Kendall Harmon—Morning Rant on America, the Fiscal Debate, and Losing Touch with Reality

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I listened to NPR yesterday for over an hour back and forth from a doctors appointment.

The entire time they talked about President Obama's proposal to implement the middle class tax cut now.
Everywhere I turn its middle class tax cut, middle class tax cut...

Except it isn't but no one thinks about these things.

What is being proposed is not letting the current tax code STAY THE SAME.
So 98% of Americans WON"T HAVE A TAX INCREASE.

Since when is not having an increase a cut?

Anyone you know say I am getting the same number of days vacation this year as last year I am angry I get a benefits cut!

Filed under: * By Kendall* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceTaxesThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetMedicareSocial SecurityThe National DeficitPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenate

Posted November 29, 2012 at 10:07 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

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1. Kendall Harmon wrote:

Please note that the intent of this post is to focus on the debasement of language and thought.  I do not want comments that veer way off on the politics of the fiscal cliff debate—please.

November 29, 11:16 am | [comment link]
2. TomRightmyer wrote:

I’m waiting to hear about the spending cuts proposed by the White House.  So far all I’m seeing are proposals to raise the capital gains tax and cut the mortgage interest deduction.  I’ve volunteered to help On Track, the Asheville consumer credit non-profit, with their income tax preparation program and have been reading the IRS volunteer tax preparer training materials.  The rules are very complex, particularly those having to do with dependency and tax credit for child care.

November 29, 11:24 am | [comment link]
3. Mitchell wrote:

The reason it is a tax cut is that under current law rates are scheduled to increase on January 1.  To aviod that increase will require congress to pass a new law.  A tax cut occurs when a law is passed to lower the amount taxpayers will pay under current law.  I have no problem with calling this a tax cut.

November 29, 12:55 pm | [comment link]
4. APB wrote:

Remember, the taxes are scheduled to go up.  That means that the taxes for 2013 are what they are scheduled to be.  So if the law is changed, the taxes are lower, and that makes it a tax cut.  From a strictly legalistic standpoint, it is a tax cut.  Just try and convince a Liberal that this is nonsense.  The usual response will be something like “Do you every watch anything besides Fox news?”  It is much worse than a debasement of the language.  They really, REALLY think this way.  Another reason to be very, very afraid for our country and the world.

November 29, 12:57 pm | [comment link]
5. Phil wrote:

A similar thing that annoys me is analysis that talks about how much various tax proposals will cost the government - the subtext being that the government is entitled to all of our money, and whatever we’re allowed to keep is an “expense.”

The corollary, very foul phase that started popping up last year is “tax expenditure,” viz.: “Eliminating tax expenditures like the mortgage deduction.”

November 29, 12:58 pm | [comment link]
6. Mitchell wrote:

I consider myself a moderate, not a liberal, but if we are talking about language and not politics, I don’t understand why you would say calling a law that decreases the amount of tax people will pay a tax cut is nonsense.

Regarding Mr. Harmon’s vacation analogy a better analogy would be, if his vacation days were scheduled to be decreased to one week from two weeks in 2013 and he had know that for over ten years, and his employer comes in and says, I have decided to keep your vacation at 2 weeks.  That would be a benefits increase.

November 29, 1:14 pm | [comment link]
7. Kendall Harmon wrote:

” That would be a benefits increase.”

You have made my point for me.

It would be no such thing.  It would be a benefit CUT that did not occur.  The days stay the same year over year.

It is 2012 not 2013, and the language is being used to change a law THIS year that will kick in NEXT year.  The year over year situation will not change.

If the law is changed, the taxes are not lower than they are now.

November 29, 1:31 pm | [comment link]
8. Mitchell wrote:

Mr. Harmon,
If we are talking language, not politics, I believe tax cut is correct.  We are describing the law that is being passed.  That law has nothing to do with what taxes are this year.  It is a law changing what taxes will be next year and it is lowering those taxes.  That is a tax cut.
Let me be clearer about my analysis of the vacation.  Let’s say I enter into a contract with you on January 1, 2012.  The contract says my pay will be $50 an hour in 2012 and $40 an hour in 2013.  On December 15, 2012 you come to me and say, ” I have decided to keep your pay at $50 per hour for 2013, let’s make a new contract for 2013.”  I agree and we make a new contract.  I have received an increase in compensation.  I will receive more than I was scheduled to receive under our original contract.

November 29, 1:50 pm | [comment link]
9. Kendall Harmon wrote:

The language needs to be honest and describe what is actually occurring.  I realize each side is doing marketing, but it hurts the debate and more and more, sadly, the country.

I will even go so far as to say “an increase in expenses that will not occur next year that will be as if those expenses were cut for you.”

But the yoy amount hasn’t changed.

November 29, 1:58 pm | [comment link]
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