Monday, April 18, 2011

Papal Teaching and the Modern World

The Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies of the Catholic University of America will mark the 120th anniversary of the Papal Encyclical Rerum Novarum (Of New Things) with a two-day symposium (May 2 and 3) on “The Church, Labor, and the New Things of the Modern World.”

Keynote speakers will be Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and John Sweeney, president emeritus of the AFL-CIO.

Panels of experts will include Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post, Harold Meyerson of the American Prospect, John Carr and Kathy Saile of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Rev. Cletus Kiley of Unite Here.

The Symposium, to be held on the CUA campus, is free and open to the public. For more information and registration, phone 202/319-5999.
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Income Tax Down for Wealthy

Inncome Taxes Down for Wealthy

“The wealhy are enjoying some of the lowest taxes in generations,” according to a report issued April 14 by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

Although the nation’s overall tax rate – the share of income paid in taxes – since 1979 has fallen slightly, the share for those at the top income ladder (the top 400 families) has fallen dramatically, says EPI. The report is based on data from the Congressional Office and the Internal Revenue Service.

See previous posting on the “two-level” tax policy which investors also get rewarded with tax breaks.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wealth vs work: our tax system

Take two taxpayers with incomes of $400,000 a year:

One is a neurosurgeon who, the first in her family to attend college, broke through the glass ceiling through hard work and now earns $400,000 per year, on which she pays a top marginal income tax rate of 35 percent.

The other is a wealthy heir who, instead of working, jaunts port-to-port on a yacht while collecting $400,000 a year in investment income from his multi-million-dollar inheritance, on which he pays a top marginal tax rate of only 15 percent.
Those two hypothetical cases illustrate one of the gross inequities of America’s “two-tiered” tax system. It rewards income from stocks, dividends, real estate and investment portfolios with a marginal tax rate of only15 percent, while income from work – wages and salaries – pays 35 percent.

A surprising group of wealthy taxpayers have stepped up to the plate to propose an end to this favoritism toward wealth over work. Responsible Wealth and United for a Fair Economy have launched a campaign to “Tax Wealth Like Work.”

Among the points made by the campaign:

-- “Eliminating the special break for capital gains and dividend income would raise enough to completely avoid the massive $61 billion in budget cuts being proposed by Republican members of Congress.”

-- “Alternatively, the revenue could be used as federal aid to states, eliminating a significant portion of the $112 billion in budget deficits faced by 44 states.[

-- “Taxing the earnings of just the top 13 hedge fund managers as ordinary income, instead of the special 15% rate as capital gains, would generate enough revenue to pay for 300,000 teachers.”

For details, see the Website

Although the issue of taxes is not treated in the encyclical by Pope John Paul II titled “On Human Work,” the document gives no support to a two-tier tax system. To the contrary. Certainly not in its chapter, “Priority of Labor.” (

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Thursday, April 07, 2011

'We will not be silent"

Father Clinton J. Kiley of the Bishops' Priestly Life and Ministry Committee giving invocation at the April meeting of the AFL-CIO Construction and Building Trades Department. Read more!