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Tilting at Windmills

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October 18, 2008

MCCAIN: MIDDLE-CLASS TAX CUT IS 'WELFARE'.... And here I thought John McCain couldn't slip further from reality on economic matters. I stand corrected.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Saturday accused Democratic rival Barack Obama of favoring a socialistic economic approach by supporting tax cuts and tax credits McCain says would merely shuffle wealth rather than creating it. [...]

Obama has said his tax policies would cut payments for 95 percent of working Americans, while increasing them only for families making more than $250,000 a year. McCain has argued that 40 percent of Americans don't pay income taxes, either because they are seniors or don't meet minimum earnings thresholds, so the only way to cut their taxes is to give them various credits.

"In other words, Barack Obama's tax plan would convert the IRS into a giant welfare agency, redistributing massive amounts of wealth at the direction of politicians in Washington," McCain said in the radio address.

We talked the other day about why McCain doesn't know what he's talking about, but Obama is prepared to deliverer a speech in St. Louis today that drives the point home nicely. According to the prepared text, Obama will explain that both candidates are offering tax cuts: "The difference is who we're cutting taxes for."

"It comes down to values -- in America, do we simply value wealth, or do we value the work that creates it? For eight years, we've seen what happens when we put the extremely wealthy and well-connected ahead of working people. Now, John McCain thinks that the way to rebuild this economy is to double down on George Bush's policy of giving more and more tax breaks to those at the very top in the false hope that it will all trickle down. I think it's time to rebuild the middle class in this country, and that is the choice in this election.

"Senator McCain wants to give the average Fortune 500 CEO a $700,000 tax cut but absolutely nothing at all to over 100 million Americans. I want to cut taxes -- cut taxes -- for 95 percent of all workers. And under my plan, if you make less than $250,000 a year -- which includes 98 percent of small business owners -- you won't see your taxes increase one single dime. Not your payroll taxes, not your income taxes, not your capital gains taxes -- nothing. It's time to give the middle class a break, and that's what I'll do as President of the United States.

"Lately, Senator McCain has been attacking my middle class tax cut. He actually said it goes to, 'those who don't pay taxes,' even though it only goes to working people who are already getting taxed on their paycheck. That's right, Missouri -- John McCain is so out of touch with the struggles you are facing that he must be the first politician in history to call a tax cut for working people 'welfare.'

The only 'welfare' in this campaign is John McCain's plan to give another $200 billion in tax cuts to the wealthiest corporations in America -- including $4 billion in tax breaks to big oil companies that ran up record profits under George Bush. That's who John McCain is fighting for. But we can't afford four more years like the last eight. George Bush and John McCain are out of ideas, they are out of touch, and if you stand with me in 17 days they will be out of time."


Steve Benen 1:00 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (46)

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Comments

How utterly refreshing it is to hear progressive economics explained so eloquently by the Democratic nominee for president. Finally taking on the myth of Voodoo Economics head on instead of blurring the dividing lines.

I love it.

Posted by: Piper on October 18, 2008 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Bo-ring! The only thing that matters is how much Joe the Plumber will have to pay when he finally gets his license and starts making $250,000 a year.

Posted by: Mark S. on October 18, 2008 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

The charge from the right that some people will actually net a refund on their income taxes (even after accounting for withholding) does a lot of damage to Obama with some voters. This possibility does not sit well with a lot of middle class voters who _do_ pay net taxes.

I understand that a lot of Obama's cuts are refundable tax credits for reasonable expenses (child care, savings, etc.). But can someone give me the real numbers on how many people net paying less than zero taxes? Seriously, otherwise, I have to go by what the WSJ editorial page said . . . and those guys are crazy.

Thanks in advance. I am hearing lots of complaining about this from the McCain voters I know, for whom this line of attack fits with their "Obama is a socialist" attack.

Posted by: Airron on October 18, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

I like "Double down" as a slogan more than "more of the same." It has a better ring, and it implies that McCain is actually a greater risk than another four years of Bush. It also points, not-so-subtly, to McCain's gambling enthusiasm and his risk-taking tendencies.

Posted by: Daniel on October 18, 2008 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

While this pledge is operative I assume that Obama will not try to raise the salary cap on social security taxation. He said this should be on the table. Just wondering. I realize this is somewhat of a side issue to the main point of the thread (McCain's misrepresentation) but still an issue to those making between the current cap and $250,000 income.

Posted by: lou on October 18, 2008 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

I assume that Obama will not try to raise the salary cap on social security taxation.

What he actually proposed was to leave the cap as is, but then start charging FICA again at $250K, leaving a donut where you wouldn't pay any FICA between about 100K and 250K.

Posted by: Danp on October 18, 2008 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is fairly confused also.

Notice the minimum wage? Obama wants to counteract the minimum wage effect, in a deflation, with tax credits to business that pay the minimum wage.

I supported the minimum wage as an economic signal, but my support assumes that minimum wage adjustments can go up or down depending upon the economic conditions.

Obama believes that minimum wage can only go up, and it is up to Congress to add layers of programs to counteract this stupid notion!

Obama is far from an economic genius, his problem is that he thinks he is obviously more right, and acts as if the world should adjust to his views.


Posted by: MattYoung on October 18, 2008 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is ignoring FICA taxes in his definition of who pays taxes -- implicitly defining "taxes" as "income taxes." There have been no cuts in any FICA taxes in the last eight years, so essentially, the poorest who pay only FICA taxes have been financing the CEO's $700,000 tax cuts.

That's "spreading the wealth" -- upward!

Posted by: Upper West on October 18, 2008 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Airron -

I don't have the numbers that you want, but please be sure that whatever numbers you do get, are clear on what is called a "tax". Social Security is a tax on wages, paid on the first penny earned, and lots of people who don't pay any (income) "taxes", pay plenty of SS taxes.


Posted by: dr2chase on October 18, 2008 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

"the poorest who pay only FICA taxes have been financing the CEO's $700,000 tax cuts." Upper West

Especially true considering that the surplus SS revenue does in fact at least partially offset the deficits created by Bush's tax cuts which McCain once opposed but now supports.

Posted by: lou on October 18, 2008 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

The picture of McCain behind Obama as they depart the debate, with McCain lurching behind, hands extended out like claws, tongue out like a reptile--says it all. CNN showed it with frequency. Obama, in contrast, looks presidential, thoughtful, classy.

We have to be concerned that the reptiles will try to steal this election.
So let's call these republicans on their diversionary tactics.

Happily, Obama is enjoying immense numbers at his campaign stop in St. Louis, as he hits McCain back on taxes...

Posted by: consider wisely on October 18, 2008 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Ouch! That's gonna smart.

I'm probably one of those evil under $50K earners who don't pay income tax. It sure didn't feel like it this year when I had to write a $600 check to the IRS because one of my two employers didn't do my withholdings, but I'm sure the Wall Street Journal considers me a welfare queen who's living high on the labor of other people because I "only" pay the payroll tax.

When I was going to school full-time and working 30-35 hours a week, I got the Lifetime Learning tax credit because of my tuition payments, so I guess that makes me a welfare queen, too -- how dare I get a handout from the government of less than 10% of my tuition for going to graduate school!

I'm starting to wonder where my Cadillac is -- aren't all of us Lucky Duckies supposed to get one for free?

Posted by: Mnemosyne on October 18, 2008 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

McCain preaches to the choir on this one, and it wouldn't be all that surprising to see it backfire on him.

I'd wager that a little "redistribution of wealth" sounds pretty darned good to most of this country right about now...

Posted by: Churchyard on October 18, 2008 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, I think you're missing the true point of McCain's line of attack. It has nothing to do with economics and everything to do with race baiting. The use, in this context, of "welfare agency" McCain is not so subtly insinuating that Obama is going to take your money and give it to blacks and hispanics.

Posted by: grinning cat on October 18, 2008 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Let's all head to Alaska to partake of some of that oil tax welfare! Spread a little of that wealth our way, Sarah!

Posted by: left_but_right on October 18, 2008 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

The claim by the Rs that a major portion of our citizens pay no income taxes (let's just consider income tax, not payroll, state, property, gas or sales taxes) is puzzling to me. O'Lielly claimed on his September 8th show that people making "less than $45,000" pay no income tax, which blew me away. Perhaps he was speaking of people with tons of deductions, Earned Income Credit, etc.???

But I did the math for myself. A single person making $44.5K with no dependents and claiming the standard deduction, would have a tax liability of $5,855 (2007 tax tables). A married couple making the same with no dependents and using the standard deduction would have a tax liability of $3,264. NOT ZERO.

Making the Rs argument even more ridiculous: The year my son graduated from high school he had earned income of $1907 from his part-time job plus interest income of $1233 (from cashed-in Savings Bonds, a one-time grad gift from his grandmother). His taxable income came to $983 (adjusted gross income - wages plus interest - less the minimum deduction) and his tax liability was NOT ZERO, but $99! He hadn't had enough deducted from his paychecks so he actually had to send the Treasury a check for the difference. So I'm scratching my head here.

I'd sure to see where O'Lielly, the WSJ, McCain and the Rs are getting their numbers. Or is it voodoo math? Wall Street math??? (Million dollar Bonuses for failed CEOs, while a hard-working high school kid making $1900 owes the feds money!).

Posted by: Hannah on October 18, 2008 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Mnemosyne: Your story is good, but check out the one I posted above about my son having a $99 tax liability on a net income of $983!!!

I really want to see the Rs voodoo math numbers!!!

But we really know it's all about class warfare. Dividing us is what they're best at.

Posted by: Hannah on October 18, 2008 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Wait, so according to McCain's logic, now "tax cuts" are "welfare"?

That's going to put a lot of egg onto a lot of Republican faces.

Posted by: Chris on October 18, 2008 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Matt Young:

Under what real world circumstances would it ever be a good idea to LOWER the minimum wage?

I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that Obama understands economics better than you do.


Posted by: henry lewis on October 18, 2008 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

I'm starting to wonder where my Cadillac is -- aren't all of us Lucky Duckies supposed to get one for free?
Posted by: Mnemosyne on October 18, 2008 at 2:15 PM

*********************

Your Cadillac is parked in one of McEvil's garages .. if you can find it cause you gotta look in all of his garages , at all of his houses. And, of course, McEvil never mentions that his 'tax plan' would in essence provide for him and his repulsive wife an additonal 400,000 dollars in tax breaks ...... wonder if that is 'welfare' too .. from the poor to THIS EVIL SECRETION OUT OF THE ASSHOLE OF LUCIFER HIMSELF

Posted by: stormskies on October 18, 2008 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

Obviously there's folks here who have never heard of EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) and some who have heard about it don't know that Ronald Reagan was one of its biggest fans. It was introduced by Richard Nixon and became law under Gerald Ford.

So, sod off.


Posted by: duBois on October 18, 2008 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

There have been no cuts in any FICA taxes in the last eight years

There have been no cuts in any FICA taxes, EVER.

Hey, remember the 80's? (sorry for the pun) A lot of morons out there still believe that Reagan CUT THEIR TAXES, when in fact, he cut their INCOME taxes in one year, then came back the next and RAISED their FICA taxes by more than he had cut their income taxes. At the time, FICA taxes were capped at something around the first $50K of income or less. So wealthy Reagan pals got to keep their cut; everyone else got an INCREASE in their taxes.

The Republicans have been playing this shell game for ages; unfortunately, everyone who supports them other than the wealthy are apparently too fucking stupid to do basic mathematical calculations, or even to compare their income tax returns from one year to the next, so they still believe Reagan cut their taxes. Hell, I'd be willing to bet a good many of these jackasses believe that BUSH cut their taxes with that gimmicky "advance" payment he sent out as a rebate, which had to be paid back the following year.

Stoopid this dense is like a black hole from which no logic can escape.

Posted by: Jennifer on October 18, 2008 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

It might be a good thing right now to remember the below ..............

*******************************


THEY WERE LAUGHING AT HIM, NOT WITH HIM.... Time's Amy Sullivan
has a fascinating report on a focus group in Denver last night,
hosted by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg, which offers a
helpful glimpse at how some voters perceived the final presidential
debate.

In politics it is generally not considered a good sign when
voters are laughing at you, not with you. And by the end of the
third and last presidential debate, the undecided voters who had
gathered in Denver for Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg's focus
group were "audibly snickering" at John McCain's grimaces, eye-
bulging, and repeated references to "Joe the Plumber."

The group of 50 uncommitted voters should have at least been
receptive to McCain -- Republicans and Independents outnumbered
Democrats in the group by almost 4 to 1, and they started the
evening with much warmer responses to McCain than to his Democratic
opponent, Barack Obama. But by the time it was all over, so few of
them had declared their support for McCain that there weren't
enough for Greenberg to separate them into a post-debate focus
group. Meanwhile, the Obama supporters had to assemble in two
different rooms to keep their discussion groups manageable.

In a room in a swing state where Dems were heavily outnumbered,
that's not exactly what the McCain campaign was hoping for in the
final debate of the season.

As for Obama, he continued to win over undecided voters on
critical questions: Does he have what it takes to be president? A
38/50 split flipped to 56/34. Can voters trust him to make the
right decisions? Obama rose from 30/50 to 48/40. Is he best
equipped to handle the economic crisis? Voters split evenly between
the two candidates at the start preferred Obama by 30 points by the
end of the night.

Perhaps most significant was Obama's success in reassuring
voters that he understands who they are and what matters to them.
He went from a 16-point to a 24-point advantage on "Is he on your
side?" and made similar gains on the question of whether he would
"bring the right kind of change," from a 18 to 38-point advantage.
And while the two candidates were even on the question of "who
shares your values?" at the beginning of the debate, Obama held a
24-point lead by the end.

McCain entered the night badly in need of a big win. If this focus
group is any indication, McCain instead suffered another big
setback.

Posted by: stormskies on October 18, 2008 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

McCain machine guns the corpse of Republican Conservatism one last time to make sure it's well and truly dead.

A Republican nominee for President coming out against tax cuts for working people? Calling the blue collar backbone of the country welfare cheats?

Weirder and weirder.

Posted by: Piehole on October 18, 2008 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

These guys are smart, and know how to play the class warfare game. They pit one class of peons against another, and laugh all the way to their McMansions. Working class Americans despise people on welfare, and McCain is hinting that the 40% (although where the hell he gets the idea that seniors don't pay income taxes is beyond me) who don't pay (federal income) taxes will necessarily be getting handouts if Obama's plan goes through, and that makes the 55% see red.

For some reason, just as people believe that every dollar taxed is a dollar wasted, as if it just disappears and doesn't go anywhere in the economy, they also accept that gross wages and compensation are fair and just. It never occurs to them that the rich, who control everything, also control what we at the bottom get paid. and what they pay themselves. It never seems to occur to people that the less you make, the more you are underpaid, and the more you make, the more you are overpaid. And so they accept this "redistribution" tax cut nonsense, when in actual fact it's only partially correcting a gross societal injustice.

Have CEOs suddenly become supermen in the last forty years? They used to get paid 20x the average worker. Now it's 400x. And their marginal tax rates have plummeted. Why don't people get the fact that the rich and powerful exploit the rest of us, and always will, as long as we let them?

Posted by: on October 18, 2008 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

I like "Double down" as a slogan more than "more of the same." It has a better ring, and it implies that McCain is actually a greater risk than another four years of Bush. It also points, not-so-subtly, to McCain's gambling enthusiasm and his risk-taking tendencies.

I think "double or nothing" would be even more effective. It indicates that a best has already been made and lost - and that this is a desperate attempt to get even. It also indicates more vividly the stakes for the American people in this election, because that's about all the American people will have left after providing more tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and corporations to fuel more share buy-backs and outsourcing.

Posted by: Dismayed Liberal on October 18, 2008 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Piehole raises an interesting thought: what if John McCain is PURPOSELY deep-sixing this campaign to get revenge on the conservatard base (and Bush) who fucked him over royally in 2000? Seriously, we know the guy holds a grudge...he's got to be pissed not only about the 2000 election, but also by the humiliation of having to bend to kiss W's ring in the years since. What if he's just doing everything he can to make the conservative brand toxic now that it's been taken over so completely by the stupids? How better to show the party that they have to be dumped if Republicans are ever to hold office again? Also, what better way to allow the books on Bush to be opened up and examined, than to throw the election so the Democrats have unfettered access to uncovering the many, many misdeeds of Bush's 8 years?

Ok, so it's total bullshit, but with a campaign this utterly inept, you HAVE to wonder.

Posted by: Jennifer on October 18, 2008 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Funny how some on the left are lamenting that Obama has conceded the "tax cut" rhetoric by fighting that battle on conservatives' turf -- yet he's still derided as a socialist!

chris: Wait, so according to McCain's logic, now "tax cuts" are "welfare"?

If cuts on the bottom 95% are financed by tax increases on the top 5%, then yes. Not that this means much. Cuts and increases are relative to the current level of taxation, which is just as arbitrary as the level either of the candidates want to set. Obama is saying the bottom 95% are being taxed too much and the top 5% not enough -- which is not the same as saying that the bottom 95% deserve a share of the top 5%'s wealth.

As George W. Bush might say, tax cuts don't give people money from the government; they give people their own money back.

Posted by: Grumpy on October 18, 2008 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Well, this is simply a return to the tactic used a few months ago, though more vulgar. When Phil Gramms announced a "Nation of whiners" and that the economic crisis was a "mental recession", he was playing on shame and guilt. Americans by and large don't want to be on Welfare if they don't have to. For some, it is a necessary saftey net. But there is nonetheless a certain amount of embarrassment tied to welfare. Many feel they've somehow 'failed' if they have to resort to it.

Enter McCain's new strategy: Make the middle class tax cut unpalapable by equating it to welfare. Make the middle class feel guilty about getting something they deserve. Shame them into rejecting a tax break that allows them to help themselves.

Here's what I have to say to someone who tries to manipulate me with shame and guilt: Fuck you!

Posted by: JWK on October 18, 2008 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Mnemosyne: Your story is good, but check out the one I posted above about my son having a $99 tax liability on a net income of $983!!!

It makes me want to make a copy of my canceled check, show it to McCain, and say, "If I don't pay taxes, why did I have to write this check to the government?"

Do I pay as much, dollar amount-wise or percentage-wise, as someone who earns $100,000 or $500,00 a year? Of course not. But please don't try to tell me I'm not a "real" taxpayer.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on October 18, 2008 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

McCain's "welfare" comment should be fatal (assuming his candidacy is not already dead)and ought to be the cornerstone of Obama's campaign for the next few weeks. The message can be very tight and understandable: "John McCain wants to give $700,000 tax cuts to CEOs, but he thinks that giving working people a tax cut is 'welfare'. That's not the same as George Bush, it's worse."

Posted by: cmp on October 18, 2008 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

This post says it all.

" Your Cadillac is parked in one of McEvil's garages .. if you can find it cause you gotta look in all of his garages , at all of his houses. And, of course, McEvil never mentions that his 'tax plan' would in essence provide for him and his repulsive wife an additonal 400,000 dollars in tax breaks ...... wonder if that is 'welfare' too .. from the poor to THIS EVIL SECRETION OUT OF THE ASSHOLE OF LUCIFER HIMSELF
Posted by: stormskies on October 18, 2008 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

My thoughts exactly regarding McSHAME's taxes. Cindy just declared 4.2M in come and 1.1M in
taxes. I was gonna subtract the whole 700k we keep hearing Obama says the rich( which McSHAME defines as making more than 5M) would get back, but hey, 400k is ok for my example.

Good ol Cindy will pay 700k on her 4.2M in net income. That's about 16% of total net income- any of you out there want to pay 16% on your net income, when most of you pay 7+% of your own income Just towards social security taxes( and I think SS is good). Another benefit of being rich; paying an unproportionally lower percentage of your total
income in taxes.

SUCHA DEAL for the middle class

Posted by: barkleyg on October 18, 2008 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, McCain is absolutely correct. Obama revives the $1,000-per-taxpayer handout immortalized by George McGovern back in 1972, so for the roughly 40% of workers who pay no taxes at all, this will redistribute wealth in their direction, welfare-style. And of course, the 95% figure is a lie; Obama uses the pre-Bush tax cut levels of taxation as his base, not the current marginal rates, so the marginal rate will increase for everybody.

And of course, that's based on what he's said in the last year, which most likely has nothing whatsoever with what Obama genuinely believes, nor what he intends to do once he takes office. He's just saying things to get elected, as Democratic candidates always do. He won't leave tax revenues lower than before with the national debt rising as fast as it is, and with so many promised programs high on his priority list. If he takes office in 2009, the only reasonable question is whether he'll renege on the promise not to raise taxes before he takes office, like Bill Clinton did, or whether he'll wait a few months until he's settled in.

The only good thing about Obama is that when he's finished, the nation will have a painful lesson in how much we can trust Democrats with the economy. The bad thing is that we'll also have a lesson in how much we can trust Democrats with our liberties -- and most likely, we'll never get those back.

Posted by: Plumb Bob on October 18, 2008 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

The only good thing about Obama is that when he's finished, the nation will have a painful lesson in how much we can trust Democrats with the economy.

Uh, Bob? Have you been living in a cave for the last few months?

Posted by: Mnemosyne on October 18, 2008 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

I'm amazed at the 100,000 people who turned out to see Obama in St. Louis; has McCain ever attracted a crowd like that?

Posted by: Speed on October 18, 2008 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

I was at the St.Louis Rally today. It was AMAZING to see so many people there. He delivered his attack on McCain's welfare bs very well. He also told his "sweet potato pie" story about a "very" republican restaurant owner he visited. Obama asked him how business was and who's been in charge to the country for the past 8 years. Priceless.

Posted by: Jim on October 18, 2008 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

The Repubs have wallowed in the Regeanomics myth for the last twenty years, and you know what - Bush I was right - it is all just voodoo economics. Now the whole world is in the toilet thanks to the Republican economy.

Time to apply some common sense solutions:

Common sense says tax the people with the most money, the most.
Common sense says have the government spend big bucks on infrastructure repair.
Common sense says help people keep their houses.
Common sense says don't reward CEOs for wrecking the economic social fabric by outsourcing good American jobs.
Common sense says importing cheap Chinese trinkets a la Walmart and exporting American bucks to a Communist nation is treasonous action.

Republicans hate common sense.

Posted by: on October 18, 2008 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

Wealthcare.

Fits the "bill" doesn't it?

Wealthcare, taking care of the wealth of the few at the expense of the many.

Don't give me that crap about our whole economy would've melted into a pile of molten muck.

The massive, 700 billion and counting, infusion of taxpayers dollars should wake us all up to the fact that Washington is not the answer. Both the demoncrats and the repugnacans have conned us all.

Wealthcare.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on October 18, 2008 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

A friend's economic stimulus check paid his back federal taxes. What was left went to the state.

Posted by: anon on October 18, 2008 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

Speed: McCain doesn't draw like high school football in the south.

Posted by: slanted tom on October 18, 2008 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

I love/hate the different standards Republicans use on taxation.

When they want to talk about the 'ruinously high' marginal tax rates, they include federal income tax, both personal and employer portions of payroll (FICA, Medicare) taxes if applicable, state income taxes and sometimes sales tax, real estate taxes, fees, etc.

But when they want to suggest that 40% of the don't pay taxes and therefore aren't entitled to a cut/refund, only income taxes need apply.

Posted by: tanstaafl on October 18, 2008 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

I love/hate the different standards Republicans use on taxation.

When they want to talk about the 'ruinously high' marginal tax rates, they include federal income tax, both personal and employer portions of payroll (FICA, Medicare) taxes if applicable, state income taxes and sometimes sales tax, real estate taxes, fees, etc.

But when they want to suggest that 40% of the don't pay taxes and therefore aren't entitled to a cut/refund, only income taxes need apply.

Posted by: tanstaafl on October 18, 2008 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

when most people are benefitting from a tax cut, it's welfare. When it's the top one percent of the country what's it called?

Posted by: elizabeth on October 19, 2008 at 1:59 AM | PERMALINK

when most people are benefitting from a tax cut, it's welfare. When it's the top one percent of the country what's it called?

Posted by: elizabeth on October 19, 2008 at 1:59 AM | PERMALINK

barkleyg wrote, "when most of you pay 7+% of your own income Just towards social security taxes"

Actually, it's more like close to 14%.

Just because the employer is the one who _remits_ the other 7% doesn't mean the burden doesn't fall on the worker.

That's because the incidence of a tax depends on the elasticity of supply and demand. (In this case, of/for labor.)

Most economists agree that in the case of labor, most of the burden falls on the worker.

Posted by: liberal on October 19, 2008 at 4:01 AM | PERMALINK

In another blog a small business owner who runs a $12 million a year business was complaining that after all her overhead, taxes, etc, she only grossed $350 thousand pre-tax income, which limited her ability to plow $$ back into worker's wages, etc. Now, whether the bookkeeping is accurate or not, I still have some questions for "Georgia" who "abominates" Obama because she thinks she is not earning enough for her hard work already and that he plans on taking away even more.

So, Georgia,
You think you are being unfairly compensated with ONLY $350 thousand dollars a year on which you will pay taxes?

Gosh, you could pay 50% of that in tax and STILL live better than the average American worker who brings home between $25-$40 thousand a year per family, often having to hold down 2-3 part-time positions (such as "McJobs" that don't supply benefits like insurance) to do so. And you complain that you have to help supply health insurance for them. Say, do YOU and your family not also get covered by that same insurance provider? (Or are you fortunate enough to buy a better policy?) And do you not get to deduct almost EVERYTHING you use in your business such as the worker's wages, inventory, supplies, and other "overhead" like vehicles (which you can also occasionally use for personal errands without recording every mile, wink, wink)? You pay some in time and money to run that business, but you get some too, don't you?

And isn't that the philosophy behind free market capitalism -- risking your investment of time and money with the hope of profit? So you risk. And apparently you yourself are doing appropriately well, given the state of affairs for many Americans right now. Free market capitalism, even as regulated as you seem to hate, has worked nicely for you compared to some, hasn't it?

Sadly, however, the history of free market capitalism shows that frequently the profit is bought at the price of cheating the worker. Most great wealth accumulation (such as the Bushes, Carnegie, Rockefeller, Ford) came from some kind of injustice that gave extreme advantage to the capitalist: colonization and theft of land/natural resources from native peoples, slavery, child labor, sweat shops, unsafe working conditions to save expense, monopoly, price fixing, union busting, corner cutting, and buying of politicians, to mention a few. If you don't believe it, research the history.

Not to disrespect the hard work you put in to create and run your business -- but ya gotta remember you did not do it ALL on your own. First you have the international economic system that supplies you and us all with the raw materials, manufacturing establishment, transportation network and the actual market you need to do business. Second, you have the hard-working, well-trained workers you need to maintain and expand. Next you have the roads, streets, bridges, traffic control, infrastructure maintenance, safe and reliable public utilities, agencies dedicated to keeping our food, drugs and technology safe, social services, public health, police, 911 fire/disaster and military services and financial structure all PROVIDED or protected by the government that creates the protected, common ground community environment in which you can pursue your enterprise. If you do not value that protected community our taxes pay for, try to start a business and make profit in say, Haiti, or Guatemala, or Tibet or most ANY nation in Africa. Hell, try to just LIVE there for awhile without that protected community environment we Americans take for granted here.

The limits, regulations and expectations put upon you by the government are there to protect that safe, common ground community which you need to do business, from the unscrupulous entrepreneurs out there. (Of which I am sure you are not, as the greatest majority of American small businesses provide good products at fair prices and are fair to their workers. However, not all are.) And the taxes you help pay (as we all should) are your share for providing the common good that gives you the opportunity to risk your enterprise. Without the world, national and local community we all share, you would HAVE no business, get it?

Heard one guy years ago claim he had made EVERY cent he ever earned all on his own, no help from anyone. Questioned, he proved it UNTIL he was asked if he had needed to know how to read to earn that wealth. He said yes. Then he was asked, Whered you learn to read? and he had to answer "At the public school" provided for him BY THE GOVERNMENT.

And, yes, of course the schools -- which outfitted our maverick entrepreneur who "earned every cent all by himself" -- are financed by taxes of the citizens. Have to be. How else could the vast majority of citizens AFFORD to educate their kids for THIRTEEN years and pay for the HUNDREDS of teachers, books, supplies, facilities and enrichments supplied by those taxes? Yeah, there are the home schooled ones, but few Americans have the time or resources to provide the same level of expertise and facilities themselves as individual families except for the very, very wealthy or the very well educated. The average worker has to work 40-60 hours a week, both parents, to make a living. So, whos home, schooling the kids then? Much less supplying the curriculum, books, and social experiences found in even the poorer schools in the USA?

So, to the guy who claims he did it ALL himself, he better first thank his grade school teacher, the underpaid and often abused, disrespected Miss Jones, who gave him the initial tools with which he could start his climb to success. Then he must thank society who created the environment and common ground community in which he created his enterprise --- and his wealth.

Pulling yourself up by bootstraps is great. But first, find your boots. No one does it alone. Each person's success is harnessed to others and to the community. Unfortunately, in the past few decades the Republicans have forgotten this basic fact, were hi-jacked by extremists and transnational corporations. Those extremists have utilized their political party hegemony over the states to loot the common ground and rob and cheat 95% of the American people. It must stop and will eventually. If the Republicans win this election, it will merely postpone the inevitable. Parasites that kill their host die themselves eventually dont they?

Posted by: glenda from south dakota on October 20, 2008 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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