According to some poll or other touted by Chris Mathews on Hardball, 69% of Democrats, 75% of Republicans, and 69% of respondents overall (whoever they were), supported the Obama tax deal with Republicans. Well, why wouldn’t they? The propaganda machine has been in high gear for the past week or so. How many of these poll respondents have taken the time to really understand what’s in this awful deal and how it will affect them in the future?
As for me, I am disgusted. This is about the last straw for me as an Obama supporter. In fact, I don’t really see any point in supporting the Democratic Party. Although there are some Democrats such as Jan Schakowsky, Sherrod Brown, and others for whom I have the utmost respect, the party as a whole has pretty much sold us out. So I will support individual Democrats and Independents but don’t see any point in providing any resources to the party.
As best as I can discern, the tax deal as negotiated and as it will probably pass includes the following elements:
- Business Tax Extenders – a two-year extension of the research development and tax credits which were contained in the 2009 Stimulus Bill. Estimated Cost – $80 billion
- Business Expense Deduction – a provision that would permit any business to write on the entire cost of capital investments in one year rather then the current five. Estimated Cost – $146 billion.
- Extension of Refundable tax credit, child tax credits, and college tuition deduction. Estimated Cost – $21 Billion
- Reduction of Payroll Tax – a 2% reduction of payroll federal tax reductions for two years. Estimated Cost – $120 Billion
- Extension of Federal Unemployment Benefits – An extension of all four tiers of federal unemployment extensions through January 12, 2012 – Estimated Cost – $56 Billion
- Changes in Federal Estate Tax – A continuation of exception of federal tax on all estates up to $5 million. – Estimated Cost $64 Billion
- Adjustment to the minimum federal income tax to account for inflation – Estimated Cost $140 Billion
- Continuation of Bush Era tax cuts for two years for incomes of $250,000 and less. Estimated Cost – $280 Billion
- Continuation of Bush Era tax cuts for two years for incomes of over $250,000. Estimated Cost – $79 Billion
Does this look like a lopsided deal or what? You add it up but while you do that keep a few things in mind.
The 2% payroll tax deductions refer to the 6.2% deduction from our paychecks for Social Security. The employers will also get the 2% (but that isn’t mentioned). This will cost the middle class down the road. The now healthy Social Security Trust Fund will be depleted and a wonderful excuse for cutting benefits will be handed to right-wingers who hate Social Security.
Federal Unemployment Benefits will be continued for one year at a cost of $56 billion – a onetime shot. Compare that to the Bush Era Tax cuts which will cost $79 billion over two years. Does anyone really believe they will now go away in two years? We are looking at nearly a trillion dollars over the next ten years – plenty to make the Social Security Trust Fund sound into the foreseeable future.
The inheritance tax cuts are more obscene than the income tax cuts for the rich – if that is possible. This will benefit a tiny upper-class group of Americans who would be exceedingly rich without it. Again, it won’t go away. Like the upper class income tax give-away, this will cost a trillion dollars over the next decade.
In the final analysis, the middle class will pay dearly for any goodies they receive in this package. Just take the time to download the various deficit reduction proposals and take a look at who will take the cuts in benefits or will pay more for their health care or will pay more in sales taxes. The rich will keep the goodies and the middle class will give them back. Jan Schakowsky’s recommendations are an exception to this but no one in the mainstream is paying any attention to her.
My respect for Barack Obama has dissipated. It has been dissipating since the beginning of his administration when he brought the Rubinomics team back, but when he brought Bill Clinton in to make his case, any respect that I had left went poof.