Friday, June 17, 2005



I suppose it's no secret that I've been on something of a rant about Bush and taxes. Yesterday's blog entry highlighted a NY Times editorial about the Bush economy. I believe it was sufficiently trenchant a piece to make clear that many of us not anywhere near being rich are more and more susceptible to a tax bite, while our rich brothers and sisters are finding less and less of their income being taxed, especially unearned income which comes from investments or savings (I'm sorry, I am still past understanding why the money I earn with my sweat should be taxed MORE than the money earned from sitting in an account somewhere accruing interest, dividends, or share value increases which are gained in sales of those shares). I talked about Bush's Stealth Tax Increase a little over two weeks ago, where I got to get into the Alternate Minimum Tax which threatens to take a tax bite out of a larger percentage of the non-rich American people's income, which was decidedly NOT what it was intended for. With that entry two weeks ago I alluded to the fact that Bush had a committee looking into re-vamping the tax code and that we should be seeing the results of that sometime soon (it was supposed to be 31 July.) Which is what brings me to this subject, hardly one people tend to be overly excited about, but again.

Last night I'm reading the following article, White House Delays Timetable for Tax Overhaul. The article's short so let me quote it in its entirety:

President Bush's growing difficulties in pushing through an overhaul of Social Security imposed a new cost today: a delay in his plans for a top-to-bottom revamping of the tax code.

White House officials announced today that Mr. Bush would wait an extra two months for his special advisory panel to make recommendations on tax overhaul, saying that they needed to keep their focus on an unfinished agenda that includes Social Security, a trade pact with Central America and budget issues.

The decision means that Mr. Bush is unlikely to even propose a big tax measure until next year, mainly because administration officials have become far more bogged down on Social Security than they expected to be at this point. The announcement comes as Republican lawmakers are becoming openly pessimistic about their chances of passing a Social Security bill this year, because Democrats remain uniformly opposed and many Republicans are dubious as well.

Shortly after he won re-election last November, Mr. Bush announced plans to push for a historic overhaul of Social Security followed by an equally ambitious effort to purge the income tax of its complexity and perhaps replace it with an entirely different kind of system.

Mr. Bush made it clear that Social Security was the first priority, but his time frame for coming up with recommendations on the tax code made it clear that he hoped to begin work on that issue by the end of this year.

Under Mr.. Bush's marching orders, the bipartisan advisory panel was supposed to come up with recommendations for a comprehensive overhaul of the tax code by July 31. The Treasury Department was then to come up with its own recommendations, with a goal of proposing a measure to Congress before the end
of this year.

That timetable is now all but impossible. The panel will wait until September to issue its recommendations, and Mr. Bush would be unlikely to propose legislation until at least next year.

So here's the deal: Because he's bogged down in trying to change a program, social security, that faces a alleged crisis in about 30 odd years, he wants to put off making changes to a program that's going to be robbing more and more money out of American pockets in the coming years. Assuming he can come up with a tax plan that will make most people happy it'll take at least a year before changes can go through, and the AMT pushes itself more and more into the lives of all concerned. But it's more important to focus on social security rather than the immediate problem of taxes --- righto.

I just sent the following letter to my senators and congressman:

Dear

I just read this evening in the NY Times (White House Delays Timetable for Tax
Overhaul) that the president, because he’s bogged down in changing social security, a program facing a crisis (if one should be so generous as to agree that there is indeed a crisis as the president describes it, looming in the future), is pushing back dealing with reforming our tax system. Now the tax system, specifically with regard to the alternate minimum tax, is reaching down into more and more American pockets every year, yet that immediate problem should be put off for correction while we play with figuring out what to do about social security.

I have no clue what the president’s priorities are with respect to people like my wife and I who are threatened by the AMT and a tax system that values with tax breaks unearned income disproportionately to my hard-earned income. I want
to urge you to let the president know that tax reform is a problem today, not
at some point in the future, and the system needs to be fixed now. The president seems to be more concerned about fixing a program that’s not in extremis than he is with unfairly taxing middle-income Americans, and this is just not where I think his priorities should lie. I hope you agree with me and take this message to him.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Feel free to copy and send one of your own (if you're unfamiliar with how to get through to your political representatives please do go U.S. Senate to find your senator, and United States House of Representatives to find your congressional representative; they all have email so you can go directly to their site and send them your thoughts on this issue.)

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