Topic: Campaign ’08

Looting Your 401(k) To Fix the Economy

By :: October 16th, 2008

Talk about a bad idea. Barack Obama and John McCain both want to give people tax incentives to empty their retirement savings accounts. They’d help contribute to a disastrous old age for many middle-class seniors, even as they provide a windfall to wealthy savers.
In the name of relieving financial hardship caused by the economic slowdown, Obama would allow penalty-free withdrawals from 401(k)s, IRAs, and the like of up to $10,000 for the next two years. McCain’s plan, which is even worse, would cut the tax rate to 10 percent on up to $50,000 of withdrawals in both 2008 and 2009. Workers contribute pre-tax money into these accounts and, currently, withdrawals are taxed at rates up to 35 percent.

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The McCain and Obama Stimulus Plans: An Update

By :: October 15th, 2008

TPC's Katherine Lim has crunched some numbers on John McCain's proposal to temporarily cut capital gains tax rates from 15 percent 7.5 percent. In 2009, under a plan that lowers taxes on both gains and dividends, those making $1 million or more would get two-thirds of the benefit, and an average tax cut of more than $72,000. Those making less than $50,000 would get, on average, nothing.

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McCain and Obama Stimulus Plans: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

By :: October 14th, 2008

Both Barack Obama and John McCain have rolled out new economic stimulus plans. Each is a hodgepodge of some good ideas, some not-so-good, and some potentially awful. Obama says his new ideas would cost $60 billion. McCain says his would cost about $52 billion.
Here is a quick look at what they have in mind:
The centerpiece of Obama’s proposal is a new refundable tax credit for companies that add domestic jobs. Businesses would get $3000 for every net new full-time worker they hire. Any business would be eligible, even those that pay no taxes.

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Tax Cuts Coming? Investors Don’t Think So

By :: October 7th, 2008

With Barack Obama and John McCain arguing about who is going to cut taxes more, I though it would be interesting to find out what investors think is going to happen to their tax bills in the coming years.
So, in a totally unscientific survey, I asked four money managers what their clients think. The results were striking: Every one said their clients overwhelmingly believed their taxes would rise in the coming four years, no matter who is president. As you watch tonight's debate, keep in mind both candidates are desparately pitching tax cuts to voters who don't believe either will deliver.

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Do the Candidates’ Spending Plans Add Up?

By :: September 29th, 2008

On Friday morning, I am going to moderate what promises to be an enlightening discussion of the spending plans of the major Presidential candidates. Panelists will be Rudy Penner of The Urban Institute, Jim Horney of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Maya MacGuineas of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, and Bill Hoagland of CIGNA (and formerly the top budget guru for ex-Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist).

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The Bailout and the Next President: Getting Real

By :: September 23rd, 2008

Barack Obama and John McCain are slowly beginning to get it: For the next President, this week’s financial market meltdown has changed everything.
Suddenly, their grandiose promises of new tax cuts and ambitious spending are sounding more hollow than ever. An $11.3 trillion national debt will do that to you every time.

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Campaign Deficits

By :: September 16th, 2008

In January, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal budget would maintain rough fiscal balance over the coming decade. Last week, CBO updated that forecast and found that the government would run a cumulative $2.3 trillion deficit. That sharp change reflected a slowing economy and rapid spending growth.

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Taxes and Religion

By :: September 11th, 2008

Should clergy have the right to stand up in their tax-exempt pulpits and endorse political candidates?
For a half century, the answer has been no. But The Washington Post's Peter Slevin reported on Sept. 8 that a conservative group called the Alliance Defense Fund wants to change that.

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The Budget Deficit is Getting Worse

By :: September 9th, 2008

The deficit is about to get a lot worse, a lot faster.
At least that's the latest projection by the Congressional Budget Office. In the past six months, Washington's medium-term fiscal health has deteriorated markedly, and what CBO once projected to be a small surplus beginning in 2012 has now morphed into annual deficits in excess of $100 billion as far as the eye can see (to borrow a phrase).

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Obama and the Deficit

By :: September 9th, 2008

I was, to say the least, surprised to read a couple of comments posted last week that claimed was asserting Barack Obama’s tax-and-spending plans would pay for themselves. I was even more surprised to read that FactCheck was supposedly basing its conclusions on TPC data. So, I looked it up.

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