Two things you can’t escape, it has always been said, are death and taxes. Until recently, taxes were generally considered the lesser of the two evils. Soon, it may become a toss up. As Americans buckle, household by household, under the weight of a decaying economy, an ever-increasing cost of living, rampant unemployment, run-away energy costs, and now a federal government that is looking for left-overs like a raccoon in a garbage can…well, death sometimes looks like the more tenable option.
Now, after ten years, we are down to the wire on whether or not to extend the Bush-era tax cuts, first legislated back in 2001.
Never mind that our President has had two years to address the issue, his fecklessness has again led to a quagmire. As I have written many times, it was his inability to vote “yes” or “no” during his brief stay in the Senate that concerned me most, and we have seen that reticence to commit many times during his Presidency.
It’s as though this guy has two speeds…”bulldoze” and “drift”. Health Care reform? Get the bulldozer. Trials for terrorists in New York City? Bulldozer. Arizona flexing muscle on immigration reform? Bulldozer, please. Raise taxes during a deep economic recession? Drift.
No wonder Americans are pulling their hair out. First, this should be an easy call. This is not the time to raise taxes on ANYONE. And these are not tax “cuts” by the way, it is simply a matter of not raising taxes. The problem for liberals is that they feel the “rich” are getting away with something. Only the ability to keep more of the money they earned, left over to reinvest or spend on consumer goods, like a car or a boat or a new home…you know…stuff that creates jobs. More stunning, liberals believe that the “average” American will be left unscathed. Not true. A single person, or couple, making 80K per year, will be giving an average of $900.00 per month to the government if the tax cuts are not extended or made permanent. That’s just under 11 grand per year, and that’s just your federal tax.
Add to this the tax we pay at the gas pump, sales taxes, meal taxes, registrations and permits, state taxes, property taxes and, well…you get the picture. We are not far from the point where there is so little left over that going out the door in the morning to toil away at work begins to look a little silly. No wonder so many of the unemployed want benefits extended another year. Most of them are doing better than they ever were. Three years to find a job? Welcome to Generation X.
Aside from the Gang-Tax that most of us already endure, what is most astounding here is the indecision. Either way, Obama loses here. By extending the cuts he further alienates his base. By eliminating the cuts he almost assures us of a plummet on Wall Street on January 1st. Financial experts are lining up to post their warnings of the potential fallout from this. Businesses are on hold with their planning. Could you plan your budget for next year not knowing what your expenses will be?
The most frustrating part of this is that the vacillating on the part of this administration on this issue, and because no decision has been rendered ( as of this writing), the Internal Revenue Service has been forced to notify CPA’s that the tax cuts will expire on December 31st. The IRS sends notices in early December with changes and various errata and because, absent a decision, they must assume the cuts will expire, they must proceed accordingly.
Here’s the fun part. We will all have to pay taxes as though the cuts expired and then, should they be extended, will then have to petition the IRS for a refund on the difference. That should be enjoyable. Furthermore, the IRS announced already that they expect refunds to be slow this year because of the extra burden imposed by notification and then, possibly, rescinding those same notices.
Ahh…government efficiency at it’s best. These are the same folks who are running health care now. How does that make your stomach feel? Of course, if you’re a member of the increasing number of Unions that are being granted “waivers” from ObamaCare, you may be spared, but of course there will be no “waivers” for the rest of us. Just penalties and fines.
Pay attention here. This is what “no leadership” looks like. We will be seeing plenty more of it over the next two years. Republicans, too, should pay attention. I am already agitated that the freeze on earmark spending seems unable to meet muster. Are you kidding me? There are, apparently, Republicans just voted in who didn’t get the message. No problem…the rest of us are taking names, and, I expect, that we will be just as eager to throw you out with the rest of them two years hence.