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Yesterday, Sen. Obama went to Wall Street and urged the titans of industry to shape up their values.  Today, at the Tax Policy Institute, he's introducing a five-part plan for tax fairness for the middle class.  Its key elements are:

  1. Create a new "Making Work Pay" tax credit of up to $1,000 for America’s working families
  1. Create a new universal mortgage interest credit that will benefit low and middle-income homeowners
  1. Honor America’s seniors by eliminating income taxes for those making less than $50,000 per year
  1. Simplify tax filings so millions of Americans can do their taxes in less than 5 minutes
  1. Eliminate special interest loopholes and tax breaks and crack down on international tax havens

And here's the speech he's delivering:

*          *           *            *

Yesterday I spoke about the future of the American economy at the NASDAQ. And in many ways, NASDAQ is a symbol of the new economy that’s taking hold – the wealth created; the booms and bubbles; the technology that’s helping to drive growth, and the interconnectedness that now spans the globe.

It’s no secret that a fundamental transformation of our economy is taking place. In books and on balance sheets, at policy institutes and around kitchen tables, people are trying to make sense of where the swift and strong currents of globalization are taking us. What we do know is that Americans are living and working in a rapidly changing economic reality.

This isn’t the first time this has happened. Time and again, the American economy has undergone upheaval – from slave to free; from agriculture to industry; from peace to war-time, and from war-time to peace. And time and again, the American economy has emerged stronger.  

The one constant has been the advancement of individual opportunity. There are few principles more basic to our country, and there is none more basic to our economy. We believe that there is a place in the American economy for every American’s dream. And we know that when we extend that dream of opportunity to more Americans, all of us gain.

Americans also know that opportunity doesn’t come easy. You have to work for it.

Here I think of my father-in-law, Fraser Robinson. He raised his two children with his wife Marian in 1960s Chicago. They faced what other African-American families faced at the time – both hidden and overt forms of racism that limited their effort to get ahead. And they faced an additional obstacle. At age 30, Fraser was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. And yet, every day of his life, even when he had to leave an hour earlier in the morning and rely on a walker to get him there, he went to work at the local water filtration plant while Marian stayed home with the children. And on that single salary, Fraser Robinson provided for his family, sending my wife Michelle and her brother Craig to Princeton.  

This is an American story that plays out in millions of families each and every day. It is a story that is shared by the caregiver who is up before dawn and the teacher who never misses the bell; by the trader who works late and the janitor on the night shift. It is the story of a society that values work, and of people who work to create a better future for their families.

This story could not exist without a basic social compact in this country. That compact says that if you work hard, your work will be rewarded. That everybody has an opportunity to make a decent living, to raise a family, to give their children the best chance at success, and to look forward to a secure retirement. That people like Fraser and Marian Robinson can give their children the chance to dream bigger, and to reach new horizons.
 
That social compact is starting to crumble.

In our new economy, there is no shortage of new wealth. But wages are not keeping pace. Workers are more vulnerable to job loss and more worried about retirement. Those Americans fortunate enough to have health care are paying more for it – health care premiums have risen nearly 90% in the last six years. Americans are facing deeper personal debt. From filling up the gas tank to paying for a college education, everything seems to cost more.

This is not just happening by chance. It’s not something we can just chalk up to temporary shocks. It’s happening in part because of the choices we’re making, and the way that we’re making those choices. It’s happening because we’ve gone too far from being a country where we’re all in this together, to a country where everyone’s on their own.

Today, I’m going to focus on one aspect of our economic policy where we need to make different choices. Because nowhere is this shift in our priorities more evident than in our tax policies.

Instead of working to find ways to relieve the burden on the middle class, we’ve developed creative ways to remove the burden from the well-off. Instead of having all of us pay our fair share, we’ve got over $1 trillion worth of loopholes in the corporate tax code.

This isn’t the invisible hand of the market at work. It’s the successful work of special interests. For decades, we’ve seen a successful strategy to ride anti-tax sentiment in this country toward tax cuts that favor wealth, not work. And for decades, we’ve seen the gaps in wealth in this country grow wider, while the costs to working people are greater.

We’ve got a shift in our tax values that disproportionately benefits the wealthiest Americans; corporate carve-outs that serve no national purpose; tax breaks that allow companies to stash their profits overseas; a government that’s paralyzed when dealing with offshore tax haven countries; an overloaded tax code that’s too complicated for ordinary folks to understand, but just complicated enough to work for someone who knows how to work the system.

When big business doesn’t like something in the tax code, they can hire a lobbyist to get it changed, but most working people can’t afford a high-priced lobbyist. Instead of honoring that core American value – opportunity for all – we’ve had a system in Washington where our laws and regulations have carved out opportunities for the few.  

The numbers don’t lie. At a time when income inequality is growing sharper, the Bush tax cuts gave the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans a tax cut that was twice as large as the middle class. At a time when Americans are working harder than ever, we are taxing income from work at nearly twice the level that we’re taxing gains for investors.  

Talk about this in polite company, and sooner or later you’ll get accused of waging class warfare. As if it’s distasteful to point out that some CEOs make more in ten minutes than a worker makes in ten months. Or, as my friend Warren Buffet put it to me – "If there’s class warfare going on in America, then my class is winning."  

What Warren Buffett knows is what all Americans have to remember – to get through these uncertain times, we have to recognize that we all have a stake in one another’s success. When folks are hurting out there on Main Street, that’s not good for Wall Street. When the changes in our economy are leaving too many people behind, the competitiveness of our country risks falling behind. When that dream of opportunity is denied to too many Americans, then ultimately that pain has a way of trickling up.  

We welcome success stories here in America. We admire those who have climbed to the top of the ladder. We just need to be sure that the ladder doesn’t get taken away from the rest of us. We want a system based on fairness – not special favors.  

To steer a course through the change that’s taking hold, we have to hold tight to that core principle: that our economy must advance opportunity for all Americans.  

My own experience over two decades tells me that when you give people a chance at that opportunity, they will take it. That’s what I found as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago, where we set up job training programs and after school programs and counseling programs to bring hope to places that had been hurt by change. That’s what I found as a state Senator in Illinois when we created the state Earned Income Tax Credit so we could put $100 million of tax cuts into the pockets of working families. That’s what I’ve been focused on as a United States Senator, as I’ve worked to expand the child tax credit to include children in minimum wage families, and to close loopholes that shift the tax burden on to working people.

And that’s what I’ll do as President. Because when it comes to our economy, the American people are not the problem – they are the answer.

I’ll restore simplicity to the tax code, and fairness for the American middle class. It’s time to stand up to special interest carve outs. I’ll end the preferential treatment that’s built into our tax code by eliminating corporate loopholes and tax breaks. We shouldn’t be distorting our tax code to benefit a few powerful interests – we should be insisting that everyone pays their fair share, and when I’m President, they will.  

And it’s time to shed some sunlight not only on companies that abuse the tax code, but also on the secretive offshore tax havens that shelter them. We’ll create a list of countries where tax evaders hide their income and cost America untold billions of dollars every year. We’ll lead the international community to new standards of information sharing. And we’ll penalize companies and individuals who use those havens and illegally evade their tax obligations.

If we’re going to keep that social compact for a new century, we need a tax code that’s fair – a tax code that rewards work and advances opportunity. Every American who is ready to work for their American dream should be able to trust that they have a government that works for them. I’ll keep that trust by cutting taxes for working people, homeowners, and seniors, and by simplifying tax filing for middle class Americans.

First, I’ll give a tax cut to working people.

The American people work longer and harder than the people of any other wealthy nation in the world. But their hours are getting longer and their wages aren’t getting any higher. Their costs are going up, but their economic security is going down.

When a single mom gets her paycheck, that check gets taxed. When she goes to buy groceries, that purchase gets taxed. When she reaches her retirement, her social security benefit gets taxed. Meanwhile, her boss’s investments get taxed at a lower rate, and the corporation she works for has all kinds of loopholes built into the tax code because they’ve got lobbyists in Washington sticking up for their interests.  

It’s time for that to change. It’s time for Americans to have a President in the Oval Office who makes decisions based on their interest, not the special interests.

Let’s not forget that even in this era of economic change, our wealth as a nation remains founded on work. I’d reward work by providing an income tax cut of up to $500 per person – or $1,000 for each working family – to offset the payroll tax that they’re already paying. At a time when confidence in the American economy is unsteady, this will give middle class Americans a break, and help them deal with the rising costs of energy, education, and saving for retirement. Under my plan, 150 million Americans – and their families – will get a tax cut. And because this credit would be greater than their income tax bill, my proposal would eliminate all income taxes for 10 million working Americans.

In so many working families, two parents are working full time, trying to bring up their children, and trying to keep up with so many costs that keep growing while their paychecks don’t. This tax credit will strengthen working families by increasing the money in their pockets, and reducing the worry that hangs over so many Americans. And this tax credit will be a particular boost to single working moms, who put in the hours to provide the best opportunities possible for their kids, but struggle to stretch a paycheck that can’t cover their growing needs.

The second thing I’ll do to ease the burden on the middle class is provide a universal homeowners’ tax credit.

If work is how most Americans seek their dream, a home is how many families realize it. A home is a source of stability, a building block for communities, and the most valuable thing that most middle class folks will own. But – as has been made painfully clear through the sub-prime crisis – that source of stability can quickly become the source of economic insecurity. Too many Americans are struggling under the weight of their mortgages. Homeowners need a break.  

Today, we have a mortgage interest deduction, but it only goes to people who itemize on their taxes. Like so much in our tax code, this tilts the scales toward the well-off. Only a third of homeowners take advantage of this credit.

I’ll create a mortgage interest credit so that both itemizers and non-itemizers get a break. This will immediately benefit 10 million homeowners in America. The vast majority of these are folks who make under $50,000 per year, who will get a break of 10 percent of their mortgage interest rate. For most middle class families, this will add up to about $500 each year. This credit will also extend a hand to many of the millions of Americans who are stuck in the subprime crisis by giving them some breathing room to refinance or sell their homes.

The third thing I’ll do is provide a progressive tax cut for America’s seniors.

Since the New Deal, we’ve had a basic understanding in America. If you work hard and pay into the system, you’ve earned the right to a secure retirement. But even though they’ve held up their end of the bargain, many seniors are struggling to keep pace with costs. And as so many Americans know, their worry becomes an entire family’s worry.

This strain has been greater since 1993, when taxes on social security benefits were raised. Millions of seniors saw their net benefits go down. They also had to take on the added strain – and sometimes cost – of filing a complicated tax return.

It’s time to give America’s seniors a break. So I’ll give retired folks the same kind of relief I’ll offer to working people. When I’m President, we’ll work to see that no retiree making less than $50,000 each year has to pay income tax.  This will eliminate income taxes for about 7 million Americans, at a savings rate of roughly $1,400 each year. And 22 million seniors won’t even have to file a return and hire an expensive tax preparer.

The final part of my plan will be simplifying the process of filing a tax return for all Americans.

The tax code has become far too complex. Deductions and exemptions are built into the system, but ordinary people don’t have the time to figure them out without going to an expert preparer - yet another cost at tax time.

In 2004, the IRS estimated that it took 28 hours for an individual to complete her tax filing. According to the IRS National Taxpayer Advocate, "the most serious problem facing taxpayers today is the complexity of the Internal Revenue Code." This past year, USA Today had five different professionals add up the tax bill for one working family – and they all got different answers.

It’s time to cut through the complexity. When I’m President, we’ll put in place a system where 40 million Americans with a job and a bank account who take the standard deduction can do their taxes in less than five minutes. The government already collects wage and bank account information, so there’s no reason the IRS can’t send Americans prefilled tax forms to verify.  This mean’s no more worry. No more wasted time. No more extra expenses for a tax preparer.

Making this change would save Americans more than $2 billion in tax preparer fees, more than 200 million hours of work, and an incalculable amount of headache and heartburn.

All of these proposals are about making America’s tax code simpler, and making it work better for working Americans.

As we simplify the tax code so that it works for the middle class, we’ll have to address shifting costs. Americans are tired of an attitude toward taxing and spending in Washington that is leaving a legacy of debt to our children and grandchildren.

To ensure that we are fiscally responsible, we’ll gain revenue by shutting down corporate loopholes and tax havens. We’ll also turn the page on an approach that gives repeated tax cuts to the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans even though they don’t need them and didn’t ask for them.  We've lost the balance between work and wealth.   I will close the carried interest loophole, and adjust the top dividends and capital gains rate to something closer to – but no greater than – the rates Ronald Reagan set in 1986.

As we make these changes, we’ll be sure to encourage growth and innovation. So we’ll exempt start-up companies and small businesses from capital gains to give them an added boost. Because when more Americans tap that well of opportunity, all of us are better off.  

You know, the truth is, most Americans aren’t asking for a lot. They don’t need overseas tax shelters or a long list of loopholes. They just want a fair shake. And they could stand a break. Because most Americans have simple dreams. A job. A place to raise their family. A secure retirement. A chance to create opportunities for their kids that might extend a little further than their own.

After all, the wealth of our nation is rooted in the work of our people. In his first State of the Union message to Congress, Abraham Lincoln laid out a core principle: "Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."

It’s a simple proposition. That the wealth we earn comes from the work that we do. It’s a proposition that is lived, day in and day out, in the homes of millions of working Americans. The steady pursuit of simple dreams.

The American economy is the tally of all of those dreams. Now – at a time of rising costs and rising uncertainty – it’s time for polices from Washington that put a little wind at the backs of the American people. Now is the time for us to come together as a nation behind a new compact for the 21st century – one that gives the American people a lift, so they can lift up this country anew.  

Originally posted to Adam B on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 10:33 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  2 good diaries 2 days in a row (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Better Days, snout, jj32, LV Pol Girl

      good job!

      "I'm not anti-_____________, I'm pro-Edwards."-me

      by sd4david on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 10:44:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Can I have your planks if you're not using them? (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pb, wystler, 4jkb4ia, el dorado gal, dotster, evora

      I saw the headline on Google News saying 'Obama offers plan for middle-class tax cuts' and I kind of wrinkled my nose up a bit thinking it was standard issue blather. Then I clicked through to the "more articles", selected the: Bloomberg.com story:

      Obama to Propose $80 Billion Tax Cut for Middle Class

      And then HOLY MACARONI! What a plan! More from the excellent Bloomberg.com:

      The plan, which Obama will announce in a speech in Washington today, would give a $500 tax credit to 150 million working Americans and create a universal mortgage credit for homeowners. The proposal calls for raising the top rate for capital gains and dividends, eliminating ``corporate loopholes'' and cracking down on overseas tax havens. [...]

      The plan would eliminate taxes on senior citizens who earn less than $50,000 annually, removing the need for them to file tax returns. The plan would also simplify tax filing for many Americans by having the Internal Revenue Service provide them with pre-filled tax forms using financial data it receives from employers and banks.

      The fact that it's getting portrayed as a straight up tax cut when it strikes me as a very progressive tax shift is political gravy. This Obama economic plan is going to go over very well as it's simple and understandable and the two paragraphs above in the Bloomberg story pretty much sum it up.

      "Nothing seems to embarrass the political class today." - Bill Moyers

      by joejoejoe on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 12:41:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Put the text of the speech in the body (or better (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yoshimi, jj32, Geekesque, kath25

    yet, just link to it and highlight the good stuff.

    Join the College Kossacks on Facebook, or the Republicans win.

    by DemocraticLuntz on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 10:29:57 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for putting this up! (6+ / 0-)

    Gandhi replied, "Oh, I don't reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It's just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ."

    by turnnoblindeye on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 10:30:25 AM PDT

  •  Tax policy that benefits working people? (23+ / 0-)

    Who does he think he is, a progressive Democrat?

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 10:32:41 AM PDT

    •  curious? a pool ... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Caldonia, jj32, Geekesque, malharden

      how many comments before AnneFrank visits to add her two cents?

      it's about biconceptualism ... Obama08

      by wystler on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 11:03:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wouldn't this be a good time to use... (0+ / 0-)

      "Panderific" again?

      Please, please, please...

      No taxes for seniors? Pandering to the most powerful lobby on the planet... But... who will make up the shortfall? These taxes aren't going to pay themselves...

      Tax Cut for workers?  Pandering to, by his count, about 150 million Americans

      Mortgage interest credit?  This would be pandering, but is pretty much insignificant, in actual impact.

      Tax the rich more, Close the loopholes. Pandering, by his own numbers, to the other 99% I'm ok with this one...

      Simplifying the tax code Good idea, hard to do. Steve Forbes wanted to do that too, but we wouldn't let him.

      TFYQA - think For Yourself, Question Authority

      by Niniane on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 12:58:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Progressive policies aren't pandering. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Adam B, Inland, dotster, evora

        Going out of one's way to curry favor with special interest groups is pandering.

        "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

        by Geekesque on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 01:06:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Seniors aren't a special interest group? (0+ / 0-)

          Since when?
          How is treating them different than other low income folks "progressive"?

          Beats the hell out of me.

          Besides, they already get an additional deduction, right? I just don't get this one...

          I'll give you the rest.

          TFYQA - think For Yourself, Question Authority

          by Niniane on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 02:09:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, FDR's creation of Social Security wasn't (0+ / 0-)

            a progressive policy.  

            "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

            by Geekesque on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 02:12:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not really an answer... (0+ / 0-)

              Hey, I'm not all that far from seniorhood myself... far enough away that Social Security is unlikely as far as I can tell... but I would like those tax advantages when I get there too.

              But I don't vote for what is good for me, I vote for what I believe is good for the country.

              Someone will have to pay the taxes that the seniors don't. Unless, it's that top 1% we keep hearing about, It's probably going to be you and me.

              Which makes you and me less likely to be able to enjoy our retirement.

              Please help me out here... I really don't get it.
              Low income folks all need the breaks, the older ones probably less than the younger ones.
              Older taxpayers have S.S., some have pensions, they should have lower ( if not paid off) mortages, and some retirement funding, if they have been fiscally responsible at all.
              Younger low income  folks have high mortgages, families to raise, college tuition to pay, and have to save for retirement, cause the system isn't likely to do it for them.
              How is this progressive?

              TFYQA - think For Yourself, Question Authority

              by Niniane on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 02:29:39 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Democrats appealing to the democratic wing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dotster

        of the democratic party by cutting taxes to the middle class.  What has the nomination processs come to?   Obviously Obama needs to listen to a better class of lobbyists in a new Open Drawer policy.  

        Read Obama's 2002 speech against invading Iraq. http://usliberals.about.com/od/extraordinaryspeeches/a/Obama2002War.htm

        by Inland on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 01:09:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Fantastic (16+ / 0-)

    As the owner of an inexpensive house, nice to see someone acknowledge that the home mortgage deduction doesn't benefit everybody who owns a home.

    When I look at Barack Obama, I think about John F. Kennedy, who leaped over Hubert Humphrey's generation to bring in fresh voices and fresh ideas.-Bill Moyers

    by snout on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 10:36:36 AM PDT

    •  Indeed! (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wystler, mmacdDE, snout, annefrank

      I pay a boatload in interest, and I sure as hell don't get to itemize. It's just not enough to be better than the standard.

      I support John Edwards for President.
      -8.13, -4.15

      by Eddie in ME on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 12:02:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Me too (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wystler

        Not a lot of medical expenses, relatively low taxes, and a pretty small mortgage = not enough to itemize.

        But that's part of the reason why so many people bought those big, overpriced, McMansions - tax deductions.

        •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nanoboy

          I think most people buy a home to live in and own an appreciable asset. Makes no sense to me to pay $20K a year in interest to the bank just so you can get $5K of that back on your taxes (25% bracket). You're still out $15K to the bank. I would rather pay $7K a year in interest and not itemize.

          This scheme seems to reward those who pay the least mortgage interest. Even the wealthy near the end of a mortgage (where very little is going to interest) will benefit from this--unless there's an income cap (I didn't see one.)

  •  the social compact theme is a winner (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pithy Cherub, dotster, speck tater

    just as it was before the wall street crowd.  And the tax breaks are going in the right direction, that is, towards the middle class.  It's not what I would have done if I were creating a tax code, but it'll get through congress.

    Read Obama's 2002 speech against invading Iraq. http://usliberals.about.com/od/extraordinaryspeeches/a/Obama2002War.htm

    by Inland on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 10:41:59 AM PDT

  •  He'll mop up the retiree vote! (11+ / 0-)

    The elderly are a powerful voting block.  He's talking to them!!! Many of them live on much less than $50,000.oo.

    "You can't be neutral on a moving train." - Howard Zinn

    by bigchin on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 10:45:07 AM PDT

  •  Before everyone celebrates (5+ / 0-)

    I advise them to read Showdown at Gucci Gulch, an accounting of the Tax Reform Act of 1986.  While talking about reforming the tax code may be a good thing, in practice it's much harder than it looks.  Any successes that came out of the TRA were merely temporary.

    One of the authors, Jeffrey Birnbaum, wrote a story commemorating the 20th anniversary:

    Twenty years ago today, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the broadest revision of the federal income tax in history. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 -- the biggest and most controversial legislative story of its time -- had lawmakers, lobbyists and journalists in Washington in an uproar for two years. Despite nearly dying several times, the measure eventually passed, producing a simpler code with fewer tax breaks and significantly lower rates. The changes affected every family and business in the nation.

    In the years since, however, rates have gradually risen and Congress has passed nearly 15,000 changes to the tax law. Many of the loopholes that disappeared two decades ago are back. Now, as then, politicians (including President Bush) are branding the income tax unfair and calling for reform. And now, as then, few expect it to happen.

    Tax Reform: What Has Changed Since 1986?

    My spouse works for the IRS and shrugs when there's any talk of tax reform since people really don't understand the US Tax Code.  

    Liberal: "I still think it's a respectable word. Its root is "liber," the Latin word for "free," and isn't that what we are all about?"--Mary McGrory

    by mini mum on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 10:48:42 AM PDT

    •  I suspect you're right (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CeeusBeeus

      Maybe the best thing we can hope for is complicated, inconsistent taxation favoring the poor and middle class rather than complicated, inconsistent taxation favoring the rich...

      Put the circular firing squad in the circular file.

      by JMS on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 10:54:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well then tell me this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MarketTrustee

        Since you're so smart:

        1. How much revenue will be lost by eliminating income taxes for seniors making less than $50,000 per year?  And where would you propose making up that lost revenue?
        1. How do you simplify tax filings so millions of Americans can do their taxes in less than 5 minutes if the entire US Tax Code runs 17,000 pages?  And how do you decide where the cut off is for who qualifies--and why?
        1. If a new universal mortgage interest credit is created to will benefit low and middle-income homeowners, what will the overall impact be on revenues?
        1. If you eliminate special interest loopholes and tax breaks and crack down on international tax havens, does that really translate into more revenue or just more creative corporate accounting?
        1. And why does Obama say nothing about indexing the AMT to inflation?

        As I said, nobody understands the Tax Code.

        Liberal: "I still think it's a respectable word. Its root is "liber," the Latin word for "free," and isn't that what we are all about?"--Mary McGrory

        by mini mum on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 11:05:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  huh? I thought I was agreeing with you (0+ / 0-)

          so why the test? I wasn't being sarcastic--for once. Unless your first post was a veiled slam at Obama and I should be doing an ID check to see what candidate you "really support".

          but I'll play along

          1. probably not a lot of revenue. Seniors with small incomes get a lot of tax breaks as it is. I don't know exactly because I don't have access to the numbers and certainly don't want to look them up. Hope Obama's accountants know, though. I think that's a pander, but everyone panders to the elderly (senior discounts, early bird specials, adult communities, whatever)
          1. well, the tax code may be long, but nobody's taxes actually take up 17,000 pages, so what's the point of bringing that up?--the EZ form takes, what 2 pages? More to the point, I suspect that some of the pain of taxes comes from the collateral stuff, like saving receipts, determining whether expenses qualify, and going through the inane calculations (and then going back through them if one doesn't meet some earning threshold). But the less one itemizes, the more likely it is that one will not get all the tax breaks one is entitled to. So maybe that's a trade-off that's not mentioned. Simple taxes may mean higher taxes. But then again, maybe those higher taxes will pay for point 1.
          1. Revenues in that area may go down. But raising revenues in other areas (simplifying taxes, raising taxes on the rich, stepping up enforcement) ought to make up for it. If it doesn't, again, Obama's accountants aren't doing their homework. Or maybe just pulling out of Iraq would pay for the whole thing. It wouldn't surprise me...
          1. I am skeptical of the ability of the government to completely crack down on loopholes. This would be like getting rid of all the bacteria in hospitals.
          1. I don't know. Maybe nothing. As far as I can tell, he didn't say anything about estate taxes either (my question below). He also doesn't talk about increasing the ceiling on taxation for social security, one of my favorite issues, but nobody's willing to talk about that.

          Put the circular firing squad in the circular file.

          by JMS on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 11:20:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Smart questions (0+ / 0-)

          I especially agree on the need for AMT reform.

        •  Good point mm (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MarketTrustee

          And why does Obama say nothing about indexing the AMT to inflation?

          Certainly he's aware of Bush's attempts to eliminate the AMT and "the death tax".

          I like to tell my brother, who was up in arms over these, that "the death tax" is really "the Paris Hilton tax".  And there's no reason to eliminate the AMT, just restore the floor to a reasonable level and index it.

          He missed an opportunity to stick it to Republican politicians and pick up some Republican support.  

          Impeach the chimp, save the world.

          by Helpless on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 12:24:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Who, but experts (0+ / 0-)

      understand the tax code?  Maybe americans who might actually receive a refund will actually get the much needed refund with a process that doesn't require H&R Block.

      •  No (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MarketTrustee

        Everybody loves to hear that they'll pay fewer taxes.  What nobody wants to hear is that you have to make up the lost revenue somewhere else.

        Take a look at this and tell me how it will happen.

        So who will be paying to make up the difference?  Will you?

        Liberal: "I still think it's a respectable word. Its root is "liber," the Latin word for "free," and isn't that what we are all about?"--Mary McGrory

        by mini mum on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 11:13:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think you may have misinterpreted (0+ / 0-)

          my comment mm.  My only point is that poorer, disadvantaged folks may not file-to their detriment- because the forms/process are too daunting.

          •  Not really (0+ / 0-)

            there are lots of non profits that go out to help low-income families get their taxes done in time.  I know AARP has similar efforts to help senior citizens get their taxes done.  There are plenty of resources--not H&R Block--to help taxpayers who have trouble navigating the tax forms and who can file the returns electronically.

            Liberal: "I still think it's a respectable word. Its root is "liber," the Latin word for "free," and isn't that what we are all about?"--Mary McGrory

            by mini mum on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 11:28:50 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  H&R block (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mmacdDE

        Perhaps they should offer a credit towards getting a computer in each home. The truth is that the IRS offers plenty of free programs that make H&R block unnecessary and that will get you your refund in 10 days. The only thing is that you need a computer and internet access to have access to it.

        I'd imagine H&R Block wouldn't be happy. They make fistfulls of money with their RALs where folks are paying about 10% of their refund to get it 9 days earlier.

        •  Non profits, probono accountants (0+ / 0-)

          and other groups try to help file taxes so you don't necessarily need a computer of your own. But the information doesn't always get out so lots of people miss out on the help.

          Liberal: "I still think it's a respectable word. Its root is "liber," the Latin word for "free," and isn't that what we are all about?"--Mary McGrory

          by mini mum on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 11:33:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We used the library one year (0+ / 0-)

            Our computer broke so we ended up going to the library. Of course we are blessed to have had transportation to get us there and enough time carved out of our day to get it done. I really do wish we'd figure out a way to make it affordable for each American though to have access to the internet.

        •  free programs (0+ / 0-)

          The problem is it's difficult for many to differentiate the bona fide non profits from the scheisters.

      •  What makes you think experts understand it? n/t (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mmacdDE, MarketTrustee

        "This machine kills fascists"--words on Woody Guthrie's guitar

        by Old Left Good Left on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 12:14:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wow (0+ / 0-)

    I like the idea for the seniors. I'm not sure about the $1000 working credit(it would benefit middle income but I kind of question its im[pact on low income who aren't paying taxes unless the plan expands EITC). I have mixed feelings on the mortgage credit.(What about renters don't they deserve relief?)i do like if he'd adopt like Edwards the $500 saving credit match. I think that it just might get us over the negative savings hump.

    Adam do you know where I can see more details on the planks?

  •  has anybody been (0+ / 0-)

    talking about the estate tax lately, what's up with that?

    Put the circular firing squad in the circular file.

    by JMS on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 10:52:48 AM PDT

  •  As long as politicians use tax law as a payback (0+ / 0-)

    for campain contributions, nothing will ever happen. That's why a flat tax will never be implemented. Millions of dollars have been handed out in contributions (use to be called bribes), and there is no way those contributers will allow their bought and paid for tax breaks to go away.

  •  Good media talking point (7+ / 0-)

    This [current tax code] isn’t the invisible hand of the market at work. It’s the successful work of special interests.

    Truth in reporting.

    And I'm glad he hauled Buffet's quote into it.
    ~Get a clue, Repub delusionist voters~

    ~A govt lobbied, campaigned and selected by corporation... is good for corporation. Bad for people.~

    by Orj ozeppi on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 11:11:31 AM PDT

  •  Wow, Obama is on fire (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Better Days, jj32, kath25, dotster, pamelabrown

    in that professorial, wonky kind of way. There is, however, enough easy-to-understand meat in this policy to appeal to a number of demographic groups (e.g., middle class home owners and the elderly) and encourage them to take a second look.

    Unconventional wisdom. Obama '08.

    by speck tater on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 11:15:03 AM PDT

  •  And he/ all the canidates need to say (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sherlyle

    the FIRST step we will take to "Shore up" social security will be to raise the cap on what income is subject to the tax. I would also advocate no SS tax on the first $10,000 of income for employees.
    And my biggie is taking away the incentive for employers to hire part-time, not full time help.

    "I'm not anti-_____________, I'm pro-Edwards."-me

    by sd4david on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 11:30:23 AM PDT

    •  The incentive (0+ / 0-)

      to hiring part-time help is called "employer responsibility for providing health insurance."

      I do like conducting hearings in an actual hearing room -- John Conyers

      by ebohlman on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 12:57:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I understand that ther disincentive is that, but (0+ / 0-)

        what I'm saying is there needs to be an incentive to hire full time if possible.
        I keep getting screwed at jobs that try to get around having full time help-you know, 30 part time people rather than 10-15 full timers.

        "I'm not anti-_____________, I'm pro-Edwards."-me

        by sd4david on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 03:31:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is great. (5+ / 0-)

    I love the tax cut for seniors. People on a fixed income are screwed, as inflation just makes their savings meaningless.

  •  this is where he lost me (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, Helpless

    I will close the carried interest loophole, and adjust the top dividends and capital gains rate to something closer to – but no greater than – the rates Ronald Reagan set in 1986.

    bs

    everyones for tax cuts - but saying we are gonna make up the revenue lost by closing loopholes and repealing the bush cuts AINT GONNA DO IT!

    THATS VOODOOO ECONOMICS 2008  STYLE

    We have to raise the rates on the wealthy, not kiss their ring

    Seems the big supporters obama has on wall street and in the hedge fund industry have nothing to feaR FROM HIM.

  •  Did I Miss the Part About Restoring Progressive (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    da, Helpless, MarketTrustee

    taxation at the top?

    If he's not talking about fairly steep progressive rates of income and inheritance at the top end, he's not talking very seriously.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 11:42:15 AM PDT

  •  Mostly horseshit (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BradMajors, beagledad, MarketTrustee

    Most Americans, if they would but learn basic math, can ALREADY do their taxes in less than an hour.  This country's educational system is so crappy, however, that people are afraid of a simple form, but the fact is that most people can use the 1040EZ, or the basic part of the 1040, and do their taxes very simply and easily. I don't know where Obama got that 28 hour stuff; I do mine with TurboTax and it never takes me more than an hour, and I have some complicated issues.  Most people don't have those issues, and I flat don't believe it would take more than an hour for most of them.

    Moreover, where exactly does Obama plan to make up the revenue lost from exempting seniors making less than $50K a year from income taxes - and is that earned or unearned income?  Is he proposing to eliminate taxationg of SS benefits?  If so, where does he plan to make up the lost revenue to the Social Security system, because that's where that tax revenue goes.

    Finally, we already have the Earned Income Tax Credit which is designed to offset the payroll tax burden on the working poor - and it doesn't work very well, mostly because people don't use it.  How is his new system going to work better?  

    I'd love to know who his tax advisors are, and whether they know their asses from a hole in the ground - I don't see much evidence of that in this speech.

    Oh, and mini mum above recommends Showdown at Gucci Gulch - I was there, I worked on the 1986 Act, and I'll just quote Bob Dole - "We made the tax code pretty flat in 1986, but ever since then, it's gotten unflatter every year."  Amen.

    •  Want to do my taxes? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wystler, Eddie in ME, mcfly

      Less than an hour? I have a Ph.D. and it takes me hours to do my taxes, and that is with software. My sate taxes are also getting more confusing every year. I agree that things have gotten much worse since 1986 but it looks like Obama's plan is a good step in correcting that.

      Keep your eyes on the prize.

      by Better Days on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 11:58:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't do my own taxes (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wystler, mcfly, MarketTrustee

        And I'm a tax attorney.

        "This machine kills fascists"--words on Woody Guthrie's guitar

        by Old Left Good Left on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 12:03:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  back when I used the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wystler

        EZ form, I'm sure filling out the form took less than an hour, and I just had 1 W2 to deal with, so no, it wasn't a big deal. Please grant that some people are in that situation and I'll grant that someone who is self-employed, has large investments, claims medical costs or whatever, has to spend far longer, at least if they want to get it right, or pay the minimum amount of money. I still do ours by hand with a calculator (not the EZ anymore, alas), but our lives are fairly simple and I don't bother to scrounge for every last tax break. We do: everything to do with children, mortgage, local and state taxes, student loans, and I think that's about it. Our income hasn't been high enough to get tangled in the AMT, and I haven't made any major mistakes so far, well, I don't think anyway.

        Put the circular firing squad in the circular file.

        by JMS on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 12:10:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You're not most Americans are you? (0+ / 0-)

        Last I checked, most Americans don't have PhDs.  I am a tax lawyer, I helped to draft the 1986 Act, and I teach this stuff, so yes, I'm not an ordinary taxpayer.  But I do not see what all these complications come from that you're talking about. Also,  I was NOT talking about state taxes, and neither is Obama - his "plan" is strictly a Federal tax reform, so it wouldn't help on that.

        My point is that MOST people have only wage income, and most of their tax liability is satisfied through withholding.  People on this site are far more likely to have investment income than most people, who, if they do have such investments, are more likely to have it in tax-deferred accounts like 401(k) plans, which require no yearly tax calculations at all.  So tell me, where the fuck do the complications come from?  You have mortgage interest, you deduct it; you have major health expenses, you follow the form's instructions and you may or may not deduct it; you deduct your charitable contributions - and what else is so complicated?

        If you're using software like TurboTax, and it takes you hours to do your taxes, trust me, you're not doing it right.

    •  lack of understanding (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wystler, DemocraticLuntz

      You show a real lack of understanding about what REAL people go through-

      Seniors who won't use computers
      Families living paycheck to paycheck
      People with learning and other disabilities that make doing these forms difficult (10% of the population)

      Simplifying the tax code would benefit millions and millions of people.  Framed the correct way this would be a huge winning issue for right-leaning independents.

      Bush will be impeached.

      by jgkojak on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 12:10:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  These are not people with complicated tax returns (0+ / 0-)

        No, I do understand - I do VITA tax help for the elderly and poor every year, so I do see all these people.  And I stand by my statement - the tax forms are NOT complicated for people whose income is from wages - they just are not.  People have a unreasoning fear of math and forms, born of a piss-poor educational system, that is completely unfounded most of the time for most people that you are talking about.  

        And, yeah, we can simplify the tax code - and the result would be most likely a massively unfair system that doesn't recognize any special circumstances for individual taxpayers - like tax breaks for the elderly (which Obama wants to increase, not simplify), for the disabled, for the working poor.  I'd rather have a few complications.

    •  1040EZ is easy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wystler, emilymv

      if you're single with no dependents and no mortgage. There's no question in that case.

      But if you have obligations, you'll likely have to run the numbers to find out if it's worth itemizing or not, even if you ultimately just go with 1040EZ.

    •  tax software and preparers (0+ / 0-)

      Just keep in mind that the goal of tax preparation software is to make the parent company money and to reduce their liability, not to get you the refund you deserve.

    •  You're not even getting the point. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wystler

      Most Americans, if they would but learn basic math, can ALREADY do their taxes in less than an hour.

      You can do the form if you have nothing but wage income...I need a computer and still haven't done my April 1040...but the real problem is that nobody can figure out who is paying what.  The complexity means a lack of transparency, and a lack of transparency means that people are getting away with breaks, and that the system screws those of us without lobbyists.

      I can tell you that a person had one million dollars in income last year, and he could be paying zero or ten percent or a third in taxes, all depending on where it came from.  

      Indeed, the righties arguing for a flat tax argue that the rich already pay no taxes, so a rate of 18% is a tax hike, while the righties arguing for tax breaks for capital argue that the rich are being squeezed to death.  They are both equally true, as far as we know.

      Read Obama's 2002 speech against invading Iraq. http://usliberals.about.com/od/extraordinaryspeeches/a/Obama2002War.htm

      by Inland on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 01:18:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  amen. (0+ / 0-)

      i understood, SS income is currently taxed if you enroll before 65 AND are still earning. SS distribution formula can deliver annual nontaxable income as great as $35K (predicated by very high avg salary during employed lifetime). AND all SS beneficiaries over 65, irrespective of SS annual income and nontaxable unearned income, are taxed after the first $25K, iirc. and if that senior's generating +$25K on DBA or S-class status --not wages-- well, a taxable $50K income could be a long time coming... with or without an EZ form.

      ditto new EITCs.

      if he's talking about a senior W2-type exemption on the first $50K, then he ought to have been explicit. that proposal would be a substantial improvement in SS beneficiaries' and lo-mo HH cash flows.

      Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

      by MarketTrustee on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 02:01:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It makes no sense to me that a senior (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SoCalLiberal

    citizen's income should be treated any differently than anyone else's income.  If I'm not mistaken, seniors have more disposable income than any other age group, and they enjoy better entitlements than any other group.

    I don't get it.  It sounds like pure pandering to me.

    •  Not always... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aexia, Better Days, Ellinorianne

      There are also many seniors who get one check, and one check only... and that is their Social Security. Living as a senior on a fixed income sucks, especially when the Fed decides to start screwing with their benefits.

      I support John Edwards for President.
      -8.13, -4.15

      by Eddie in ME on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 11:57:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know it's not always. But one does not (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SoCalLiberal

        deal with anecdotal evidence to set policy.  This is overall a group with great benefits, compared to others in society.

        I said that seniors' income should be treated the same as others' incomes.

        Remember, there is already the (in my view, ridiculous)  advantage that capital gains and dividend incomes (earned on capital) are taxed at a significantly lower rate than regular income (earned through work).

        •  That is ridiculous (0+ / 0-)

          And I think it's a crock. It's a system that rewards the wealthy more than those who aren't. Admittedly, I stand to benefit from that myself someday, being I'm 26 with the beginnings of an investment account.

          Somehow I don't think I benefit as much as, say, Bill Gates does though.

          The problem is that a senior's income is often floating around the poverty level anyway, if it's a fixed income... if treating it "the same" involved lowering the taxes on other similarly poor individuals who aren't over 65, I'm with it.

          I just know that seniors in this country get screwed. In most cases, their $30k isn't as much as someone else's, when you factor in the much more expensive medical costs involved with age.

          I support John Edwards for President.
          -8.13, -4.15

          by Eddie in ME on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 12:09:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm just saying this is not the way to help (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SoCalLiberal

            seniors who are, as you say, hovering around the poverty level.  

            $49,999 -- tax free -- for a retired individual is pretty good.  That's $99,998 -- tax free --for a retired couple.  In many cases the house is paid off.  No more kids to support, except grandkids.  No university tuition.

            And a lot of income over that will be subject to lower tax rates on capital gains and dividends.

            Someone correct me if my assumptions are wrong, but, again, I think Obama's idea is ridiculous pandering.  It's a handout.  There are better ways to help all people having trouble making ends meet.

            •  both sides of the mouth (0+ / 0-)

              But one does not ... deal with anecdotal evidence to set policy

              decry anecdotal evidence when it hinders.

              In many cases the house is paid off.

              when it helps, present it

              it's about biconceptualism ... Obama08

              by wystler on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 01:13:04 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

          Remember, there is already the (in my view, ridiculous)  advantage that capital gains and dividend incomes (earned on capital) are taxed at a significantly lower rate than regular income (earned through work).

          and 401(k) and IRA withdrawals will be taxed as regular income. not as capital gains.

          all your concerns cover folks whose revenue stream far exceeds $50K/year.

          it's about biconceptualism ... Obama08

          by wystler on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 01:10:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  you're mistaken (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Embee

      I'm not mistaken, seniors have more disposable income than any other age group ...

      not so, if it's limited to those seniors who make less than $50K/year ... they're not the ones blowin' thru mad money

      then there's us short-horizon-to-retirement folk ... people whose 401(k) and IRA growth has been chopped badly by the lousy economy (unless we were lucky enough to market-time well in 2000/2004), and those who've been hammered by the huge growth in higher education expenses for our kids, and those who shudder at the realization that their real-estate-based retirement nest egg might not grow a heck of alot over the next few years ...

      disposable income? the first 50K ain't mad-money here in Chicagoland ... i'm sure it's not so in NYC, LA, Frisco ...

      it's about biconceptualism ... Obama08

      by wystler on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 01:08:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Another short-horizon-to-retirement folk here... (0+ / 0-)

        Excellent points.  Also, the payroll taxes for FICA are  deducted after federal and state taxes are calculated, so one could make the argument that SS payments should be tax free.  I believe that they used to be prior to 1986.

        Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter - MLK,Jr.

        by Embee on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 01:31:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Problem with that theory (0+ / 0-)

        All seniors will obtain the benefit, unless the exemption is rapidly is phased out.

        An important goal of any tax system should be horizontal equity.  That is not met if exemptions are doled out based on a factor, such as age, that is not a reliable predictor of ability to pay.

        "This machine kills fascists"--words on Woody Guthrie's guitar

        by Old Left Good Left on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 02:47:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  general ideas sound nice (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4jkb4ia

    specific measures, somewhat hole poke-able. I don't actually think taxation is anybody's #1 issue, but here's what I think about taxes:

    1. roll back taxation on the wealthy to pre-2000 levels. (do you like how I said "roll back" to trick people into think taxes will go down, when they'll go up? aha!)
    1. Make the AMT (and anything else one can think of) adjust automatically with the rate of inflation...so we don't have to talk about it unless we want to change the entire premise of the tax in question.
    1. Reinstate the death, er, estate tax
    1. Get out of Iraq. that's been a huge drain on our budget, and I imagine we'd suddenly find ourselves with money to do other things if we got out.
    1. Get wages higher. Sure you'll have to pay more in taxes, but you'll also have more in your pocket.
    1. Manage the cost of healthcare. Notice I didn't say anything about who pays for it. Even if the government paid for everything, if the cost of healthcare were to keep rising quickly, we'd still pay in the form of higher taxes. Maybe single payer is the best way to manage healthcare costs, or maybe there is another way, but that's not really the point there.

    Ok, so some of this stuff is not directly tax related, but it is budget related, and taxes are half of the budget picture.

    Put the circular firing squad in the circular file.

    by JMS on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 12:04:53 PM PDT

  •  This is THE ISSUE (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wystler

    Wow... this is THE ISSUE that could push Obama over the top- especially in a general election.

    It’s time to cut through the complexity. When I’m President, we’ll put in place a system where 40 million Americans with a job and a bank account who take the standard deduction can do their taxes in less than five minutes. The government already collects wage and bank account information, so there’s no reason the IRS can’t send Americans prefilled tax forms to verify.  This mean’s no more worry. No more wasted time. No more extra expenses for a tax preparer.

    Making this change would save Americans more than $2 billion in tax preparer fees, more than 200 million hours of work, and an incalculable amount of headache and heartburn.

    This is what most people don't get-- I don't WANT tax credits for my solar panels or for attending school- I just want to know how much dang money to pay.  If you're pathological and enjoy that sort of thing- be my guest- but stop torturing the rest of us.

    Bush will be impeached.

    by jgkojak on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 12:05:27 PM PDT

    •  its sounds good to you maybe (0+ / 0-)

      but it sounds like very little to me.  Saying that you are gonna put the highest rate as (NO HIGHER THEN - his words)Reagen did with his tax cuts for the wealthy -

      is gonna keep the richest getting richer and our deficit too.

      And there goes all the expensive spending programs that wed like gone again to Obamas rich guy peers.

  •  YES! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wystler, 4jkb4ia

    Great Diary, reminded me that I need to send in this quarters donation!

    -Simpler tax code
    -Mortage interest deduction for everyone
    -close loopholes

    I'm been advocating these changes for years, and most conservatives I know whole heartedly agree.   Perhaps what bothers me most is how many americans do not do their own taxes.  They hire preparers, or buy software to do it for them.  On principle, I refuse to pay in order to pay my taxes.   I print off the forms the old way, and complete them myself.  And no, I don't file an EZ form... I itemize, I've dealt with property transfers, stocks, investments, and the whole lot... I've even  been audited, and I prevailed, even though both tax consultants I talked to said I would not, and that I would be best to just pay up.   You are your own best advocate, and as long as the code is so complex and difficult that most people don't even do them themselves, change will be difficult.

    "Making this change would save Americans more than $2 billion in tax preparer fees, "

    You think that the Tax preparation industrial complex is going to go away quietly?  

  •  I don't get one major part (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MarketTrustee

    If the simplification of the tax code is only for people who take the standard deduction, then how does that change the mass of deductions for people that itemize?

    I don't get it. The standard form is already pretty easy and simple. It's only the itemized part that confuses.

    Look at these people! They suck each other! They eat each other's saliva and dirt! -- Tsonga people of southern Africa on Europeans kissing.

    by upstate NY on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 12:42:09 PM PDT

  •  Three observations (0+ / 0-)

    I can actually hear Obama delivering the speech as I read it. For Bush's speeches, this is too painful. The speechwriters provide him with soaring words and he always underdelivers them.

    The principle of making the rich pay their fair share and the idea of the income tax being established so that the rich pay their fair share is important.

    Rolling back the Bush tax cuts will pay for a lot of this.

    -4.00, -5.33 Current Red Sox magic number: 9

    by 4jkb4ia on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 12:42:54 PM PDT

  •  As a Renter (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Black Maned Pensator

    I'm sick of all these tax cuts for homeowners and the deduction for mortgage payments.  Hey Obama, Why don't you do something to help the working poor, (and the working middle class, and young people generally) and let us deduct our rent payments the same as mortgage payments? That, not a home owner's tax credit, would restore fairness to the tax code! Oh yeah, I forgot, younger people and poorer people don't usually vote, so let's not do anything for them.

    •  Part of the reason I favor (0+ / 0-)

      Edwards idea of a $500 match annually for $500 that you are able to put into savings is that it would equally benefit folks. As long as you were able to put $20 a payday away(which should be doable if you get to $9.50 an hour and have a viable health care plan for folks)anyone would or could benefit. I would benefit from Obama's plan but I'd feel bad for the folks who lost their home and now find themselves trying to rent affordable housing.

    •  Absolutely (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marcus Graly

      All these policy proposals favor land/home owners, and simply help to solidify the working/renting underclass.

      Because most campaign T-shirts are boring: Carl Hanna at café press.

      by Black Maned Pensator on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 01:43:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hey, Obama supporters! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    evora

    Excellent move by your #1 and my #2 candidate!  Just saw it being covered on CNN, and came here to get the details.  Sounds good, very good, and I'm gladder than I can say that MSM's giving it a listen.  

  •  So he's eliminating tax breaks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chaoslillith

    at the same time that he's creating more of them?

    How stupid is that?  Why not simply lower the tax rate for people earning, say, less than 100,000 per year?

    If the goal is to simplify the tax return, more tax breaks are absolutely NOT the way to go.  Lowing the tax rate per bracket is a lot simpler.

    Color me unimpressed.

    Because most campaign T-shirts are boring: Carl Hanna at café press.

    by Black Maned Pensator on Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 01:40:44 PM PDT

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