President Obama just gave brief remarks on the 11th-hour fiscal cliff negotiations currently on Capitol Hill. He briefly outlined a rough deal Republicans and Democrats are hammering out to rejigger the tax hikes and spending cuts set to go into effect at midnight.
Obama also made a number of head-spinning contradictions and falsehoods.
Middle-class taxes are going up
Obama said the pending deal would “make sure taxes don’t go up on middle-class families.” But this isn’t true if any of the reporting on the deal is to be believed. That’s because the payroll tax, currently 10.4 percent of your wages (6.2 % paid by your employer and 4.2% paid by you) is set to rise back to normal levels of 12.4 percent — 6.2% paid by both. So, your paycheck will shrink by 2 percent.
None of the reporting I’ve seen on the deal suggests the current rates will be extended. So, middle-class families will see a significant tax increase — $1,600 on a couple where each is earning $40,000.
Green-energy tax credits are Big Business tax cuts
Obama said the deal would extend green-energy tax breaks, but in the same speech said he wanted to make sure “the biggest corporations can’t take advantage of loopholes,” and he opposed tax breaks going to “companies with a lot of lobbyists.”
But green-energy tax credits are corporate welfare for rich people and big corporations who have lots of lobbyists.
Consider General Electric, a chief beneficiary of and lobbyist for green-energy tax credits. This company paid $0 corporate income in 2011 and is the number one U.S. manufacturer of wind turbines. The wind-energy tax credit is set to expire tonight, and presumably that’s one of the green-energy tax credits he’s extending. Oh yeah, GE spends more on lobbying than any other corporation — $120 million so far in Obama’s administration.
The lobbying force for these green-energy tax credits is robust, and full of rich people and the largest corporations, as I reported in my column today.