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April 18th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Should Dems seek someone to run against Obama in 2012?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama is hitting the road this week to speak at town hall meetings in Virginia, California and Nevada. His goal is to push his deficit reduction plan while trying to reconnect with voters.

Last week, when the president laid out his plan to cut $4 trillion from the deficit over the next 12 years, it was mostly greeted with a yawn and criticized as being more of a re-election plan than a fiscal discipline plan.

While the country struggles with a debt crisis, President Obama has problems of his own. A new Gallup Poll shows just 41% of Americans approve of the job Barack Obama is doing as president. That ties his all-time low rating. He's bottomed out at 41% three other times - twice in August 2010 and once in October. And while the approval rate remains high among Democrats at 77%, only 35% of independents think he's doing a good job.

Perhaps even more troubling is a previous Gallup Poll that shows President Obama's support has slipped dramatically among blacks and Hispanics as well.

But he is the incumbent and therefore presumably the Democratic candidate for 2012. Or is he?

A lot of Americans are fed up with the president's unwillingness to admit the mess this country is in. And it's not just about debt. It's about his ineffectiveness when Congress couldn't agree over spending cuts and his lack of leadership on the Libyan conflict. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had to step in and take care of that. And it's about the overall promise of change Obama made to American voters in 2008, one he has not delivered on. Three wars instead of two, Guantanamo's still open.

Transparency? Not! And deficits and a national debt the likes of which we've never seen before.

A second term is far from a sure thing.

Here’s my question to you: Should Democrats seek someone to run against President Obama next year?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

April 18th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

How should income tax laws be changed?

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People waiting in line at a downtown Manhattan post office April 15 to file at the last minute. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Today is the deadline to file your income tax return, three days later than usual because of a federal holiday.

And despite this country's dire financial straits, the very rich are paying a lot less in income tax than they did just twenty years ago. The IRS tracks 400 households with the highest adjusted gross incomes each year. In 2007, the average federal income tax rate that group paid was just 17 percent. In 1992, it was 26 percent. Over that same period, the average tax rate for all taxpayers dropped to 9.3 percent from 9.9 percent.

What's more is according to the Tax Policy Center, 45 percent of U.S. households - a total of about 69 million - will pay no federal income tax. In fairness, most of those 69 million households still pay other taxes like state and local income taxes and property and sales taxes too. Two thirds of that group pays payroll taxes - many pay more than they get back on their federal return.

Most of the households in the group that doesn't pay federal income tax earn less than $50,000 a year. But about 5 million make between $50,000 and $1 million a year. The secret is in the tax breaks, on everything from having a child to going to college to paying your mortgage. According to the IRS, the tax code currently has a total of $1.1 trillion in credits, deductions and exemptions. That comes to an average of about $8,000 per taxpayer.

But that could change. House Republicans want to eliminate tax breaks and lower overall rates. The President has said he wants to do away with tax breaks too.

Here’s my question to you: How should income tax laws be changed?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Taxes