December 19, 2012

Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has just completed a new analysis of John Boehner’s “plan B” fiscal proposal, which would raise taxes only on income over $1 million. The analysis makes it pretty clear just how ludicrous it is for House Republicans to be expecting Obama to agree to it.

The new analysis sheds fresh light on just how tiny a slice of taxpayers would see a tax hike under Boehner’s plan. It also reveals in new detail just how many households that are very wealthy (but make under $1 million) would actually see their taxes go slightly down.

The basic findings: Nearly half of households in the top one percent would see a small tax cut under Boehner’s plan. Meanwhile, lower and middle income households would see a tax increase under his plan (more on this later).

The key table you want to look at is right here. It shows that 48.3 percent of households in the top one percent would see their taxes go down by an average of $240. Those are people who make between $521,000 and $1 million. Only 28 percent of those in the top one percent (the ones with the highest incomes) would see a tax hike, of around $97,000.

Meanwhile, the analysis finds, despite the fact that Boehner’s plan extends the Bush tax cuts for all income under $1 million, many lower and middle income households would still see their taxes go up. Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, tells me that this is because Boehner’s plan does not extend several tax cuts that originally passed as part of Obama’s stimulus — one making the child credit more refundable, another expanding the earned income tax credit, and a third increasing tax credits for higher education. This cancels out the extension of the Bush-era rates for many of these taxpayers.

The upshot: around one fifth of households in the lowest two quintiles (up to $60,000) would see an average tax hike of more than $900. Around 13 percent in the middle quintile (from $64,000 to around $107,000) would see an average tax hike of nearly $800.

Now, in fairness, Republicans would also pursue tax reform later that could change this equation. But still: Under the current plan Boehner is pushing, lots of rich people — folks who make over half a million dollars a year, but under $1 million — would see their taxes go down. And lots of poor and middle class people — folks who make less than $100,000 a year — would see their taxes go up. And this is the plan that Boehner is insisting Obama and Democrats accept as the only alternative to going over the cliff.

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.