GOP presidential hopeful John McCain has recently let it be known where he stands on taxes. He's against them. All of them. According to McCain, "We should all be ashamed of a system that taxes your salary, your investments, your property, your expenses, your marriage and your death." Well, let's see, no income taxes, no payroll taxes, no property taxes, no sales taxes, no inheritance taxesthat about covers it. To be sure, McCain goes on in his statement (you can watch him deliver it at www.freedomchannel.com) to detail a more modest list of specific upper-income tax breaks that he'd push for as president. But obviously these are only the first baby steps in his master plan.
The 1990s saw lots of federal tax legislation enacted. The biggest changes included the modestly progressive tax increases that President George H.W. Bush reluctantly signed in 1990, Bill Clinton's 1993 tax hikes on the rich, and the generally regressive 1997 tax cut deal worked out between Clinton and the Republican Congress. So what did all these tax changes accomplish? The answer may surprise you.
It's been widely publicized that GOP vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney left his job as CEO of Halliburton with a pretty sweet severance package. Nobody's yet pointed out, however, that American taxpayers may have helped finance Cheney's good fortune. Last year the oil supply company reported $257 million in U.S. pretax profits to its shareholders. But rather than paying 35 percent of that in federal income taxes, Halliburton says it got an $85-million tax rebate from Uncle Sam! At least in 1999, this was one company that certainly didn't want to eliminate the IRS.
Lots of career employees at the IRS were annoyed at the partisan tone of
the tax-rebate letters the agency mailed out in July. The IRS has a long
apolitical tradition, and its workers felt uncomfortable with a letter that made
them appear to be shilling for Republican policies.
We are pleased to inform you that the United States Congress passed and
President George W. Bush signed into law the Economic Growth and Tax Relief
Reconciliation Act of 2001, which provides long-term tax relief for all Americans
who pay income taxes.