January 5th, 2009
01:26 PM ET

Is Now The Right Time For Tax Cuts?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President-elect Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats are working on a plan to offer businesses and individuals $300 billion in tax cuts. Forty percent of it would come from an emergency stimulus package that is expected to total in the neighborhood of $775 billion.

Mr. Obama wanted the stimulus package on his desk when he assumes the presidency in 2 weeks. But this is Congress he's dealing with, and now we're being told they can't possibly have anything ready for his signature before early February. Meanwhile the economy continues to suffer big time. And the predictions are that without help things will likely get a lot worse.

The tax cuts are supposed to be the incentive Republicans need to support the stimulus package which is supposed to create jobs, jump start the economy and eventually help to turn things around.

The largest piece of the plan comes from the campaign trail. Something Mr. Obama called "Making Work Pay" which promised tax cuts of $500 per person or $1,000 per family.

Economists remind us that the rebate checks that were sent out last year to get people spending didn't work, so who knows if this will.

Here’s my question to you: Is now the right time for additional tax cuts?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Mitchell from Arkansas writes:
Not for the wealthy. President-elect Obama said he would roll back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. He's already compromising that away. Someone has to pay or we just go further in debt. If he starts going back on campaign pledges, he will lose his support quickly.

Donna from Florida writes:
NO, NO, NO. We need to spend all of the money on creating jobs.

Romnak from Corbin, Kentucky writes:
Yes, Yes, Yes. As a small business man I need my share of the bailout so I can keep my crew working. I'm a home builder and do remodeling and restoration. Now is the time for everybody to keep prices low and reasonable and even discount them just to keep everybody going.

Jean writes:
If tax cuts are reduced to a bargaining chip then we are up the creek. This is a sorry state of affairs.

Phillip writes:
Now is definitely NOT the time for additional tax cuts. What this country needs now is good old fashioned Keynesian styled fiscal stimulus. Public works projects that put people to work (and thereby paying taxes). The infrastructure of this country is falling behind that of the rest of the industrialized world. President-elect Obama needs to look less at Lincoln and more at FDR.

Ken from North Carolina writes:
The economy will begin to make it's turn around now that you are back Jack but the proposed tax cuts will help even more. I used my last one to stimulate the economy. I know it worked because the sales clerk smiled when I gave her my money.

Filed under: Taxes
soundoff (147 Responses)
  1. Tom in Desoto Texas

    No but it will get done anyway. This way no one can said Obama went against his word. At some point all American's will have to realize we have to pay our own bills. China, Japan and other's won't be lending to let the good times roll. Some may have to cut down to 3 plasma TV'S.

    January 5, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  2. Cori from Colorado

    Yes, we're all looking for relief, and will take it wherever we can get it.

    January 5, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  3. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    I don't know, but it is definitely time for the government to look at all the programs and see what we can do without for the next few years. For instance, why not tell NASA we'll see you in 4 years. What they're doing is important, but it's a luxury.

    January 5, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  4. Dean in Macungie,PA


    Now may not be the "Right time" for a tax cut but after the last administration just kept the mint presses rolling without tax increases and printed money and more money like there would be no time after Jan 2009 - WHY NOT???

    Dean in PA

    January 5, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  5. Kim - Blair, NE

    I think now is as good a time as ever. The situation right now seems to call for an all or nothing approach.

    January 5, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  6. John in Santa Barbara, CA

    Tax cuts for the middle class, tax hikes for the upper class, and eliminate the taxes on unemployment benifits and social security.

    January 5, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  7. John

    Jack: Yes, tax cuts for the people who make less than $250,000.00 is a good stimulus for economic growth. It goes along with reducing the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%. The tax cut for the middle and lower income groups is good for business. I believe the tax cuts the top 5% of wage earners should be allowed to expire at the end of 2010. The additional tax revenue could help health insurance and bring solvency to social security.


    January 5, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  8. Jackie in Dallas

    As much as I hate to say it, I think tax cuts are a mistake. We are already trillions in the red; tax cuts will just increase that number even more. And with increased spending, which is essential to get our economy back on track, now is not the time for tax cuts. We need that economic booster package to increase employment, help our struggling industries, and improve infrastructures. Without putting more people to work, unemployment benefits, and various welfare programs, are going to be swamped. Put people to work FIRST, get the economy stronger, get our GNP in the black for a change, then worry about tax cuts!

    January 5, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  9. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    If it applies to the middle class, it can not be too soon. We’ve pulled the wagon for over 8 years now and we’re tired. As far as the wealthy, it will not be the right time for many, many years to come. They have been getting a free ride at middle class expense. Time to carry their own weight and pay us back for the ride.

    January 5, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  10. Katiec Pekin, IL

    I am not an economist so would not pretend to know the answer to this question. But, would think with all the intelligent and qualified
    people Barack Obama has picked to try and solve this problem
    we should defer the decisions to them on how to best handle
    this crisis.
    Regardless, you know that he will be critized for whatever they

    January 5, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  11. HD Taylor - Arizona

    Tax cuts for whom??? Every time GOP leaders talk about tax cuts, the only real beneficiaries are always those who do not need them. The middle class is always excluded. Bush's tax cuts were really only aimed at those within his wealthy socioeconomic tax bracket while the middle class was left to make up the difference. Anytime a politician starts talking about tax cuts...the nation needs to pin them down and demand clarification as to whose taxes are being cut.

    HD Taylor
    Phoenix, Arizona

    January 5, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  12. Mark

    One of the reasons we fought for and gained independance was that we were being overtaxed by the British crown. We pay so many taxes – income tax, property tax, sales tax, ect. – we've lost track of how much of our money goes back to a government that delivers very little individualized service. Heck yeah it is time to cut taxes – and time to cut government spending, shut down special interests, and maybe time for the people to vote on whether any government officials get a raise this year. God knows I won't.

    January 5, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  13. Joe from MO

    Yes, if they go to ordinary people and they are balanced by letting the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire. Watch out for the Republicans. They'll try to get the new tax cuts, keep the tax cuts for the rich and then short circuit the stimulus plan to help ordinary people. After all, the rich CEO's have already gotten theirs.

    January 5, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  14. Lisa in GA

    Jack, I think you have been gone tooooooooooo long... I don't know about you but I need a tax cut and a bailout. If the big wigs can get them... then why should't I. Honestly it helps put more money back into the economy. We cannot spend what we do not have....

    January 5, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  15. Hummer Girl

    It may not be the right time, but it is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY RIGHT NOW!! The economy is suffering, mainstream america is suffering and the poor are totally out of the picture! The only way to turn it around is to stimulate the Economy, create jobs and govern the Banking/Auto/Credit industry!!!

    January 5, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  16. Dakota Don from Akra

    Maybe. Maybe not. Who the hell knows anymore? Just have to put it in Obama's hands and hope he can somehow salvage this country from what looks to be a catastrophic future. And never ever again vote republican.

    January 5, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  17. Andrea, Maryland

    If not now, when?

    January 5, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  18. Steve

    Not particularly, however politicians must bow to the will of the people if they wish to shine in the public eye. This means we must cut taxes, have a bigger jobs program and extend benefits for the unemployed.

    January 5, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  19. uncle jimbo - Chicago

    Tax breaks for the strugling middle class making less then 250K – Yes absolutly. Over 250K let them pony up ! Its time to make the investor class pay their fair share they got the bail outs, we got the shaft. Stop the off shore tax shelters while your at it. Time to make the multimillionaires pay their fair share.

    January 5, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  20. John in Rohnert Park

    First off . . . stop staying away for so long! Jack, the middle class was strongly promised a significant tax break and we are expecting it sooner than later. Until, we've got more money in our pocket to put back into the economy the longer the delay in jump starting this economy back into running. What does need to end are all these bailouts which should NEVER have been given in the first place.

    January 5, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  21. Saundra from District Heights MD

    If you are referring to tax cuts for people and not corporations – yes!!
    Everything is so expensive these days. The average american is being priced out. I make a decent salary but everything is so high its getting tiresome just trying to stay afloat. I can't begin to imagine what iis like for those who earn minimum wage. If we are going to have a huge deficit it should go where it will be most useful – the American People.

    January 5, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  22. don in naples, florida

    tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts. It seems like we are on a merry go round. the same problems occur because our government does not spend tax revenue wisely. why not eliminate taxes altogether, why have them at all??

    January 5, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  23. Harold from Anchorage,AK

    Yes, but not for Exxon and friends,

    January 5, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  24. Mark in OKC

    YES, IT IS! A lot of people should not be paying ANY taxes now! How about a tax refund of everything we paid in Federal taxes in '08, I know that would stimulate me!

    January 5, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  25. Cynthia

    Happy New Year Jack!

    Yes it is the right time if it will put more money into the hands of those who need it the most.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  26. Pat_Pinehurst NC

    It is important that Obama keep the promises of the campaign, but "we the people" are holding our collective breath on the more important issue of: can he create enough jobs fast enough to stop the downward spiral?

    January 5, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  27. Ron K

    Hi Jack:

    It depends. Who are the tax cuts going to benefit?

    Ron San Diego

    January 5, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  28. Robert Odendahl

    This is not the time for tax cuts.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  29. Sam from arizona

    Tax Cuts is a very broad term. we need to give tax cuts to small buisnisses that that employ alot of people and compainies that proviode worker benefites. we can't be cutting taxes on the corperateions that we are raising prices and geting unrestriced bailouts.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  30. JD in NH

    It's the right time for tax cuts for the masses who have been screwed over so badly the last 8 years. He can roll back the tax cuts on the fat cats at any time, though. Oh dear, Jack. Given your best selling books and television fame, I bet that includes you! Sorry.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  31. Richard Sternagel

    Yes, it is the right time for a tax cut. People will buy things if they have more money in their wallets.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  32. Richard McKinney, Texas

    I don't think so. I use to believe in fairy Tales Jack but that was as a child. This child has grown up on the hard road of knocks and knows the difference between fantasy and reality. Every since the beginning of time the cost of everything has gone up. It will continue to go up and with all Obama has planned for the next 4 years we can not count on corporations that may or may not still be in business in America to pay out all the tax dollars to finance them.
    As more and more businesses fail people lose more jobs. Obama can not possibly produce those jobs as fast as they leave. A 500 dollar tax cut will not pay for upgrades to homes and wind and solar panels for private individuals either so who will be able to afford them? Obama's plans are just not realistic unless he has a fairy god mother to pay for all of them.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  33. Russell

    If I get a tax cut it will go directly toward paying off debt which will not do anything to stimulate the economy. I'm afraid I can't do my so called patriotic duty and spend, spend, spend.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  34. Terry from North Carolina

    Now is the time for anything that helps us pay the bills and put food on the table, we have not been able to maintain a decent standard of living without struggling for awhile.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  35. steve


    Its a moot point. The messiah will raise taxes irregardless.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  36. CF in Naples, FL

    What is needed is severe, deep cuts for workers and tax rate increases for 'investors' and managers.

    First, cut the FICA rates in half for the first $30,000 of earnings for both employers and workers. This gives everyone a 3% raise immediately. Then, recognize that Social security is an INSURANCE program, not a mandatory savings account. Eliminate the FICA ceiling on wages and require everyone to pay premiums on all wages.

    Second, remove all preferential treatments of investment income over earned income and tax everyone at the same rates. Someone who realizes $80,000 from selling stock shouldn't pay less tax than a worker who labors a year to earn $40,000.

    Third, re-calibrate the tax brackets more realistically: have a 3% tax on the first $20K then 8% on the next 60K; this brings us to median income levels. Increase the level to 15% total for 60-120K, then increase by 5% for each doubling thereafter (340K, 680K, etc) to a max of 55%.

    Give a millionaire an extra $100,000 and he'll buy some US government bonds and lend the money back to the rest of us at interest. Give the working and middle class a break, and they will spend it to purchase against pent-up demand, which will have a multiplied effect in their local economies.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  37. paul in haddam


    January 5, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  38. Chuck from Sheboygan, WI.

    As painful as it is, I'd have to say no. We as a nation are tumbling into debt at such a ridiculous rate that our economic future looks bleak indeed. Those tax dollars are going to be needed to pay for the increasing unemployment burden, the skyrocketing interest on the national debt and to pay for those jobs the new administration wants to create.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  39. Chris from Buffalo, N.Y.

    There is never a bad time for tax cuts.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  40. Patrick in Hampstead, Maryland

    This is the perfect time for tax cuts. The People (remember us) need a bailout. This sends a clear message back to the people that this country is not run by big business but rather the average people, who consequently, always do the majority, if not all, of the suffering.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  41. hugh ~ tracy, california

    Jack–Welcome Back,

    As long as Obama takes caution and doesn't open the flood-gates, a tax-cut is needed like a shot in the arm to get Americans to start spending again and give the economy a boost. It's obvious that the financial collapse in 2008 will make it harder to increase spending, but if Obama offers tax-breaks for home-buyers or for purchasing new American made cars, it may help ease us out of this recession faster than is predicted. Make no mistake though, it won't be easy for our new president.

    Happy New Year Jack, I hope you enjoyed Christmas with your family.

    Hugh in California

    January 5, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  42. Karen

    Dear Jack,

    The government cannot keep borrowing and spending. If we are ever to get our country fiscally sound, we, as American citizens, need to take responsibility and pay for it. We want better schools, updated infrastructure, health care–the list goes on and on–but we can't have all of this without taxes. Borrowing is what has gotten our citizens in financial trouble and borrowing from foreign countries (while cutting taxes) will be a disaster for the future of America.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  43. Chris from NC

    Something's gotta give!!!!!!!

    January 5, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  44. Larry in Florida

    Lets do the math Jack.......With all he intends to try and do it just doesn't add up. Bad, bad time to cut taxes. Working people need to pay taxes so it will help create more working people. Where is this bailout money coming from? Taxes of course! So dah, how can he cut taxes? It's not computing with me.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  45. Paul S. Columbia, SC

    Tax cuts on top of bailouts, over the top pork barrel spending, wars in two countries and runaway government growth makes no sense. Wait. We're talking about 'Dysfunction Junction' in DC aren't we? Case closed.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  46. Keith - Cleveland, OH

    Welcome back Jack... What this country needs right now is a shot of TRUST & another shot of CONFIDENCE... Banks do not trust other banks... Banks do not trust Businesses.. Businesses do not trust banks.. And WE do not trust any of the above... Our leaders (and I hope they know who they are) need to get back to intregrity.. I only wonder if they can find it again...

    January 5, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  47. Terry in Hanover County

    Now is a good time for a tax break for the middle class and poor. The rich have had theirs for the last 8 years.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  48. Andre R. Newcomb

    No. It's a shell game that pipers' stooges blame on "freedom".

    January 5, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  49. Mertis


    It is for Middle America. We have had to suffer through 8 years of rising costs and shrinking incomes. I'll take a break anywhere I can get it at this point.

    Mertis in Atlanta

    January 5, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  50. Bob D, Morristown, NJ

    As a stimulus to our ailing economy, a tax cut for everyone, not just the wealthy, is certainly worth a try. Of course it's not a guarantee of a recovery. Anything the government does to stimulate the economy is like pushing on a rope.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  51. Tina

    Probably not but then again I don't care cause I don't qualify to get the measley 300.00 so once again old folks get the screws tighten tighter.
    Tina (Texas)

    January 5, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  52. Buster in Poughkeepsie, NY

    Dear Jack,

    Any time is the right time for cutting taxes. The less I’m taxed, the more I spend–which is exactly what a healthy economy needs. More disposable income means I could purchase essential stuff like Jack’s next New York Times best-seller or a high-definition television so I can more closely admire Wolf’s perfect hair…and Jack’s handsome mug. Welcome back, my dynamic duo. Much manlove from your biggest fan.


    January 5, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  53. Dave in MO

    It's never a bad time!

    January 5, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  54. Erico mb33139

    I'll take a tax cut at anytime !!

    January 5, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  55. Silas, Cameron, NC

    I think more people would be happy with a tax refund over a tax cut. Most people can deal with paying taxes as normal. But everyone gets excited over a tax refund. When tax cuts are done, they end up getting put back where they were within a year without most people realizing it. Tax refund are alot easier to deal out, and individuals who can't save money other ways will have some extra money in a lump sum, rather than their tax being cut and they get a measily 5 bucks more in their pay check. So no, I don't think this is the right time for tax cuts.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  56. John, Fort Collins, CO

    I think this is a perfect time for tax cuts. People who are still employed will get more take-home pay to stimulate the economy. Meanwhile, the unemployed will be benefiting from the make work programs which will also stimulate the economy. Either way the national debt will go through the stratosphere, but that beats the tar out of a remake of The Great Depression.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  57. Bill Davis

    Now would be the time for tax increases — specifically for the fools who've been supporting George Bush and the right wing noise machine this past decade. Wait a minute...Besides raising their taxes exponentially, why not fine them their grandkids inheritance to offset the amounts mine will owe.

    Bill D
    Champaign, IL

    January 5, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  58. john ...... marlton nj

    Anytime is a good time to cut taxes..

    January 5, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  59. Lynn, San Diego County

    Yes, as slow as government works they do it now and the tax cuts to working people might effect the economy by 2010 – while taking away the tax cuts to big business will put money in the kitty to pay for the systems we can't afford to let falter – like education. San Diego

    January 5, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  60. Jackie in Dallas

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    As much as I hate to say it, I think tax cuts are a mistake. We are already trillions in the red; tax cuts will just increase that number even more. And with increased spending, which is essential to get our economy back on track, now is not the time for tax cuts. We need that economic booster package to increase employment, help our struggling industries, and improve infrastructures. Without putting more people to work, unemployment benefits, and various welfare programs, are going to be swamped. Put people to work FIRST, get the economy stronger, get our GNP in the black for a change, then worry about tax cuts!

    January 5, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  61. Joe in DE

    This is god time for a tax cut. However, I hope that most of the cut will be off-set by repealing Bush's tax cuts for the rich. – such repeal will help not hurt.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  62. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    Jack, welcome back and Happy New Year. For those of us that tune in to "The Situation Room" for the only purpose to participate in the Cafferty File, which is a lot of people we believe you should either not be allowed to take vacation or have someone sit in for you when you're gone. The poll numbers are staggering, 97% of the registered CNN watchers support a fill in for Mr. Jack according to Bill S's analysis, he's BS's cousin. Now to answer your question, YES, YES, and YES.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  63. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    Tax cuts benefit those who work and pay taxes. It doesn't, however, help the unemployed.

    Having said that, those that are working and not afraid of losing their jobs, maybe as much as 70% of workers, would benefit.
    Those that are working and are afraid of losing their jobs, will likely save the money, which won't stimulate the economy.

    Either way, a tax cut would be a partial solution, and now would be a good time for it.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  64. Geri

    I think for businesses the tax cut will help. For us regular folk, I think for the most part – that any tax cut we get will go to staying afloat or wind up in our savings account. And a tax cut might help those people who are being foreclosed upon they will be able to afford a deposit on an apartment somewhere.

    Geri – Mead, OK

    January 5, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  65. Rose in Az

    Of course it is the wrong time, I am so afraid that Obama is going to put this country in worse shape than Bush did. I did not vote for Obama, I have always believed that he truly did not have the people of this country as a priority.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  66. Bert Morgan

    Besides the fact that we the people have very little say in tax increases in this country and considering our present financial situation I believe anytime there is a tax cut it is a good time.
    After all this is just a small bone they are throwing at us to hope that we will gain trust in our government.Taxes are not the real problem here that brought us to our knees in this country.It is the corrupt handling of our taxpayers dollars and foolish spending by our government and until that changes we will always be in the situation we are in.
    I voted for change!Time will tell all.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  67. Vinnie Vino


    In reality this is the worst time for any kind of tax cuts. President-elect Obama should keep his campaign promises to allow the Bush tax cuts to fade into the sunset, end the unjustifed war in Iraq and cut out wasteful spending by the Federal Government in order to get our economy back on the right track before he thinks about cutting taxes. Ironically any tax cut will translate into less money in the general fund of the Government at a time when it is being asked to do more to fix our anemic economy and help it's citizens survive the economic mess that will be known as President George W Bush's greatest legacy...

    C.I., New York

    January 5, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  68. Gerry

    From what I've read so far on Obama's proposed tax cuts, it appears we finally have a President who thinks of the middle class. Of course, we're all going to find this strange for a while considering how the middle class has been hammered over the last 8 years.

    Bottom line is, with the advisers he has chosen, I assume he's proposing the right thing to get the economy going again.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  69. Les Oklahoma

    No Jack this is something being put out for the benefit of the Republicans which I do not agree with we had tax cuts for the past eight years how has that worked out.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  70. Savoy

    The answere is No!!Houston Texas

    January 5, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  71. Judy, Exeter, Calif,

    This may be the best time for tax cuts to the middle class and corporations. It makes more sense than throwing cash at us, and with the tax cuts there will be a sense of permanence. Depending on how it's done, either by lowering our tax deduction on our paychecks, or annually on our returns, I believe it will help sooth some of our financial woes.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  72. David Bebeau

    I would rather not have to do that but we must.If we do not give the middle class a break we are risking the growth of our nation.
    We must cut taxes.Congress has squandered trillions over 10 years
    ""squandered"" so our fault we have nothing to show for it ?? I think not.
    David Bebeau

    January 5, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  73. txkboy

    Could the timing be any worse?

    January 5, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  74. Jim/NC

    In my view, it is never the wrong time for tax cuts. Given the history regarding the way the government spends our money, I'm sure, I mean I'm sure, that "we the people" can boost our economy much better than politicians. We will never get the chance because that would mean that our politicians would lose control, influence and power.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  75. Jenna Wade

    Is now the right time for additional tax cuts?

    You bet! Everything little ting that puts money and our pockets for spending helps.

    Problem is, we wouldn't see it until 2010 so I'm not sure what help it would be today.

    When giving stimulus checks to the public how about making them tax free and give a check this year as well.

    Since companies are cutting back on 401K's, no retirement packages for workers, etc.. Why are we still paying for a lifetime of healthcare for Congress and above? We can cover you in office, but when you are out you are like the rest of us.. No salary for the rest of your life either! Only Social security like the rest of us!

    Roseville CA

    January 5, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  76. S, Michigan

    Is there really a bad time for tax cuts? Would you turn down money because "this is really a bad time for you to give me money"......

    January 5, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  77. Bonnie from NJ

    I never was a proponent of tax cuts, starting with Regan. i don't see how people don't get the correlation between having your federal taxes cut and all of sudden every other tax, including our property taxes, are out of control. However, if these tax cuts will stimulate business to create and keep good jobs in this country then I say I'll try anything! My husband and I are struggling due to him not being able to find a decent paying permanent job and although my job seems secure are the moment if anything does happen, we are in some serious trouble.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  78. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    If the tax cuts are for the poor, it is long past time for tax cuts.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  79. John in Arizona

    Jack, the economy needs more than tax cuts. However, tax cuts are one of the fastest ways to get additional spending money into the hands of ordinary Americans.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  80. Brian - Trinidad

    Only if they are for the working class.Bush gave huge tax cuts to the wealthy and they drove Wall Street into the ground. It's the working class' turn to do something positive for the country with more money in their pockets.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  81. Greg, Ontario

    Mr. Obama ran on a promise of cutting taxes on the middle class. He has to come through or he joins the ranks of every other politician that said what he had to to get elected.

    Welcome back Jack.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  82. Ray Kinserlow

    Whether it is in the form of targeted tax cuts or stimulus expenditures, now is the time for the Federal government to take on some debt that will assist the American people during these troubled times. I really like the idea of the Feds using our money to create jobs and repair our infrastructure rather than fight wars and enrich the wealthy.

    Ray Kinserlow
    Lubbock, Texas

    January 5, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  83. Christine, Thousand Oaks California

    Yes, for the people who need them most – ordinary middle class Americans and businesses. A proper tax cut is a very important part of an effective stimulus package.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  84. Mae (NY)

    If not now, when?

    January 5, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  85. bob, oshawa, ontario

    Jack, yes, provided these tax cuts are directed to the middle and lower income classes. The tax to the corporations should remain the same, however, as many will probably apply for bailout money, as has the auto sector. Unlike the Bush tax cuts, these will give a psychological boost to those people who have been the victims of the market meltdown. In addition, with Obama's fiscal stimulus, the economy has a better chance of moving upward.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  86. hubie Barton, Mississippi

    For some people [middleclass] yes. Rich NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Hubie Barton MS

    January 5, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  87. Ray Lawson from Danville, VA

    No. Now is not the time for more tax cuts when the government is spending hundreds of billions of dollars they don't have on programs that are creating more problems in regard to the economic condition around the world.
    What the government should be doing is cutting programs and streamlining the government. The federal government is filled with unnecessary pork while departments like the SEC, the Justice Dept., Homeland Security, the CIA, the FBI, and others are doing a lousy job of investigating how our financial system is being run. Congress was running Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae like it was their on private bank while Wall Street seems to have been making bad loans everywhere as its leaders were living like royalty.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  88. Ron Russell from SF

    Not if those tax cuts are slanted, as the Bush Administrations were or if that’s all that is done. But Obama has told us all along that we’re going to get tax cuts for working class folks as PART of the plan to get us out of the mess we’re in. Then again, I’d gladly go back to the taxes I paid under Clinton, just to be rid of Bush and his henchmen.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  89. Neatha from Kansas City

    It is time to give money back to those that will spend it on local needs, like food, and energy. I think we have shown that tax cuts for companies and the wealthy do not work. Many drastic measures are needed to get this economy back on track. Thank you Mr. President Bush.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  90. Gloria Steinberg

    Tax cuts for the middle class are always OK with me.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  91. David in Raleigh, NC

    Anytime is good for a tax cut for those who actually earn enough to pay taxes.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  92. Jan

    Dear Jack,

    Is it time for a tax cut.....NO! For the past eight years we have been a gimme, gimme society with tax breaks for everyone. Now, in order to fix the economy, we need money. Where does money come from...that;s right-taxes. So folks, in order to get our economy (and our lives) back on the right track--it's going to hurt for a couple of years and hopefully if things have been mangaed correctly-the start of a thriving economy.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  93. Matt Toohey


    I honestly don't know. How long can we continue to borrow against our children and grandchildren's future? On the other hand we certainly need to help those folks who struggle each and every day to make ends meet. Maybe we should only provide incentives to those people and entities that live within their means. Just think what the billions going to "bail out" financial institutions and the auto makers could have done for John Q Public.

    Rockford, IL

    January 5, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  94. Richard in Kansas


    No it's not the right time for tax cuts for individuals. It's not the amount of taxes we pay that hurts us. It's the uncertainty of just about every industry which translates into uncertain job security for millions of people.

    If there are going to be tax cuts, give them to employers who are providing all the jobs. More jobs means a better economy. Wow, what a concept.

    And by the way Jack, what in the world will a possible $500 tax break do for 99.9% of us. That figure is an absolute joke.

    Richard in Kansas

    January 5, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  95. Richard Green

    Taxes could not be cut enough to save the endangered middle class. That's not the answer. Our treasury needs money and this country needs good paying jobs.....not tax cuts. By the way, how'd the tax cuts for the rich work out for us? Those cuts need to be restored and quickly.

    Rich Green
    San Clemente, Cal.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  96. Mike


    I think it's the right time for tax cuts. I'm sure Blago will support them since he'll be able to keep more money in his pocket from selling the Senate seat among other things.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  97. Kim, Dodge City, Kansas

    Waiting for the perfect time will insure that it will never happen. The average American needs some sort of victory to come out of this election, and Obama has a campaign promise to fill if he wants the co-operation of all those who voted for him. Of course, passing the FairTax Ammendment would solve all that, but we just can't have that kind of common sense running rampant in an enlightened society now, can we?

    January 5, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  98. Lynn, Boise, ID

    Are you kidding me? Any time is a good time to start getting the middle class back on track. Bush has raised the taxes on those of us in the middle so high that we can't keep up and it will be nice to have some relief so we don't go completely extinct, which is where we are headed now.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  99. Bill - Satellite Beach, FL

    Absolutely Jack. As long as they're for the people that actually need them (ie: the middle class) and not the top 1% that's been receiving them for the past 8 years.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  100. mitchell, arkansas

    not for the wealthy! President Barack said he would roll back the bush tax cuts for the wealthy. he's already compromising that away. someone has to pay or we just go further in debt. if he starts going back on campaign pledges, he will lose his support quickly.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  101. Kirk (Apple Valley, MN)

    Oh sure! We're already in debt up to our ears and we're going to cut our national income again???

    January 5, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  102. Bob D, Morristown, NJ

    As a stimulus to our ailing economy, a tax cut for everyone, not just the wealthy, is certainly worth a try. Of course it’s not a guarantee of a recovery. Anything the government does to stimulate the economy is like pushing on a rope.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  103. Mike S.,New Orleans

    I think it is time for tax cuts for the middle class, as opposed to the past eight years of tax cuts for the wealthiest. However, the damage done so far is so extensive, I doubt if any economic stimulus sponsored by the government can clean up the mess created by trickle down economics.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  104. Paul Round Rock, Texas

    Jack, It is always time for a tax cut. We are all taxed to much already. It would better to have either a flat tax or just a consumer tax and tax what you buy with food and medical items and care to be exmept.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  105. Lee in TN

    There will never be a perfect time, but now is a god to start one.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  106. Jay in Atlanta

    An income tax is just one of dozens of taxes imposed by all kinds of various self-defined authorities who feed at the public trough. Taxes now are death by a thousand slashes. Income taxes is just one of those slashes, and even if income taxes were cut, some other entity would be happy to immediately take up the slack. The only solution to this mess is exactly what appears to be in the making.....a collapse and ruination of the economic system. Then the fools who killed that golden goose can skulk off and find another way to extract blood from others.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  107. Buster in Poughkeepsie, NY

    Dear Jack,

    Any time is the right time for cutting taxes. The less we're taxed, the more we spend–which is exactly what a healthy economy needs. More disposable income means we can purchase the essential stuff of life, like Jack’s next New York Times best-seller or a high-definition television so we can more closely admire Wolf’s perfect hair…and Jack’s handsome mug. Oh yeah, and welcome back, my dynamic duo. Much manlove from your biggest fan.


    January 5, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  108. Nancy, Richmond, Indiana

    I am trusting that President-Elect and his economic team well knows what they are doing better than I do. That is the reason I voted for him!

    January 5, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  109. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Sure Jack. Cut taxes and spend another trillion on economic incentives. Obama will be able to equal the Bush 8 year deficit in just 4 years. That's change all righty.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  110. Mickie

    Only to those who are truly hurting (people, not companies). After all, if the company isn't making money they don't pay taxes on it and if they don't make a profit, they don't need a tax break from the "no tax" on it. If a person in a family loses their job and they are on unemployment, only their spouse is working when there were 2 incomes before, or single and working part time, or or high medical bills, or single parent, then yes, they should get some kind of a break on taxes. The republicans are complaining about "redistribution" but that's exactly what Bush did with all his breaks for the rich and corporations and left us little people not only with the bill but with a deep recession. So when is it our turn if not NOW!

    January 5, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  111. Jerry from Jacksonville

    I don't think it will help all that much, the money could be put to better use helping rebuild America's highways.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  112. Meg Ulmes

    Welcome back!
    I honestly don't know if it's the time for tax cuts or not, but I do know that it is the time to do something. This Congress needs to get going and get something started to help the American people survive this economic crisis. I really don't think $500 per taxpayer will stimulate the economy–it's a very small drop in a very large bucket, but we've got to start somewhere. So, let's give this a try.

    Troy, Ohio

    January 5, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  113. Denis Duffy

    Yes! Do it now before congress has time to attatch more pork barrel spending to what ever flawed legislation they produce.

    Pittsburgh, Pa.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  114. Jane (Minnesota)

    I really don't see how $500 or $1000 more is really going to help that much (the $600 stimulous prgram didn't seem to help much) but if it is really a permanent tax cut for working people; it's a step in the right direction. More incentives need to be provided to employers to create jobs that stay in this country and are not outsourced – I think that's where the biggest bang for the bucks is.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  115. Joshua - Chicago, IL

    The upper class have ruined the middle class and they should pay.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  116. L.M.,Arizona

    We don't need anymore tax cuts,wasn't it California that led the tax revolt a few years back and now they are asking for a bailout. Of course all the Californian that led the tax revolt moved to other states and screwed the rest of the country up. What we need is about a two dollar tax on a gallon of gas and an excise tax on a barrel of oil and maybe we can kick the middle east off our backs. When gas was four dollars a gallon people complained but they got to work,went on vacation,and exercized.


    January 5, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  117. Gigi

    Tax Cuts?...We need to cut the wages of congress and the senate. This do nothing goverment that talks and threatens and promises should be paid by what they produce and not a penny more. When we get our country up and running then we can talk tax cuts and giving back congress a living wage.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  118. David Bakody Nova Scotia

    Welcome back Jack, we can start watching the Situation Room Again... No.... just not raise them .... cutting taxes will not create one job... nor will it save any ... most will just pay down bills or sock it away for a rainy day .... to which many are on their way. Happy New Year to one and all.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  119. Conor in Chicago

    It seems that the logic of this is to get people to go shopping to restart the economy. If I get a tax cut I will use the money to my bills-nothing more. Millions will behave the same way I will. Consider that before deciding if it is a good idea or not.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  120. M From Florida

    Now is just as good a time as any for tax cuts. The economy is going to hell in a handbasket and we need all the help we can get. Everybody now knows that giving those wall-street fat cats billions of dollars was a catastrophic blunder. So why not do something for, dare I say, THE HARD WORKING, TAX-PAYING PEOPLE! That would be the decent, logical thing to do, but since the Congress doesn't deal in either rhealm, that probably wouldn't work either.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  121. vern-t anaheim,ca

    1st of all jack welcome back,i hope you had a great holiday.yes it is time for tax cuts but only if there for the poor and middle class who have been hurt most by the bush tax policies

    January 5, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  122. Irv Lilley


    January 5, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  123. Andrew Schwartz

    Yes it is a good time. people are loosing their homes, loosing their cars, loosing their pension. an extra $500 per person will do a lot more for people than the last time. its important to help anybody who was affected by this, and since almost everyone was, this is a good way to help out.

    January 5, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  124. Darrell

    Well Jack this answer is simple. It's an absolutely, definitely yes, no, maybe.

    January 5, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  125. donna,fl.

    No..NO..NO..We need to spend all of the money on creating jobs...tax cuts never work!

    January 5, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  126. Lloyd


    When you have no job, you don't pay taxes. It wont be too long before no one is paying taxes anyways.

    January 5, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  127. James in Dublin, OH

    Hi Jack,

    As one of the hundreds of thousands who lost their job last year, I think that it's time we see something come off that hill which will actually help the individual. At least we'll know where that 300 billion went. Is the timing right? It can't be any worse than the 300 billion dollar voodoo that happened with the banks. Economists reminding us about stimulus checks won't creat enough smoke and mirrors for us to forget about the last bailout's magic act. Poof! Where did it go?


    January 5, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  128. Ron from Columbus, Ohio

    We bailed out AIG, the auto industry, etc. When do we help the people that pay taxes to bail out everybody else? Just tell the Treasury Dept. to print some more money whil we still have ink!!

    January 5, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  129. Kenny


    Absolutely! The everyday American can use more money in his pocket; a tax cut is a better vehicle than a stimulus check which gets spent with too much discretion and not enough value.

    A tax cut means net paychecks are larger and gets into your accounts without hitting cash right away. Takes the temptation to spend away, and maybe save a few cents, not a bad idea!

    January 5, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  130. Kevin Boone

    Please, A tax cut is not going to do anything for those of us who are out of work.... Sorry, I'm glad to see that Obama is attempting something, but I would like to see the job market open up before I see talks of tax cuts. We don't need tax cuts and stimulus checks, WE NEED JOBS!!!

    January 5, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  131. Daniel, Indiana

    There is no good time for these tax cuts, or so many would want Americans to believe. There is no time like the present to do anything necessary to try to fix this ailing economy. Soon the Fed will be replaced and America will have no choice but to live within her means. With that thought in mind, we need to do this and hope that this will be what is needed for the economy.

    January 5, 2009 at 4:23 pm |


    Although it may seem like an inappropriate time to give tax breaks given the current economic situation this country is facing. However, this could be one of the many shots in the arm this country so badly needs. If these tax breaks go to keeping workers employed, creating new jobs, and to make domestic purchases for the goods companies need to stay competitive then it may be worth while. But if these tax breaks end up in executives pockets then they wont do the country any good.
    As for tax breaks for the general public, Im all for it, especially for those that lost their jobs in '08. I being one of them.

    January 5, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  133. Anthony Marr

    Tax-cutting to stimulate consumption is a medieval solution to a futuristic problem. Overconsumption of a limited resource and living beyond our means, economically and ecologically, are what has brought us down in the first place. This is a new age of conservation, not consumption; of revolutionary technological changes, not the same old old oil fix; of voluntary belt-tightening, not government encouraged materialism.

    Anthony Marr

    January 5, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  134. Bill Smith, Va. Beach, Va.

    I think there is a misunderstanding about the tax cuts Obama wants to give the citizens. He wants people to PAY THEIR BILLS and if anything is left, go out and buy something, not make more bills.

    He's more practical than that! PLEASE

    January 5, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  135. Susan from Greenfield, Wi.

    How deep is the nation in debt, eleven trillion? Tax cuts? If the debt isn't seriously addressed, and I mean soon, there won't be a country and Russia will be proved right. The seventeen percent flat tax is the only way to get out of this, and there also won't be a need for a bloated IRS now will there. An actual smaller government body, now that is change.

    January 5, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  136. Sue/PA


    Welcome back. YES, the middle class and lower income families have been left out and hit hardest over the last 8 years. They are the hands of America. Feed them ( tax cuts and jobs) and prosperity comes back to America.

    January 5, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  137. Esther M. Akron Ohio

    no no and no its not time for us to take a tax cut its time for us to be american's and cut the budgets and fix our mess. no more of the jerry Mcguire "show me the money attitudes" lets pull up the boot stape and take it on the chin and fix it.

    January 5, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  138. jim in n.y.

    don't you Think it would be rite if the bail money comes in through the small Bussiness across the Country this is the heartbeat of American for me more then one quarter of my Gross income per month goes to Taxes and Utiluties. The break needs to start at the Little Guys we'll put the Money back in by paying off some debt that should stimulate something

    January 5, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  139. David Richards

    I used to think there was never a bad time for tax cuts until Bush ruined the economy with tax cuts for the rich. The Laffer Curve, the standard for tax cuts Republicans tout, is just that; a curve. It goes up on one side and down on the other. Bush went too far and we're on the downside right now. I'm not sure how going further in that direction helps us.

    January 5, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  140. i williams

    Even though we are from Saskatchewan CANADA, WE ALWAYS WATCH YOUR QUESTIONS.

    We really enjoy them.

    Today's question we would answer "yes".

    All of the world's problems concern ALL of us no matter where we may be.

    Welcome back from your holidays.

    January 5, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  141. Susan Haught

    Yes, something would be better than nothing I guess.Just raise the min. wage to a decent wage that people can live on. No taxes on social security or unemployment. Make government workers pay for their health insurance just like the middleclass has to pay. Did you ever notice that everyone wants the auto worker to take cuts but how about the teachers and superintendents , postal workers,and government incuding congress. I don't think the tax cut is going to give us the amount needed to get back on track. A 1000 in tax credit over the years might give us 20 a mon . with the heating and electric going up we aren't even going to notice.

    January 5, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  142. Patty in the CA mountains

    Depends on who's getting them..if it's me, it's absolutely the right time...if it's anyone with CEO after their name it will never be.

    January 5, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  143. Andre from New Jersey

    Stimulus checks are not what we need. What can 300-600 dollars really do? A 500 dollar check will not save the economy, but a tax cut will certainly help. Let the people decide what to spend their hard earned dollars on. Capitalism works when you let it work. People will spend money on what they want, and those products/services will profit. If you give people the incentive that they will be able to keep more of what they earn, they will work harder for more. If you give them a check, they'll just hoard it to weather the storm.

    January 5, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  144. ellen

    No he isn't wrong!!!!! Bush was the worst president EVER!!! I am furious that he wasn't impeached..... Clinton was impeached for a heck of a lot less. At least what Clinton did wasn't unconstitutional and young boys weren't losing their lives in a war that was a personal vendetta for a narcistic man who thought he was more powerful than the constitution and more powerful than the presidency. Shame on Bush and good riddance to bad garbage.

    January 5, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  145. Sherry

    jack if boush is not the wors president off usa ? than who was the worses than boush ? NO ONE NO ONE he get the first place by far
    sherry from france

    January 5, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  146. Svein Olav Kersbergen

    If Harry Reed says he is the worst president ever,
    he must be.
    Harry Reed is not a person to be respected.


    January 5, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  147. ZOLICON


    January 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm |