Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Blog Reply to Hooah Mac

I lurked around your blog attempt to keep the debate going in just one direction of supporters of [insert candidate name here] convincing you in terms of what is so good about their candidate instead of convincing you of what is so bad about [insert candidate name here]. Great job, and most posts appeared to comply with your request.

The only problem with this approach of yours that I see is that every supporter will try to spin everything they can to win your support. This is not an insult, but it is a natural reflex.

Here is another way to get yourself an answer, and that is to read what each candidate has to say about 1 issue, taxes. Below is listed quotes from the 5 top GOP candidates. I suspect that each candidate's supporters will spin and nuance every noun, verb, adverb, and adjective listed below. I recommend you treat that as flies buzzing around in the background, and go with your gut feelings.

One of my complaints with Republicans in my own party is that, true or not, we’re perceived as the people whose tax policies do tilt toward the people at the top end of the economic scale, with disregard to the people who are barely making it.

Mike Huckabee

I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us at the expense of middle-class Americans who need tax relief.

John McCain

GLENN: Oh, my gosh. I want to ask you, why are we not calling for a flat tax? You've got Macedonia, you've got Czechoslovakia, you've got all of these old other than block countries that lived under that socialist nightmare that are now -- I think it was Macedonia just went to a 9% flat tax for income and corporate. We have the highest corporate tax rate in the world right now. How are we expecting to survive and why aren't we going for a flat tax?

GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, you know, you raise a very good point. You'll find it interesting. I just read Bill Bradley's book to see what he was saying and he pointed out in his book that corporations can move anywhere they want in the world now. There's no requirement that a corporation is locked in our soil, and we have the highest corporate tax rates of any industrialized nation in the world. And what that means is we will see corporations and jobs leave here unless we bring our taxes down, and Democrats like John Edwards and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama over the last few days are calling for tax increases and Hillary called for an increase in the corporate tax rate. This -- I mean, that's always their answer when their challenge is they turn to government.

GLENN: So you didn't really answer question. Why don't we have a candidate calling for a flat tax?

GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, you know, it's -- it has a lot of features that are attractive but the flat tax as it was originally proposed by Steve Forbes had some things I think that would not work and one that I pointed out, of course, is that you eliminate the home mortgage deduction and that would have an impact on the housing market. Another is that the very, very wealthy would pay no taxes at all, none, under a flat tax. And so I think as people hear the term "Flat tax," they like the idea but then if they hear that some people will pay no taxes at all, the very wealthiest, they've say, ooh, there's got to be something to adjust it.

GLENN: Hey, hey, wait. You're talking about the very wealthy. You were talking quite honestly about people like Hillary Clinton that have millions and millions and millions that are working for them and they are not -- they are not paying in income tax. You're saying that they wouldn't pay anything on capital gains.

GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Yeah, that's right, under the Forbes flat tax plan, someone like Bill Gates who probably gets in a billion dollars of income a year from interest and dividends and capital gains, he probably pays $200 million in taxes a year. He would pay no taxes under the flat tax, and I don't think that's what people think about when they think about flat tax. So there's some --

GLENN: So why don't you -- why don't you fix those problems and introduce a flatter tax?

GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Yeah. And that's one of the things that I'll be talking about is my own tax policy. One of the elements that I've already put forward is that I would like to reduce taxes across the board. I'd also like to go after savings for people of middle incomes, and my view is middle income Americans ought to be able to save their money and get their interest dividends and capital gains tax-free. I don't think we should tax people when they earn their money and then when they save it and then when they die. So I want to take that tax off on capital gains, interest and dividends for middle income Americans.

GLENN: Okay. So wait a minute. Hang on just a sec. It's not right for Bill Gates but it's right for middle Americans. Mitt, I know you well enough. I know your history well enough to know that you understand our founding fathers. Help solve something in my head that has been bothering me here recently. Why can't I sue for my equal rights as someone who has prospered in this country? I was born poor, I made my money, and I do not have equal rights under this system because you're penalizing me and you just made an example. You want to make sure that somebody who is middle class has rights that I don't.

GOVERNOR ROMNEY: No, I really don't, Glenn.

GLENN: But I mean, help me out. How does that not work that way?

GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, obviously we have a whole series of provisions of the tax code that give advantage to people of lower income. Do you realize the bottom 30% of earners in this country pay no income tax at all, the bottom 30%. And then in addition, we give a child credit for every child so a person gets a $1,000 tax credit for every child they have. So that means the people who have children are getting advantages relative to people who don't. Those are the provisions that have been worked into the code over the years. Of course, in the Bush tax cut plan we put in place that we doubled the child tags credit. So there are dramatic differences in how we treat different types of income and different types of families, and I'll give you that. There are dramatic differences. But even the flat tax plan, it wouldn't charge any tax to people of lower income. They got no tax at all and no tax for the people of very high income.

GLENN: Right.

GOVERNOR ROMNEY: And that's -- I think that has some problems associated with it.
Mitt Romney on Glenn Beck show

GIULIANI: I think it needs a massive simplification. If we were doing income tax for the first time. In other words, if we were starting off new back at the beginning of the last century, then probably we should go with a--we probably should've gone with a flat tax, maybe two levels of tax, but really simple. Our economy has kind of grown up now on depreciation and deductions and industries have grown up around that and so I don't know exactly how much you can simplify it, but you sure have to make a stab at it. And I think Reagan got it right. I felt that what Reagan did was, I kind of think of it as like cleaning out the forest. You got--the tax code was this big, he got it down to a simple code, reduced the top rates. Kind of leveled out the rates a little so there weren't as many. The tax code needs a simplification in addition to lowering your sum taxes. Another tax that has to be dealt with is the death tax. That's a double tax. People get it twice and it has a major impact on lots of people who aren't really wealthy. You know, people who have their money in land or they have they money in real estate or they have they have their money in the family business or the family farm and they've got to sell the darn thing or they get in a big dispute with the IRS about what it's worth on paper.
Rudy Giuliana on Kudlow & Co.

The U.S. tax code is broken and a burden on U.S. taxpayers and businesses, large and small. Today’s tax code is particularly hostile to savings and investment, and it shows. To make matters worse, its complexity is a drag on our productivity and economic growth. Moreover, taxpayers spend billions of dollars and untold hours each year filling out complicated tax returns, just so they can send more money to Washington, much of it for wasteful programs and the pet projects of special interests. We need lower taxes, and we need to let taxpayers keep more of their hard-earned dollars—they know best where and how to spend them. And we need to make the system simpler and fairer for all. To ensure America’s long term prosperity and economic security, I am committed to:

* Fundamental tax reform built on the principles of simplicity, fairness, and growth.
* A new tax code that gets the government out of our citizens’ pocketbooks, while enhancing U.S. competitiveness abroad.
* Dissolution of the IRS as we know it.

Fred Thompson

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