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Standing in the way of a tax cut

Although expensive, there's virtual unanimity that extending most of the Bush tax cuts through 2013 for everyone (yes, everyone) will help individuals, families, job growth and the economy ("Political tactics, not leadership," July 11). The squabbles in Washington are about political spin and special interests, the squabbles outside Washington have more to do with misunderstanding and misinformation.

While there's legitimate debate over the amount, duration and allocation of any tax break, President Barack Obama has proposed a simple income tax benefit for every taxpayer regardless of whether that person is in the 1 percent or the 99 percent. Under his plan, the more one earns the greater the financial benefit. But, like individual contributions to Social Security, there is a cap above which the obligation or benefit does not continue, and in this case the benefits max out at a family taxable income level of $250,000. (Of course, if someone had Swiss bank accounts and off-shore tax shelters they could be earning over a million dollars and still have "taxable" income of $250,000.) Contrary to spin, the benefits are neither denied nor unfair to any income group, no matter how privileged or how much of potential "job creators" they might be.

If everyone agrees it's a good thing, why isn't it being implemented? Based on the multiplier effect of putting dollars in the hands of the lower 90 percent, the benefit to the economy and society is much greater than putting the same dollars in the hands of the top 10 percent, meaning the biggest bang for the taxpayers' buck comes from the bottom up, not the top down. In opposition to this reality, Congressional Republicans insist that the highest earners receive an even bigger tax break, and they refuse to allow the country and 98 percent of its citizens to receive these 2013 benefits unless they get their way.

Roger C. Kostmayer, Baltimore

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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