Tax Carnival #75: TaxtoberFest 2010
Karl Rove group, other tax-exempt orgs under fire for alleged political activities

Obama advisers say 'yes' to all tax cuts

One thing I like about Obama is the fact that he likes to keep a devil's advocate or two around. Even if he isn't persuaded by their points of view, he at least gets them.

2011 vs 2010 tax rates That happened yesterday in connection with the pending decision on what to do about the expiring Bush tax cuts.

Washington Wire reports that during a meeting Monday between the prez and his outside advisers on ways to boost the economy, they engaged in a "protracted public debate … over whether to extend the Bush-era tax breaks for upper-income taxpayers."

The final word, of course, comes from the occupant of the Oval Office. And despite the discussion, Obama's answer is still "no" on keeping the top income tax rates for the wealthy at 33 percent and 35 percent for 2011 and beyond.

Obama objected to temporarily continuing the lower tax rates on wealthier taxpayers because it's highly likely that they'll just continue to be extended in perpetuity.

Also, the prez noted that to cover the cost of keeping the low tax rates for the wealthy could mean fewer government services enjoyed by middle- and lower-income taxpayers.

So expect the formal word from the Obama Administration to remain that tax rates for the wealthy must rise.

Still, the fact that the topic was broached, and publicly no less, could indicate that when the House and Senate return after the November elections, there might be some room for compromise.

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Amy

"But the compact of living in a society requires that sometimes we get things (and elected officials) we don't want. Here's to the day we can all afford our own private islands! ;-)"

LOL - I totally agree!

Amy

"And I'm very leery of, actually frightened by, people who make up their minds and never listen to the other side. Things change. Circumstances change. Needs change. People change. Being able to listen to differing opinions is crucial to being flexible when change needs to be made. "

I totally agree. However, I have met people who actively solicit a diversity of opinions but then disregard them completely if they don't match their own. In other words, they have all the appearance of open mindedness, think of themselves as such, but the reality is they've made up their mind long before you've met them. They are looking only for a confirmation of their opinions from others.

And truthfully, those situations were by far the worst I've been in a work situation. I've been subtly punished for the "wrong" answer (by my freely stating my opinion) and then alternately made responsible when I didn't speak up after figuring out the score. (It's an "open" environment after all.) It would not completely shock me to find out that perhaps Obama runs his office that way and it's the reason he's having a hard time keeping staff.

In fairness, I have never met Bush or Obama. All have is 3rd hand reports about them, which always tell me more about the person writing or speaking than it does about the object being written or spoken about.

I do know that Bush was the media's devil of the last 8 years for not being "open". However, I noticed his turn over was very low and he did manage to attract a fair amount of minority help, especially in Condoleezza Rice. He may not have been "open", but it may have set a consistent set of rules that reasonably competent people were willing to work under.

On the other hand, Obama has been hailed for his openness but he doesn't seem to generate any deep loyalty on a personal level from his staff. He also doesn't waiver much from standard Democratic or economic thinking and seems to offer few really alternative ideas.

Again, it's important to say that without spending time with them personally, on their staff, it's really pretty much impossible for me to judge. I'm just throwing out the other side to the mass thinking of both gentlemen, perhaps making both of them people who put their pants on one leg at a time. ;)

Kay

As for the services we don't want, welcome to living in a society. We don't all need or want the same things at the same time, but we or someone we know or are related to might. If not now, perhaps one day. Life has a funny way of deciding things for us that way. I wish I could direct my taxes to go only for certain things; many of them likely would not be services you want or need. But the compact of living in a society requires that sometimes we get things (and elected officials) we don't want. Here's to the day we can all afford our own private islands! ;-)

Kay

Amy, maybe it's the reporter in me, but I like seeing all sides of an issue. No change once, doesn't mean no change ever. And I'm very leery of, actually frightened by, people who make up their minds and never listen to the other side. Things change. Circumstances change. Needs change. People change. Being able to listen to differing opinions is crucial to being flexible when change needs to be made. Kay

Amy

"One thing I like about Obama is the fact that he likes to keep a devil's advocate or two around. Even if he isn't persuaded by their points of view, he at least gets them."

Sounds disingenuous to me. What's the point of hearing alternatives if you are never persuaded to act on them? Surround yourself with "yes" men and get at the point. At least everyone knows the score in that situation. ;)

"Also, the prez noted that to cover the cost of keeping the low tax rates for the wealthy could mean fewer government services enjoyed by middle- and lower-income taxpayers."

What if we don't want the services? Hmmm... ;)

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