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Political Talk Show Host and Internet Radio Personality. My show, In My Humble Opinion, aired on RainbowRadio from 2015-2017.
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Monday, July 19, 2010
Lies du Jour, Part Two
So now that we, hopefully, have some perspective on the idea that tax cuts will (or even CAN) pay for themselves, let’s take a look at the two statements. Did Obama create the deficit? Or, less absurdly, how much of this did he REALLY inherit from Bush? Here’s a graphic that breaks down some of the larger components of the deficit:
Two Wars? Bush. Bush Tax cuts? Bush. Economic Down turn? Started in August 2007 and ended in April, 2009 so… 18 months under Bush, 2 months under Obama. Yeah, I’d say that’s Bush. (Even putting aside that it was the result of bank de-regulation, which is part of the Republican agenda anyway!) TARP? Bush. Stimulus? Fine: 50/50. Both had their stimulus packages and both cleared the $700 Billion mark. So this deficit is four-and-a-half parts Bush, and just one-half-part Obama.
Now… I make no (negative) value judgments on any of these things. I supported the Auto-Bailouts (not shown, but perhaps deficit neutral, on paper anyway, since the gov't got an asset for thier money) wholeheartedly, for example. Thank you, President Bush! (Disclosure: I work in the auto industry) and eventually came to recognize TARP as a necessary evil. I didn’t LIKE it, but I can’t condemn it. It was needed. BUT… it was still BUSH, and it still contributed to the deficit. In fact, it's remarkable how small the deficit would actually be if it weren’t for the Republicans, so it’s kind of absurd that they’ve made it their #1 issue!
Now… has Obama raised taxes? Again: NO. No. No. No! In fact he’s lowered them once already, and will actually lower them again next year! Wait a sec… then… what’s all this noise on Fox about how taxes are going up next year? Well… they are. But… you just said…? Hang on a sec. Let’s get in the “way-back” machine and take a good hard look at those “Bush Tax Cuts.”
These were passed in 2003, when the Republicans controlled both houses of congress and had Bush in the White House. They were officially called the “Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003.” And one of the key, but frequently ignored, provisions in the legislation was they were scheduled to expire on Jan 1, 2011 unless some ADDITIONAL action was taken. Expire. On 1/1/11. ALL of them. That’s the existing law, as written by Republicans, and signed by George W. Bush: Effecive 2011, the tax rates will return to their previous, Bill Clinton-era levels. It’s perhaps worth noting that Barack Obama would not even be elected to the Senate until 2004, his term starting in 2005. So this law passed two years before Obama entered the Senate as anything but a tourist. He could not possibly have had anything to do with it!
So when your taxes “go up” (or ‘return to their previous levels’) it is because of legislative action taken by REPUBLICANS and GEORGE W. BUSH. Be sure to remember that and tank them approprioately.
So what has Obama done? Well, in early 2009, as part of the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009,” Obama lowered payroll taxes for everyone making less that $250,000 a year. That’s 98% of American according to the latest available census data! And last time I checked, 51% was a majority. (A MANDATE, if you’re a Republican candidate apparently.) So right off the bat, Obama lowered taxes. My take-home pay went up IMMEDIATELY by $68 per month, for example. Pretty much everyone’s did. Well… 98% of America anyway. But most people either have no idea, or have forgotten. Maybe because Fox News keeps hammering home the misinformation of Obama being a tax-raiser. Convenient, in an election year, but unfortunately not true at all. (Fair and Balanced folks!) If you don't believe me, just look at your paycheck the first couple months of 2009. You'll SEE the increase. It's THERE. Pretty much EVERYONE got it!
So what about next year? What about 2011? Well, remember that if Obama did nothing at all, took no action, the BUSH legislation effectively would raise (restore) tax rates back to their previous levels. Becuase they were set to expire unless other legislative action was taken. And guess what? President Obama is TAKING THAT ADDITIONAL LEGISLATIVE ACTION!!! In the budget he's proposing, those "Bush Tax Cuts" would remain in place for the first $250,000 of income. And... if you understand how a progressive taxation works, you'll realize that this means that EVERYONE will be paying a lower effective than the otherwise would have been if Obama did nothing at all! (Yes, even those people who make more than that. They'll still get the break on the first $250K)
I'm sure this sounds convoluted to the avewrage conservtive, but it's absolute FACT and absolute TRUTH. Obama is a TAX CUTTER. And you just can't escape that.
One concession I'll make...
If the budget goes through like he's proposing, in future discussion about the deficit, I will galdly refer to them as the "OBAMA TAX CUTS" instead of the "Bush Tax Cuts." That's only fair. If he's going to get hammered over the deficit, he's should at least get his due credit for cutting taxes.