Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Misery Breaks

So how much is $56 billion in tax breaks?

It would fund 287 days of war in Iraq. At $195 million a day.

And who really really needs those tax breaks, according to the Republicans?

The House vote for capital gains and dividend tax cuts sets up tricky negotiations with the Senate, where lawmakers could not muster enough support to insert the extension in their version of the bill. The Senate's GOP leaders vowed to make sure the investment tax breaks make it into the final legislation.

The 15 percent tax rate for investment income is currently scheduled to disappear at the end of 2008. If the reduction runs out, the top capital gains tax rate would be 20 percent and dividends would be taxed like ordinary income at rates up to 35 percent.

But clearly the Republicans are doing all of this because they want to protect the majority of Americans, all of us making all that money off our dividends. Is that correct, Mark Shields?

About one out of six American families, according to the authoritative Tax Policy Center, had stock dividends in 2000, the last year for which figures are available.

Less than 9 percent of families had dividends of $1,000 or more. Less than 4 percent of American families had stock dividends over $5,000, but perhaps not surprisingly, that lucky 4 percent of families collected 83 percent of all the dividends paid.

It's good to know that the family names among that 4% most likely include Bush and Cheney.


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