Antitax Mania. 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. McCain's ultra-antitax stance must have Steve Forbes (R-$$$) gnashing his teeth. Forbes had good reason to believe he had sewn up the antitax vote with his 17-percent flat-rate wage tax proposal, which in its latest incarnation would cut federal revenues by $300 billion a year or more. Meanwhile,...
Those Progressive '90s
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.
Compared to what would have happened if the 1990 income tax code had simply been adjusted for inflation, federal income taxes are actually lower today for every income group except the top 1 percent. If we add the payroll tax changes in 1990 and 1993, which lifted the wage cap on Medicare taxes, we find that, on average, combined income and payroll taxes are down for every group except the best-off 5 percent.
In other words, despite the lamentable upper-income loopholes adopted in 1997 (in particular...
OIL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL
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.
THE DLC WAY
Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle told a Democratic Leadership Council
(DLC)-sponsored seminar on August 15 that our nation's next "critical step" should be to give more tax loopholes to the high-flying technology sector, including research tax credits, bigger depreciation write-offs, and tax breaks for donations of...