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December 06, 2010

"Bush's tax cuts: How did they affect you?"

By Richard Wolf, USA TODAY

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Susan Yetter recalls vividly the day in March 2001 when President George W. Bush came to Western Michigan University and declared that the U.S. budget surplus "is the people's money, and we ought to trust them with their own money."

Less than three months later, on June 7, 2001, Bush signed into law a 10-year, $1.6 trillion package of tax cuts making good on that promise. It buoyed businesses and consumers at the government's expense, creating private investment and jobs but contributing to future budget deficits.


Willing to return his share

Rob Oakleaf knows what the Bush tax cuts mean to his wallet: $635 a year.

He'd gladly live without it, Oakleaf says, so the U.S. government could spend more on programs that benefit the people he serves: Kalamazoo's poor and homeless.

"I have not given any thought to the tax cuts, and I don't think they have been any benefit to me," says Oakleaf, 30, executive director of the homeless day shelter Ministry in Community.

Unlike wealthier individuals or business owners, Oakleaf has no difficulty computing the impact of the tax cuts on his middle-class existence. He earns $55,000 a year. The Tax Foundation's online calculator computed his tax cut for him.

Bush's tax reductions were enacted about the same time Oakleaf was graduating from Kalamazoo College. He since has worked lesser-paying jobs as a high school teacher, bartender and website and graphic designer. At those jobs, the tax cuts were worth less to him.


[Read the full story.]

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