3/5/09

Geithner figures it out

As we are seeing from news reports, even some influential Democrats are digging in their heels over the "spending" bill (what we used to call "the budget").

They are also questioning the reduction in deductions for charitable contributions:

Obama's budget calls for two tax increases on couples making more than $250,000 and individuals making more than $200,000. He wants to increase the top tax rates from 35 percent to 39.6 percent by allowing a tax cut enacted under President George W. Bush to expire in 2011.

He also wants to limit the deductions those families can claim for charitable donations, mortgage interest and state and local taxes.

Without the new limits, a taxpayer in the proposed 39.6 percent tax bracket could save $396 in taxes from a $1,000 reduction in taxable income. Obama wants to limit deductions to the 28 percent bracket, starting in 2011, meaning the same taxpayer would save only $280.

The higher tax rates are a good bet to become law because Obama campaigned on the change and Congress would not have to do anything to enact them. Once the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of 2010, the higher rates would take effect.

But some key Democrats are wary of limiting deductions.

"I don't want to prejudge anything, but it is certainly one that I am having difficulties with," said Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J.

On Tuesday, Rep. Charles Rangel, chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, said he, too, had reservations about the proposal.

"I would never want to adversely affect anything that is charitable or good," the New York Democrat said.

Republicans have been even more critical of the proposal, saying it would reduce charitable donations at a time when many charities are struggling.

"There are people with the means to help. Why would you make it harder for them to do it?" said Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, chairman of the Republican Policy Committee.

Geithner said the change would merely restore the same deduction limits that were in place when President Ronald Reagan left office.


So "Hope and change" in the Geithner playbook is doing things the way Reagan did them?

Huh. Hey, Timmy. You're on the right track now. Take a real good look at the way Reagan did things. You might learn a few things that will do us all some good.