Monday, February 07, 2005

Bush's tax cut: too progressive for progressives

Tax cuts are for the rich. We all know that, right? Every tax cut for the past twenty years has been for the rich at the expense of the poor. The liberal world view is that they care about the poor and are out to protect them from the cold, greedy Republicans. Tax cuts have to be bad because the alternative means that the liberal world view is not only wrong, but damaging to their main constituency.

What if people figure it out?

Bush's Tax Cuts Are Unfair ...To the rich.

By Steven E. Landsburg

Overall, the biggest percentage cuts went to the poorest of the poor (those
with incomes in the $10,000 range) and the next biggest to those making
about $60,000. After that, with some minor dips up and down, the relative
size of your tax cut falls off as your income rises.

That's if you pay taxes only on ordinary income. But what about capital
gains, dividends, and inheritance—the cuts that supposedly skew the gains in
favor of the rich? Well, let's throw all those changes in, and while we're at it
let's include changes in the child-care tax credit, the earned income tax
credit, the alternative minimum tax, and payroll taxes for Social Security and

Here's what we get. The biggest percentage tax cut—about 17.6 percent—went to taxpayers in the second-lowest quintile, that is to taxpayers with below-average incomes. After that, the size of the tax cut falls off as you move from the lower middle to the middle middle (12.6 percent) to the upper middle class (9.9 percent). It rises again slightly for the top quintile, but only to a little over 11 percent.

I don't understand the screaming headline on Drudge today? Good for the Bush
administration to speak the truth about the tax cut. What's the scandal?


The White House budget director Josh Bolten on Monday bragged to reporters how
the nation most-wealthy will see an increase in tax burden under Bush's new
budget."If you look at the president's tax cuts as a totality, the income tax,
those at the upper end of the spectrum are now paying a larger share of the
income tax than they were before," Bolten explained. "An example, the top 5
percent in income in this country -- that's people making above about $140,000
-- without the president's tax cuts that top 5 percent would be paying about
less than 52 percent of our total income tax revenue. "After the president's tax
cut that group is paying more than 54 percent of our total tax revenue. So the
notion that the president's tax cuts have somehow made the code less progressive
is wrong. The president's tax cuts have made the tax code more progressive."


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