Letters to the Editor

Tax rates

September 24, 2011

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To the editor:

Almost 80 percent of Americans believe that the wealthiest percentage of our population should be paying a much higher rate of income taxes. The rate for our richest taxpayers is now approximately 18 percent, which is the lowest rate for taxation of any class of taxpayers. The history of American taxation during the Second World War discloses that on the increasing scale, the highest rate was 90 percent of income on the top dollars earned.

I recall that in my early business career in 1965 and a few years after that, I was paying 70 percent of the top dollars that I earned. This was the first time that I was aware of higher taxes, but I was happy to be able to earn so much money and I remember thinking, “What a wonderful country to be able to make so much money.” I remember being so proud of being in the highest bracket.

The current Republican Congress seems intent upon keeping the tax rates low. During George W. Bush’s eight years as president, he signed commitments to lower taxes to the point that when he left office, his combination of lowered taxes and increased expenditures on two unnecessary wars, created the largest national debt in history up to that time. After that, President Barack Obama, in attempting to bring the country out of the Bush Depression has continued to increase the national debt.

We are now at a point of grave danger. How can anyone think that lower taxes will save our country?

Comments

Liberty_One 3 years, 7 months ago

Excellent propaganda trick, Mr. Hassur. Comparing apples and oranges is always a great way to trick the unsuspecting. Mr. Hassur compares an effective tax rate to a marginal tax rate and, shockingly, they are very different! This trick works very well on the uninformed who don't know that along with high marginal tax rates there came a bevy of loopholes and deductions that don't exist anymore, thus drastically reducing the effective tax rate far below 90%. So if you simply tell people that the rich once paid 90% marginal tax rates you can fool people into thinking that's what they really paid on their total income.

Unfortunately for propagandists like Mr. Hassur we have this thing called the internet that lets fact-checkers like me point out when you are lying to the public. Thanks for lying, err, I mean trying!

CountyResident 3 years, 7 months ago

The "marginal" tax rate that you refer to for those taxpayers that have most of their income from dividends and capital gains is only 15%. This would include people like Warren Buffet and Hedge Fund Managers. The "marginal" tax rate for anyone else in the higher incomes is 35%. The 35% rate is still only half of the 70% rate that the writer remembers paying in the 60's & 70's.

CountyResident 3 years, 7 months ago

My point is that low taxes doesn't mean an increase in jobs.

And your point about drug lords is?

There are still plenty of loopholes today. That's why the actual top rate for the richest is only 18% vs. the marignal tax rate of 35%.

Eileen Jones 3 years, 7 months ago

Higher taxes would solve the huge deficit we have as a result of the Bush tax cuts for the superrich, coupled with runaway spending on wars.

The Bush tax cuts for the rich broke our economy and they were reckless and immoral.

Jimo 3 years, 7 months ago

Excellent propaganda trick.

Point to a detail that the writer fails to include in his word-limited comment, ignore the argument presented, and then cry: "You lie"!

Congrats. You persuaded yourself. And no one else.

ljwhirled 3 years, 7 months ago

Liberty_One: Wrong again. Libertarianism is insane. Ask a Somali how it is working for them over there.

CountyResident 3 years, 7 months ago

Table does not apply to Warren Buffet, Hedge Fund Managers or anyone else whose income mostly comes from dividends and capital gains.

CountyResident 3 years, 7 months ago

My point is the same as President Obama's. That those rich taxpayers that are only paying a federal tax rate of only 15%, need to pay more. The President has such a provision in his jobs bill. It is called the "Buffet Rule".

ljwhirled 3 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, because as the third richest man on earth, he has some kind of secret motive. Maybe someone bribed him to say all that stuff.

Jimo 3 years, 7 months ago

Bingo.

Relevant. On-point. Devastating.

ljwhirled 3 years, 7 months ago

Wrong Again: Here is a nice report from the IRS showing that 1470 millionaires and billionaires paid 0% taxes in 2009.

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/09inalcr.pdf

ljwhirled 3 years, 7 months ago

Liberty_One: You are completely off base. The 18% rate is for the highest earners all of which receive their income from capital gains, not as traditional income.

The same goes for Hedge Fund managers who pay this ridiculously low rate.

Nor do they pay the 1.45% for Medicare on these funds, nor do they pay the 6.2% for social security.

These folks are paying a substantially lower rate than the rest of us, despite the fact that they make more use of our infrastructure (their companies use Roads, their private jets use airports, etc. etc. etc.)

The rich need to pay their fair share. Lets return the tax rates to what they were in 1999, when we had a $200B surplus.

JohnBrown 3 years, 7 months ago

So?

You forgot to answer the question:

"How can anyone think that lower taxes will save our country?"

Scott Drummond 3 years, 7 months ago

The still remembered history of when tax rates were higher and our Middle Class and country prospered.

ljwhirled 3 years, 7 months ago

So wrong. Anyone who lived through the 1990s would know this.

A fair tax rate brings prosperity to all.

Tax breaks for the rich bring more prosperity to the wealthy at the expense of the poor and middle class.

Ralph Reed 3 years, 7 months ago

Just answer the question L1. No need to play games.

Jimo 3 years, 7 months ago

"How can anyone think that higher taxes won't destroy the country?"

Because higher rates failed to destroy the country when they existed in the past. Including the very recent past. I'm sure a Kindergartner could grasp that fact. But then again a Kindergartner is unlikely to be a prisoner to a discredited ideology, like Lib.

Jimo 3 years, 7 months ago

A. You response is non-responsive. Try again.

B. Quite rich for the most documented liar at LJW to call anyone else a liar.

ljwhirled 3 years, 7 months ago

It works. It worked in the early 1940s and it will work again, if properly implemented.

We are, however, running out of time. If we don't do something soon, this will be the Chinese century.

ljwhirled 3 years, 7 months ago

Because we can read history books.

What these books tell us is that when we had higher tax rates, we had a balanced budget and a healthy economy.

Are people really so stupid that they have forgotten 1999, before Bush gutted the revenue side of the government? Remember we had a $200B surplus?

He cut taxes to grow jobs. Where are the jobs? We gave up the taxes and got NOTHING in return.

appleaday 3 years, 7 months ago

So, if lower taxes were supposed to spur the "job creators" to create jobs, where are the jobs since 2003 when the tax rates were lowered? And how can anyone think that continuing to "soak" the middle class (who are drowning) won't destroy the country?

CountyResident 3 years, 7 months ago

President Clinton raised taxes and balance the budget.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 7 months ago

Economies expand and contract. That is normal. Sometimes those expansions and contractions are slow and steady while at other times they are rapid. Most presidents just happen to serve during a given period of time. As for President Clinton, he happened to serve during a time of rapid growth, which allowed him to grow our way into prosperity. But much of that growth was on the basis of the dot-com bubble. President Clinton was no more responsible for the rapid growth than he was for the bubble bursting. It should be noted than in the last year of President Clinton's final term, the dot-com bubble had begun to burst and the rapid expansion he benefitted from had begun to contract.
Presidents are often given too much credit and too much blame for economies that do what they are going to do regardless of who is president.

ljwhirled 3 years, 7 months ago

Liberty_One: I agree with you. Astounding.

Crazy_Larry 3 years, 7 months ago

Balance the budget by reducing spending and raising taxes. Why does it have to be one or the other?

Crazy_Larry 3 years, 7 months ago

FYI: you're a propagandist as well. Get off your high-horse.

Crazy_Larry 3 years, 7 months ago

"The question of what is a proper basis for deciding how words, symbols, ideas, and beliefs may properly be considered true, whether by a single person or an entire society, is dealt with by the five major substantive theories."

Truth-teller? That's debatable...

Crazy_Larry 3 years, 7 months ago

Not here to debate.

Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group.

As opposed to impartially providing information, propaganda, in its most basic sense, presents information/truths primarily to influence an audience. Propaganda is often biased, with facts/truths selectively presented (thus possibly lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or uses loaded messages to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. The desired result is a change of the attitude toward the subject in the target audience to further a political, or other type of agenda. Propaganda can be used as a form of political warfare.

Crazy_Larry 3 years, 7 months ago

because then the rich would have to pay their fair share.

rtwngr 3 years, 7 months ago

What is their "fair share"? Shall we confiscate all of their wealth? Is that fair? When is enough, enough?

Crazy_Larry 3 years, 7 months ago

No one said take everything. When is enough, enough? That's what I'm asking. How much wealth does one need to accumulate before finding happiness in life? 1 million dollars? 1 billion dollars? 1 trillion dollars? The problem with the accumulation of massive amounts of wealth is the ability to influence government against what is best for the people for what's best for an entity's bottom line....

jhawkinsf 3 years, 7 months ago

"because then the rich would have to pay their fair share." And also the poor. And everyone in between. A flat tax with no loopholes, no deductions.

ljwhirled 3 years, 7 months ago

Because someone shouldn't have to give up food for their children to pay taxes, while another person chooses which private jet to buy.

Income up to the level of economic safety, with adequate healthcare and quality education should be exempt from taxes.

We should only tax monies above and beyond the level necessary for subsistence.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 7 months ago

Once you try to define what that level is where a person, or family would become exempt from taxes, that level of economic safety to borrow your words, then you will once again try to define what is "fair". If nothing else, these forums have shown that what is fair is something no two people seem to be able to agree about. What exactly is "adequate" healthcare? What exactly is a "quality" education? What exactly is "necessary for subsistence"?
What you've accomplished with your response is re-opened the loopholes that nearly half of Americans have jumped through, allowing them to pay zero income taxes. Values such as fairness are things we will never agree on. We will never get broad consensus. A flat tax, that is coming up with a number, is an attempted end run around a concept that we can't define and we can't agree on. It's just a number. 20%. 18%. 22%. Whatever.

ljwhirled 3 years, 7 months ago

The fact that "fair" is difficult to determine shouldn't prevent us from seeking consensus on the issue.

The reason we hold elections is to determine what policy is fair. That is how we seek concensus.

I would say that what is fair is:

  1. Enough money to have a safe place to live.
  2. Enough money to have access to comprehensive health care.
  3. Enough money to have enough healthy food to eat.
  4. Enough money to have adequate clothing for the environment.
  5. Enough money to have transportation to and from work.
  6. Enough money to have a quality education.

Some of these can be provided in aggregate, like #6 through public education, #5 through public transportation, #3 through food assistance, however, income should not be taxable below this level.

Right now the poorest Americans provide 35% of the federal budget through social security and medicare payroll taxes.

A flat tax is a tax on the poor. Progressive taxation is necessary to ensure everyone has enough and that the burden of government falls on those who can afford to pay it.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 7 months ago

I've always thought of rights and responsibilities as two sides of the same coin. You can't have one without the other. Your 1-6 points stress the rights of people. What responsibilities do they assume? You speak of consensus. I might agree with you that people have the rights to 1-6 under certain conditions. Those might be that they are employed at least 40 hours per week at a legal, tax paying job. It might include that they budget their income in an appropriate manner (no drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, etc.), Numbers 2 & 3 mention rights related to health, we might then require them to live a healthy lifestyle, eat a proper diet, exercise, etc. But the problem I have with all this is that there seems to be a desire to have the rights guaranteed but the responsibilities are optional. I can't force someone to live a healthy lifestyle, eat properly, exercise. And if they are not going to be responsible, why should they have the right to quality health care? I can't force someone to budget their income, to refrain from vices such as gambling, smoking, drugs, so why should there be a guarantee of housing? If a person loses his/her shirt in a casino (both literally and figuratively), am I really required to provide #4 on your list?

beatrice 3 years, 7 months ago

But look at all the jobs those tax cuts have created.

ljwhirled 3 years, 7 months ago

True enough. The Bush tax cuts have benefited everyone by incentivizing "job creators" (i.e. the Paris Hilton's of the world).

camper 3 years, 7 months ago

Balancing the budget is good. I'm for it. But it does not create jobs. Austerity does not create jobs either. This is the paradox, laying of public employees will only lead to more unemployment and less tax revenue. This cycle will continue to be repeated.

There are some deep underlying problems that need to be solved and I simply do not believe we have a political system that can or is willing to do anything meaningful. The only thing we can do is to try and support American business. Either way, we are seeing the beginning of a big correction. This correction is going to be bigger than the great depression. We may be able to prevent it, but I have zero confidence in system. The invisible hand will slap us upside the face and things will necesarily crash to rock bottom. We will then rebuild. You know what? Maybe this is good? Maybe we have grown too soft and comfortable. An economy based on demand and consumption just isn't a sustainable way of civilization.....at least if you don't want to feel the pain of economic downturn every couple of decades.

camper 3 years, 7 months ago

The boom after WWII happened in part because the mfg and agricultural base of Europe and parts of Asia was largely destroyed. America picked up this production. WWI vets also benefited from the GI Bill which was a great investment in people and skill. Its benefits were immeasurable.

camper 3 years, 7 months ago

"If everyone else is so poor because their economy was destroyed, how can they buy anything we make?"

One must eat.

camper 3 years, 7 months ago

Read up on the Marshall Plan. Liberty. Remeber that one?

camper 3 years, 7 months ago

I never gave an excuse. But I'll give an explanation. The returning veterans essentialy increased US population upon their return, thus creating an increase in demand. And then there was the human behavior characteristic of economics. There was a post war-feeling of security and euphoria about the terrible conflict ending. This led to confidence and it surely fed itself exponentially.

camper 3 years, 7 months ago

"Demand doesn't drive an economy"

Liberty, you are just making stuff up. Demand is a key economic factor.

camper 3 years, 7 months ago

Well, Europe was operating, tho well below capacity. So there was something from which to pay the baker. And Europe also got immediate assistance from countries like the US and Canada. This also helped to pay the baker.

camper 3 years, 7 months ago

No. Mfg capacity and farming capacity were down in Europe. 10-50 % depending on industry and/or country.

" I guess Iraq is going to make us rich now, right?"

Iraq is not quite the same sample size as say.....Europe. But there are a few getting rich off of Iraq no doubt. Governmental contractors like Haliburton and other corrupt officials (on both sides of the fight) who have no doubt found ways to embezzle these enourmous amounts of funds that are being sent to Iraq.

Jimo 3 years, 7 months ago

"Actually austerity does create jobs."

Roll eyes.

And the sun is a giant ball of farts.

camper 3 years, 7 months ago

I know someone who worked on a construction site that was funded by stimulus. This seems like a job to me. This seems like reality to me.

camper 3 years, 7 months ago

There is more unseen stuff that you forgot to include Liberty. Like other jobs created. The plant that produced the asphalt for the job. Countless other suppliers who's jobs were created by increased orders. The local diner saw workers come in for lunch. etc etc etc

camper 3 years, 7 months ago

Liberty, tell me more about the guy who lost his job because of stimulus. How did this happen?

camper 3 years, 7 months ago

Multiplier effect. This is unseen Liberty, you did not mention it. I'll check out Bastiat and Hazlitt. But geeze, I hope it does not make me an absolutist. Economic policies are like people in a way. There is good and bad in all of them. I don't marry any one economic philosophy. Take it easy L1.

camper 3 years, 7 months ago

The US began to assist Europe immediately after WWII. The Marshal Plan (1948) was an expansion of this assistance .

Brock Masters 3 years, 7 months ago

The Buffet tax rate issue that is being touted as proof that the evil rich are paying no taxes is based on a situation not applicable to all the wealthy. For details read some of the posts above.

Let me pose this question - would you rather have 15% of 1 million dollars or 35% of $50,000? The rich are paying a lot in taxes and in fact, the rich pay much of the taxes collected by the IRS.

Can changes be made to eliminate certain tax deductions? Most likely, but the rich should not be singled out - changes should apply to all taxpayers and while we're at it, lets make everyone including the 47% that pay no federal income tax pay something even if it is a very small amount.

ljwhirled 3 years, 7 months ago

You don't tax food stamps or unemployment benefits.

If a man has 1 coat and another man has 1,000 coats, who's coat do you take when you need to clothe a soldier to defend your town?

It is as simple as that.

Brock Masters 3 years, 7 months ago

Unemployment benefits are indeed taxed.

Your coat analogy is not quite as simple as you might like it to be. Yes, if a town is under attack and one man does have a 1000 coats then it is not unreasonable to "tax" him a coat or two to clothe a solider defending the town.

However, the man with only one coat must also contribute to the town's defense in some manner too. And, when the threat is gone it is unreasonable to ask the man with 998 coats to give a portion of his coats to be distributed to the man with one coat.

ljwhirled 3 years, 7 months ago

It is a perfect analogy.

You don't take necessities from those who have too little. You take from those who have more than enough.

Why should one man freeze to death for want of a coat, when another man has 999 extra coats. It is simply unfair. It is unjust. Did he work for his extra coats? Sure he did. Does the other man work? I bet he does, but circumstances are often beyond our control.

The system artificially provides the rich man with 999 extra coats. He may have inherited them. He may have earned every one of them, but it is our social system that enables them to have them.

In a different social system (say that of the Souix Indians of the early 1800's) the poor man would simply kill the rich man and take them, that being his right as the stronger warrior. Survival of the fittest, after all.

In a society that has generated more wealth than any other in the history of the human species, it is unreasonable that one man should starve while another throws food away.

Taxation is a method of leveling the playing field. Ideally it would provide every child with an equal opportunity at greatness. A quality education, enough to eat, a safe environment in which to live.

Once the child is a man, he can compete with all the other men for resources, but in a society of great wealth, losing shouldn't mean starving, or freezing or dying of lack of health care. This is the 21st century, not the middle ages.

Brock Masters 3 years, 7 months ago

Sounds like you're advocating for socialism when you state taxation is a method of leveling the playing field.

People have an opportunity for "greatness" now, they just don't take advantage of it. Throwing more money at it won't fix it. It is a culture issue that must be addressed. Poverty is passed on from generation to generation by some families while others rise out of poverty in a generation.

It is a culture that unless changed will continue to lead generations into poverty.

And why shouldn't everyone contribute to the degree possible?

camper 3 years, 7 months ago

Fred, wealth is passed on from generation to generation as well. It is almost as difficult to rise out of poverty as it is to lose wealth (old money). This is the statistics of it. But you are right, there still is a chance to rise up out of poverty. That is what makes the US great. But we are losing some of this greatness because I see that things are becoming more stacked against those in poverty, and even those in the middle who seek to rise.

ljwhirled 3 years, 7 months ago

47% of Americans have 1 coat.

The rest have been increasingly going to the richest of the rich, who now have billions of coats.

It is time to make them pay their fair share.

Brock Masters 3 years, 7 months ago

Define fair share. Do you not understand that a small percent of Americans pay most of the tax already? Look at the numbers and tell me what their fair should be.

Tax Year 2008

Percentiles Ranked by AGI

AGI Threshold on Percentiles

Percentage of Federal Personal Income Tax Paid

Top 1% 38.02%

Top 5% 58.72%

Top 10% 69.94%

Top 25% 86.34%

Note: AGI is Adjusted Gross Income Source: Internal Revenue Service

ljwhirled 3 years, 7 months ago

It is not the poors fault that they are too poor to pay taxes.

If you want them to pay taxes, invest in their education and training so that they can make more money.

Complaining that they are not paying taxes because our education and social system has failed them is not a very good argument.

Unless you are saying that the bottom 47% of the tax base are lazy and that is why they are poor? One out of two Americans?

Americans in general have the best work ethic of any people in history. Anyone who says otherwise doesn't know my countrymen in the way that I have come to know them.

Brock Masters 3 years, 7 months ago

We have invested in their education and training - there is a thing called public education paid by taxpayers. Sure though you would have know about it.

Did our education system fail them or did their parents fail them?

We have poor money into our education system, but if it is failing the poor then how do you propose to fix it? I'd like to hear your ideas.

Some Americans have an excellent work ethic but many do not. Ask employers about the quality of the employment pool. I do not hold the American worker in the same high esteem you do. The work ethic of the American worker has deteriorated.

Why didn't you answer my question about defining fair share?

Jimo 3 years, 7 months ago

The fact remains: between 1995 and 2007 (last pre-recession year), the top 400 wealthiest families have seen their incomes go UP 5x [Selected Items for Taxpayers with the Top 400 Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), Adjusted gross income: page 1] and their tax rates go DOWN 44 percent [Table 1 -- Selected Items for Taxpayers with the Top 400 Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), Average Tax Rate, percent: page 10].

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/08intop400.pdf

Has anyone else's income popped up 5x while their taxes were cut 40%?

ljwhirled 3 years, 7 months ago

Nope. But they were supposed to create jobs with all of that money?

Where are the jobs.....

Oh, that's right.....China.

kansasredlegs 3 years, 7 months ago

The "rich"? Proposed married filing jointly with an income of $250,000 is the "nuveau rich" in this country. Taxpayers who actually vote better wake up. BTW: it's not the 'income tax' we should fear, it's all the sneaky & pesky fees on your groceries, gas, sales taxes, excise fees, etc., where all the big tax money is found.

ljwhirled 3 years, 7 months ago

Income taxes make up a 45% of revenue and payroll taxes make up 36%.

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/background/numbers/revenue.cfm

This is where the money is.

When politicians want to tax the poor, they implement flat taxes and sales taxes which fall disproportionately on the lowest income members of our society.

The capital gains tax rate is by far the biggest travesty, ensuring that the riches of the rich pay less than anyone else in the economy.

ljwhirled 3 years, 7 months ago

How about the ABCs of the radical right.

A. Run up deficits by cutting taxes for the rich. B. Cause a financial crisis. C. Insist that spending cuts are the only way to solve the crisis. D. Repeat until America is to China what Britannia is the America.

You will never find a more retched hive of scum and villainy than in the leadership of the modern Republican party.

Carol Bowen 3 years, 7 months ago

You forgot ...

D. Oppose all of Obama's initiatives.

ljwhirled 3 years, 7 months ago

Yeah because if you keep repeating lies again and again and again, they will become the truth.

A. Mr. Obama is a christian. B. Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii (to a woman from Kansas). C. Everything is the fault of the White House, not a completely dysfunctional congress. D. Tax cuts are the solution to every single problem. Government is evil, and we will all be better off without it.

Keep drinking the Kool-Aide. It worked out great for the followers of Jim Jones.

ljwhirled 3 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, that wasn't in any way the fault of an intransigent Tea Party faction that refused to make a single concession on the revenue side.

That is like me telling my wife to balance our household budget by cutting out half of our grocery spending while refusing to work a couple extra hours a week.

In 1999 the rich got their capital gains rate cut from 20% to 15%. That is like a full time worker getting their hours cut from 40/week to 30/week.

Now they are saying we need to cut our grocery budget and that they are unwilling to work a single extra hour.

S&P downgraded because of intransigence and dysfunction, not because of policy.

Also, who the hell believes S&P anyway, they were the same idiots that we stamping the bottom traunch of mortgage bonds AAA in 2005. Where exactly is their credibility? Wall Street certainly doesn't believe in it, they actually BID DOWN the interest rate on the 10 year T note in the days following the downgrade.

weeslicket 3 years, 7 months ago

in response to a previous link, liberty.one called me a "propagandist". which is odd, because i didn't provide any commentary other then* the 3 graph comparison.

one graph is a comparison example (i.e, doesn't actually exist anywhere in the world); one is a scandinavian country; and one is the usa. here's the previous link. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/P... September 24, 2011 at 7:41 a.m

liberty.one then went on to describe himself as a "truth-teller". ok. are these graphs false? (perhaps "inconvenient" is a more appropriate descriptor)

  • yes, liberty.one. that's there especially for you.

weeslicket 3 years, 7 months ago

oh liberty.one, methinks are carrying on a bit much. that graph certainly got your undies in a twist.

when you get done rambling about truth vs. propaganda, perhaps you can go on another ramble about how extreme inequality = common inequality = libertarian equality. that's sure to be a roller coaster of a read.

weeslicket 3 years, 7 months ago

liberty.one says: I guarantee you if you broke those pie charts down by age group they would tell a far different story than the one you are peddling.

you are always welcome to read the rest of the columns.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 7 months ago

Still A Bad Idea – Bush Tax Cuts - The ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class

We said we didn't want it. Most people didn't even vote for it. In survey after survey, public opinion polls rank a large tax cut as one the least desirable uses of the federal budget surplus.

At least one group is happy to swallow the Bush tax cut medicine—"the haves and the haves-more," as Bush referred to his supporters during a fundraiser. After all, it is their taxes he cut.

The editors of the Wall Street Journal never met a pro-rich tax cut they didn't like.

* "Taxes are too high. Last year [1999], federal tax revenue as a percentage of the economy reached an historic peak—20.4% of GDP."
* "For the past couple of years, our tax overpayments have put the federal budget in surplus. And Congress, incited by this surplus, has exceeded its own budget caps and increased its spending beyond the rate of inflation. And they've just done it again, passing a humongous budget."
* "The economy is beginning to wobble. Economic forecasters are sniffing a recession; they are busily lowering growth projections for next year. And for good reason; some of the data are starting to look scary."

On closer inspection, none of these arguments holds up.

http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2001/0301miller.html

Richard Heckler 3 years, 7 months ago

First, let's look at what the Journal editors had to say about government being too large and taxes too high.

Federal tax revenues—as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), or national output—are currently, as the editors suggest, at their highest levels since World War II. But that is not because government got bigger during the 1990s or because today's federal budget is "humongous" in historical terms.

The economic boom of the 1990s—faster economic growth and a skyrocketing stock market—did enlarge the tax base and allow the federal government to collect more tax revenues. Those added tax dollars closed a $300 billion deficit in the federal budget and then generated the current surplus.

But that surplus hasn't translated into bigger government, as the Journal editors claim. During the 1990s, federal spending as a share of GDP actually got smaller, not bigger, slipping below 20%. In 2000, it reached just 18.2%, the lowest mark in 35 years.

Even some conservatives, if not the Journal's editorial writers, noticed the drop. "The good news of the Clinton presidency," says Stephen Moore of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, is that "the federal government is getting smaller, at least relative to the size of the economy."

So much for the government being too big by historical standards. But what about the beef about "over-taxation"? It misses the mark as well.

http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2001/0301miller.html

mr_right_wing 3 years, 7 months ago

When Warren Buffet publically says that there are so many 'loopholes' that he pays less taxes than many of his employees that make far less, it's hard to argue.

Something needs to be done.

I know it's very uncharacteristic of ME to say this, but Obama is propsing to make cuts to some social programs while making the 'wealthy' pay a bit more.

That is really 'class warfare'?

kugrad 3 years, 7 months ago

The takeaway for posters here on LJW is that economists are wrong, the New York Times is wrong, everyone is wrong. Only the great one, Liberty One, is spreading the gospel truth.

kugrad 3 years, 7 months ago

Spoken like a true propagandist. Discredit your opponents by name calling rather than speak to any of their arguments or the associated documentation.

Bow down before the awesomeness that is Liberty One's Google skills! All hail the coffee-house crank!

Is it just me or is there irony in a die-hard libertarian calling someone a nutjob? Will have to ponder that.

kugrad 3 years, 7 months ago

Yes, your lame argument about his lack of knowledge that banks were involved in unethical risky transactions simply places him among 99% of everyone else involved. You didn't predict the financial meltdown either, so you don't really have the credibility yourself to discredit Krugman.

kugrad 3 years, 7 months ago

Yes, your lame argument about his lack of knowledge that banks were involved in unethical risky transactions simply places him among 99% of everyone else involved. You didn't predict the financial meltdown either, so you don't really have the credibility yourself to discredit Krugman.

camper 3 years, 7 months ago

Good article. Interesting to see that taxation is shifting from wealth to work in recent decades. ie. capital gains taxes down, payroll taxes up.

Jean Robart 3 years, 7 months ago

Hey L1--when were you anointed the one to tell everybody that they were wrong--when all they did was question you?

Jean Robart 3 years, 7 months ago

Hey L1--when were you anointed the one to tell everybody that they were wrong--when all they did was question you?

weeslicket 3 years, 7 months ago

how is that liberty.one?

nothing for the ghost of tom joad; nor for the spirit of dean moriarty?

true american libertarians, both.

weeslicket 3 years, 7 months ago

anyhoos. after thinking about liberty.one's recent comments a little bit longer; it seems that the misplaced argument goes as follows: - a newborn infant, suckling at a/an (american) teat, has nearly 0 net worth. - (let's set aside, for the moment, the suckling infant born with a silver spoon in its mouth) - an adult, let's say at the apex of their career (professional, of course) has more net worth than a suckling babe. - and, you'd like to have a graph of that chronological data. to prove a point that is besides the point.

ok, liberty. one. i agree. people gain wealth over time. and so, i refer you back to the original graph.

weeslicket 3 years, 7 months ago

incorrect. and again, you are always welcome to read the columns.

your argument that relative age in an economy explains "extreme" income inequality simply fails. an individual simply doesn't begin at $0 and end up at, say, $1 million simply because they lived long enough. no sir. even libertarians understand that.

weeslicket 3 years, 7 months ago

liberty.one argues again: apples. oranges. sour grapes.

really liberty.one, go ahead and read the data.

Kontum1972 3 years, 7 months ago

well when the aliens come and use their "DEATH RAYS"...we wont have to worry about taxes.....& City Hall hoolighans, locally and in DC.....

"Gork"..... "Klaatu borada nikto...."

Eileen Jones 3 years, 7 months ago

I'd be thrilled if the wealthy paid the same percentage I do in taxes. Those who make a handsome income from capital gains alone or mostly capital gains - and that's probably most of the wealthy, because few people get wealthy from salaries - pay a mere 15%. And thanks to loopholes, many don't even pay that.

If I have to pay 28%, why shouldn't the people who make 100x what I earn from going to work every day pay that percentage?

Sunny Parker 3 years, 7 months ago

You might as well give up L-One....they hate the rich!

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