Personal Finance: The fight over tax breaks

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Michelle Singletary
Thursday, September 9, 2010; 10:19 AM

It's not even time to file our 2010 tax returns, but here we are in the middle of a battle over whether cuts from former President George W. Bush will stay in place or be allowed to expire.

The powers that be on the right and left are set for a fight, while the rest of us -- the regular people -- try to figure what all this hollering means to our bottom lines.

President Obama wants to kick to the curb a lot of tax breaks for the nation's wealthiest families or people making more than $250,000 a year. I've often received e-mails from some of those very people who argue they aren't really rich when you consider the high expenses of where they live (typically big cities like New York, Boston, and the D.C. metro area).

As Lori Montgomery reported yesterday in the Post, "Obama restated his long-held position that, while tax cuts for the middle class should be extended, the nation cannot afford to extend cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of families."

In a speech in Cleveland Obama said his rollback plan "isn't to punish folks who are better off - it's because we can't afford the $700 billion price tag."

The tax cuts were enacted in 2001 and 2003 and are set to expire this year.

If you want to see the impact of the tax cuts if they stay or go, check out The Washington Post's interactive chart. You can click on various options to see how the decision will affect you.

And here's what the major political parties have to say about the cuts:

-- Democrats are betting that ending tax cuts for the rich will play in their favor

-- Republicans want to extend the tax cuts

What do you think? The Color of Money Question for this week: Are the tax cuts a benefit or burden to your bottom line? Send you responses to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Put "Tax Breaks Take Back" in the subject line.

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