Archive for Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tax Day rhetoric aside, Americans’ bills are lower

April 15, 2010


— You wouldn’t know it by the Tax Day rhetoric, but Americans are paying lower taxes this year, even with increases passed by many states to balance their budgets. Don’t expect it to last.

Congress cut individuals’ federal taxes for this year by about $173 billion shortly after President Barack Obama took office, dwarfing the $28.6 billion in increases by states.

In the next few years, however, many can expect to pay more. Some future increases were enacted as part of Obama’s health care overhaul. And former President George W. Bush’s tax cuts expire in January. Obama and the Democrats want to renew only some of them, thus raising taxes for individuals making more than $200,000 and couples making more than $250,000.

As this year’s April 15 federal deadline passes, the debate about future tax increases has Republicans in Congress and conservatives across the country portraying Democrats as tax-and-spend liberals even before any new levies are approved. The discussion also is helping frame the congressional elections this fall.

“The fact is in the past year we have had more tax cuts than almost anytime in our nation’s history,” said Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn. “It’s something that people don’t realize because of the false rhetoric that is spread throughout this Congress.”

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said conservatives didn’t see any need to wait before protesting.

“I thought that we were going to have to wait until the tax increases started to see popular unhappiness,” Norquist said at a Capitol Hill forum Wednesday. “Last year, people started reacting, the tea parties started organizing, in reaction to spending too much. They didn’t wait for the tax increases to come.”

The massive economic recovery package enacted last year included about $300 billion in tax cuts over 10 years. About $232 billion was in cuts for individuals, nearly all in the first two years.

The most generous was Obama’s Making Work Pay credit, which gives individuals up to $400 and couples up to $800 for 2009 and 2010. The $1,000 child tax credit was expanded to more families, and the working poor can qualify for as much as $5,657 from the Earned Income Tax Credit.

There were also credits for qualified families who buy new homes or make energy improvements to existing ones, as well as tax breaks to help pay college tuition or buy new cars.

“From investing in small business to buying a home or making it energy efficient, to sending your children to college to buying a car, these tax cuts are helping families and businesses across the country,” said Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-Mo.

At the same time, many states raised taxes last year because they are required by state constitutions to balance their budgets, even during a recession. In all, states increased personal income taxes by $11.4 billion, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. They increased sales taxes by $7.2 billion and business taxes by $2 billion.

States also increased a number of other taxes, including levies on alcohol, motor vehicles and tobacco, for an additional $8 billion.

The biggest tax increase in the health care overhaul is limited to individuals making more than $200,000 and couples making more than $250,000, though other increases would hit lower income taxpayers.

“We know the tax man cometh, and over the next few years, boy, will he be coming with a vengeance,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.


BigAl 7 years, 11 months ago

This article just won't work. This doesn't fit in at all with what we hear from Fox News or Talk Radio. It doesn't agree with what we read on the internet. This just can't be. I was told just Saturday night by a Tea Partier that taxes were definitely up and still rising.

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 11 months ago

Of course, adjusted for our $1.5 trillion federal budget deficit, tax freedom day doesn't come until May 21, 43 days after April 9th.

Blessed4x 7 years, 11 months ago

Yep, my taxes were definitely lower this year and it's all due to Obama. Of course, the reason my taxes were lower is due to the fact that we had a company wide reduction in salaries to prevent massive layoffs. But hey! My taxes were indeed lower!

Scott Drummond 7 years, 11 months ago

You can thank bush and the right winger's handling of our economy for that.

independant1 7 years, 11 months ago

The government giveth, the govenment taketh away.

my individual taxes go down, the wealthy and corporate taxes go up, government largesse goes up. The service on our debt is what? 2 trillion/year. Gov't tax receipts are what? A trillion/year

It doesn't matter what we owe ourselves. (Keynes) To not beleive in the free market is lack of beleif in freedom itself. (Friedmen)

An econmists guess is about as good as anybody's guess. (Will Rogers)

The pendulum will swing and our domestic/foreign policy will change with the politcal climate. It'll happens peacefully here. It's settled science. That's why I love this country, it's my fav! This inconsistency is what perplexes our allies and detractors througout the world.

I say keep 'em guessing.

independant1 7 years, 11 months ago

People want just taxes more than they want lower taxes. They want to know that every man is paying his proportionate share according to his wealth. (Will Rogers)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 11 months ago

53% of your federal tax dollars go to support the military in one fashion or another.

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 11 months ago

In all seriousness, let's reduce military spending by 40%, eliminate earmarks alltogether, shutter the Departments of Education and the Interior (and begin to unwind other Executive Branch bureaucracies), means-test Medicare outlays, increase the Social Security retirement age while allowing younger workers to opt out of SS, repeal and replace this year's abomination of a health care bill, forgo future contributions to groups like Planned Parenthood and the National Endowment for the Arts, eliminate the IRS and switch to a national sales tax, charge college students the full cost of their government college educations, and pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the US Constitution.

If you can't agree with all or most of those, bozo, you're no more fiscally responsible than the person who argues for a massive military industrial complex.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 11 months ago

I know you're not really interested in any source that doesn't conform to your ideological prejudices, but here it is, anyway.

"The budget for the 2011 fiscal year, which has to be voted by Congress by this October 1, looks to be about $3 trillion, not counting funds collected for Social Security (since the Vietnam War, the government has included the Social Security Trust Fund in the budget as a way to make the cost of America's imperial military adventures seem smaller in comparison to the total cost of government). Meanwhile, the military share of the budget works out to about $1.6 trillion.

That figure includes the Pentagon budget request of $708 billion, plus an estimated $200 billion in supplemental funding, called "overseas contingency funding" in euphemistic White House-speak), to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, some $40 billion or more in "black box" intelligence agency funding, $94 billion in non-DoD military spending, $100 billion in veterans benefits and health care spending, and $400 billion in interest on debt raised to pay for prior wars and the standing military.

The 2011 military budget, by the way, is the largest in history, not just in actual dollars, but in inflation-adjusted dollars, exceeding even the spending in World War II, when the nation was on an all-out military footing.

Military spending in all its myriad forms works out to represent 53.3 percent of total US federal spending."

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 11 months ago

I would agree with all of those. Let's get to work.

Moderateguy 7 years, 11 months ago

Then it turns out you are a Libertarian instead of a liberal. Welcome to a very liberating viewpoint.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 11 months ago

In other news: “LOS ANGELES - A record number of U.S. homes were lost to foreclosure in the first three months of this year, a sign banks are starting to wade through the backlog of troubled home loans at a faster pace, according to a new report. RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday that the number of U.S. homes taken over by banks jumped 35 percent in the first quarter from a year ago. In addition, households facing foreclosure grew 16 percent in the same period and 7 percent from the last three months of 2009. More homes were taken over by banks and scheduled for a foreclosure sale than in any quarter going back to at least January 2005, when RealtyTrac began reporting the data, the firm said.” How's that hopenchange working out for you?

beatrice 7 years, 11 months ago

Much better than that mavericky thing would have worked for us, thank you very much.

independant1 7 years, 11 months ago

I was needing some good news!

There is not a voter in America that twenty-four hours after any speech was made could remember two sentences in it. (Will Rogers)

Flap Doodle 7 years, 11 months ago

Weren't tax cuts evil wicked mean & nasty when a previous administration passed them? And now they're okay because the other team is sitting in the White House? Oh, yeah, that double standard again....

independant1 7 years, 11 months ago

Nope, no double standard. It's a partisan thing.

Party politics is the most narrow minded occupation in the World. (Will Rogers)

beatrice 7 years, 11 months ago

Well snap, let's look at who is getting those tax cuts this time around -- the wealthiest of the wealthy (the people George W. Bush proudly called his "base"), or the working people? Oh, the working people are getting the tax cuts this time. Guess there is no double standard after all. Thanks for playing.

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