Taxes and a Do-Nothing President

“At the end of the year, some $500 billion in tax breaks expire all at once, hitting American households with an average tax increase of $3,800—if Congress doesn’t act,” reports Jim Angle of Fox News.

Here are, to channel the late Jack Brickhouse, the unhappy totals:

  • $165 billion increase from the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, pushing tax rates from a bottom rate and top rate of 10% and 35% to 15% and 39.6%, respectively,
  • cut the child tax credit by fully half, from $1,000 a child to $500,
  • the marriage penalty returns,
  • tax on dividends, which many seniors rely on, would soar from 15% to as high as 39.6%,
  • a temporary fix to the alternative minimum tax disappears/expires.  The AMT originally was aimed at millionaires, but now it would hit 34 million taxpayers,
  • separate $124 billion cut in the payroll tax would end.

Moreover, as Curtis Dubay of the Heritage Foundation points out,

Taxmageddon falls 70 percent on middle and low income families.  That’s because 60% of the Bush tax cuts were for middle- and low-income taxpayers.

Thus, the Reid/Obama tax increases are set to hammer all Americans, but especially President Obama’s “non-rich.”

Yet this could have been avoided.  During the debt limit ceiling raise kerfuffle of last summer, President Obama had a golden opportunity to fix these things, but in a Chicago shuffle, he tried to steamroll the Republicans with a last minute (literally) demand for an additional $1 trillion tax increase, and he blew up the negotiations altogether.  Obama and Majority Leader Reid (D, UT) had a chance to fix these things later in the fall, but they demanded tax increases as a quid pro quo for extending an expiring payroll tax reduction.  This winter, Obama and Reid got tax increases in exchange for extending an expiring (again!) payroll tax reduction—the one set to expire at the end of this year along with all those other items.

Obama and Reid have spent all of these last three years demanding tax increases to “pay for” tax reductions elsewhere, and spending cuts anywhere—in the name of “fairness.”

What’s also galling, though, is that payroll tax reduction for which the Republicans held out so zealously.  This is the same gang that insists (rightly) that our Social Security system is bankrupt and desperately needs reform—yet they’re insistent on reducing even further that system’s funding with this payroll tax reduction of theirs.  Ignoring the fact that the Democrats were on record as agreeing that a 2% reduction in (payroll) tax rates was good for Americans, ignoring further that Obama had proposed a 3% reduction for both individual Americans and businesses in those payroll taxes, the Republicans chose not to insist, instead, on a 3% (or even a 2%) income tax reduction for all Americans and our businesses.  They just held out for gutting Social Security.

Now Obama is set to get his tax increases in the name of his concept of fairness.  Happy New Year.

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