Thu Jan 3, 2013, 12:40 PM
ProSense (116,452 posts)
"Perhaps the best prism through which to see the Democrats’ gains is inequality."
For Obama, a Victory That Also Holds Risks
By DAVID LEONHARDT
Perhaps the best prism through which to see the Democrats’ gains is inequality. In the 2008 campaign, Mr. Obama said that his top priority as president would be to “create bottom-up economic growth” and reduce inequality...In the 2009 stimulus, he insisted on making tax credits “fully refundable,” so that even people who did not make enough to pay much federal tax would benefit. The 2010 health care law overhaul was probably the biggest attack on inequality since it began rising in the 1970s, increasing taxes on businesses and the rich to pay for health insurance largely for the middle class.
As part of this week’s deal, Mr. Obama did make several major compromises. He accepted much less in overall tax revenue than the government would have received absent any deal. He allowed a payroll-tax cut, which applied to most households, to expire. And he yielded both on aspects of the estate tax and on the level at which the top marginal income-tax rate would start, moving it to $450,000 for couples, from $250,000.
Still, using inequality as a yardstick, he won much of what he had wanted. By holding firm to a top rate of 39.6 percent — up from 35 percent — he locked in a substantial tax increase for the very richest, who have received the biggest pretax raises in recent years.
On average, the top 0.1 percent of earners — whose incomes start at $2.7 million and go much higher — will pay $444,000 more in taxes in 2013 than they otherwise would have, according to the Tax Policy Center. The increases stem from both the fiscal deal and the new taxes in the health care law...the deal preserves the “compassionate conservative” part of President George W. Bush’s tax agenda — reducing federal income taxes on the working poor, sometimes to zero — while limiting the parts that most helped the affluent.
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"Perhaps the best prism through which to see the Democrats’ gains is inequality." (Original post)
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