The Tax Debate

For over a year, Gov. Bush has made tax cutting the centerpiece of his national economic agenda. He comes to the debate with a record as governor for proposing and signing into law the two largest tax cuts in Texas state history. With workers paying the highest taxes in American history and the federal government running record surpluses, Gov. Bush argued tonight that every working American deserves a tax cut.

The Bush tax cut proposal also moves in the direction of fundamental tax reform. (CSE would like to see him move even further). He has proposed to eliminate the marriage penalty and the Death Tax. These two reforms alone would eliminate over 300 pages from the federal tax code!

Al Gore’s most important official act as Vice President was to cast the deciding vote in the United States Senate for the largest tax increase in American history. That vote came less than one year after he campaigned with Bill Clinton for a “middle class” tax cut. He also was the leading advocate for the failed “BTU” energy tax that hit the middle class hardest. His renewed election-year talk of targeted tax cuts must be viewed in light of past failures to follow through on campaign promises.

Al Gore’s most important official act as Vice President was to cast the deciding vote in the United States Senate for the largest tax increase in American history.

The Gore proposal makes the federal tax code more complicated and leaves 50 million Americans without one penny of tax relief. Worse still, for those who do receive tax relief, he imposes horrendous penalties for marginal increases in income. For example, according to the Wall Street Journal, “the first comes at $29,000 where the family is tooling along with a 14.1% marginal rate. But as soon as its income increases to $30,000, its marginal rate shoots up to 164% ….. These spikes are driven by the abrupt phase-outs from Mr. Gore’s Retirement Savings Plus plan.”

The Gore rhetoric in the debate shows a big-government philosophy. He repeatedly accused of Gov. Bush of “spending the surplus on tax cuts for the wealthy.” The government does not “spend” money on tax cuts. The money is generated in the private sector when individuals go to work and risk their own capital and wealth. Tax relief means more money stays in control of those that actually earned and created it. The money does not go to Washington, where government decides how to give it back.

BUSH Tax Plan

GORE Tax Plan

Begins to simplify the tax code

Increases the size of the tax code through “social engineering” programs

Promotes American values of family & entrepreneurship by eliminating the death tax & reducing the marriage penalty tax

Only helps married couples who itemize while leaving (increasing) the size of the tax code provision dealing with married couples-Leaves the death tax provisions in tact, while only raising the exemption amount NOTE: Gore’s death tax proposal would help only 902 people—less than the number of people who’ve stayed in the Lincoln Bedroom during the Clinton-Gore administration

Stimulates growth and investment by reducing the record-high tax burden NOTE: Currently our tax burden is 20.6% of GDP, roughly the same as the 1944 war-era level

Tax relief is reserved for people who purchase electric cars, add solar panels to their homes or send their kids to the “approved” daycare

Provides a broad, across-the board tax cut

Adds spending and targeted tax programs

Pays down national debt unless revenues fall off

Will raise taxes to pay down national debt

Provide a $460 billion tax cut over 5 years

Provides more than $500 billion in TARGETED tax relief over 10 years

Makes the tax code more fair through a broad reduction in marginal tax rates; in addition to the new 10% bracket, the 28% rate drops to 25%, the 31% rate is abolished and the top rate drops from 39.6 to 33%

Creates new entitlement programs for small percentage of people, through tax policy, that are politically too hard to reverse. According to Robert McIntyre of Citizens for Tax Justice, Gore’s “targeted” tax cuts are “a whole bunch of government spending programs run by the Internal Revenue Service.”

Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation calculated the revenue figures for the Bush tax plan

“Gore supporter Robert McIntyre of Citizens for Tax Justice tried to model the Gore tax plan, he gave up, saying that the plan has “so many esoteric things, I’d have to make up the data.”-Lawrence Lindsay, Wall Street Journal, August 31, 2000