|No matter how much Blacks dislike him, President Bush's initiatives in his
first 120 days have produced greater economic benefits for us than did Bill
Clinton's total eight years. While Brother Bill gave us a soulful White
House, Bush has given Americans their largest tax cut in a generation. The
$1.35 trillion tax cut is the centerpiece of the Bush's domestic agenda, the
immediate impact of which will be refund checks of up to $600 to all
Although they voted against him 10 to one, African-American taxpayers will be
among the 95 million Americans who will have a check coming to them from the
U.S. Treasury. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote
of 240 to 154 but, the single African-American member of Congress to vote for
the measure was Republican J.C. Watts. All Democratic African Americans in
Congress either voted "no," or did not vote on the bill. While the measure
will, undoubtedly, help African Americans, as well as the economy, Black
Congressmembers elected to continue not going along with any of Bush's
programs. The jury is still out on whether Black citizens who want to whack
Bush will send their checks back to protest his presidency.
The majority of Americans are happy with the effects of Bush's Tax Plan.
Actually the plan goes beyond the check Americans expect in their mailbox by
September 2001. These checks are the first installment of lasting, long-term
reductions in tax rates. Most tax rates will drop about three percentage
points by year 2006. There will be grants reductions in most tax rates, and,
tax relief for married couples and parents of young children. Bush says the
plan "cuts income taxes for everyone who pays them. Nothing could be more
profound, and nothing could be more fair."
Distribution of the checks is scheduled to start on July 20th. In advance, a
letter will be send by the second week in July detailing the amount of your
refund. However, before you put a $300 or $600 item in layaway, note that
about two-thirds of all taxpayers did not have incomes high enough to benefit
from any of the bill's provisions except the new 10 percent tax bracket.
Almost half of those in the bottom 60 percent of income earners - nearly 35
million Americans who earned income and filed a tax return - will receive
A single person will receive $300 if he or she has at least $6,000 in taxable
income, while a couple will get $600 if they had at least $12,000 in taxable
income. But taxable income is very different from income. For instance, a
family of four is able to deduct at least $18,000 in standard deductions and
personal exemptions from their income before they pay income taxes, so they
will have needed to earn at least $30,000 in 2000 in order to get close to a
$600 rebate. Twenty-six percent of married couples who earned between
$27,000 and $44,000 will receive no rebate. Among couples who qualify for a
rebate in that group, the middle 20 percent of taxpayers, the average rebate
will be $479.
The 1990s were very generous and boosted African Americans with incomes of
$50,000 up 41 percent, putting many in top tax brackets. Virtually everyone
in the top 20 percent of taxpayers - who pay about 80 percent of income taxes
- will receive a tax rebate, generally the full amount.
A little-noticed provision in the bill should be noted by African Americans
interested in reparations for slavery. Citing that "Compensation for crimes
against humanity should not be taxed," Congress approved a bill that exempts
Holocaust survivors and their heirs from paying U.S. federal taxes on
compensation payments such as those recently approved by the German
parliament. From 50,000 to 60,000 Americans who endured forced labor under
the Nazis are eligible to receive payments from the $4.4 billion German tax
fund for which they will pay no taxes.
William Reed is the author of "Who's Who in Black Corporate America." For questions or comments email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call
him at 202-547-4125.