Budget talks should be broadcast on C-SPAN
by ALLISON CRYER
There are several changes in January that affect all taxpayers in the United States, however most Americans will not be privy to the negotiations that will bring about these changes.
First off, the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts in the U.S. lapse along with a number of temporary tax reductions that have been extended so many times they are known as “the extenders.” Those cuts total $500 billion and include the $1,000 per child tax credit dropping to $500; Obama’s Social Security tax holiday ends again; the bottom tax rate jumps from 10 percent to 15 percent and the top personal income tax rate jumps from 35 to 39.6 percent.
Also, January will bring automatic spending reductions of about $100 billion a year for ten years aimed at saving taxpayers $1.2 trillion over the decade. These reductions are part of the Budget Control Act (BCA) agreed upon in 2011 to lower the debt ceiling.
Finally, the surtax on income of 2.9 percent rises to 3.8 percent and starting next year, it hits capital gains making the total top rate 23.8 percent – much more than the current rate of 15 percent, and even higher than the rate of 20 percent during former President Bill Clinton’s presidency.
I don’t know about you but balancing my own budget tends to result in a throbbing headache, and I find it even harder to take in all the complexities of our nation’s budgeting process. What makes it so difficult to understand is the fact that many of these negotiations are done behind closed doors.
Due to the complexity of the situation with our nation’s economy, it seems like there ought to be a way for the American people to stay informed and involved in the process in Washington. Oh wait there is a way, and it is called C-SPAN. Although coverage of such negotiations was one of Obama’s key campaign promises in 2008, the majority of them are still done off-camera.
If cameras covered all budget negotiations start-to-finish, the public would be able to hold their elected officials accountable for their own behaviors and actions when lawmaking – especially when the issue would affect the taxpayers.
So why are negotiations between Congress and the White House on budget matters like extending tax cuts or ending tax holidays not done in front of C-SPAN cameras? If our Congressman and President are doing the right thing for the American people, why not do it out in the open for all to see?
The American people should demand that the negotiations between Congress and the White House on continuing the various tax cuts be done in front of C-SPAN cameras. It seems like every American should be in the room when something as large as Obamacare or the current $500 billion tax hike is up for discussion.
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