Politics & Policy

Clarifying the Tax Debate for Pennsylvanians

Fast Company has put together a helpful “infographic” to get a sense of what the expiration of the Bush tax cuts would look like in terms of revenue for government. (You can click here to see the graphics for yourself.)

The national tax discussion centers around two options: increasing taxes on those earning more than $250,000 per year by allowing the cuts to expire, or maintaining the cuts as they were implemented for all earners.

At issue, Democrats say, is the vital revenue that can be generated from having the wealthiest pay more of their income. Republicans counter that to increase tax burdens on anyone during a recession would be to prolong it.

The key figures here are $3.7 trillion versus $3 trillion — spread out over 10 years. The former is the amount of revenue “lost” to the government by maintaining the Bush tax cuts, while the latter is revenue “lost” once the wealthy begin paying nearly 2 percent more.

(Of course, another way to look at that “lost revenue” is to treat it as “protected/saved earnings”.)

So both sides agree on maintaining the Bush-era tax relief program. Democrats, though, want that extra $70 billion or so per year from the highest earners. They say they’ll apply it to the deficit.

Absent a comprehensive federal austerity plan, though, the let’s-pay-down-the-deficit talk seems unbelievable from a leadership that’s running a deficit this year alone of more than $1.3 trillion.


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