Unless Congress intervenes in the coming months, many of Bush's much-maligned tax reductions will expire at the end of the year, resulting in a sweeping tax increase at the start of 2011.
But hey, what's the big deal, this won't affect "98 percent" of Americans, at least according to liberal radio host Ed Schultz on Monday (audio here) --
SCHULTZ: You see, I think a lot of Americans think that, well gosh no, we don't want the tax cuts to expire. Ninety-eight percent of you, it doesn't even affect you.
I'd venture to say that most Americans who became parents in the last decade know Schultz's claim is glaringly inaccurate for a specific reason -- the child tax credit, which doubled to $1,000 per-child annually under the Bush tax cut of 2001. And helpfully indeed for those of us who aren't wealthy, the child tax credit extended across all income brackets.
"Unless Congress votes to extend the tax credit, the maximum amount will revert back to $500 for tax year 2011, and the number of families eligible for that amount will be much less as tougher eligibility standards that existed prior to EGTRRA (Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act) will go back into effect," writes Eric Fox at Forbes.com.
As described by Erik Erickson yesterday at RedState, the Bush tax cut of 2001 was "George Bush's version of Barack Obama's stimulus plan" --
However, instead of creating a bunch of temporary government jobs and subsidizing the expansion of government, it cut tax rates, increased the child tax credit, increased the standard deduction for married couples, and increased contribution caps for a variety of savings programs. The result? The recession ended in November of 2001. (Source)
But, September 11, 2001, happened as the economy was recovering and throughout 2002, the economy grew at an anemic rate. The Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 revved up the 2001 tax cut package and cut taxes again on dividends and capital gains.
Under George W. Bush's 'tax cuts for the rich' the rich paid more in taxes in 2005 than any time in the prior 20 years. In fact, as the Wall Street Journal noted, thanks to George W. Bush's tax cuts for the rich, the richest one percent went from paying 25 percent of all income taxes in 1990 to 39 percent in 2005. The richest 5 percent went from paying 44 percent of all income taxes in 1990 to paying 60 percent of all income taxes in 2005.
... More crucially, after the 2001 initial tax cuts, the annual growth rate went from 0.3 percent in 2001 to 2.5 percent in 2002. By 2004, GDP growth was the highest in 20 years. (Source)
Likewise, after the 2003 tax cuts, the unemployment rate fell to the lowest level since World War II. Let me repeat that: the Bush economic program created the lowest unemployment level ever. In fact, economists liken it to full employment given the demographic composition of those who were left on the unemployment line.
And contrary to Schultz's delusions, not everyone going to work during the Bush employment boom was getting there in a limo.
Schultz's tiresome whining about the "top 2 percent" drew a sharp rebuke from a caller on July 13 who nailed Schultz as a hypocrite for benefitting from the Bush tax cuts he otherwise loathes. (audio here)
At the end of the two-minute exchange, a defensive, erratic Schultz offered this laughable apologia after shutting off the caller's audio --
SCHULTZ: So, I'm a hypocrite because I abide by the tax laws?! And if I love the country, I don't love the country enough because I don't do what the tax rate used to be. That is BS! That is total BS! And you know what, no one has asked me to pay more and if they did I would.
Seeing how you're so willing and all, please pay more taxes, Ed.
(If you'd also like to make this request, Schultz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. All Schultz is asking is to be asked. Won't you help?)