January 15, 2003

In the January 20, 2003 edition of the new yorker Hendrik Hertzberg writes that the average $1,083 that Bush keeps telling us middle income Americans will hold on to under his tax plan is as the Financial Times wrote "completely bogus." In fact, according to Hertzberg the $1,083 number is true, "only in the sense that it is also true that if Bill Gates happened to drop by a homeless shelter....the average person in the room would have a net worth of a billion dollars." Hertzberg states that the average taxpayer in the middle of the income range will only receive a couple of hundred dollars.

On the other hand, he writes: "If his income this year is unchanged, [Bush] could get a windfall of as much as $44,500. Not bad -- more, in fact, than the total income, before taxes, of a substantial majority of American families. Dick Cheney does even better. His tax break comes to $327,000 -- more than the before-tax income of 98 percent of of his fellow-citizens."

Oh, and author John Le Carre believes America has "entered one of its periods of historical madness."

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