What’s Next? A Post-Election Our Faith Our Vote webinar on advocating for justice after Election Day December 6th, 2012
Our Faith Our Vote Wrap-Up Thank you for participating! Challenges of this year’s election: • Voter ID (voter suppression) • Campaign finance We had a variety of new resources, and are getting in some great stories about how congregations have engaged
The Changing Face of Politics • People who have not traditionally been engaged in politics are increasing their civic participation. This is evidenced in the following: • The 113th Congress will have more women senators than ever before (20!) • The House of Representatives is increasingly diverse in terms of religious affiliation, ethnic identity, and sexual orientation • The young adult vote this year passed expectations, showing an increase in voter turnout from 2008. 19% of this year’s voters were people aged 18-29. • Despite concerns due to voter ID laws, voters of color and young voters cast their ballots this year!
Source: Montreal Gazette Source: Huffington Post
The Fiscal Cliff, Deficits, and Taxes Edith Rasell Minister for Economic Justice Justice and Witness Ministries, UCC
Congress in December 2012 • Most important issue is the “fiscal cliff” • Huge spending cuts + very large tax increases = massive deficit reduction. • (what is the deficit?) • Millions of jobs lost, a recession predicted.
Fiscal Cliff • To avoid the fiscal cliff, do less deficit reduction: fewer spending cuts and fewer tax increases. • So some spending must continue (what?) and some tax breaks must continue (whose?) • Action Alert
Fiscal Cliff When the economy is weak, any reduction in the deficit will destroy jobs. So reduce the deficit (raise taxes and cut spending) by a small amount and in ways that destroy the least jobs.
Fiscal Cliff Taxes • Raise taxes on the top 2% (income above $250,000/year for couples; $200,000/year for singles) • Continue income tax breaks for all others (for now). Spending • Cut military spending (this has the smallest impact on jobs of any government spending) and it is excessive. • Continue spending on core government functions and programs such as education, public health, R&D, environmental protection, the court system, and the safety net (“discretionary non-military spending”) • Continue extended unemployment insurance
Taxes in 2013 • Probably no grand bargain on the budget before year end. May just continue current policies or do small changes to avoid the worst of the fiscal cliff. • So next year, a large focus on taxes. • Need more revenue for the federal government: currently at the lowest level since 1950 – society is starved of government services/programs and, in the future, we need to reduce the deficit. • But don’t want to hurt job creation.
Taxes and Jobs • Spending money creates jobs. • Poor and middle-income people spend all/nearly all their money so taxing them will destroy jobs. • Higher income people save more, so taxing this away has less impact on jobs. • Corporations are sitting on billions of dollars, not spending it, not hiring. Taxing them won’t hurt jobs. • Firms do NOT hire because they have money but because they need to produce more (people are buying). Just “putting money in the hands of job creators” does NOT create jobs.
Taxes in 2013 • Corporate taxes • Estate tax • Capital gains tax • Financial transaction tax Each of these has a relatively small impact on jobs
Corporate Taxes • Reform corporate taxes – eliminate tax havens, loopholes, tax evasion. We lose over $300 billion/year. • Share of national income paid by corporations in taxes has fallen in each decade from 4.8% in the 1950’s, to less than 2% today. Needs to go up. • U.S. corporations pay less tax than do corporations in nearly all other major nations. Our tax rates are higher but with loopholes, etc, tax payments are lower. • Many large corporations pay NO taxes (GE, PepsiCo, Boeing, etc).
Estate Tax • Nearly exclusively paid by the extremely wealthy. • Must be strengthened.
Capital Gains Tax • Paid on the gains made on the sale of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, businesses, and property (not primary residence unless over half a million dollars). • Tax rate is 15%, far below the tax rate paid on most wage and salary income. • This is why millionaires pay less taxes than their secretaries. • Three-fourths of the benefits from this tax break accrue to millionaires.
Financial Transaction Tax • Also called the Robin Hood Tax – very small tax (1/2 of 1%, for example) is assessed on the purchase and sale of all financial instruments (stock, bonds, currency, derivatives, etc.) • It would be barely noticed by most investors. • But speculators who invest huge amounts of money for just a few days or weeks, repeatedly during the year, would pay a significant amount. • The purpose: reduces speculation and raises significant amounts of money, up to $350 billion a year.
Also, Raise Minimum Wage Raise the minimum wage to about $10.00/hour over three years (up from the current $7.25), then index it to inflation, meaning each year it would rise as prices rose.
What’s Next for Health CarePost Election 2012? Barbara T. Baylor, M.P.H.Minister for Health Care Justice
“Faith leaders are trusted partners in local communities. You have a unique ability to reach people, especially the most vulnerable, with the tools and information they need to get healthy, stay well, and thrive.” – HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
The Problem • Insurance companies could take advantage of you and turn away the 129 million Americanswith pre-existing conditions. • Premiums had more than doubled over the last decade, while insurance company profits were soaring. • Tens of millions were underinsured, and many whohad coverage were afraid of losing it. • And 50 million Americans had no insurance at all. (source: www.healthcare.gov)
What the Law Means for You: 1. Ends the worst insurance company abuses 2. Makes health insurance more affordable 3. Strengthens Medicare 4. Provides better options for coverage (source: www.healthcare.gov)
Key Provisions Upheld • 5-4 decision • Many provisions already in place and are being implemented. • Extends coverage to 30 million Americans • Creates state-run insurance exchanges and eliminates many unpopular insurance practices. • Retains requirement that everyone must have insurance by 2014. • Gave states option to expand Medicaid or not without penalty.
New Rules and Regulations Implemented November 2012: • 1. Proposed rules making it illegal for insurance companies to discriminate against people with re-existing conditions. • 2. Proposed Essential Health Benefits • 3. Proposed Work Place Wellness
Health Exchanges • New competitive marketplaces where individuals and small businesses up to 100 EE’s will shop for their health insurance beginning January 2014. • Exchanges – one of the ways the law tries to extend health coverage. • Deadline was extended to December 14, 2012 for having exchanges already setup or letting the Feds. know what they were planning to do.
Health Exchanges • Uninsured adults up to 133% of FPL for family of four eligible for subsidies • 23-25 million persons are expected to receive coverage through the exchanges. • Establishing exchange will allow states more control over which plans are allowed to participate, how they are structured, how quality of care is measured.
The Fiscal Cliff and Healthcare Mandatory: - Spending enacted by Congress: * Medicare* CHIP* Medicaid* Social Security* Prevention and Public Health Fund
So What About Health…? •Public health already cut 5 percent –Wide variation across HHS •NIH flat funded; CDC cut 12% –$6.25 billion cut from Prevention Fund –55,000 public health job losses • •Sequester would be knockout punch –$2.5 billion from public health programs •CDC cut $545 million •HRSA cut $520 million •FDA $320 cut million (including fees!) •Prevention Fund cut $84 million (Slide from: Emily Holubowich, MPP Senior Vice President, CRD Associates )
The Fiscal Cliff and Medicare • Medicare payments to doctors could be reduced to 27%, or $11 billion because Congress has not passed the usual so-called “doc fix” to block the cuts. • Raise premiums cost-sharing for high income beneficiaries for services on Part B from 25% to 35% • Cap Medicare spending 4. Raise Eligibility to age 67 (source: The Fiscal Explained – NY Times; “Avoiding the Fiscal Cliff Likely Means Changes to Medicare” Kaiser Health News)
The Fiscal Cliff and Medicaid 1. Supreme Court made Medicaid expansion optional for states. Additional reductions may make governors more reluctant to expand. • Cuts to Medicaid already being called for.
The Fiscal Cliff and Prevention Prevention and Public Health Fund • Dedicated fund to promote prevention • First time in history of country. • Threats to this fund are real and opponents have been seeking ways to chip away at this fund or do away with it. • Nov. 12th, AMA approves resolution
Faith Action • Contact legislators – “Save these Programs” We don’t need anymore cuts to Non-Defense Discretionary programs. Don’t balance the budget on the backs of the poor and low/middle income families. • Sample Message: “Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid will hurt our economy as well as the health and security of hardworking families who have parents, children and loved ones living in nursing homes or with disabilities who count on the services and care these programs provide.” (source: Herndon Alliance Messaging)
International Affairs and Military Spending Michael Neuroth, Policy Advocate for International Issues; Justice and Witness Ministries From http://www.aventuresbicycletales.org/english/partners.html
U.S. compared to world Graphic courtesy of International Institute for Strategic Studies
Asks… • Urge Congress to avoid cuts to poverty focused development assistance and demilitarize U.S. foreign aid. • Rebalance the U.S. foreign policy “toolbox” by funding agencies and accounts designed to prevent violent conflict, such as the Complex Crises Fund, Civilian Response Corps, the Conflict and Stabilization Operations Bureau, and paying full U.S. dues to the U.N. • Congress should review the spending practices of the largest federal agency – the Defense Department. Call for an audit to prevent waste, and look to cut $1 Trillion over the next decade. • We need a budget that serves the nation’s needs, promotes the common good and human dignity of all people, and leads us toward a just peace.
What is at stake? • “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death […] America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence, 1969
Q&A Please submit questions to Sandy Sorensen via the chat box. --------------------------- You can also contact us at: www.ucc.org/ourfaithourvote | firstname.lastname@example.org • Edie Rasell – email@example.com • Barbara Baylor – firstname.lastname@example.org • Mike Neuroth – email@example.com • Sandy Sorensen – firstname.lastname@example.org
Investor $50,000 for 10 years, return of 8% per year. After 10 years, the investment is worth $107,946, or a gain of $57,946. Taxes paid would be ½ of 1% on the purchase price of $50,000 ($250) and on the sales price of $107,946 ($540), or a total of $790. The tax would reduce the return from 8% annually to 7.92%
Speculator $500 million for two weeks, return of 1% ($5 million); 20 times during the year. Total return for the year would be $5 million times 20 = $100 million (a 20% return on the $500 million). Taxes paid would be ½ of 1% on each purchase ($2.5 million) and sale ($2.525 million), or $100.5 million for the 20 purchases during the year. The tax would make this a money loser. (Each purchase/sale would lose money)