Whose On First?

Posted: October 31, 2008 in Economy, Politics

Posted on marketwatch.com

“Today, Obama Campaign Surrogate Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) Further Lowered The Ceiling For Tax Cuts Under An Obama Administration To $120,000:
Gov. Bill Richardson: “What Obama wants to do is, he is basically looking at $120,000 and under, among those that are in the middle class, and there is a tax cut for those.” (KOA-AM, Interview With Gov. Bill Richardson, 10/31/08)”


FLASHBACK: In June 2008, Obama National Campaign Co-Chair Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) Said Americans Earning Less Than $150,000 Would Be Exempt From Obama’s Tax Increases. “[Sen. Claire] McCaskill called Obama middle-class tax cut ‘massive’ and stressed that those making ‘under $150,000 a year would see no tax increase of any kind’ — not payroll tax, not capital gains, ‘not a single tax,’ [New Hampshire Congressman Paul] Hodes said.” (Domenico Montanaro, “Obama V. McCain On Middle Class,” MSNBC’s “First Read” Blog, firstread.msnbc.msn.com, 6/12/08)
In August, Obama’s Advisors Acknowledged That Higher Taxes Would Start At $200,000:
August 2008: Obama’s Economic Advisers Acknowledged That Individuals Would See Higher Taxes At $200,000, Not $250,000. Obama Advisors Jason Furman and Austan Goolsbee: “Sen. Obama believes that one of the principal problems facing the economy today is the lack of discretionary income for middle-class wage earners. That’s why his plan would not raise any taxes on couples making less than $250,000 a year, nor on any single person with income under $200,000 — not income taxes, capital gains taxes, dividend or payroll taxes.” (Jason Furman and Austan Goolsbee, Op-Ed, “The Obama Tax Plan,” The Wall Street Journal, 8/14/08)
Obama Economic Policy Adviser Jason Furman Also Said That Obama “Would Cut Taxes For Almost All Of The Families Making Less Than [$250,000].” Jason Furman: “Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the op-ed today makes a very important point that … Barack Obama would not raise taxes for any family making below $250,000 — in fact, it would cut taxes for almost all of the families making less than that …” (Obama For America, Press Conference Call, 8/14/08)


Perhaps the most interesting thing I have noticed through all of this is listening to folks who do not make anywhere near $200k per year constantly adjusting their opinions to match this inconsistency.

  1. DarkStar says:

    I’ve been mentioning the shift from $250K to $200K.

    I’ve decided to type in Ron Paul instead of selecting Bob Barr.

  2. Wil says:

    Some people have not been paying attention, The level for tax increases has always started at 250k for families, 200k for singles, and at some lower amount, taxes would be actually lowered. This only refers to taxable income not gross income, so with loopholes, and deductions the net taxable amount could be much less.

    I read that lots of neo-nazi types supported Ron Paul. I wonder why Ron Paul is the choice for white supremacists ? What does he say or do that attracts those people?

  3. Duane says:


    You may very well be correct, but what I have found pretty consistent with the Obama campaign is that these public “who will get taxed” declarations are never broken down. They are made as direct statements without the asterisk. Its kinda like telling folks that car “X” will go 0 to 80 in 3 seconds and using that as your main selling point. But after a person buys the car, they quickly realize that the 0 to 80 claim only applies to dry road conditions, no passengers and premium gas.

    The basic problem that I have with this is that regardless if a single-filer makes $200k, $150k, or $120k, those benchmarks are now considered the new “rich”. And if folks in that tax bracket do not want to pay HIGHER taxes, Obama considers that belief as ‘selfish’. Obama is making a very bad and inaccurate assumption here that those he considers “rich” are not busting their butt to make what they make.

    There is no way that either candidate is going to be able to fund half of what they are proposing unless they lower their aim on who will get a tax increase. Richardson let that cat out of the bag the other day with his $120k comment.

    According to his own commercial (click link for image grab), $200k applies to FAMILIES. So if my wife makes $100k and I make $100k, we will see a tax INCREASE.

  4. Wil says:

    I agree with you 110% that Obama’s definition of rich is far too low. In some cities it’s easy to be “rich” on 200k, but in San Francisco, for example, if a family makes less than 300k-400k they aren’t even upper middle class economically. Also, $250k might sound like a lot in theory, but after being at that level for a couple of years, it will seem that you don’t have enough – human nature I guess.

    However, there is much more to the Obama presidency than taxation.

  5. anji says:

    I co-sign with Wil, “However, there is much more to the Obama presidency than taxation.”

  6. Give it a rest says:

    What is the percentage(s) of tax filers that have a household income above $150,000, $200,000, and $250,000 per year?

    “Obama is making a very bad and inaccurate assumption here that those he considers “rich” are not busting their butt to make what they make.”

    Is this opposed to all of those folks that are busting their butts to only make $25,000, $50,000, or even $75,000 per year and support a family?

    Look I live in NYC and yes it is expensive as hell to live here. I have a household income of well over $100,000 per year that my wife and myself do bust our butts day in and out to make and somehow I still manage to consider my family blessed and somewhat “lucky”. Now I am far from rich and our income does not allow for much luxury in our lives but it does allow us to live fairly well. Do we want more? Of course we do and we are willing to work for it.

    Like it or not a family with a household income of a quarter of a million dollars each year is doing quite well in the USA in 2008. Unless that family has 4 or more children they should be living very well IF (BIG IF) they have been managing their money correctly. If said family purchased an Acura TL at a $5000 premium over an equal Honda Accord and is paying an extra $100,000 on their mortgage becuase they purchased a home in an more “affluent” neighborhood that is their problem and rightfully so the masses that make under $100,000 a year can careless if they now need to pony up a bit more. Hey life is good isn’t it? Priviledge does cost you know and those that want it should be ready and willing to pay for it.

    Over the last 15 years we have all watched fees and fines steadily increase all over this country as if that is NOT a tax increase. The guy making $250,000 per year is paying the same toll to cross the same bridge as the poor Joe that is only making $25,000 per year. To add insult the poor Joe is corssing the bridge in a car weighing 3000lbs while the $250,000 per year man is driving a 5000lbs SUV.

    Is that fair?

    No it is not, but the reason that fees and fines keep increasing is because governments are NOT collecting the necessary income and property taxes to run the infrastructure. See the guy making $250,000 has far less of a problem seeing a fare or toll increase that amounts to 000.1% of their income while of the otherhand said fare/fee increase amounts to 001% for the that working-poor Joe making $25,000. Really big difference here is it not?

    Duane, we currently live in a world were the spread of income is so out of wack that I watch businessmen park illegally and routinely scuff at $125.00 parking tickets, quite willing to bare the same fine(s) that are driving small couriers and cab serivces out of business in this city.

    Think about that for a few minutes.

  7. Duane says:

    Like it or not a family with a household income of a quarter of a million dollars each year is doing quite well in the USA in 2008.

    And there are people making substantially less than you who are saying the same thing about your salary.

  8. Give it a rest says:


    I know this and that is why I consider my family and self to be blessed and lucky.

    Dont misunderstand me, I do not want to see a dime of my tax dollars go to waste. But I also understand that too much wealth has been accumulated in the hands of too few in recent years. If we really want to see our economy improve and grow we need to get a good part of that “Accumulated wealth” back into play.

    Either those that have it been to invest it wisely now or I do not have much of a problem with the Fed raising taxes to get that money back into our economy.

    The current credit crisis is a clear example of what happens when the wealth of a nation is tied up and controlled by too few people, all of a sudden those with the money become scared and think they have right to strave the rest of the nation while they simply hord their wealth.

    The real nasty joke is that these same folks now believe they have the right to hord the bailout money (our money) as a hedge against any further loses on their accumulated wealth.

    Now I am not an economist but I can see what the governement is attempting to do with its “new” fiscal policy.
    Quite simply prevent a Depression.

    Duane, unless you are bonafide wealthy (net worth over $50,000,000) you do run the risk of “cutting off your nose to spite your face” by being against any form of wealth “re-distribution” (remember this is just one word/phase were many other would easily fit). We live in a pyrimd shaped world, there just aint enough folks on the top of the heap that you can help out to make a difference. It is the millions upon millions down below that need some money/income freed up to continue to live like Americans and support all of those “successful” smaller businesses like yours that do allow the owner to make a good 1/4 million each year.
    The folks I know that own their own businesses generally deal with clients and customers that make on average $50,000 per year, not people with “upper-class” incomes.
    If these too are your client Duane, you need to take into consideration what is in their best interest and yours.

    Not for nothing but we have watched wealth redistribution going in the other direction for a long time now. Witness the explosion in the luxury good market in the last ten years. Why do you think Mercedes Benz created the Maybach line of super expensive cars? Why is there a new Tiffany’s and Hermes in the neighborhood that I work in?

    See wealth has a nasty way of actually trickling upwards rather than downwards!

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