Entries in Tax Cuts (5)


Ivy League Professors Launch Website to Donate Tax-Cut Proceeds to Charity

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- President Obama and his Republican rivals may have reached a compromise for a tax plan, but a group of Ivy League professors says the plan unfairly favors the wealthy -- and is encouraging taxpayers to take a stand by donating their tax cuts to charity.

Three professors -- two from Yale and one from Cornell -- have launched, a website that allows visitors to calculate their tax cuts and pledge some of the money to charity.

"You can see what your tax cut is and, if you can afford it, you can support the kinds of programs the government would be supporting," said Daniel Markovits, a professor at Yale Law School. "It allows you to tie your charitable donations to a statement of principle that taxes should be more equally distributed."

Markovits said the tax compromise, which extended the Bush-era tax cuts, decreases funding supporting programs for the economically disadvantaged and disproportionately helps the wealthy. Current income taxes, which have a maximum rate of 35 percent, are lower than the 50 percent under President Reagan, according to Markovits.

"You have a great deal of inequality, hardship in the middle class, and fiscal policy that's not distributing the burden equally. The tax deal that the Obama administration made combined modest stimulus to the middle class with huge giveaways to the wealthy."

Markovits said he and the others chose the name of the website to highlight that more jobs are what are needed for the middle class to recover from the economic downturn.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Poll: Americans Have Mixed Views on Tax Cuts, Support for START, Gays in the Military

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With the public giving subpar approval ratings to President Obama and continuing to express negative views of Congress and the political parties, it goes its own way on many of the remaining issues before the lame-duck Congress.
In a survey conducted before Obama and congressional leaders agreed to temporarily extend all Bush-era tax cuts, most Americans (80 percent) favor preserving at least some of the tax cuts. However, just 33 percent of Americans say they favor keeping all of the expiring tax cuts.  Another 47 percent favor keeping just the tax cuts for income below $250,000, while just 11 percent want to end all of the tax cuts.

As for political parties, only about one in five Democrats (18 percent) favor keeping all of the tax cuts, compared with 33 percent of independents and 53 percent of Republicans.

On another major pending issue before Congress, most Americans, who have heard at least a little about the START treaty, favor its ratification by the Senate, according to the latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.  Fifty-four percent favor ratification of the arms control treaty, while 24 percent are opposed.  Democrats and independents favor the treaty's ratification by wide margins, while Republicans are split on the issue.
The Pew Survey also showed that the public favors allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military by greater than two to one (59 percent to 23 percent).  These views are little changed from last month, before the Pentagon released its major study on the impact of repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Tackling Taxes: Choices Are Bad and Worse

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Uncertainty about Americans' tax future reigns in Washington. Will Bush-era tax cuts be allowed by Congress to expire Jan. 1 or will they be extended?  And if extended, how long and for whom?  A meeting on Tuesday between the president and Republican leaders did little to clarify what taxpayers can expect in 2011.

At last count, Congress was entertaining five options: no extension of any tax cuts; permanent extension of all tax cuts; a two-year extension of all cuts; President Obama's proposal for permanent cuts applying only to the middle class; and a two-year extension only for the middle class.

Correction: six options, says Ingrid Schroeder, director of the Pew Financial Analysis Initiative -- a project aimed at strengthening the U.S. economy.  Whereas Obama's proposal defines the middle class as anyone making up to $250,000 a year, a sixth proposal now circulating defines middle class as anybody making up to $1 million.

Among these several scenarios, what's the best and worst outcome a middle class taxpayer can expect?

"The best," says Clint Stretch, managing principal for tax policy at Deloitte Tax LLP in Washington, D.C., "is that between now and Christmas Eve, Congress decides to extend middle class cuts for some period of time -- maybe three months, maybe two years."

The worst outcome? "The possibility that Congress will do nothing, and that on Jan. 1 tax rates will go back to what they were in the Clinton administration," says Stretch.  "A married couple with two kids, let's say, making $70,000 a year would see their taxes go up $2,600.  That's $50 less in your paycheck every week."

The increased tax bite on someone single with the same income but without any kids would be $1,300.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Can Politicians Cut the Nation's $1.3 Trillion Deficit?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Though the U.S. staggers with a $1.3 trillion budget deficit and a $13.8 trillion national debt, there is little political will and public support to tackle the issue.

President Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform will release a report Wednesday that outlines bold and oft controversial steps to reduce the debt that currently amounts to more than $44,300 for each American man, woman or child.

Yet with all of the talk of deficit reduction and paying down the debt, Congress continues to pass legislation that will add to the total, and analysts say both parties are to blame.

The Medicare "doc fix," for example, which passed Congress Monday and postpones for a month a 23 percent pay cut to doctors who participate in the Medicare program, will cost U.S. taxpayers $1 billion over 10 years.

The food safety bill that sailed through the Senate Tuesday, mainly on Democratic votes, is estimated to cost about $1.4 billion over four years.

The Republicans' tax proposal, which would extend Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans, regardless of income, would add $4 trillion to the deficit in the next decade, or $2.65 trillion without counting the alternative minimum tax.  President Obama and Democrats' proposal to extend tax cuts for only lower and middle-class Americans would add to the deficit by $2.15 trillion.

"I think they (lawmakers) are taking away with one hand what they're talking about doing with the other.  In fact, they aren't doing anything at the moment to reduce the deficit," said Isabel V. Sawhill, a budget expert at the Brookings Institute.  "They're just talking about it and what they're actually doing is stuff that's going to make matters worse and dig the hole deeper."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


White House Set to Extend Bush Tax Cuts

(WASHINGTON) -- The White House said Wednesday it is prepared to sign off on an across-the-board extension of tax cuts put in place by the Bush administration. 

President Obama's top adviser, David Axelrod, said the extension would ensure that middle-class Americans are not faced with a tax increase at year's end.

The White house would prefer to extend the tax cuts permanently for individuals making under $200,000 and couples making under $250,000, but Republicans have argued that even the wealthiest Americans should see an extension.

Top lawmakers from both parties are set to discuss the issue with the president at the White House next Thursday. Lawmakers will have until the start of the new year to extend the tax cuts.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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