By Morgan Currier
In today’s news highlights, we learn the true value of a millionaire’s tax break, why Romney’s tax plan just doesn’t add up, and we’re starting to wonder if Paul Ryan regrets his votes for the Bush tax cuts.
Forbes, Bryce Covert, 8/29/2012
First, taxes. Shocking, I know, but the GOP doesn’t like them. This section blankly states, “Taxes, by their very nature, reduce a citizen’s freedom.” Never mind that taxes help fund programs that give people the leg up they need to succeed. It then calls for extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, eliminating taxes on interest, dividends, and capital gains for low- and middle-income people (money made from investing, basically), and reducing the corporate tax rate, among other tax cut proposals.
As the National Women’s Law Center has pointed out, the average household with income above $1 million – in other words, the country’s millionaires – saw a tax break of $143,147 this year due to tax legislation enacted between 2001 and 2010, including the Bush tax cuts. That’s not some chunk of money that would have just been locked away in a vault. That money would otherwise be put to good use, supporting spending for programs that women depend on.
What could that money get us? Just take a look:
The Republicans may claim to be “the party of opportunity,” but who gets that opportunity under their vision? Women, low-income families, and others in desperate need of support as they try to make ends meet? Or those who already have more than enough to get by?
Forbes, Len Burman, 8/29/2012
Harvard Professor Martin Feldstein weighed in on the mathematical feasibility of Governor Romney’s tax plan in today’s Wall Street Journal. His bottom line: using his assumptions and his preferred dataset, the plan could raise revenue without raising taxes on the middle class.
“Mitt Romney’s plan to cut taxes and offset the resulting revenue loss by limiting tax breaks has been attacked as “mathematically impossible.” He would reduce all individual income-tax rates by 20%, eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax and the estate tax, and limit tax deductions and loopholes that allow high-income taxpayers to reduce their tax payments. All this, say critics, would require a large tax increase on the middle-class to avoid raising the deficit.
I can’t imagine that Professor Feldstein, Mitt Romney, or anyone who cares about economic incentives would support such a thing. It would produce a huge toll gate on entry into the upper middle class.
So even if it were “mathematically possible” for Romney’s plan to be revenue neutral (which it’s not), such a plan would make no sense as policy.
Death and Taxes, DJ Pangburn, 8/28/2012
Thanks to a little common sense digging, Media Matters points out that the narrative of Paul Ryan as deficit hawk isn’t being properly analyzed by the media.
For instance, The Wall Street Journal fixated on the year 2006, when Ryan began crafting his Roadmap for America’s Future with the Reagan 21 group, which included House allies and Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Jim DeMint (R-SC). But in 2001 and 2003, Ryan voted for the Bush tax cuts, which, coupled with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, was critical in creating the budget deficits that the GOP has been bitching about for the last few years.
If one’s economic philosophy is to cut taxes, how the hell did Ryan expect to pay for any of his $6.8 trillion in deficits? One is left to suppose that under Ryan’s plan the deficit would shrink when GDP growth (triggered by tax cuts) would cause tax revenue to spill into the Treasury, or there would be a full-on assault launched on major social programs.
As Paul Krugman wrote in a 2010 New York Times op-ed, “Republicans insist that the deficit must be eliminated, but they’re not willing either to raise taxes or to support cuts in any major government programs. And they’re not willing to participate in serious bipartisan discussions, either, because that might force them to explain their plan—and there isn’t any plan, except to regain power.”
We hope you’re following Americans for Tax Fairness on Twitter and Facebook. Right now is the best time to spread far and wide that we just can’t afford to continue the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2 percent.