By JAMES PETHOKOUKIS –
Here are the stakes: The US economy is growing so slowly right now that if just about anything goes wrong, anything at all, it could mean another recession — quite possibly pushing unemployment back to the worst levels of the Great Recession.
To use President Obama’s once-favored metaphor, the car would be back in the ditch, stuck worse than ever. Welcome back to 2009.
Yet the Obamacrats in Washington are flirting with steering right at the ditch, by letting some $400 billion worth of tax hikes engulf the struggling economy on Jan. 1.
Under current law, that day will see the the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts expire, even as the new ObamaCare investment tax kicks in.
Marginal federal income-tax rates (for the four brackets) would jump from 25/28/33/35 percent to 28/31/36/39.6 percent. The child tax credit would fall to $500 from $1,000.
And tax rates on capital gains would jump to 20 percent from 15 percent, while dividends would be taxed as ordinary income (28 percent to 39.6 percent) vs. 15 percent now.
Add in the new 3.8 percent ObamaCare tax, and those rates on capital gains and dividends would go to 23.8 percent and (in the top bracket) 43.4 percent.