March 13, 2008
Comparing the Clinton & Obama Tax Plans
Interesting article today on Bloomberg: Obama Tax Plan Stresses Inequality, Clinton Focuses on Behavior, by Alison Fitzgerald & Matthew Benjamin:
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both propose significant changes to the tax code that would add to its complexity. His plan emphasizes income inequality, while hers seeks to change Americans' behavior.
Obama's proposal would shift the tax burden toward the rich from low- and middle-income workers. Clinton proposes targeted tax breaks designed to change the way Americans use energy, save money and care for elders.
Obama, 46, "seems to have focused on redistribution," said Michael Graetz, a professor at Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut, and a former Treasury official.
Clinton, 60, "is proposing tax credits for everything short of flossing your teeth," said Lee Sheppard, a tax lawyer and columnist at Tax Analysts in Falls Church, Virginia.
The two candidates' plans -- especially Clinton's -- would further complicate a tax system that experts say is already Byzantine. Obama would tweak and augment current laws, while Clinton would introduce even more rules by adding at least nine new credits with complex qualification requirements, phase-outs and sliding scales.
For more analysis of the Clinton and Obama tax positions, see:
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God. Why not just propose a feckin' tax CUT and let us decide how we'll use it?
Posted by: RebeccaH | Mar 13, 2008 4:18:50 PM
"Obama's proposal would shift the tax burden toward the rich from low- and middle-income workers."
How is that different in how it is now?
Posted by: buzz | Mar 13, 2008 10:08:46 PM
let me first disclose I am an obama supporter.
Tweaking rates to make the tax code more progressive/redistributive doesn't do anything to add complexity to the code. The complexity arises from all the little deductions and credits and exclusions, the realization principle, the rules for different types of income like capital vs. ordinary and passive.
Obama's tax proposals focus less on creating new deductions than Clinton's does. Hence it creates less complexity than Hillary's.
Additionally, his pre-fill tax return policy will make filing taxes much easier for most people. We adopted this program a couple years ago here in California. It was called "ready return" and was a huge success. The gov basically fills out everything they know about you, send you the return 90% filled out, and you fill out the rest and make any changes. Of course, the year after it debuted, Intuit (turbotax) paid a bunch of lobbyists in Sacramento to kill it off. Good to see Senator Obama proposing to adopt it on a national scale.
Posted by: taxlawstudent | Mar 14, 2008 1:36:20 AM
taxlawstudent- Hopefully you will grow up to have common sense.
Obama's plan is indeed simple. Take everything people who work have and give everything to those who do not. All payouts to be based on need determined by the Federal Government intelliquacks.
Posted by: CapnDick | Mar 14, 2008 2:12:20 PM
taxlawstudent - from what I've been able to find Obama's tax reforms sound like a big improvement on the current system, but I don't understand why he doesn't place this issue more firmly front and center of his campaign. The pre-filled tax returns concept seems like a winner all around, I think we should definitely be hearing more about it, but we're not, unless I'm missing something.
If anyone could point out more info about this it would be much appreciated.
Posted by: dagrenzer | Apr 16, 2008 1:07:41 AM