I was prepared to start writing an entry about Barack Obama's tendency to express his middle-class tax cut proposal in terms of desire instead of firm intention. To be sure, Obama has tended to express himself with "I want to" on a regular basis. And that language lends itself to a reversal. Yeah, I wanted to do that but obviously that isn't prudent at this juncture.
And wouldn't that be like Bill Clinton?
But Obama's remarks today from the stump pretty much made the promise without any hedging. In fact, Obama seems to have made a substantial change in his stated plans by making the payroll tax donut encompass individuals making less than $250,000 per year.
I have a different set of priorities. I'll give a middle-class tax cut to 95% of all workers. And if you make less than $250,000 a year -- which includes 98 percent of small business owners -- you won't see your taxes increase one single dime. Not your payroll taxes, not your income taxes, not your capital gains taxes -- nothing. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.There is room to wonder, however, whether Obama really means it. Has he decided to seal the deal on his election by telling whoppers, with this issue as the latest example?
As of today, Obama's campaign Web site has not been updated to agree with his current rhetoric:
Middle class families will see their taxes cut – and no family making less than $250,000 will see their taxes increase.Got that? "(N)o family." Not "no individual." It makes a difference.
A blogger at mikefrancesca.com notes another recent drift from Obama's stated tax policy:
Obama said this:
What I’ve said is I want to provide a tax cut for 95 percent of working Americans, 95 percent. If you make more — if you make less than a quarter million dollars a year, then you will not see your income tax go up, your capital gains tax go up, your payroll tax. Not one dime.
But according to this article, capital gains would go up for any individual not involved in a small business:
He insisted that under Obama’s plan, income taxes would be lower, as well as capital gains taxes on start up businesses and small entrepreneurs (though the capital gains tax would otherwise increase).
And then there's Obama's reluctance to be pinned down on what constitutes a small business:
Obama has not defined a small business – and a lot of money rides on that unanswered question. The consequences of his plans, plus and minus, go beyond income taxes for business people whose earnings are in the vicinity of a quarter-million.
Obama’s health plan makes crucial distinctions that are not defined. Medium and large businesses would be required either to provide health insurance for workers or to pay into a fund.
“Very small businesses” would be exempt from that requirement. Not only that, but Obama would give small businesses a 50 percent tax credit to help them afford health insurance for employees.
What’s very small, small, medium and large? Obama doesn’t say.
Get ready for Slick Barry. It may be our reality in short order.