But with few exceptions, the Democratic candidates have railed against the Bush tax cuts in general without making any distinctions about the bulk of its across-the-board provisions that reduced taxes for middle-income Americans and those at the very bottom, too.
Worse, their campaign rhetoric hints broadly that their tax targets aren't just the rich. "Let's get back to shared sacrifice," Sen. Hillary Clinton said when she unveiled her tax-hike plan to deal with Hurricane Katrina. "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good," she told a San Francisco audience in 2004.
In his best-selling book, "The Audacity of Hope," Sen. Barack Obama fiercely attacked perceived wage stagnation and income inequality. Bush's tax cuts "made them worse," he said, and he was going to do something about that by raising taxes.
In fact, millions of very low income Americans were removed from the tax rolls by Bush's tax cuts, while millions more were put in a new and lower 10 percent tax bracket. How exactly did this make them worse? Former North Carolina senator John Edwards has proposed soaking the rich to finance universal health care, but more sober estimates suggest he would need to target people much further down the income scale to pay for his enormously expensive government plan.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson may be the only exception among the Democratic candidates calling for higher taxes. In his first term, he cut his state's income tax rates across the spectrum (as Bush did), cutting the top income tax rate from 8.2 percent to 4.9 percent.
It's not something he brags about before certain audiences. He never mentioned the tax cuts in his speech earlier this month to the Democratic National Committee's winter meeting where they cheered Clinton's call for seizing oil-company profits and spending it on the environment and other programs.
In their zealous pursuit of higher taxes, Clinton, Edwards, Obama et al. suggest the rich are not paying their fair share, when in fact they are paying the lion's share.
The top 10 percent of all income earners were paying 67.7 percent of all federal income taxes paid in 2001 when Bush enacted his tax cuts. By 2004, they were paying nearly 71 percent, according to the Congressional Budget Office and the IRS.
If the Democrats' presidential pack thinks that's not high enough, then they're coming after the rest of us.