Why were the Bush Tax cuts temporary ?

Was it because they were an experiment to see if they would be of benefit.

Well, how is that working out for you?

I thought the economy was running along pretty smoothly before they were implemented.

I’ve heard that the average American faces a $3000.00 extra tax bill when the tax cuts expire.

Is that true ?

The Senate Parlimentarian said the only way to pass the tax cuts via reconciliation was to make them sunset after ten years (IIRC, because laws that increase the deficit must sunset to pass via reconciliation). They didn’t have the votes to pass otherwise, so temporary they are.

Mean household income in the US is like 50k. The Bush tax cuts lowered the tax rate by something like 3% of total income, so rough estimate would be more like 1,500. And that’s for households, so the average per person would be lower.

Be very careful when you’re talking about “averages” because while that’s technically true, it can paint a very misleading picture. Put Bill Gates and 50 homeless people in the same room, and you can say quite accurately that that the average net worth of each person in the room is in excess of a billion dollars.

You have to correct for deductions. taxable income in much lower.

Yea, I was just finding an upper bound and showing it to be lower the 3k more then making a serious attempt to find the average.

Here’s a site which perports to give the average increase for the various tax brackets. The average individual income for Americans over 18 is a bit under 30k which according to the link, means tax bills will raise something like 600$.

Its possible that the average tax bill might be 3,000, for the reason blalron mentioned. But the tax bill of the average American will go up by much less.

Exactly. Tax cutters love to talk about means rather than medians for this reason. If you raise taxes for 99 people by a thousand dollars and lower taxes for the 100th person by $199,000, you can then claim that “on average” your plan gave everyone a thousand dollar tax cut.

Well, I’m starting to get the idea that the expiry of the tax cuts is not that big a deal for the average American, especially compared to the opportunity to bring down the deficit.

I’m thing the downside for Obama holding out isn’t all that bad after all.

It drives me nuts that we keep on hearing about extending the tax cut for those making under $250,000. If it passes it will be a tax break for all tax payers. No one will receive more of a tax break than those making over $250,000.

Well, 600$/yr isn’t trivial, and less so when the economy is in a slump. Were it up to me, I’d end the upper bracket tax-cuts now, extend the lower bracket tax-cuts for another three years and then sunset them to lower the deficit.

A good point.

Nope, it was because the pubs didn’t have the votes to make their crazy tax plan permanent.
Your notion of the GOP doing cautious experimentation with tax rates is hilarious.
Modern conservatives* have never met a tax cut they don’t lust after.


*excepting always that noble and seldom seen, to the point of belonging on the endangered species list, minority of ‘true’ conservatives.

Ah, you mean the Tufted Rockefeller! Bee-yoo-tiful plumage! Last one was roasted on a coat hanger by a homeless man in 1983.

Look, to enact a major Bush tax cut, I would assume they had to get the Democrats to go along. I mean the Democrats could have prevented the Bush tax cuts couldn’t they ?

Without looking into the exact numbers, I recall that the Republicans had a slim majority in the Senate at the time. Maybe only 49 votes after Jeffords defected. Something like that. The Democrats could have filibustered it had they tried to pass it normally. Thus, they used the budget reconciliation procedure, which required the ten-year sunsetting, but allowed it to pass with a simple majority.

Then the same Republicans were horrified that the Democrats would use the same procedure to pass the necessary changes to the health care bill for it to pass both houses of Congress.

To answer the OP, the Dems were going to filibuster the tax cuts and the GOP didn’t have 60 votes, so they passed them under the budget reconciliation rules, but those had to have a 10 year sunset in them.

Even then, 3 Republicans and Jim Jeffords voted against, and only 2 Democrats voted in favor, so Cheney had to cast the tie breaking vote.

ETA: The composition of the Senate in 2003 was 51 Republicans and 48 Democrats, plus Jeffords.

The median household barely pays any federal income tax at all.

You mean because they will be getting the full effect of the tax break on the first $250K of their income? Trust me, thats not enough for them.

The median household effective income tax rate is about 5%, which is a bit more than “hardly any”.

Was he pining for Gerald Ford?