If you’re a senior citizen and earn less than $50,000 a year, Barack Obama has a deal for you: a life free of federal income tax.
Sounds appealing, right? Maybe to many seniors. But tax policy experts in Washington are giving it bad reviews. They see it as another subsidy for senior citizens, who already get federal help through Social Security and Medicare and often have economic advantages over other demographic groups.
Seniors typically have paid off their mortgages, many have investments and usually don’t pay taxes on their Social Security benefits. The kids are usually grown, so they’re not saddled with day care or college costs.
“The odds are the retired folks – they’re getting pensions, they’re getting Social Security, they have investment assets, they own a house – so … they’re better off than somebody who is 30 or 40 years younger who’s trying to buy a house (and) trying to start saving,” said Clint Stretch, managing principal of tax policy for Deloitte Tax.
Opponents of this plan include the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which is labeled as “a liberal think tank” and the Tax Policy Center. This is pandering at its worst but I’m sure the Obama campaign will try to sell it as Change We Can Believe In. The fact that think tanks that are usually supportive of whatever appears in the platform of a Democratic Presidential candidate are shooting this idea down is notable, however. Let’s see if this gets some more press attention and commentary discussing the gap between Obamian rhetoric and budget realities.