-class household in Pennsylvania isn't getting ahead - and may not even be getting by.
Mark Price, a labor economist with the Keystone Research Center, is a co-author of the State of Working Pennsylvania 2012.
"Pennsylvania has gone through really a 'lost decade,' where the typical family has less income today than they did in the year 2000."
A fundamental component of the problem, explains Price, is that when the economy is expanding and showing signs of growth, the benefits aren't trickling down from the top.
"Those at the very top, the top one-percent in Pennsylvania, they captured really 74 cents out of every dollar of income in 2010, and that's a really shocking number."
Adopting economic policies that have the best interest of the middle-class in mind, can, in short order, help cushion the blow of high unemployment and slow growth, he says.
"Things like investment in infrastructure, preventing state and local governments from laying off substantial numbers of teachers and first responders - those are the kinds of things in the short run that really, we need to be doing."
Price says the report answers the question of why many Pennsylvanians are spinning in their tracks. He says high unemployment in the state continues to lead to lower wages, as it did last year. He adds austerity measures at the federal and state levels have added to Pennsylvania's job shortage in the past year by nearly 75,000.
See the full report at keystoneresearch.org.
Impacts of the Ryan/Romney Budget on People Receiving Training and Employment Services
In communities all across the country, federal job training programs are helping meet a critical need. As manufacturing jobs have shifted from assembly-line positions to advanced manufacturing, schools have partnered with non-profits, business, and government to develop job training programs that help equip dislocated workers with skills that match employer needs. Many of these programs depend on federal funding through the Workforce Investment Act, which supports employment services and training programs that serve millions of workers across the country each year.
House Republicans, led by Paul Ryan, passed a budget resolution that would cut spending for these kinds of services by over 5 percent in 2013 and 19 percent in 2014 - all while showering families making more than $250,000 per year with over $1 trillion in tax cuts. It's an approach that fails the basic test of balance, fairness, and shared responsibility, and it would be a devastating blow to struggling middle class families.
Adults who would lose Training & Employment Services in 2013
Dislocated Workers who would lose Training & Employment Services in 2013
Youth who would lose Training & Employment Services in 2013
People who would lose Job search assistance in 2013
Adults who would lose Training & Employment Services in 2014
Dislocated Workers who would lose Training & Employment Services in 2014
Youth who would lose Training & Employment Services in 2014
People who would lose Job search assistance in 2014
Estimates assume the same formula allocation for each state as in 2012. Since states may gain or lose funding each year depending on future changes in economic conditions, these estimates do not reflect precisely what would happen in 2013 and 2014. The projected decrease in participants for each state was derived by applying the percentage reduction in funding for each state to the national projected reduction in the number of participants served.
This is the first in a series of articles about how the Ryan/Romney budget affects Pennsylvania. The research comes from our allies, as indicated in the links.
How the Ryan/Romney Budget Hurts Pennsylvania
From Nuns on the Bus
Cuts $66.3 million out of Pennsylvania's Head Start budget over two years
Eliminates 9,754 Head Start preschool slots for Pennsylvania children over two years
Results in 3,530 lost jobs over two years
Cuts more than $108 million out of special education funding for Pennsylvania
Affects nearly 73,000 special education students in Pennsylvania
Reduces educational services for 147,300 disadvantaged Pennsylvania students by 2014
Results in 1,530 job losses
1,620,000 fewer Pennsylvania seniors and children receive health care
Between 213,401 and 215,652 Pennsylvania jobs lost over five years, mostly in the private sector
Health insurance for small businesses and their employees
Ends tax credit that would help 131,780 Pennsylvania small business offer health insurance to their employees
Takes an average of $859 out of the pocket of the approximately 712,800 Pennsylvania small business employees who would be helped by the tax credit to their employers to purchase health insurance
Medicare prescription drugs
Costs Pennsylvania seniors approximately $162,459,000 a year
Takes approximately $670 a year out of the pockets of 243,400 Pennsylvania seniors.
Supplementary Nutrition/Food Stamps
3,611 fewer Pennsylvania jobs
159 million fewer meals for low-income Pennsylvania families
All you need to know about monthly job growth. Red is Bush, blue is Obama:
The Pennsylvania Progressive
Jan Jarrett's Ad Hoc Blog
Raging Chicken Press
CSI without Dead Bodies
Third and State
David Ginsberg's Progressive Political and Social Cause Blog
Above Average jane
Keystone Progress blog
Beaver County Blue
Young Philly Politics
Three Rivers Online
The Lehigh Valley Political Blog
Pittsburgh Women's Blogging Society
Left of Centre
Lake Erie Alliance for Democracy
Froth Slosh B'Gosh
Comments From Left Field
A Smoke-Filled Room
2 Political Junkies
Crooks and Liars
Pam's House Blend
Progressive States Network Blog
Talking Points Memo