All of the people all of the time

All of the people all of the time October 7, 2003

Julia at Sisyphus Shrugged takes issue with the conclusion to Dana Milbank's article in today's Washington Post. Milbank writes:

No Credit Where Credit Is Due

Polls have shown public opinion toward President Bush souring over his handling of the economy and Iraq. But an item tucked away in last week's CBS News/New York Times poll adds insult to injury. Despite three tax cuts in as many years, only 19 percent said Bush's policies made their taxes go down. Forty-seven percent noticed no effect, while 29 percent perceived that their taxes have gone up.

Millbank — who's probably raking in enough to actually benefit from Bush's tax cuts — doesn't understand what he sees as the ingratitude of these people. But as Julia points out:

See, a whole bunch of people got little or no benefit from Bush's tax cuts, and his unfunded mandates and gutting of federal funding while massively increasing spending caused less money to go back to the states, which then sent less money to localities and in many cases raised taxes, as did the localities. So, see, taxes have actually gone up for far more than 29 percent of Americans.

When Bush says, "I cut your taxes," you have to understand his definition of terms. By "taxes" he means income taxes — and estate taxes and dividend taxes. By "your" he means those people for whom these taxes are most burdensome.

Very, very few of us will ever have to worry about the estate tax. And only a small minority will ever have to pay more than a small tax on dividends. For most of us — more than 7 out of 10 American households — the biggest tax burden is the payroll taxes. Bush hasn't cut those. He can't — he's using that revenue, intended to fund Social Security, to pay for his tax giveaways to the wealthy minority who pay estate and dividend taxes.

Here's hoping that this poll is accurate. President Bush hopes to buy votes with his tax cuts, and I hope he succeeds. I hope everyone supports the president in direct proportion to the benefit they receive from his tax cuts. Then, back in Crawford, he can console himself after his landslide loss that at least he took 100 percent of the idle rich vote.

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