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Old 07-31-2007, 03:11 PM   #1
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Tax Hike Scorecard - A reader's guide to Congressional revenue grasping.

The following editorial appears in today's Wall Street Journal.


http://www.opinionjournal.com/editor...l?id=110010403


REVIEW & OUTLOOK
Tax Hike Scorecard
A reader's guide to Congressional revenue grasping.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007 12:01 a.m.

With a new Democratic majority, the agenda on Capitol Hill has shifted abruptly this year, and no more so than on taxes. For a decade the focus in Congress was which taxes to cut. Now everywhere you look someone running the Congress, or running for President, is proposing to raise taxes on some industry or group of Americans.

The proposals are coming so frequently that it's hard to keep track without a scorecard. So as a reader service, and with a tip of the hat to Ed Hyman's ISI Group for some of the details, here's a list of the most notable proposals so far:

" A Senate Finance Committee plan to raise the federal tobacco tax by 61 cents to a total of $1 a pack to finance the Schip health-care expansion. The Senate figures this will raise $35 billion in revenue over five years, if you choose to believe this tax increase won't produce even more tax-free cigarette sales from Indian reservations.

" The so-called Blackstone tax on private equity partnerships that go public, raising their 15% rate to the regular corporate tax rate of 35%. This bipartisan Senate proposal hasn't been scored yet for revenues but may well pass Congress.

" A tax increase on the "carried interest" of hedge funds and private equity to 35% from 15%. This has been introduced in the House and endorsed by Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel and the major Democratic Presidential candidates.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer tells the New York Times that he'll oppose this unless the tax increase also applies to real estate and other partnerships that also now pay the 15% carried interest tax rate. To put it another way, Mr. Schumer is saying he'll only support the higher tax rate if it applies to more people. Meanwhile, by playing this "good cop" role, Mr. Schumer is raising millions of dollars in campaign contributions from hedge funds and private equity for Democratic Senate candidates running in 2008. Brilliant.

" Higher withholding taxes on the U.S. subsidiaries of foreign companies--in essence a tax increase on foreign investment in America. This $7.5 billion tax proposal from Texas Democrat Lloyd Doggett came out of nowhere last week to appear in the House farm bill to pay for more agriculture subsidies. It passed.

" Raise the capital gains rate to 28% from the current 15%. This would repeal not only the capital gains tax cut of 2003 but also the tax cut (to 20% from 28%) that Bill Clinton signed into law in 1997. Presidential candidate John Edwards proposed this 86% increase in the capital gains tax last week, and he's been echoed in recent days by such Democratic tax sachems as Alan Blinder and Leonard Burman. Mr. Blinder thinks capital gains should be taxed no differently than regular income, which means the tax rate would rise to 39.6% if the 2003 tax cuts expire in 2010. The last time the U.S. had a capital gains rate that high was 1978--the Jimmy Carter era.

" Deny the domestic manufacturing deduction to oil producers. This is part of the Senate Finance Committee's energy bill and is estimated to raise $11.4 billion over 10 years. How this will increase domestic oil production amid $77-a-barrel oil and widespread clamor for "energy independence" is one of those mysteries that Congress prefers not to explain.

" A levy on oil and gas produced from deep-water leases in the Gulf of Mexico. This tax on domestic energy production is also part of the subsidy-fest known as the House farm bill and would allegedly raise $6.1 billion.

" A tax surcharge of 4.3 percentage points on income of more than $500,000, which would take the top marginal rate to 39.3%. A leading tax writer on Ways and Means, Massachusetts Democrat Richard Neal, promoted this idea in June as a way to prevent this year's increase in the Alternative Minimum Tax. Mr. Neal told the Washington Post that his plan had broad support from Democratic leaders and that "Everybody's on board." Other Democrats balked after that story appeared and Mr. Rangel told us not to believe it, but something's clearly in the air because Democratic tax guru Mr. Burman is also pushing a four-percentage-point income tax surcharge to pay for AMT relief.

We're probably overlooking some other tax increase proposals, and some of the above will be blocked this year by President Bush's veto pen. But this kind of manic Congressional grasping at any and every revenue idea hasn't been seen since the first days of the Clinton Presidency.

It's all the more remarkable given that federal tax revenues as a share of GDP are currently above their modern historical level. The latest budget estimate is that fiscal 2007 revenues will reach 18.8% of GDP, compared to the 40-year historical average of 18.3%. Tax revenues this year are rising by nearly 8%, following increases of 11.8% in 2006 and 14.6% in 2005. The budget deficit is down to 1.5% of GDP, and falling. But apparently Democrats still think Americans are under taxed.

Copyright 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Now I ask you? Does anyone here feel under taxed.
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Old 07-31-2007, 03:11 PM   #2
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Tax Hike Scorecard - A reader's guide to Congressional revenue grasping.

The following editorial appears in today's Wall Street Journal.


http://www.opinionjournal.com/editor...l?id=110010403


REVIEW & OUTLOOK
Tax Hike Scorecard
A reader's guide to Congressional revenue grasping.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007 12:01 a.m.

With a new Democratic majority, the agenda on Capitol Hill has shifted abruptly this year, and no more so than on taxes. For a decade the focus in Congress was which taxes to cut. Now everywhere you look someone running the Congress, or running for President, is proposing to raise taxes on some industry or group of Americans.

The proposals are coming so frequently that it's hard to keep track without a scorecard. So as a reader service, and with a tip of the hat to Ed Hyman's ISI Group for some of the details, here's a list of the most notable proposals so far:

" A Senate Finance Committee plan to raise the federal tobacco tax by 61 cents to a total of $1 a pack to finance the Schip health-care expansion. The Senate figures this will raise $35 billion in revenue over five years, if you choose to believe this tax increase won't produce even more tax-free cigarette sales from Indian reservations.

" The so-called Blackstone tax on private equity partnerships that go public, raising their 15% rate to the regular corporate tax rate of 35%. This bipartisan Senate proposal hasn't been scored yet for revenues but may well pass Congress.

" A tax increase on the "carried interest" of hedge funds and private equity to 35% from 15%. This has been introduced in the House and endorsed by Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel and the major Democratic Presidential candidates.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer tells the New York Times that he'll oppose this unless the tax increase also applies to real estate and other partnerships that also now pay the 15% carried interest tax rate. To put it another way, Mr. Schumer is saying he'll only support the higher tax rate if it applies to more people. Meanwhile, by playing this "good cop" role, Mr. Schumer is raising millions of dollars in campaign contributions from hedge funds and private equity for Democratic Senate candidates running in 2008. Brilliant.

" Higher withholding taxes on the U.S. subsidiaries of foreign companies--in essence a tax increase on foreign investment in America. This $7.5 billion tax proposal from Texas Democrat Lloyd Doggett came out of nowhere last week to appear in the House farm bill to pay for more agriculture subsidies. It passed.

" Raise the capital gains rate to 28% from the current 15%. This would repeal not only the capital gains tax cut of 2003 but also the tax cut (to 20% from 28%) that Bill Clinton signed into law in 1997. Presidential candidate John Edwards proposed this 86% increase in the capital gains tax last week, and he's been echoed in recent days by such Democratic tax sachems as Alan Blinder and Leonard Burman. Mr. Blinder thinks capital gains should be taxed no differently than regular income, which means the tax rate would rise to 39.6% if the 2003 tax cuts expire in 2010. The last time the U.S. had a capital gains rate that high was 1978--the Jimmy Carter era.

" Deny the domestic manufacturing deduction to oil producers. This is part of the Senate Finance Committee's energy bill and is estimated to raise $11.4 billion over 10 years. How this will increase domestic oil production amid $77-a-barrel oil and widespread clamor for "energy independence" is one of those mysteries that Congress prefers not to explain.

" A levy on oil and gas produced from deep-water leases in the Gulf of Mexico. This tax on domestic energy production is also part of the subsidy-fest known as the House farm bill and would allegedly raise $6.1 billion.

" A tax surcharge of 4.3 percentage points on income of more than $500,000, which would take the top marginal rate to 39.3%. A leading tax writer on Ways and Means, Massachusetts Democrat Richard Neal, promoted this idea in June as a way to prevent this year's increase in the Alternative Minimum Tax. Mr. Neal told the Washington Post that his plan had broad support from Democratic leaders and that "Everybody's on board." Other Democrats balked after that story appeared and Mr. Rangel told us not to believe it, but something's clearly in the air because Democratic tax guru Mr. Burman is also pushing a four-percentage-point income tax surcharge to pay for AMT relief.

We're probably overlooking some other tax increase proposals, and some of the above will be blocked this year by President Bush's veto pen. But this kind of manic Congressional grasping at any and every revenue idea hasn't been seen since the first days of the Clinton Presidency.

It's all the more remarkable given that federal tax revenues as a share of GDP are currently above their modern historical level. The latest budget estimate is that fiscal 2007 revenues will reach 18.8% of GDP, compared to the 40-year historical average of 18.3%. Tax revenues this year are rising by nearly 8%, following increases of 11.8% in 2006 and 14.6% in 2005. The budget deficit is down to 1.5% of GDP, and falling. But apparently Democrats still think Americans are under taxed.

Copyright 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Now I ask you? Does anyone here feel under taxed.
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Old 07-31-2007, 05:03 PM   #3
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Jayco1:
... apparently Democrats still think Americans are under taxed. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>jayco1, That happens immediately after the politician removes his hand from the Bible and it's consistent with their philosophy.
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Old 07-31-2007, 06:22 PM   #4
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We have the same identical problem here in Wisconsin. Gov Doyle wants to tax cigarettes $1.50 in addition to the feds. Hope some common sense prevails.

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Old 07-31-2007, 06:45 PM   #5
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"The real 2006 federal budget deficit was $4.6 trillion, not a previously reported $248.2 billion, according to the 2006 Financial Report of the United States Government as released by the Treasury Department Friday."

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/ar...TICLE_ID=53413

"The Bush Budget Deficit Death Spiral!"

http://www.commondreams.org/views04/1022-26.htm

"The set the government doesn't talk about is the audited financial statement produced by the government's accountants following standard accounting rules. It reports a more ominous financial picture: a $760 billion deficit for 2005. If Social Security and Medicare were included " as the board that sets accounting rules is considering " the federal deficit would have been $3.5 trillion."


http://www.usatoday.com/news/washing...cit-usat_x.htm

I guess what you are saying is that Trillions of dollars in debt is the greatest gift we can give our children and grandchildren?

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Old 08-01-2007, 02:55 AM   #6
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Pay to much in taxes. Person goes into government as a poor person, spends few years in high office retires as multi millonare, has S.Ser. protection for life(**** of a lot of my tax dollars) Let them hire their own securtiy after 4 years out of office.
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Old 08-01-2007, 06:25 AM   #7
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If one wishes to reduce the Federal budget deficit, there IS an alternative to raising taxes. How many politicians, however, would seriously consider truly reducing spending??

Rusty
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Old 08-01-2007, 03:42 PM   #8
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Move to Canada and You will find out what Taxes are....LOL...and I am not jokeing.Bushman
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Old 08-01-2007, 06:01 PM   #9
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">If one wishes to reduce the Federal budget deficit, there IS an alternative to raising taxes. How many politicians, however, would seriously consider truly reducing spending?? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

WOW! What a concept! Fat chance.

On the news last night was a Democratic Party strategist, and she was relating all the various tax increases they had in mind to fund new social programs.

Sigh.
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Old 08-02-2007, 05:50 AM   #10
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It's really not a problem spending big if you have the money to do so. The problem comes when you spend big and you can't afford the payments! That's happening all over the country right now as many Americans are way over extended.

I know how you guys love slogans, like "Stay the Course" and "Tax and Spend Liberals." How about a new one that really sums it up: "Spend and Borrow Conservatives!"

Saying that taxes are higher in Canada is not a fair comparison. Did you add in the amount that you pay for health care and drugs? Did you also look at the fact that we have let our road and bridges fall into disrepair because we reduced spending? That should be of some importance to RV'rs. How about the FDA who inspects all of our food? They have such a small staff that they can inspect a very tiny percentage of the food that is imported into this country. That is happening at a time when Conservatives are attempting to deport all of our cheap labor which will make it necessary for us to import more food.

The conservatives have borrowed so much money that you've left the country no other choice but to raise taxes to pay for all our wars and tax breaks for the wealthy. It's the middle class that will now be picking up the tab. I understand why the wealthy would vote Republican. They certainly have a lot to gain particularly the very wealthy. What I don't understand is why anyone in the so called middle class would vote Republican. What have you gained in the last 7 years of complete conservative Republican control of our country?


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Old 08-02-2007, 06:17 AM   #11
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Vegascpl:
What I don't understand is why anyone in the so called middle class would vote Republican. What have you gained in the last 7 years of complete conservative Republican control of our country? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Looking solely at the personal financial issue and leaving social issues aside, wanna guess what's happened to my net wealth over the last 7 years???

No, I'm not so shallow as to think that my personal financial situation is all that matters, but there's an old political adage that "People vote their pocketbook." In that regard, many of us have done just fine over the last 7 years, thank you.

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Old 08-02-2007, 09:57 AM   #12
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Some years ago, a friend was renovating an old building in downtown WallaWalla. They found a 1880's newspaper in a wall. It's main topic for that period was the fact that the feds had collected taxes and fees in the neighborhood of approx $15,000,000. The Federal budget for that period was something like $13,500,000. The hue and cry over this "great" over collection of money included the need investigations and for some "heads to roll".....
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Old 08-02-2007, 10:41 AM   #13
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Vegascpl:
It's really not a problem spending big if you have the money to do so. The problem comes when you spend big and you can't afford the payments! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Back to my point. If the money isn't there to fund a desired program, then the politicians can either move the funding from a less-desirable program or decide that, "Gosh, we can't afford to do that right now." Unfortunately, the words "we can't afford it" don't seem to be in a politician's vocabulary, so they go ahead and do it funded by either debt or tax increases.

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Old 08-02-2007, 02:13 PM   #14
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FACTS ARE FUNNY THINGS, should should try them sometimes

Alan Reynolds
Comparing Bush and Clinton Economies (2007)
http://www.creators.com/opinion/alan-reynolds/comparing...inton-economies.html

A recent Gallup poll found that only 41 percent of respondents approved of Bush's handling of the economy, compared to 55 percent who disapproved. Such a question would make sense, of course, only if the United States were a centrally planned dictatorship. In a free society, the less the president handles the economy the better off we are.

Because polls reflect perception rather than reality, the suspicion arises that many people wrongly believe the U.S. economy is in bad shape because that is what they keep hearing on TV or reading in the newspapers. And because there is a presidential election looming, partisans are sure to exaggerate the economic performance of the Clinton years in order to stir up discontent with the present.

Politics being what it is (a spectator sport), partisans can't resist attributing economic outcomes to the White House, rather than to the efforts of millions of business managers, workers and investors responding to incentives. In this spirit, Bill Sammon, a frequent guest on Fox News, set up a provocative duel at examiner.com between White House spokesman Tony Fratto and Gene Sperling, former economic adviser to President Bill Clinton and current adviser to Hillary Rodham Clinton. As might be expected, both contestants were not entirely candid.

Fratto plausibly complained that the mainstream media have displayed a "double standard" by ignoring or denying visible economic progress under Bush while puffing-up the economic conditions during Clinton's presidency. "If you go back to this point in the Clinton expansion," Fratto said, "they would have loved to have seen the numbers that we have right now. On the unemployment rate, we're a full percentage point below where they were at the same point in the expansion " 60 or 61 months in."

"That's a rather absurd claim," replied Sperling. "In terms of job creation, in terms of wage growth, in terms of business investment, in terms of poverty, there's absolutely no comparison." There is a comparison, though he may not want it to be made.

The article listed "dueling data points" from the Bush Camp and Clinton Camp. The Bush Camp said: "Real wages rose 1.8 percent over the 12 months through February. This is substantially faster than the average rate of wage growth in the late 1990s." How does the past 12 months relate to some unspecified years during the late 1990s? Would it not be more honest to compare several years at a similar stage of the expansion?

What years should we compare? It would be dishonest to include the 2001 recession in this duel, because Clinton's first term began two years after a recession had ended. Yet the Clinton Camp does just that by boasting that "under Clinton, the economy created 3.5 times more jobs after 74 months than it did over the same period of time under Bush."

The umpire calls a foul. A recession that began in March 2001 had nothing to do with Bush taking office the previous month, but it had a lot to do with job growth in 2001 and 2002. President Clinton took office two years after the previous recession ended in February 1991. The economy grew 3.2 percent in 1992.

The Bush Camp boasts that "since the first quarter of 2001, productivity growth has averaged 2.8 percent." Starting with early 2001 is still unfair, regardless of which camp does it. Cyclical weakness in employment growth from 2001 through mid-2003 resulted in more output relative to the few hours worked, otherwise known as increased productivity.

Were it not for the political spin, it would be more reasonable to compare the first year of recovery in 2002 with the first year of recovery in 1992. Fratto thus compared "this point in the Clinton expansion" to a period that began 60 months ago " in early 2002. But such a comparable starting point in the Clinton expansion would actually have begun in late 1991, when Clinton was not in office.

In terms of equivalent starting points, it makes sense to compare 1993-1996 with 2003-2006 " two cyclically similar periods of equal duration.

Growth of real gross domestic product (GDP) in those periods was identical, at 3.23 percent a year. That's a tie. Nearly all other measures favor the past four years over Clinton's first term. Unemployment was 5.3 percent from 2003 to 2006, but 6 percent from 1993 to 1996. Sperling mentioned business investment to avoid mentioning housing investment. Yet business fixed investment was 10.9 percent of GDP from 2003 to 2006, compared with 9.2 percent of GDP from 1993 to 1996.

When it comes to inflation, Bush faced a huge increase in worldwide oil prices, but Clinton did not. In the consumer price index that excludes energy prices, inflation averaged 2.1 percent in the past four years, down from 2.9 percent in 1993-96.

When calculating real incomes, however, nominal increases in wage and benefits are reduced by total inflation, including higher energy prices. This would seem to put the past four years at a big disadvantage, given the spike in energy prices. Yet it turns out that "wage growth" in the first Clinton term was nothing to brag about.

Even after including benefits, real compensation per hour fell by 0.5 percent in 1993, by 0.4 percent in 1994 and by another 0.3 percent in 1995. Real hourly wages and benefits increased by 1.2 percent a year from 2003 to 2006, but fell by 0.1 percent a year from 1993 to 1996.

The Clinton Camp should be as reluctant to mention poverty rates as it was foolish to mention wage growth. Yet its dueling data point dares to say, "During the Bush years, the number of Americans below the poverty line has increased by 5.37 million, while under Clinton the number fell by 7.68 million." That blames Bush for the 2001 recession, compares eight years with six and measures poverty in terms of change rather than levels. Despite such tricks, it still doesn't work.

The percentage of families below the poverty line was reduced from 12.3 percent in 1993 to 11 percent in 1996, which was progress of sorts. Yet fewer than 10 percent of families were poor from 2002 to 2005 (the latest available). Unless more poverty is better than less, this was another masochistic debating point.

The economy during the Clinton years became much stronger after 1997, when Al Gore or Netscape invented the Internet and the president signed a cut in the capital gains tax. Trying to use Clinton's first four years to denigrate the past four years is a foolhardy game. People who live in glass houses should be more careful when tossing around big, bad economics statistics.

Alan Reynolds is a senior fellow with the Cato Institute. To find out more about Alan Reynolds, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Vegascpl:
It's really not a problem spending big if you have the money to do so. The problem comes when you spend big and you can't afford the payments! That's happening all over the country right now as many Americans are way over extended.

I know how you guys love slogans, like "Stay the Course" and "Tax and Spend Liberals." How about a new one that really sums it up: "Spend and Borrow Conservatives!"

Saying that taxes are higher in Canada is not a fair comparison. Did you add in the amount that you pay for health care and drugs? Did you also look at the fact that we have let our road and bridges fall into disrepair because we reduced spending? That should be of some importance to RV'rs. How about the FDA who inspects all of our food? They have such a small staff that they can inspect a very tiny percentage of the food that is imported into this country. That is happening at a time when Conservatives are attempting to deport all of our cheap labor which will make it necessary for us to import more food.

The conservatives have borrowed so much money that you've left the country no other choice but to raise taxes to pay for all our wars and tax breaks for the wealthy. It's the middle class that will now be picking up the tab. I understand why the wealthy would vote Republican. They certainly have a lot to gain particularly the very wealthy. What I don't understand is why anyone in the so called middle class would vote Republican. What have you gained in the last 7 years of complete conservative Republican control of our country?


Michael

2005 Dutch Star 40' 4 slide
2005 BMW K1200LT motorcycle on lift
2006 Ford Escape Hybrid </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
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