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Whole Foods deceives consumers into unknowingly buying GMOs

With products labeled and marketed as organic, fresh, pesticide free, natural, gluten free, Whole Foods Markets (“Nothing Artificial, Ever”) present themselves as distinctive, trustworthy sources to customers seeking local, healthy and pure foods.  Nonetheless, as Mike Adams of Natural News reports, “Whole Foods deceives consumers into unknowingly buying GMOs while financially supporting a GMO supply

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Inaugural Address, President Obama


In his Second Inaugural Address, President Obama called on all of us to seize this moment, together. Pledge to join us for the next four years and help make history.

Filibuster Change My Ass


  • Just More Harry Reid Milquetoast Bullshit  
  • The Senate made some changes to its plan for filibuster reform, but all in all they were quite underwhelming. Now, the majority party won't need 60 votes to kickstart debate on a bill, but they will have to allow the opposition to slide two amendments into the legislation. Filibustering actual legislation remains intact.
  • Timothy Noah at The New Republic notes, "There are also a few other chickenshit changes."
  • Why the change of heart, Senate? Harry Reid says, “I’m not personally, at this stage, ready to get rid of the 60-vote threshold." 
  • What does the change mean? Well, the filibuster isn't dead, and future senators can still  ream big about copying Howard Stackhouse or Jefferson Smith'sfictional filibuster prowess ...
  • ... or Huey Long's Senate floor cooking-show filibuster, or Bernie Sanders book-spawning one. But in the end, not much has changed at all. Talking won't be a requirement for those seeking to filibuster a bill, and the filibuster of middle school history class will remain a rarity.
  • As The Washington Post's Ezra Klein sums up, "The Senate’s reformers are crestfallen. This is not, in their view, filibuster reform. Forget breaking the Senate’s 60-vote requirement."
  • Senator Tom Harkin, who favored forcing a talking filibuster, said today's move equaled "baby, baby steps."
  • Ed Kilgore writes," I doubt any reforms will matter a lot until and unless a Senate majority takes the bull by the horns and reduces the cloture threshold below the current 60 votes via the 'constitutional option.' If that is indeed, as its critics call it, the “nuclear option,” today’s deal is very conventional."
  • In short, "so much for any hope that this Senate might be significantly different from the last one."
  • Please Contact Senator Reid and tell him he is full of shit CLICK HERE

Run Hillary Run

If the latest poll from ABC News and The Washington Post is any indication, Hillary Clinton is one of the most popular political figures in the country. Sixty-seven percent of Americans have a positive view of the Secretary of State, former senator, and former first lady. Twenty-six percent hold a negative opinion, and only six percent say they have no thoughts on Clinton. All of which means, to many pundits, that she'd have a cakewalk into the White House in 2016. 

92 Percent Support Background Checks For All Gun Buyers


President Barack Obama's proposal to require background checks for all would-be gun buyers has the backing of the vast majority of Americans, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll released Thursday.

Ninety-two percent of all Americans support universal background checks for gun purchases. The proposal likewise has enormous support across the ideological spectrum, with 93 percent of Democrats and 89 percent of Republicans supporting background checks.

Moreover, 93 percent of those living in households with gun owners and 85 percent in households with members of the National Rifle Association are in favor of background checks.

READ THE POLL

Breaking Washington Post Headline: “NRA planning ‘the fight of the century’”


The National Rifle Association cast its opposition to Obama’s plans as “the fight of the century” in a letter circulated at the 35th annual Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show and Conference, known in the trade as “the SHOT show,” in Las Vegas.
“I warned you this day was coming and now it’s here,” Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s fiery executive vice president, wrote in a fund-raising letter to the group’s 4 million members. “It’s not about protecting your children. It’s not about stopping crime. It’s about banning your guns … PERIOD!”
The letter reflected the NRA’s tough, no-holds-barred campaign against tighter restrictions on weapons and echoed a sharp video released by the group that calls Obama an “elitist hypocrite” for having the Secret Service protect his two daughters at school while saying that he is “skeptical” about armed guards in all schools.
The SHOT show draws more than 60,000 gun enthusiasts, dealers and  manufacturers to see the latest weapons and accoutrements. The convention floor contains 12 miles of firearms displays, mostly military-style assault rifles, and many booths display the kinds of high-capacity clips the administration wants to ban.

Obama Signs 23 Executive Actions On Guns


Following his announcement of sweeping new gun control proposals at the White House, President Obama signed 23 executive actions to curb gun violence on Wednesday.
Read the full list of actions here.

It’s Time for Congress to Pay Its Bills


In their never-ending quest to destroy entitlements and slash the social safety net, Republicans are once again willing to risk the entire U.S. economy in order to advance their ideological agenda — an agenda overwhelmingly rejected by voters in last year’s elections.
Last time Republicans took the economy hostage, the summer of 2011, Speaker Boehner made clear that he understood the implications of a national default:
Boehner said it would mean “financial disaster” for the global economy if Congress were unable to come to a deal to raise the debt ceiling this spring.
“That would be a financial disaster, not only for us, but for the worldwide economy,” Boehner said on “Fox News Sunday” of the risk of default. “I don’t think it’s a question that’s even on the table.”
Still, rank-and-file Republicans and even a top member of the House Republican leadership are now talking openly about shutting down the government or defaulting on our obligations:
I think it is possible that we would shut down the government to make sure President Obama understands that we’re serious,” House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state told us. “We always talk about whether or not we’re going to kick the can down the road. I think the mood is that we’ve come to the end of the road.”
Worse yet, Republicans may force a default or government shutdown just to placate the Tea Party extremists in the House:
GOP officials said more than half of their members are prepared to allow default unless Obama agrees to dramatic cuts he has repeatedly said he opposes. Many more members, including some party leaders, are prepared to shut down the government to make their point. House Speaker John Boehner “may need a shutdown just to get it out of their system,” said a top GOP leadership adviser. “We might need to do that for member-management purposes — so they have an endgame and can show their constituents they’re fighting.”
We know that the president is serious about spending cuts, having already signed $2.4 TRILLION of deficit reduction into law — three-quarters of which came from spending cuts. But it’s not merely spending cuts that Republicans are demanding. They want draconian cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs. As President Obama said at a press conference today, Republicans have always had “suspicions” about these and other government programs and they see taking the economy hostage as their only opportunity to push through their unpopular ideological agenda.
Let’s review what happened last time Republicans took the economy hostage in this way:
If Republicans force a default in order let the Tea Party element of their party “get it out of their system,” the economic consequences could be catastrophic. The president today also outlined the more immediate consequences for many Americans:
If congressional Republicans refuse to pay America’s bills on time, Social Security checks and veterans’ benefits will be delayed.  We might not be able to pay our troops, or honor our contracts with small business owners. Food inspectors, air traffic controllers, specialists who track down loose nuclear material wouldn’t get their paychecks.  Investors around the world will ask if the United States of America is, in fact, a safe bet.  Markets could go haywire. Interest rates would spike for anybody who borrows money — every homeowner with a mortgage, every student with a college loan, every small business owner who wants to grow and hire. It would be a self-inflicted wound on the economy.  It would slow down our growth, might tip us into recession, and ironically, would probably increase our deficit.
What many people don’t understand is that raising the debt limit doesn’t increase government spending by one cent. It merely allows the president to pay for the spending that Congress already authorized by law. In fact, the president is legally obligated to spend the money Congress tells him to. This is why the president is refusing to negotiate on the debt ceiling. Congress racked up the bills (two wars and massive tax cuts all went on the national credit card), so now it’s time for Congress to pay those bills. And the only way they can do that is by raising the debt ceiling.
BOTTOM LINE: We don’t dine and dash and, as the president said today, “we are not a nation of deadbeats.” It’s time for Congress to do its job and pay the bills it racked up.

Source: ThinkProgress

Walmart to Launch Vet-Hiring Plan


Walmart to Launch Vet-Hiring PlanWalmart is set to announce plans Tuesday to hire any veteran who wants a job—one of the nation’s biggest hiring commitments for veterans in history. Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, will require that the veterans have left the military in the previous year and did not receive a dishonorable discharge. The program will officially launch on Memorial Day. In a statement, first lady Michelle Obama called the program “historic” and said she will urge other corporations to follow in Walmart’s footsteps. According to Walmart, the program is expected to lead to 100,000 new jobs for veterans in the next five years.

Frank backs Markey in Mass. Senate special


Former Rep. Barney Frank is supporting Rep. Ed Markey in the special election to replace Sen. John Kerry, according to the Boston radio station WBUR.
“He was a leader in gun control when we were in the legislature together in the 1970s,” Frank said of Markey. “And he has since that time been a very important leader, one of the national leaders, on the whole question of climate change.”
Frank said he was backing Markey over Rep. Michael   who’s also seriously considering running in the race, because “Capuano is probably not running.”     
Markey, who announced his intention to run in late December, has gotten the backing of the national Democratic establishment as well as key players in Massachusetts – including Kerry, Vicki Kennedy and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Other potential Democratic candidates in the race include Rep. Stephen Lynch and state Sen. Ben Downing.
In the meantime, if Kerry is confirmed as Secretary of State as expected, Gov. Deval Patrick will appoint a placeholder to the seat – a post Frank has said he’s very interested in filling.
 

ABC / Washington Post Poll - Most Support New Gun Restrictions -


 Gary Langer reports: With Vice President Joe Biden set to present recommendations that were prompted by the Newtown, Conn., school shootings last month, this latest poll shows overwhelming support for certain moves: Eighty-eight percent favor background checks on firearms buyers at gun shows; 76 percent support checks on buyers of ammunition and 71 percent back a new federal database that would track all gun sales.
Sixty-five percent also support banning high-capacity ammunition magazines, a high in three ABC/Post polls to test the idea since early 2011, and up by 6 percentage points since just after the Newtown shootings.
58 percent favor banning the sale of so-called assault weapons,
55 percent support the National Rifle Association's call for armed guards in schools
51 percent would ban semi-automatic handguns.
The Full Poll - http://abcn.ws/UZMb1x 

Obama demands Congress raise $16.4 trillion debt ceiling

House Speaker John Boehner “may need a shutdown just to get it out of their system,” said a top GOP leadership adviser. “We might need to do that for member-management purposes — so they have an endgame and can show their constituents they’re fighting.” - Politico 1/13/13

President Obama at a Monday press conference demanded that Congress raise the nation’s $16.4 trillion debt ceiling.
Obama said raising the ceiling was about paying for bills the Congress has already rung up, and he argued it would be  disastrous for the economy — which he said is showing signs of lifting off — to not raise the debt limit.
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Colin Powell: There Is “A Dark Vein Of Intolerance” In The GOP


colinpowellhands302There’s a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the [Republican Party]… What I mean by that is they still sort of look down on minorities.  When I see former governor [Sarah Palin] say that the president is ‘shuckin’ and jivin,’ that’s a racial era slave-term.
[Gov. John Sununu] didn’t say Obama was slow, he was tired, or he didn’t do well.: He said he was ‘lazy.
Now, it may not mean anything to most Americans—but to those of us who are African-Americans, the second word is ‘shiftless,’ and then there’s a third word that goes along with it…
I think what the Republican Party needs to do now is take a very hard look at itself and understand that the country has changed. The country is changing demographically, and if the Republican Party does not change along with that demographic, they’re going to be in trouble.”
—Former Secretary of State Colin Powell on NBC’s Meet the Press



Full story here: http://www.queerty.com/colin-powell-there-is-a-dark-vein-of-intolerance-in-the-gop-20130114/#ixzz2HwsSezAc

Read more at http://www.queerty.com/colin-powell-there-is-a-dark-vein-of-intolerance-in-the-gop-20130114/#j36HpouGqAIiMooM.99 

California Hit With Big Freeze


The latest sign of the apocalypse? Frost on San Diego’s beaches. That’s what the National Weather Service has in its forecast for the state, which foretells sub-freezing temperatures from central California on down. The lows for Big Sur, in the central part of the state, are 20 degrees below Boston’s. But the  insanity doesn’t stop there. A 12-degree low has been recorded in the Big Bear mountain resort, and a 40-mile stretch of Los Angeles highway was shut down on Thursday—for snow. Californian snow-angel dreaming.

Anti-Gay Pastor Removed From Inaugural Program

Louis Giglio, the anti-LGBT pastor who had been announced to perform the benediction at President Obama’s second inauguration, has been removed from the program, ABC News’s Jonathan Karl reported Thursday.
Pastor Louie Giglio
The move came after ThinkProgress reported Wednesdaythat in the 1990s, Giglio had given a lengthy sermon in which he advocated for dangerous “ex-gay” therapy for gay and lesbian people, referenced a biblical passage often interpreted to require gay people be executed, and impelled Christians to “firmly respond to the aggressive agenda” and prevent the “homosexual lifestyle” from becoming accepted in society.

FreedomWorks Exposed


FreedomWorks, the national conservative group that helped launch the tea party movement, sells itself as a genuine grassroots operation, and for years, it has battled accusations of "astroturfing"—posing as a populist organization while doing the bidding of big-money donors. Yet internal documents obtained by Mother Jones show that FreedomWorks has indeed become dependent on wealthy individual donors to finance its growing operation: [READ MORE]

Rep. Peter King (R-NY), calls out, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), for stupidity


After walking back his scathing criticism of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) over Hurricane Sandy relief aid, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) on Thursday shifted his tough talk toward one of the legislation's most vocal opponents, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA). 
On Wednesday, Issa defended Boehner for adjourning the House on Tuesday night before taking up the relief package and denounced the bill for being "packed" with pork, a charge that the New York lawmaker sought to refute during an appearance on CNN.
First of all, with all due respect, Darrell Issa is 1,000 percent wrong. There is absolutely no pork in the bill. There were some items that were added in the senate involving Alaska, which is less than one percent of the bill. Even though it's only one percent of the bill, every one of those items was removed from the House bill and I wish Darrell Issa had learned that and looked into that before he went public and said that my constitituents should not get their homes rebuilt, should not have the waste management plants rebuild, that Gov. [Chris] Christie should not be given the opportunity to rebuild New Jersey and Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo in New York. Every dollar that Gov. Christie, Gov. Cuomo and Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg requested has been documented, the speaker will tell you that, the majority leader will tell you that. There is no pork and to somehow say that $33 billion is pork, Darrell Issa, with all due respect is 1,000 percent wrong. I say that again: 1,000 percent wrong. The speaker disagrees with him, and if he wants to take it up with somebody, call Gov. Christie.

How To Cut Spending- End Corporate Welfare!!!


    
As Rex Nutting of Marketwatch noted in his 12/18/2012 article “Why isn’t Obama demanding corporate welfare cuts?”, “$2.6 trillion could be saved [...] It’s possible to achieve all the budget savings we need for the next 10 years simply by cutting the fat out of discretionary spending programs and tax expenditures [removing all of the corporate welfare] without raising tax rates on the wealthy or cutting the safety net at all.”     
     
Oil and gas companies, which are raking in record profits, certainly don’t need $4 billion a year in subsidies, and even the oil company CEOs admit they don’t need it!     
     
Why are cuts to Social Security and Medicare even being discussed while literally billions in corporate welfare are constantly spilling out of the Treasury? 
    
White House petition to End Corporate 
http://1.usa.gov/VxOXdn

Violence Against Women Act Expires


If “legitimate rape” didn’t convince you the GOP has gender issues, this should do the trick. House Republicans have allowed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which has been reauthorized every year since its passage in 1994, to expire. The VAWA was reapproved by the Senate in April, and was expected to pass the House once again this year. But now, House GOP have reportedly chosen to block the bill. Local and state government resources for domestic-violence victims will be diminished unless proponents can rewrite the law for a new Congress later this year. In a statement, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) called the move “inexcusable," adding, “but this seems to be how House Republican leadership operates.”

Will the ideas of conservatism destroy our Country


Around 70% of the governments within the EU as of November 2012 identify themselves as right wing. A poll conducted in May 2012 revealed that 46% of Americans identified themselves as total conservatives on economics issues, and 38% as total conservatives onsocial issues as well.
Seeing such numbers requires serious consideration. Let’s look at the definition of conservatism: The tendency to resist great or sudden change, or the belief that society should change as little as possible.
The definitions speaks for itself. We take issue with the ideology of conservatism because it could be a stranglehold on many of the advancements that we will benefit from, facing the very fact that conservatism in and on itself is based upon the idea of holding things back in the name of traditional values, which do not contribute to the health of society.
We'd go as far as saying that conservative policies in society do much more damage than most other prevailing political ideologies. When we say 'harm', we mean, destabilise the potential for social sustainability to come about on a large-scale. There's none such thing as being 'unbiased' - you can never be unbiased due to your cultural conditioning and background. But a bias toward something that is attached to physical referents like science and technology - that is a much more 'efficient' bias

Corporate Handouts in the Fiscal Cliff Bill


1) Help out NASCAR - Sec 312 extends the “seven year recovery period for motorsports entertainment complex property”, which is to say it allows anyone who builds a racetrack and associated facilities to get tax breaks on it. This one was projected to cost $43 million over two years.
2) A hundred million or so for Railroads - Sec. 306 provides tax credits to certain railroads for maintaining their tracks. It’s unclear why private businesses should be compensated for their costs of doing business. This is worth roughly $165 million a year.
3) Disney’s Gotta Eat - Sec. 317 is “Extension of special expensing rules for certain film and television productions”. It’s a relatively straightforward subsidy to Hollywood studios, and according to the Joint Tax Committee, was projected to cost $150m for 2010 and 2011.
4) Help a brother mining company out – Sec. 307 and Sec. 316 offer tax incentives for miners to buy safety equipment and train their employees on mine safety. Taxpayers shouldn’t have to bribe mining companies to not kill their workers.
5) Subsidies for Goldman Sachs Headquarters – Sec. 328 extends “tax exempt financing for  York Liberty Zone,” which was a program to provide post-9/11 recovery funds. Rather than going to small businesses affected, however, this was, according to Bloomberg, “little more than a subsidy for fancy Manhattan apartments and office towers for Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Corp.” Michael Bloomberg himself actually thought the program was excessive, so that’s saying something. According to David Cay Johnston’s The Fine Print, Goldman got $1.6 billion in tax free financing for its new massive headquarters through Liberty Bonds.
6) $9B Off-shore financing loophole for banks – Sec. 322 is an “Extension of the Active Financing Exception to Subpart F.” Very few tax loopholes have a trade association, but this one does. This strangely worded provision basically allows American corporations such as banks and manufactures to engage in certain lending practices and not pay taxes on income earned from it. According to this Washington Post piece, supporters of the bill include GE, Caterpillar, and JP Morgan. Steve Elmendorf, super-lobbyist, has been paid $80,000 in 2012 alone to lobby on the “Active Financing Working Group.” 
7) Tax credits for foreign subsidiaries –  Sec. 323 is an extension of the “Look-through treatment of payments between related CFCs under foreign personal holding company income rules.” This gibberish sounding provision cost $1.5 billion from 2010 and 2011, and the US Chamber loves it. It’s a provision that allows US multinationals to not pay taxes on income earned by companies they own abroad.
8) Bonus Depreciation, R&D Tax Credit – These are well-known corporate boondoggles. The research tax credit was projected to cost $8B for 2010 and 2011, and the depreciation provisions were projected to cost about $110B for those two years, with some of that made up in later years.
Conveniently, the Joint Committee on Taxation in 2010 did an analysis of what many of these extenders cost. You can find that report here.

Matt Stoller is the former senior policy adviser to Rep. Alan Grayson and a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. He blogs frequently for Naked Capitalism. He appears on the FX show "Brand X with Russel Brand." Follow him on Twitter at @matthewstoller.

White House Take on the Tax Agreement


Fact Sheet: The Tax Agreement: A Victory for Middle-Class Families & the Economy
 
At this make or break moment for the middle class, the President achieved a bipartisan solution that keeps income taxes low for the middle class and grows the economy. For the first time in 20 years, Congress will have acted on a bipartisan basis to vote for significant new revenue. This means millionaires and billionaires will pay their fair share to reduce the deficit through a combination of permanent tax rate increases and reduced tax benefits. And this agreement ensures that we can continue to make investments in education, clean energy, and manufacturing that create jobs and strengthen the middle class.
 
In 2011, the President cut spending. In 2012, he kept his promise of asking the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans to pay more while protecting 98 percent of families and 97 percent of small businesses from any income tax increase—raising $620 billion in revenue. As we move forward to address our ongoing fiscal challenges, both spending cuts and continuing to ask the wealthy to do a little more will be part of a balanced approach. It is critical for our economy and future generations that we reduce the deficit. We cannot keep racking up this debt on our kids. And the President looks forward to working with Republicans to reduce the deficit in a balanced and bipartisan way.
 
 
v  Permanently extends the middle-class tax cuts and also extends credits for working families, with additional measures to protect families and promote economic growth.
 
·         Permanent extension of the middle class tax cuts: This will provide certainty for 114 million households including lower tax rates, an expanded Child Tax Credit, and marriage penalty relief—steps that together will prevent the typical family of four from seeing a $2,200 tax increase next year. In addition, it includes a permanent Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) fix.
 
·         Most progressive income tax code in decades: By raising income tax rates on the wealthiest and keeping taxes low for the middle class, the agreement will ensure we have the most progressive income tax code in decades.
 
·         Extension of Emergency Unemployment Insurance benefits for 2 million people: The agreement will prevent 2 million people from losing UI benefits in January by extending emergency unemployment insurance benefits for one year.
 
·         Extension of tax cuts for 25 million working families and students: The deal extends President Obama’s expansions of the Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, and the President’s new American Opportunity Tax Credit, which helps families pay for college. The President fought hard to extend these credits, overcoming Republican insistence that income taxes go up by an average of $1,000 for 25 million working families and students. The agreement would extend them for five years.
 
·         Extension of renewable energy incentives, the R&E tax credit and other business incentives: The agreement extends tax relief for businesses through the end of next year. This means extending the Production Tax Credit, a key incentive for renewable energy that many Republicans had been trying to end, as well as the Research & Experimentation tax credit. In addition, the agreement extends 50 percent bonus depreciation, a cost-effective temporary measure to support investment and growth. All of these would be extended through the end of 2013.
 
·         Fixes the SGR (“doc fix”) with no cuts to the Affordable Care Act or to beneficiaries: The agreement avoids a 27 percent cut to reimbursements for doctors seeing Medicare patients for 2013 by fixing the sustainable growth rate formula through the end of next year (the “doc fix”). The President stood firm against Republican proposals to pay for this fix with cuts to the Affordable Care Act or the beneficiaries.
 
·         Postpones the sequester for two months, paid for with $1 of revenue for every $1 of spending, with the spending balanced between defense and domestic: The agreement saves $24 billion, half in revenue and half from spending cuts which are divided equally between defense and nondefense, in order to delay the sequester for two months. This will give Congress time to work on a balanced plan to end the sequester permanently through a combination of additional revenue and spending cuts in a balanced manner.
 
v  Raises $620 billion in revenue according to Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation by achieving the President’s goal of asking the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans to pay more while protecting 98 percent of families and 97 percent of small businesses from any income tax increase.
 
·         Restores the 39.6 percent rate for high-income households, as in the 1990s: The top rate would return to 39.6 percent for singles with incomes above $400,000 and married couples with incomes above $450,000.
 
·         Capital gains rates for high-income households return to Clinton-era levels: The capital gains rate would return to what it was under President Clinton, 20 percent. Counting the 3.8 percent surcharge from the Affordable Care Act, dividends and capital gains would be taxed at a rate of 23.8 percent for high-income households. These tax rates would apply to singles above $400,000 and couples above $450,000.
 
·         Reduced tax benefits for households making over $250,000 (for singles) and $300,000 (for couples): The agreement reinstates the Clinton-era limits on high-income tax benefits, the phaseout of itemized deductions (“Pease”) and the Personal Exemption Phaseout (“PEP”), for couples with incomes over $300,000 and singles with incomes over $250,000. These two provisions reduce tax benefits for high-income households. This sets the stage for future balanced approaches to deficit reduction, which could include additional revenue through tax reforms that reduce tax benefits for Americans making over $250,000.
 
·         Raises tax rates on the wealthiest estates: The agreement raises the tax rate on the wealthiest estates – worth upwards of $5 million per person – from 35 percent to 40 percent, in contrast to Republican proposals to continue the current estate tax levels.
 
·         The agreement’s $620 billion in revenue is 85 percent of the amount raised by the Senate-passed bill, if that bill had been enacted and made permanent: The agreement locks in $620 billion in high-income revenue over the next ten years. In contrast, the bill passed by Democrats in the Senate achieved approximately $70 billion through one-year provisions; these same provisions could have raised a total of $715 billion over ten years if Congress acted again to extend it permanently. However, the Senate bill itself locked in only one year’s worth of savings so would have required additional extensions to achieve those savings.
 
v  Part of a balanced process of deficit reduction and stronger growth.
 
·         Strengthens our recovery next year by cutting taxes for the middle-class: The independent, non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that allowing the full effect of the “fiscal cliff” would cause our economy to enter a recession and actually shrink next year primarily as a result of higher taxes on the middle class and across-the-board spending cuts. The final agreement prevents taxes from rising on the middle class and delays the across-the-board “sequester.”
 
·         Temporary measures to support consumer spending and business investment: Extending unemployment insurance is one of the more effective ways to encourage consumer spending. And bonus depreciation will give companies incentives to invest.
 
·         Provides greater economic certainty for families and businesses: The agreement will make it easier for families and businesses to plan and will help our economy grow.
 
·         Cuts the deficit and reduces the debt as a share of the economy over the next five years: Since April last year, the President has signed into law 1.7 trillion in deficit reduction, including $700 billion in spending cuts from enacted appropriations bills in 2011 and 2012, and $1 trillion in the Budget Control Act. This tax agreement not only further reduces the deficit, but raises $620 in new revenue from high-income households. Together with a strengthening economy these steps will bring down the deficit as a share of the economy over the next five years.
 
·         Establishes a foundation for additional balanced, pro-growth deficit reduction through tax and entitlement reform: The agreement leaves substantial scope for reducing tax expenditures for high-income households, reforming corporate taxes to broaden the base and cut the rate to make America more competitive, and to take further steps to reform entitlements.
 
v  Extends the farm bill through the end of the fiscal year, averting a sharp rise in milk prices at the beginning of 2013.