NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The Lieberman Tax Plan

October 20, 2003

Make no mistake: the "tax fairness plan" unveiled Oct. 13 by a prominent candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, is little more than a giant tax increase on the economy's most indispensable growth-generating sector. That's the small-business sector, where the vast majority of the nearly 40 million net new jobs have been created during the past 20 years. Small-business owners routinely pay their income taxes through their personal tax returns. Lieberman's plan would clobber them, says the Washington Times.

Indeed, Lieberman's plan would make President Clinton's tax hike of 1993 look miserly by comparison:

  • Whereas Clinton increased the top federal personal-income-tax rate from 31 percent to 39.6 percent, President Bush has lowered the top rate to 35 percent, which happens to be 7 percentage points above the top rate established by the 1986 bipartisan tax-reform legislation.
  • The senator's plan would "reset" the top two income-tax rates (36 and 39.6 percent) that Bush has lowered; then, he would add another 5 percentage points, taking the top rate to 44.6 percent.
  • For example, the resurrected 39.6 percent rate begins for married couples at $150,000.
  • Under Clinton-Gore, the 39.6 percent rate did not begin until $250,000 while Lieberman's 44.6 percent rate kicks in at $250,000.

It is no exaggeration to say that the self-styled centrist has transformed himself into a Kennedyesque class warrior, says the Times.

Source: Editorial, "The Lieberman tax plan," Washington Times, October 20, 2003.


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