Under the law passed by President Bush, there is no estate tax in 2010, and estates pay only capital gains tax; then the estate tax returns with a $1 million exemption in 2011. President Obama wants to prevent this one year gap by making the 2009 estate tax law permanent. There are several proposals on the table, including Rep. Jim McDermott's, D-WA Sensible Estate Tax Act, HR 2023, which will provide $62 billion more in revenue over 10 years compared to President Obama's proposal. We expect that Congress will vote later this year on legislation to make permanent changes in the estate tax. You can read what Rep. McDermott says in support of his bill in this 5/21/09 PBS news transcript:
"Reviving the Economy" - Congressional Difference of Opinion - Congressman Jim McDermott, D-WA
By Joel Wendland
"President Barack Obama campaigned on and has already implemented the
largest tax cut for working families in US history. As part of the
president's economic stimulus package, beginning on April 1st, the
Treasury Department revised its rules to make sure that 95 percent of
workers will keep an extra $400 and working-class households will keep
$800 per year.
In addition, the president has proposed shifting more of the tax burden to the very richest Americans and corporations by eliminating the Bush tax cuts for the upper bracket and by ending loopholes that allow corporations to gain at the expense of middle-income taxpayers."
Read the full article at Political Affairs.
By Desiree Evans of The Institute for Southern Studies.
"A movement aimed at shifting the nation's tax policy by raising taxes for the wealthiest is taking off across the country. Such a shift in policy would mean reversing 30 years worth of federal tax and budget policy that has primarily favored the rich.
Improving tax policy was a large part of President Barack Obama's campaign program. Although he's implemented one of the largest tax cuts for working families in U.S. history, economic justice advocates say that Obama's tax proposals must do more."
Read the full article at Facing South.
Dear RI supporter of United for a Fair Economy,
We are passing on an alert from our partner in RI, Ocean State Action, which is a member of UFE’s Tax Fairness Organizing Collaborative. Please reply to Dan Bass at 401-463-5368 or email@example.com.
Governor Carcieri's budget has several disastrous proposals that would vastly lower taxes for the wealthiest Rhode Island tax filers and large corporations at the expense of working and middle-income Rhode Islanders. We need your help on Tuesday May 19th and/or Thursday May 21st to defeat the three most harmful and regressive of the Governor's proposals in his FY2010 state budget. These proposals would:
- Lower the estate tax by raising the exemption on estates from $675,000 to $1 million, and setting a dangerous precedent to move towards the potential elimination of the estate tax in its entirety (Article 36)
- Phase out the corporate income tax in its entirety, which would mostly benefit the largest 50 corporations operating in Rhode Island (Article 37)
- Flatten the personal income tax rates to benefit mostly the highest income tax filers in Rhode Island (Article 38)
That's why we need Rhode Islanders to come to the State House on May 21 to testify against any or all of these proposals, and/or to provide written testimony against them. The Chamber of Commerce will come out in force to testify in support of these regressive proposals, so we need a strong presence to stand up against Big Business.
Please contact Dan Bass at 401-463-5368 or firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know if you will be able to testify or provide written testimony, or if you have questions or need assistance.
In these tough economic times, the last thing the state should do is lower taxes for the wealthiest and large corporations, and cut spending and investments in our communities, schools and social services. The estate tax, the corporate tax, and a strongly progressive personal income tax are essential to tax fairness and allowing us to make the investments we need for strong and healthy communities.
Also, the Senate Finance Committee will be hearing testimony on the same proposals on Tuesday May 19th at 2:00 pm. Please contact Dan Bass to let us know if you can testify at that time.
Please call or email your State Representative and Senator to urge them to oppose the Governor's reckless proposals to cut taxes for the wealthiest and large corporations. You can find out who your State Rep and Senator are here and their contact information here.
If you would like to write a letter to the editor in support of any of these bills, please contact Dan for more information.
Please forward this alert to people you know and post it on Facebook and other networking sites.
Thanks for taking action to promote a fair economy,
Senior Organizer on Estate Tax Policy
United for a Fair Economy
By Alistair Barr and Matt Andrejczak
"No American citizen ought to have a net income, after he has paid his taxes, of more than $25,000 a year," he said, urging Congress to help him "keep personal and corporate profits at a reasonable rate, the word 'reasonable' being defined at a low level."
This wasn't Barack Obama. It was Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1942, only a few months after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Compensation -- especially for the highest paid -- has been controversial for almost a century.
Read the full article in MarketWatch.
Walt Barnhart profiles Ken Monfort, one of the country's lowest-paid CEOs, calling attention to out-of-whack CEO pay:
"According to a study for the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy, in 2007 S&P 500 CEOs averaged $10.5 million, or 344 times the pay of typical American workers. In 1981 the average pay for the top 10 U.S. CEOs was $3.5 million. Monfort found that preposterous - and dangerous.
"Tremendous monetary rewards, too often with little risk, too often while serving on eight boards of directors running three or four charities and sporting a 5 handicap, and I wonder how they can be worth so much," he said in 1987. "And how does it happen? It's simple. You hire a consultant that tells you that you are underpaid compared to your peers so you catch up and it becomes an ever increasing comparison."
Read the full article in the Denver Post.
Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffet and Microsoft and Gates Foundation Chairman Bill Gates talk about the economy, estate taxes, charitable deductions, fast food, philanthropy and other topics in an entertaining interview with Fox Business News’ Liz Claman.
See the video on Fox Business News, May 4, 2009.
Daniel Farber writes in EconWatch blog on CBSnews.com:
Regarding proposals to repeal estate taxes, Gates and Buffet are in support of maintaining the tax, which delivers about $25 billion a year to government coffers. Every year about 2,450,000 people die in the U.S., and about 12,000 result in an estate tax return, the wily Buffett calculated. “If you go to a funeral per month, it will be on average 17 years before you would attend an estate tax funeral,”� he said. “Where do they want to get the $25 billion from? Do they want to get it from my secretary? She already pays a higher tax rate than I do.”�
Read the full blog post in EconWatch.
The Declaration of Cumaná
April 23rd 2009, by ALBA Member Countries
We, the Heads of State and Government of Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Honduras,
Nicaragua and Venezuela, member countries of ALBA, consider that the Draft
Declaration of the 5th Summit of the Americas is insufficient and
unacceptable for the following reasons:
- The Declaration does not provide answers to the Global Economic Crisis,
even though this crisis constitutes the greatest challenge faced by humanity
in the last decades and is the most serious threat of the current times to
the welfare of our peoples.
- The Declaration unfairly excludes Cuba, without mentioning the consensus
in the region condemning the blockade and isolation to which the people and
the government of Cuba have incessantly been exposed in a criminal manner.
For this reason, we, the member countries of ALBA believe that there is no
consensus for the adoption of this draft declaration because of the reasons
above stated, and accordingly, we propose to hold a thorough debate on the
1. Capitalism is leading humanity and the planet to extinction. What we are
experiencing is a global economic crisis of a systemic and structural
nature, not another cyclic crisis. Those who think that with a taxpayer
money injection and some regulatory measures this crisis will end are wrong.
The financial system is in crisis because it trades bonds with six times the
real value of the assets and services produced and rendered in the world,
this is not a “system regulation failure”�, but a integrating part of the
capitalist system that speculates with all assets and values with a view to
obtain the maximum profit possible. Until now, the economic crisis has
generated over 100 million additional hungry persons and has slashed over 50
million jobs, and these figures show an upward trend.
2. Capitalism has caused the environmental crisis, by submitting the
necessary conditions for life in the planet, to the predominance of market
and profit. Each year we consume one third more of what the planet is able
to regenerate. With this squandering binge of the capitalist system, we are
going to need two planets Earth by the year 2030.
3. The global economic crisis, climate change, the food crisis and the
energy crisis are the result of the decay of capitalism, which threatens to
end life and the planet. To avert this outcome, it is necessary to develop
and model an alternative to the capitalist system. A system based on:
- solidarity and complementarity, not competition;
- a system in harmony with our mother earth and not plundering of human
- a system of cultural diversity and not cultural destruction and imposition
of cultural values and lifestyles alien to the realities of our countries;
- a system of peace based on social justice and not on imperialist policies
- in summary, a system that recovers the human condition of our societies
and peoples and does not reduce them to mere consumers or merchandise.
4. As a concrete expression of the new reality of the continent, we,
Caribbean and Latin American countries, have commenced to build our own
institutionalization, an institutionalization that is based on a common
history dating back to our independence revolution and constitutes a
concrete tool for deepening the social, economic and cultural transformation
processes that will consolidate our full sovereignty. ALBA-TCP, Petrocaribe
or UNASUR, mentioning merely the most recently created, are solidarity-based
mechanisms of unity created in the midst of such transformations with the
obvious intention of boosting the efforts of our peoples to attain their own
freedom. To face the serious effects of the global economic crisis, we, the
ALBA-TCP countries, have adopted innovative and transforming measures that
seek real alternatives to the inadequate international economic order, not
to boost their failed institutions. Thus, we have implemented a Regional
Clearance Unitary System, the SUCRE, which includes a Common Unit of
Account, a Clearance Chamber and a Single Reserve System. Similarly, we have
encouraged the constitution of grand-national companies to satisfy the
essential needs of our peoples and establish fair and complementary trade
mechanisms that leave behind the absurd logic of unbridled competition.
5. We question the G20 for having tripled the resources of the International
Monetary Fund when the real need is to establish a new world economic order
that includes the full transformation of the IMF, the World Bank and the
WTO, entities that have contributed to this global economic crisis with
their neoliberal policies.
6. The solutions to the global economic crisis and the definition of a new
international financial scheme should be adopted with the participation of
the 192 countries that will meet in the United Nations Conference on the
International Financial Crisis to be held on June 1-3 to propose the
creation of a new international economic order.
7. As for climate change, developed countries are in an environmental debt
to the world because they are responsible for 70% of historical carbon
emissions into the atmosphere since 1750. Developed countries should pay off
their debt to humankind and the planet; they should provide significant
resources to a fund so that developing countries can embark upon a growth
model which does not repeat the serious impacts of the capitalist
8. Solutions to the energy, food and climate change crises should be
comprehensive and interdependent. We cannot solve a problem by creating new
ones in fundamental areas for life. For instance, the widespread use of
agricultural fuels has an adverse effect on food prices and the use of
essential resources, such as water, land and forests.
9. We condemn the discrimination against migrants in any of its forms.
Migration is a human right, not a crime. Therefore, we request the United
States government an urgent reform of its migration policies in order to
stop deportations and massive raids and allow for reunion of families. We
further demand the removal of the wall that separates and divides us,
instead of uniting us. In this regard, we petition for the abrogation of the
Law of Cuban Adjustment and removal of the discriminatory, selective Dry
Feet, Wet Feet policy that has claimed human losses. Bankers who stole the
money and resources from our countries are the true responsible, not migrant
workers. Human rights should come first, particularly human rights of the
underprivileged, downtrodden sectors in our society, that is, migrants
without identity papers. Free movement of people and human rights for
everybody, regardless of their migration status, are a must for integration.
Brain drain is a way of plundering skilled human resources exercised by rich
10. Basic education, health, water, energy and telecommunications services
should be declared human rights and cannot be subject to private deal or
marketed by the World Trade Organization. These services are and should be
essentially public utilities of universal access.
11. We wish a world where all, big and small, countries have the same rights
and where there is no empire. We advocate non-intervention. There is the
need to strengthen, as the only legitimate means for discussion and
assessment of bilateral and multilateral agendas in the hemisphere, the
foundations for mutual respect between states and governments, based on the
principle of non-interference of a state in the internal affairs of another
state, and inviolability of sovereignty and self-determination of the
peoples. We request the new Government of the United States, the arrival of
which has given rise to some expectations in the hemisphere and the world,
to finish the longstanding and dire tradition of interventionism and
aggression that has characterized the actions of the US governments
throughout history, and particularly intensified during the Administration
of President George W. Bush. By the same token, we request the new
Government of the United States to abandon interventionist practices, such
as cover-up operations, parallel diplomacy, media wars aimed at disturbing
states and governments, and funding of destabilizing groups. Building on a
world where varied economic, political, social and cultural approaches are
acknowledged and respected is of the essence.
12. With regard to the US blockade against Cuba and the exclusion of the
latter from the Summit of the Americas, we, the member states of the
Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America, reassert the
Declaration adopted by all Latin American and Caribbean countries last
December 16, 2008, on the need to end the economic, trade and financial
blockade imposed by the Government of the United States of America on Cuba,
including the implementation of the so-called Helms-Burton Act. The
declaration sets forth in its fundamental paragraphs the following:
“CONSIDERING the resolutions approved by the United Nations General Assembly
on the need to finish the economic, trade and financial blockade imposed by
the United States on Cuba, and the statements on such blockade, which have
been approved in numerous international meetings.
“WE AFFIRM that the application of unilateral, coercive measures affecting
the wellbeing of peoples and hindering integration processes is unacceptable
when defending free exchange and the transparent practice of international
“WE STRONGLY REPEL the enforcement of laws and measures contrary to
International Law, such as the Helms-Burton Act, and we urge the Government
of the United States of America to finish such enforcement.
“WE REQUEST the Government of the United States of America to comply with
the provisions set forth in 17 successive resolutions approved by the United
Nations General Assembly and put an end to the economic, trade and financial
blockade on Cuba.”�
Additionally, we consider that the attempts at imposing the isolation of
Cuba have failed, as nowadays Cuba forms an integral part of the Latin
American and Caribbean region; it is a member of the Rio Group and other
hemispheric organizations and mechanisms, which develops a policy of
cooperation, in solidarity with the countries in the hemisphere; which
promotes full integration of Latin American and Caribbean peoples.
Therefore, there is no reason whatsoever to justify its exclusion from the
mechanism of the Summit of the Americas.
13. Developed countries have spent at least USD 8 billion to rescue a
collapsing financial structure. They are the same that fail to allocate the
small sums of money to attain the Millennium Goals or 0.7% of the GDP for
the Official Development Assistance. Never before the hypocrisy of the
wording of rich countries had been so apparent. Cooperation should be
established without conditions and fit in the agendas of recipient countries
by making arrangements easier; providing access to the resources, and
prioritizing social inclusion issues.
14. The legitimate struggle against drug trafficking and organized crime,
and any other form of the so-called “new threats”� must not be used as an
excuse to undertake actions of interference and intervention against our
15. We are firmly convinced that the change, where everybody repose hope,
can come only from organization, mobilization and unity of our peoples.
As the Liberator wisely said:
Unity of our peoples is not a mere illusion of men, but an inexorable decree
of destiny. – Simón Bolívar
By Alexander Cockburn, co-editor of CounterPunch and a columnist for The Nation.
The sun is dipping low in the evening sky over the Republican Party as the Other Leading Brand. A mere 21 percent of the adult population identify themselves as Republicans. Sen. Arlen Specter sees the writing on the wall. He prefers to make his sixth senatorial run under the ample Democratic banner, rather than get mangled in the tiny shark tank of a Republican primary attended only by people who want to see the country run by Limbaugh and Hannity. With Franken certified, Specter crossing the aisle and Biden in reserve, the Democrats can no longer hide behind the excuse of a Republican filibuster. They’ll figure out a way, no doubt, but it could be embarrassing....
Read the full article in Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture.
III Encuentro Latinoamericano de Economía Solidaria y Comercio Justo
Las y los participantes del III Encuentro Latinoamericano de Economía Solidaria y Comercio Justo, reunidos en Montevideo, Uruguay, del 22 al 24 de octubre del 2008, provenientes de 16 países latinoamericanos y caribeños, así como invitados de Europa, Norteamérica y Oceanía, luego de un ampio intercambio de experiencias e intenso diálogo entre diversas redes y movimientos que trabajamos orientados por el enforque de economía solidaria y social en América Latina y El Caribe, nos dirigimos a los movimientos sociales, gobiernos de la región y a la ciudadanía en general para expresar:
Qué, en Latinoamérica se han instalado nuevos gobiernos que evidencian la capacidad y las ansias de cambio de la sociedad civil, dando un vuelco en el panorama y las relaciones políticas en la región. En su mayoría, estos gobiernos se han posicionado críticamente frente al modelo económico neoliberal. Sin embargo, amplios sectores de los pueblos de América Latina y El Caribe continúan sin acceder al goce efectivo de sus derechos fundamentales, y sufriendo los impactos negativos de dicho modelo, que en lo económico, social, cultural y ambiental sigue favoreciendo a una minoría en detrimento de las grandes mayorías.
Que, los tratados de libre comercio, tal como lo denunciamos desde el primer Encuentro en Cochabamba, Bolivia (2005), además de afirmar la voluntad de darle carácter irreversible al modelo económico neoliberal e impedir la formulación de políticas públicas nacionales soberanas, han debilitado los procesos de integración subregionales y han introducido nuevas condiciones desfavorables y de exclusión, en particular, a la pequeña producción del campo y la ciudad.
Que, la realidad actual del mundo presenta un panorama de peligrosa incertidumbre: las turbulencias financieras internacionales, la crisis energética y medioambiental, el calentamiento global y la inseguridad alimentaria para vastos sectores vulnerables. Todos estos elementos nos anuncian una nueva crisis sistémica de efectos aún imprevisibles, especialmente sobre las condiciones de vida y de trabajo de amplios sectores de la población de América Latina y El Caribe, la región con el más alto índice de desigualdad en el mundo, y nos confirman que el modelo económico imperante hegemónicamente desde hace décadas no sirve.
Frente a este escenario:
1) Reafirmamos, una vez más, que la Economía Social y Solidaria es una alternativa para la humanidad, pues persigue como objetivo principal el bien vivir de todas las personas, a partir de la autonomía productiva, la equidad económica, la justicia social, la sostenibilidad ambiental y la participación política. Esta forma distinta de hacer economía tiene a la organización de base como el eslabón fundamental del proceso económico y propicia el empoderamiento de hombres y mujeres para afrontar el reto de ser sujetos de su propio destino, constituyendo una estrategia que contribuye al reconocimiento de los derechos económicos, sociales, culturales y ambientales, que enfatiza los enfoques de sustentabilidad, de interculturalidad y de equidad de género, y que fortalece los procesos de desarrollo local sustentable para la proyección nacional y regional.
2) Nos comprometemos a promover una integración regional que privilegie los derechos, sabidurías e intereses de los pueblos latinoamericano-caribeños, y que tenga como principales fundamentos la cooperación, la reciprocidad y la complementariedad en la producción, el comercio y las finanzas, así como en todas las dimensiones de la vida social de los pueblos; por lo tanto, diferente al modelo de libre comercio que, por incidencia de las grandes transnacionales, hegemoniza las discusiones y acuerdos en el seno de la Organización Mundial de Comercio (OMC) y en los tratados comerciales regionales y bilaterales que se pretenden imponer en la región.
3) Apoyamos y acompañamos las luchas y reivindicaciones de los pueblos de América Latina y el Caribe, reclamando respeto a su carácter multicultural, multiétnico y multilingí¼istico, y sus aportes socio-económicos, basados en relaciones de solidaridad, de reciprocidad y de cooperación.
4) Nos solidarizamos con las organizaciones sociales que en diferentes países de la región se vienen movilizando en defensa de la democracia participativa e incluyente, de la paz, de las conquistas políticas y económicas, así como frente a la agresiva y violatoria penetración de las transnacionales en sus territorios.
5) Convocamos a compartir, perfeccionar e innovar instrumentos, métodos y sistemas para mejorar los actuales niveles de eficiencia económica y social de los emprendimientos solidarios, sus productos y servicios, con el ánimo de contribuir al bien vivir de sus integrantes y comunidades.
6) Adoptamos el compromiso de promover y/o fortalecer redes y movimientos nacionales de economía solidaria, consolidando espacios idóneos para la mejor articulación y el fortalecimiento de las organizaciones y sus integrantes, así como de impulsar alianzas estratégicas con otras redes y movimientos sociales para el fortalecimiento de la economía solidaria en las localidades, los países y la región.
7) Instamos a que el Banco del Sur constituya una oportunidad para favorecer la soberanía financiera en América del Sur y sea un instrumento para el desarrollo de la economía solidaria.
8) Exigimos a los gobiernos nacionales, parlamentos, y a las instancias estatales regionales y locales de América Latina y El Caribe, que abran y consoliden espacios públicos participativos para la formulación, implementación y control de leyes, políticas y programas específicos para el fomento y desarrollo de la economía solidaria.
Finalmente, agradecemos la infinita solidaridad de las hermanas y hermanos integrantes de las organizaciones uruguayas anfitrionas de este III Encuentro. Asimismo, invitamos a las organizaciones, entidades de apoyo, y académicos de la economía solidaria de la región a que contribuyan y participen en el IV Encuentro Internacional "Globalización de la Solidaridad", en abril de 2009 en Luxemburgo; así como a que se sumen nuevas fuerzas a nuestro movimiento, para consolidar y ampliar los niveles de participación y representatividad hasta ahora logrados, con miras a la realización del IV Encuentro Latinoamericano de Economía Solidaria y Comercio Justo, en Medellín, en noviembre de 2010.
Montevideo 24 de octubre de 2008
Más información del III Encuentro”¨Más información de RIPESS Latinoamérica