Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Nov. 16: The $500,000 Question

By Sylvia Gurinsky

It's all in the numbers.

The debate over whether the so-called "Bush tax cuts" should be extended or dropped could shift on $250,000.

Not necessarily the $250,000 that President Barack Obama has been suggesting for two years as the demarkation line between those who get tax breaks and those who don't. Critics of that number have suggested it's too low because of the small businesses that would be affected.

That may be true. So Obama should raise that number another $250,000 - to $500,000.

Then, to quote the late U.S. Sen. Everett Dirksen, you're talking about real money.

It's half a million. Half a million even sounds different. When it comes to working for or running a business, it is different.

And it might be the necessary dividing line for Obama to offer a compromise on extending the tax cuts to stimulate the economy - and a way for Republican leaders in Congress to show whether they're serious about cutting into deficits.

Whatever they won Nov. 2 hasn't gone into effect yet. Once it does, it will run up against increasingly strident opposition in the Democratic party. Cutting into those deficits will require some sacrifice on the Republicans' part.

The many Americans still without jobs want a fair shake - and they want to know that the richer Americans will pay their fair share.

It can start with Obama and Congress answering the $500,000 compromise question with a firm "Yes."

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