Could someone please come up with an online tax calculator that includes all of each of John McCain's and Barack Obama's tax proposals? I wrote a few weeks ago about how alchemytoday.com came up with a tax calculator using data from the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. Yesterday the Obama campaign came out with a tax calculator on its own website showing how much your own taxes will be under his plan.
I got a flurry of comments on the old post saying how Obama's tax calculator wasn't non-partisan. Um, yeah, I realize that. That's why I sent readers to this non-partisan tax calculator.
I still think we need a more comprehensive, non-partisan tax calculator that takes into account the various sources of income and deductions. (Though, the more complex a calculator is, the more it's like really doing your taxes and so unappealing.)
The comments people left were really telling though. Throwing around words like terrorist and Nazi, these commentators clearly would not use or trust any tax calculator. Many said just to go look at both Obama and McCain's websites. Which totally makes sense. Though what's amazing to me is that many of the people who leave these comments clearly haven't taken their own advice. I'm not sure what they're so afraid of.
John McCain doesn't have a tax calculator that I know of. I did find this spread sheet from Ted Frank of the American Enterprise Institute. He has a sample showing a trader who is making $280,000 doing better under McCain. Of course, that doesn't contradict the Obama calculator.
MCain doesn't seem to think he needs a tax calculator. Here's McCain's tax page. If McCain had a tax calculator, he'd probably let people put in all kinds of complex financial information, then no matter what their answers, his calculator would spit out the answer: Barack Obama is going to raise your taxes, my friend!
The idea of a tax calculator is that people deal with the actual facts of the written policy -- not just the campaign slogans and political stereotypes. Some Republicans have gotten so used to hearing Tax And Spend Liberal that they simply refuse to believe that a Democrat could cut taxes.
Obviously, I'm a Democrat. That doesn't mean I think all of the Obama tax and economic ideas are brilliant. I don't like letting people take money our of retirement plans early or letting them keep it in late because of this crisis. I don't think either plan does enough to balance the budget.
The most sensible objection to these calculators that I've seen is that they don't reflect political reality. A president can have any economic plan he wants, but Congress still has to pass the budget. We're not going to see either of these plans in whole. If McCain's elected I don't see Congress keeping capital gains taxes as low as they are now. Either of them will have to face up to a much slower, grimmer economy.
Tax calculators for life under Obama or McCain