The Tax Policy Blog

October 19, 2008
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October 18, 2008

In the final Presidential debate between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama, dominated by economic policy, both candidates made many of the same misleading statements they've made in past debates and on the campaign trail.

With much of the discussion directed towards "Joe the Plumber," a voter Obama recently met with in Ohio who is concerned about his business, Gerald Prante provides Joe with the facts when it comes to both candidates' claims on taxes.

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October 17, 2008

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) is running this ad against incumbent Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) in Georgia, noting that Chambliss supports the FairTax, a 23 percent national sales tax proposal. The ad inaccurately implies that the FairTax plan is a tax increase and would be extra on all purchases.

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October 17, 2008

This following essay is from the October 1980 issue of Tax Features (PDF here).  October 1980—a month before the Reagan vs. Carter election—seems like a very long time ago, but this essay could have been written today.  Sadly, we have a feeling it will still be relevant 28 years from now.

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October 17, 2008

For the last two days, Americans have talked of nothing else but Joe the Plumber and his tax bill.  (He even has his own Wikipedia page!)  It turns out that Joe might actually be named Samuel, that the business he wants to buy probably has profits well below $250,000, and that he may already owe some...

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October 17, 2008

There has been a lot said about Joe the Plumber over the past few days since the video of him on the campaign trail with Joe (whose first name is actually Sam) first appeared and then John McCain turned him into campaign material.

But in the video, Obama appears not to understand the specifics of his own tax plan. First, he makes the typical mistake of equating revenue with income. Many in the leftist blogosphere have criticized Joe for possibly mixing the two up (because you are...

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October 16, 2008

New Hampshire's Department of Revenue Administration confirmed yesterday that the state's cigarette tax is going up 25 cents to $1.33 per pack, effective immediately. Many retailers have still not received word of the announcement, which was made after the department...

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October 16, 2008

Joe the Plumber is the topic of discussion today in American politics following last night's debate. After asking Sen. Obama a question on the campaign trail about how Obama's tax plan would affect him, only to get a response that included "share the wealth," Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher is in the midst of his fifteen minutes of fame. John McCain brought up the man's name in last night's debate to explain why voters should support his tax plan.

Whether he would pay more in taxes under...

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October 16, 2008

So how much would Joe the Plumber pay under Obama's tax plan? It's a difficult question to answer given that the tax code is so complicated and that you have to know so many details about a person to arrive at an answer (there will probably be a tax law passed that makes your dog's name affect your tax liability at some point). But we have made simple assumptions about Joe the Plumber to show how he would be...

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October 16, 2008

Well, it turns out that Joe the Plumber has a kid and is not married. And that matters in the tax code as does just about everything else about you. So we have re-run the numbers for what Obama and McCain would do to Joe the Plumber's tax bill in 2009 changing the filing status and everything that comes with it. We assume Joe has the right to file head of household status, which assumes that he is the primary provider for his son.

UPDATE: We have now run the numbers starting with $...

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October 16, 2008

For a few weeks, Barack Obama has been running an advertisement equating McCain's tax cuts to spending when much of the tax cuts are really not anything like spending (most aren't tax expenditures and are just rate cuts). Now John McCain has a new ad entitled "Joe the Plumber" out today that calls Barack Obama's tax plan welfare. Here's a description of the ad courtesy Newsmax:

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October 15, 2008

In a recently televised exchange with self-employed plumber Joe Wurzelbacher, Senator Obama was remarkably candid in expressing why he supports wealth redistribution through the tax code - "it's good for everybody."  

Here is a excerpt of the exchange:

"Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn't it?" Wurzlebacher asked.

"It's not that I want to punish your success," Obama explained. "I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that...

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October 15, 2008

Yesterday the Obama-Biden campaign introduced the “Obama-Biden Tax Calculator” on the campaign’s website. The calculator allows you to input your income, filing status, and number of dependents, and asks you if any of your income goes towards things like child care and retirement savings. The calculator then tallies your “tax savings” under both Obama’s and McCain’s tax plans and compares the two. Unfortunately, the calculator...

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October 15, 2008

Through their advertisements and in their first two debates, Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain have bickered over two tax policies most frequently: Sen. McCain's health care tax credit and the impact of Sen. Obama's tax plan on small businesses. Unfortunately, on both issues, neither campaign has been telling the American people the whole truth. Both issues will undoubtedly come up again in tonight's presidential debate, so I present below a reality check on the two matters.

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