Editorial pages across the country criticized President Bush’s economic recovery plan of $674 billion in tax cuts over the next 10 years as a benefit for the rich.

Unveiled on Tuesday at the Economic Club of Chicago, the centerpiece of his proposal called for the removal of taxes on stock dividends.

The Los Angels Times said Bush’s proposed tax cuts “are decisively weighted toward the rich.”

“Anyone making more than $1 million a year would save a hefty $45,098 in dividend taxes. … Most middle-class investors wouldn’t benefit at all because their only stocks are in tax-deferred retirement plans,” the editorial read.

“When you factor in the other tax changes proposed by Mr. Bush,” the Washington Post said, “you find that the poorest fifth of Americans would see their after-tax income up this year by one-tenth of 1 percent. … The top 1 percent of earners, by comparison, would see their income rise by 3.5 percent.”

“Bush’s tax cut plan is unconscionably titled toward the rich,” read the Jackson (<Miss.) Clarion-Ledger editorial.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution called Bush’s plan “all but useless as an economic stimulus.”

The Atlanta paper favored the increased tax credit for families with children. But it said “the abolition of dividend taxes … would be a bounty that most Americans could not share.”

The Orlando Sentinel said, “The dividend-tax repeal is misplaced in a package that purports to jump-start the economy. The bulk of the tax savings would go the wealthier Americans, and they wouldn’t see the money until next year.”

Eliminating the tax stock dividends “would do little to revive the economy quickly,” said the Commercial Appeal. “It would disproportionately reward the richest Americans.”

The editorial of the Memphis paper said, “The administration says the dividend tax amounts to unfair ‘double taxation’—the taxes are levied first on corporate profits and then on the dividends those profits yield. Yet workers must pay both income and payroll taxes on their wages, and sales taxes on what they buy with the pay they take home. The White House is far less concerned with the more prevalent form of dual taxation.”

The New York Times said, “The president’s program itself is a cynical grab bag of unrelated and mislabeled policies that would disproportionately benefit the wealthiest.”

While many editorial pages criticized Bush’s plan for the lack of equity, the Indianapolis Star said that “critics have resorted to old class-warfare battle cries to attack the proposal.”

The Star argued that the richest Americans have seen their share of income taxes increase substantially, and middle-income families have seen their income taxes drop.

Supporting the end of double taxation on dividends, the San Diego Union Tribune wrote, “Class warriors crow that this would benefit only the wealthy. But the truth is that nearly every family would reap gains from this overdue change in tax policy.”

“Eliminating the double taxation of corporate dividends would be a boost for investment in equities,” said a Chicago Tribune editorial.

But the editorial added, “The White House shows little concern that its package could send the nation back on a course of runaway budget deficits.”

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