Higher Taxes Under Republicans

I’ve often noted that the traditional battle lines between Republicans and Democrats have been redrawn. In the past Republicans might have represented the interests of the upper middle class, but in recent years Republican policies have begun to benefit only the wealthy, at the expense of both the middle and upper middles classes. The New York Times provides another example of this in an editorial today:

One of President Bush’s be-very-afraid lines this campaign season is that Democrats, if elected, will raise taxes. What he doesn’t say is that if you are one of tens of millions of Americans who make between $75,000 and $500,000 a year, your taxes are already scheduled to rise starting next year — because of laws that Mr. Bush championed and other actions he failed to take.

The higher taxes stem from the alternative minimum tax, a levy that is supposed to snare multimillionaires who would otherwise get away with using excessive tax shelters to wipe out their tax bills. But these days, the alternative tax is snaring many upper-middle-income filers.

Mr. Bush set the trap in 2001 — and in 2003, 2004 and 2006. In each of those years, he flogged for new tax cuts without requiring corresponding long-term changes in the existing rules for the alternative tax. It was well known that failure to update the alternative tax would create perverse interactions with the new tax cuts, causing filers’ tax bills to drop because of the cuts, only to shoot back up again from the alternative levy.

Those with taxable incomes over $500,000 will benefit from reelecting Republicans if taxes are their only concern, but for the rest of us there is no longer a benefit in voting Republican to save on tax dollars.

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