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But there's a good chance that the Democrats cut your taxes:

In a troubling sign for Democrats as they head into the midterm elections, their signature tax cut of the past two years, which decreased income taxes by up to $400 a year for individuals and $800 for married couples, has gone largely unnoticed.

In a New York Times/CBS News Poll last month, fewer than one in 10 respondents knew that the Obama administration had lowered taxes for most Americans. Half of those polled said they thought that their taxes had stayed the same, a third thought that their taxes had gone up, and about a tenth said they did not know. As Thom Tillis, a Republican state representative, put it as the dinner wound down here, “This was the tax cut that fell in the woods — nobody heard it.”

Actually, the tax cut was, by design, hard to notice. Faced with evidence that people were more likely to save than spend the tax rebate checks they received during the Bush administration, the Obama administration decided to take a different tack: it arranged for less tax money to be withheld from people’s paychecks.

Perhaps this strategy to get people spending made a marginal difference, although a much better strategy would have been at least to push for cramdown and a modern HOLC, not to mention a much larger stimulus. But this is election time, and whether or not keeping this quiet was a good idea at the time, it's not a good idea now. The Democrats should be spreading the word. Loudly. They cut the taxes of ninety-five percent of working families. The voters should know.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 06:00 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I got a tax cut, Thanks Obama & Dems (9+ / 0-)

    ......80% of success......is......just showing up

    by Churchill on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 06:01:09 AM PDT

  •  $400 making work pay refund, Thx (0+ / 0-)

    ......80% of success......is......just showing up

    by Churchill on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 06:01:43 AM PDT

  •  Teabaggers probably frittered away (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, NThenUDie

    their tax credits attending Sarah Palin rallies.

  •  Heh... Democrats got railroaded again by Fox News (0+ / 0-)

    We really need our own professional liars working for us.

  •  A tax cut of Less then 10 dollars a week, wow (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Blue Knight
    I must have missed it.
  •  Plus La Meme Chose (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, maryabein, eXtina

    It's 5 days from an election and we're brainstorming Democratic party messaging about a benefit they gave the people that almost 90% of voters believe was the opposite.

    We keep our lookouts in the engine room where they'll be warmer than those poor blokes who protected Titanic.

    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 Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 06:09:17 AM PDT

  •  On the other hand, state revenue (7+ / 0-)

    projections are looking better than expected and that's an indication that money is starting to flow again.

    It is worth noting that where the dollar used to change hands over three times for every dollar of GDP, the recent rate has been just a little over once.  In other words, trade and exchange using money has slowed to the rate of molasses.  How to explain that?  Money changing hands in hedge funds and security accounts and the transfer of bonds does not enter the economic current of real good and services.  Some people have created a virtual economy that's soaking up real money and leaving the real economy strapped.

    What we have to figure out is how to keep bankers from taking a cut out of every dollar spent and then hiding it in the vaults.

    The conservative mind relies mainly on what is plain to see.

    by hannah on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 06:09:19 AM PDT

  •  That the administration didn't advertise this, or (10+ / 0-)

    most of its other important accomplishments, was and remains a mystery to me.  And by "advertise" I mean exactly that.  Get people's attention, and not just trust that they'll notice or care.  That our president DID trust the American people in this way speaks volumes about his integrity and excellence of purpose.  But the fact remains that the whackos and out-the-wazoos have dominated in the media, in part because the administration didn't compete in the media, the teevee, the talk show advertising, etc., and get out front and center about its many accomoplishments.

    •  They're A. Democrats and They Do b. Classic (3+ / 0-)

      3rd Way messaging: leave that to the Republicans, don't let the liberals develop expectations.

      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 Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 06:11:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's why the "Bush taxcuts" should expire (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VA Breeze

      and the "Obama middle class taxcuts" should be completely separate from Bush's, semantically and politically speaking.

      "Extending" the Bush taxcuts leaves the republicans and Bush with credit for the taxcuts in the public's mind.

      Dems need to separate the two and give themselves credit if they are going to do taxcuts.

      Otherwise they will lose credit in 2012, when the republicans all say the Bush taxcuts were great, or the dems wouldn't have extended them.

      Today's problems are yesterday's solutions. Don Beck

      by Sherri in TX on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 07:20:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Had Obama taken $800 (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RF, Matt Z, VA Breeze, amk for obama, Egalitare

    They would've noticed.

    The Republicans blocked this tax break as a lump sum.  Had it been a lump sum it would've played better politically but not economically.

    Vote out the DO-NOTHING Republicans 2010

    by GoogleBonhoeffer on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 06:10:18 AM PDT

  •  policy fail AND message fail (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, maryabein, mr market
    •  Huge communication FAIL by Democrats (5+ / 0-)

      I remain shocked by how badly the Obama Whitehouse communicates everything!!!! You would have thought they learned in the election that lies have to be countered... the fact that the right wing crazies have 1/3 of the people convinced their taxes went up is just insane. It shows how you can't take 'the facts' for granted, even in something as black and white as tax rates.  

      Give the people a choice between a Republican and a Republican and they will vote for the Republican every time - Harry S Truman

      by mr market on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 06:13:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It just goes to show how unimportant tax rates (6+ / 0-)

    really are. Yes, conservatives shout from the rooftops about how only tax cuts can save America, but when they receive actual cuts, they (and most other folks) don't even notice. In other words: tax cuts are just a philosophical debating point - not anything of real consequence.

    We shouldn't trumpet these cuts from the rooftops. That only keeps us playing on the Republican field. The way conservatives act about taxes nowdays, you'd think they would embrace McGovern's idea of a "negative income tax", albeit one directed at the wealthy instead of at the poor.

    I believe that in every country the people themselves are more peaceably and liberally inclined than their governments. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by Blue Knight on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 06:11:00 AM PDT

  •  Maybe people aren't tricked by the (0+ / 0-)

    so-called "tax cuts" . . . .

    Just like when I charge a whole bunch on my VISA card, I don't really get an increase in income.

    So in this case, I at least appreciate the smidgeon of honestly on the Dems parts not to hype these non-existence cuts.

  •  Who gets a paycheck anymore? (0+ / 0-)

    If you've lamented the slipping morality of America while snorting cocaine off a male hooker's back during the filming "Jesus Camp", you might be a Republican.

    by The Gryffin on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 06:23:21 AM PDT

  •  alas, when state and city taxes go up (5+ / 0-)

    along with health insurance premiums, food, gas, etc...

    the princess won't feel the pea...

    "History is a tragedy, not a melodrama." - I.F.Stone

    by bigchin on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 06:25:02 AM PDT

  •  Yeah but they were mean to BP! n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, Egalitare
  •  Didn't get to enjoy the tax cut - didn't have (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alice in Florida, Sherri in TX

    taxes withheld because I was unemployed all last year & it looks like it will be the same this year.

    That said, a $10 decrease in weekly withholding probably got washed out by an increase in health insurance premiums taken out of most employees' salaries.

    HylasBrook @62 - fiesty, fiery, and fierce

    by HylasBrook on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 06:25:11 AM PDT

  •  Like everything Obama does (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sherri in TX, mightymouse, maryabein

    Good intentions but done very poorly.  

    Even Bush made sure his middle class tax cuts were sent out in the form of checks/direct deposits that people could actually see, feel, and spend.

    Obama gave his in the form of lower withholding tables of less than $10 per week which nobody notices.

    There are good things also in HCR but people need to be able to touch and feel them.  And of course when they can't the Republicans are going to swarm and scam the people back into voting for them.

    This is called learning the lesson the hard way.

    •  The cuts weren't designed to be political (6+ / 0-)

      I'm amused by the people who say, "I can't believe Obama was dumb enough to make this tax cut so hard to see."

      THAT WAS THE POINT. Small increases in pay for each pay period were designed to be stimulative in the aggregate. Large, lump-sum tax rebate checks are proven failures.

      This was designed to be good policy, not good politics. We can argue over whether it really WAS good economic policy, but why argue over the politics of it? Sometimes, I just want my elected officials to GOVERN rather than campaign.

      •  ??? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mightymouse

        good policy = good politics.  The whole Bush tax cuts
        were heralded far and wide.  Good politics.

      •  Exactly n/c (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Matt Z

        Evidence that contradicts the ruling belief system is held to extraordinary standards, while evidence that entrenches it is uncritically accepted. -Carl Sagan

        by RF on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 06:43:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  for good guys to govern, they MUST campaign (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Alice in Florida, Sherri in TX

        there is no either/or in today's America.

        If the Obama team (or any other Dem leaders) think there is, they are really inattentive.

        Part of governing is fighting a propaganda war so you can keep governing.

        This doesn't have to mean demagoguery, but it does mean you have to have a plan to advertise your achievements. And it means you need achievements you can advertise.

        Wake up, Democrats

        An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

        by mightymouse on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 06:48:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well it did not work (0+ / 0-)

        Those checks could have been issued right before election day in '09 & '10 the same way Cheney lowered the gas prices right before the '06 & '08 elections.  Notice he is raising them up to $3 this time around and guess who people are blaming.

        You cannot win vs Republicans unless you adopt their tactics.

      •  But you have to have politics to get to policy (0+ / 0-)

        Maybe Obama should have done both.

        A payroll decrease and a small check that everybody could see. It could heralded, and remind people to look at at their check.

        Maybe next time.

        Today's problems are yesterday's solutions. Don Beck

        by Sherri in TX on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 07:26:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Some people DID notice it. (0+ / 0-)

        When these cuts went into effect, more than one of my husband's employees came knocking on his office door to ask him if he had given them a raise without discussing it with them.  They noticed.  It's just that people have short memories when it comes to things like this.

        Beauchapeau, I agree, it was meant to be smart policy, but not good politics.  

  •  Why are Democrats so bad (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cederico, mightymouse, maryabein, eXtina

    at messaging? This has puzzled me for a while, since it is an obvious flaw that Democrats seem unwilling to fix.  Maybe they have tried but the corporate media hides or ignores their message? However, to me, it seems every Democratic talking head and guest on a cable news show have been unable to clearly and concisely articulate their thoughts.  Maybe Democrats need to all go to Toastmasters for a few lessons in persuasive speaking.  

    •  that is the question (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eXtina

      they have been inept forever. Really depressing.

      various possible reasons:

      -no core beliefs unite party.
      -the speakers don't believe what they are saying.
      -Dems are so undone by GOP propaganda offensive they don't know how to respond.
      -greater loyalty to villager consensus than anything else.

      with the tax cut - "tax cut" is a GOP thing. Half the Dems probably realize it's stupid and don't feel at home bally-hooing it.

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 06:43:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  someone in the republicans ranks compiles (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mightymouse

        talking points on a weekly basis, and the members are obviously schooled in them, and repeat them religiously. granted they are given a forum, but they use it very effectively. there is some organized, concerted effort and the democrats should learn from it and copy it

  •  It was advertised. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    geejay, NThenUDie, eXtina, PAJ in Ohio

    I knew it.  I'm typing on my not-so-brand-new-anymore-but-still-kick-but-computer that I bought with my extra money I knew I was getting.  I even announced that I was finally getting myself something other than the cheapest computer I could get my hands on.  The response?  Good for you -- what about people in Gitmo -- what can they buy?

    What happened is that every time Democrats did something -- the left and therefore the sensationalist media wanted to talk about what they hadn't done -- yet.

    So -- while "we've" been busy bad mouthing Democrats for the last two years -- what did we think?  Did we think Republicans would use Fox News to talk about positive things Democrats were doing?

    Sometimes maybe it's not so much about them and what they do.  Maybe sometimes it might be more about us and what we do.

  •  Tax cuts play right into the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein, Willa Rogers, We Won

    Rethugs plot to cut Social Security and Medicare. Since none of the tax cuts are ever paid for and they fail to stimulate the economy the deficits keep getting worse which gives them an excuse to cut SS even though SS has nothing to do with the deficit. There was a poll about a year ago that showed people would rather keep SS and medicare solvent than get tax cuts. Tax cuts are politically overrated and are bad for this country.

  •  Father and Son (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, Matt Z, eXtina, Egalitare

    are neighbors and trying to get the roof on a house before ground freezes and snow arrives-  They are well meaning folk, but both of their worse halves are Palin\Ayotte worshipers...

    Something was said regarding the accuracy of Wx forecasts and the son said; "cannot be worse than our government..."

    I replied;  "Actually you got a tax cut larger than Mr Bush's that was in the stimulus that Faux news hates so much-  It was spread out for positive impact, unlike the fat one lump sum check you got from the War Monger in chief who actually caused all the pain your feeling, but the wealthy controlled media would so desperately like you to forget-  Obama didn't send you a check stamped from Chicago, Illinois akin to the one from Crawford, TX which was so brazenly political that Obama definitely loses the battle in the war for political gain at the expense of the common man...  and then I laid the hammer down...  I said that any tax cut actually isn't the best way to stimulate the economy but was a compromise to get the bill thru with republican support...  No rebuttal from either one of them...

    I think it had an impact because the Son had called me and asked me to look at the Wx model maps over the next 4-6 weeks because he wants to take some time off to get the roof on, and said he thought I did a good job forecasting Wx for him before...

    His Dad muttered that he despises the cable news almost as much as he hates Wx men, which doesn't say much for his relationship with his palin loving wife of thirty something years...

    Doing my part here in rural NH, FWIW-

    Evidence that contradicts the ruling belief system is held to extraordinary standards, while evidence that entrenches it is uncritically accepted. -Carl Sagan

    by RF on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 06:40:22 AM PDT

  •  95%? (0+ / 0-)

    They cut the taxes of ninety-five percent of working families. The voters should know.

    95% of working families didn't have a tax bill before.

    I knew there was a tax cut because I read my return before I signed it. How could anyone not notice the line item for the credit?

    I said to myself, "WTF? They're borrowning money on my behalf so that I'll have to pay a lot of interest in the future, and now, instead of raising my taxes a little, they're cutting them, which means even more interest."

  •  Again. Democrats need a better PR machine. (0+ / 0-)

    A recent poll said only 8% of americans know that taxes have been cut for 95% of americans.

    that is really, really, really, pathetic

  •  WAY too late to change this perception (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eXtina

    Andrew Mellon & GOP: 'In a Depression, assets return to their rightful owners'

    by Tuffie on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 07:09:18 AM PDT

  •  What Bush Manchild knew well - Messaging (0+ / 0-)

    It was the only thing George did well, and it was usually half truths at best. But he did a metric ton of it.

    The Greater Communicator Barack showed a lot of promise in this regard when he was running for office, but he went from first to worst. Sorry, but it's true.

    There's no excuse for every American not knowing that this Deomocratic administration cut taxes for most Americans precipitously.

    They should know this fact by heart.

    Not voting IS a choice. And it's just about half a vote for a Republican.

    by thenekkidtruth on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 07:16:29 AM PDT

  •  This should be the last invisible tax cut. (0+ / 0-)
    •  10 dollars a week is invisible (0+ / 0-)
      •  A $520 check before a holiday weekend = visible. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kefauver
      •  You still here this morning? (0+ / 0-)

        Well, I guess you gotta earn your pay, huh.

        This is not a book (Atlas Shrugged) to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown, with great force. - Dorothy Parker

        by edwardssl on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 10:05:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Especially with direct deposit (0+ / 0-)

        I work as a tax preparer during the season, and many of my clients don't pay that close attention to their paycheck -- amazing to me, since most of them are pretty low-income. They did not notice the lowered withholding, and all they cared about at the tax desk was their total refund. I tried to give Obama credit for it, and highlighted it on their return, but with everything going electronically it was just one more line on an already complicated form.

        I have to say Rove had this one right -- spend the money and send everyone a separate check, which if it didn't have Bush's picture and signature and a hand-written note on it, was at least clearly recognizable as a special deal.

  •  8 myths this election season (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BalanceSeeker

    The Seminole Democrat
    A blue voice calling from the deep red

    by SemDem on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 07:27:07 AM PDT

  •  single biggest error of 2010 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    decisivemoment
    I think we all mused after ARRA passed that "[insert GOP congressperson here] voted AGAINST the largest middle class tax cut in American history" would be a popular campaign ad, seen coast to coast.  How could you not bash Republicans who voted against a tax cut for you?  And THEY ALL DID.

    But it hasn't been in ads.  None that I've seen.

    I have no idea why not.

    The fact that only a tiny fraction of Americans know this tax cut even happened verges on the criminal.  It's basically too late now.  But how sad.  

    I know it sounds like I'm in denial but I'm not.

    by Save the clock tower on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 07:42:31 AM PDT

  •  I hate to say this (0+ / 0-)

    Because it's parallel to the political and economic dimensions of the situation, but the "unknown" quality of this ended up screwing me (maybe through the folks who do payroll?). Oh, they took out less each month: WAY less than they needed to, and we got socked with a massive tax bill at the end of the year when we usually get a small refund. If we hadn't been several years into saving up for a downpayment, we'd have been in trouble.

    Just curious if this happened to anybody else. I know smarter folks than I am actually, you know, do these calculations for themselves rather than relying upon the folks over in that other building, but...

  •  Mr. Lewis... (0+ / 0-)

    Check out the Times FP and see that Karzai admits being on the take from Iran. Read the piece -- he's an arrogant shit.

    Learn more about second-class U.S. citizenship at http://www.equalitymatters.org/

    by Larry Bailey on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 08:15:14 AM PDT

  •  I didn't notice it at all, because I HAVE NO JOB! (0+ / 0-)
    Jeesus fuckz. When a huge chunk of the country is  unemployed, and more are underemployed (reduced hours, pay cuts), WHO THE FUCK IS GOING TO NOTICE A GODAMNED TAX CUT!!

    We don't want fucking tax cuts, we want jobs, and better pay!

    Sheesh.

  •  so Democrats cut federal taxes (0+ / 0-)

    but what about state and city taxes? Is anybody checking to see how much total taxes people are paying before making the claim that Democrats lowered taxes?

    In my city the price of public transportation has doubled. I cut my own taxes by quitting smoking.

    When politicians talk about 'political realities' they are giving themselves permission to fail.

    by cjenk415 on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 12:05:25 PM PDT

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