Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Last Call For Biden Versus The Tax Cheats

Republicans have been attacking the IRS since the Obama days, and the damage both they and Donald Trump did to the agency was render it largely incapable of going after the most egregious tax scofflaws, and leaving the agency to deal with the low-hanging fruit of regular people owing a few hundred or so to go after. President Joe Biden wants to change that to collect the $700 billion in unpaid taxes from the wealthiest tax cheats.

President Biden is expected to propose giving the Internal Revenue Service an extra $80 billion and more authority over the next 10 years as he looks for ways to raise money to pay for his economic agenda, according to two people familiar with the plan.

Mr. Biden is expected to propose beefing up the I.R.S. to crack down on individuals and corporations that evade paying federal taxes. He will use the recouped tax funds to help pay for the cost of his American Families Plan, which he will detail before addressing a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.

Mr. Biden’s plan, which comes on top of a $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal, is expected to cost at least $1.5 trillion and include funding for universal prekindergarten, federal paid leave, efforts to make child care more affordable, free community college and tax credits meant to fight poverty.

The plan will also call for tax increases, including raising the top marginal income tax rate for wealthy Americans and raising the rate that people who earn more than $1 million a year pay on profits earned from the sale of stocks or other assets. Mr. Biden is also expected to call for raising the rate on income that those earning more than $1 million a year get from stock dividends, according to a person familiar with the proposal.

The administration will portray these efforts, coupled with new taxes it is proposing on corporations and the rich, as a way to level the tax playing field between typical American workers and high earners who employ sophisticated efforts to minimize or evade taxation.

Administration officials have privately concluded that an aggressive crackdown on tax avoidance by corporations and the rich could raise at least $700 billion on net over 10 years. The $80 billion in proposed funding would be an increase of two-thirds over the agency’s entire funding levels for the past decade.
This is directed at the deficit scolds, which of course now includes every Republican in Congress, and not an insignificant number of Democrats. Those who scream WELL HOW DO YOU PAY FOR IT the answer is simple: collect revenue owed.

Imagine that. Like a business, even.

Of course, Republicans are going to scream about this, warning that Biden will target "conservatives" who apparently have enough tax lawyers to not actually end up paying taxes.

Woke As A Pejorative

Ol' James Carville argues in an interview with Vox's Sean Illing that working-class white gains made by Biden in states like Georgia, Wisconsin, and Arizona will be irrevocably lost if Dems don't abandon social justice and Black Lives Matter.

Sean Illing 
What do you make of Biden’s first 100 days?
James Carville

Honestly, if we’re just talking about Biden, it’s very difficult to find something to complain about. And to me his biggest attribute is that he’s not into “faculty lounge” politics. 
Sean Illing

“Faculty lounge” politics? 
James Carville

You ever get the sense that people in faculty lounges in fancy colleges use a different language than ordinary people? They come up with a word like “LatinX” that no one else uses. Or they use a phrase like “communities of color.” I don’t know anyone who speaks like that. I don’t know anyone who lives in a “community of color.” I know lots of white and Black and brown people and they all live in ... neighborhoods.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with these phrases. But this is not how people talk. This is not how voters talk. And doing it anyway is a signal that you’re talking one language and the people you want to vote for you are speaking another language. This stuff is harmless in one sense, but in another sense it’s not. 

Sean Illing

Is the problem the language or the fact that there are lots of voters who just don’t want to hear about race and racial injustice? 
James Carville

We have to talk about race. We should talk about racial injustice. What I’m saying is, we need to do it without using jargon-y language that’s unrecognizable to most people — including most Black people, by the way — because it signals that you’re trying to talk around them. This “too cool for school” shit doesn’t work and we have to stop it.

There may be a group within the Democratic Party that likes this, but it ain’t the majority. And beyond that, if Democrats want power they have to win in a country where 18 percent of the population controls 52 percent of the Senate seats. That’s a fact. That’s not changing. That’s what this whole damn thing is about. 
Sean Illing 
Sounds like you got a problem with “wokeness,” James. 
James Carville

Wokeness is a problem and everyone knows it. It’s hard to talk to anybody today — and I talk to lots of people in the Democratic Party — who doesn’t say this. But they don’t want to say it out loud. 
Sean Illing

Why not? 
James Carville

Because they’ll get clobbered or canceled. And look, part of the problem is that lots of Democrats will say that we have to listen to everybody and we have to include every perspective, or that we don’t have to run a ruthless messaging campaign. Well, you kinda do. It really matters.

I always tell people that we’ve got to stop speaking Hebrew and start speaking Yiddish. We have to speak the way regular people speak, the way voters speak. It ain’t complicated. That’s how you connect and persuade. And we have to stop allowing ourselves to be defined from the outside.

I'm the first to admit that the Squad Twitter Bubble is not indicative of the entire Democratic Party, and that Carville has a point about language being a weapon that Republicans use against us and define us with all the damn time.

Having said that, Carville wrong about wokeness. Some of the language being used by Black and brown folks are being used to reclaim what has been taken from us over the centuries, and it's supposed to make folks uncomfortable, because what has been done to non-white culture in this country, especially Black culture, is a hell of a lot worse than uncomfortable.

Besides, I'm not going to argue about wokeness language when the other side is straight up using phrases like "Anglo-Saxon cultural heritage". And all the wokeness argument is doing is giving more ammo to Republicans to come after their political foes with fascist tactics and laws punishing those who speak out.
Today’s GOP critique of business is not without antecedent. Decades before Ross Douthat was credited for coining the term “woke capitalism” in 2018, conservative publications and think tanks criticized notions of “corporate social responsibility” and “corporate citizenship,” recalling Milton Friedman’s admonition that corporations’ only true responsibility is to their shareholders. Conservatives often griped when companies took an interest in environmentalism—even if the businesses were just paying lip service to it—and grumbled about corporate “diversity and inclusion” efforts.

Notes Thomas Edsall, the “muscle” of woke capitalism was “evident as early as 2015 in Indiana and 2016 in North Carolina, when corporate opposition forced Republicans to back off anti-gay and anti-transgender legislation.” And after decades of protecting Silicon Valley—safeguarding its profits with tax cuts and resisting attempts at regulation—Republicans have in recent years started to complain about “Big Tech,” especially when it comes to matters of the companies removing users from their platforms.

But the GOP’s clash with business over the last few weeks is different in two ways from what came before.

First, on the business side, this case is different because the “activism” in question—the holding back of donations, the criticism—is not related to some matter of policy or party but rather to election administration and the preservation of democracy itself.

And on the GOP’s side, this case is different because it is based solely upon the politics of retaliation. Republicans are proposing punitive action in direct response to political speech from companies about the post-election Big Lie, the attempts to overturn the 2020 election, and Georgia’s recently enacted voting law. Threatening to use the power of the state to crack down on that speech is repulsive. (Acting on such threats could in some cases be unconstitutional.) The fact that those who endlessly thump their chests about “cancel culture” are so eager to act in this way shows how hypocritical the strategy is: “Free speech for me, not for thee.”

It’s all happened very fast
They want retribution. They want war. They want fighting.  Most of all, they want to win.

And they want the rest of us to lose everything and serve beneath them.

Black Lives Still Matter, Con't

The Justice Department is opening a sweeping probe into policing in Louisville, Kentucky after the March 2020 death of Breonna Taylor, who was shot to death by police during a raid at her home. It’s the second such sweeping probe into a law enforcement agency announced by the Biden administration in a week.

The 26-year-old Taylor, an emergency medical technician who had been studying to become a nurse, was roused from sleep by police who came through the door using a battering ram. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired once. A no-knock warrant was approved as part of a narcotics investigation. No drugs were found at her home.

The new investigation is known as a “pattern or practice” — examining whether there is a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing — and will be a more sweeping review of the entire police department.

Attorney General Merrick Garland, who made Monday’s announcement, last week announced a probe into the tactics of the police in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd.


Good to see AG Merrick Garland is going to do what KY AG Daniel Cameron refuses to. 

I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised to see Merrick Garland aggressively pursue police pattern/practice investigations after the Trump regime ended them completely. They didn't have to do that, and lord knows Republicans tried to block Garland and both his main subordinates, Anita Gupta and Lisa Monaco. They very nearly did, but in the end even some Republicans caved.

Now we're seeing the direct result of the new administration making things right.

Attorneys for Andrew Brown Jr.'s family said Monday they were frustrated only to be shown 20 seconds of body camera footage of sheriff's deputies shooting and killing Brown last week.

But what they did see amounted to an "execution," family attorney Chantel Cherry-Lassiter told reporters.

Sheriff's deputies shot and killed Brown, a 42-year-old Black man, while carrying out search and arrest warrants at his home Wednesday in Elizabeth City, N.C.

Family attorneys said the footage began with deputies firing at Brown, who had his hands on the steering wheel of his vehicle while being shot at in his driveway. Cherry-Lassiter said Brown then drove his vehicle away from the deputies while they continued to shoot. She said Brown did not present a threat to the deputies. Deputies continued to shoot after Brown's car crashed, she added, saying his vehicle was "riddled" with bullets.

"It's just messed up how this happened," Brown's son Khalil Ferebee said. "He got executed. It ain't right."

Cherry-Lassiter said about seven or eight law enforcement officers were present in the video.

"We do not feel that we got transparency," family attorney Ben Crump told reporters. "We only saw a snippet of the video."

Attorneys said they wanted to see footage from before the shooting began, but that Pasquotank County Attorney R. Michael Cox only allowed the "pertinent" portion to be shown. Brown family lawyers said they expected there to be additional law enforcement bodycam video from all the deputies involved as well as a light pole camera.

Pasquotank County officials said they're still working to release the video to the public — a process that is required to go through the courts.
You can forget any additional bodycam footage, it'll never be released. Brown had his hands on the steering wheel, and deputies made no effort to subdue or to arrest him. No "hands up" or no effort to disable the vehicle. They simply killed him. 

Black Lives Still Matter though.
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