Back in July, I noted with irritation, “Obama has never laid out what the tax rates would be for each bracket under his tax plan, instead pledging he would never raise taxes on those making less than $250,000.”
Phil Klein, getting tired of the endless repitition that Obama will cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans, tried to pin down David Axelrod on this in the spin room last night and got just about nowhere.
In its analysis, the Tax Policy Center (a venture of the left-leaning Brookings Institution and Urban Institute), sides with the Obama campaign by categorizing as “tax cuts” government payments such as the $1,000 to couples, $4,000 for college tuition, and 10% payment to offset mortgage interest expenses…
In fairness, politicians long ago began to use the tax code as a tool for crafting social policy rather than merely a way to raise revenue. Republicans and Democrats alike have abused terms such as “tax credit” and “tax rebate” to make their policy goals more palatable. But Obama is getting away with defining tax cuts so broadly, that future candidates will simply claim any form of increased government spending as a tax cut. Under Obama’s logic, higher food stamp allowances and expanded state funding of the arts could be dubbed “food tax credit” and “arts tax credit” respectively, and also qualify.
If Barack Obama can effectively claim that his plan cuts taxes on 95 percent of Americans, then the term “tax cut” has no meaning.