Monday, January 19, 2015

Dear President Saves Me Again

So Barack Obama is gonna play the Robin Hood thing again, this time announcing his plan at the State of the Union, to save me from poverty and penury, relieve me of tax obligations and pass the burden along to the rich. How sweet it is! 

And deserved? You be the judge.

When I get around to filing our federal tax return our tax bill will run about three percent of our adjusted gross income. By my standards we live pretty high on the hog. No debt. No mortgage (or mortgage interest deduction). We don't have to work. And we live in a 4,200 square foot home with gorgeous mountain views on an acre lot. By my standards, we live pretty high on the hog.

One of the reasons our federal taxes are absurdly low is something called the child tax credit, which we fully qualify for. Obama says he is going to triple the child tax credit which would negate our tax liability altogether, and assuming it remains refundable, could result in the federal government cutting us a check. The income tax system would pay us -- not vice versa.

I looked into the history of the child tax credit, courtesy of the "nonpartisan" Center of Budget and Policy Priorities. 

The Center has been broadly praised by the left and right -- wings of the Democratic party that is.

What Others Say About the Center

  • “[The Center’s] statistical work is absolutely impeccable. If you care about [fiscal issues], check CBPP’s site regularly for updates.” 
    — Nobel Laureate and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman
  • “[I]n a political environment rife with ideological warfare and poisoned by partisanship, the Center’s knack for getting things done sets it apart from  . . . well, from just about everybody else in Washington.”
    — Steven Pearlstein, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist 
  • “The invaluable Center on Budget and Policy Priorities … [has] been the go-to resource for consistently reliable analysis on matters of budgets and fiscal policy at every level of government.”
    — Vice President Joseph Biden
  • “[CBPP’s] staff includes not only some of the most reputable federal budget analysts in Washington, but the analysts that other analysts go to for information, advice and reality checks. They’re highly experienced, credentialed and credible. Even those who disagree with the CBPP’s politics seldom, if ever, argue with its understanding of the budget process.”
    — Stan Collender, leading budget expert and Roll Call columnist
  • “In a year that was all about budget issues, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities lived up to its name. Whether you were looking for the latest numbers on state budget cuts, a quick analysis of Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposals, or simply an introduction to where your tax dollars go, CBPP lived up to its reputation as the fastest, fairest, and smartest policy think tank in Washington.” 
    — Ezra Klein, Washington Post, in naming CBPP as Think Tank of the Year (2011)

The Center says the child tax credit is about "helping low income working families." Sweet. They laud the program for allowing working families to "owe little or no income tax in a given year" and claim the credit is "a powerful weapon against poverty." That would implicate us child tax credit recipients as poverty stricken and in need of charity, I guess. We love progressives, even if they don't have a brain.
Also, research suggests that boosting working families’ incomes can expand opportunities for children, such as by improving school performance. Lifting low-income families’ income when a child is young not only tends to improve a child’s immediate well-being, but is associated with better health, more schooling, more hours worked, and higher earnings in adulthood, research has found.
Just give me money and my kids will do better in school. Of course! How brilliant is that? Give me yet more money and my kids will be Einsteins. This tax policy is better than a miracle drug.

Fact is that my three percent tax rate is the norm for the bottom fifty percent.

High income tax payers are already paying seven times my rate (the ratio will be larger for 2014). 

And the top half of taxpayers are paying 97.2 percent of all income taxes.

Everybody should have some skin in the game. I guesstimate that, including other changes, Obama's plan will relieve up to half of the lower fifty percent from paying any income taxes whatsoever.

Obama apologists, thanks but no thanks. I don't want or need your support. It's not good for our society. It's not good for our economy. It's not good for our future. Period.

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