Killing the Bush tax cuts--for the middle class
by David Atkins
Annie Lowrey explains where those 47% (really, 46%) of Americans who don't pay federal income tax come from. Answer? Seniors, and the working poor, and beneficiaries of the Bush tax cuts:
[A]bout half of the households that do not pay federal income tax do not pay it because they are simply too poor. The Tax Policy Center gives as an example a couple with two children earning less than $26,400 a year: The household would pay no federal income tax because its standard deduction and other exemptions would simply erase its liability.Especially interesting is the fact that the Bush tax cuts for the middle class, including and especially the doubling of the child tax credit, are largely responsible for the situation Mitt Romney and his plutocratic friends so deplore.
The other half, the Tax Policy Center found, consists of households taking advantage of tax credits and other provisions, mostly support for senior citizens and low-income working families.
Put bluntly, these are not households shirking their tax liabilities. The pool consists mostly of the poor, of relatively low-income working families and of old people. The tax code is specifically designed to reduce the burden on them.
Indeed, the recession and its aftermath have left tens of millions of workers out of a job or underemployed, removing more households from payment of federal income taxes. Moreover, the Bush tax cuts – the signature Republican economic policy of the 2000s, which doubled the child tax credit, increased a number of other deductions and exemptions, and lowered marginal tax rates – erased millions of families’ federal income tax liabilities.
It is also worth noting that though tens of millions of families do not pay federal income taxes, there are virtually no families that do not pay any taxes – between payroll taxes, sales taxes, state and local taxes, and on and on.
So in this election we have a battle between those who want to kill the Bush tax cuts for rich while keeping the ones for the middle class, and those who want to increase the Bush tax cuts for the rich, while eliminating the ones on the middle class.
There's no question now that this is class warfare by the rich against the rest of us. At least it's being waged out in the open where everyone can fight it.