Choose Your Remedies

WHAT'S NOW ON THE TABLE

Help for the Middle Class

One plan would cut at least 2% from the FICA payroll taxes, which take 15.3% (employers pay half) of all earnings up to $53,400 a year. The tax is highly regressive, and its surpluses are used to pay for everything from food stamps to nuclear missiles.

Outlook:

Pushed hard by Democrats on grounds of fairness; a modest version may wind up in Bush's package as well.

A Break for Capital Gains

Taxed as regular income at rates up to 31%, most types of capital gains would get a substantial break if...