Tax Law

Taxing the Rich, and Missing the Point

The hot tax news is that President Obama has proposed extending the so-called Bush tax cuts but only for the middle class, not for the people the President thinks are rich. (If he gets what he wants can we start calling them the Obama tax cuts?) Apparently, the President thinks that families making $250,000 a year are doing just fine - you know, like the private sector.

Mitt Romney immediately jumped on the idea as a
job killer that will increase taxes on small businesses. He's right to the extent that the President's plan will increase taxes on a large number of (bigger) small businesses, but the job-killer stuff is a stretch. (And why does Mr. Romney never seem to acknowledge that he is not just one of Obama's regular rich people; he's one of the very few really rich people?)

And everybody, including the press, missed the point.


Earlier this summer, a report issued by the National Taxpayer Advocate, a tremendous public servant, got little notice. But it should have received a lot of notice. The report identifies real threats posed by the fact that our tax code has become mostly temporary.


The President's proposal to temporarily extend the tax cuts for the middle class may have been smart election politics; I don't know. What I do know is that it would help perpetuate a tax system - for which the Republicans share equal blame - that is unfair and unsustainable. Now, how does that protect any of us in the middle class in the long run? Like a lot of other things in our tax code now, it's a ruse.

View TaxAnalysts'® Chris Bergin's opinion in its entirety on


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