September 29, 2023

It’s The Ecainomy: Stupid

It's The Ecainomy: StupidJesus, that’s going to hurt. I’m paying about $4,000 in federal taxes every year. According to the McCain campaign Senior Policy Advisor Doug Holtz-Eakin, “Barack Obama would raise taxes for families making under $250,000 per year about 10 million times over – according to the very same report he cited.”

Goddamn. That’s…okay, let’s see, $37.59 per paycheck and then the 1099 income I have each year, and factor in my deductions…$40,139,216,225.56 per year. Fuck. Pop bottles? Plasma? A few shifts at Applebee’s every week? I don’t know. I’ve got nothin’.

Doug’s problem in citing the Tax Policy Center’s report was that it wasn’t what the Tax Policy Center’s report said. The Tax Policy Center–a partnership between the Brookings and the Urban Institutes–said that, according to NBC’s Carrie Dann, “Obama’s plan would deliver three times the tax break to middle-class Americans than would McCain’s proposal.”

Doug said on a conference call today that many of the plan’s assumptions should be taken “with a grain of salt.” Ten million-fold taxation on taxpayers making under $250,000 is a pretty substantial grain of salt.

According to an analysis in the Boston Globe today, Obama’s tax plan would give families making between $38,000 and $66,000 a year an average tax cut of $1,042.00, compared to $319.00 under McCain. Families making between $66,000 and $112,000 a year would receive an annual tax cut of $1,290.00 under Obama and $1,009.00 under McCain, assuming both were able to push their tax plans through if they were elected President.

Taxpayers making over $2.9 million a year would pay $702,000 more under President Obama, but $270,000 less under President McCain.

I’m not seeing where Doug’s “10 million times over” is coming into play.

I don’t make $2.9 million a year. I haven’t made $2.9 million in my life. I don’t have a problem paying taxes. Applied effectively, it’s kind of nice to be able to drive down the road and not have to worry about falling into a pothole the size of an average Delaware county, or hoping that the man looting your dining room takes his time while the local police department finds an on-duty officer who is available to respond.

I understand it’s my bad for only going to work 40 and 50 and 60 hours a week, and not having had time to get smart enough to make my bones in commodities trading or oil futures. I’ve been a little too busy working to pay for food and rent and shit. I don’t really care about a tax cut, though, because I’m still lucky enough to have a job and a roof over my head and to be able to pay for food, and (barely) gas.

If I made $2.9 million a year, I wouldn’t have a problem tossing a few bucks back into the kitty of the government of the country that afforded me the kind of opportunity that allowed me to make $2.9 million a year. In my case, that would be called “empathy,” because I would remember what it was like to have to shop at WinCo for my own groceries because the house label chicken soup is $1.78 a can compared to the Campbell’s Chunky at the Haagen’s which is going for $3.29 a can, or driving 15 miles out of my way because I can get khakis at Target for $15 a pair cheaper than I can at Fred Meyer. I would remember that even though I don’t have kids, which would make today’s economic choices a lot more painful than they are for a single man with no dependents. And, really, if you have a heart, what’s $702,000 when you’re making close to $3 million a year–give or take $100,000.00, of course? But most people who make $2.9 million a year didn’t get their dragging the millstone of a social conscience with them.

Ronald Reagan used to ask, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” There aren’t too many people who aren’t making more than $50,000.00 who would make that claim.  Paying $4.13 a gallon gas sucks no matter who you are, and if you have to wrestle between that and buying groceries for your family, it really sucks.

When he was still running for office, George W. Bush made a policy of treating middle class voters as buddies who would rather have a beer with him, and tossed out the appropriate number of attaboys that more people voted for him than that lantern-jawed elitist John Kerry or that sighing, sanctimonious nerd, Al Gore. Well, congrats: Your taxes went up, poverty went up three years in a row just by 2003, Bush’s 2005 budget slashed $45 billion from Medicare, and implemented a five-year freeze on low-income child care assistance that would cut the number of recipients by 300,000 by 2009.

And he never did show up for that beer.

There hasn’t been a credible economist of legislator yet who has claimed that things will be better under a McCain Administration. Everyone says he holds a mean barbecue and he’s a hoot to hang out with, but while you pay $4 a gallon to get yourself there, all you’re going to get is barbecue–his $1.2 billion tax cut is going to Exxon Mobil.

The GOP is trotting out that old tax-and-spend saw again, and that Democratic tax and economic policies are going to hit the poor and middle class worse, but the last time I was better off four years ago was about six or seven years ago, so I think I’ll take my chances on the Marxist*.

*”He’s a Marxist until he proves me otherwise.” – Former House Majority Leader and future resident of the American penal system, Tom DeLay, on Barack Obama.