The top 0.1 percent see incomes that are 8.6 percent higher without paying for the rate cuts, and 4.4 percent higher if they're fully financed. Meanwhile, the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers see incomes fall by 1.1 percent if the rate cuts are paid for by cutting tax breaks.
No one has even built a road on their own, and if they had it wouldn't be good enough to drive on. But what does it mean ethically that no one accomplishes things like roads and bridges on their own? Does it mean that no one deserves the fruits of their labor? And if it does, does that give the government carte blanche to tax those fruits?
Citizens for Tax Justice points out that the White House's $150 billion price tag on Obama's one-year tax cut extension only appears to include part of the total cost—the income tax cuts. Obama's own 2013 budget includes a permanent fix to the Alternative Minimum Tax and some relief from scheduled estate tax hikes, which are both separate from the standard income tax. Adding these in would add $80 billion to the total.
This is a good moment for my typical polling disclaimer: At this point in 1980, Jimmy Carter was ahead in the polls. At this point in 1988, Michael Dukakis was ahead in the polls. At this point in 1992, George H. W. Bush was ahead in the polls. But it's not a disclaimer I fully believe.