My Beautiful Wickedness

Nuts and bolts of the proposed tax cuts
September 1, 2008, 10:36 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’m starting from the premise that everyone who earns a wage a) is ok with paying some state and fed taxes to support the state and national infrastructure but b) would like a smaller bite taken from his or her paycheck, with c) the incumbent duty on the government to spend that smaller bit of money more responsibly. (If you’re a “I can build my own roads” sort of person, you fall outside these considerations and you should go on over to find a conversation with the other half million or so who think so. For the other 285 million of us, though, we’re arguing about how much taxes, paid by whom, and spent how.)

Obama declared on Thursday night that his proposals would cut federal taxes on 95% of Americans. From my reading of his plan, it appears that he plans to give some sort of a tax break to households earning less than a quarter-million dollars or individuals earning less than $200k. (That’s everyone I know. You might run with a more high-class crowd.)

Here’s one tax calculator that uses data from the non-partisan Tax Policy Center that illustrates what your household would receive under his proposal. While it’s pretty to think this is going to happen, tax cuts like this rarely pass as proposed, so take this with a huge grain of salt. Likewise, state taxes often rise when fed taxes are cut, so there will be offsetting gains and losses. Finally, we have a HUGE deficit and if I had my druthers, we’d be keeping taxes as they are, making smarter spending choices, and making headway on paying down our debts. I know — how Dave Ramsay of me.

We haven’t heard the revised plan from McCain yet, but the Tax Policy Center’s analysis suggests that his proposals are less advantageous for middle-class households, even those “middle class” people who earn several million dollars. Of course, McCain’s ads are quite critical of Obama’s plan, but according to the non-partisan group, he’s pretty substantially misrepresented his opponent. In fact, the Washington Post edged close to calling him an outright liar.

I’ll wait for McCain’s campaign to assess the negative reactions to the Republican tax plan and reload; maybe they’ll come up with something more attractive before his acceptance speech. There’s an argument to be made (unpopular with voters in a time of economic downturn, to be sure) that cutting taxes on high income people will spur the economy (rather than making the numerically fewer high income people shoulder more of the burden for a while until the vastly more numerous middle tier recovers from the economic bitchslap of the past few years). If McCain’s got the guts that he says he does, he’ll forget carping about what the other guy does or doesn’t intend to do and persuade Mr. and Mrs. Blue-Collar that it’s in their interest to pay higher taxes (so that the wealthy can pay less) but that the country will reap greater benefits thereby.

Or he could just continue misrepresenting. I’ve had enough of that kind of leader lately, haven’t you?


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[…] Taxes…well, I already wrote about taxes. Republicans are getting clobbered on the tax issue and so they want to change the subject. Sarah Palin is their attempt to change the subject. Change the subject, lose the election. […]

Pingback by Why the election has to be about the issues « My Beautiful Wickedness

What I’m wondering is this: given Palin’s reiterated statements about “Obama wants to raise your taxes” last night, does she not mind flat-out lying because she figures the voters listen to her but not “our opponents”, or is she assuming that all the delegates are in the top 5% income bracket or have estates worth $1.5 or so to pass on to their heirs? I mean, I know that’s what Republicans always say about Democrats, but usually they try to ground it in some version of the truth.

Comment by nm

I think that they’ve just sort of given up any spun version of the truth this year because they figure that people mainly listen to what they want to hear and the GOP cynically believes that their constituency isn’t going to fact-check them. They’ve been running ads that are complete hogwash, but as long as they run over and over on right-wing radio…

Comment by bridgett

Don’t any daily papers or news stations do fact-checking/fisking any more?

Comment by nm

Nope. Maybe on the ed page of the bigger dailies, but who has the staff to do that? And if your bread and butter is right-wing talk show hosts and the advertisers that love them, you’re going to take the ad and let the campaign deal with the fallout.

I wonder if this is the big downside of opting out of fed money — was there ever any mechanism for the FEC to yank the chain of campaigns if they lacked truthiness?

Comment by bridgett

No, I don’t believe so. And I’m not saying that any station that plays an ad has the obligation to fact-check it, even morally. But most cities do have an all-news station, don’t they? And while most of that is headline news, there’s generally some of it that isn’t; you’d think a station could pull in a few extra listeners by having a daily 5-minute fact-check spot.

Comment by nm

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