Wir erfahren in diesem Artikel unter anderem: “Bei einem Krisentreffen im Weißen Haus hat Präsident Barack Obama am Freitag versucht, Amerikas drohenden Sturz über die sogenannte Haushaltsklippe abzuwenden. Dabei wollte er führenden Kongresspolitikern beider Parteien einen Kompromissvorschlag unterbreiten, der mehr als 98 Prozent aller US-Bürger eine ansonsten zum Jahreswechsel automatisch in Kraft tretende Steuererhöhung ersparen soll. Republikaner wie Demokraten äußerten sich zunehmend pessimistisch über die Chancen einer Einigung und schoben sich bereits gegenseitig die Schuld für ein Scheitern der Gespräche zu.
Als ausgeschlossen gilt in Washington, dass beide Lager sich noch vor Jahresende auf eine “große Lösung” samt Steuerreform, Einsparungen bei den Sozialversicherungen und einer langfristigen Eindämmung der Staatsverschuldung verständigen können. Die Regeln des US-Senats lassen kaum noch eine Abstimmung vor dem 1. Januar zu. Als Zeichen der Hoffnung gilt immerhin, dass Republikaner-Führer John Boehner – zugleich der Vorsitzende des Repräsentantenhauses – für den späten Sonntagabend sämtliche Kongressabgeordneten nach Washington beorderte.
Umstritten zwischen Demokraten und Republikanern ist vor allem, ab welcher Einkommenshöhe US-Bürger mehr Steuern zahlen sollen. Obama fordert einen höheren Tarif ab 250.000 Dollar, also für die reichsten 1,8 Prozent der Bevölkerung. Die Republikaner wollten bis Freitag nur Steuererhöhungen für Einkommensmillionäre mittragen, also 0,2 Prozent der Bevölkerung. Im Gespräch war zuletzt, die Grenze bei Einkommen ab 500.000 Dollar zu ziehen. Das würde nur die vermögendsten 0,6 Prozent aller Amerikaner treffen, knapp eine Million Haushalte”.
Ein guter und klarer Artikel mit dem Titel “«Die Partei verblödet»: Fiscal Cliff spaltet US-Republikaner” erschien am 28.12.2012 in der “Neuen Zürcher Zeitung“.
Dieser Artikel ist ebenso so klar wie kurz. Lest ihn in Ruhe durch.
Wir erfahren in diesem Artikel unter anderem: “Nach einer Erhebung des Fernsehsenders CBS wünschen sich 81 Prozent der Befragten einen Kompromiss zwischen dem Weissen Haus und den Republikanern und kein starres Festhalten an Positionen. Auch eine Mehrheit der republikanischen und parteilosen Wähler sieht das laut der Umfrage so. 47 Prozent der Befragten geben den Republikanern die Schuld an der verfahrenen Lage, nur 25 Prozent den Demokraten, und 21 Prozent weisen beiden zusammen die Schuld zu”.
Was nun die unmittelbaren und längerfristigen Effekte eines Sturzes der USA über die “Fiskalklippe” angeht, seht hierzu zum Beispiel auch den Artikel vom 9.10.2012 mit dem Titel “Fiscal Cliff May Be Felt Gradually, Analysts Say” in der “New York Times“.
Ich wiederhole nochmals aus diesem Wikipedia-Artikel zur “fiscal cliff“: “The laws leading to the fiscal cliff include the expiration of the 2010 Tax Relief Act and planned spending cuts under the Budget Control Act of 2011. Nearly all proposals to avoid the fiscal cliff involve extending certain parts of the Bush tax cuts or changing the 2011 Budget Control Act or both, thus making the deficit larger by reducing taxes or increasing spending”.
Wenn ihr wissen wollt, was genau diese “Bush tax cuts” seit dem Jahre 2001 waren und welchen Effekt sie auf die Besteuerung der US-Bevölkerung, auf die US-Wirtschaft und auf den US-Haushalt hatten, schaut euch den Eintrag “Background: Bush Tax Cuts” in der Website des “Tax Policy Centers” an.
Über das “Tax Policy Center” erfahren wir im entsprechenden Wikipedia-Artikel: “The Tax Policy Center (TPC) is a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution. Based in Washington D.C., United States, it aims to provide independent analyses of current and longer-term tax issues and to communicate its analyses to the public and to policymakers in a timely and accessible manner. The Center combines national experts in tax, expenditure, budget policy, and microsimulation modeling to concentrate on four overarching areas of tax policy that are critical to future debate: fair, simple and efficient taxation, social policy in the tax code, long-term implications of tax and budget choices, and state tax issues”.
Im Unterpunkt “The Bush Tax Cuts: If we ignore how the cuts are paid for, who benefits from them?” erfahren wir: “Several other commonly used measures of the distributional effects also suggest that the benefits of making the tax cuts permanent would be tilted toward high-income households in general and toward households in the top 1 percent of the income distribution in particular. The average effective tax rate would fall more for the top 1 percent than for any other group. Their share of the tax cut (73.1 percent) would exceed their share of tax burdens in the absence of the tax cut (71.7 percent); as a result, their share of total federal taxes paid would decline. And the tax cut in absolute dollars is clearly far larger for high-income than for low-income groups”.
Im Unterpunkt “The Bush Tax Cuts: If we account for how the cuts are paid for, who benefits from them?” erfahren wir: “The assumption of proportional financing yields similar results (table 2): again, all of the measures indicate that high-income households would be better off, while other households as a group (and about 80 percent of all households, including a majority in every quintile) would be worse off. The top quintile is the only group to receive a net tax cut, but even within that group almost two-thirds of all households in the 80th to the 99th percentile would face net tax increases. In addition, both of the measures that did not show greater gains for the highest-income households when financing was ignored-the reduction in total federal tax liability and the share of income tax paid-now also show that households in the bottom 80 percent of the income distribution would be worse off on average, while those in the top quintile would be better off”.
Im Unterpunkt: “The Bush Tax Cuts: Who benefits when their cost and potential economic growth are accounted for?” erfahren wir: “Distributional analysis of the Bush tax cuts often assumes no effect on economic growth. If the tax cuts raised economic growth, could they have raised the incomes of low- and middle-income taxpayers enough to offset the losses they suffer after accounting for the cost of the tax cuts? TPC finds that the answer is no: even with a plausible increase in economic growth, about two-thirds of households would still be worse off. Even a substantial economic growth effect would not be sufficient to rescue most households from being worse off if the tax cuts were made permanent, once the financing of the tax cuts is taken into account“.
Seht euch hierzu auch den Punkt “Fiscal Effects of the Bush Tax Cuts” an.
Im Unterpunkt “The Bush Tax Cuts: How have they affected tax revenue?” erfahren wir: “The Bush tax cuts contributed, along with underlying economic conditions, to a historic decline in federal tax revenue. In 2000 total federal tax revenue was as high in proportion to the U.S. economy as it had ever been. By 2004 federal tax revenue in proportion to the economy had fallen to its lowest level in almost fifty years.
- In recent decades the federal tax take has generally fluctuated between 17 and 19 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). By 2000, however, total federal tax receipts had reached 20.9 percent of GDP, their highest level since 1970 and matched only in 1944, when the federal government collected 20.9 percent of GDP in taxes at the height of fighting World War II. By 2004, however, federal tax receipts had fallen to 16.3 percent of GDP, which is not only the lowest level since 1970, but the lowest since 1959.
- Most of the decline in the ratio of federal tax revenue to GDP can be traced to the individual income tax. From 1970 to 2000 these taxes were typically in the range of 8 to 9 percent of GDP. In 2000 individual income taxes were 10.3 percent of GDP, their highest level ever. By 2004 individual income taxes had dropped to 7.0 percent of GDP, their lowest level since 1951. Total federal tax revenue declined by 4.6 percent of GDP from 2000 to 2004; of that total, 3.3 percentage points, or almost three-quarters, was due to the decline in individual income tax revenue.
- Most of the remaining decline in the revenue-to-GDP ratio resulted from a drop in the share in total revenue coming from corporate income taxes, which fell by 0.5 percent of GDP from 2000 to 2004, and a drop in the share coming from the payroll taxes that finance Social Security and Medicare, which declined by 0.4 percent of GDP over that period.
Im Unterpunkt “The Bush Tax Cuts: How big are the cuts?” erfahren wir: “By any measure, the Bush tax cuts have been extraordinarily expensive. The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation calculated a score, or revenue change, for each of the seven major tax cut bills passed during the Bush administration: their combined cost sums to over $2.0 trillion from 2001-17. Extending these tax cuts into the future would carry a similar cost: the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently estimated the cost of extending them through 2017 at $1.9 trillion, not counting the costs of debt service, and not counting the cost of indexing the alternative minimum tax (AMT) to inflation to prevent it from undoing much of the cuts.
- In January 2001, at the start of the Bush administration, CBO projected a fiscal surplus of $5.6 trillion spanning fiscal 2002-11. Today, with over half of those fiscal years completed, the budget is on track to have a deficit of $2.1 trillion for the fiscal period 2002-11, for a total deterioration of $7.7 trillion. This drastic reversal is due to a combination of factors including higher government spending and changes in economic conditions, as well as the tax cuts. CBO estimates indicate that about one-third of the fiscal reversal is directly due to the tax cuts.
- If tax cuts are not accompanied by spending cuts, as has been the case during the Bush administration, they will lead to high interest payments on the increased national debt. CBO estimates that the cost of extending the President’s tax cuts through 2017 increases by $340 billion if the cost of extra interest payments is included.
- The future treatment of the AMT has an impact on (“interacts with”) the projected cost of extending the Bush tax cuts. Under current law the AMT will revert to pre-2001 levels in 2007 and afterward; given that the AMT is not indexed to inflation, this means it will ensnare many more taxpayers than before, and as a consequence will take back much of tax cuts. CBO estimates that if the AMT were kept at its 2006 level, the cost of extending the Bush tax cuts through 2017 would increase by $470 billion, plus an additional $70 billion in extra debt service costs.
- If one takes into account the direct effects of the tax cuts, extra interest payments, and the extra “interaction” cost of reforming the AMT while extending the Bush tax cuts, the combined cost of extending the tax cuts through 2017 adds up to $2.8 trillion.
Noch deutlicher äussert sich die Organisation “Citizens for Tax Justice” zu den “Bush tax cuts“. Seht euch hierzu den Eintrag auf der Website von “Citizens for Tax Justice” mit dem Titel “The Bush Tax Cuts After Ten Years” an.
Über “Citizens for Tax Justice” erfahren wir im entsprechenden Wikipedia-Artikel: “Citizens for Tax Justice(founded in 1979) is an American non-profit advocacy (lobbying) think tank based in Washington, DC. CTJ’s work focuses primarily on federal tax policy. Its stated mission is to “give ordinary people a greater voice in the development of tax laws.” CTJ’s goals include: “fair taxes for middle and low-income families; requiring the wealthy to pay their fair share; closing corporate tax loopholes; adequately funding important government services; reducing the federal debt; [and promoting] taxation that minimizes distortion of economic markets.”
CTJ is generally considered to be a left-wing organization, but its research has also been cited by Republican politicians (including President Ronald Reagan)and right-wing tax reform organizations when favorable to their policies”.