Now we see who benefits from the Bush tax cuts:
Bush and first lady Laura W. Bush had income totaling $822,126, down 4 percent from the $856,058 they reported last year, according to tax forms released yesterday by the White House. But the president’s taxes fell much more. His federal income tax payment last year dropped $41,229, or 15 percent, from the 2002 level of $268,719.
In all, the tax cut Bush signed into law last summer saved him and his wife $30,858, according to Robert McIntyre, executive director of the labor-backed Citizens for Tax Justice.
Vice President Cheney and his wife, Lynne V. Cheney, reported income of $1,273,334, up $102,965, or nearly 9 percent, from 2002. Their tax burden dropped sharply, to $253,067 from $341,114, a decline of more than $88,000. Although the Cheneys were easily in the top tax bracket of 35 percent, their effective tax rate fell from 29 percent in 2002 to 20 percent in 2003.
But the Cheneys’ declining tax burden was due to other write-offs and was not directly related to the new tax cut, according to Terrence O’Donnell, an attorney for the vice president. The cut would have lowered the Cheneys’ tax payments by an additional $35,400, but they ran afoul of the alternative minimum tax, a parallel tax designed to ensure the affluent pay their fair share. The Cheneys’ AMT hit totaled $47,198.
And strangely, John Kerry was socked with higher taxes:
Kerry’s income totaled $395,338 last year, up from $144,091. Because he filed a return separate from his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, income from her substantial fortune is not included.
The increase in John Kerry’s income was almost entirely from capital gains worth $145,805. Those gains came almost exclusively from the March 3 sale of a painting by the Dutch baroque artist Adam Willaerts, which fetched $1.35 million. Kerry’s tax payment was $90,575, up from nearly $30,000 last year.
One little question:
The Bushes’ salaries totaled $397,264.
Does Mrs. Bush have a job?
Meanwhile, people who work full time jobs but still live below the poverty line and fall between the cracks end up with no tax cut at all:
Americans with taxable income of $14,000 or less and no children did not receive a tax cut last year, since their 10 percent tax bracket did not change.