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Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016

Competing tax plans tough to decipher

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

With April 15 just around the corner, let's talk taxes. I was reading this morning about the differences in the tax plans by the Democrats and the Republicans and to be real honest, I have a host of questions.

Here's the tax line that will be repeated a million times or so between now and November. The Democrats want to eliminate the tax cuts to the "richest" Americans while the Republicans want to keep all of the tax cuts in place in hopes of igniting the economy.

The Democrats define the "richest" as those making $200,000 or more annually. For starters, I wonder why this income level was targeted. I mean, why $200,000 instead of say $300,000 or $150,000 as far as that goes. You see, as I see it, wealth is gauged differently by different groups. In some wealthy enclaves, $200,000 in income would be viewed as near the poverty level. In our region however, $100,000 in annual income puts you in pretty flush territory. So everything is relative.

And while we're at it, I wish someone from the GOP would crunch the numbers and tell us exactly how much repealing the tax cuts for the "richest" would bring into federal coffers. I suspect it's far less than you might expect.

While we're talking taxes, Congress approved a new federal budget last week to the tune of $2.4 trillion. Not sure how many zeroes are involved but plenty. One report said that comes out to around $8,000 for every man, woman and child in America. Now we're not talking just your income taxes. That also includes all of those taxes like cigarette taxes, gasoline taxes, sales taxes, etc.

But a funny thing is that about 75 percent of Americans - that's a real number not a guess - don't pay that much in taxes annually. Factor it all in and the economists say that one in four Americans pays the tax load for the remainder. So since we acknowledge that 10 percent of tax payers pay the overwhelming majority of taxes, what economic plan would have us tax that population even higher? It's easy to pick on the big bread winners in America, but what happens if that segment of the population is simply taxed beyond their ability? Who will pay the tax load then?

Either way, get ready - it's the economy vs. terrorism come November. And to be real honest, I'm not certain either party has the right answer at this point. So stay tuned.

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