Wednesday, May 10, 2006

167,900 more quarters

The GOP Congress is putting the final ribbon on a nice $70 billion gift for the wealthy investor class, extending the allegedly "temporary" tax cuts from a few years ago. By "investor class" I don't mean folks with $1100 in an IRA accruing $15 a week if they're lucky. I mean those who have portfolios in the millions of dollars range, who get big bucks from their stocks.

According to figures from the Tax Policy Center, published in the Post today, people making $20,000 or less can expect average savings per year of $2. Yes, two dollars. Eight quarters. Enough for a small burger at McDonalds but with tax, you can't afford an order of fries or a drink with that burger so you better sip some water and put the 85 cents in change in your medical emergency savings account in case you ever need an aspirin.

People in the middle range -- households making $50/75,000 a year will see savings of $110. A bit better than eight quarters. For that much money you can take the wife and the two teenagers out to see Mission Impossible III, buy a couple of tubs of popcorn, soft drinks all around, and stop by Pizza Hut afterwards with a few bucks left in your pocket at the end of the evening. Not exactly a life-changing savings. Certainly won't cushion this family should some sort of disaster strike them. And it probably wouldn't allow them to reinvest much or launch a new business.

People that are pretty rich, making between $500,000 and $1 million, will do better. They can expect to save $5562. Not bad. They could take a nice family vacation to the Bahamas on that, although maybe not at the quality resort that they are used to.

But that figure pales to what those making over $1 million will save on average -- $41,977. That is 167,908 quarters, an even 167,900 more than that person making under $20,000 a year. $41,977 is a real chunk of change. Heck, with that much money the recipient of the tax cut could adopt a poverty-stricken family of four (maybe they lost their jobs, or had a devastating medical condition not covered by their Wal-Mart insurance, if they had any insurance at all) and pay all their expenses for an entire year.

But they won't, because that sort of thing is the duty of the government, and besides those poor people deserve it, they should have gone to Yale instead of getting that job in the textile mill that just closed, and isn't it really their own fault that Dad got that black lung disease or brain cancer?

Of course, the government won't be able to help either, because it just gave that $41,977 (annually) back to the Frists and Cheneys and Gateses and Buffets (Gates and Buffet have both spoken out in the past opposing additional tax cuts for the wealthy) so it won't have that $41,977 for unemployed people, or disaster relief, or repairing bridges, because it has given that money back to the rich in order to allow them to buy another Hummer II.

So there we see the priorities of the "compassionate conservative" wing of the Republican Party. They are for the regular person, long as that regular person makes more than $500,000 a year.

3 Comments:

Blogger Fistandantalus said...

I guess I'm confused, we should punish the successful? Eliminate the taxes altogether and go to a flat sales tax. That way it is equal to everyone, and you can't find a way to spin that as only benefitting the rich.

4:03 PM  
Blogger Don Q Blogger said...

A flat sales tax would disproportionately fall on the shoulders of the poor and middle class. The wealthiest members of society benefit the most from a stable society. Paying a little more won't hurt them. I'm not talking about returning to 1960s-level top tax brackets (well over 50% in the US), but piling more taxes on the poor by taxing purchases and wages while cutting taxes on inheritance (hey, who needs incentives to inherit money?) and making the tax rates on investment income even lower than wage income is unfair. And even people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet (to name just two) agree.

10:15 AM  
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2:44 PM  

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