Q: Mr. President, are you — thank you. Thank you, Mr. President. Are you reconsidering your plan to cut the interest rate deduction for mortgages and for charities? And do you regret having proposed that in the first place?
OBAMA: No, I think it's — I think it's the right thing to do, where we've got to make some difficult choices. Here's what we did with respect to tax policy.
What we said was that, over the last decade, the average worker, the average family have seen their wages and incomes flat. Even in times where supposedly we were in the middle of an economic boom, as a practical matter, their incomes didn't go up. And so, well, we said, Let's give them a tax cut. Let's give them some relief, some help, 95 percent of American families.
Now, for the top 5 percent, they're the ones who typically saw huge gains in their income. I, I fall in that category. And what we've said is, for those folks, let's not renew the, so let's go back to the rates that existed back in, during the Clinton era, when wealthy people were still wealthy and doing just fine, and let's look at the, the level at which people can itemize their deductions.
And what we've said is: Let's go back to the rate that existed under Ronald Reagan. People are still going to be able to make charitable contributions. It just means, if you give $100 and you're in this tax bracket, at a certain point, instead of being able to write off 36 percent or 39 percent, you're writing off 28 percent.
Now, if it's really a charitable contribution, I'm assuming that that shouldn't be the determining factor as to whether you're giving that $100 to the homeless shelter down the street.
And so this provision would affect about 1 percent of the American people. They would still get deductions. It's just that they wouldn't be able to write off 39 percent.
In that sense, what it would do is it would equalize. When I give $100, I'd get the same amount of deduction as when some, a bus driver who's making $50,000 a year, or $40,000 a year, gives that same $100. Right now, he gets 28 percent, he gets to write off 28 percent. I get to write off 39 percent. I don't think that's fair.
So I think this was a good idea. I think it is a realistic way for us to raise some revenue from people who've benefited enormously over the last several years.
It's not going to cripple them. They'll still be well-to-do. And, you know, ultimately, if we're going to tackle the serious problems that we've got, then, in some cases, those who are more fortunate are going to have to pay a little bit more.
My favorite parts? First, I love the extremely high bar BHO has set for his policies: "It's not going to cripple them", so what in the world could the fuss be about?
I also like his command of economics: "If it's really a charitable contribution", then the tax treatment really isn't important to the process.
Finally I really like the asymmetric application of fairness. He compares a rich guy to a bus driver making $50,000 and says it's not fair that the rich guy gets a bigger deduction for the same contribution. He seems however to have no problem with the fact that the bus driver is paying less in taxes both overall and as a percentage of his income.
Look people, I know politicians will pretty much say anything to justify what they want to do, I am just a bit surprised at how much of a hack our beloved Obama has become in such a short time.