Obama and Taxes

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Obama Makes The Case For Eliminating The Death Tax
Chris Field says Barack Obama and his party have never advocated getting rid of the Death Tax.  They despise the rich in America -- except the rich who populate their Congressional Caucus and donate to their campaigns.

They want to punish the children and families of extremely successful Americans who happen to do the unthinkable (and apparently highly lucrative in the eyes of the IRS and Democratic Party) -- die.

But in tonight's State of the Union Address, Obama made the Right's case for eliminating the Death Tax:

We measure progress by the success of our people.  By the jobs they can find and the quality of life those jobs offer.  By the prospects of a small business owner who dreams of turning a good idea into a thriving enterprise.  By the opportunities for a better life that we pass on to our children.

Americans want the chance to be highly successful and pass it on our our kids.  Thanks for making our point, Obama.
$3.73 Trillion Budget Includes $367 Billion In Tax Hikes
Jim Hoft says Obama will propose a $3.73 trillion budget today.  The administration also said they expect the Obama deficit to grow to a record $1.65 trillion this year.

Barack Obama tripled the national deficit in one year.  Last year it was at $1.29 Trillion dollars.  This year it will be even higher.
And next year the deficit is also expected to be over $1 trillion dollars for the fourth straight year in a row.

From an AP report:

Barack Obama is sending Congress a $3.73 trillion spending blueprint that pledges $1.1 trillion in deficit savings over the next decade through spending cuts and tax increases.

Obama’s new budget projects that the deficit for the current year will surge to an all-time high of $1.65 trillion.  That reflects a sizable tax-cut agreement reached with Republicans in December.  For 2012, the administration sees the imbalance declining to $1.1 trillion, giving the country a record four straight years of $1 trillion-plus deficits.

Even before Obama’s new budget for 2012 was unveiled on Monday, Republicans were complaining that it did not go far enough.  They branded Obama’s budget solutions as far too timid for a country facing an unprecedented flood of red ink that has pushed annual deficits to all-time highs above $1 trillion.

"We’re broke," House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday on NBC’s "Meet the Press."  He was defending a Republican effort not only to squeeze more savings out of Obama’s 2012 budget, but also to seek $61 billion in cuts for the current budget year.

The Obama Administration say they intend to get two-thirds of the $1.1 trillion in savings from spending cuts and one-third from tax revenues.

That comes to $367 billion in tax hikes.

Record Number Of Americans Paying No Taxes
Jim Meyers says that amid all the talk that recent tax cuts have benefited only the rich, a new report reveals that they've actually aided lower-income Americans to the point that the number of filers paying no taxes at all has reached a record high.

"Despite the charges of critics that the tax cuts enacted in 2001, 2003 and 2004 favored the 'rich,' these cuts reduced the tax burden of low- and middle-income taxpayers and shifted the tax burden onto wealthier taxpayers," states a report by the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan research organization founded in 1937.

Tax Foundation economists estimate that for the 2004 tax year, a record 42.5 million tax returns -- one third of those filed -- resulted in no tax liability after filers took advantage of credits and deductions.

The number of zero-tax filers has increased 42 percent in just four years.

Another 15 million individuals and families didn't earn enough income last year -- $7,950 for individuals under 65 and $15,900 for couples -- to be required to file a tax return.

A tax return often represents several people in a family.  So when all the dependents of a filer are counted, about 120 million Americans -- 40 percent of the population -- are outside the income tax system, according to the Tax Foundation.

The 2003 tax cuts raised the value of the child tax credit to $1,000 and made it easier for filers with children to not only avoid paying taxes, but get a refund as well.

For instance, a married couple with three children and $40,000 in income can take a $9,700 standard deduction and $15,500 in personal exemptions, bringing their taxable income down to $14,800.  They would owe $1,505 in taxes.

But with three children, they would get $3,000 in child credits, leaving them with no taxes owed -- and a $1,495 refund check.

In 2004, the U.S. paid out about $33 billion in refund checks to low-income individuals and families who qualified for the Earned Income Credit, and $9 billion to those eligible for the child credit.

The Tax Foundation concluded: "These findings raise serious questions about the future of the U.S. income tax system.  Are any future tax cuts, or even tax reforms, possible when the lion's share of the tax burden is increasingly borne by a shrinking pool of taxpayers who -- at least on paper -- appear to be 'upper-income'?"
Obama Floats Plan To Tax Cars By The Mile
Pete Kasperowicz is reporting that the Obama administration has floated a transportation authorization bill that would require the study and implementation of a plan to tax automobile drivers based on how many miles they drive.

The plan is a part of the administration's "Transportation Opportunities Act," an undated draft of which was obtained this week by Transportation Weekly, and follows a March Congressional Budget Office report that supported the idea of taxing drivers based on miles driven.  Among other things, CBO suggested that a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax could be tracked by installing electronic equipment on each car to determine how many miles were driven; payment could take place electronically at filling stations.

The CBO report was requested by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND), who has proposed taxing cars by the mile as a way to increase federal highway revenues.

Obama's proposal seems to follow up on that idea in section 2218 of the draft bill.  That section would create, within the Federal Highway Administration, a Surface Transportation Revenue Alternatives Office.  It would be tasked with creating a "study framework that defines the functionality of a mileage-based user fee system and other systems."

The administration seems to be aware of the need to prepare the public for what would likely be a controversial change to the way highway funds are collected.  For example, the office is called on to serve a public relations function, as the draft says it should "increase public awareness regarding the need for an alternative funding source for surface transportation programs and provide information on possible approaches."

The draft bill says the "study framework" for the project and a public awareness communications plan should be established within two years of creating the office, and that field tests should begin within four years.  The office would be required to consider four factors in field trials: the capability of states to enforce payment, the reliability of technology, administrative costs, and "user acceptance."  The draft does not specify where field trials should begin.  The new office would be funded a total of $200 million through FY 2017 for the project.
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