The only guarantees are Death, Taxes and the fact George Bush is an asshole
“Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises.”
These 14 words from the US Constitution (you know, the document that George Bush has managed to turn into a roll of Charmin™) are something we have all come to both dread and fear (for many reasons)
On February 3, 1913, the 16th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified allowing the US Congress to “levy an income tax with regards to the States or the Census.”
Fast forward 95 years and we now have a Federal Tax Code (not including the state tax codes) that is over 67,500 pages of regulations, rules, exemptions, deductions, breaks and credits. It makes War and Peace look like a short story. In his acceptance speech for the 1976 Democratic nomination, Jimmy Carter memorably said this about the US income tax system, “it is a disgrace to the human race.”
For many, many reasons, Carter should amend that quote to include another disgrace to the human race — George W. Bush – but lets stick to taxes. On second thought, what Bush did with the tax code is a disgrace to all humanity. When the current scumbag in the White House pushed through his $1.4 trillion tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 – they came complete with an expiration date of 2010. Smack in the middle of someone else’s first term. What a devious plan – Georgie gets the PR benefit for tax cuts during his entire presidency and then dumps this financial tornado (along with his Iraq debacle) right in the lap of the some other sucker guy (or gal). Hard to tell if this was planned – but I would lay good money on it that Karl Rove knew exactly what the logistics of these tax cuts would do to President #44.
Twenty-three months after the next president is inaugurated, the Bush tax cuts will expire. The winner of the 2008 election and the collective dorks in Congress will have to determine what is done about the fact that, unless quick action is taken, the economy will be walloped BIG TIME in 2011. $300-400 billion dollars of big time wallop. And lucky for Congress they get to make these decisions just in time for the 2010 midterm elections.
Here are a few things that will happen: the five income tax brackets (10, 25, 28, 33 and 35 percent) will be increased to 15, 28, 31, 36 and 39.6 percent. The child tax credit reverts to $500 from $1,000. The estate tax rate, which falls to zero in 2010, will snap back to a 60 percent maximum, and exemptions that have increased will decrease. The capital gains rate will rise, and the marriage penalty will be revived, as will the double taxation of dividends. The AMT will continue to need to be completely re-written, else millions more will fall under its doomed (and more expensive) spell.
The estate tax is an interesting quandary. During the year 2010, the federal estate tax is fully repealed – there will not be any federal taxes on any size estate. At midnight on December 31, 2010, that zero tax rate will revert to 55% for any estate valued over $1 million. In other words, the wealthy need to time their death accordingly. I hope the government is monitoring arsenic sales, pillow thefts in hospitals and how many brake lines are cut towards the end of 2010. Estate lawyers are having a field day right now.
If President Obama or Clinton lets the cuts expire – they will now be dealing with what amounts to — a huge tax hike. He/she will be trashed by a Republican smear campaign labeling him/her as a “tax and spend liberal” or as someone who has made the average person pay more. This of course will be completely egged on by an unsympathetic press, which in turn will create antagonism towards President Obama or Clinton. If President McCain (boy does that sound awful) lets the cuts expire, he will be exonerated by the Republican love machine, which will then label Congress as the “tax and spend liberals” not concerned with the average Joe. This of course will be completely egged on by the sympathetic press, which in turn will create antagonism from the population towards the Democratic party. Chalk up the win-win for the Republicans.
If the tax cuts are extended by any of the three, the federal budget will have to add another gigantic hole to an already exploding national debt. When Bush took office in 2000, the Federal debt level was $5.7 trillion. Today it is approaching $10 trillion, an increase of nearly 75%. Spending under Bush has gone up 45% (and that doesn’t include the war, which is accounted for separately). And they call Democrats spenders. If this scenario plays out. watch the Republican spin machine talk up the tax cut extension as proof that the Bush tax cuts are important, they work and that even the Democrats are endorsing them. Chalk up the win-win for the Republicans here too. As for the ballooning deficit that will ensue, well the Republicans will just pull their best Scarlett O’Hara and think about that mess tomorrow.
[Just as a note – it is estimated that 2/3 of the George Bush tax cuts benefited people who make over $200,000. If you earned $1.2 million, you saved around $80,000. If you earned $57,000 – you save less than $1,000. For the capital gains portion — 0.6% of all filers – those that earned $500,000 — or more, got 75% of the tax break. — seems fair, doesn’t it?]
Of course there is a war occupation that will almost certainly still be going on – meaning SOMEONE has to pay for that as well. [Expect any of the three president possibilities to keep whipping out the Uncle Sam Visa/Mastercard for that one]. I guess that someone will continue to be China. (and do you really think Bush will boycott the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics and thus bite the hand that is feeding his Iraq folly?)
So either Clinton or Obama or McCain will have the fun task of facing an exploding deficit, a financially draining war, a PR nightmare from possible tax hikes and a very restive population all in their first term. And they actually want this job?
Meanwhile, George W. Bush is laughing all the way to the bank in Asunción, Paraguay. And I thought he wanted to keep this job! You gotta give this douchebag some credit – he has screwed the American people and government in more ways then one could ever imagine.