New Posts

Feb 8, 2016

Top 400 Taxpayers See Tax Rates Rise, But There’s More to the Story

As Americans were gathering party supplies to greet the New Year, the Internal Revenue Service released their annual report of cumulative tax data reported on the 400 tax r...

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Feb 4, 2016

Chlorine Bleach Plants Needlessly Endanger 63 Million Americans

Chlorine bleach plants across the U.S. put millions of Americans in danger of a chlorine gas release, a substance so toxic it has been used as a chemical weapon. Greenpeace’s new repo...

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Jan 25, 2016

U.S. Industrial Facilities Reported Fewer Toxic Releases in 2014

The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data for 2014 is now available. The good news: total toxic releases by reporting facilities decreased by nearly six percent from 2013 levels. Howe...

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Jan 22, 2016

Methane Causes Climate Change. Here's How the President Plans to Cut Emissions by 40-45 Percent.

  UPDATE (Jan. 22, 2016): Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its proposed rule to reduce methane emissions...

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Fair Taxes for All is Back!

In the face of Bush’s new tax proposal (misleadingly billed as a “growth and jobs plan to strengthen the economy”), the Fair Taxes For All Coalition has been reconvened by People for the American Way, the National Women’s Law Center, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). A petition is being circulated opposing the Bush tax cut proposal:

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The Estate Tax - Reform It, Don't Repeal It!

On January 13, 2003, Responsible Wealth held a press conference on preserving the federal estate tax, which featured William H. Gates, Sr., the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, George Soros, chair of Soros Fund Management, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), and Chuck Collins, co-founder of United for a Fair Economy.

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Economic Stimulus ? First, Do No Harm

An economic stimulus plan will be on the table early in the next Congress. Following is the tentative schedule. Given the sudden change in Senate leadership with Sen. Trent Lott’s (R-MS) resignation as Senate Majority Leader, there is a great deal of uncertainty about how the budget process will proceed next year, including issues of timing, number of reconciliation bills, and content. The next Watcher may contain a very different timetable.

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Tax Cut Fever: What the Budget Future May Hold

With the shake-up in the Administration’s economic team, the recent rise in the unemployment rate to 6% (the highest rate in eight years), and absolutely no evidence that the massive Bush tax cut has done anything but send the federal budget on a rapid spiral into deficit, a reasonable person might think that it was time for the Administration to reevaluate the idea that tax cuts are the solution to everything. The President’s economic stimulus plan, currently in the design phase, however, is expected to consist of tax cuts aimed at corporations and individuals in the higher tax brackets.

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A Dismal Outlook for Domestic Spending

Congress officially adjourned last Friday, after passing its seventh Continuing Resolution (CR) of the year. This CR, H.J. 124, was necessary to provide the funding to keep government running because Congress was unable to pass 11 of the 13 appropriations bills for FY 2003, which began on October 1, 2002. This CR funds departments and programs at their FY 2002 levels through January 11. It appears there will be an effort to pass the FY 2003 appropriations before the President’s State of the Union address, so at least one more CR will be necessary.

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U.S. Treasury Releases FY 2002 Deficit Numbers

On Friday, October 25, Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mitchell Daniels released the Treasury Department’s summary of the budget results for fiscal year 2002, which ended September 30. According to this report, FY 2002 closed with a $159 billion deficit -- $2 billion larger than the $157 billion the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicted in its Monthly Review earlier this month.

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CBO Says 2002 Had Largest Percentage Drop in Federal Revenue in 50 Years

The Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) Monthly Budget Review reports that the $137 billion drop in revenue for FY 2002 represents the largest one-year drop in 50 years. The combination of this reduction in revenue and the increase in spending in response to last year’s terrorist attacks, the increase in the unemployment rate, and steep increases in Medicaid costs amounted to a $157 billion deficit for FY 2002, which ended September 30. Though this return to a deficit represents a $254 billion turn-around from last year’s $127 billion surplus, the deficit is only 1.5 percent of GDP, a manageable size and a great deal smaller than the deficits of the mid-1980’s, which amounted to 6 percent of GDP. For an overview of CBO’s report on what happened to the surplus, see this OMB Watcher article.

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Appropriations Update

While timeliness has not been a hallmark of appropriations bills in recent years, this year is proving exceptionally slow. According to budget procedures, appropriations bills are supposed to be finished by June 30 to leave plenty of time to reconcile differences between the House and Senate before the new fiscal year, which starts October 1. But this year, not a single appropriations bill has been sent to the president, and neither house has completed action on all 13 appropriations bills.

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CBO 10-Year Budget Update Shows $5.6 Trillion Surplus Now Only $1.0 Trillion

The Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) annual "Budget and Economic Outlook: An Update," released on August 27, reports federal budget deficits through the end of 2005 and a relatively modest 10-year total surplus and has added more fodder to the debate in Washington over who’s to blame for the $5.4 trillion drop in the 10-year surplus forecast since January 2001.

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Freeze The Tax Cuts And Just Say No To More Tax Cuts

It's time to seriously work towards freezing the tax cuts that are scheduled to be phased in 2004, and oppose all new tax cuts. This is one of the most important issues facing us as a nation, and will affect our lives for decades to come.

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Resources & Research

Living in the Shadow of Danger: Poverty, Race, and Unequal Chemical Facility Hazards

People of color and people living in poverty, especially poor children of color, are significantly more likely...

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A Tale of Two Retirements: One for CEOs and One for the Rest of Us

The 100 largest CEO retirement funds are worth a combined $4.9 billion, equal to the entire retirement account savings of 41 percent of American fam...

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