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What will happen with a Democratic Congress?

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Posted: Friday, October 13, 2006 10:00 pm

What can we expect if we elect a Democratic Congress in November? WSJ, Oct. 3: New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said that silence is the Democrat strategy because laying out an agenda "gives Republicans a target." So we are to elect a pig in a poke.

Charlie Rangel, the 36-year House veteran from New York City, who will chair the powerful Ways and Means Committee, has explained his own agenda.

"In a recent interview with Bloomberg News, Mr. Rangel was asked specifically if any of the Bush first term tax cuts were worth preserving and he answered that he 'cannot think of one.' Then last week asked by the Congress Daily whether he'd consider tax increases across the spectrum, 'No question about it' he said, 'Everything has to be on the table.'"

That means repealing the 10 percent low-income tax bracket, the child tax credit and marriage penalty relief, all of which passed in 2001 and expire in 2010 because the Democrats would not vote for making them permanent. The Treasury Department estimates that repealing these provisions would raise taxes by $2,000 a year on the average middle-income family.

WSJ, 10/6: The federal budget for the 2006 fiscal year will report that the budget deficit fell to about $260 billion. This tidal wave of tax revenue comes from tax collections that have increased by $521 billion in the last two fiscal years, the largest two-year increase in revenue in American history.

Tax collections from corporations are up by 76 percent over the past two years, thanks to greater profitability.

"Personal income tax payments are up by 30.3 percent since 2004, despite the fact that the highest tax rate is down to 35 percent from 39.6 percent. The IRS tax-return data just released last month indicates that a near-record 37 percent of those income tax payments are received from the top one percent of earners - 'the rich,' who Washington regularly derides for not paying their 'fair share.'" The budget deficit at $260 billion is now about 2 percent of our $13 trillion economy, well below the 2.7 percent average of the last 40 years.

Phyllis Roche

Lodi

First published: Saturday, October 14, 2006

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