The politics of cutting taxes should not be that complicated, people. From a policy point of view, tax cuts are sometimes a good thing (that top marginal rate of 91 percent during the Eisenhower years comes to mind, as well as the Philadelphia city wage tax) and sometimes a bad thing (as in, cutting taxes for rich people while paying for two questionable wars overseas). But politically, there's no point in reducing levies unless you go out to the electorarte and boast about it.
Why the Obama administration did not do that is unfathomable:
“Federal and state have both gone up,” said Bob Paratore, 59, from nearby Charlotte, echoing the comments of others.
After further prodding — including a reminder that a provision of the stimulus bill had cut taxes for 95 percent of working families by changing withholding rates — Mr. Paratore’s memory was jogged.
“You’re right, you’re right,” he said. “I’ll be honest with you: it was so subtle that personally, I didn’t notice it.”
Few people apparently did.
In a troubling sign for Democrats as they head into the midterm elections, their signature tax cut of the past two years, which decreased income taxes by up to $400 a year for individuals and $800 for married couples, has gone largely unnoticed.
The only explanation I can come up with is arrogance -- the Obama people were so caught up in the Beltway politics and their presumed righteousness of their policy that they were utterly clueless that voters knew nothing about it and needed to be hammered over the head, perhaps with ads paid for by the DNC, which was flush with cash back in early 2009. It's too late now. The right-wing talk radio machine -- which is worth tens of millions in free advertising -- has convinced most Americans that Obama has raised their taxes, and there's nothing much they can do about it -- very stupid politics.