Saturday, August 30, 2008

Choices and Taxes


For what it's worth, here's a graphical comparison from the Washington Post of the tax plans offered by McCain and Obama. I say it's worth little since the president has only so much control over setting tax rates. Congress will have its say.

Bill Clinton famously pushed through his changes to the tax code without a single Republican vote in Congress, and the first president Bush encountered a Congress eager to force him to eat his idiotic "read my lips, no new taxes" pledge. His judicially-installed son, George W., had the good fortune of a compliant and like-minded Congress for the first six years of his presidency.

A great many Americans are struggling economically. Very few of those, if any, are struggling economically because of the federal taxes they have to pay. But this country's politics are such that candidates who don't promise sweeping tax cuts are doomed, even as the same voters so insistent on receiving this pandering will, in other moods, lip-synch along as the same politicians bewail public debt. Sigh.

We really do have to pick our poisons in life. American politics at the national level, especially in matters of taxing and spending, is a game of forever deferring the picking.

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