Presidential hopeful Barack Obama became the first Democratic candidate to unveil a detailed middle class tax-cut proposal, one that he believes will restore "fiscal responsibility and a sense of fairness."
In a speech titled "Tax Fairness for the Middle Class," delivered Tuesday in Washington, Obama said his five-part $85 billion plan would cut taxes for more than 150 million Americans (including as many as 800,000 in New Hampshire), cut all taxes for seniors making less than $50,000, institute a mortgage tax credit, simplify the tax code and crack down on tax havens, and close corporate loopholes.
"Instead of working to find ways to relieve the burden on the middle class, we've developed creative ways to remove the burden from the well-off," Obama said. "Instead of having all of us pay our fair share, we've got over $1 trillion worth of loopholes in the corporate tax code. This isn't the invisible hand of the market at work. It's the successful work of special interests."
Obama told the Herald current tax policies are unfairly "skewed toward the wealthy, even though they don't need the tax cuts, and it's "important to make sure there is balance and to see that work is rewarded."
During his campaign travels, Obama said that while the strong economy has been very good for some, he has heard too many stories of "people feeling financially pinched, and we can see it in increased debt levels."
The tax fairness plan will be "revenue neutral," Obama said, and would be paid for by closing corporate loopholes, cracking down on international tax havens, closing the carried interest loophole, and increasing the dividends and capital gains rate for the top bracket of earners.
Following a campaign roundtable with voters on the topic in Rochester on Tuesday, Obama supporter and state Sen. Jackie Cilley of Barrington said the plan "is a middle class uplift. It shifts the very irresponsible tax cuts of the Bush era to the most productive aspects of our economy."
Cilley, a former University of New Hampshire business professor and small business owner, said it's important to level the playing field because it benefits all Americans and not just those with access to corporate loopholes and tax havens to avoid paying a fair share of taxes — a continuing situation that Cilley called "obscene and unpatriotic."