Today one of our two major political parties - nationally and in state capitols -- is unwilling to consider raising taxes no matter what the circumstances. Though most of Washington's officials and media are hysterical about the deficit, and willing to hurt anyone in an effort to reduce it, both parties voted in December to extend tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans for two more years.
I last interviewed today's guest, Pulitzer Prize winning tax writer, DAVID CAY JOHNSTON in January 2009 on the day of Barack Obama's inauguration, We talked then about how we could make the most of the opportunity presented by the financial catastrophe. Did the bailouts make sense? and What could we do that would be smarter, more efficient, more effective - that might work?
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON worked as an investigative reporter for several newspapers. He was with the Los Angeles Times from 1976 to 1988, and at the New York Times from 1995-2008 where he won a Pulitzer Prize for his innovative coverage of our tax system He now teaches the tax, property and regulatory law of the ancient world at Syracuse University College of Law and Whitman School of Management and writes a column at tax.com. He is the author of two bestsellers, Perfectly Legal and Free Lunch. His next book, The Fine Print, will be published in 2011.
There are the repercussions of the Republican electoral victories in last fall's elections - not just in Washington but in statehouses across the country. Though they well know that they were swept into office due to unemployment and a weak economic recovery on the one hand, and voter ignorance and lack of memory on the other, the GOP in DC is acting like they have a mandate for gutting Planned Parenthood, Public Radio and Television, and the EPA. Even worse, in the states, they are seizing on budget shortfalls to try to crush public employee unions.
JOHN NICHOLS is a Washington correspondent for The Nation and associate editor of The Capital TImes in Madison, Wisconsin. He is the author of Jews for Buchanan, and co-author with Robert McChesney of Our Media Not Theirs: The Democratic Struggle Against Corporate Media.
JEREMY RIFKIN is the bestselling author of The End of Work, The Biotech Century, The Hydrogen Economy and The European Dream. A fellow at the Wharton School's Executive Education Program at the University of Pennsylvania, he is the president of the Foundation on Economic Trends in Washington, D.C. His newest book is THE EMPATHIC CIVILIZATION.
Has government of, by and for the people perished from the United States?
January 21st, a divided Supreme Court reversed precedent and law, voting 5-4 in Citizens United v. FEC to remove limits on corporate contributions to political campaigns. We'll discuss the decision in the context of money in politics, looking at potential outcomes and possible remedies.
BOB EDGAR is President and CEO of Common Cause, a grassroots advocacy organization working for democracy reform, with nearly 400,000 members and supporters and state chapters in 36 states. Edgar previously served as general secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, the leading U.S. organization in the movement for Christian unity, and before that as president of the Claremont School of Theology. He was elected to the U.S. House in 1974, the first Democrat in 82 years to represent the heavily Republican 7th Congressional District near Philadelphia.
SCOTT NELSON is an attorney at the Public Citizen Litigation Group in Washington, D.C., where he has practiced since August 2001. After graduating with honors from Harvard College, Nelson attended Harvard Law School, and was elected President of the Harvard Law Review in 1983. He then served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Byron White. Nelson represented key Congressional sponsors of McCain-Feingold before the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.