Monday, January 4, 2016

What the IRS tax tables say about Obama's presidency and the 2016 election

Paul Krugman's theme is that elections have consequences. One consequence of Obama's election (and re-election) is that the tax rate did not change for the average American. But it did go up for those in the highest brackets. The amount of revenue generated was enough to cover Obamacare and food stamps. And, sorry you Greedy Oligarchical Prophets, the economy is doing just fine, thank you.

Now, to be fair, some widely predicted consequences of Mr. Obama’s re-election — predicted by his opponents — didn’t happen. Gasoline prices didn’t soar. Stocks didn’t plunge. The economy didn’t collapse — in fact, the U.S. economy has now added more than twice as many private-sector jobs under Mr. Obama as it did over the same period of the George W. Bush administration, and the unemployment rate is a full point lower than the rate Mr. Romney promised to achieve by the end of 2016.

In other words, the 2012 election didn’t just allow progressives to achieve some important goals. It also gave them an opportunity to show that achieving these goals is feasible. No, asking the rich to pay somewhat more in taxes while helping the less fortunate won’t destroy the economy.

Had the GOP won the White House, America would look very different today. And it might start looking very different a year from now if the GOP takes the Presidency.

So now we’re heading for another presidential election. And once again the stakes are high. Whoever the Republicans nominate will be committed to destroying Obamacare and slashing taxes on the wealthy — in fact, the current G.O.P. tax-cut plans make the Bush cuts look puny. Whoever the Democrats nominate will, first and foremost, be committed to defending the achievements of the past seven years.

The bottom line is that presidential elections matter, a lot, even if the people on the ballot aren’t as fiery as you might like. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

As a young firebrand in graduate school at Cal, Berkeley, I was bemoaning what I saw as similarities between the two political parties. My mentor reminded me that life under Democrats and life under Republicans are vastly different. He was right. The proof is in the IRS tables.

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