Correcting the President’s Terminology on Taxes

By December 10, 2010Small Business, Taxation

In his interview this morning on NPR, President Obama continued the populist talking points that gain no more persuasive power just because he repeats them. Excerpt:

The issue here is not whether I think that the tax cuts for the wealthy are a good or smart thing to do. I’ve said repeatedly that I think they’re not a smart thing to do, particularly because we’ve got to borrow money, essentially, to pay for them.

Let’s edit those comments for accuracy.*

The issue here is not whether I think that the tax cuts extensions of  the current tax rates for the wealthy for small business are a good or smart thing to do. I’ve said repeatedly that I think they’re not a smart thing to do, particularly because we’ve got to borrow money, essentially, to pay for them.

Later in the interview the President outlines his plan of talking about the tax system in  2011:

What I’m saying is, is that the general concept of simplifying [the tax code] — eliminating loopholes, eliminating deductions, eliminating exemptions in certain categories — might make sense if, in exchange, people’s rates are lower. That may end up being a more efficient way of doing business.

But that would mean tax cuts for the wealthy, wouldn’t it?

* For a discussion of the impact of the 2001 and 2003 tax rates on small business, see the Wall Street Journal op-ed by John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, and Jerry Howard of the National Association of Home Builders, “Tax Hikes and the Small Business Job Machine.”

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