Thursday, October 16, 2008

Election Issues - The Economy (Part 1, Taxes)

In my last post I showed that the two party system has given us two candidates that are both, in effect, pro-abortion. In my opinion, the daily slaughter of innocent unborn children is the most important issue, but let's see which one of these candidates can fix the economy.


Barack Obama plans to immediately spend $50 billion. Half of it is slated to go to the states, and the other half is supposed to save jobs.

The states are expected to lower tolls, taxes, etc., and use their half of this money to make up for the lost revenue. I can guarantee this won't happen. Once the states have this new money they'll find a way to spend it. This is a clear cut case of the federal government stealing our tax money just to give it back to us, and we don't even get it back in the end.

The other $25 billion, going to job growth, will be similarly wasted. A reincarnation of the Great Society, this money is supposed to be used to repair bridges, roads, schools, etc. I will agree that the government has the responsibility to build infrastructure, but these jobs will be created and the money spent whether it's actually needed or not. Most likely we'll see two extra flagmen sitting around on barrels at every road construction site. Remember me fondly when you see it happen, and remember that you're helping to pay those guys whether you like it or not.

Obama also plans to give a $500 tax credit per person or $1000 per working family. He wants to completely eliminate income taxes for seniors making less than $50,000. According to his website these two actions would eliminate 37 million people from paying taxes. I'm all for tax cuts whenever we can get them, but businesses and those that don't qualify for tax free life will be picking up the tab for the lucky ones. Also, it's probable that 37 million is a low number. As people live longer and more people achieve retirement age the number of people dropping off the books will grow.

Obama's biggest tax proposal isn't designed to save us money at all, but rather to save us time. He wants to revamp the entire system so all your tax forms are pre-filled by your employer(s) and bank(s), "so that millions of Americans will be able to do their taxes in less than five minutes." This sounds great, doesn't it? Oh, except for you small business owners who will be doing countless amounts of extra paperwork every year. Oh, and those who discover errors on their pre-prepared forms. What fun it will be to try to get that fixed. Oh, and it might not be great for anybody else either. Every business, bank, and employer will find a way to pass the additional cost down to you.

Politically, Obama's plans are brilliant. Everybody wants a tax cut, and Obama's people know that seniors vote in greater percentages than any other age group. Everybody wants life to be simpler, and nobody likes going through all those forms at tax time. It all sounds great, until it isn't. That doesn't even account for the parts of the plan he isn't advertising, or how he plans to pay for it all.

As conservatives, we are expected to know that Republicans are better with the economy. John McCain's tax plan must be better.

McCain doesn't propose an income tax cut, but he claims that he'll make it harder for congress to raise taxes. Not much to write home about, and I don't think he can pull it off. Nothing can stop congress from raising taxes when they have a mind to.

He wants to ban taxes on the internet, new cell phone taxes, and cut the corporate tax rate; which are reasonable things, but not major changes.

McCain throws in his own plans to reduce Medicare costs and an unspecified plan to simplify the tax system. These are arguably not as politically effective as Obama's plans, but the effects would likely be equivalent.

Neither tax plan looks good at this point. McCain tries to be a realist by not promising a lot of things that he can't deliver, but I don't think he can deliver even the small things that he has promised. Obama's plans are grander and sound more refined at first, but they would have devastating effects. I couldn't vote for any of these guys based on their tax plans.

Edit: I would like to note that McCain's tax simplification proposal is designed to be optional, so you can still use the existing system. Most of us would probably still need to figure our taxes the old way every year just to see which one will save us the most money. It actually adds complication to the process. Thanks for the headache, John McCain.

To be continued...

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