Michael Cooper over at The New York Times stopped off at the Pig Pickin and Politickin rally in North Carolina the other day to ask folks about the Obama tax cuts. Their response, not surprisingly, was “What Obama tax cuts?”
This despite the fact that about one-third of the much-reviled 2009 stimulus—or almost $300 billion--came in the form of tax reductions. According to Tax Policy Center estimates, 96.9 percent of households enjoyed a tax cut that averaged almost $1,200. Just one measure—Obama’s Making Work Pay tax credit—put more than $116 billion into people’s pockets in 2009 and 2010.
Yet, a Times poll found that fewer than 10 percent of those surveyed had any clue. Remarkably, fully one-third thought their taxes went up—even though the actual number was about zero.
How could so many people have missed it? After all, $1,200 ain’t nothing. In large part, it was due to the design of Obama’s tax plan. Earlier stimulus tax cuts often came in the form of ostentatious checks from the Treasury. In 2008, for example, President Bush proposed a tax reduction only half the size of Obama’s (about $145 billion). But it was delivered to households in the form of rebate checks—generally $600 per adult and $300 per child.