Las Vegas Sun

September 19, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Middle class can’t afford tax hike

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As we get closer to Christmas, I begin to worry more about the “fiscal cliff” than I do about what gifts to buy.

If we don’t extend the tax cuts for the 98 percent (me), I’ll probably be paying close to $150 a month more in taxes.

I believe I can manage it, although I’ll have to stop eating out monthly. I already cut cable and other monthly bills I can do without. I’m not sure how some of my neighbors who have children will fare.

If the middle-class income is $53,000 in Nevada, that doesn’t leave much wiggle room to make cuts. I hope one day the middle class can be strong enough again to sustain higher taxes, but meanwhile I think it would be devastating to many families.

The rich, or top 2 percent, can afford it. I would love to make $250,000 a year or more even if I got taxed more. I know the rich don’t think it’s fair, but please remember that even with 4 percent less a month, they’re still way better off than most people.

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  1. Being unable to afford Christmas gifts isn't the end of the world. It is a time to get creative. Giving from the heart doesn't cost anything, and it is transforming.

    A couple of suggestions...

    1) Make Christmas gifts from scratch.
    2) Re-purpose anything that had been forgotten.
    3) Change the purpose of Christmas for the family and give heart and time to others. Volunteer in some activity that gives/serves those in a worse state financially or with physical disabilities or illness.
    4. Those with children can teach them that Christmas is more than receiving. Santa Claus is a model of giving.
    5. Buy one present for each person on you list, within your budget.
    6. For Christians, it is a time of celebrating the gift of God, giving his Son for the redemption of humanity.

    I'm sure you can think of other ways to share Christmas in a meaningful way that doesn't depend on money. This is a golden opportunity to break from the commercialization that Christmas has become for many.

    Over the lean years in my life, I have done all the things I suggested and they were the best Christmas' ever.

  2. PS Christmas should be about joy, love and peace, not money or politics. It is up to each individual to find those dispositions within themselves and share them with others.

  3. I agree with the letter writer in theory. Not in reality. If increasing taxes is the real answer, then all should be increased, not just the top 2 percent. But it's not. Can't you see what the President is doing? He wants to get the GOP fingerprints on tax increases NOW so he has them on the line in 2014 for the mid terms along with the Dems. It's pure politics. And Obama is a master at it.

    CarmineD

  4. The GOP finds themselves in an uncomfortable position. They are being forced to decide an issue that only benefits 98% of us. And while they are familiar with the economic woes of the 2%, they have shown little empathy for the rest of us. They will need to do some real soul searching here and, as Steven Colbert suggests, they may even find one.

  5. I agree with both Jim Weber and Future. Dems and Reps are both in precarious political straits. And there are some uncertain factors besides the Americans' opinions NOW on whose right and wrong and whose to blame. They are both [Dems/President and Reps]on slippery slopes if they think the cliff dive is the answer.

    CarmineD

  6. Michelle Booth,

    There are many things we cannot control in Washington. The fiscal cliff issue is one them.

    There are certain realities in play that you can expect. (1)The Senate bill extending the Bush Tax Cuts will be voted on by the House of Representatives. The question is when? Either this year (before or on, 12/31/2012) or early next years, 21013, before the first paychecks are cut.

    So, even though you have no control, or input, on the fiscal cliff decision makers, expect your taxes not go up, and if tax do go up, taxes will not stay up. If there is no agreement on the fiscal cliff in 2012, there surely will be an agreement early in 2013. All relevant information point to an agreement on extending the Bush Tax Cuts for 98% of Americans. This includes you and your family.

  7. Here we go again. Whining, wailing and complaining about having to pay your "fair share" so those in the pig sty known as Washington, D.C. can waste it on non-essential drivel like $105 million to Brazil so they can build a swimming pool complex. Or so they can enact more laws restricting our basic freedooms such as "Obamacare." Or add 600,000 to the food stamp rolls in one month. Shame on you, Booth. You're "unpatriotic." Now go stand in the corner!

  8. "Carmine: Obama is not proposing a tax hike on anyone. The tax hike is automatic and bipartisan. "
    @ Created EQL

    Poppycock. Not extending current tax rates/payroll tax cuts on a targeted class of taxpayers is a tax hike, pure and simple. To do so [raise taxes on the 2 percent], is neither automatic and/or bipartisan. It's cold calculated Presidential politics in the worst extreme. By a President who said doing so [increasing taxes], just a year ago when growth was better than it is now, would hurt the economy.

    CarmineD

  9. How much does the average 50K family pay in taxes. Almost nothing! When they're done writing off their kids, medical expenses, mortgages, sales taxes there is nothing left for the federal government to take.

    I wouldn't worry too much about a middle-class tax hike.

  10. Obama needs the money to feed the government parasite, There is no end to that in sight.

  11. So far, people criticizing this op-ed have responded with points that aren't really relevant, and in many cases aren't factually correct.

    #1 - The question of how much 100 billion dollars in tax revenues will affect the deficit wasn't part of Michelle's point. The point is that tax increases on 98% of Americans will HURT!

    #2 - The notion that people making $50K/Yr don't pay taxes anyway is absurd. A single mother of two making $24K/yr will pay $1600 more per year if the tax cuts expire. You see, child deductions will be cut in half. Lower tax brackets will go away. Education tax credits will be reduced..., etc. etc.

    This is plain and simple people. CUT TAXES FOR 98% OF AMERICANS... DON'T BE JERKS.