A half-trillion reasons to register to vote
The stalemate between Democrats and Republicans over federal spending has raised the stakes of this year's election by a minimum of $494 billion.
Without congressional action, taxes will increase by that much as the Bush tax cuts and other temporary tax breaks expire on Dec. 31. President Obama and a Democratic Congress failed to make those tax cuts permanent.
The Bush tax cuts gave every taxpayer a break, but they also included goodies for non-taxpayers. The child tax credit doubled to $1,000 per child for middle-class and low-income families.
If the Bush tax cuts expire, the child tax credit will be cut to $500 per child.
Also, the temporary reduction in the "payroll tax" - which finances Social Security - expires on Dec. 31.
According to the Heritage Foundation, if nothing is done:
* 53.8 million low-income workers will see an average tax increase of $1,207 on an average income of $24,757.
* 33.1 million retirees will see an average tax increase of $857 on an average income of $42,553.
* 33.1 million Baby Boomers will see an average tax increase of $4,223 on an average income of $95,099.
* 15 million families will see an average tax increase of $4,138 on an average income of $70,662.
In addition to taking $494 billion from the pockets of taxpayers and giving it to the federal government, Congress also will curtail investment by resurrecting the death tax and by increasing the capital gains tax from a 15 percent rate to 25 percent.
Economists are calling the pending tax hike "taxmaggedon," and predict a recession if nothing is done.
Surely no one wants that. The time has come for responsible leadership in both the White House and on Capitol Hill. The best way to get that is to elect it.
Voter registration at the 55 county clerk's offices in West Virginia ends on Oct. 16 for the Nov. 6 election.
The nation cannot afford taxmaggedon.