"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance"

--James Madison--

"The real division is not between conservatives and revolutionaries, but between authoritarians and libertarians"

--George Orwell--

Death, Taxes, And The Next President

First posted at The Smirking Chimp on November 28, 2007. Note--It's now 2010, and there has been little talk in Congress of fixing this mess, and the President seems to be ignoring the issue entirely.

OK. Not death exactly, but rather expiration.
The infamous 2001 tax bill contained huge tax cuts, mostly for the wealthy and large Corporations. There were some breaks for the middle class in there, but nothing like the goodies that went to the high end.
It included lower rates on investment income, a rollback of the highest marginal rates, tax credits for businesses for any reason you can think of, and even a phase out of the Estate Tax.
This bill expires in 2010. The next President will need to show some leadership, and have some sort of plan for undoing the damage. Tax receipts are not nearly high enough to even come close to balancing the budget.

So, who has a plan, and what do they consist of? I've reviewed each candidates website, and gleaned what I could. It was hard to believe how many candidates either ignored or gave short shrift to tax issues. Taxation may not be a popular topic, but it will be an important issue for the next President.
So here they are, in no particular order. I'm going to cover the Democratic candidates in this article. I will do the same for Republicans (and any independents that might surface) later. Won't take long, since the Republican candidates mostly just want to give even more tax breaks to the wealthy and to corporations. That's about the extent of their taxation policies.
Barack Obama: http://origin.barackobama.com/issues/
His website really doesn't mention tax issues at all.
Conclusion--He doesn't seem to have a tax policy at all.
Chris Dodd: http://chrisdodd.com/issues
Again, website doesn't mention any tax issues.
Conclusion--No policy, no plan.
John Edwards: http://johnedwards.com/issues/
Website has two extensive articles on taxation. Too much detail to mention it all in this article. Go read it.
Highlights--
*Expand Earned Income Credit (a refundable credit for the poor).
*A tax credit for retirement. For families making up to $75K/yr.
*Higher marginal rates for incomes over $200K/yr.
*Higher rates on investment income.
*Expand the Child Care Credit.
*Close loopholes that favor corporations and hedge fund managers.
*Simplify tax filing, and improve customer service at the IRS.
*Retain the Estate Tax.
Conclusion--Comprehensive plan, middle class friendly, will be fiercely opposed by lobbyists for corporations and the investment community.
Hillary Clinton: http://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/
Her website has some sketchy details on tax policy. Supports extending middle class tax breaks in current law, as well as a few tweaks--
*Permanent marriage penalty relief.
*Make Child Care Credit and Adoption Credit refundable.
*Reinstate the college tuition deduction.
Conclusion--Her limited position sounds OK, but lacks any commitment to true reform. Increasing taxes on the wealthy and corporations are hinted at, but not detailed or committed to in any way.
Dennis Kucinich: http://www.dennis4president.com/go/issues/
His website has some sketchy proposals for expanding refundable tax credits for the middle class. Also a proposal for tax credits for corporations who repatriate jobs to the US.
Conclusion--Not much of a plan, but it's something. Anti-outsourcing tax credits have been tried before, and the response was underwhelming.
Mike Gravel: http://www.gravel2008.us/issues.php
Proposes replacing Income Tax with a national sales tax. Also wants to abolish the IRS.
Conclusion--Sales taxes are the most regressive type of tax, the ultimate tax cut for the rich. Are you sure that this guy is a Democrat? Also, if we abolish the IRS, exactly who is going to administer and collect this national sales tax?
Bill Richardson: http://www.richardsonforpresident.com/issues/
Wants to give tax credits to corporations that pay their employees well.
Conclusion--No details, no plan, no real policy.
That's what I can glean from the information provided by the Democratic candidates. I didn't miss anyone, did I?
Taxation may be a dull subject, but it will be one of the biggest challenges for the next occupant of the White House. Whoever wins, I hope they're up to the challenge, and are committed undoing the damage that the 2001 tax bill did to our country's finances.