Letters

Letters 07-27-2015

Next For Brownfields In regard to your recent piece on brownfield redevelopment in TC, the Randolph Street project appears to be proceeding without receiving its requested $600k in brownfield funding from the county. In response to this, the mayor is quoted as saying that the developer bought the property prior to performing an environmental assessment and had little choice but to now build it...

Defending Our Freedom This is in response to Sally MacFarlane Neal’s recent letter, “War Machines for Family Entertainment.” Wake Up! Make no mistake about it, we are at war! Even though the idiot we have for a president won’t accept the fact because he believes we can negotiate with Iran, etc., ISIS and their like make it very clear they intend to destroy the free world as we know it. If you take notice of the way are constantly destroying their own people, is that living...

What Is Far Left? Columnist Steve Tuttle, who so many lambaste as a liberal, considers Sen. Sanders a far out liberal “nearly invisible from the middle.” Has the middle really shifted that far right? Sanders has opposed endless war and the Patriot Act. Does Mr. Tuttle believe most of our citizens praise our wars and the positive results we have achieved from them? Is supporting endless war or giving up our civil liberties middle of the road...

Parking Corrected Stephen Tuttle commented on parking in the July 13 Northern Express. As Director of the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority, I feel compelled to address a couple key issues. But first, I acknowledge that  there is some consternation about parking downtown. As more people come downtown served by less parking, the pressure on what parking we have increases. Downtown serves a county with a population of 90,000 and plays host to over three million visitors annually...

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · The tax hike that...
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The tax hike that isn‘t

Stephen Tuttle - September 20th, 2010
The tax hike that isn’t
It seems we’re going to be whacked with a staggering $3.8 trillion tax
hike. At least that’s what the leaders of the Republican party keep
telling us. And what possible reason could they have for wanting to
deceive us less than seven weeks before the national mid-term
elections?
While the accusation makes for excellent headlines and campaign
fodder, it is provably untrue.
This all started back during the Bush Administration when a series of
income tax cuts were passed into law. They were not permanent cuts,
just temporary attempts at some stimulus for a moribund economy. They
expire in December.
The idea was the extra money in the pockets of Americans would
increase spending and investing, giving the economy a nice kick in the
pants. The very rich were expected to buy big-ticket items like new
homes, cars and, one supposes, yachts and planes. That’s why rich
folks received the biggest tax breaks. The consumer economy would
start humming right along and all would be right with the world.
At least this is the way “supply side” economics is supposed to work –
rich folks spend and the benefits of that spending trickle down on us
little people. The same impact is supposed to result from tax cuts
and tax breaks for large corporations; they will use the new money to
invest in new enterprises, expand their current operations, purchase
new equipment and hire new employees or, at the very least, re-hire
those who have been laid off.
Unfortunately, there’s never been anything that proved supply side
economics to be much more than the cocktail napkin fantasy of creator
Arthur Laffer and his acolytes in the Reagan and Bush administrations.
What actually happened after the Bush tax cuts was almost nothing; an
orgy of non-spending by everyone, including wealthy individuals and
big corporations. People of all income levels pulled spending back by
necessity and choice.
It’s regrettable the very wealthy did not go on spending sprees
because they were certainly capable of doing so. The top 1% – the
financial elite – saw their incomes increase a whopping 150% during
this recession and they now control a staggering 23% of the country’s
wealth. They got richer but did not spend a lot more.
(It’s no different at the corporate level where corporate income tax
cuts produced none of the anticipated benefits. Most companies have
not expanded or made new capital investments or hired much of anyone.
In fact, America’s biggest corporations are now awash in cash, as much
as $2 trillion in cash reserves according to some experts. They are
awaiting the right moment to invest, expand and hire. At least that’s
what we’re told.)
Which brings us to the Obama non-tax-hike. Having already reduced
federal income taxes for most of us, Obama wants to maintain the Bush
tax cuts for everyone but those near or at the top of the economic
food chain. So, if your income is less than $200,000 a year ($250,000
per household), your taxes will stay the same. For those top income
earners, the Bush tax cut will be allowed to expire, as it was
intended to do in the first place.
Our friends in the GOP have decided to tell us the tax cuts for all
income levels will be allowed to expire. That’s where they come up
with the $3.8 trillion. The problem is no one – not President Obama,
not the Democrat leadership, not anyone in the Obama Administration,
no one – has ever suggested eliminating the tax breaks for middle and
low income earners.
Taxing the super-rich, most of whom will find a way around the
increases, is a favorite campaign strategy of Democrats because it
doesn’t impact the overwhelming majority of us. Making the claim
we’re all going to be taxed is a favorite campaign strategy of the
Republicans because it makes voters angry. The hyperbolic nonsense on
both sides has added nothing but confusion to the debate.
You can argue, as many are, that allowing any of these tax cuts for
any level of income to expire is a mistake that will further slow
economic recovery. Others claim the increase in tax revenues would
help reduce the ridiculous annual deficits and that would help the
economy. Both arguments come with the requisite number of competing
experts. So far, there is little evidence the tax cuts did much to
stimulate the economy and ample evidence they added to the deficits.
If a different approach would have worked better is a legitimate and
important debate.
What cannot legitimately be debated is that Obama or the Democrats
have suggested the Bush tax cuts should be allowed to expire on any
household making less than $250,000 a year. It simply isn’t true.
For about 95% of us there will be no change at all under the Obama
proposal. (If you’re a small business owner, additional tax breaks
are headed your way under another Obama proposal he “borrowed” from
the Republicans.)
We all expect exaggeration and some foolishness during the election
season. Who among us doesn’t enjoy those delightful campaign
commercials? However, the accusation that President Obama wants to
raise everybody’s taxes is a canard that fouls the legitimate debate
on taxes and confirms the cynicism too many voters already have about
politics and politicians.

 
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