To the Editor:
From Wikipedia: “In the United States, with certain exceptions, individuals and corporations pay income tax on the net total of all their capital gains. Short-term capital gains are taxed at a higher rate: the ordinary income tax rate. The tax rate for individuals on “long-term capital gains,” which are gains on assets that have been held for over one year before being sold, is lower than the ordinary income tax rate, and in some tax brackets there is no tax due on such gains. The tax rate on long-term gains was reduced in 2003 from 20 percent to 15 percent (for individuals, whose highest tax bracket is 15 percent or more), or from 10 percent to 5 percent for individuals in the lowest two income tax brackets (whose highest tax bracket is less than 15 percent). The reduced 15 percent tax rate on eligible dividends and capital gains, previously scheduled to expire in 2008, was extended through 2010 as a result of the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act signed into law by President Bush on May 17, 2006, which also reduced the 5 percent rate to 0 percent. Toward the end of 2010, President Obama signed a law extending the reduced rate on eligible dividends until the end of 2012.”
Bush began the Iraqi war, and at the same time eliminated much-needed revenue by enacting tax cuts. According to the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities, “Congressional Budget Office data show that the tax cuts have been the single largest contributor to the re-emergence of substantial budget deficits in recent years. Legislation enacted since 2001 added about $3 trillion to deficits between 2001 and 2007, with nearly half of this deterioration in the budget due to the tax cuts (about a third was due to increases in security spending, and about a sixth to increases in domestic spending).”
If we go back to the tax rates that were in place pre-Bush, we would get rid of half of the debt. If people who earned money but didn’t work for it (the very definition of capital gains) paid the same income tax rate as those who worked for their money, we would in all likelihood remove our debt.
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The tax breaks were sold to us under the pretense of the flourishing economy that they would provide. Where is that flourishing economy?
This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans or Independents. It’s about common sense and basic math.
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