Thursday, April 16, 2009

Do As I Say…

Two interesting insights pop out of President and Mrs. Obama's 2008 tax returns.

First, they paid only the minimum amount due under current law, apparently taking advantage of every tax break, deduction and other tax limitation available to them while paying an effective rate of just 31% of their income.

It hardly seems fair.

I would have thought they would have voluntarily chipped in a bit more, at least into the high 40's. After all, this is a couple that is very firm in their belief that those who do best should contribute more, that "contributions" made to the Treasury are a great measures of a person's patriotism.

In addition, the Obama's claimed a tax reduction for their donations of $170,000 to private charities. Given the President's recent call to reduce the deductibility of charitable deductions, wouldn't it have made more sense to have sent those spare dollars to Washington rather than to donate them to what seems a ragtag list of favored recipients? I mean, in this newly enlightened age should we really be subsidizing the work of Catholic Relief Services or United Negro College Fund? Aren't those two pretty discriminatory? Are we using tax breaks to support religion and race?

Second, the Obamas took a tax credit for the private school tuition they paid for their daughters. Now, really! Should a multi-millionaire couple well able to pay $47,000 for grammar school be looking for the helping hand from a tax subsidy underwritten by the poorer slobs from the working class?

C'mon, Mr. President. Let's get your actions in line with your talk. At an absolute minimum amend your return, waive all your itemized deductions and claims for credits—including the one you took for foreign taxes, for pete's sake!—and pony up the max rather than the min.

It's the very least you can do.

Change, change, but there is no change!

1 comment:

Grace Nearing said...

It's the very least you can do.Actually, it would be much more effective to do the following.

(1) Maximize all legitimate federal income tax deductions and credits.

(2) Invest the equivalent amount in the highest-yielding FDIC-insured CD available.

(3) When the CD matures, take the accrued amount and make an Official Gift to Reduce the Debt Held by the Public. This can be done by following the directions here.

(4) This is a much more direct way to help offset the federal debt (and, indirectly, the deficit) than by intentionally overpaying federal income taxes.