Weatherford Democrat

Viewpoints

December 3, 2012

COLUMN: Columnist misguided in his tax facts

— In his guest column of Friday, Nov. 23, (“GOP misguided with Romney plan”), Mr. Tilly indulges in a number of assertions unsupported by the facts.

The tax plan put forward by Mr. Romney was comprised of the following elements:

Reduce statutory income tax rates 20 percent, from 10, 15, 25, 28, 33, and 35 percent to 8, 12, 20, 22.4, and 28 percent.

Reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent.

Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax for individuals and corporations.

Repeal the estate tax.

Eliminate, curtail, and reform numerous special provisions in the tax code — the credits, deductions and exclusions that cause complexity, compliance problems, distortions and inefficiencies.

The principal difference between Mr. Romney’s plan and that put forward by the president’s bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Commission is the treatment of capital gains and dividends.

Mr. Tilly’s declaration that tax deductions for charitable donations, home loan interest and health insurance were threatened by Mr. Romney’s plan is unsupportable by any reading of same.

That corporations at times have no tax liabilities, as gross profit is offset by deductions and exemptions incorporated into the tax code, is an example of the complexity, distortions, and inefficiencies of the current tax code — something Mr. Romney’s plan would have addressed. The plan put forward by the Simpson-Bowles Commission would also, in some measure, have addressed this — it is none of Mr. Romney’s doing that the president has completely ignored the commission and its conclusions.

Contrary to Mr. Tilly’s assertion, the current tax code does not permit “corporations and individuals to make huge profits in this country and then take those profits overseas to avoid paying into the system that enabled them to accumulate their great wealth.” Corporations often keep profit earned from foreign operations in the country in which it was earned — this process, authorized by law, allows these corporations to delay paying what is the developed world’s highest corporate tax rate. Profit earned by corporations in the United States is subject to taxation at the rate required by law.  

As for Mr. Tilly’s inability to comprehend the rationale behind the tax treatment afforded earned income versus investment income there is both a lack of space in your paper and a lack of interest on my part to remedy the deficiencies of his understanding.  

That Mr. Tilly has, along with this president, decided those earning $200,000 per year are to be considered “millionaires” and “billionaires” is, though obviously and laughably false, unfortunately unsurprising. Mr. Tilly has oft demonstrated a preference for Democratic Party campaign rhetoric no matter how at odds with reality it may be. Perhaps he should keep in mind that “trickle down economic theory” is a fallacy — manufactured and propagated in large part by the Democrat Party — and “[n]o such theory can be found in even the most voluminous and learned books on the history of economics.”

Mr. Tilly rails against the current tax code, yet supported the candidate who has been perfectly clear in his desire to make that code even more complex, incomprehensible, and inequitable.

In his guest column of Sunday, Nov. 25 (“Republicans should own up to the problems they’ve caused in the nation”), Mr. Tilly continues his indulgence in unsupported and unsupportable assertions.

There were no “eight years of unregulated slash and burn capitalism.” Regulation during the Bush adminstration grew substantially, the Code of Federal Regulations growing by 4,500 pages from 2001 to 2007. The cause of the economic “free fall” was the disruption of the real estate market caused by the Community Reinvestment Act — originally enacted in the Carter administration, re-enacted and extended in the Clinton administration — and the unrestrained financial practices of the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. The attempts of the Bush administration to increase oversight of these government-sponsored enterprises were repeatedly rebuffed by the Democrats in Congress.

The supposed “disasters” of Iraq and Afghanistan are in large part attributable to the current president: it is the current administration that failed to negotiate a status of forces agreement in Iraq to allow the U.S. a presence in the region; it is the current administration that established rules of engagement in Afghanistan putting our military at risk, and it is the current administration that has refused to delineate any strategy in Afghanistan beyond leaving. To refresh Mr. Tilly’s memory, the U.S. had been at war with Iraq since January, 1991 — the Iraqi government demonstrated over a period of 12 years that it had no intention of complying with the terms of the cease-fire. And in case he’s forgotten, the U.S. was attacked in 2001 by terrorists being sheltered by the Taliban government of Afghanistan.

In his attempt to lay all the ills of the world at the Republican doorstep Mr. Tilly conveniently ignores certain hard truths. During his eight years as president, Bush presided over an increase in the national debt of $4.9 trillion; during his four years as president, Obama has presided over an increase in the national debt of $5.6 trillion and, if the current trajectory is maintained, will preside over the addition of another $6.6 trillion by 2016.   

The annual deficit has tripled under the Obama administration, exceeding $1 trillion each year of the past four years. The federal government is spending $10 billion each and every day of the year, 43 percent of which is borrowed. The federal government is currently $16.1 trillion in debt, an amount greater than the gross domestic product of the U.S. Unemployment and under-employment are at record or near-record levels, with fewer people in the workforce than has been seen in half a century or more. Practically every “investment” of taxpayer dollars by this administration has failed, and those few that have not will take decades to break even (if ever). With all of this, this president and his party have no plan for, or intention of, reducing spending in any fashion. It is the Democrat majority in the U.S. Senate that for four years has refused to make any effort to pass a budget.

The increase in spending during the Bush administration was horrendous; what word then should be used to describe the massive acceleration in spending during the Obama administration?    

Mr. Tilly may see going deeper into bankruptcy as a “recovery” — and the attempts to forestall that bankruptcy as “obstructionism” — but there are few with any knowledge or perception who would agree.

Beyond Mr. Tilly’s ceaseless attempts to blame Republicans and the Republican Party for the manifest and manifold failures of this administration, the only defect of his compositions is the want of truth and common sense.

Sources:

‘The Romney Tax Plan: Not a Tax Hike on the Middle Class,” Alex Brill, Oct. 7, 2012, The American (http://www.american.com/archive/2012/october/the-romney-tax-plan-not-a-tax-hike-on-the-middle-class)

“U.S. Corporate Tax Rate To Be Highest In The Developed World,” Patrick Temple-West and Kim Dixon, March 20, 2012, The Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/30/us-corporate-tax-rate_n_1392310.html)

“The ‘Trickle Down’ Economics Straw Man,” Thomas Sowell, Sept. 27, 2001, Capitalism Magazine (http://capitalismmagazine.com/2001/09/the-trickle-down-economics-straw-man/)

“Red Tape Rising: Regulatory Trends in the Bush Years,” James L. Gattuso, March 25, 2008, The Heritage Foundation (http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2008/03/red-tape-rising-regulatory-trends-in-the-bush-years)

“The Government Did It,” Yaron Brook, July 18, 2008, Forbes (http://www.forbes.com/2008/07/18/fannie-freddie-regulation-oped-cx_yb_0718brook.html)

http://www.usdebtclock.org/index.html

William Picou is a resident of Weatherford.

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