Thursday, August 25, 2011


It seems like a lot of the talk these days is about the Congressional Committee that is to come up with a deficit plan to present to Congress and the President. On top of that, the President has been saying on his bus tour that he has a plan that he is going to unveil in September. How is this going to impact income taxes? Here are my thoughts:

First of all, I don’t think that anybody thinks that the committee will offer a plan that will be passed so we will default (bad choice of words), to the 1% cutback called for in the deficit bill.

Right now, House Republicans appear to have blocked any new taxes. And all seven Republican candidates participating in the recent presidential debate pledged to oppose new taxes even if they were accompanied by ten times that amount in spending cuts. So, new taxes appear off the table for now.

But look out! The Bush tax cuts expire right after the 2012 election, and rates on ordinary income, capital gains, and qualified dividends will automatically go up unless Congress gets their act together to extend them. Democrats and Republicans are united in wanting to preserve them for "middle class" taxpayers. But the White House has pledged not to extend those cuts for single taxpayers making above $200,000 or joint filers above $250,000. If Obama wins in November, he may have the leverage to pass "enhanced revenues."

A final comment.

I love how the spin doctors in Washington use terms like "enhanced revenues" to mask new taxes. My favorite is the 3.8% "Unearned Income Medicare Contribution" imposed on investment income by last year's legislation that Washington laughingly refers to as “Healthcare Reform.” I swear, those guys have more euphemisms for "tax hikes" than Eskimos have words for snow.