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August 3rd, 2009
05:32 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Taxing the middle-class?

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says the stimulus plan is working, but tough choices may be ahead.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says the stimulus plan is working, but tough choices may be ahead.

Suvro Banerji
AC360° Intern

Tonight, could your taxes increase to help pay for the economic recovery? This weekend White House economic adviser Larry Summers said he cannot promise that Pres. Obama will stick to his campaign pledge of cutting taxes on the middle class. But others at the White House are saying that’s not an option. It’s your money, your future.

It’s official now. A judge granted Katherine Jackson permanent custody of her three grandchildren. But what happens to Debbie Rowe? Today, a hearing addressed her rights and also looked at who may get control of Jackson’s estate. Randi Kaye joins us live from Los Angeles to give us the latest.

And a major development in the world of biology. Researchers have tracked down the origins of one of the deadliest diseases on the planet: malaria. Nathan Wolfe, who you may remember from our Planet in Peril investigation, is one of the authors of this new study. He’ll join us for more insight on this medical breakthrough, along with 360° MD Sanjay Gupta.

Plus, Sunday marks the 40th anniversary of the Manson family killing spree. Tonight we’re launching a five-part series on the murders that are still making headlines today.

All these stories and much more tonight on 360° at 10pm ET. See you then!

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Economy • Michael Jackson • President Barack Obama • The Buzz
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Melissa

    I'm fine with an increase in taxes so long as it isn't in double digits and they use all of it to pay down the debt. Canada did the same thing with the GST and everyone flipped out, but it was only 7% and it worked. Not only is it significantly helping the debt be reduced, its also increased funding for things like education and medical care (don't listen to the lies of American reporters or the Republicans when they tell you otherwise). Each year, for the last two years, its even decreased by a percent per year which means its now 5%.

    I don't think taxes are the enemy. Nor is the gvt.

    August 4, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  2. michael jovan

    Cut corporate taxes by 50% and have the corporations repay the taxpayers their bailout money.

    The U.S. goverment is nothing but the bankers (using tax payer money. legalizing gambling, sin taxes, and still can't get a balanced budget) for multinational corporations.The true kings and rulers of this world. do the elementary math people.

    August 4, 2009 at 7:13 am |
  3. Mark from Saint Louis

    Obama cranks up the deficit and now wants to crank up taxes. Who voted for this Chicago Socialist?

    August 4, 2009 at 2:42 am |
  4. Imsadd

    Why does Mrs. Obama need 22 assistants in the white House? Do you realize this is costing us 1.5 million dollars, now we (taxpayers) have to tighten our belts why shouldn't the obamas? This president has flown around the world 2x and he has only been in office 7 months, this is crazy, government waste at its finest and more is coming, also why isn't tort reform mentioned in the dems healthcare overhaul? We all know why.

    August 4, 2009 at 2:35 am |
  5. J.V.Hodgson

    If you take 130,000 troops out of Iraq next year I would like to know where that saving is reflected in the future budget deficit plans.
    Reasonable heath care is essential for all. As many have said a much higher degree of concentration is needed on the cost side of Pharmaceuticals/medications, the costs of medical equipment , and the cost charged for the most frequent surgeries etc in the health care bill.
    Taxes for health care I believe that taking the highest national average for Private medical care ( florida I believe of $18,000 pa per capita) and that is the maximum tax free amount.Over that it is taxed on companies ( not allowable as deduction for corporate tax) and the individual as a benefit in kind. The bill should also restict medical mal practice claims, the premiums doctors and hospital pay would reduce substantially,helping lower doctors fees and hospital fees.
    If common sense prevails on Financial regulation re Bonuses the the inherent risk of greed in the system goes. Only three things are needed re bonus
    1) A cap on the % of salary for bonus at 50%
    2) If the company as whole falls short of its budgetary profit that shortfall % is deducted from the 50%. If the company is loss making no bonus.
    These do not necessarily mean lower earnings per se,but reduce risk taking.And the bonus a real economic benefit to America.(ns).
    3) I see no reason why people earning more than 1m p.a should not have thier top tax rate increased to Bill clinton levels.
    Finally for economic recovery sorry guys it's a case of no pain no gain, and cap the tax relief on political contributions corporate or individual to x$, and also to Lobbying bodies over the cap its not deductible. I smell big tax revenue here and a big clean up in American politics.
    Regards,
    Hodgson,

    August 4, 2009 at 2:14 am |
  6. Dennis M. Toles MPA SPHR

    People Please:

    All of the buzz surrounding the need to raise taxes on the middle class completely ignores potential options if the stimulous and the American Peolpe work. In tandem, the economy and innovative business strategies and inventions worthy of the new millenium could negate the need to tax the middle class. We need to be aware that the economy and the spending needs associated with the needed economic support system for a population the size of that in America have been with us for a number of years and the republican party continued to act as if no one but a special few shold be sharing hte bounties affilliated with being an American citizen, and therefore killed the goos that lays the golden eggs. That was total greed and ignorance which was disguised as conservative policy.

    We should not ever forget that the genesis of this mess was on the Republican clock. They were asleep at the switch and we are paying for it now and intot he future. Saying that at some point this will become Obama's economic depression is not realistic. his administration must deal with the state of the union as it was passed on to him as an incoming president. If the economic situation had been health and both sustainable and able to sustain the population in the short term future, we could look at some mistakes that were made by the current administration. However, this will never be the case.

    Constraints were in place that are attributable to the Republicans and will always be the mess that they left for our current and future generations. The current administration is trying to fix decades of neglet that should have been addressed as far as the infrastructure and the economy in general. This will costs a great deal of money. The interest on the loans and the principal could be paid if there is success in the policies of Obama administration. Then we could have the ability to gain tax revenues from a thriving economy, based upon property ownership, user taxes, sales taxes, etc. However, we must give the stimulous time to work and get past the improperly spent monies that the last Bush administration practically gave away with no accountability controls. Incompetence and likely performing the task of giving to the rich at great socio-economic costs with limited benefits derived from the spendingin patterns and/or the ridiculous policies that our country undertook.

    We really had no domestic policy during hte last administration to speak of. This structural mess was constructed by an administration with a myopic view of the political and economid landscape and no expertise or understanding of the globalization trends that were impacting our world.

    In t he interest of being brief, I will leave you to ponder the implications of these aforementioned facts. When a regime is that unable to cope with the operational environment there will be negative spillover effects. We are trying to get back on track and it will cost. If we succeed, we can pay off the deficit and do the things that we need to do to keep this country great. The new cold wars and terrorists attacks are designed to stagnate our country. The fear that Republicans are spreading is designed to maintain the status quo and thereby keep the social status and standing our the economically disenfranchised stagnated as well. Let's get on with our lives and fix things so that we can construct an eoconomic engine able to sustain the poppulation now and in the future. It must be done. If not now then when? It will only cost more in the future.

    We are not acting like a country in the leadership position that we hold in the world. We must unfreeze ourselves and build a future worthy of the legacy that we inherited. If we do not do this we will have failed as custodians of the greatness that our predecessors fought and died for. There is nothing to fear but fear itself. Get up and fight for your right to have a life worth your aspirations for yourselves and your offspring. Otherwise if you are going to give up, you are being totally irresponsible if you keep bring new life into the world and not do what it takes to provide for tem. We can not sustain the future generations by not doing anything and expecting them to be able to live in a world of foreclosures and out dated ideas. We must innovate and be competitive in the global village. We no longer hold our previous status that was from an era gone by.

    Do we collectively remember what it means to be Americans? Is there another great generation in our country or have we become masters of only virtuality and not reality. We cannot live in a virtual world. Let's get busy people!

    August 4, 2009 at 1:50 am |
  7. Rosanna

    Instead of raising taxes and cutting from programs why doesnt Obama just ask every American household to send him $100, we got ourselves into this lets get out together... United we stand??????

    August 4, 2009 at 1:42 am |
  8. FREEDOM ISNT FREE

    Some of you still stick up for Obama. Our taxes are going up because they are SPENDING money for a political agenda that has been in the making for decades.$787 billion for what? An agenda! If you think the stimulus was for the taxpayer you are a fool! He has already raised taxes on cig's. Unless the only people who smoke make over $250,000. If you believed Obama during the campaign about not raising taxes you are a fool! I'm sorry that I'm a little raw but the truth hurts, doesn't it?

    August 4, 2009 at 1:39 am |
  9. Laura from Denver

    Oh, how short memories are! The financial crisis was just a couple of months old when the elections were held and as a nation we have never faced this level of financial crisis before. Neither Democrat or Republican knew what measures would have to be taken to try and stem the downward spiral the financial markets were taking at the end of 2008. Some things are working, some things are not. One thing that has not happened is both sides putting their differences and personal interests aside so we can find solutions and move forward. If the American people really thought that neither party would not have to raise taxes they are living with their heads in the sand.

    August 4, 2009 at 1:19 am |
  10. Julie

    As I drive down the California coast I see 3 destroyers the size of aircraft carriers practicing maneuvers in our calm ocean. 4 large military helicopters fly overhead. Government contractors who build instruments of warfare are are still hiring like crazy, even when no other business is.

    We could pay for universal health care if we weren't wasting billions of dollars fueling this war machine. We could improve our schools and rebuild our infrastructure. We might even be able to LOWER taxes. This won't happen until we vote out the members of Congress that approved this wasteful spending.

    August 4, 2009 at 1:03 am |
  11. Kitty

    I voted for Obama because I wanted a change. I am concerned how we are going to pay for every thing Obama wants to do and has done. But, if President Obama goes back on his campaign promise of not raising taxes on the middle class, he will probably not get re-elected.

    August 4, 2009 at 12:38 am |
  12. Kitty

    I voted for Obama because I wanted a change. I am concerned how we are going to pay for everyhting Obama wants to do and has done. But, if President Obama goes back on his campaign promise of not raising taxes on the middle class, he will probably not get re-elected.

    August 4, 2009 at 12:38 am |
  13. Michael - Newport Beach, CA

    For God's sake tax the rich! I live in one of the richest areas of the country, Newport Beach, CA, YES the Orange Curtain. I'm a Democrat and I see all the time people getting by with MONEY...bad money, donations, political influence...I've been to the parties. It's kind of hilarious b/c I've lived on the East Coast my entire life except the last 4.5 yrs. NYC (Manhattan), DC, Baltimore...all places I've lived. People out here just don't get it. I will have to say, regardless if I get bashed, MONEY SPEAKS VOLUMES here...sad but true. Democrat in Orange County.

    August 4, 2009 at 12:27 am |
  14. Leonard C. Tekaat

    Lower taxes or reducing government spending is not the answer to our economic woes. Lower taxes and increased spending both increase the deficit. Large deficits cause interest rates to increase, which decreases economic activity in the private sector. Reduced spending and tax increases reduces people's purchasing power which reduces economic activity.

    We must increase people's purchasing power without it costing anything. There is only on solution, lower interest rates without increasing the money supply. http/:www.economysflaw.wordpress.com

    August 4, 2009 at 12:16 am |
  15. Pam Toll, Park Forest, IL

    I think there is a group of persons targeting high profile people with bad bad bad medicine. What about poor quality pharmecuetical products? These drugs have more and more synthetic products in it, causing severe side effects, aching, pains , disorientation, discomfort. How come everybody questions the Drs failings.. But no one questions the quality of the medication. As someone who had wrangled with BAD medicine, I think the American public should start speaking up about how medications have failed you , and how you were further sickened by taking drugs.. Some people have long lasting effects from. Combination of drugs can be fatal as well. Why is no one checking the quality of this specific medication targeted to Michael Jackson? Toxicity comes from the product not from the person.!!

    August 4, 2009 at 12:04 am |
  16. Pam Toll, Park Forest, IL

    I am lower income, and monthly have to carefully watch my money and budget very tight. I do not understand why our law makers think there is no value to the United States Check book . Since Obama took over they incessantly spend our tax dollars like there is no tomorrow! Is it true Cash for clunkers money is a billion? Are they kidding? And What about all the infrastructure , medicaid deficiencies, housing depletion?How can buying cars supercede survival tools? Education is pushed way behind. Health care revamps looks like its going to cost Trillons.. Where is this money coming from? Is the USA going to stop giving our tax dollars to forgein countries? Are they going to call up other countries and say HEY can you pay back the loans we gave you 25 years ago?Who and what is going to be done to red line the United States check book.? I still cant figure out how Henry Paulsen declared a crisis.. just two weeks before Pres Bush left office.. After he was in that position for Two terms before.? hello Think we need to send congress to accounting 101.. and teach them we cannot spend money we do not have!

    August 3, 2009 at 11:56 pm |
  17. David in South Carolina

    Good evening.

    As a career procurement professional, I have always worked in business in the private sector until two years ago when I started working for a large health care system provider. I work with both clinical (directly works with patients) and support departments in cross functional teams to solve problems and achieve goals.

    There are so many moving parts to the American health care system, it's true that it will be a monster to reform. The greatest problem from my perspective is the undue enrichment of medical supply and equipment companies that take large pricing increases, year after year, when there is no justification for it. How can this be acceptable? I have been doing my part to catch deceipt and dishonesty, but as one man, I can't do it all.

    Another problem is, just like the drug companies, the medical supply manufacturers for hospitals and other medical facilities charge much higher prices for things such as orthopedic prosthetic implants to sutures to glucose meters than they do in other parts of the world. The American people bankroll these businesses through high product costs for their R&D and executive greed. This issue needs to be investigated, but it is one area that I have not seen any news agency pursue up to now. Go get 'em guys! Oops, GE is the parent company, who is also a large medical equipment and supply manufacturer. Good luck with that!

    August 3, 2009 at 11:54 pm |
  18. Alma Sanford, J.D.

    so far Obama is batting zero in keeping promises. Why would we be surprised that he'd break the one about raising taxes on the middle class?

    August 3, 2009 at 11:29 pm |
  19. Carol Dziatlik rockwall texas

    First of all , I feel the health insurance companies control the media,this is so sad, everyone is so quick to throw stones at President Obama , I applaud him and thank him for trying to unite this country, and to stop greedy corporations from gaining more from everyone else. Not knowing if you will provide health coverage or not shame on you. Wake up America . If thje increase in taxes mean health care coverage, then YES there is no problem, it's not an increase, it's HEALTH CARE COVERAGE, we pay about $1,000 per month for my wife and I. Don't call it a TAX INCREASE, it's a HEALTH COVERAGE DECREASE.
    Wake up America ...

    August 3, 2009 at 11:29 pm |
  20. steve

    How can you say that we need to increase unemployment , and government service and not raise taxes... do these people listen to themselves?

    August 3, 2009 at 11:12 pm |
  21. J. Lewis

    Even though the DOW is the financial barometer of the country, public safety is the barometer for local governments. If you want to know how your county or city is doing....find out how many fire stations have closed since the economic down turn. When the fire engines return....good times are here again.

    August 3, 2009 at 11:05 pm |
  22. Sabrina In Los Angeles

    If you tax those at 250K and under...you will find that they decide that working less to be taxed less is the solution or they will become very irate at being stuck in the middle and making enough to make it but having it taken away in taxes.

    August 3, 2009 at 11:04 pm |
  23. Kadi

    Hello Erica , great job and you look great.
    Thank you Nathan, the world need people like you. thanks for you courage and sacrifice, i am from Africa i know what it like to give your comfortable life here and decides to live in some of those difficult places. hopefully scientist will be able to save lives early becasue this disease has taken its toll in Africa.

    Randi , great job, but Micheal is Katherine's son not her husband.

    Miss you Anderson.

    August 3, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  24. N. Manetavat

    The rich should pay more taxes because the Govt. made them rich. When the Govt. spends money, money will go into American pockets, directly or indirectly. When the American peoples did not pay enoug taxes then the Govt. had to borrow. In 1985, we had 13 billionaires but now we have over 1000. The rich gets more benifit from Govt. spending because they have money to invest. The economy is going bad because the rich won't spend (save the money) and the poor has no money to spend. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THAT THE RICH GETTIN POOR BECAUSE OF TAXES.

    August 3, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  25. Larry P. in Pasadena

    Hi Erica! During all of the continuing debates about what needs to be done, what needs to be spent, and where is the money going to come from, the one thing I never hear about is the prospect of spending a bit more on “spending oversight” in general. The spectacular amount of tax money “flushed” by incredibly wasteful government spending would most certainly fund a large percentage of what’s needed!

    August 3, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  26. benny widyono

    David Gurgen is right. he will raise taxes next year not this year. It also depends on how much treasury bonds the Chinese continue to buiy. Cogngratulations to Erica Hill on your charming handing of tonite's progar,ram.

    August 3, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  27. Zach. Maine

    It does not surprise me that the taxes will be increased, if we want to come out of this recession, we need to raise taxes, to pay off debts. Middle class taxes should be raised, by a little but not as much as the higher class people who are making 250k a year. Just enough to pay off our debts. We need to end this war we have in iraq if we want to start to get out of this hole we dug. All our money is pretty much going to the war, thats why the prices of everything has increased. And when people fought back from, walking to work, instead of biking, thats why the ression started, people stopped buying items, and the companies had no money to pay for taxes. We need to higher taxes for the middle class, to a certain extent and then lower prices in gas, oil, and food supplies, before it gets to late.

    August 3, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  28. Dion Norman

    The article claims that former president Bill Clinton is on his way to North Korea to win release of the two American journalists.

    August 3, 2009 at 10:07 pm |
  29. Kathy Chicago

    A big DUH on the tax raising. Obama can't go to the 5% already paying large taxes too many more times. He still has the energy bill to fund and education projects to fund. Even people in the top 5^ have mortgages, kids in college, and car payments. It is unfair to expect them to work 60 hour weeks to give it all back to Uncle Sam.

    August 3, 2009 at 10:04 pm |
  30. RLWellman

    Just one more lie from our Government! When will enough be enough? Bipartism? They are talking now about passing this Health Care Reform Bill without the Republicans. The Democrats have gone mad with power.

    Is this what the majority of the United States wants? The polls don't show this, however this bill is going to be rammed down our throats by our REPRESENTATIVES! We want Health Care Reform, not this garbage they are trying to pass!

    August 3, 2009 at 9:27 pm |
  31. Mary from LA.

    And this is why humans should not get Chimps to use as pets!

    August 3, 2009 at 9:25 pm |
  32. Mary from LA.

    Obama will never over tax his celebrity friends, they are the majority
    that contributed to his campaign and helped him get elected.
    I do agree that they should be taxed the most, they would have less
    money to abuse drugs and alcohol etc...

    August 3, 2009 at 9:24 pm |
  33. Isabel, Brazil

    Evening, Suvro!

    It's great you're writing Evening Buzz now! Congratulations!

    Here in my country where economic crisis isn’t novelty, it isn’t novelty that the government replace the problem only of one hand to another and to solve the public deficit increases taxes.

    The large spiral and also major dilemma is that the American people must have to balance between consumption and savings. Exporting countries want the U.S. economy remains a enormous consumer, but also want the Americans to save more to avoid that happening again in the future a crisis like this. The U.S. GDP showed the results of the second quarter, consumption weak. U.S. consumers didn’t return to buy again, but to stabilize the economy, the money needs to return to circulate.

    Malaria is an absurd and frightening. How can a simple mosquito does so damage?

    See you later

    August 3, 2009 at 9:10 pm |
  34. Jacqueline, NY

    Why not raise taxes for those who can afford to pay them? The rich.

    August 3, 2009 at 9:05 pm |
  35. Salvador Rostro Romero

    If government can't manage deficit, win the war againt al-Queda, manage Social Security, et alii, what makes you think that they will be able to manage health care? He promised no more taxes, yet the Obama administration imposed a tax on tobacco. And a large percentage of smokers include: the destitute, poverty-stricker, lower class, etc. Under said administration, he's giving leadway for states to tax alcohol, legalize marijuana, strip clubs, etc.

    President Obama: you broke your promise! You have taxed people making less that $250K and now your realizing that you will eventually tax the bourgeois. What a disparity!

    Hillary Clinton- please help us!!!!

    August 3, 2009 at 9:02 pm |
  36. Mary from LA.

    The usual TAX and SPEND from the Democrats,
    Why is anyone surprised?
    Politicians will promise ANYTHING to get elected.
    I am not surprised at all, was actually expecting it long time ago...

    August 3, 2009 at 9:02 pm |
  37. Cindy

    Is anyone surprised at all that Obama is now thinking of raising taxes on everyone including the middle class? He always knew he would he just lied in his campaign to get votes.

    I've seen many docs and specials on the Manson clan murders. They were a bunch of druggy nuts! How you can let someone talk you into killing someone is beyond me!

    Cindy..Ga.

    August 3, 2009 at 8:50 pm |
  38. Joe

    Does this surprise anyone? The Socialist plans of Mr. Obama are driving up the debt in this country to unimaginable levels, our Treasury auctions are slowly losing steam and the government has no option but to raise taxes – they may claim they wont, but they will have to – its inevitable. The interesting play will be who Mr. Obama labels as middle class and if he can get away with saying he is not raising taxes on the middle class – but be assured taxes have to increase – the government can not just borrow their way out of the mess he has created

    August 3, 2009 at 8:41 pm |
  39. Annie Kate

    I remember the Manson family murders – they were so vicious and unnecessary. I had thought Manson was about the same age as his "disciples" that did the actual killings but saw on this blog today that he was born in the early 1930s, making him at least a generation older than that. Why he had such control over his followers I have never understood but it will be a good day when these people die in jail in their beds of old age. Too bad they didn't grant Sharon Tate and her guests that evening the same opportunity.

    August 3, 2009 at 8:40 pm |