[The Archivist has added personal comments within the bolded square brackets, below.  He has also chosen and added the internal hyperlinks as convenient sources of reference.  The text of the original article has not been altered in any way.]

Bush Panel May Curb Popular Tax Breaks

Last Updated: October 11, 2005 16:33 EDT

President George W. Bush's tax advisory panel, rejecting a fundamental overhaul, agreed to recommend limiting tax breaks for homeowners and employer- provided health-care benefits to help pay for repealing the alternative minimum tax. ['help pay for' ?? - Note how this entire article assumes that the government owns all tax money, not The People.]

[There is also a palpable bias in this article against so-called wealthier Americans who for some reason are expected to pay more than their fair share of taxes.  This expectation is generally referred-to by Liberals and the captive media with the pejorative phrase "Tax Cuts for the Rich".  Please note that wealth is most accurately represented (measured), not by income or ready cash, but rather by ownership of stocks, bonds, and/or real estate (e.g., manufacturing facilities) all of which create (or preserve) jobs which in turn generate the wages and taxes that drive our economy forward.  Remember, a poor man never hires anyone.]

The panel, meeting in Washington today, agreed the current $1 million cap on deductible mortgage interest should be reduced, possibly to about $350,000, and that the deduction should yield no more than a 25 percent tax savings, down from a top savings now of about 35 percent.  [Hello?  What about the tens of thousands of jobs (and associated income and Social Security taxes) that will be lost in the housing, banking, plumbing, electrical, and other associated industries from the building and loan slump that this scheme would surely induce?  How do these so-called experts plan to pay for both the loss in tax revenue associated with job-loss and the huge increase in unemployment benefit payouts, huh ??]

The panel also said it would probably recommend capping tax deductions for employer-provided health-care plans.  Current law allows employers to deduct the value of premiums paid on behalf of their workers without the benefit being considered taxable income to the employee.  [If employers and/or corporations receive fewer tax deductions, then in order to maintain the same level of profit they are entitled to: (1) raise prices, and/or (2) reduce future pay raises, and/or (3) reduce future benefit payouts, and/or (4) raise employee contributions for health care.  The experts description here is a naked obfuscation of the fact that their "plan" is actually a tax increase in the form of more payroll deductions.]  The panel discussed placing the cap [for employer deductions] at the maximum amount the federal government pays in premiums for its workers, currently about $11,000 [Here is more reference on Government-Employee Health Plans.  The Archivist feels that all government workers - including everyone in the Congressional, Juciciary, and Executive branches - should be covered under the same Social Security and health benefit plans as all other Americans].

"These are the things we're looking at," said panel Vice Chairman John Breaux, a Democrat and former senator from Louisiana.  "We have a concept. We know where to go. We just don't have the details.''  [Actually, they don't have a clue but I would sure love the opportunity of telling them where to go]

Both changes would preserve the incentives for lower-and middle-income workers while curbing them for wealthier Americans who are getting a disproportionate benefit [??], panelists said.  [Yettanuther naked opinion, boldly spoken in the best liberalese: as if the assertion is a fact while citing neither supporting statistics or authoritative references]

Breaux said such ``tough choices'' would raise ``a generous amount'' of taxes to help offset the $1.3 trillion cost [there's that pesky word cost, once again purposely misused to deflect attention.  When our liberal friends want to raise your taxes, they call it investment] of repealing the alternative minimum tax, he said. The minimum tax, imposed in 1969 to ensure that 200 wealthy families didn't escape tax with excess deductions, is now forcing millions of middle- income families to pay higher taxes because it was never indexed for inflation.  [And where do you suppose this inflation comes from, huh?  Why, from the unending deficit-spending binge approved by our tax-drunk government, aided and abetted by the unbounded evil of the Federal Reserve System, perhaps best characterized as a Modern-Day Money Machine]

No [to] Sales Tax [replacing the Income Tax]

The panel decided not to endorse a national sales tax [WHY NOT ??] in its final recommendations and most panel members expressed reservations about a European-style value-added tax, which is in place in most industrialized countries.  

[Notice how in the paragraph above the very best, easiest, hardest to cheat, and most straightforward tax plan, the National Sales Tax  is given only 11 words before the reader is deflected into a discussion (albeit superficial) of the Value Added Tax.  The VAT is the darling of Europe, which is why liberals are usually quick to embrace it.  The VAT is also 100% indirect, meaning all taxes are collected at each stage of the production process instead of at the point of sale.  In essence, the VAT is a compound tax because the tax added from each higher level is used in the tax calculation for each lower level.]

[In opposite contrast, the NST is a direct tax collected one time, and only at the cash register.  Being therefore a single level, the NST makes it impossible for the government to hide or disguise a tax increase by simply shifting the burden to a non-consumer level (e.g., a corporate income tax).  Because of the "transparency" of the NST, tax-drunk government officials are usually opposed to its adoption.]

Both systems [liberalese alert:] would disproportionately hurt the poor [HOW, EXACTLY ??], panelists said, and some members such as Chairman Connie Mack, the former Republican senator from Florida, and former Minnesota Representative Bill Frenzel said they worry a value-added tax would make it too easy for the government to raise money and increase spending programs.  [Wow!  So there were at least two intelligent persons on the panel!]

[Let's examine this 'hurt the poor' assertion a little: A rich man spends $600,000 during a year buying the goods and services of others.  The rich man pays a total of $90,000 (15%) at the cash register as his share of a National Sales Tax.  A poor man spends $15,000 during the same year and pays $2,250 (also 15%) at the cash register as his share of the NST.  Remember, a 15% NST would eliminate the need for all forms of state and federal income taxes, both personal and corporate.  The rich man spends 40 times as much, and - since there are no deductions from the NST - pays 40 times more in taxes than the poor man.  How is this in any way unfair to the poor man?  How does the rich mans buying habits hurt the poor man?  How many jobs did the rich mans purchases support (maybe one of them was the poor mans job)?   How many jobs did the poor mans purchases support?  Suppose the rich man were a drug dealer (or Saudi national).  Before the NST he would have paid no taxes at all.  Now that is what I call unfair!  Please take some time right now to review the facts on the most fair and straightforward of all tax plans, the National Sales Tax]

Mack asked the panel's staff to devise a specific proposal that would layer a value-added tax on the current system and reduce individual and corporate income tax rates.  [Oops - This Cunning Stunt from Mr. Mack shows his true liberal colors: keep the IRS and add a VAT for good measure!]

Still, he said that as the panel's work begins to wrap up, it's looking more and more to making changes within the current system.  [So just more same-o, same-o, heh boys?]

Value-Added Tax

"We're getting focused down on the income tax here," Mack said. In a later interview, he added, "I would be surprised if we were to conclude that we want to offer a value-added tax proposal to the president."  [methinks thee doth protest too much]

The panel increasingly is looking to eliminate or restrict tax preferences [spelled d-e-d-u-c-t-i-o-n-s] already embedded in the law.  David Walker, the head of the Government Accountability Office [now there's an oxymoron], said on Sept. 23rd that uncollected revenue because of the incentives [such as getting to deduct State Income Tax from income subject to Federal taxes] tripled since 1974 to $730 billion.  The biggest embedded tax breaks subsidize housing and health care," [in honest words, make it possible to afford to pay for housing and health care] Walker said.

The details of the [elimination of] mortgage interest and health care proposals [i.e., deductions] will be ironed out next week, Mack said.  He said the proposals are "clearly redistributing the tax benefits for homeownership and health care to lower-income Americans."  [COMMUNISM ALERT: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."  What - how can these people even be Americans??  That's what Liberalism is all about, folks: burden the most productive parts of our society with ever higher taxes and then give a small part of it back in welfare (and social benefits to illegals) to buy votes from the non-workers.  Liberalism should actually be called RobinHoodism]

[The Archivist believes that inflation - and cruel levels of taxation - are the main reasons why both mom and dad now have to have jobs to support their family.  This lessens the opportunity for teaching family values in the home and makes it oh-so-convenient for liberal views and propaganda to be brainwashed into our children at the public schools.  Yes, it is a conspiracy.]

Lower-Income Homeowners

Tax breaks for homeownership particularly help the wealthy while lower-income people don't get enough benefits, said panelists such as Liz Ann Sonders, the chief investment officer at San Francisco-based Charles Schwab Corp. The current incentives, including the fact that most home sales are tax-free, are driving up home prices, making them unaffordable or pushing lower-income borrowers to take out risky mortgages.  [lies, Lies, LIES !!  It is the devaluation of the dollar caused by the government-accelerated process of inflation that is causing home prices to escalate.  Owning ones own home has traditionally been protection against inflation but now the liberals want to take that away.  If a homeowner has to pay income tax on the inflated value of his home every time he bought and sold, that would really tend to increase home prices.  It would also discourage sales of both new and used homes, all but ensuring a housing crash, attendant loss of jobs, nore unemployment payouts, and a general depression in the American economy.]

"We are starting to see some significant pain here," Sonders said.  [you ain't seen nuthin' yet!]

The panel agreed to a proposal by former IRS Commissioner Charles Rossotti to make it easier for lower income Americans to get a tax break for donating money to charity.  [What --- I thought that lower income folks were the charity.  Yee gawds, what a cruel and hollow "benefit" to offer up.  Typical Big Brother double-speak]

Investment Income

The panel may compensate wealthier Americans who lose some of those benefits by reducing or repealing taxes on investment income.  [after kicking the dog, throw him some table scraps]  Mack said that proposal would be discussed at the panel's final meeting on Oct. 18.  The panel is due to make its final recommendations to the Treasury Department by Nov. 1st.  Its report will serve as a blueprint for a comprehensive proposal by Bush to overhaul the tax code as early as next year.  Bush appointed the nine-member panel in January.

Panel member John Poterba, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, presented a subcommittee's findings on the ramifications of changing to the mortgage interest deductions. Reducing to about $300,000 or $350,000 the cap on mortgage interest deduction and limiting the tax savings yield would preserve the benefits for the middle class, he said.

A person who takes out a mortgage that exceeds the cap would lose deductions on excessive amounts, while those in top tax brackets would only get a maximum 15 or 25 percent deduction, depending on where the panel ultimately sets the cap. Panelists also discussed converting the deduction to a credit, which would allow the 70 percent of Americans who don't currently itemize to claim the break for the first time.  [So how do they plan to P-A-Y for this loss of revenue ??]

Transition Period

Poterba suggested, and other panel members agreed to recommend, an extended transition period during which homeowners could take advantage of laws as they existed when they bought their homes ``so we're not changing the rules of the game for people out there.''  [a faint glimmer of mercy and intelligence]

Linda Goold, a lobbyist at the National Association of Realtors in Washington, said the panel is wise to consider an extended transition period if it changes tax incentives for homeownership ``as any change is likely to have a winners and losers effect.''  [Sure, The IRS wins and We the People lose]

She said the group was reserving judgment on the panel's recommendations until a final report is issued, but said it is concerned that lowering the mortgage interest cap may have an uneven impact around the country, hurting states like California that have higher housing costs more than those with more affordable housing, such as Indiana.


Earlier, the panel agreed to curb tax preferences for employer-provided health care.

Former Federal Trade Commission Chairman Tim Muris, a member of the panel, said the change would end subsidies that favor wealthier Americans.  [Damn those wealthier Americans, it's obvious that they're to blame for trying to avoid paying their fair share]  If adopted, the change would increase taxes on workers whose employers provide them health plans that are more valuable than those offered government workers.  [the obvious solution is to give government workers the same health plans as private workers, rather than seeking to reduce the value of private health care plans]

``It obviously means that the incentive -- the subsidy if you will -- to take a policy above the cap will be removed and therefore there will be people who will be much more sensitive to that,'' Muris said.  [Let's see, here... If I understand Mr. Muris correctly, he is saying that to the extent that the government is not taking ALL our money, then it is subsidizing us.  What arrogance, what an insult to our intelligence]

Tax preferences for health care are the largest incentives in the current tax code, and American workers will save $1.9 trillion over the next decade by avoiding taxes on the value of their employer-provided premiums.  [Oh, I get it... the 50% of pay already taken by taxes somehow just isn't enough, right?   We're sooo-o-o selfish to want to keep so much of our own money... Obviously, the government knows how to spend it much more wisely than We the People]

There is no consensus about whether to also restrict the deduction employers take for providing coverage, Breaux and Mack said after the meeting.

``How can you do it one way and not the other?'' Breaux asked.  [I think he means 'Let's rape them at both ends.']

Breaux said he realized both proposals may lack political appeal in Congress, though he said that wasn't the panel's concern. ``Our job is to make bold proposals without regard of the politics,'' he said.  [Yeh, sure]

Mohit Ghose, vice president of public affairs at America's Health Insurance Plans, a trade group in Alexandria, Virginia, said a recent poll of 400 people commissioned by his organization concluded voters want to preserve tax preferences for health care.  [Well, DUH]

``Voters are sending a very clear message that they do not support changing the tax status of employer-sponsored or employer- provided health care.''

To contact the reporter on this story: Ryan Donmoyer in Washington at rdonmoyer@bloomberg.net.


This is a complex subject, and the reader is advised to do further research on all the various aspects of its component parts.  Form your own opinion based on the best facts available, not the highly spun propaganda spoon fed by the media.  The worst thing one can do is to do nothing.  Hold your elected public officials fully accountable.  It is also essential that you become familiar with the history and practices of a private organization that has been referred-to as the greatest swindle ever perpetrated upon the American people: The Federal Reserve System, also discussed at this informative link.  Complete your outrage by a long, slow look at the National Debt Clock.

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