But things have changed. In the context of the current “fiscal cliff” combat, suddenly Democrats are being forced to admit that the Bush tax cuts weren’t just for the rich. The Bush tax cuts actually reduced tax burdens quite a bit for people who are not rich at all.
Case in point, this CBS report about President Obama’s new social media campaign in support of his proposed tax increases:
Mr. Obama is promoting the hashtag #My2K to continue to the conversation about a potential tax increase on the middle class if Bush-era tax cuts are allowed to expire. The keyword #My2K was chosen specifically because, according to the White House, a middle class family of four could see a tax increase of about $2,220.◼ Bush Tax Cut Secret: Rich Paid Even More
It's been more than 10 years since President Bush signed his first round of tax cuts into law. And in the years since, those cuts have been the source of constant attacks. Critics charge they gave away too much to the rich, exploded the deficit, contributed to income inequality, did little to spur economic growth, and so on.
President Obama has for years attacked the Bush cuts, and demanded that the top two income tax brackets return to Clinton-era levels.
But a decade of debate and discussion has managed to shed little light on what the Bush tax cuts actually did.
So as the debate heats up once again as part of the "fiscal cliff" negotiations, it's worth taking the time to highlight some of the things most people never knew about the Bush-era tax cuts.
The rich paid more. Despite endless claims by critics that Bush's tax cuts favored the rich, the fact is the rich ended up paying more in taxes after they went into effect.
In fact, IRS data show that the richest 1% paid $84 billion more in taxes in 2007 than they had in 2000 — that's a 23% increase — even though their average tax rate went down.
What's more, their share of the overall income tax burden grew, climbing from 37% in 2000 to 40% in 2007.
At the other end of the spectrum, the bottom half of taxpayers paid $6 billion less in income taxes in 2007 than they had seven years earlier — a 16% drop — and their share of the total income tax burden dropped from 3.9% to 2.9%.
Millions dropped from the tax rolls entirely. Another unheralded feature of the Bush tax cuts is that they pushed nearly 8 million people off the tax rolls entirely because, among other things, Bush doubled the per-child tax credit to $1,000 and lowered the bottom rate to 10%.