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George Bush wants to eliminate the state and local income tax deduction.  Stupid Democrats are selling this as a tax on blue states.  Smart Republicans are encouraging them.  Why?  Because Smart Republicans know what Stupid Democrats don't: most states, including most red states, tax income; millions of taxpayers in red states employ this deduction.  If they voted their interests, they would oppose this tax increase.

Smart Republicans know their agenda is a tough sell.  But if Stupid Democrats are loud enough, they may convince Stupid Republicans that it is in their interest to support the elimination of the deduction.  "Eliminate the state and local income tax deduction?  Sure!  It's a tax on blue states!"

As usual, a Smart Republican's best salesperson is a Stupid Democrat.

What would a Smart Democrat do?  

  1. A Smart Democrat characterizes a bad policy as bad for America - and for as many Americans as possible.  Thus a Smart Democrat would not characterize this policy as bad for the 20 states that supported Kerry, but as bad for the 43 states and many more localities that support an income tax.

  2. A Smart Democrat places a bad policy in the context of other bad policies.  Thus a Smart Democrat would place this policy in the context of Bush's tax agenda, which generally lowers taxes on wealth and raises taxes on work; for example, a Smart Democrat might note that Bush is willing to raise taxes on the income of working Americans, but not on inheritances of wealthy Americans.

  3. A Smart Democrat puts Republicans on the defensive.  Thus a Smart Democrat would demand that Republicans from states, counties, and cities that support income taxes, especially those Republicans up for re-election, either defend or denounce the policy.  For example, what does Mike DeWine think of Bush's plan to raise taxes on Ohio's workers by almost $9 billion?  What does George Allen think of Bush's plan to raise taxes on Virginia's workers by almost $6 billion?

In the future, when you're told that a policy has a "disproportionate effect on blue states," don't be a Stupid Democrat.  Be a Smart Democrat.  Know that Republicans manufacture division; they divide white from black, they divide holy from heretic, and here, they divide red from blue.  Then, they set each against the other.  They do this to distract us from the fundamental division evident in their policies: the division between the rich and the rest of us.  

Here, as elsewhere, the Republicans have cut taxes on the rich, and they expect the rest of us to pay the price.  Smart Democrats see it for what it is, and they won't let Republicans get away with it.

Originally posted to Drew on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 12:08 PM PST.


Smart Democrats?

49%87 votes
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Comment Preferences

  •  Work vs. Wealth (4.00)
    Its a tax increase on work, put in place to offset various tax decreases (interest, dividends, capital gains) on wealth.

    Bush's most important constituencies are in Blue states: remember, he plays lip service to red state values while providing serious service to wealth, whether its from red or blue.  The wealthy are the base, the red staters are the rubes.

    •  Where the other half lives. (3.75)
      The rich don't really live in blue states, tho; yeah, they may reside within the borders of one for a time, but they have no loyalty to place.  They move in, use up, and move out, without a care about what they steal away or what they leave behind.

      It's the Republican lifestyle.

      •  Not true (none)
        If you look at the wealthiest counties, they are in blue states, and most of the millionaire types concentrate in those places.  There are a few exceptions, some like Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a low-tax haven with a smaple, the rest either in Florida (retirement communities for the wealthy, largely from blue states), or in the Virgina suburbs of D.C.  I'm sure Texas has its millionaires as well, but it also has a lot more low-income folks.

        There's also a disparity between where they live for tax purposes and where they live day-to-day.  I would be good money that a lot of the Jackson Hole folks spend a good deal of time in NY, LA, DC, etc.

        •  not just the Virginia suburbs of D.C. (none)
          the Maryland suburbs are just as wealthy.  Montgomery Co. Maryland is among the richest counties in the country.  Prince Georges Co. Maryland is the most affluent majority black county in the U.S.  Howard Co. Maryland (where I'm from), which is between the D.C. and Baltimore metro areas, is the #2 richest county in the country.  It also has the most affluent black cohort of any county in the nation.

          BTW... all these places are BLUE and each has real, vibrant communities that run the gamut of groups you can describe.  I the rich vs. everyone else issue is being overgeneralized here.

          "Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society" -- Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

          by wintersnowman on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 03:50:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Lots of NYC Socialites "live" (none)
          in Palm Beach for the tax break.
      •  There are many rich Repubs in CA and NY. (none)
        Wealth is created in and around metropolitan areas.  Think Wall Street, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Chicago.  All major urban areas are in blue states.  Drew is right; this isn't a blue state/red state issue and it isn't going to pass.  Drew's point about smart Democrats is very well taken.  This is a tax on work in all 43 states that have income tax.

        If you're going in the wrong direction and you stay the course, where, exactly, do you wind up?

        by Mimikatz on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 04:09:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Have a point (none)
        Its true that relentlessly pointing out that it is worse on Blue States may offer them more of a reason to vote for it. Hadn't thought of that. Thats why its good to have bulletin boards.  Thanks

        A stupid man's vote means as much as a wise man's

        by tchoup on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 04:50:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  when will we stop (none)
        characterizing wealthy people as thieves and abusers? I would dearly love the opportunity to debase that notion by becoming wealthy. I would hope that if I did, it would not be assumed that I am a bad person because I have money.
    •  It's simple double taxation (4.00)
      If I get taxed on money I'm paying in taxes, then I'm being taxed twice on the same income.  The  Bush administration has said that they need to stop taxing all investment income, whether or not a company pays taxes, simply to prevent double taxation. But now they're trying to make it acceptable to double tax my income.  
      •  Correct (none)
        One can compare the double taxation on income to the very complaint about the double taxation on dividends. Notice that the Bush Administration did not include the idea of double taxation on savings account interest, which is probably the nearest approximation that the average American would have to dividend interest. Afterall, the banks that are earning the money that ends up being given to depositors are already being taxed on the income that they have earned, and then passed on to its investors(depositors). This is not orignal to the Bush Administration. Republicans do not oppose taxation, they just tend to play a bait and switch, lower fedeal income taxes on the middle class and poor, but raise tax in other areas, and in particular, eliminate most deductions that the poor and middle class can take, except those that in some way benefit an industry. You can eliminate state and local income taxes, becasue the only people who will be effected are workers. But absolutely do not eliminate the mortgage deduction.

        This element was key to the Reagan Tax Simplification act of 1986, where virtually every deduction that the average income earner was eliminated, while certain deductions that became the basis of the Enron scandals were passed. Reagan eliminates deductions for credit card interest, and automibile loan interest, but the laws change to allow deducttions for some of the most obscene executive remunerations in history. Reagans philosophy was that the CEO's should be able to be paid anything because of the wonderful things they do for the country regarding the economy and job creation. But less than five percent of the Reagan tax cuts went to job creation and plant improvement. Almost all went o  enormous remuneration for executives, the rest went into dividends for share holders. The argument that half of the benefits in these dividends went to average working Americans is misdirection, The 50 percent of shareholders who are not wealthy are investors without knowing it, mainly through pension funds. The real immediate benificiaries of the Reagan Tax cuts were the very small percentage of the population who benefit immediately from these new tax codes which allow them to deduct new golf courses for the executives at and equal rate as the deductions they take for hiring new employees. This led to the "downsizing" of corporations during the late 80's and early 90's as well as the 60-80 hour weeks experienced by the salaried employees of many of these corporations.

        Republicans tax as highly as Democrats, it is just that the beneficiaries of their tax cuts are those who earn enough to take advantage of the full tax code. Beware Republican tax cuts, they will get you somewhere else. This is where they ar getting the middle class, and rewarding the states that support Republican Administrations. In essence, the idea of double taxation here is agains extended to labor, while the idea of double taxation on investment is anathema to conservatives.

  •  mischief-making (4.00)
    The Democrats need to aim lower--and start proposing legislation that shows the mammoth illogic of Republican "tax policy." Here are two ideas:

    1. The "It's Your Money" Act: Give taxpayers some "ownership" of what their government does by letting them choose what their tax dollars can and can't be spent on.

    2. The "It's Our Money" Act: Procedural legislation that would limit the amount of difference between what states pay into the federal till and what they get back over a certain defined period. In other words, Blue states wouldn't be forever subsidizing the Reds that hate them.

    Neither would pass, and neither is workable. Both objections, while valid, miss the point: they need "our" money to keep their failed government going, even though this need runs counter to their rhetoric.
    •  Number one is a bad idea (4.00)
      Number one sounds similar to the Propositions we have here in CA. It has led to a dysfunctional government, massive deficits, and legislative chaos. As nice and populist as it may sound, putting the purse strings up to a majority vote is a horrible idea.  

      Number Two is a great idea. If Dems are going to propose things that won't pass but sound good, they should stick to things that would be good even if passed.  #2 qualifies, #1 doesn't.

      •  I agree with you (none)
        We have a representative democracy so we don't have to decide how our money is spent.  We need to make better decisions at the ballot box, then we don't need the "it's your money" act.

        These goddamn voter initiatives, a great way to take democracy to the individual, are being abused and used to further tear at the fabric of our country.  GGGGRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!

        Just the thought makes me want to go kick Tim Eyman again...(insider joke for the Washington Kossacks)

        I put things where they don't belong at Switzerblog.

        by switzerblog on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 03:06:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hate him too (none)
          I've voted against every initiative with his name on it.  However, back in 2000 when car tabs were reduced, I did not renew my tabs on Dec 12 like I should have.  I waited until Jan 2 and saved $325.  I still feel ashamed of that to this day.  :<

          he's not a leader, he's a texas leaguer swinging for the fence, got lucky with a strike ... Pearl Jam

          by tamens on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 08:43:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  that damn tim eyman (none)
          i moved to ohio from wa a year and a half ago, and i still rail about him to everyone i meet.  i missed out on voting against i-695 - just missed the registration deadline.  believe me, i'm never making that mistake again.  i'm a little sad that i can't still vote against his hateful initiatives.  well, at least in ohio my vote almost counted.
      •  you're missing the point (none)
        Which shouldn't surprise me, on this site--the place where otherwise-smart people come to delude themselves, and others, that our "government" is any different than a third-world thugocracy, and that ideas matter on their utilitarian merits rather than their salability.

        Maybe one day we can make this true again. But first we have to destroy the bastards of the right before they destroy us.

        The point of the "It's Your Money" Act would be to illustrate that progressive priorities--health care, education, roads and transit--are more popular than the privatization mania and corporate giveaways that are really at the heart of Republican rule. EVERYTHING the Democrats do from here on out should have one goal in mind: to shift the debate terrain to more favorable ground, and to get the general public to see the mutant strain of pseudo-conservatism ("a kinder, gentler National Socialism") the way we do.

    •  Here is a plan for getting the (none)
      cheap labor conservatives to respond:

      "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." ~Martin Luther King, Jr

      by SarahLee on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 01:17:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bush is RAISING TAXES (4.00)
    For heaven's sake people, he's handed us an opportunity on a silver platter.  He should be hammered as thoroughly as his father was.
    •  can't get simpler than that n/c (none)

      Now: the real fight begins!

      by marjo on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 12:53:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oversimplification (4.00)
      At first, I read this and thought, "Well, this is a tax increase, but its offset by a tax decrease on the wealthy, so a better mesage would be 'this is a shift in the tax burden from the middle to the upper class'."

      Then, I realized I was an idiot.  We lose because we're not willing to pare down to a soundbite.  We need to pare down to the bare essentials, that can be repeated.  "Bush is raising taxes" is good for a quick sound bite, we can ad "on working people" or "too cut taxes on the rich" if we have time.  But as much as we can, keep it simple.

    •  One minor issue with the comparison ... (none)
      The difference is that his father actually raised taxes, whereas this is a rumor based on the anonymous, off-the-record and unsubstantiated speculation of "one prominent conservative" and a "congressional staffer".

      Not only is the accusation unsourced, but it is completely illogical: among Bush-voting states, Ohio, practically a prerequisite for a victory in the Electoral College, would be the hardest hit by a prospective elimination. Other victims? Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin would all be battered by this phenomenally unpopular initiative: they went for Kerry, respectively, by two, three, three, and less than one percentage point. Eliminating the deduction would sign away these key battleground states, and with them, the Presidency, to the Democrats in 2008. Even reintroducing segregation would be much more popular with the Republican base than raising taxes.

      But, by all means, let's jump on this. The Republicans didn't suffer lasting repercussions through having reflexively latched onto the Drudge-pushed 'Kerry-InternGate' story earlier this year, and rumors of this impending tax hike seem about as credible. The administration does not put a very high premium on truth, so why should we?

      •  My Tax professor (none)
        said the same thing.  He's also a practitioner.  Don't know if you trust him as a "source", but the word in the tax community is they want to get rid of state and local tax deductions.  He said this also has something to do with AMT.  Because of the federal tax decreases, more people have been forced to file AMT's, which exclude the deduction anyway.  We didn't get too much into AMT in this survey class (which, btw, I highly recommend to everyone--take a tax class!  Doesn't have to be at a law school.  Very, very valuable and, believe it or not, interesting) but the AMT is turning out to be a big problem.
        •  I heard that too (none)
          During the tax cut debates, someone wrote an article on how most of the middle class will be paying the Alternative Minimum in a few years. This either 1)puts a lie to the conservatives who are depending on this backdoor tax hike to pay for their foolishness, or 2) if they eliminate the AMT as well, really are a bunch of Armageddonists.
      •  Not a Rumor (none)
        This is not a rumor in the real sense.  The Bush administration wants this tax increase.  If this tax increase doesn't happen, the only reason will be because tax-payers make it clear to their congressmen (especially Republican ones) that they don't want it to happen.
      •  not a rumor (none)
        Hastert is working on the tax reform bill.

        The reason we don't know all the details is almost certainly that Bush wanted it kept under very close guard before the election. He wanted it kept so closely guarded, he wouldn't let Hastert write it before then.

        Hastert has said he supports removing the alternative tax, abolishing the income tax completely, and forming a federal sales tax.

        Until Hastert publicly supports removing that deduction, we should attack it, based on the rumors, and assume Hastert is actually planning something WORSE than that.

    •  It doesn't matter if Bush raises taxes (none)
      He's a lame duck.

      Now if the Credit Card Congress goes along with it, that would be another matter all together.  The way to dilute the GOPs power is to play the congress against the president.  Keep them busy with infighting so they lose credibility in the eyes of the public and provide us ammo for 2006 mid term elections.

      Reject the Red State/Blue State Model
      It's a wedge!

      by lapin on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 04:38:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  this is the best way for them to raise taxes (none)
        because it will cause a backlash against progressive taxation in the states with the highest level of social services.  They win both ways - they help pay for runaway spending and at the same time they take a whack at progressivity.  They probably think that once the state income tax is not deductable, the populace will rise up and demand that it is eliminated.

        Congregamus ergo sumus.

        by biotecchie on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 08:31:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Another thing a smart Democrat would do is... (4.00)
    ...just say that this is a tax increase and a broken promise by W.  We dont need to get into details of who it hurts - all we need to say is that IT TOOK W ALL OF 30 DAYS AFTER THE ELECTION TO BREAK HIS PROMISE TO LOWER TAXES.  And line 2 is that he cut taxes on the rich in his first term and is paying for it by increasing taxes on everybody now.
    •  hell, every time Kerry blinked (none)
      they counted it as a tax hike.

      Now: the real fight begins!

      by marjo on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 12:55:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly! n/t (none)

      "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." ~Martin Luther King, Jr

      by SarahLee on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 01:21:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Bush family learned the hard way (none)
      Wait until you're a lame duck to break your "read my lips no new taxes pledge".

      Fucking moron Americans could have voted Kerry who really wouldn't have raised any taxes on people making less than $200,000, but no, the dumbshits voted for tax and borrow and spend conservative.

      •  A little jumbled (none)
        Aren't they borrow, spend, then tax conservatives?

        Might and Right are always fighting In our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning. Might can hardly keep from grinning. -Clarence D

        by Myrkury on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 03:28:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  they're tax privilege conservatives. (none)
          they allot tax privileges to the wealthy and to big business. they allot tax increases to the rest of us.

          We get a lot of advice. We tend to listen when somebody's won something. - Joe Lockhart

          by yankeedoodler on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 06:08:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  they sure as hell won't raise corporate taxes (none)
            or taxes on investment income - that's a certainty. Probably they realize that they don't have enough money to pay for everything, so they have started talking about closing "tax loopholes". What's the biggest loophole of all? The home deduction - Can't get rid of that - too many McMansions.  What can we get rid of?  The deduction for state income taxes.

            They want to see all progressive taxes replaced with regressive sales taxes and a flat tax.  

            Flat earthers for a flat tax!

            Congregamus ergo sumus.

            by biotecchie on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 08:34:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Republican moniker (none)
          No, they are 'borrow and steal' conservatives!
    •  Exactly Right (none)
      This is a tax increase, plain and simple. Here are some proposed Talkingpoints:

      Mother of all flip-flops, As soon as the election is over, Bush proposed tax increases.

      Just like his dad-Bush promised no new taxes to get elected, then raised taxes.

      Raising taxes on work, lowering taxes on wealth.

      His presidency has been one big bait and switch.

      He must have forgotten to mention this proposal during the campaign. We need an honest debate on taxes, all we are getting is a fundamentally dishonest bait and switch.

  •  you're right about that (none)
    we can kvetch about blue state taxes here, but if you are in the public eye, you talk about how this is bad for every state with an income tax--including "red" states.

    Unite, don't divide...

    Abortions go up under Republicans. Business is better under Democrats. Pass it on.

    by JMS on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 01:08:40 PM PST

    •  also (none)
      isn't this disproportionately bad for parents and homeowners since they are more likely to itemize deductions instead of take a standard one? Isn't that the "middle demographic" that everyone is trying to reach? Would this affect the standard deduction at all?

      Abortions go up under Republicans. Business is better under Democrats. Pass it on.

      by JMS on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 01:11:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  blah blah blah blah (2.50)
    there's no such thing as a stupid democrat.

    only a stupid democrat thinks there is.

    •  OK - Scratch that (none)
      All the really stupid fucked up retarded democrats over on one side of the room.

      All the really smart ones on the other side.



      •  So Sorry - NO (none)
        we're all smart democrats.

        at least that's what i think anyway.

        •  Is that why we outsmart ourselves? (none)
          Just because we can figure out how to demogogue an issue against our party- should we abandon that issue?  Likewise with sales pitches- any good businessperson knows that you never sell a product with one pitch, to gain maximum market penetration you need to use a separate pitch on each signifigant portion of the population.  Some people like to buy insurance online, some folks like to have an oily salesman come to their house- that's why most insurers have both types of sales.
          Likewise, we should attempt to destroy what is left of the GOP in the blue states by calling them out as agents of alien and hostile interests.  Work this angle in Blue States for the '06 elections.  If we manage to get sufficient control of a Blue state to do a TX style gerrymander- we should do it.
          Meanwhile use the pitch outlined in this diary on a National scale as a sort of background theme, but after '06 drop the regionalism and go after the GOP as the party of tax hikes on a nationwide basis- hopefully this would help our presidential chances in '08, and with luck and a few gerrymanders get back the Congress too.
          Coffee is for closers

          Might and Right are always fighting In our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning. Might can hardly keep from grinning. -Clarence D

          by Myrkury on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 03:38:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  it's not going to end up as a tax on either (4.00)
    Blue OR Red states

    The Bush administration is talking about eliminating local and state tax deductions as a means to cook the books.

    The administration needs to find a way to send up a "tax reform" proposal to Congress that is at least nominally "revenue neutral."  

    Since the package will of course contain tax cuts (and guess who'll be getting them?), they've got to throw in some counterbalancing tax increases--they've discussed not only eliminating deductions for state and local taxes, but also employers' deductions for health insurance provided to employees.  

    Congress will strike the tax increases, the tax cuts will stand, and both Congressional Repubs and the White House will declare victory--Congress gets to say, hey, we saved the middle class and health insurance, and the White House gets to say, we proposed a revenue neutral package--don't blame us if Congress changed it.  And the wealthy and corporate America get some more tax cuts.

    For two previous diaries about the plans for tax "increases" as part of tax "reform," see:

    •  "Revenue Neutral" (none)
      is a phrase Bush seems to like a lot.  It makes whatever crap he is pushing sound like smart policy, and the masses not paying attention don't know any better.  

      It really means helping one group and hurting another through the tax code.  We need to figure out a good rebuttal for "revenue neutral", but I haven't figured out what it is yet.

      Something along the lines of - "revenue neutral for the tax code means revenue negative for the middle and lower class."  

      But that seems too long...

      Fundamentalists are religous fascists. Fascists are political fundamentalists. Now you know why they always appear together.

      by Andy in HoustonTX on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 02:14:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  BAD IDEA! (none)
      BAD BAD BAD.  Ugh. Now I know why I worried so much about loosing this election. I need to drink more.

      Congregamus ergo sumus.

      by biotecchie on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 08:37:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Right (none)
      Its a fabrication; they don't have the margin in the House to make up for all the Republicans from high income tax states to lose their seats over eliminating the deduction for state income taxes.  Gee, look what that would do to the elderly, who own homes but have low incomes, when states shift all that loss onto the property tax, which will remain deductible.  
  •  Focus on "allied" red states ... (none)
    A comment I posted at linked text  as part of linked text:

    Focus on "allied" red states ... (4.00 / 2)

    Seems to me that a potentially profitable path toward opposing this change -- if this is what is desired -- is to focus on politicians (Republican) from Red States.
    For example, Virginia ... which has both state taxes and local property taxes (homes and vehicles).  While not at NYC levels, these can be substantial.  Combined between them these take about 10% of my household AGI -- of course on top of the federal taxes but the state / local taxes at least can be deducted from my tax return.  

    My luck -- Republican Congressman and two Republican senators.  The three offices have heard from me ... and (so far) from 20+ acquaintances on the need to take an equitable and sensible approach toward restructuring the tax system without creating undue burdens on, for example, their electorate.  Virginians would pay dearly for these changes.  There are other "Red" states and Republican House districts for which this is true.

    Now, am I opposed to paying taxes? No, believe in a system where people should pay their share for the benefits we all share in.  This, however, is potentially a punishment path and one that will drive states & localities to provide less service so as to reduce the now increased local tax burdens as they will no longer be deductible on federal taxes.

    Thus, the activism.

    On the other hand, the worst result for the nation might be that the spending side goes forward but that BushCo uses opposition like mine as an excuse to expand borrow as we go rather than actually having one program that creates a balance between new funding sources and new spending commitments.

  •  great diary. (none)
    as Bill said - they need a divided America.
  •  Double Taxation of Income (4.00)
    Give Penny Century props for making this point above:  Eliminating the deduction for state and local taxes is double taxation on income.  (Nevermind that some states don't tax income; many corporations' profits aren't taxed either, and Bush eliminated the provision that would tie the dividend tax cut to the actual payment of taxes.)

    I am only repeating this point for those, like me, who often skim thru the comments on dynamic threading and might miss Penny Century's excellent comment.

    "Supposing truth is a woman -- what then?" -- Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

    by phaedrus on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 02:21:00 PM PST

  •  Revenue Neutral (none)
    Oh this is great, Bush says his new tax plan is "revenue neutral" in that it won't provide the government with any more money despite raising taxes on millions and millions of Americans.

    He's raising taxes and it won't even give the government more money to provide services?  How messed up is that?

  •  here's a novel plan (4.00)
    Don't call other Democrats stupid.  Let Republicans do that, so we can ignore them en masse.

    Now, back to thinking of a pithy comment on your diary, the bulk of which I agree with (in fact, I've stressed in another diary that this affects all 50 states).

    I put things where they don't belong at Switzerblog.

    by switzerblog on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 03:02:31 PM PST

    •  I call 'em like I see 'em. (none)
      Robert Matsui is stupid to say this tax increase "would punish blue states" for all the reasons I gave.

      A poster above said that we could pitch this in blue states exclusviely, and they're right; it might be very effective against Schwarzenegger ("How much more money is Schwarzenegger going to help Bush's cronies steal from California?"), Pataki, or any of the other blue state Republicans.  But that's not what's happening here; the Democrats aren't selling this story to, say, the Sacremento Bee or the Albany Times Union.  They're selling the story to the Los Angeles Times, a paper with more of a national audience, and that's stupid.

  •  Smart (none)
    I don't know I might agree with you long term, but again, I don't know, as we approach mid term elections in which many red folks from blue states will be up for reelection I was thinking that it might be good to classify this as a tax on Blue States, damage republicans from California, New Jersey, New York, etc, etc.  
    Besides it is pretty well known that Republicans are the anti Peter Pans, giving to the rich while stealing from the poor, we've been telling people that for years. But smart republicans are aware that most people are delusional (when asked, 15% of people surveyed say they are in the top 1% wealthiest people, for example.)  many working and middle class americans still believe that if they work hard, follow the rules they will become rich, and that there is no better way to keep people poor than having them plan for the day they will be rich.  
  •  A good point and a well written diary (none)
    I hadn't thought of it that way before you wrote this.

    Thanks, this is exactly what Dkos is for.

    "Freedom is Everyday Low Prices" Graffiti 2003, Anonymous

    by dbratl on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 04:45:23 PM PST

  •  Frame Wars (4.00)
    Eliminating the deduction for state and local income taxes should be simply framed as "Bush raises taxes on working people".

    That's it.  Who cares about blue and red states?  Who cares what Bush does with the money?  If you're going to get the ignorant people who voted for Bush to vote for democrats, simply tell the truth over and over again with as few syllables as possible.

  •  Excellent example of (none)
    framing. Thanks Drew.

    #1 is particularly good. Bad policy is bad policy for Americans as a whole.

    #2 is right on target but needs a secondary line of attack because the republican defense for this is to scream that Democrats are playing the "class warfare" card again. My answer is that we accuse them of it first and strongest. Don't just point it out with facts but


    Thus leading right into #3... put them on the defensive. Make them defend their attacks on working americans. Make them defend cutting overtime. Make them defend cutting tax breaks for the average american. Make them defend running up the largest debt in history. Make them defend giving away our hard earned tax money in free giveaways to the filthy rich. Make them defend corporate loopholes. Make them defend corporate subsidies. Make them defend their failing economic policies.

    "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Theodore Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 06:14:23 PM PST

  •  This is very consistent Republican tax policy. (none)
    Whereas previous tax cuts mainly favored the very wealthy, they did throw in some middle and lower income tax breaks to make them more politically palatable.  This time, however, they are almost exclusively favoring the wealthy.  Don't forget that they are also attempting to eliminate federal taxes on dividends and long-term capital gains (already down to 15%).  In effect, they are saying that revenue derived from capital, as opposed to employment, is not really "income".

    Wealthy people, even the working wealthy (company owners, CEO's, executives, etc.) make most of their money off of capital (long-term gains, dividends, stock options, & other non-income incentives). Therefore, their income tax burden (whether federal or state), since they will eventually have little if any "income", is heading toward zero. Thus, eliminating the federal deduction for state income taxes has little negative impact on the wealthy.

    Now, for the rest of us working stiffs (or in my case, retired and living off a fully taxable pension), eliminating the federal tax deduction for state income tax paid is truely a significant tax increase, and as someone mentioned above, an excellent example of double taxation.

    •  Sorry (none)
      Meant to say that this tax policy favors the wealthy in comparison to the middle class - obviously there are no tax cuts involved.  But, these tax increases are overwhelmingly directed at the middle class.
  •  Thank you! (none)
    I was a little torn on the pole. Democrats are smart in terms of public policy but dumber than a box of rocks when it comes to politics (with the exception of Bill Clinton who has an incredible grasp of how real voters think.)

    You are so right about this blue state-- red state stuff. It is the wrong way to criticize Bush's tax policy and arguments like that re-enforce the right-wing media's central message that Democrats are "elitist." We should stop complaining about the "stupid" red state voters who voted against their economic self-interest(elitist argument), and start complaining about the stupid Democratic political consultants who think that dressing Kerry up as a hunter will make any difference.

  •  It is a Tax increase on the MIDDLE CLASS (none)
    Another DOUBLESPEAK for BUSH--Tax Reform.

    Really there is no way out of the Budget Deficit but Tax increase and he is going to do it but call it otherwise.

    I just finished George Orwell 1984.

  •  *POP* (none)
    That is the sound of the housing market bubble poping if they don't allow deductions of real estate taxes.  Think the real estate and buiding lobby will let it pass?  Plenty of wealthy repubs here in CT.
  •  My we are a cynical crowd (none)
    When I voted on the poll it was 47% that said oxymoron and 53% said redundant.

    An engineer who believes that facts still matter

    by shark on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 08:52:57 PM PST

  •  Not just that (none)
    Red States in general get more back from the federal government than they actually pay the government per taxpayer. New Jersey gets back 62 cents per dollar of taxes paid out per taxpayer. North Dakota gets back 2.01 per tax dollar paid out by each citizen. In a number of ways this does screw the blue states, as eliminating the state and local tax deductions will still more heavily favor the Red States. As a result, the Red States in general have fewer state and local taxes of all varieties than the Blue States. Florida is one of two states that has an equal balance in Federal money received as compared to what they get back. For ech dollar paid out they get back a dollar. But just north of Florida, Alabama gets back 1.61 for each dollar paid out in local taxes. This allows Alabama to keep its local taxes lower, and this inequity in federal money returned to the states allows the red staes to keep their overall taxes low. Florida has far lower property and other taxes than New Jersey or New York, no income tax, and a relatively low sales tax. All thesr taxes are deductable now. Red states which receive a disproportional rate of return from the fedeal government also pay out less in state and local taxes as a consequence, so losing this deduction will hafve a far greater inmpact on a New Yorker, who if working in New YOrk City pays City, State and Federal income taxes, as well as some of the highest proporty taxes in the country. Ten times higher than a Floridian pays, and even more than that as compared to other southern states like Alabama. They money. New Yorkers, citizens of New Jersey, California, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachussetts get a lot more back from the ability to deduct these local taxes than people living in the Red States. Getting this money back at least pumps money back into the local economies of the Blue States  as it gets spent locally. Getting rid of these deductions means that the people of these Blue States will be pumping money into the federal coffers at even higher rated, while the Red States will still be getting money back at higher rates from the federal government, adn they will be paying less to the federal government than the soutthern states a a result of fewer and lower taxes in these southern states. I am sorry, but I tend to agree that this elimination of the ability to deduct state and local taxes will hit the more heavily populated Blue States more heavily, effect the relatively unpopulated and lowe taxes Red States less intensely, and still result in the red States getting more back from the federal government.

    Only eliminating this inequitable re-allocation tax from the federal government would make this a good deal for the states, because only if the Blue States recived funding from the fedeal government at the same rates that the smaller Red States do would balance this out. Red States would then have to keep their state and local taxes as high any other state, and would not be able to keep their local taxes lower than the Blue States which haw been one of the primry reasons for flight from the Blue States. In essence the BLue States are financing the Red States ability to keep their local taxes lower, and getting rid of the deductions for local taxes will result in even more money from the Blue States being distribted to the Red States. Conservatives and those living in Red States get to boast of their lower tax rates and the superiority of conservative economics as a result of this federal welfare to the Red Staes, at the expense of the Blue States. I am afraid that this is simply a shell game to reward the Red States for their conservatism, but picking the pockets of those in Blue States.

  •  Are Democrats for principles, or just winning? (none)
    Many, many comments here that correctly point out that this is a tax increase in sheep's clothing. They also correctly point out that a disproportionate amount of the revenue will flow from so-called Blue States.

    Some facts you might want to keep in mind:

    • Both "Red" and "Blue" states contain substantial numbers of voters who are not represented by the one-color identification system. Red voters will be dinged just about as badly as Blue voters.

    • The deduction for state and local taxes is an abomination that benefits whom? The wealthiest. For this is a deduction based on taxes paid, many of which are taxes on goods and services purchased. Who purchases more? The rich. Who gets the biggest deductions? The rich.

    • The elimination of the deduction will have other effects, too. For instance, the cost of relocating to states/locales with more significant taxes will increase. Is this good or bad? Well, who knows. Maybe fewer people from Red states will move to Blue states. Maybe more Blue staters will move to Red states. Either way, this should even things out.

    • The discussion of "smart" vs "stupid" democrat is insulting and counterproductive. Especially as a "smart" democrat, on my reading, would have to support the progressive nature of eliminating this regressive tax deduction.

    • A "smart" democrat might ask why the Bush admin. would want a tax change that seems to lead to greater fairness in the tax system.

    • A "smart" democrat might be trying to figure out where the bait and switch will be this time.

    • A "smart" democrat might just about now stop believing that the Republicans were not just as "smart" as they were, particularly given the record of the last several years.

    • A "smart" democrat would start by questioning some of the assumptions that have allowed the discussion to be manipulated so easily by Rove and his henchmen.

    I could go on, but I don't really feel like it.

    "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

    by thingamabob on Tue Dec 07, 2004 at 06:16:35 AM PST

  •  My blue heart, In my green car, in my red state (none)
    I realized this morning that the repeal on state and local tax deductions would hurt me and everybody else in the country.

    Everybody is getting stiffed here, and given differential base income levels, I'm not so sure if the variance between Red and Blue zones is so severe, in terms of percentage.



    Ask Bush about his tax break cut.

    The Kama Sutra is a pro-creation position, if there ever was one. :)

    by cskendrick on Tue Dec 07, 2004 at 09:29:42 AM PST

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