MISH'S
Global Economic
Trend Analysis

Recent Posts

Taxpayer Friendly Sites

Alphabetical Links

Monday, December 06, 2010 8:49 PM


Cookies for Susie and Obama's "Temporary" Tax Compromise; Total Cost $900 Billion


President Obama has agreed to a tax deal that's bound to please deficit-hawk hypocrites on both sides of the aisle. The total cost is $900 billion over the next two years.

Of course the last extension was "temporary" and the next extension will be "temporary" as well.

I have a better idea, why don't we just "temporarily" extend these deals until 2020 and be done with it? We might be in a genuine recovery by then.

Of course we will then have to factor in the idea that we may need to "temporarily" extend the benefits "one" more time lest we sink the nascent 2020 recovery.

Obama's Proposed "Compromise"

Inquiring minds may be asking "Just how compromising is the compromise, and more importantly, what's in it for Susie?" Those are very good questions. The answers can be found in the article Obama Agrees to Extend Tax Cuts for Everyone for Two Years.

President Barack Obama said he’ll agree to a two-year extension of all Bush-era tax cuts in exchange for extending federal unemployment insurance. The plan also would cut the payroll tax by 2 percentage points.

Obama said he would accept a lower rate for the estate tax than Democrats wanted in order to break a stalemate over extending the Bush tax cuts before Congress adjourns. The current tax rates, enacted in 2001 and 2003, are set to expire Dec. 31.

Without the compromise, middle-income families would become “collateral damage for political warfare here in Washington,” Obama said in televised remarks. He said he still believes the nation can’t afford to permanently extend the top tax rates.

“This compromise is an essential step on the road to recovery,” Obama said.

In addition to keeping the current tax rates for all Americans, the plan outlined by Obama would extend aid for the long-term unemployed for another 13 months. The payroll tax -- which funds Social Security and Medicare -- would be cut by 2 percentage points during 2011 to help spur hiring.

Obama also endorsed allowing a full deduction for equipment purchases that currently must be deducted over time. The proposal would accelerate $200 billion in tax savings for companies in the first year and benefit 1.5 million companies and several million individuals who run businesses, according to White House estimates.

Total revenue lost from the so-called expensing proposal over 10 years would be $30 billion; companies taking the immediate deductions wouldn’t be able to write off their expenses through depreciation in years to come.
Total Cost $900 Billion

The total cost of extending all the tax breaks plus the new giveaways is $900 billion. Assuming of course the extensions are "temporary".

The New York Times itemizes the costs in Obama and G.O.P. in Deal on Tax Cuts
President Obama announced a tentative deal with Congressional Republicans on Monday to extend the Bush-era tax cuts at all income levels for two years as part of a package that would also keep benefits flowing to the long-term unemployed, cut payroll taxes for all workers for a year and take other steps to bolster the economy.

The package would cost about $900 billion over the next two years, to be financed entirely by adding to the national debt, at a time when both parties are professing a desire to begin addressing long-term fiscal imbalances.

It would reduce the 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax on all wage earners by two percentage points for one year, putting more money in the paychecks of workers. For a family earning $50,000 a year, it would amount to a savings of $1,000.

For a worker slated to pay the maximum tax, $6,621.60 on income of $106,800 or more in 2011, the cut would mean a savings of $2,136. That would replace the central tax break for middle- and low-income Americans in last year’s economic stimulus measure, White House officials said.

The deal would also continue a college-tuition tax credit for some families, expand the earned-income tax credit and allow businesses to write off the cost of certain equipment purchases. The top rate of 15 percent on capital gains and dividends would remain in place for two years, and the alternative minimum tax would be adjusted so that as many as 21 million households would not be hit by it.

In addition, the agreement provides for a 13-month extension of jobless aid for the long-term unemployed. Benefits have already started to run out for some people, and as many as seven million people would potentially lose assistance within the next year, officials said.

Some senior Democrats said an agreement by Mr. Obama to accede to Republican demands on the estate tax could lead to a revolt among lawmakers. Mr. Obama noted that he, too, still strongly disagreed with the Republican insistence on extending the tax breaks for the highest earners. “Ever since I started running for this office, I’ve said that we should only extend the tax cuts for the middle class,” he said, acknowledging that he had been thwarted in one of the chief goals of his presidency.
Meaning of Compromise

I have discussed congressional compromises on several occasions, most recently in Meaning of "Compromise"
Sometimes the word to fear most out of congress is "compromise". Typically it means both parties load up a bill with massive amounts of spending while simultaneously preaching the need for deficit reduction.

To congress, the word "compromise" does not mean giving up anything you want. Instead, it means giving the other guy something you do not want him to have in return for a similar favor.

The process is much like asking a group of kids at a birthday party if they want cherry pie, chocolate cake, or fudge for desert and if there is no consensus winner, everyone gets a full slice of each, with chocolate chip cookies thrown in for good measure because that’s what cousin Susie likes. It’s irrelevant whether or not cousin Susie is even at the party.
Chocolate Chip Cookies for Susie

Susie was not at the party. Nonetheless, like a bolt out of the blue, president Obama proposed kiddies get two additional cookies not previously on the menu.

1. A two percent payroll tax reduction
2. A full, upfront deduction for equipment purchases, in lieu of depreciation

The cost of the expensing provision is a mere $30 billion spread over 10 years.

The deficit-busting problem is the huge out-of-the-blue payroll tax reduction coupled with the "temporary" extension of income tax reductions for everyone.

I am all in favor of cookies, especially tax-cut cookies. However, I want to know how the deficit-hawk hypocrites on both sides of the aisle intend to pay for them. The answer is they don't intend to, which of course is what makes them deficit-hawk hypocrites in the first place.

The war-mongering will continue and so will the earmarks and so will a host of other things we cannot afford and do not even need.

But, hey, let's pig out. Cookies are on the table.

The question of the day is: Are there any Senate republicans with the backbone of N.J. Governor Chris Christie?

We are about to find out. A vote is coming up.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
Click Here To Scroll Thru My Recent Post List


Copyright 2009 Mike Shedlock. All Rights Reserved.
View My Stats