Obama turned his call for middle-income tax breaks into law within a month of taking office, incorporating a $400-a-person tax credit for workers into the 2009 stimulus law. In late 2010, with the economy still weak and Republicans gaining political clout, Obama agreed to an $858 billion tax cut that extended all of the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for two years.
“The tax policy has been substantially in the conservative direction whereas the rhetoric has gone in the exact opposite direction,” said Don Susswein, a tax aide to former Republican Senator Bob Dole who said he supported Obama in 2008.
[...] “The tax system is not hugely different from what it was in 2008,” said Leonard Burman, a professor at Syracuse University in New York who worked in the Treasury Department under President Bill Clinton. “The tax system is still too complicated, still unfair and still doesn’t raise enough money to pay for the government.”
The recession and Obama’s tax cuts pushed federal revenue as a share of the economy to a 60-year low. Income tax rates haven’t changed. The estate tax affects fewer people and at a lower rate than when Obama took office. Workers’ payroll taxes were reduced during 2011 and 2012.
Many of the major tax provisions of the 2010 health law haven’t taken effect. Tax credits to help people purchase health insurance begin in 2014 and tax increases on the wages and investment income of the highest earners start in 2013.
In fact, once Obama allows the Bush tax cuts to expire…and he will…the budget deficit miraculously becomes a fraction of what it was, even with healthcare reform. We’ll have a fairer tax system, more revenue for the government to pay its bills and service the existing debt, and after Afghanistan concludes, we could conceivably run a surplus, something Bush never did even though he cheated by running two wars “off the books,” a stunt Obama has been forthright enough not to try to pull.
Indeed, all we need is a little economic growth that provides jobs for the middle class again, and particularly our young. Employment levels for the 18-24 age group in America is about 54%, the lowest it has ever been, lower even than during the Vietnam era draft. College attendance probably accounts for another 5%, so the total percentage of our first time working pool that are currently un- or underemployed is about 40%.
And then people wonder why Occupy Wall Street is so pervasive and so angry.