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More headlines: Barack Obama on Tax Reform

(Following are older quotations. Click here for main quotations.)


We got middle-class tax cuts of $3600

ROMNEY: Middle-income Americans have seen their income come down by $4,300. This is a tax in and of itself. I'll call it the economy tax. It's been crushing.

OBAMA: Four years ago, when I stood on this stage, I said that I would cut taxes for middle-class families. And that's exactly what I did. We cut taxes for middle-class families by about $3,600. And the reason is, because I believe that we do best when the middle class is doing well. And by giving them those tax cuts, they had a little more money in their pocket, and so maybe they can buy a new car. They are certainly in a better position to weather the extraordinary recession that we went through. They can buy a computer for their kid who's going off to college, which means they're spending more money, businesses have more customers, businesses make more profits, and then hire more workers.

Source: First Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate Oct 3, 2012

2011 budget calls for top bracket of 39.6% to replace 35%

Right now, the top marginal tax rate in the United States is about 42% (35% federal, 2.9% Medicare, and an average of 4% of state and local income taxes). The Heritage Foundation reports that this puts the US at the same level as the average marginal tax rate (also 42%) for the 30 most economically developed nations. But Obama's tax plans will send our top marginal rate skyrocketing.

Obviously, Obama and Congress are going to push for increases on taxes for the wealthy. In his 2011 budget, Obama calls for going back to the pre-Bush top bracket of 39.6% from the current level of 35%. Meanwhile, House [Democrats] want to raise taxes on the top bracket even more by imposing an additional surtax of 5.4%

The Heritage Foundation reports that, at 52.9%, the top rate under this plan would be "higher than the top rate in all but three countries in the OECD: Denmark (60%), Sweden (56%), and Belgium (54%)."

Source: Take Back America, by Dick Morris, p. 63-64 Apr 13, 2010

2011 budget proposed to raise Death Tax to 45%

One likely candidate for an increase is the so-called Death Tax--the inheritance tax that has fallen to zero in 2010 due to the schedule of Bush tax cuts passed in 2001. In his 2011 budget, Obama proposes to hike the tax back up to 45% in 2011 and apply it to all estates worth more than $3.5 million. So, if you're planning to die soon, you'd better go to your Maker in 2010--while the tax is still at zero!

The problem with the Death Tax isn't how it affects families that own the wealth so much as how it impacts those who earn money to accumulate it. The tax itself is paid by only the top 2% of families. The central question for wealthy elderly Americans is what to do with their money. Should they keep it in cash or easily liquefied investments, or is it better to plow the money back into their businesses?

The Death Tax creates an incentive NOT to invest money in one's business, but to keep it in things like houses and yachts and luxury goods--or cash and gold and bonds--that are easier to liquidate.

Source: Take Back America, by Dick Morris, p. 65-66 Apr 13, 2010

OpEd: Reassured voters that increases only affect the rich

Obama emphasized centrist views, making it difficult to attack him as a traditional Democratic liberal. For example, he didn't talk about raising taxes on the top 5%; he talked about cutting taxes for the 95% of Americans making under $250,000 a year. He mentioned only that the top rate should be what it was in the Clinton era. He also talked incessantly about cutting deficits and "ending government programs that do not work." This came across to most people as reassuring--or at least not threatening.
Source: Courage and Consequence, by Karl Rove, p.512 Mar 9, 2010

OpEd: Answer is always to grow government & raise taxes

At the 2008 convention, I launched into a part of the speech that, since Barack Obama's election, has proved prescient: "When the cloud of rhetoric has passed... when the roar of the crowd fads away... when the stadium lights go out and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot--what exactly is our opponent's plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet?

"The answer is to make government bigger ...take more of your money...give you more orders from Washington...and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world. America needs more energy...our opponent is against producing it.

"And let me be specific, the Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes...raise payroll taxes...raise investment income taxes...raise the death tax...raise business taxes...and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars."

Source: Going Rogue, by Sarah Palin, p.243-244 Nov 17, 2009

"Joe the Plumber": tax businesses earning $250K per year?

A man named Joe Wurzelbacher was out in his front yard playing football with his son when Barack Obama walked past his driveway. Joe had a question about his plan to buy a company that makes $250,000 to $280,000 a year. He said to Obama, "Your new tax plan's going to tax me more, isn't it?"

Obama's short answer was yes, and he finished with this revealing comment: "I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."

An ABC cameraman recorded the exchange, and on Oct. 12, 2008, "Joe the Plumber" was born. Our campaign quickly realized that Joe typified the everyday American laborer who had worked hard to make his own way, was trying to improve his economic lot, and ought not be punished by oppressive tax policies.

Joe told a reporter that Obama's idea of "spreading the wealth around" sounded a lot like socialism to him. In the presidential debate, both candidates made references to Joe the Plumber as a symbol of the American worker.

Source: Going Rogue, by Sarah Palin, p.304-305 Nov 17, 2009

FactCheck: Yes, McCain wants Bush cuts in place after 2011

The Statement:Obama compared his tax proposal to that of his opponent: ďMcCain and I are both offering tax cuts. The difference is, he wants to give the average Fortune 500 CEO a $700,000 tax cut.Ē

The Facts:Obama bases the $700,000 claim on a Fortune 500 survey that showed the average CEO of those companies earned a salary of $12.8 million in 2007. What the statement considers a tax cut would be renewing President Bushís current cuts, which are scheduled to expire by January 2011. McCain has said he would push to renew those cuts, while Obama wants to let the cuts run out for the wealthiest Americans and offer new ones to people who make less money. So, in effect, what Obama calls a tax cut would be keeping taxes for those wealthy CEOs the same as they are now--instead of letting them revert to what they were before Bushís cuts. The Verdict: True, but incomplete.

Source: CNN FactCheck on 2008 presidential race Oct 9, 2008

My plan cuts taxes for most small businesses & 95% of people

McCAIN: He wants to raise taxes. Sen. Obamaís secret that you donít know is that his tax increases will increase taxes on 50% of small business revenue. Small businesses across America will have to cut jobs and will have their taxes increase and wonít be able to hire because of Sen. Obamaís tax policies.

OBAMA: I want to provide a tax cut for 95% of Americans. If you make less than a quarter of a million dollars a year, you will not see a single dime of your taxes go up. If you make $200,000 a year or less, your taxes will go down. Now, Sen. McCain talks about small businesses. Only a few percent of small businesses make more than $250,000 a year. The vast majority of small businesses would get a tax cut under my plan. And we provide a 50% tax credit so that they can buy health insurance for their workers, because there are an awful lot of small businesses that want to do right by their workers but they just canít afford it. Some small business owners canít even afford health insurance for themselves

Source: 2008 second presidential debate against John McCain Oct 7, 2008

Iím running against failed policy of profligate GOP spending

Q: The GOP is going to paint you as a classic tax-and-spend liberal Democrat. Are you ready to handle that kind of assault?

A: Absolutely. Because think about what I am going to be running against: the failed policies of the Bush administration, which John McCain wants to continue. I donít think there is anybody in this country who thinks that, right now, we have got a government thatís managed our domestic policies well. And, so, we can talk about the slogans of tax and spend or fiscal conservatism, but the fact of the matter is, we have had an administration thatís been profligate, that has raised our national debt to a record level. We have seen a lack of shared prosperity. So, youíve got CEOs making more in a day than ordinary workers are making in a year, and itís the CEO thatís getting the tax break, instead of the workers.

Q: Heís going to say youíre going to raise their taxes. What are you going to say?

A: I will raise CEO taxes. There is no doubt about it.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer May 11, 2008

Tax cut for seniors and those making $75,000 a year or less

Everywhere you go, you meet people who are working harder for less, wages and incomes have flatlined, people are seeing escalating costs of everything from health care to gas at the pump. In some communities, they have been struggling for decades now. This has to be a priority of the next president. We have to restore a sense of fairness & balance to our economy. Weíve got to stop giving tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas and invest those tax breaks in companies that are investing here in the US. We have to end the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy and to provide tax breaks to middle-class Americans and working Americans who need them. If you are making $75,000 a year or less, I want to give an offset to your payroll tax that will mean $1,000 extra in the pockets of ordinary Americans. Senior citizens making less than $50,000, you shouldnít have to pay income tax on your Social Security. We pay for these by closing tax loopholes and tax havens that are being manipulated.
Source: 2008 Democratic debate at University of Texas in Austin Feb 21, 2008

Specific tax relief for families making $75,000 or less now

I have proposed specific tax relief now, immediately, so that we would offset some of the payroll tax, that we would immediately put some additional dollars in the pockets of American families, making $75,000 a year or less, to not only stimulate the economy, but also to balance out a tax code. I would pay for it specifically by closing tax loopholes & tax havens. What weíve had is a top-down agenda that is skewed toward the wealthiest Americans. It is making worse some of the trends of globalization
Source: 2008 Facebook/WMUR-NH Democratic primary debate Jan 6, 2006

Other candidates on Tax Reform: Barack Obama on other issues:
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Page last updated: Aug 18, 2014