Monday, February 25, 2008


Windfall Tax

Does anybody know about this?

My mom is very scared of it. Evidently the media has been blaring some report of "there's gonna be a windfall tax on profits gleaned from the market so when y'all retire, you'll have to pay a big chunk o' taxes -- 50% of the capital gains/dividends -- from your retirement investments". I told my mom to find out what the actual bill involved is and to get concrete specifics and then write her Congresscritter/Senators about it. Apparently there are no details about this in the media.

Is this a media scare tactic to sell ad time for more money by increasing ratings as scared boomers about to retire (that sounds so funny, don't it?) become glued to their TeeVees to find out more info? Is the GOP behind this hoping to stir up the anti-tax vote? What's happening here?


In related news, a conservative (social conservative ... and hates paying taxes) friend of mine was complaining about how much in taxes he has to pay to the federal gummint and was wondering what he got for those taxes. And it occured to me that we Dems. should play the Rove trick of hitting your opponant in a (perceived) strength: the GOP is perceived to be better on taxes ... but my friend is happy to have his tax-dollars go to the sorts of programs the Dems. support but doesn't like that big chunks of his tax dollars are going to fight a war he doesn't fully support. So if we can get this message snappier: "John McCain supports expensive wars that'll increase your tax bill -- want lower taxes and your tax money to go to those who really do need our help, vote Democratic!" it'd help us.

But you say, a social conservative ain't ever gonna vote Dem. as long as we support the rights of gay married people to have abortions? And if we change some of our stances, e.g. on abortion, and be only economic liberals, not only will the social conservatives still not trust us (as we'll show that we're pandering and not having views based on faith like they do), but we'll lose, e.g., Nate's vote? Well, that's true. But the other part of the modern GOP strategy is to get people to say "well even the liberal X supports Y, so all those moonbat Dems. who oppose Y must really be too liberal to hold office". If we can, through proper messaging on taxes and homeland security (which is certainly big gummint and actually not well liked by the more educated of social conservatives), have people saying "well even the conservative [DAS Friend] supports Y, so all those GOoPers who oppose Y must be nuts", that'll help us immensely.

Do you think the Dems are smart enough to try this sort of thing?


Update: In discussions with "Timmy" (of Nate's WOW fame), I think we may have figured out that my mom misheard the report: they said "15%" and pointed out that, of course, tax deferred income, will have to be taxed at that time too. I guess she misheard 15 as 50 and conflated a few things and thought there was a tax increase on the table. Of course, I am paranoid enough to think that this reporting was done in such a way that people would misheard and think "them Dems. in Congress are trying to raise my taxes so I'm broke when I retire" ...

Anyway, I do think capital gains, etc., should be taxed at the same rate as income: income is income is income, right? I do, pace "Timmy", wish for three modifications (for both political reasons and for basic fairness):

(1) capital gains are taxed based on gains from the inflation adjusted original investment (if this is not already the case)

(2) the amount of capital gains, etc., you can earn without having to pay taxes is high enough that retirees don't get hit with huge tax bills on their otherwise fixed incomes

(3) there is a grandfather clause to insulate retirees and near retirees from having to pay taxes they didn't figure on paying

Which Nate?? This one is voting Democrat! By the way, tell the GOP Dude his tax money goes to keep the roads he drives on in good shape. Bridges too.. unless he wants to hoard all his money to keep governments from making important bridge repairs. Its not like a bridge is gonna uh break.
I was refering to you! Are there any other Nates? Well, of course there are, but are there any other Nates who matter? :)

But the point is would you still vote Democratic (or bother to vote at all) if we adopted the same positions on the GOP on the issues that mattered to you?
Oh ... and GOP dude ain't some glibertarian who doesn't want gummint to do anything. He's A-OK with his tax money going to roads, bridges, etc.

He just doesn't figure out how roads, bridges, etc., cost as much as the money he's paying in taxes (and he's in a lower tax bracket), especially considering that he (and we) also have to pay tolls, etc. for some bridges and roads. He's A-OK with taxes if he feels he's getting something for them ... but he feels he's paying more than he's getting back (and he's in a lower tax bracket to boot).
The only scenario I woulda voted Republican was possibly possibly if Rudy was on the ticket since he is pro-choice. Otherwise, fuggetabout it.
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