From the Dow Jones Report:
"My opponent has already promised over $2 trillion in new spending and there is still two more months to go," Bush said on a recent New Mexico campaign stop. "So I asked him, 'How are you going to pay for it?' and he said tax the rich," Bush said. "The problem is you cannot tax the rich enough to raise $2 trillion. So guess who is going to pay? You are."
Bush said the rich hire lawyers and accountants, and this means they don't pay their fair share of the tax burden. As a result, Kerry will be forced to raise taxes on the middle class, Bush contended.
From the Washington Times:
"He said he's only going to raise the tax on the so-called rich," Mr. Bush told thousands of supporters in Stark County, a crucial Ohio swing district, "but you know how the rich [are]: They've got accountants.
"That means you pay," he added. "That means your small business pays; it means the farmers and the ranchers pay. That's the wrong medicine for this economy, and we're not going to let him prescribe it."
And from AP:
Bush told voters in Sioux City that Kerry's answer to paying for additional spending is, "Oh, don't worry, we'll tax the rich." But the president said the rich have accountants who can help them avoid taxes and that the answer to the question of who is going to pay for Kerry's programs is obvious. "You are!" the president told the crowd. "But the good news is we're not going to let him get in office in the first place."
This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. There are so many things wrong with this argument, I scarcely know where to begin, but I will try.
1. The president’s upper-class tax cut has already placed the burden of paying for government programs on the middle-class and the poor. (This is according to a nonpartisan OMB report released just last week.) So he’s essentially condemning the Kerry plan for possibly doing what his own plan has already actually done.
2. If the rich are hiring accountants and lawyers to get out of paying taxes, shouldn’t they be prosecuted for breaking the law? Or, alternately, shouldn’t we reform the tax code to close up the loopholes that allow the rich to get away with not paying taxes? It seems like Bush is claiming that the rich don’t pay taxes and there’s nothing we can do about it, so we just shouldn’t bother taxing them. Which, you know, is incredibly stupid. (It’s also contrary to his claim previously in his term that he was going to crack down on tax evaders.)
3. Do the accountants and lawyers for all these rich people only start working when the tax rate goes above a certain point? For example, one would assume that the rich are paying taxes now. Will they only put their accountants to work when the highest bracket hits, say, 37%? During the Clinton administration, when taxes for the rich were higher, the government got a huge amount of income from tax receipts, so presumably the rich were paying taxes then too. Did the accountants and lawyers just now figure out how to avoid paying?
4. Similarly, if the rich really don’t pay taxes, why is the Republican Party always trying to lower taxes for the rich? That's part of the G.O.P.'s basic platform. But if they have these clever lawyers and accountants who get them out of playing taxes, why bother lowering taxes? They aren’t going to pay it anyway, so you might as well leave their taxes where they are.
5. This all dodges the fact that Kerry’s tax plan is designed to lower taxes for at least 70% of the working population by shifting the tax burden from the middle class and the poor (where Bush has put it) back on to the rich. And historically, tax receipts have gone up when the upper class were taxed at a relatively high rate, such as under Clinton (a Democrat) and Eisenhower (a Republican); both, of course, presided over massive booms in the economy that benefited the middle-class and poor as much as the rich.
Honestly, this is just idiotic. It’s beyond stupid. There are so many reasons this is dumb that I can’t believe they’ve made it part of their standard campaign stump speech. It’s so flawed on so many levels that you’d think a five-year-old could find at least one of them. And yet, when he says it, oh, the cheers…