Tax hikes and politics

February 26, 2009 1:58:02 PM PST
I know my memory probably ain't what it used to be. But I seem to remember fairly clearly that Barack Obama won the Presidential election last Nov. 4. And I'm pretty sure I was in Washington last month for his inauguration.

I question this because it's clear that a lot of folks in the Capitol may not remember these two events - at least judging by their rhetoric. Why are they still debating the campaign issues that swept the new President into office? Didn't he say he was going to raise taxes on only a few Americans - those making more than $250,00 a year? I seem to remember that.

So why oh why is the political line-of-the-day from Republicans that taxes are going up for most Americans?

It wasn't true in the campaign, and it's not true now.

Hello? The median household annual income is just over $50,000; a sliver of a fraction of Americans make more than a quarter million dollars a year. That's NOT "most" Americans. That's hardly any.

Mr. Obama ran on this platform; Sen. John McCain was against it. Obama won. McCain lost.

Let's see if raising taxes for wealthy Americans will turn around an economy partly disabled by Pres. Bush's tax cuts for wealthy Americans.

I'm just sayin.

And if it doesn't work, according to my calendar, there's another Presidential election coming in November, 2012.

Obama's proposed tax hikes for the wealthy came on the same day as his proposal to guarantee health care for millions of Americans, and to increase government spending in an attempt to fix the economy.

Again, he won the election, let's see if it works.

We'll have the latest on the President's economic plan, tonight at 11. Oh, and one more note: folks in New York City may have the worst of it. Add all taxes together - don't forget the proposed hike in the City income tax for people making more than $300,000 a year and a similar plan for the State income tax - and the marginal tax rates including property and sales taxes could well approach 60%.

Also at 11, we're in Harrison up in Westchester County, where a town hall meeting figures to turn a bit raucous. Officials there are trying to figure out what they can do about the racist and sexist comments that are appearing on some police officers' Facebook pages.

What a charming display of open-mindedness: One cop reportedly made jokes about Pres. Obama that included references to watermelon and fried chicken. Others reportedly ridiculed the town's Mayor, Joan Walsh, with sexual references.

And speaking of charming, as Mayor Bloomberg - the Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Independent who's desperately trying to get the Republican Party to back his go-around-the-voters'-term-limits-law bid for a third term - apparently turns "very critical" of New York Gov. Paterson. During a private gathering with Republican bigwigs yesterday, Bloomberg said former Mayor Rudy Giuliani would make "a great governor," and was not very brotherly in his assessment of Paterson.

Tonight both men will address a fundraising gala for "One Hundred Black Men, Inc." Should be quite a scene with both of them there together.

Two media items of note: Today was Liz Smith's last column in the New York Post, which unceremoniously did not renew her contract. The grand dame of gossip columnists will still write her syndicated column, but this will be the first time in 33 years that there hasn't been a Liz Smith column in a New York City paper.

Of course as she told me the other night in our interview (CLICK HERE TO SEE IT), when she started writing in the 1950s, there were nine newspapers in the City; she's written for seven of them.

Newspapers are, we know - and quite unfortunately - a struggling, perhaps even dying breed. Today, another sign of that. The Rocky Mountain News in Denver says it will publish its final edition on Friday. The paper is Colorado's oldest -- just two months away from its 150th anniversary -- but it has been up for sale since December, with no apparent takers. The paper has reported multi-million dollar annual losses.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus the AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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