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We Are Tax Laggards.


There is a rumor running around this blog space and in certain left leaning circles that US revenue is down. Right. The argument goes on that it is down because of the “Bush Tax Cuts”. Is that assertion accurate?

I looked up government data on the topic. It seems that total federal income from income taxes in the last year of the Bush administration was 1.4T. In the first year of the Obama administration, it was 1.05T and last year it was about 1.1T. By the by, back in 2000 it was 1.2T (not inflation adjusted).

There have been no federal income tax cuts since back in Mr. Bush's time. The recent federal revenue decline could, therefore, not be the result of tax cuts. Perhaps it is the result of the downturn in the economy. If that is accurate our left leaning friends want to raise everybody’s taxes to recover revenue lost because we collectively have less income or are unemployed. We might also note that since 2007, we have collectively lost 15% of our net worth.

Now I do not believe that the top 5% or so has shared that experience but the rest of us have. Apparently our left leaning friends do not care! They still want to tax us more. Wow, aren’t they nice.


beatrice 6 years, 10 months ago

Exactly what left-leaning circles do you associate with?

Claiming there have been no federal tax cuts since Bush is incorrect. Obama saw cuts of $400 for individuals and $800 for couples. Sorry you aren't aware of this, but you aren't alone in not knowing: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/19/us/politics/19taxes.html?_r=1&hp

Also, Obama extended the temporary Bush tax cuts (essentially providing a tax cut that wouldn't have happened without his signature).

And before tange beats me to it, if a circle leans left (or right), wouldn't it be an elipse?

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

Hi, Bea you are right. So, are you arguing that a tax cut provided temporarily by Mr. Obama (key word temporarily) should be used to argue that we are paying too little in taxes?? Think of the conspiracy theory that could be assigned to that.

beatrice 6 years, 10 months ago

Yes, the Obama tax cuts contributes to the debt, but only on a small scale compared to the apparently not so temporary Bush cuts that really benefit the wealthy.

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

Data does not substantiate your assertion, Bea. Revenue continued to grow even after the cuts. Only since the downturn has there been a significant decline.

GDP is not a good measure of how tax payers are doing, at least not in the last decade or so.

beatrice 6 years, 10 months ago

While we may have had increased revenue after cuts, we also have had deficits since Bush was in office. Without cuts, there is no evidence that the revenue wouldn't have been higher still. That means we weren't bring in enough, hence the cuts of both Bush and Obama have contributed to the debt.

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago


You know better than that./ Our largest defeicits were run during wars. Like it or not the wars of the Bush and Obama era were approved by Congress to include a majority of Democrats.

We have, perhaps incorrectly, assumed wars to not be a normal event and have borrowed to pay for most of them wiht the notion that the generation fighting it should not be the only ones paying for it.

You want to change that retrospectively?

beatrice 6 years, 10 months ago

No, I don't want to change anything retrospectively since that is an impossibility. However, I was saying we should be paying for the wars through taxes back when Bush was still in his first term. I am still mad about the fact that we went into war and refused to pay for it. I didn't say anything about this just being a failing of the Republicans. I know Congress approved the wars. However, they should also have approved the extra revenue to pay for the wars.

Next time we go to war, Congress should have to tell people how much it is projected to cost and how much their taxes will go up to pay for it. We will see how much support there is for wars then. WWII, people were willing to sacrifice. Now, I don't even think people would give up their cell phones for a day.

llama726 6 years, 10 months ago

Thanks for the sources on all your pieces. "Government data." No links.

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

Good point. I will re-find one of the URLs and provide it. The kind of data I used can be found in many sources – apparently you do little research or just like to confront.

I might note that sometimes the best I can do is something like irs.gov or the like. The tables I used to determine that half of taxpaying households pay little or no income tax are buried within that site and you need to go to several of them to extract the data. That is called research.

Going to a URL on the NYTs that does not even state the source of the data in the article by some stringer or activist group hardly constitutes "research" or definitive information. It ranks right up there with opinion! That includes right wing groups, too.

Katara 6 years, 10 months ago

A helpful tip for you, George, so you don't continue to look foolish.

The articles (Or URLs as you so quaintly call them) contain the source of their data. They do it by hyperlinks (http://tinyurl.com/3g9tjo9). If you happen to notice, some words or phrases are blue (just like the link above) Those are hyperlinks and if you click on them, they will take you to the source of their data.

DIST had a blog primer that explains hyperlinks and how you can include them in your blog (which would be very handy for you so you can link to the actual data you are using for your claims instead of telling people to go look it up).

Here is the blog by DIST: http://tinyurl.com/3rg54ca

Alceste 6 years, 10 months ago

The top income-tax rate was 91 percent in 1960, 70 percent in 1980, 50 percent in 1986, and 39.6 percent in 2000, and is now 35 percent. Income from investments is taxed at a rate of 15 percent. The estate tax has been gutted.

Over time, the United States has expected less and less of its elite, even as society has oriented itself in a way that is most likely to maximize their income.

rwwilly 6 years, 10 months ago

Many of you seem to be missing the point. Go on line or search out ANY US Government OMB historical tax records. You will find that in almost all cases reduction in marginal tax rates leads to increased tax receipts...period. We did not sustain increase tax revenues after the Bush tax cuts because we entered a severe recessionary period. Keep in mind lower marginal tax rates did not cause the recession. If an individuals (or group's) tax liability grows faster than their growth in income there is little incentive to save, re-invest or speculate. An individuals income SHOULD increase faster than their tax liability or the reverse incentive would be disastrous. Who wants to work harder and invest for the opportunity to make marginally less net income year to year?

Stu Clark 6 years, 10 months ago

You are mistaken rww. Here are the OMB revenue as % of GDP data for the years cited by Alceste:

1960, 90% max rate, 17.8% (1969, 90% max rate, 19.7%) 1980, 70% max rate, 19.0% 1986, 50% max rate, 17.5% 2000, 40% max rate, 20.6 2004, 36%max rate, 16.1%

The reason that someone would work more for a lower marginal return is that the return is still positive. You do understand the way the progressive tax schedules work, right?

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

Jesse Crittenden left a comment on We Are Tax Laggards..

“George- federal taxes as a percentage of GDP are the lowest since the 50's”

.Good point sir:

Lets us explore GDP for a moment. I went off in search of revenue as a percent if GDP and started collecting data. I noted that GDP w s in fact negative a couple of years ago. But then I thought about it. The data under discussion is being used to argue that we should pay higher taxes. Implied in that assertion is that GDP is a responsible measure of how the individual citizen is prospering,

We kwon that the average citizen has not been prospering from other data. Some analysts reflect little individual gain against inflation for the last decade or so. We have somewhere around 10% unemployment. GDP measures the growth in all goods and services. I looked for a measure that was more related to growth in personal income. I believe that in the absence of changes in the tax code, individual income taxes paid are a better reflection of how well we are doing in the current economic environment.

Over the decade of 2000, income taxes revenue grew substantially after a one year decline when the “Bush Tax Cut” was enacted. After the 2008 economic “disaster” revenue from income taxes declined significantly. This occurred in the absence of any personal income tax change. I argue that when people have less income they pay less tax and that this data reflects that.

My logic is certainly subject to challenge as would be the choice of asserting that GDP necessarily reflects gain in personal income when we know from other sources that is not the case (except for the top 10% or so),

Robert Schehrer 6 years, 10 months ago

My comments are more directed at your previous post that some 47% of income tax returns filed show no federal income due. Many of the responses were that these taxpayers were either low inome wage earners or those that were retired and living on social security. I do not disagree that those filers would be among the 47%. But, there are others that take advantage of the tax code to avoid pay any federal income tax as well. And these people are not not part of the low income folks. For example you can invest in certain tax exempt securities that are not subject to federal income taxes. Also, the Bush tax cuts allow a taxpayer filing a joint income tax return to have in excess of $86,000. of dividend income and pay ZERO federal iincome tax, if that is your only income. So, you could invest around $3 million in stock that pay around a 3% dividend and pay no federal income tax. Does that seem fair? Put those numbers in your Turbo Tax and see for yourself.

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

Hi CTY Resident

Good points. One of the posters noted that some people paying no federal income tax paid excise tax. That is only levied on expensive luxuries. Our former revenue secretary (now KDP chair) went to the legislature to close a loop hole in our homestead program that allowed people of high net worth and little taxable income to obtain a property tax refund. It is no secret that many high net worth individuals invest in municipal bonds that are exempt from federal income tax. They pay little or nothing even though their income may be in the $100, 000+ range

In short, my turbo-tax can only deal with generalities. If you are in the group I presented in that case you do not pay federal income tax if your income is less than twice the FPL. You are not poor but you pay no tax. I would suggest that most people in the inocme range more o rless fit my assumptions. As you point out they are a lot poorer than those listed above.

The resolution is to close all the tax preferences so that all the tax system does is raise revenue. Everything else we might want to do should be in the annual budget.

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

beatrice (anonymous) replies… While we may have had increased revenue after cuts, we also have had deficits since Bush was in office"

Moderate responds: one could argue (as the right does) that had we not increased spending we would not need new revenue (Medicare Part D, Americorp, limitless war, failed stimulus, bail outs, Obama Care, etc. in an attempt to not be partisian.)

The whole blame game we are in is just stupid. There is no way to recreate paths not taken and arguments about same are arguments as to how many angels fit on the end of a pin. We are where we are. Better we argue about what we feel is important to fund in the future and how much is enough to take from the taxpayers. Bogus argument relating to one year in the history of the republic are stupid - it asume we had it right that year. It also assumes that GDP is a good measure of ability to pay on the part of the taxpayers. Both are bogus. It also ducks the fact that those tax cuts (standard deduction increases) have led to half the population paying little of no federal income tax. Placing most of the burden for funding most of our federal government activity on the backs of about half the people is criminal, IMHO

How much is enough and from who do we take it?? That is an easy question? After that normal budgeting determines who gets what.

camper 6 years, 10 months ago

George, you have good points. But please cut the left leaning stuff, left leaning friends, etc. A lot of people don't like being painted with a broad brush and lumped into categories. When everything is grouped as being either "left or right" things get narrowed down to the lowest common denominator. Though I'm a bleeding heart, I like to keep my mind open to other viewpoints....otherswise I'm guilty of the same.

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

Thanks. I ahav been using that sobriquet or something like it to distinguished the moderately progressive from the more extreme left. I am trying to respond to what I consider the more extreme narratives coming from the daily Talking Points as expressed in organs like the NYT and the Huffington Post. I am pursuing that because in IMHO this space is quite capable of defending itself from the same extremes coming from the far right. I have no desire to offend anyone in particular so should I just drop all references to where the issue I am addressing originates?

rwwilly 6 years, 10 months ago

I am reasonably familiar with the financial wherewithal of about two dozen of my closest friends and associates. Several of these individuals (or families) make less than $100/yr anually but almost are +$100M/yr and some more than $250M. ALL OF THESE people pay hefty 5 figure (or more) federal tax bills every year. Why on earth do the progressives think the well to do pay no taxes? What tax loopholes does the average salaried person enjoy or abuse? If you get a salaried paycheck you pay taxes. Period. There is no hiding income anymore. If you are in the same exclusive income grouping of, lets say, a Warren Buffett or Bill Gates you probably don't get a "paycheck" but live off tax free income provided from previous years earnings. That's a VERY, VERY small percentage of US taxpayers. Finally, EVERYONE needs to pay some Federal Income tax. I don't care if you are a family of four making a gross income of $22,000/year with both spouses working. Everyone should pay some INCOME TAX even if its only $100-150/yr. NO, I don't mean PAYROLL tax as payroll tax is nothing more than a forced savings that will net back to everyone of us far more than we contribute unless we die prior to or immediately after retirement. If you have a salaried/hourly income you should pay some tax on that income. If you don't have "any skin in the game" as far as income taxes are concerned you shouldn't even be allowed to vote. That me be one thing our forefathers initiated that we probably should have left alone. It's true, almost 50% of the reporting households in this country pay no federal INCOME TAX yet they vote for our Congressional representation that sets tax policy/law and for a President that initiates budget policy. Go figure.

Robert Schehrer 6 years, 10 months ago

I agree with rwwilly that the wage earner in the upper middle class is paying more than their fair share of income tax. As stated, when income is from a salary there are not many ways to escape federal income tax. A couple of points regarding those who pay no income tax:. Wages have not keep pace with cost of living for several years. Perhaps a decade or more. We have lost many of our manufactuing jobs and replaced those with lower paying jobs. Since 2008, many retired people have had to deal with declining income because they have not received any increases in social security benefits and at the same time have seen the income that they receive from interest earned on bank certificates of deposit decrease. (Low interest rates are good for the borrower, but not the saver). So, many taxpayers, that in the past may have had to pay income tax, no longer have to because they have less income. At the same time, especially since the Bush tax cuts, the wealth of this country is held by a much smaller per centage of the popluation.

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

Well IMHO the current thrust of a number of people is to repeal all of the Bush tax cuts. That basically raises the tax on the ultra rich by 4% of income above $250K-350K. It will not address the substantial number of citizens paying little or nothing as that was achieved by use of the Standard Deduction and other direct programs (not tax policy). It will hit the upper 50% of the middle quite hard. What gets left out of the discussion is that in exchange for slightly lower rates in the Bush Tax Cuts deductions were curtailed. If we go back to the Pre-Bush tax rates the upper middle will see a 3 to 5% impact on their income (more in their taxes). That will be in addition to whatever cuts there are in middle class entitlements and or deductions. You and your friends need to be wary. There are just not enough rich to pay for all the largess some want – blog coming

Robert Schehrer 6 years, 10 months ago

What really needs to happen is to completely reform the tax code. Eliminate all tax dedcutions, credits and subsidies. Those only exist because of the lobbying efforts of special interests and/or government policy. However, if these credits, deductions, and subisidies, were eliminated, there would be a real outcry from the various groups effected. For example take away the home mortgage interest deduction and see what the real estate industry would say about that. Tax employee health care benefits and employee will equally be upset. Both of these have been in the discussions of the recent committees dealing with reducing the deficit. It will be interesting to see if the "Super Committee" will include these in their report.

notaubermime 6 years, 10 months ago

I am extremely curious to know where you have researched your data. The White House (here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals) offers a series of tables which calculates all of this out already. If you want to see federal income tax receipts since 1934, click on Table 2.1 on that page to download a spreadsheet with the information on it. That spreadsheet shows income tax receipts as $1.004 trillion in 2000. Then it drops below the $1 trillion mark until 2006, when it reaches $1.043 trillion. Tax receipts should increase from year to year (barring decreased economic activity) due to population growth and inflation.

The Bush tax cuts did have a very noted downward effect on the income tax receipts. It is not, therefore, irrational to claim that this decrease has added greatly to our national debt issues or to reason that repealing these cuts is an important step in solving this problem.

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

notaubermime said "The Bush tax cuts did have a very noted downward effect on the income tax receipts. It is not, therefore, irrational to claim that this decrease has added greatly to our national debt issues or to reason that repealing these cuts is an important step in solving this problem."

Moderate said: You are entitled to do that. I would want numbers. I would also observe that your argument depends on the starting point for exactly what is the right amount of tax someone should pay. Was the period before Bush the right time? Was the period after Reagan the right time? I would use averages overtime as to percent of personal income paid in federal income tax (not GDP - see response to JIMO)

I still maintain that income tax revenues were increasing up to 2007 and then declined quickly. That means that revenues recovered from the Bush tax cut and were quite a bit above it when they went south. You have to assume they would have increased faster without the cut (something the WH data does). There is no way to do calculate that - it is pure assumption - ie opinion.

We will agree to disagree. I owe the URL and will eventually get to finding it again. The data however is generally available form many sources.

notaubermime 6 years, 10 months ago

"I would also observe that your argument depends on the starting point for exactly what is the right amount of tax someone should pay."

I don't really care what the "right amount of tax someone should pay" is. I care about reducing the debt. We can worry about the ethics of the tax system once our backs are no longer against the wall. IMO, the best place to start is the last time we weren't adding to the problem. The year 2000 was the most recent year with a surplus, so might as well start there.

"I still maintain that income tax revenues were increasing up to 2007..."

Um, congratulations? The data from the White House does not support that statement. If you are happy with making statements that contradict the official data, well... good for you (I guess).

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

The uRL I found most readily useful was http://www.usgovernmentrevenue.com/. I also checked it with the same data you got to through the WH - I gt theredirectly but I did not find your table so extracting it was more difficult. The data appears to me to be the same. I used all income tax since both individuals and corporations would be impacted by a downturn.

I only used recent data as going way back using income tax revenue would go through more tax changes than I can cope with.

My argument makes no attempt to deal with the static or dynamic models used to argue the advantages of tax changes. I can not argue that Bush's tax cuts did or did not add to the deficit and i don't believe anybody credible can. They occurred.

I can argue that revenue dropped sharply in 2007 so that comparing revenue today with revenue at some distant point in the past may not be a responsible comparison given the economic disruption and the impact on personal income and net worth in 2007.

Might be better to compare 2007 revenue against GDP (although the impacts on personal income have been at least a decade long). May actually be no way to make a legitimate long haul comparison - too may variables not accounted for..

Do you see some difference in your data and mine?

Katara 6 years, 10 months ago

OMG. Are you serious????

Do you even take a look at who wrote the website you got your "research" from?

This dude is the one that does your "research" website and you have the nerve to lambast others because you feel that their citations are from "left of center" or "left leaning" sites?

"Despite 35 years living in Seattle, I instinctively revolted against the suffocating left-coast culture of the Soviet of Washington, and came to revere the four great Germans who helped inspire the Reagan revolution: Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, Leo Strauss, and Eric Voegelin.

I have written for Liberty, FrontPageMag.com, and The American Thinker. My forthcoming book Road to the Middle Class celebrates the self-governing culture of the United States in which enthusiastic Christianity, education, mutual aid, and living under law have taught generations of immigrants to rise from indigence in the countryside to a life of competence and prosperity in the city. " http://www.christopherchantrill.com/

Hey, George, you know that if you find a valid bug report on the site, you can win a $5 Amazon gift certificate.

Katara 6 years, 10 months ago

Wow. The craziness from the guy who put up George's most readily useful website just goes on!

"Conservatives, of course, have our own version of exploitation theory. We believe it is big government run by liberals that is choking the country to death. Therefore conservatives should replace liberals in the councils of government. Only then will the gross exploitation of the entitlement state come to a just and necessary end." http://americanmanifestobook.blogspot.com/

"But just as Jim Crow politics turned the South into a mean and nasty place, a brutal white hegemony, so liberal race politics has turned liberals into monsters.

And it has created a monster too, the widespread black racism that has now metastasized into flash mobs of black youth, organized on Facebook and Twitter, that are disturbingly preying on peaceful whites.

It's easy for conservatives to say "I told you so." It is obvious that, in a modern, commercial, multiracial society no group can be allowed special license to act out its racist fantasies. But liberals have been condoning, and even whipping up, frank racism in the black community for half a century.

Now here we are, in the middle of a nasty great recession, in which young people, as usual, are hardest hit, and young undereducated, undersocialized, underemployed blacks are rioting. This is not like the urban riots of the 1960s in which blacks mostly burned down their own neighborhoods. This is frank race rioting, with black gangs seeking out whites to brutalize."


You think THIS guy is a good one to good to for "research" but you reject anything from NYT?

notaubermime 6 years, 10 months ago

The website you mention is not an official government website. I would not trust it over the information presented by an official government site. All of the income tax revenue numbers you mentioned in your original blog are different from the income tax receipt numbers.

"I used all income tax since both individuals and corporations would be impacted by a downturn." Really? Your blog only talks about individual income tax, but you want to start using corporate income taxes in your numbers? Do you not see how invalid that is? If you are talking about something that only affects individual income tax, why would you include data from corporate income tax?

"I can not argue that Bush's tax cuts did or did not add to the deficit and i don't believe anybody credible can." Bush cut individual income taxes. The next year, individual income tax revenue decreased. Yeah, no reason to think that the two are connected. It is also completely coincidental that the deficit got larger when revenue was decreased. Because, you know, its not like a deficit is defined as a negative difference between revenue and expenditures.

"I can argue that revenue dropped sharply in 2007" Yes, you could argue that. You would be wrong (tax revenue increased from 2006 to 2007), but that does not physically impede you from making that argument.

The rest of your post seems to argue against comparing individual income tax revenue data from "some distant point in the past" to today. Since I never made such an argument, I feel no need to defend it.

Jimo 6 years, 10 months ago

Why would anyone measure taxes without reference to the size of economy being taxed?

If I collect $1M in taxes from Lawrence and collect $1M from Baldwin City, would anyone pretend that the tax burden was identical in Baldwin City and Lawrence?

George, no one believes that you're that clueless. What's really insulting is that you think the readers are.

That the federal tax take is the lowest since Truman is an objective fact. Everyone, except misinformed Fox Propaganda viewers, is aware of this and considers it to be a key problem. Dancing around that fact doesn't change it. Not mentioning that fact reveals you to be dishonest. Why would your motivation in writing this up be to mislead people into thinking that the juxtaposition of tax cuts and low tax revenues are unrelated?

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago


The door post in my room may have a bit on you. What is important is personal income when you wish to measure individual income tax contributions over time. The economy can rise rapidly but if the individuals are not seeing the rise than it is meaningless to them. Raising taxes when individual income is not rising based on some calcualtion of rising GDP is unsupportable.

Jimo 6 years, 10 months ago

Why would you believe it is difficult to tie tax increases with income increases? You're obsessing over average personal income whereas income taxes are (or can be) weighted toward wealth, which isn't "average" in any way.

Your assumption here is that "the economy can rise rapidly" but that the income consequence of this disappears somehow. That is impossible. When combined with your other assumption, that tax increases must be made across the board, you end up with an absurd conclusion.

Again, you're playing at a game with the goal of convincing someone that it's just not possible to raise taxes. Taxes have been substantially higher than they presently are without any of the dire effects you fear. Indeed, have been higher quite recently!

Jimo 6 years, 10 months ago

It's an interesting approach but such an approach bogs down on two points:

a. sales taxes are regressive and make a poor substitute for a progressive tax on wealth b. the sales tax rate would have to be so high that the incentive for tax fraud (easier with a sales tax compared with an income tax) would be overwhelming.

The only practical way you could proceed with such an approach would be a hybrid system that restricted income taxes only to very high incomes (e.g., > $250k) while implementing a smaller form of sales tax, probably like a VAT tax.

Interestingly, there has been some discussion of a type of sales tax substitution - a carbon energy tax in place of payroll taxes. This would both address the externality problem of pollution (you're free to discharge pollution on to everyone else without price or penalty, let alone prohibition) and boost employment (by reducing its gross expense).

Jimo 6 years, 10 months ago

"There have been no federal income tax cuts since back in Mr. Bush's time."

Well true ....... except for the biggest tax cut in American history enacted by President Obama in 2009! $282,000,000,000 over two years. Maybe you missed it because you only know of it under its street-name, "The Stimulus"?

But who's counting? (God knows, you're not!)

And there's again the extension of the Bush tax cuts after the hostage crisis just in December. That's another 2 years without revenues.

Sorry, but the black man is the biggest tax cutter ever. That the average Fox Propaganda viewer is blissfully uninformed of this enormous fact though is hardly a surprise. (After all, when your head is filled with talking points about the New Black Panther Party, who has room for something that real, let alone important!)

beatrice 6 years, 10 months ago

Jimo, how is the stimulus spending considered a tax cut? I'm not following.

Jimo 6 years, 10 months ago

Err...what? Apparently you've fallen for fallacy that the spending portion of the The Stimulus is the whole of The Stimulus. It's not, although many economists would say that tax cuts during a time of financial panic and economic decline are in fact not stimulative at all since most people will save the money rather than spend it. (In the short run, savings detract from economic activity, the lack of which is the hallmark of a recession.) But you try to tell a Republican that tax cuts don't necessarily boost growth!

The Stimulus is comprised of spending and tax cuts. Of the total American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, roughly 37% were tax cuts and credits, 45% various federal spending programs, with the remainder as money transfers to states and localities (to supplement their own spending and tax shortfalls).

The tax portion totaled $282,000,000,000, the largest single piece of which, costing $116,000,000,000, was a payroll tax credit of $400 per working person. Check your tax return - it's there. Bizarrely, most Fox viewers believe Obama raised their taxes rather than cut them, which goes to show just how misinformed they can be considering their own paycheck demonstrates the cut.

beatrice 6 years, 10 months ago

I actually didn't know that the tax cuts, which I was aware of, was considered part of the stimulus package. For some reason I thought they were separate. Thanks for taking the time to explain it.

beatrice 6 years, 10 months ago

George, I'm not disagreeing with you, just finding some flaws in your arguments.

I'm also not trying to take part in a blame game, although it does drive me a little crazy when people act like the debt and an annual deficit are something Obama invented. I recognize that we have a two-pronged problem: we are spending more than we are bringing in, and we need to pay off the debt we already have. This is the problem Obama was handed, and it is the problem that he is continuing to practice. My solution (like it is up to me) would be for a combination of cuts, with serious cuts in our military spending including bringing troops home from many places around the world, wise decisions on how we spend (including simple things like cutting mail service on Saturdays for the time being) and raising revenues (taxes, primarily those on the top for now but soon for everyone). I do think everyone who can should have some skin in the game. I am just not sure that I am convinced of this high number not paying taxes that you and others have repeatedly stated. I'm sceptical of the way such a number is calculated.

I agree with Camper on the broad brush statement. I'm liberal when it comes to social issues, but based on how I live my life, I am extremely conservative when it comes to money. If it were up to me, money managment would be a mandatory part of the public school curiculum.

Hope you and jafs can kiss and make up. I don't always agree with him, but he is always respectful when shown even a bit of respect in return. I don't believe I've ever seen him calling people names just for a cheap dig. Just my two cents worth.

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

Well, IMHO he has called me a liar on several occasions - not that such matters much. What he has done is put me in an untenable situation if he comments on a post or a bloig because I can not respond.

Aiko 6 years, 10 months ago

"I'm liberal when it comes to social issues, but based on how I live my life, I am extremely conservative when it comes to money."

*So you want to take advantage of social programs (other peoples money) while not spending your own. A cheap liberal if you will.?... and I know you will...

beatrice 6 years, 10 months ago

Exactly what social programs do I take advantage of? It appears you have mistaken me for someone else.

Aiko 6 years, 10 months ago

Well enough then. So you want other people taken care of within social programs which is other peoples money, right? So how much of your money are you willing to give for these said "social programs"?

beatrice 6 years, 10 months ago

You are so busy jumping to conclusions your butt must have calluses from so many falls.

Nowhere have I mentioned social programs, although I did say everyone who is capable should have skin in the tax game. That means virtually everyone. You see, social liberal can also mean things like supporting gay marriage -- now how much of your taxes have been spent on that "social program"? Catch up already.

To answer your question (even though I don't take your intent to engage in a conversation seriously) I'm perfectly willing to be taxed for a variety of things -- some of which I favor and some I don't -- at the same rate as others in my middle class income bracket. If you think our debt is driven by social programs, however, then you really haven't been paying attention.

Now I must ask you, since you apparently hate social programs so much: should we end Social Security and Medicare immediately, or just let it fade away? They are social programs, after all. Also, who are you willing to let die for lack of medical care or go homeless because of any number of reasons? Does this include veterans and the elderly? Why do you hate veterans and the elderly? (That last question isn't real. I just wanted to demonstrate how asinine jumping to conclusions can be.)

Aiko 6 years, 10 months ago

Never said I am against social programs.. You are not paying attention Bea.... And there you go again with your little word attacks. Asinine? Really Bea? What happened to your reborn civility?

beatrice 6 years, 10 months ago

Asinine is a perfectly fine word to use when describing the practice of jumping to conclusions, even when I do it. Practicing civility in discussions doesn't make someone perfect. Civility also doesn't mean a need to use soft words to describe concepts, just that we not direct harsh words directly at others. Now, had I said you personally were asinine, then you would absolutely be correct in calling me on it. I didn't and I wouldn't, so your reading of my comment is off base. However, nice try at playing the "gotcha" game.

Yes, I make a concerted effort not to fall into the name-calling game. That doesn't mean I have softened my opinions, just the rhetoric used to detail and defend my opinions. Care to try?

Aiko 6 years, 10 months ago

No, I would rather not. And please, let's stop using the "gotcha" thing. Getting kind of old don'tcha think? Have a good day B.

beatrice 6 years, 10 months ago

So you would rather continue to call others names than to stick to debating a topic. Um... okay. I'm sure you will find plenty who want to give return your sentiments in kind.

However, since I wasn't the one who attempted the "gotcha" thing, I'm glad to see you now finding it to be old hat.

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

notaubermime and Katara

According to the OMB data the personal income tax revenue increased steadily from 2003 through 2007 and then declined after a drop in 2002 for the Bush tax cut. The comparable figures to mine above are for 2001 - 994M.and for 2007- 1.16T. They then dropped with the downturn to 915M in 2009 and $898M in 2010. The combined data for the period is as I posted.

Using just individual income tax data or combined corporate and individual tax data tells the same story. As I wrote, I did originally use the total income tax revenue (including corporate) for the reason stated. Katara, I was originally fooled by the URL I used but then checked it more laboriously with IRS data and the data I used is consistent as I indicated in my earlier rsponse that you ignored.

Katara, I check my references! Do you? Apparently not given the difference between what you argue they say and what they actually say when you read them. See my quote from one of the sources in my previous blog

If JIMO is correct and substantial loss of revenue resulted from the president’s decision to defer withholding that would even further suggest that comparison of 1950 GDP/revenue with current GDP/revenue is flawed as the president’s reduction are only temporary. If Jimo’s number is right the decline documented above is still significantly larger than the president’s deffered revenue.

I am glad that you want to solve the deficit problem. The OMB argument favors revenue enhancements by arguing we are paying less than historical. It does not stand examination as discussed in the blog and supplemented here. That does not mean that revenues should not be part of the mix but it does mean we are not necessarily at a low point in personal taxation as a portion of personal income. The data in my other blog suggest thtat we have also shifted the burden within the over all mix of tax payers (away from the rich).

My opinion that we are suggesting we take more revenue from people who have already seen a decline in their own fortunes is IMHO valid. It is even more despicable if OMB is not considering the temporary cut by Mr. Obama when making that charge. Shame

Katara 6 years, 10 months ago

George, it is obvious you don't check your references or any references at all. If you honestly do what you claim to do, you would have known that the Tax Policy Center is not a "Left leaning" website and would not have pooh-poohed them as a source.

You are a hypocrite. It is perfectly fine for you to use as reference a website written by a right wing nutjob (and if you read anything on his links, you would know that this fellow is one.) but should someone reference the NYT you dismiss it as a "left leaning" website with no sources (They are there - they are called hyperlinks).

You pooh-poohed the Tax Center Policy links that I put up but guess what? In your previous blog, you referenced statistics from the Urban Institute and used them to support one of your arguments about welfare. Did you know that the Tax Policy Center is a joint venture between the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution? http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/aboutus/index.cfm

Here is an easy way for you to check what your sources are about and what they do. On most websites there is an "About Us" or "About the Author" tab or link to click. This tells you who they are, what their credentials are and why they are doing what they do.

You made the claim that you do not use info from politically biased website and were quite indignant that anyone should suggest that you do. Well, you have and from a complete nutcase too. And just as I knew you would, you come back to justify it with but but but I checked it against XYZ. If your standard is to reject anyone else's source that you consider politically biased (particularly on the left) then you must reject yours since it comes from a very biased source.

More of do what George says not what he does.

notaubermime 6 years, 10 months ago

"Using just individual income tax data or combined corporate and individual tax data tells the same story." Vaguely. The fact that the individual income tax receipts tend to swamp out the different trends in corporate income tax receipts during that period is more luck on your part than anything else.

"As I wrote, I did originally use the total income tax revenue (including corporate) for the reason stated." "I used all income tax since both individuals and corporations would be impacted by a downturn." Your blog isn't about downturns. It is about the Bush tax cuts and how they affect the individual income tax revenues. That leaves us with two options. Either you made a mistake and don't want to admit it, or you are intentionally misrepresenting the data you are using. Which is it?

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

notaubermime and Katara

The hard left again - deception, straw man, character assignation and on and on.

My sources are now OMB and the IRS and were the site I posted and the IRS.

OMB and IRS data shows exactly what I said and is consistent with what I posted with or without the corporate data. You can not refute it so you create a deception.

It does seem that with or without the "Obama tax cut" there was a sharp downturn in personal income tax as the recession impacted the taxpayers (less income and unemployment). Using this reduced level of revenues to make the point that we are paying less tax than ay some point in the past is dissembling (lying) and those doing it know that.

What a way to run a country - lie to win a point. Kind of like the "fair tax” from the right. We leave out that it will not produce needed revenue at the rate posted. Both the left and the right trying to justify whapping the middle to upper middle tax payers to protect their interests (poor and rich).

By the by, did the two of you graduate from the USSR school of propaganda - since you seem to specialize in it.

The data in the blog is accurate and from a government source and it shows that the downturn and not the "Bush" tax cuts impacted revenue significantly after 2007.

Katara 6 years, 10 months ago

Again, George, you fail to get it. The Tax Policy Center (which I doubt you bothered to look at) gets its information from the same government statistics. Where do you think they get their info?

You pooh-poohed that source several times as not sufficient but your "website" that contains the same info (but compiled by a guy that believes that black flash mobs are organizing attacks on white people thru Facebook and Twitter) is superior. And you tell us you compared the data (but don't provide the links to the info you used from IRS.gov or the OMB, which you can do if you found the info on the internet). For some strange reason, you refuse to do this.

We have only your personal guarantee that the data in your blog is accurate. You refuse to let us examine what you used to come to your conclusion (other than your nutjobber website). You tell us to do the research but don't even provide directions to get to the data you used other than IRS.gov or OMB.

People who refuse to show their work and refuse to let others examine their sources are people who are either lying about the work they did or are intentionally misrepresenting the data.

There is no deception on either notaubermine or my part. We have been up front with you as to where we have obtained our info and provided you exact links so you could look at it too. You have not.

Strawman? Says the man who moves more goalposts than a football field's groundskeeper. As notaubermine pointed out, your blog is not about any downturn but about how the Bush Tax Cuts impacted individual tax revenues.

Character assassination? Please. You failed to meet your burden of the proof. You have made the assertions and it is upon you to provide the proof for it. You find it acceptable for people to accept your say so while demanding that others provide you proof that meets your biased standards.

And you know what is funnier? You've argued against your original assertions from the blog about the 47% with this blog and your goalpost moving. Even funnier? You didn't show your sources in that blog either (other than tell us how TurboTax is a great source).

By the by, George, do you realize you meet your own definition of the "Hard Left"?

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

Look we can have a field day on sources. I believe that government sources are trustworthy and I use them - maybe you do not. Matter of opinion.

I looked up the reference you provided (it was a non -government source) and even played back a piece. I really did not find it on point as to why 60 to 80 million people do not pay federal income tax and are not numbered among the poor.

If you have another, please provide. By the by, what makes your non-government sources better than my government sources? Do not some of the non-government sources have built in bias as you argued the non-government source (validated with a government source) I first listed did.

You have called me a hypocrite and a liar in the last two days. Any other kind words?

Katara 6 years, 10 months ago

And you have called me worse. Big Whoop. Care to play the victim more? http://tinyurl.com/3tvamwe

George, you claim to have use government sources but you have yet to link to them. If you are getting your info from IRS.gov or the OMB on the internet, you have the ability to do so. Otherwise we only have your word that your figures are accurate and from those sources. Why do you refuse to link to your data?

Yes, Tax Policy Center is a non-government site. Where do you think they get their info (Hint: they reference it in all their studies)? Have you bothered to look at their credentials? Do they link to any biased blogs or other sites that they support? Do they give any indication of showing some form of bias?

I already linked to the article that tells you why only 5% of the 47% are not numbered among the poor. It is in your previous blog and I don't believe you bothered to read it. If you had, you would have realized that the biggest group that does not pay Federal Income Taxes is Seniors and it explains why as well.

This does not fit the demographic of the people you argue are "not poor".

notaubermime 6 years, 10 months ago

Deception? Perhaps you would like to back up your claim that I was deceptive with an example? I'll provide an example of you using deceptive language for comparison: Your post here http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/loyal-opposition/2011/aug/11/we-are-tax-laggards/#c1715186 says "Data does not substantiate your assertion, Bea. Revenue continued to grow even after the cuts. Only since the downturn has there been a significant decline." Yet your post here http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/loyal-opposition/2011/aug/11/we-are-tax-laggards/#c1716462 says "According to the OMB data the personal income tax revenue increased steadily from 2003 through 2007 and then declined after a drop in 2002 for the Bush tax cut." So in the same blog, you have posts claiming both that the Bush tax cuts did not result in revenue decreases and that they did result in revenue decreases. Why the double-speak?

I would also like to know where I have made straw man fallacies and explain what you mean by character "assignation".

When did we start talking about Obama's tax cuts? Who is arguing that the recession did not affect tax revenues? If I were to make an argument about Obama's cuts and the recession, I would say that the recession of course had a very large effect on tax revenue, but that Obama's tax cuts are contributing to decreased revenue as well. I would point out that Bush's cuts resulted in a decrease in revenue from 2000 levels in the years 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005. I would point out that revenue typically (with the exception of recessions) increases from year to year and that the decreased individual income tax revenue that one sees in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2010 are the results of Bush and Obama's tax cuts. I would argue that while those cuts may not solve all of the deficit problems, it would be fiscally irresponsible to not include them as part of the solution. If that makes me a Communist Soviet in your eyes, well fine. Whatever.

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

We are running in circles.

I applogize if you took the deceptive comment as addressing you. It was meant for those trying to justify a general tax increses using the GDP/revenue argument.

I also appologize that my sentense structure was poor. Revenue declined from 2002 to 2003 (Bush tax cut) and then steadily increased until 2007. It declined sharply after 2007 due to in part some combination of the downturn and the Obama "tax cut"

There is no way to segregate out the "Bush Tax" cut. The Republicans argue that the cut stimulatde the economy and led to more recenue. I guess the Democrats are arguing that the cut reduced revenue over the long haul. See my comment on consistency with stimlus efforts

Katara 6 years, 10 months ago

Oh well then George, you owe me an apology (a genuine one unlike the one you offered notaubermime) because I've not tried to justify a general tax increase using the GDP/revenue argument.

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

This is in response to Bea

If stimulus by Mr. Obama to include a temporarty tax cut stimulates the economy and leads to more revenue (OMB budget assumption) then why does a tax cut by Mr. Bush not stimulate the economy and lead to greater tax revenue???

What am I missing??

Maybe we should blame the Bush Tax Cut for the 2007 downturn.

beatrice 6 years, 10 months ago

You probably should have aimed this at Jimo, but I'll respond. The big difference is who the tax cut benefits, whether by Bush or Obama. A tax cut aimed at the highest end doesn't necessarily register. A wealthy person isn't waiting to purchase a dishwasher because they can't yet afford it. Thousands more in the account is just that, thousands more. The middle class and working class, however, will most frequently spend the $400 or $800 they are given.

The problem with tax cuts is that if it is a cause for debt then it isn't substanable. If we are going to fight wars, we have to pay for them. If we want Medicare, Social Security, decent wages for teachers, police, fire department, roads, etc.... then we have to pay for those things. It seems to me some don't want to recognize this fact.

Katara 6 years, 10 months ago

What a flip flop!

Moderate (George Lippencott) says…"My opinion that we are suggesting we take more revenue from people who have already seen a decline in their own fortunes is IMHO valid. It is even more despicable if OMB is not considering the temporary cut by Mr. Obama when making that charge. Shame."

but ....

Moderate (George Lippencott) says…IMHO, we may be a bit too generous in our largesse and as we retrench we may need to cast our revenue net a big wider than the rich, corporations and the middle class. The half that is not paying taxes are not all poor, in fact, most are not. Just where has the guilt trip originated?" http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/loyal-opposition/2011/aug/10/guess-who-is-not-paying-taxes/ So George argues the "Left" is wanting to tax people who have seen a decline in their income and that is wrong to do so.


George argues in his other blog that the people in the 47% who are not paying Federal Income Tax are not really poor and should be required to contribute more to the common pot.

The "Left" (the people who do not agree with George) are bad and shameful for suggesting tax increases but George is standing up for the middle class by insisting those in the 47% who don't pay Federal Income Tax (Tax Policy Center points out that part of the non-Senior portion of that figure is because of decline in personal income) pay more into the common pot because "they aren't really poor".

And to add to that George also tells us that...

Moderate (George Lippencott) says…"It does seem that with or without the "Obama tax cut" there was a sharp downturn in personal income tax as the recession impacted the taxpayers (less income and unemployment). Using this reduced level of revenues to make the point that we are paying less tax than ay some point in the past is dissembling (lying) and those doing it know that."

Nevermind, that it has been posted many times by many people that tax rates are at the lowest they have been in decades. That, combined with a decline in personal income due to the recession (unemployment and all) are why we are paying less tax than any point at the past. George wants to make it sound as if others are claiming that the recession has had no impact on tax revenue. This is dishonest.

He also provides support as to why there is now an increase in the percentage of households not paying Federal Income Taxes but according to George, those people aren't really poor and they should share the pain.

Which is it, George? Has the recession impacted so many people that to increases taxes is practically cruel and unusual punishment to you or are these people not really poor and just need to suck it up and put their "fair" share into the common pot?

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

You broke the code - not that I have not posted it a number of times.

  1. Ask those who are not poor and who are not paying federal income taxes to pay a little (as a matter of equity and not revenue).
  2. Take those with incomes over about $350K back to the pre-Reagan rates (as a matter of equity not revenue). Blog previously provided on the lack of progressivity in the system over $350K.
  3. Do not raise taxes on the middle and upper middle - they are already IMHO taxed enough. (blog coming)

I am as consistent as abbrevated blogs allow. Now I thought this blog was about using bogus GDP/revenue figures to argue for a general tax increase. Are we straying a bit??

Once we agree on a percentage of peope's income that the governments may take then we might consdier taking more from the middle and upper middle (if they are not already paying the maximum.

Your whole argument seems to be abourt increases in taxes without any regard to how much is enough or who actually pays them. Perhap a small levy on those not poor and not paying federal income tax coupled with a healthy levy on the rich might provide enough revenue to mitigate the pain.

Remember, everyone will feel the pain on the cut side of the books. WE need to be careful we do not compoiund it with a hefty tax increase on a portion of the citizens..

Katara 6 years, 10 months ago

In response... 1. Great but the "not poor" of the 47% of households who pay little to no Federal Income Taxes account for only 5% (citation already given in your previous blog).

  1. $350K. Great. So how many people do you think that affects? Just for equity? The main concern is to increase revenue so as to reduce our debt. The way you phrase it, seems more punitive in nature than equitable.

  2. No tax increase on the middle & upper middle (of you which you claim to be a part of - no conflict of interest there). Then not everyone is sharing the pain as you argue everyone should do. You are asking everyone else but yourself to contribute to the common pot. Remember, we are at the lowest tax rates in decades. Rolling back to pre-Reagan era rates for $350k+ income earners but not for everyone else is certainly not fair and equitable.

  3. You claim that my argument is about increases in taxes without regard how much is enough or who actually pays then but you certainly do not define how much is enough nor do you accurately define who actually pays them or who doesn't (Hint: it isn't your 2 notional families you plugged into Turbo Tax).

  4. So your solution is to levy some small amount on the "not poor" (5% of those who do not pay Federal Income Taxes) and to jack up the rates of everyone you consider rich. You provide no proof of this providing enough revenue.

Further, tax increases are not going to get us to a point where our debt is significantly reduced.

"It is unlikely that raising taxes alone will solve the massive debt and budget shortfalls. A study conducted at the Tax Policy Center found that Washington would have to raise taxes by almost 40 percent to reduce – not eliminate, just reduce – the deficit to 3 percent of our GDP, the 2015 goal the Obama administration set in its 2011 budget. That tax boost would mean the lowest income tax rate would jump from 10 to nearly 14 percent, and the top rate from 35 to 48 percent. What if we raised taxes only on families with couples making more than $250,000 a year and on individuals making more than $200,000? The top two income tax rates would have to more than double, with the top rate hitting almost 77 percent, to get the deficit down to 3 percent of GDP. Such dramatic tax increases are politically untenable and still wouldn’t come close to eliminating the deficit. " http://www.savingtoinvest.com/2010/04/2010-and-2011-tax-brackets-new.html

  1. You end with cautioning us to be careful not to compound the pain with a heft tax increase on a portion of the citizens yet you propose to do exactly that (here & in previous blogs). The last time I checked, people who earned $350k+ were still citizens.

  2. You've moved the goalposts again. Your blog was about the Bush Tax Cuts and how they affected individual income tax revenue. Now you are claiming that your blog is about using "bogus GDP/revenue figures to argue for a general tax increase"? And you claim others are straying?

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago


Does your “handle” suggest that you were in special ops, worry that the government/somebody are doing things in the dark of night/other.

My personal opinion is that we do what Mr. Obama has suggested. We raise the tax rates on those with incomes over $250/350K. Changing the current tax rates on the middle upper middle and lower income folks should be deferred until after we come up with a comprehensive plan to address the deficit. Because of the way the cuts have evolved since Reagan the middle/upper middle would be hit harder than the rich if we just revert to the tax code in place before Mr. Bush and Congress changed it.

Do you really want to do that?

Katara 6 years, 10 months ago

By the way, George, I hadn't taken a position on a tax increase on way or another. But thanks for telling me that I have!

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago


I think we have both made our points. We obviously disagree. I ask you now in accordance with the terms of reference of this space to stop commenting on my posts and my blog so we may get on with life.

Katara 6 years, 10 months ago

Sure thing, George. However, it seems to me that only a card carrying member of the "Hard Left" would make a request like that in order to silence those that disagree with them.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 10 months ago

There have been a combination of matters that keep the economy and tax dollar generation sluggish.

17 million full time jobs going abroad with more white collar positions on the way makes it hard. When the economy is tight and jobs scarce plus starting more wars it is dumb economics to reduce taxes no matter what.

I will leave these for YOU to examine then perhaps one can understand why this economy has become the way it is.

Introducing the RINO Plaftorm Written In Stone:

The RINO party has a long history of economic destruction and crime to include Iran-Contra and Watergate. Like or not a consistent and disturbing pattern has developed by their choosing.

STOP electing RINO’s !

After spending so so many decades in Washington D.C on tax dollar payrolls RINO’s are sure they learned all they needed to know about OUR money and founding reckless economies. RINO’s have much experience under their belts that they never quit sharing.

Introducing the RINO Plaftorm Written In Stone:

  1. TABOR is Coming by Grover Norquist and Koch Bros sells out state governments http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0705rebne.html

  2. The Reagan/Bush Savings and Loan Heist(Cost taxpayers $1.4 trillion) http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

  3. Wall Street Bank Fraud on Consumers under Bush/Cheney sent the economy out the window costing taxpayers many many trillions. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2009/0709macewan.html

  4. 3 financial institutions were at risk so why $700 billion in bail out money? http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/10/good_billions_after_bad_one_year

Tax cuts which do nothing to make an economy strong or produce jobs.

  1. Still A Bad Idea – Bush Tax Cuts - The ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2001/0301miller.html

In the end big debt and super duper bailouts were the results which does not seem to bother Republicans, as long as they are in power.

In fact, by the time the second Bush left office, the national debt had grown to $12.1 trillion:

  • Over half of that amount had been created by Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy.

  • Another 30% of the national debt had been created by the tax cuts for the wealthy under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

• Fully 81% of the national debt was created by just these three Republican Presidents. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0111orr.html

Flap Doodle 6 years, 10 months ago

Are you shooting for posting this same twaddle 50 times in the month of August, merrill? You must be getting close to that and today is only the 14th. That's being waaaaaay obsessive.

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