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What's Bush about today's tax cuts?

Over the weekend, some of us tax folks were talking via Twitter about the Bush tax cuts. Not the specifics, but the name "Bush tax cuts." Yes, we're word nerds as well as tax nerds and do we know how to spend our days off or what?

As we exchanged semantics views on what to call the tax rates and breaks that are set to expire on Dec. 31, 2012, I realized that this topic just couldn't be addressed properly in 140 character bursts. So I offered to provide a platform for further discussion here on the ol' blog. Two of my Twitter pals took me up on that.

Below is an analysis by Frank Woodman, Jr.

What's Bush about any Tax Cut Considered Today? Nothing

To talk about any tax cut being considered today as being a "Bush" tax cut extension is the height of political misdirection.

After all, any tax cuts that were enacted during the Bush years have already technically "expired" as all of them have been extended at least one time and some many more than that.

So the whole debate on any current tax cuts being tied to Bush has become no more than a poor parody of anything approaching reality. And the attempt to continue to imply that the tax cut issues being debated are still related somehow to him is only an attempt to cloak them in nostalgic rhetoric.

Worse still is that to talk about any president taking credit for any of the tax regulations or tax cuts that occur during their term is truly nothing more than media based politics. Presidents just don't write the various tax laws we have.

It's the Congress made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate of the United States that is responsible for writing our laws and that includes our tax code and how it's implemented.

So let's quit allowing presidential politics to play into the discussions we have on tax issues and start referring to our tax laws as belonging to the Congresses that enacted them. It's they rather than any president that deserve both the praise and the blame for our tax laws. They wrote and they enacted our entire tax code turning it over to the IRS to define and carry out.

And at a time of financial crisis as we have today to allow political considerations to shape our tax policy is to endanger our system of taxes both from a point of fairness and from a point of financial responsibility.

For the financial implications of tax credits always cause both intended and unintended consequences and it's time we demand that tax laws quite being used as political fodder to influence voters with such cute tricks as calling them Reagan, Bush or even Obama tax laws or credits.

So wake up and quit talking about "Bush" tax cuts and let's start keeping our focus on the facts of these important regulations. Don't let Bush's name or any other president's be used to hijack our tax laws just to promote political ideology.

So call them what they are Congressional tax cuts and let Congress bear the full force of public opinion for the results not a president long out of office.

You can follow Frank on Twitter at @kstaxman and find all of Frank's social media connections on Xeeme.


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Sean Packard

Nostalgia is the perfect word to describe this practice. Reagan is constantly praised for reducing taxes with the '81 and '86 tax cuts without being blamed for complicating the tax code more then had ever been done before. However, it was a Congress led by Democrats in the House and Republicans in the Senate who wrote and passed the laws. The nostalgia is the same with Bush cuts.

But the same goes for anything that happens while a president is in office. Foe example,the president has no control over gas prices (speculators control that market), yet opponents always hit him/his party over high prices. Dems did it to Bush, Repubs are doing it to Obama. The president is just an easy face to put on a policy or economic or social trend.

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