“Dean’s Tax Cut Plan A Mystery” Lisa Wangsness, Concord Monitor, 1/8/04
Howard Dean's campaign sidestepped questions yesterday about a report that his own economic team disagrees with his proposal to repeal all of President Bush's tax cuts.
Dean has contended that the middle class "never got a tax cut." Most of the Bush tax cuts went to the wealthy, he argues, while the federal government has withdrawn support for health care, public safety and education. That has caused middle-income people's overall expenses to rise faster than their income taxes dropped, according to Dean.
But the Boston Globe reported yesterday that Dean's economic advisers believe a full repeal of the tax cuts, including those for the middle class, would be unsound policy and unwise politics.
Yesterday, several said it would be disingenuous for Dean to propose a tax reform plan after the first voting for the nomination begins.
"Howard Dean is running for president," said Kristen Carvell, a spokeswoman for Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, who differs sharply with Dean over the tax issue. "Voters deserve to know right now what he has in store for them."
Retired general Wesley Clark, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich have also proposed eliminating only the tax cuts that benefit the wealthy.
And most have proposed additional relief for middle-class taxpayers. Edwards, who has made increasing taxes on wealth and lowering taxes on work a central theme of his campaign, wants additional breaks for first-time homebuyers and families saving for college. Lieberman would like to see a wholesale restructuring of the tax code to make it more progressive. Clark recently released a plan to eliminate all income taxes for households earning less than $50,000. [John] Kerry would provide credits for college tuition and after-school care and he would expand the child credit.
Dean has long been critical of Washington Democrats who propose smaller income tax cuts, labeling them "Bush lite" - a wimpy political counterpoint to the White House.