|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
The tentative deal includes a two-year patch for the alternative minimum tax, a reduction in the payroll tax and a plan to reinstate the estate tax with lower rates and higher exemptions than in 2009 — all of which will offer far more savings for high earners than those in the low- or middle-income bracket.
The wealthiest Americans will also reap tax savings from the proposal’s plan to keep the cap on dividend and capital gains taxes at 15 percent, well below the highest rates on ordinary income.
And negotiators have agreed that the estimated $900 billion cost of the cuts will simply be added to the deficit — not covered by reductions in spending or increases in other taxes. That is good news for hedge fund managers and private equity investors, who appear to have withstood an effort to get them to pay more by eliminating a quirk in the tax code that allows most of their income to be taxed at just 15 percent.
In fact, the only groups likely to face a tax increase are those near the bottom of the income scale — individuals who make less than $20,000 and families with earnings below $40,000.
The proposal does not include an extension of Mr. Obama’s signature tax cut, the Making Work Pay credit, which provided a credit of up to $400 for individuals and $800 for families of low and moderate income. Instead, the plan creates a one-year reduction in Social Security payroll taxes, which are generally levied on the first $106,800 of income. For an individual earning $110,000, that provision would reduce payroll taxes by $2,136.
Although the $120 billion payroll tax reduction offers nearly twice the tax savings of the credit it replaces, it will nonetheless lead to higher tax bills for individuals with incomes below $20,000 and families that make less than $40,000. That is because their payroll tax savings are less than the $400 or $800 they will lose from the Making Work Pay credit.
“It will come to a few dollars a week,” said Roberton Williams, an analyst at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, “but it is an increase.”
To the wealthiest Americans, however, an assortment of breaks is available.