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On tax cuts, Democrats win, deficit loses

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The White House was happy to hear John Boehner wave the white flag on the Bush tax cuts this weekend. "If the only option I have is to vote for those at [$250,000] and below, of course I'm going to do that," Boehner said on "Face the Nation." Functionally, that means Republicans are not going to try to force a choice between tax cuts for all -- including the rich -- and tax cuts for none. It's a rare moment given the recent trench warfare between the parties: Rather than the Republican leadership insisting on all-or-nothing, there will be a compromise.

But though this is the compromise the Obama administration wants, it's not a particularly good compromise. Rather than take the revenue from the Bush tax cuts for the middle class and plow it into a more stimulative tax change (maybe a payroll tax holiday), Democrats are leaving the structure of the tax cuts unchanged. Rather than using the expiration of the cuts as an opportunity to pursue much-needed tax reform, Congress is leaving the tax code alone. And then there's the deficit.

Even after removing the cuts for the rich, the Bush tax cuts will add about $4 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years -- and more in the years beyond that. Everyone understands that we don't want to raise taxes in the next few years, but most people also understand that taxes are going to have to rise in the years following that. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has proposed extending the middle-class tax cuts forever, rather than just for three or four years. That means that changing them will require 60 Senate votes to pass a tax hike, rather than 34 Senate votes to uphold the president's veto of another extension.

You can see why the Obama administration prefers this route: Why should the president and a minority of his party take the responsibility -- and the damage -- from a tax hike that the other party made necessary? And fair enough. On the other hand, it's possible to imagine the tax cuts expiring. It's very hard to imagine Congress actually passing legislation to raise taxes. And that means that we've closed off yet another option for eventually reducing the deficit.

By Ezra Klein  |  September 13, 2010; 12:05 PM ET
Categories:  Budget , Taxes  
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Comments

May be your wish will turn out true - that Dems do not get this 'win. This is because Senate GOP has decided not to back Boehner call. Sen. Lieberman has declared his opposition too. The Senator you interviewed and whom you did 'not' ask the question about tax cuts for rich - Sen. Conrad; he is still waiting in wings to back tax cuts for rich too. And finally we have our Senate joker - Sen. Nelson from Nebraska - who will for sure will not allow any such reasonable thing to happen too.

So all in all, I doubt what you call Dem victory is any realistic. Your policy prescription still has a chance (though I support Pres. Obama position,what you call Dem victory here). You are at 'hard Left' like NYT and like what Gibbs call - Professional Left (though not as bad as like FDL).

Posted by: umesh409 | September 13, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

And I hope that Republicans do not allow the tax cuts for the wealthy to expire. That will show everyone that the Republican party has not changed, and that unrealistic tax cuts are still the top priority, regardless of the budget deficit.

It will help voters decide that Democrats, though not perfect, are a much better choice than Republicans for making good decisions.

Posted by: ztypical | September 13, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

sound bite politics...
ezra sits home at night
and recites the robert gibbs answers
for the day in his
'we are the change we've been waiting for'
jammies...
do you realize you endorse and work for
an anti-zionist president?
Is it wrong for the good guys to win?

Posted by: simonsays1 | September 13, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

If you're rich and your taxes are going up, are you likely to hire more workers? Expand your business? Invest your money in America?

Of course not, you'll fire more workers, and start putting your money in another country.

Posted by: princeps2 | September 13, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

"If you're rich and your taxes are going up, are you likely to hire more workers? Expand your business? Invest your money in America?"

you think the rich own businesses? they don't .. tax hikes on incomes above 250K only effect 3% of small business owners.

oh, and you think those owners are going to say..."i'm not going to hire anyone, i'd rather let my business decline>"?

or you think that they have been runniing understaffed waiting to see if there "special rights" tax cut were going to be cut before they decided to hire someone?

geez, i hate stupid.

Posted by: newagent99 | September 13, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I am confused. According to the article in the WaPo today the ten year cost of the tax cuts for the "rich" is $800 billion and for the "middle class" is $3 trillion. I have been listening to the Dems too long. I thought the winners from the Bush tax cuts were the "rich". It looks like it is the "middle class" by a factor of almost four. But I am still confused. We are going broke and ending the tax cuts for the "rich" won't save us but the Dems want to continue the much larger tax cuts tax cuts for the "middle class". But even more insidious to the Country is an income tax system where almost one half of all citizens pay no Federal income tax. And you talk about the dangers of creating divisions within the Country.

Posted by: jdonner2 | September 13, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Getting Democrats to do anything is like trying to give a bunch of rabid cats a bath. They'll scratch and howl until you just give up. I don't think Obama is the problem, I think its the Democrats as a whole that couldn't stand up and say from the get go that they're fighting for the middle class and not the special interests. They are cowards and should lose their seats come November. I will vote for Obama again but my local Democratic candidates may just not receive my votes. They need to grow some and stand for something.

Posted by: ATLGuy | September 13, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

It is easy for John Boehner to take a position that has no consequence. The Bush tax cut extention has to happen before the end of this year. There is not much chance that Republicans can affect the House outcome in that time frame. In the Senate, where the Republican's have more influence, they are not accepting Boehner's position. Particularly, with the expectation of conflict with the Republicans, it seems unlkely that any serious attempt will be made before the election to reach a final decision on the extention. That will leave the decision to a lame duck Congress likely with a fair number or retiring members. A decision is required for any kind of extention. It is hard to predict what will happen.

Posted by: dnjake | September 13, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

We are just about at full employment in the US for a global economy. That means there will be no new revenue coming into the Treasury from additional employment. Wages & salaries are getting smaller forcing still further reductions in federal, state, and local tax revenues.

China's Yuan is getting closer and closer to becoming the world's reserve currency. The currency of choice.

Maybe its time Congress decide to protect America for a change. What change that would be.

Posted by: Maddogg | September 13, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

It was silly for Obama to think he could get a "win" here. Boehner signals compromise but Senate dems, as they were on health care, are balking at the president's plans. Thus, Boehner provides of a view of bipartisan government should Republicans win the house in a landslide election, and dems reveal their disarray and the gulf between Obama and the true moderates in the party. He already got beat by Jane Brewer, her of the ten second pause, can he really get beat by Boehner too, the man with the tan?

Posted by: dummypants | September 13, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

With the election of Obama, the American electorate signaled its intention to retreat from greatness; and, to initiate a descent into the financial abyss of Socialism. After pursuing a series of policies that have introduced crippling uncertainty into the process of entrepreneurship and investment, a clueless Obama, our petulant adolescent fraudulently occupying the White House, has taken to the campaign trail to lure the uninformed with the bait of still more taxpayer billions in stimulus. But, what our tawdry circus barker conceals from the willing dupes is the fact that he intends to more than offset any stimulative effect with planned tax increases; and, his intentional imposition of "skyrocketing energy costs" via his pending "Cap and Tax" legislation. If the crippling American debt burden being accumulated by our presidential "buffoon"; and, our associated "decline" as a world superpower is of no consequence to you, consider the abhorrent financial millstone that we are hanging on our children's economic future. The man has a singular objective, and that being, a massive redistribution of America's wealth from the producers to the non-producers. In brief: Obama is an anomalous catastrophe that has befallen America; and, must be resoundingly rejected and corralled in November, until we can remove him in 2012. Greg Neubeck

Posted by: gneubeck | September 13, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Letting tax cuts for rich expire is great. In fact taxes on the rich should be raised.

Rich love money. Too many its a God. Raise their taxes and they will scurry to replace lost revenue causing a rash of new jobs.

Posted by: Maddogg | September 13, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

"Why should the president and a minority of his party take the responsibility -- and the damage -- from a tax hike that the other party made necessary?"

Excuse me? The spending tsunami of the last 18 months has had nothing whatsoever to do with making a tax hike necessary?

The only thing that can save this country's financial future this time is a Senate filibuster. And I don't give a rat's a** why they filibuster. Yes, Ezra, even if they filibuster because the House and Administration won't extend the cuts for the wealthy. As long as they stop this insanity.

I feel sick to my stomach.

Posted by: bgmma50 | September 13, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

End all tax cuts now; the economy will not be the worse for wear....especially when you consider how it's been situated for the past two years. This is everyone's mess; it's time for everyone to pitch in.

Posted by: bigisle | September 13, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

If the Democrats and the Administration vote to extend the Bush tax cuts forever, the Republicans better be sure that they are positioned to hang the Obama Deficit and Obama National Debt around his neck in 2010.

Posted by: bgmma50 | September 13, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

2012

Posted by: bgmma50 | September 13, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Boehner said he'd go along with continuing the "middle class" cuts and allowing the "wealthy" cuts to expire. Since when did Boehner saying a thing become evidence that the thing is true? Let's wait and see what he actually does.

Or he may in fact vote this way, if he's sure it'll fail anyway. Gives him a claim to "moderate" when he goes for Speaker.

Posted by: gVOR08 | September 13, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

If as you wrote Rep. Boehner waved "the white flag" after Pres. Obama campaigned in Ohio, what's the strat going forward? Is the president planning a few appearances in ... Kentucky? The T party types would relish that.

Posted by: tuber | September 13, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Klein is a propagandist nothing more and nothing less. There are four ways to deal with the deficit problem and the national debt. First, we can raise taxes and the most logical way is a VAT. Second, we can cut spending. Third, we can increase our growth rate which will increase tax revenues. Fourth, we can adopt a combination of the above methods.
There is a reason politicians do not want to reform the tax code. First, it allows them to engage in social engineering. Second, it allows them to enact laws that benefit their supports - campaign contributors - legally. This is why we have a tax code of thousands and thousands of pages and in spite of widespread talk about reforming the tax code nothing happens.

Posted by: jeffreed | September 13, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

"I am confused. According to the article in the WaPo today the ten year cost of the tax cuts for the "rich" is $800 billion and for the "middle class" is $3 trillion."

"Excuse me? The spending tsunami of the last 18 months has had nothing whatsoever to do with making a tax hike necessary?"

jdonner2 & bgmma50,

ARRA was just about $800 billion, wasn't it? What a coinicidence.

Posted by: justin84 | September 13, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse


bgmma50 Youy are really good a selective reading and at having a selective memory. If I am not mistaken this article is about the effect of the Bush tax cuts.

You must remember this about whether they are allowed to expire or not. If they expire then we go to increased revenues for the Feds. If they are allowed to partially expire we have increased revenues for the Feds but a lot less. If they are extended, then there are decreased revenues for the Fed by a whole lot over several years.

Then we analize based on affordability. The number of citizens that the middle class tax cut of $250K. Between those two income brackets is $800B over 10 years should the Obama legislation take affect.

The Obama legislation recommends that we take the $3T hit that will affect lower wage earners and let the $800B that the higher wage earners who can afford these rates, whose loss of this savings would not adversely affect them, who is likely not to pump this money back in the economy, who is more likely to save this money to add it their personal networth or invest it outside of the country to not take this hit on the federal deficit.

When you understand the conversation, then comment. Your comments are all over the place. Are you for or against the tax cuts?

Posted by: justonevoice | September 13, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

The first thing we need to do is stop repeating the republican lie that a "tax cut" is about to expire. There can be no "tax cut" if the budget is in deficit.

When the nation’s budget is in deficit it means we spent more than we took in revenue. Republicans say deficits don't matter (Quote Dick Cheyenne) and so they make the situation worse by cutting revenue (taxes) further and increasing the deficit. They have no intention of paying for their level of government consumption. What they are doing is SHIFTING that tax burden to workers by stealing SS surpluses and to the unborn by gifting them trillion dollar debts.

What the republicans are doing is WRONG. It's immoral to steal from the unborn and really slimy to take from working class people to give to the better off.

We need to call the republicans on this lie every time they utter it. Don't let them get away with saying the biggest tax cut in history, call it what it was, the biggest TAX SHIFT in history.
P.S
We also need to call them on the lie that “Half the population pays no federal tax”. Everybody who works pays federal payroll taxes, and the average Joe pays more of his income as a percentage than the rich do thanks to the republicans SHIFTING the tax burden onto working people.

Posted by: lord166 | September 13, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't despair about the deficit... the partial tax cut extension will never pass the Senate, so all of them will probably end.

Posted by: mschol17 | September 13, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

For all of those that believe that taxes should be raised on the "rich", why don't you be clear about what you really mean. That is, I would like for the govt to take more money from those, who for whatever reason, are more successful than me to subsidize my well being. Put that way makes all of you look pathetic.

Posted by: sgilligan1 | September 13, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

"you think the rich own businesses? they don't .. tax hikes on incomes above 250K only effect 3% of small business owners."

newagent99,

The rich don't own businesses? I don't buy that.

By the way, a few interesting paragraphs from a recent WSJ article:

"The 3% figure, which is computed from IRS data, is based on simply counting the number of returns with any pass-through business income. So, if somebody makes a little money selling products on eBay and reports that income on Schedule C of their tax return, they are counted as a small business...The numbers are clear. According to IRS data, fully 48% of the net income of sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S corporations reported on tax returns went to households with incomes above $200,000 in 2007. That's the number to look at, not the 3%. Would Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Biden deny that the more successful firms owned by individuals in the top income-tax bracket are disproportionately responsible for investment and job creation?"

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703959704575454061524326290.html

And $200,000 (or was it $250,000) is rich, even in New York City as we are told.

"oh, and you think those owners are going to say..."i'm not going to hire anyone, i'd rather let my business decline>"

Not exactly. But if expanding one's business means that 50%+ of the fruits of said expansion will flow out of one's pockets, why bother with the time, energy and risk? Maybe another week's vacation would be a better proposition. Not everyone will be so demotivated of course, but it is certain that some will. Surely most business owners will not let their enterprises crater in the face of higher taxes, but it is the impact on the desire to expand which concerns me.

Although I am willing to grant this may provide more work for accountants as these small business owners do all they can to minimize their tax bill, and more work for lobbyists to poke holds into the code so that somewhat less money is lost to the government, pushing marginal tax rates above 50% (which they will be adding in Medicare, and state/local income taxes in many jurisdictions) is going to reduce effort and increase avoidance.

Posted by: justin84 | September 13, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Instead of bickering, why don't they just push through the Wyden-Gregg proposal? It has been fine tuned by a bi-partisan team for the last two years, and makes good sense.

Posted by: mrray | September 13, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Yo Ezra. Please stop with the nonsense that tax cuts add to the deficit. Spending adds to the deficit. As long as our beaurocrats and politicians believe that tax rates add to the deficit, is there any limit to spending and taxing that they can justify?

Posted by: sgilligan1 | September 13, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Wow... Esra I was going to denote this column as a prime example of political spin; alas, that would be in error. While your column is all spin, it isn't very convincing. Even if the Republicans go along with keeping the tax cuts for over $250,000, Obama and the Democrats lose since they wanted to let all the Bush43 cuts expire. Spin at your own risk!

Posted by: Hazmat77 | September 13, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

The reason you know Obama is lying again is that he has not offered to exclude the 750,000 impacted small businesses that file as individuals and then only restore the tax rates for individuals in the > 250k.

Obviously they (the IRS) can distinguish between the two because they have already identified and counted the 750k small businesses.

Posted by: hunter340 | September 13, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

@princeps2 - The myth of the rich changing their spending habits based on a tax increase was once again debunked. Check out http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-09-13/rich-americans-save-money-from-tax-cuts-instead-of-spending-moody-s-says.html

Everyone please pass this along. Maybe some of the otherwise intelligent people who have fallen for this fallacy will catch on that it's just a ruse to try to keep the tax rates of the rich (and politically powerful) as low as possible.

Posted by: JHarrison1 | September 13, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

"When you understand the conversation, then comment. Your comments are all over the place. Are you for or against the tax cuts?
Posted by: justonevoice"

I have commented on this issue numerous times and each and every time have expressed the opinion that the tax cuts should be allowed to expire in their entirety this year. Since that's probably not politically possible right now, I would be ok with extending the cuts for those making under $250,000 for 1-3 years.

I have never agreed with Ezra on any issue but this one, and that is, that if the Bush Tax Cuts for the Non Wealthy are extended indefinitely, the politics for decreasing the debt become infinitely more difficult.

The $800 billion generated by letting the tax cuts for the wealthy expire isn't going to be near enough to dig us out of the hole that the Democrats and the Administration have dug for us. We are going to need the $3 trillion revenue generated by the Bush Tax Cuts for the Non Wealthy. The sad fact for Obama and the Democrats is that, even if the confiscate the entire net worth of the wealthy, it won't be enough. They're going to have to get into the pockets of the middle class, or this country's finances will be circling the drain just as fast as you can say Greece.

Posted by: bgmma50 | September 13, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

This is a very visible reminder of the gap between reality and conservatives.

How do you think we can correct these societal imbalances, particularly our misaligned value system that prioritizes wealth over happiness? http://lewismiller.tumblr.com/post/1116332138/what-should-we-value-in-society

Posted by: millerlc3 | September 13, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

If the Bush tax cuts are extended by Obama can we then call them the Obama tax cuts?

Posted by: bnichols6 | September 13, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Senate Dems and a few moderate Senate Republicans should back Obama on this for the good of the country.

Posted by: EddDoerr | September 13, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

American's should be angry at Congress, but it won't do any good.

Fot the amount spent on TARP and STIMULUS every American taxpayer could have received a $10,000 check in the mail that would have pulled them and the nation out of the pits.

Congress working on two-bit tax cuts is rinky dink and will serve no useful purpose.

We need to raise the taxes on the rich and they will jump into job creation to make up for thier lost money. The rich will never create jobs if they keep getting handouts from the government.

Posted by: Maddogg | September 13, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

The elite top 1% of the population owns 35% of the total net worth in America. That equals to $20 trillion! Also, the top 1% owns more net worth than the bottom 90%. This clearly indicates an obscene disparity in income/wealth in America. Permanently retain the tax cuts for the middle class. And if there is to be any mining of additional tax revenues....there is an obscene level of gold (income/wealth) within the upper 2% of the population....keep your hands off the middle class. Unless the middle class gets a series of much needed assistance, there will never be a long term economic recovery in America.

An additional point of fact....the total amount of taxes payed in America (personal, corporate, local, state and federal) as a percentage of GDP is among the lowest of all industrialized nations of the World. The statement that the U.S. Pays too much taxes is just basic political rhetoric from the Republicans and it is not true!

Posted by: DominionDem | September 13, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

What stupid crap.

The deficits in the 2000s with the tax cuts are going to be smaller than the deficits in the 2010s without the tax cuts.

You have a spending problem.

Posted by: krazen1211 | September 13, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

"Even after removing the cuts for the rich, the Bush tax cuts will add about $4 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years"

This is simply not true. This asserts that the federal government is better at spending money earned by the public than the public can.

Posted by: wcc118 | September 13, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Get your facts right! Author: CaptElaine.
The day the Democrats took over was not January 22nd 2009 -- it was actually January 3rd 2007.
The Democratic Party controlled a majority in both chambers for the first time since the end of the 103rd Congress in 1995.
"For those of you who are listening to the liberals propagating the fallacy that everything is "Bush's Fault," think about this: 
January 3rd, 2007 was the day the Democrats took over the Senate and the Congress: 
At the time: 
The DOW Jones closed at 12,621.77 
The GDP for the previous quarter was 3.5% The Unemployment rate was 4.6%
George Bush's Economic policies SET A RECORD of 52 STRAIGHT MONTHS of JOB CREATION!
Remember the day.
January 3rd, 2007 was the day that Barney Frank took over the House Financial Services Committee and Chris Dodd took over the Senate Banking Committee.  
The economic meltdown that happened 15 months later was in what part of the economy? 
BANKING AND FINANCIAL SERVICES! 

THANK YOU DEMOCRATS for taking us from 13,000 DOW, 3.5 GDP and 4.6% Unemployment to this CRISIS by dumping 5-6 TRILLION Dollars of toxic loans on the economy from YOUR Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac FIASCOS! 
 
(BTW: Bush asked Congress 17 TIMES to stop Fannie & Freddie - starting in 2001 because it was financially risky for the  US  economy).


Posted by: makom | September 13, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Another one of those tax cuts are bad and gigantic amounts of government spending is good article from Ezra. In actuality if you go back and look at Boehners past statements he's always said that he wouldn't vote against a stand alone middle class tax cut if that's all there was available. So saying that he'd waved the white flag was idiotic, which I'm sure Ezra knew, but made a good sound bite. I'll also point out that Democrats "currently" have a large majority in the House and can ram through whatever they want, see Obamacare, without any Republican support. Boehner was simply stating the reality of the situation not stating his preference, which is to not raise taxes on the successful in the middle of a severe recession.

Posted by: RobT1 | September 13, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

All Bush era Tax Cuts, Oil Industry subsidies; and Feedstock and Cotton Subsidies from top to bottom should end. Hit 'Reset' until America can bring its military men and women home from the Middle East.

In Germany, higher taxes lead to a higher Quality of life, more gainful employment, higher levels of manufacturing and productivity and more free time for vacations. In America, lower taxes lead to higher unemployment, outsourcing of Jobs and manufacturing, less free time, and a lower quality of life.

Ronald (Raised Taxes to Balance budget) Reagan and Richard (EPA, Clean Air and Water Acts):

NEWSWEEK Even Reagan Wasn’t a Reagan Republican: why every recent GOP president wasn’t conservative enough for today’s party.
http://www.newsweek.com/2010/05/10/even-reagan-wasn-t-a-reagan-republican.html

Corporate Taxes should be lowered to 25% with a mandatory 15% after all write-offs. The corporate tax rate of 35% is a Joke when loopholes allow companies to write off 100% of their taxes and force small business and individuals to bear the greatest blunt of America’s tax burden. America needs a minimum tax rate of 15% for all businesses and individuals after all deductions. Allow all deductions but only credit up to a mandatory 15% tax rate.

http://www.forbes.com/2010/04/01/ge-exxon-walmart-business-washington-corporate-taxes_slide.html?partner=abcnews

“It's the tax benefit of overseas operations that is the biggest reason why multinationals end up with lower tax rates than the rest of us. It only makes sense that multinationals "put costs in high-tax countries and profits in low-tax countries," says Scott Hodge, president of the Tax Foundation.”

Posted by: Airborne82 | September 13, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Hello there is another way to address the deficit--cut the damn spending

Posted by: rpg629 | September 13, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

ztyip, "It will help voters decide that Democrats, though not perfect, are a much better choice than Republicans for making good decisions."

I don't know what planet you live on, but it aint happening on earth. Certainly not in the U.S.

Posted by: landluvver | September 13, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

The title of this post is misleading. By saying "Democrats win, deficit loses," you suggest cause and effect between those two things when, in fact, in this case, if the Republicans won (extending the tax cuts for those making over $250K), the deficit would be even worse.

To the person who thinks the tax cuts were skewed to the middle class because the middle class tax cuts cost $3 trillion whereas the tax cuts for the rich cost $800 billion: have you considered how many people fall into each category? The "rich" making over $250 are only 2% of the population, but by your reckoning, they got 20% of the benefits of the tax cuts.

I don't know where your numbers come from, but these ones come from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. 30% of the benefits of making all of the tax cuts permanent goes to the top 1% of taxpayers. Another 43% goes to the 80-99th percentile. The remaining 27% is spread among the remaining 80% of the population. The bottom 20% gets 0.3% of the benefits. http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/background/bush-tax-cuts/ignore.cfm.

Posted by: novamama | September 13, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

If they allow these tax cuts to be extended forever it is obvious that the deficit is not a priority. If they then turn around and support the Cat Food Commission to cut Social Security benefits ... there will be riots in the streets.

Posted by: cautious | September 13, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

whoops, typo: I meant making over $250K.

Posted by: novamama | September 13, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

whoops, typo: I meant making over $250K.

Posted by: novamama | September 13, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Considering the fiscal wrecking ball called the Republican Party and what they did, this deficit shot seems anemic. They would have gone for it all and probably enhanced those upper level cuts in the name of economic regeneration. What a load of hogwash that would be.

One day, it must stop, but in the present, the only way forward is with government relief. If we let the entire package die, we would flop right back where we were two years ago. Sad, but true. Thank you Dumbya and The Dick for a real crapball.

Posted by: ronjeske | September 13, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

"Everyone understands that we don't want to raise taxes in the next few years, but most people also understand that taxes are going to have to rise in the years following that. "

I disagree. There is two ways to address the deficit. One way is to increase taxes and assume that the increase is going to be used to pay down the deficit (Yeah, Right! Not a chance). The second way is to cut Federal spending and use that decrease in spending to pay down the deficit. Congress has a better chance of doing the second than the first.

Posted by: ahashburn | September 13, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

sooner rather than later we are going to have to face a fiscal reality; we cannot afford the scale and scope of the government we have if we wish to keep reducing or extending reduced tax obgligations to the middle class.

Unfunded entitlement programs, primarily SS and Medicare are eating away at flexible discretionary options; we must scale these back after years of denying that slowing their growth was not politically possible. We are now at the day of reckoning; start reducing spending in line with these new reductions in revenue or hasten the day of national insolvency.

Neither party has the courage or will to force such a change. Both have become accustomed to giving the elecorate what it believes we demand: a free lunch and the promise of an even freer lunch tomorrow. While no one wants to pay more in taxes, it is that or reduce what our governmnent is providing us now. Our choice, but a choice is required. We can no longer afford more and more benefits and fewer and fewer taxes. That forumula simply does not make sense even if the two parties insist on telling us it does.

Posted by: bobfbell | September 13, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

sooner rather than later we are going to have to face a fiscal reality; we cannot afford the scale and scope of the government we have if we wish to keep reducing or extending reduced tax obgligations to the middle class.

Unfunded entitlement programs, primarily SS and Medicare are eating away at flexible discretionary options; we must scale these back after years of denying that slowing their growth was not politically possible. We are now at the day of reckoning; start reducing spending in line with these new reductions in revenue or hasten the day of national insolvency.

Neither party has the courage or will to force such a change. Both have become accustomed to giving the elecorate what it believes we demand: a free lunch and the promise of an even freer lunch tomorrow. While no one wants to pay more in taxes, it is that or reduce what our governmnent is providing us now. Our choice, but a choice is required. We can no longer afford more and more benefits and fewer and fewer taxes. That forumula simply does not make sense even if the two parties insist on telling us it does.

Posted by: bobfbell | September 13, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

To the person complaining about how much larger of a percent the "rich" got out of the Bush tax cuts I'd like to point out that the top 1% of wage earners in this country pay almost 40% of the income taxes and the top 5% pay almost 60% of the taxes. The "rich" got a larger percentage because they pay vastly more taxes as a percentage of their incomes than do the not rich. Also 48% of the tax paying population of this country pay 97% of the taxes which means that everyone else pays only 3%.

Posted by: RobT1 | September 13, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

What happens to Obama’s transformative social democratic agenda?
An Obama apologist never fails to see no wrong with anything Obama and his beautiful rhetoric, but always sees all red-wrong with the dim-witted mass, naturally except when the mass voted for Obama and the Democrat majority and super majority in 2006 and 2008.

Posted by: sun127 | September 13, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

We, the middle class, must put all the strength we can muster to fulfill the call to arms by Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. We must help desperate multimillionaires like him continue enjoying their Bush/Cheney/Republican multimillionaire tax cuts!
It's the Republican way. Are we patriots or not?

Posted by: jimsteinberg1 | September 13, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, if they approve the tax cuts for everyone except the so-called rich, they will no longer be the "Bush tax cuts". They will be the Obama tax cuts. You are a ninny who claims that the latest tax cut that Obama wants for the middle class will cost $400 Billion annually, so you call it the Bush tax cuts.

Every time they pass a bill in Washington, it costs money. Too much regulation, too much pork, too many window projects that dopes like you think are "stimulative". Maybe you and Congress could think about cutting spending rather than spending more money. Nahhhhh! Never happen.

Posted by: buggerianpaisley1 | September 13, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

The same clowns who ran the country into a ditch two years ago, the same bozos who left the costs of two wars OFF the books and the same yahoos--i.e. Cheney--who once said, 'deficits don't matter,' are expecting the reins to be handed back to them...unbelievable...if we go back to 'cut taxes, cut spending' as the mantra to get the economy back, there's little wonder we're #11.

Posted by: davidrand1 | September 13, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

he rate of increasing debt is NOT related to the tax cuts
the debt is related to spending

look at the chart - the tax cuts did nothing to the deficit

maybe you'd understand the issue if you looked up facts

1) there was no surplus when G W Bush took office

Bush took office with over 5 trillion in debt
and it took him 8 years total to add just under 5 trillion in debt

since presidents do not control spending, when republicans or democrats took over congress is critical

it took republicans controlling congress 12 years to add almost 4 trillion to the total U S debt, from 1995 thru 2006

in 3 years and 9 months, democrats have spent us into almost 5 trillion dollars in new debt, from 2007 to today
a rate of 100 billion per month in new debt, 1.2 trillion per year

since Obama took office the rate of debt accumulation has increased to the rate of 150 billion per month in new debt

Obama "owns" 3 trillion in new debt in his first 18 months, and debt is growing at 1.5 trillion per year

from http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/NPGateway

total U S debt
4,805,635,231,225.14 as of 1/5/1995
when Republicans took control of Congress

5,727,776,738,304.64 as of 1/20/2001
the day G W Bush took office

8,673,152,446,066.83 as of 1/05/2007
the day the democrats took control of Congress

10,609,758,567,607.17 as of 1/20/2009
the day Obama took office

13,444,496,046,138.49 as of 9/9/2010
18 months later, a pace of 2 trillion per year

Posted by: JohnSpek | September 13, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

The simple solution is to simply let them expire. The GOP cares nothing about the middle class, nor those who work two or three part time jobs a week trying to make ends meet, you know, the "little guys". It is easy for the GOP faithful to claim that the Democrats took power in 2007, as you see in the comments above, but policy was set, and it takes a 60% vote to get anything done, which the GOP made sure could not be accomplished. As far as the humming economy cited during those Bush years, it was all a bubble, which Bush and Co failed to control, despite warning after warning. Face it, Americans now have to pay for the Bush years, though higher taxes. He was too much of a coward to tell the public what the war cost, in lives, in treasure, it was all hidden with dead and wounded arriving hidden from the press, no photos, no taxes to pay for the war, the first time in history. The problem is that most of the GOP are too greedy, they do not want to pay for what they receive from this country. Who suffers more, the guy earning 12.00 and hour, paying 15% of his income in taxes, or the guy earning 400K paying 39%? Whose life is more difficult? Then of course, they really do not pay the 39% because of tax loopholes. Such a shame if corporate executives have to wait another 6 months to buy that Silver Shadow they want. Right now corporations have more money tucked away than ever before. Are they hiring? No. Are the banks lending? No. It is called Greed. Let the Bush tax cuts lapse. Let the Country win one, perhaps enabling us to reduce our annual deficit somewhat.

Posted by: atc333 | September 13, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

I am a member of the middle class, have benefited from the several hundred dollars these tax cuts have given me each year.
I'm also a parent, who knows that extending my tax breaks will cost my kids $4 trillion in costs generated over the next ten years.
I, for one, would be willing to forgo extending my tax cuts if that were to mean not passing our reckless spending onto future generations.
It's time for some common sense, not political gamemanship.

Posted by: mtpeaks | September 13, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

@jdonner2 Yes you are confused, and I doubt that anybody can help you. Hint: there are a lot more middle class people than rich people in the U.S., so the tax burden on lower income people is unfairly high.

Other than that, it's simply not possible to talk about tax reform during an election year--people are still convinced that they can have a free ride. A combination of spending cuts, particularly in defense and some entitlement programs, along with general tax increases and possibly with an elimination of tax deductions and tax credits, is required. The people of the U.S. still don't see this.

The Bush/Cheney administration clearly planned for their tax cuts to expire at a time when extending them would have to addressed during an election year. They understood that it would be politically very difficult to allow any tax cuts to expire during an election year. But that is exactly what has to be done. The Republicans are absolutely diabolical and relentless in pursuit of low taxes. Under only three presidents since WWII has the national debt relative to GDP gone up: Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43. So much for Republicans being the party of fiscal responsibility. Bush 43 alone, nearly doubled our national debt, with an average deficit of $600 billion per year. Fine, cut spending, but the deficit is structural unless you raise taxes.

Posted by: ptgrunner | September 13, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone have a source on that ridiculous 3% figure that is constantly thrown around? How can anyone in their right mind believe that?
Just think about it for a moment.
How many of you work for a company that's owner makes less than 250K?
I would think that the 3% figure is closer to the percentage of owners who make LESS than 250K.
How can any sentient being think otherwise?

As for the tax cuts, it's gotten to the point where it's past discussion.
You people fully understand that tax cuts (especially for the wealthy)translate in to more jobs, yet you seem to not care about that.
You would rather punish the unemployed, if it means you can "get even" with those you envy.
Let me explain how this will work.
This year my business will have earned me 250K by the first or second week in October.
Next year, I will be faced with the choice of rejecting a certain number of clients throughout the year, to keep from being raped, while providing my 6 employees (soon to be five) year-round work.......
or
I can close shop next summer and take a three month vacation, while my employees will have to supplement their income, in whatever way they can find.
The bottom line is, you can't "get even" with me, no matter what you do.
The worst you can do to me is force me in to more leisure time.
But you can make it tough for my employees.

Why do progressives hate middle-class people who are just trying to earn a decent living?

Posted by: MrMeaner | September 13, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

The journolist leader has spoken and everyone should just fall into line.

And then there were the comments I've read so far. The "Bush tax cuts" were set to expire as a demand from the democrats to get them passed through Congress.

Since when is being allowed to keep your own money a cost to the country? if you aren't getting as much income, you slow or stop spending.

I would also remind those republican bashers that in order to get anything passed in congress when the republicans had the majority, democrats had to vote for the bills also.

Posted by: gfafblifr | September 13, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

****IF CASTRO (CUBA) CAN DO IT, WHY NOT OBAMA??****

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4cd17af4-bf5e-11df-965a-00144feab49a.html?ftcamp=rss

Posted by: wheeljc | September 13, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, if they approve the tax cuts for everyone except the so-called rich, they will no longer be the "Bush tax cuts". They will be the Obama tax cuts. You are a ninny who claims that the latest tax cut that Obama wants for the middle class will cost $400 Billion annually, so you call it the Bush tax cuts.

Every time they pass a bill in Washington, it costs money. Too much regulation, too much pork, too many window projects that dopes like you think are "stimulative". Maybe you and Congress could think about cutting spending rather than spending more money. Nahhhhh! Never happen.

Posted by: buggerianpaisley1 | September 13, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

@newagent:

um, just because biden says it doesn't make it true.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703959704575454061524326290.html?mod=WSJ_article_related

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 13, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

" And that means that we've closed off yet another option for eventually reducing the deficit."

===========================================

Why is it that everyone thinks we need t raise taxes to balance the budget. What ever happened to reducing our budget? Why hasn't Obama delivered on his campaign promise to go over the budget and cut programs that aren't working and increase funding for program that are? It just seems strange that our President can't, or is unwilling, to do the simple task of presenting a balanced budget based on the current tax levels. We all know any tax increases will not be used to pay down the deficit, sadly!

So thanks Democrats! Doing a bang up job of driving our country further into a recession! Stupid liberals!

Posted by: sanmateo1850 | September 13, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

$250k per couple, in this area, isn't "wealthy." I'll just make do with my $249.9K, lay everybody off and "Go Galt."

I work for the fruits of my labor, so I can purchase goods and services, which create jobs, not serve the state.

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | September 13, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Letting tax cuts for rich expire is great. In fact taxes on the rich should be raised.

Rich love money. Too many its a God. Raise their taxes and they will scurry to replace lost revenue causing a rash of new jobs.

Posted by: Maddogg
===========================================

Actually no, the only increase in jobs will be in tax lawyers! The rich will just hire more tax lawyers and accountants to hide their money to avoid paying taxes. Ultimately overall tax revenue will decrease! Silly liberals!!!

Posted by: sanmateo1850 | September 13, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Mr Meaner: see the link I posted above.

in any event, to the poster above - you SHOULD NOT use the tax code to socially engineer anything. It is for raising revenue for the government.

In addition - look at all the programs we've put in place these last 40 or 70 or whatever years. EVERY TIME you try to make things 'more fair' you make them LESS fair. If it worked - it would have worked by now. Adding more programs isn't going to work. All you're doing is creating a class of people who rely on the government to take care of them. And the people who were doing things to make themselves prosperous are still at it.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 13, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

sanmateo: not only that - but it's quite apparent that the federal govt has so many agencies, they don't even know what they do. they have so many programs that most definitely overlap each other. And then the state govts repeat them yet again.
so clearly there is a ton of waste and YES - the feds NEED to balance the budget AND pay off the deficit - AND CUT THEIR SPENDING. We do NOT have revenue problem, it's MOST DEFINITELY a spending problem (shout out to dave ramsey). But if/when taxes get raised, yes, revenues will decline.
We've ALREADY seen that companies *do not* want to invest, they are sitting on cash. how *is* that going to change if taxes are raised....?

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 13, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

you can have things be 'fair' (how's that working out for us?) or you can not tax the highest earners at a high rate. you can't do both (kudos to Steven Pearlstein for that one).

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 13, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

An early poster asked if Ezra realized he works for an anti zionist president. Neither the President, nor anyone in his administration, hates Israel the way Ezra does. Over the centuries there have always been Jews who have sought personal advancement by turning against Jewish interests and hopes. They are personified by the Wicked Son of the Haggadah.

Posted by: truck1 | September 13, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Holy sh*t, Ezra, your comments section has gone stupid. I don't think I want to come here any more.

Posted by: thehersch | September 14, 2010 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Too bad we don't have a few real leaders/statesmen step forward and announce they care more about the nation's welfare than their own reelection. We need to allow all the irresponsible Bush tax cuts expire. Everyone needs to share the pain and agony of getting the country's fiscal house in order. And if they did this they might be pleasantly surprised at how many voters might ultimately reward them for doing the right thing, not the popular and demagogic thing.

Posted by: smorris1 | September 14, 2010 12:58 AM | Report abuse

you think the rich own businesses? they don't
Posted by: newagent99

-------------------------------------------
Bzzt! Another lib wins a box of Rice-a-Roni. I personally know many multi-millionaires who own businesses. And yes, their personal taxes going up WILL effect their hiring decisions as they will have to pull more out of the business to maintain the same cut for themselves. I guess the gene that is responsible for lack of logic is the same one that causes a person to be a liberal.

Posted by: illogicbuster | September 14, 2010 4:03 AM | Report abuse


yeah that is true, major brands do give out free samples of their popular health products best place to check is http://bit.ly/9fz66r send it to your friends

Posted by: juanluis14 | September 14, 2010 4:32 AM | Report abuse

Klein-

How about explaining when 45% of working Americans don't pay any Federal Income Taxes, they get "a tax cut?"

How about explaining that of people choose not to work or close shop, how that effects the tax revenue stream and the unemployment compensation drain on the states?

When people are laid-off, how does that impact revenues?

Pres. Reagan had the right idea with tax-free "All Savers Accounts."

The only thing that Obama & Co. will succeed in doing, is pushing this country over the edge with a downgrade in it's credit rating and killing, if not stifle innovation and technology. Just because you develop and produce some new "green technology," will the general public buy it?

Ask Tesla, who has received more federal funding over the past two years, than Ford Motor Company ever has. Got $125k (including tax & registration) for a Tesla Roadster? Whoi is going to pay for the electrical infrastructure?

How about solar panels? Their cost has always been prohibitively expensive and they are UGLY!!!!

Watch revenues dry-up and then watch the US Government try and sell Treasury Bonds at record low interest rates.

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | September 14, 2010 5:33 AM | Report abuse

Speaking from a purely accounting point of view, there are two ways to reduce a deficit. One is the topic of all this discussion, raising revenue by raising taxes. What about the other way, reducing spending. I am certain that if were really went bare-bones spending we could reduce the deficit without increasing taxes. After all prior to February 3, 1913 (enactment of the 16th amendment), there was no income tax. Wonder what we did before then?

Posted by: rca19691 | September 14, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

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