Bush Tax Cuts

The Politics of the Bush Tax Cuts

Passed in 2001 and 2003, they were extended to 2012 two years ago


campaign style

It's no secret President Obama is once again in campaign mode ahead of the scheduled expiration of the Bush tax cuts as part of the fiscal cliff at the end of the year. To wit, the campaign e-mails continue. From Stephanie Cutter, Obama for America's deputy campaign manager:

Edward — 

Who will decide if your taxes increase in just 22 days? A few dozen members of the House of Representatives, that's who.

Cutting taxes for the middle class shouldn't be difficult, especially when Republicans claim they agree with the President on the issue. But some Republicans are still holding middle-class tax cuts hostage simply because they want to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires.

Here's what's going on right now: President Obama is asking Congress to move forward on a plan that would prevent 98 percent of American families from paying higher taxes next year. The Senate has passed that bill, and the President is ready to sign it—but the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives won't even bring the bill to the floor for a vote. House Democrats have filed a petition that would force a vote if it attracts 218 signatures.

If a bill has enough votes to pass, Congress should vote on it and pass it. It's a pretty simple proposition. And every Member of Congress who hasn't signed on to keep taxes low for the middle class needs to hear from you…

The White House is involved too. From David Plouffe, a senior advisor to the president:

Something special is happening right now at the White House, and you're the reason why.

Here's the situation: If Congress doesn't act, a typical middle-class family of four will pay about $2,000 more in income taxes starting on January 1. President Obama is asking folks to add their voice to the debate and tell us what that money means to their families. And across the country, hundreds of thousands of people are speaking up.

Your response has been so incredible that we've had to ask the entire building to join the effort to read all these stories. Right now, economists and speechwriters, press secretaries and policy aides are all pitching in on top of their other duties to make sure that every single voice gets heard.

You need to be part of this. Take two minutes to share your story and be part of this remarkable conversation. Tell us what $2,000 means to middle-class families.

tax cuts for a 102 percent

Where's Joe Biden? Like most Democrats at the time, he voted against the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003.Today, with control of the White House and Senate, Democrats want to keep the Bush tax cuts, they say, for 98 percent of taxpayers—the tax cuts so many of them voted against the first time around, often citing its impact on the deficit as a reason. Even Barack Obama voted against renewal legislation that passed in 2005 after he got to the Senate. Holding hostages? Playing politics? Nothing to see here.

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  1. Notice how bad the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts sound when you refer to them as the “Bush tax cuts”? If Obama was forced to refer to them as just the “tax cuts”, or better yet, call when he’s trying to do the “Obama tax increase”, I bet the GOP win this argument, easily.

    1. *”what”

    2. Seriously, they have been the tax rates for over a decade now. They are not the ‘Bush tax cuts’ they are the ‘current tax rates’.

      1. Yes, it’s just about as dishonest as Obama’s campaign statement that he is going to “ask” the rich to pay more.

      2. They have also been sunsetted and reenacted multiple times. But you have to remember the Kenyon village idiot is never responsible for anything. It is like the deficit that continues to be Bush’s fault despite said village idiot being President for the last four years.

        1. Yeah, it’s like someone other than President ‘Not My Fault’ was President for the last four years.

        2. John, don’t you know that it will take at least a million years of unimpeded TEAM Blue rule to undo all of the damage that Dubya did in eight years?

          1. Whenever a lefty tells me that Bush ruined the economy, I like to ask them to tell me exactly which Bush policy was responsible and exactly how did it work to ruin the economy. They never have a coherent answer.

            1. Whenever I ask a lefty anything, they never have a coherent answer.

            2. The other question to ask them is exactly what Bush policy, that was ruining the country, has Obama repealed? That usually ends the conversation.

              1. Nice follow up.

              2. Torture, John! He ended torture! and secret prisons!

                Benghazi is just a rethugliccan faux scandal!

                1. Now Tarran, every lefty I know will tell you they are really upset about Obama over his handling of the war. They are really unhappy about it. They will tell you all about it. Of course they will never actually do anything about it. But they don’t like it.

                  1. There’s a war? I thought that all ended in 2009. Has anybody told the major media organizations about this supposed “war” of yours?

              3. “You just don’t get it.”

            3. “Did you ever hear of a little thing calLed THE PATRIOT ACT”?

              1. Yeah SIV. Good thing Obama repealed that horrible thing. He did repeal it right?

                1. Yup, right after he shut down Gitmo. Most honest, open, transparent administration ever.

    3. And why is it so fucking hard for the Republicans to respond like this? Could it be because they are really in favor of more taxes and spending and bigger government?

      1. No. They are not even that sophisticated. They just want Democrats and the media in particular to like them. They really are that pathetic.

        1. They just want Democrats and the media in particular to like them. They really are that pathetic.

          Along with John ‘Penaltax’ Roberts.

  2. Republicans Democrats are still holding middle-class tax cuts hostage simply because they want to cut raise taxes for millionaires and billionaires

  3. The other dishonest thing is how no one talks about where the fiscal cliff came from. It is like some foreign or divine power enforced it on the country. Instead, it is a law that the Democrats voted for and Obama signed. If the cliff is so bad, why did he sign the damn thing? And how can he not be responsible when it happens?

    1. John,

      How many people buy a car because it looks cool, drives well and they hear people say good things about it?

      How many people buy a car because they study the technical details and the repair manuals and decide they like it because of that boring stuff?

      In a market place, someone will cater to the latter group, because that’s a way to get money.

      In winner-takes-all politics, unless one is coalition building, it is a waste of time to worry about the latter group, because the winner will be effectively chosen by members of the first group.

      What you and I see as dishonesty is merely advertising copy for the vast majority of everyone else.

      1. What you and I see as dishonesty is merely advertising copy for the vast majority of everyone else.

        So are we the only ones growing up who were taught that advertising is 110% lies?

  4. Not raising = cutting

    The doublespeak is strong in Team BLUE.

    1. Well, yeah. Not giving is taking. You see, if someone expected you to take from one person and give to them, and you don’t do it, it’s the same as your giving to them and taking back. It’s all about expectations.
      Similarly, not taking is giving. If you’ve been taking X amount from the rich, and then begin taking Y where Y is less than X, that has the same effect as giving X – Y to them. Doesn’t matter that it belonged to them before you took it and gave it back. Not taking is giving.



      1. The other day he literally argued that a tax cut is welfare for rich people. Then he told me I have no morals because I disagreed with his definition of welfare.

        Do you think that if T o n y logic came into contact with actual logic the universe would explode?

        1. His logic is based upon the premise that might makes right. Might makes right does indeed negate natural rights, which is why he rejects them.

          How can you have natural rights when a gang of thugs can beat you to death?
          How can you have a right to life if a gang of thugs can beat you to death?
          How can you have a right to property if a gang of thugs can beat you to death?

          Government is that gang of thugs. Rich people only have property because the gang of thugs has not beaten them to death. Anything they have is by the gang’s good graces.

          So tax cuts are indeed welfare, when the alternative is being beaten to death.

  5. Oh no, I clicked on that My2k link!

    Refinanced home 4 sons tuition, with higher payment a $2000 tax increase?would be a hardship

    1. $2000 is two months insurance premium for my husband and me!

      1. So, starting March 1, you’re exactly where you would be without the current rates. That’s what this uproar is all about?

        1. CLIFF! DISASTER!

    2. Refinanced home 4 sons tuition

      Jesus Christ. I guess since your son will be living with you until he’s past 30, you might be able to soak a little bit of rent out of him the next few years to pay part of it back.

      Or, you could have done the reasonable thing and told him, “Sorry, kid, you want a worthless degree you’re going to have to work at Starbucks like all the other striver poors.”

  6. No, fuck you, cut spending.

    I just love how the president and his party are trying to use this fiscal mess to increase taxes. That’s all they’re doing, as a tax increase won’t even remotely begin to address the deficit problem.

    1. It is like an irrational faith with them. They are with current tax rates sort of like cats and water. Cats hate water. They don’t know why. And there is nothing about water that harms a cat. But cats hate it none the less. Obama and the Dems are like that with taxes.

      They have to know taxes won’t raise any money. They have to know they can’t finance the government they want with higher taxes. They really don’t seem to know why they hate current tax rates. They just do.

      1. John, every good populist has identified an enemy. For Hitler, it was the jews. For most of Latin America, it is rich people/”land barons”. For Africa, it was white people.

        You then create the seperation between the enemy group and “the people”. The enemy group is always doing better than “the people” at the expense of “the people”. The enemy group is, in fact, actively working to hurt and undermine “the people”.

        Obama and the Dems have decided to make this enemy group “the rich”/”the 1%”. Taxes aren’t about revenue- they are about populism.

    2. But, it’s all about teh fairness!

    3. I’ll trade a tax increase for a spending cut.

      If it means so much to them to have a tiny, symbolic tax increase that they are willing to cut entitlements and swallow the rest of the fiscal cliff cuts, I will be happy with that deal.

      1. So would I. I don’t see the fiscal cliff as being a bad thing. As far as the “recession” it is supposed to cause, the rest of the country already is in a recession. The cliff will just cause government workers to finally feel some pain. Big woop.

      2. As long as the cuts are for big amounts, right now. The last I read, the negotiations were for small cuts over ten years starting in two (?) years time.

        1. The last I read, the negotiations were for small cuts over ten years starting in two (?) years time.

          As I recall, the offer floated on entitlements was to start cutting in ten years.

          No wonder Boehner burst out laughing.

      3. I’ll trade a tax increase for a spending cut.

        This is how they win. This was the plan along.

        Jack up spending through the roof, to insane levels. Now that’s the new normal and otherwise level-headed people start talking seriously about they’d gladly pay a little more tax to see that deficit come down.

        You have been played.

        1. I’ll trade a tax increase for a spending cut.

          Which is exactly what the fiscal cliff is.

    4. The Democrats are descending into full on populist retards. Then again, they did this before, under both FDR and Truman, so it should be no surprise.

      In the late 30s, it backfired on FDR, and badly. And that was with an even more lapdog media (for example, no one cried foul when FDR forced Father Coughlin off the air). So, maybe there is hope?

      1. I think there is hope. I am working on the inauguration. I worked on the 08 one as well. And I can tell you the Obama people look beaten. They just don’t look happy. I think they know that things are not going to go well and they have no idea how to fix anything.

        Sure, they can blame everything on the Republicans but then what? What they win in 14 and take back the House? Then what?

        The whole second term seems to have a deathly pall over it. I don’t know what is going to happen. But I don’t think it is going to be good for Obama or his supporters.

        1. Apparently, reality can slap America in the face without us doing anything about it, so I guess we have to wait for reality to get a baseball bat. Which I think is exactly what it’s doing.

          1. Pretty much. They are really angry bitter people. They won the damned election and they are still mad. In 08, there were a bunch of doofuses who bought the hype. Today there is no one left but the angry hacks. Imagine a whole administration of Shreek and Joe from Lowell.

            All they have is a hammer. And that is all fun and games when you are not in power. You can hammer away at those who are. But once you are in power, who do you hammer? You hammer the “other”, the selected enemy. And that is what they are going to do. It is some really negative, nasty shit.

        2. ” I am working on the inauguration”

          sorry to hear that. i make a point of being out of town in 2008.

          1. Oh it sucks. Although this one will be better and easier. More of a normal one. No one is going to show. I would be surprised if they get 300,000 for this one. And I am well paid for it at least.

            1. “And I am well paid for it at least”

              that’s my new outlook on everything.

              1. Never lose sight of your fundamental goal: No matter what happens, no matter how stupid, criminal, and overbearing the Master Class gets, your job is to make a profit off if it.

  7. If we can trade a tax increase on the top two brackets for entitlement reform, such as raising the eligibility age to 67 and changes to how COLAs are calculated, that would be a worthwhile deal, IMO.

    Cutting spending has to have priority over not raising taxes.

    1. The fact that the Democrats have made raising taxes a political issue doesn’t make it a solution to any real problem. They could just as rationally demand a free Big Mac for life for every member of Congress with as much benefit to deficit reduction.

      1. So? If they think it’s that important to them that they’re willing to cut entitlements, fine. I say we’re getting the better end of the deal.

        1. Why not call them out very loudly as trying to do something for their own ends that does nothing whatsoever to reduce the deficit?

          The GOP doesn’t give a shit, either, that’s why not.

          1. Wasn’t Rand Paul essentially saying the GOP should call their bluff? “Okay, we’ll agree to do everything the President asks. However, when the economy craters, as it inevitably will, keep in mind we were not obstructionist. Keep in mind that the President now owns this economy, and everything wrong with it is entirely his fault.”

        2. Democrats like to sell any improvement in the economy as a sign that we need to “invest” more in government spending. Whatever Clinton accomplished as far as keeping spending under control during the 90s was eliminated by the Democrat’s expectations that the economic growth be shunted towards a bigger and better welfare and regulatory state during the 00s.

        3. Yeah, but they aren’t willing to cut entitlements. Entitlements are the bloody shirt they like to wave come election time, and they are not losing that for a stupid thing like a tax increase.

          Better, from their perspective, to go over the cliff, deploy the already established narrative that this is the fault of extremist Republicans, and win big in 2014. If the little people have to suffer for two years, oh well. It is for the greater good.

          1. Well, the R’s can pretty easily eliminate the narrative that it’s all their fault if they put tax increases on the table.

    2. Another option I read somewhere is for the GOP to just vote present on all the budget/tax stuff. Don’t oppose but don’t support. Let the Dems get what they want.

      Forces Dems who pontificate about spending cuts to expose themselves. Keeps GOP fingers off the disaster.

      Of course, it won’t happen because Boehner, et al – as John put it above – really want to be liked. And, Boehner has chosen sides when he squeezed out Amash and others.

  8. In before joe the tiny comes riding in on his horse “Urban Planner”.

  9. I would fire back a counteroffer to President Barry (while he’s on his $5 million vacation to Hawaii):

    Barry, you appear to hold to the general principle that the “wealthy” ought to pay more. Building on this foundation, you have also stated that people making over $97,000, or in the top 6% of income-earners, are not the “middle class” (circa 2007, debate with Hillary Clinton). Based on these positions, I make the following proposal: You will publish a statement, in writing, on your website, as well as taking out advertisments as necessary in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Washington Post, San Jose Mercury News, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Dallas Morning News, and Houston Chronicle, in which you will affirm your conviction that people making over $97,000 are not the “middle class” but the rich and by your standard should pay their fair share. You will submit the wording of the advertisement to the House for approval prior to its printing.

    Do that, and the House will give you a new tax bracket that increases the income tax on the top 6% of income earners and leaves the tax rates in place for the other 94%.

    Have a Merry Christmas.

  10. “Tell us what $2000 means to middle-class families”

    I haven’t the foggiest idea. Really. $2000 +/- would have no impact on me. I’d pay 38% tax on the $2000 windfall and have to pay an accountant $500 bucks to figure out how to get it. I spend every Saturday throwing away crap the Mrs. widget bought at Walmart the week before. I’m going to work until someone plants me in the ground. When the dementia kicks in I’ll be saying “Welcome to Walmart!”

    1. It means someone’s brother will not be able to get his psychology degree.

    2. I think by then you’ll be saying “Welcome to Costco. I love you.”

    3. “Tell us what $2000 means to middle-class families”

      Well, if you are carrying two smartphone data plans, it doesn’t even cover your phone bill.

  11. The “Do as I say, not as I do” Party is at it again with the lies and obfuscations.

  12. Tell us what $2000 means to middle-class families

    How about what it means to single people? Middle-class single people? Upper-middle-class single people? Or how about to actually fucking poor people, instead of to people who should be able to take care of themselves?

    Obama supporters think the “class warfare” complaints are bullshit, but this is pure and unadulterated alienation for anyone who doesn’t think they’re a “middle-class family.” And yes, I’m aware that most people define themselves as middle-class even if they should consider themselves somewhere above or below that–but regardless, only “families” matter. Ever.

    1. What’s with all the love for the “middle class”. I get the demagoguery about the “rich”, but whatever happened to the “bottom class”? Too many black, welfare-entrapped, drug war victims down there for the Democratic Party?

      1. Yeah, Julian Sanchez was tweeting about this last week. It’s actually quite strange rhetorically, and, I think, worrisome. Safety nets for the poor are “reasonable” and widely supported, but it’s undeniable that you run into some problems when you basically tell the country that 99% of them shouldn’t have to worry about or pay for most of their own shit.

      2. Most people think of themselves as middle class. I think that’s it.

    2. I do not have a family of my own, but as a young person I could use that $2000 to help start my small company.

      My2k has plenty of reasons to go around.

      1. Well it’s not like I don’t have anything to do with $2,000. But somehow “I’m middle class and single and would like to buy a very nice new handbag” doesn’t seem to be a “valid” reason for being allowed to keep one’s own money. I need a sob story about a sick kid I couldn’t afford, but god forbid someone should just point out I should have thought of that before having it.

        1. #My2K would help me pay down college debt and support local businesses.

          See how easy it is?

        2. I see ads on the bus for Kindest Cut.


          They spay and neuter pets owned by the poor who are unable to pay for it themselves. If you can’t afford to neuter your dog then you shouldn’t own one. We live in a society where “poor” means “everything is free”.

    3. That always bugs me too, both the family thing and the middle class thing. Being middle-class is supposed to be a good thing because it means you have the means to take care of yourself and don’t need any assistance from charity or government. They are trying to create a whole new dependent class. Because that worked out so well for the poor.

      1. They are trying to create a whole new dependent class. Because that worked out so well for the poor.

        Yes. Precisely this.

    4. only “families” matter

      “Families” are micro-collective that politicians use as a wedge to make their subjects accept a larger collectivism. It’s team RED and BLUE through and through. It never occurs to them that families are natural.

      1. See, I figure they are just trying to piggyback their own oppression off another that people are more willing to accept.

        1. I disagree. Politicians are alphas. Man or woman, stupid or smart. They have no innate sense of being oppressed. Their job is to get betas to go along with them.

          1. Sorry, I meant that they want to piggyback the oppression they wish to impose on another type of oppression that people are used to/okay with (i.e., families).

  13. The Republicans should try and outdo the Democrats on this by asking for an across the board, 99% income tax rate (no deductions) and a $10 trillion budget. Don’t make any statement about what will be in the budget. Just offer that number to the Dems and let them go crazy dreaming up all the stuff they could ever want.

  14. As shitty and disingenuous as the tone of the quote is, I guess I agree with it in practical terms.

    One condition though: make it permanent this time. If that is was the tax rate is supposed to be, then cut out this BS of the tax rate “expiring” so the democrats can’t “hold it hostage” again in N years.

  15. Today, with control of the White House and Senate, Democrats want to keep the Bush tax cuts, they say, for 98 percent of taxpayers?the tax cuts so many of them voted against the first time around

    Is it because of long term capital gains and how their own portfolios would be affected?

  16. the campaign e-mails continue. From Stephanie Cutter, Obama for America’s deputy campaign manager

    I wish somebody would drop a piano on that loathesome cunt.

    1. Why do you hate pianos, P?

      1. You know damn well what they did to his father!

        1. Broke his clavichord?

      2. Seriously, why ruin a piano when there are 16 ton weights in the world?

  17. President Obama is asking Congress to move forward on a plan that would prevent 98 percent of American families from paying higher taxes next year.

    And what credulous retard actually believes this?

    1. The alternative is to GO BACKWARD!

      /credulous retard

  18. Look, the people have spoken, and what they said was a bunch of contradictory gibberish. I see no reason why we should expect anything less from our elected officials.

    1. I remember hearing some of the exit poll results, which were clear on the economy and some issues that Obama catastrophically sucks on being really big deals, then learning that Obama had won. Frankly, this is the most nonsensical election ever, even acknowledging that Romney wasn’t much of an alternative.

  19. otherwise level-headed people start talking seriously about they’d gladly pay a little more tax to see that deficit come down.

    You have been played.

    We got played by those fucking borrow-and-spend Republicans, too.

    So what’s new?

  20. “”Cutting taxes for the middle class shouldn’t be difficult, especially when Republicans claim they agree with the President on the issue. But some Republicans are still holding middle-class tax cuts hostage simply because they want to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires.

    Did i miss something, or aren’t the Democrats *still* proposing to =

    1) raise long term capital gains taxes from 15% to 20%?, AND then slap on an additional 4% surtax for AHCA costs?

    (how else do you keep premiums low except by making people who are *investing* pay for them? It makes perfect sense to punish people who are trying to save for retirement by making them pay for everyone elses healthcare)

    2) raise dividend tax from 15 to 43%? (another 3% for the AHCA! how ‘affordable’ it is!)

    3) increase payroll tax in Social Security witholdings from 4 to 6%

    4) eliminate the Mortgage Interest Deduction

    5) reduce the Child Tax credit by 50%

    6) eliminate the Earned Income Tax Credit

    7) eliminate the “American Opportunity” Tax Credit, which allows deductions for post-secondary education

    8) increase the Estate Tax

    … and more!

    All they’re talking about in the press is a debate about top-end marginal income tax rates…which is bullshit. Chicken feed.

    Democrats are claiming “middle class tax cuts”… when what it really entails is =
    a) keeping current marginal tax rates the same
    and b) bleeding people in a half dozen new ways via deduction eliminations

  21. The politicians all complain that growth is sluggish, yet ignore the facts that consumer spending drives economic growth. Therefore the more money the government confiscates in taxes, the less money people have to spend, and so the lower economic growth. Makes you wonder where (or if) they learned to think…

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