Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Clarence Page: "President has soft-pedaled his own achievements"

Clarence Page:
If you asked a sampling of people whether Obama has reduced taxes for most Americans, most respondents, regardless of party, probably would say "no" or that they "don't know." In fact, a September CBS News/New York Times poll found that fewer than one respondent in 10 knew the Obama administration had lowered taxes for most Americans.

In fact, about 40 percent of the stimulus bill that conservatives love to bash delivered tax cuts to 95 percent of working families — up to $400 a year for individuals and $800 for married couples — as a result of changed withholding tax rates.

Yet about half of those polled thought their taxes had stayed the same, a third thought their taxes had gone up and about a tenth said they did not know.

Why? Ironically, Team Obama takes part of the blame for this misperception, the Times reports. It's the administration's view that if we taxpayers received our tax cuts in the form of, say, a nice check in the mail, we might be tempted to be prudent to bank it. That's not what the administration wanted us to do. They wanted us to go right out and spend it, producing a bottoms-up stimulus for the economy.

To encourage us to be spendthrifts, the Obama administration decided to spread out the tax cuts over time in the form of small reductions in our payroll taxes.

That worked, according to the best estimates, in getting more money back into the economy. But amid other rising costs, and rising economic jitters, most of us didn't notice the difference.

From a political standpoint, the administration shoulda ballyhooed the tax cuts in a way that would have shown working-class and middle-class taxpayers that the administration was on their side. MORE...

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