NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


April 11, 2007

There's about to be a mugging and American taxpayers are the unsuspecting victims. Worse, the cop on the beat is looking the other way, says Ernest Istook, a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

  • The mugging will lift $3.3 trillion from purses and wallets because the 2003 tax cuts will begin expiring soon.
  • That means the average American family will have to pay an extra $2,641 each year, according to Heritage Foundation analyst Brian Riedl.
  • Congress could stop it by renewing the tax cuts -- but it's looking the other way instead.

The budget resolution moving through Congress is the blueprint for what's coming, says Istook.  Higher spending -- by hundreds of billions -- is in the plan.  Renewing tax cuts isn't.

  • The 2003 tax cuts, which President Bush wanted to be permanent, were approved only as "temporary" tax relief.
  • Permanent relief was blocked by the very group that now denies responsibility.
  • The old higher-tax policies will make their comeback unless Congress acts to prevent it, something the new majority says it won't do.
  • Eventually, a small fraction of the tax relief might be renewed, but that will still be a net loss to taxpayers and a damper on America's economy.

Personal and business income tax rates will climb.  Capital gains taxes will go up.  The death tax will have new life.  The marriage penalty will once more punish husbands and wives.  Child tax credits won't continue.  And the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) will hit more and more middle-income workers.

The sneaky thing is that instead of voting to raise taxes and going on the record Congress won't have to do a thing.  No tough committee vote.  No pesky taxpayer revolt to deal with.  Fewer angry calls from constituents.

Taxpayers should keep their eyes focused on their own pockets. They're about to get picked, warns Istook.

Source: Ernest Istook, "By Default, Mugging Taxpayers," Heritage Foundation/Washington Post, April 11, 2007.

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