Monday, November 29, 2010

Lies, Liars, and Tax Policy

There is an excellent post at, called Taxes: Myths and Realities. There is a lot in it, so I will just hightlight and paraphrase portions. Be sure to read the whole article. Lots of links too.

1. "President Obama's tax cuts benefitted more than 95 percent of Americans."

Teabaggers have mindlessly brayed that President Obama has raised their taxes, and don't Dems realize you can never raise taxes in a weak economy? In reality, 95% of Americans received a refund of nearly $3000, a 10% increase from the previous year. Moreover, the Obama tax cuts concentrated on working poor and the middle class. Families in the bottom quintile received an average cut of $604 from the 2009 tax cut legislation. The same group received an average of $22 from the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2006, despite Bush's repeated insistance that they were a boon for all Americans.

Is it necessary to point out that the bulk of Obama's tax cut went to the middle class, which will mostly spend it, and Bush's cuts, which went overwhelmingly to the rich, who mostly save it?

2. "Conservative tax policies helped the rich the most, and left everyone else poorer."

This has become indisputable. When conservative economic policies are in place, wealth is distributed upwards. See their links and then read The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger, by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett to understand why inequality is so pronounced in the US, and why it is hurting us.

3. "It's the wealthy and corporations, not working Americans, who avoid taxes."

Right again; I really need to develop this single issue, that the wealthy, especially the super-wealthy, have untold numbers of ways to avoid taxes not available to others, because it is one that most Americans don't really understand, and for an entire generation we have listened to Republicans howl about high taxes, welfare queens, and how lazy, indolent, slackers are sucking big bucks from the wealthy, who, of course, earned it all fair and square through pluck and diligence. 
This is some serious bullshit, but it points to the ability of Republicans to creat a politically advantageous framework; that real Americans, the ones from the heartland, are hardworking, sensible, and vote Republican. The poor and disadvantaged are actually lazy and dishonest, don't you see? They are just gaming the system, and wouldn't you know it, they usually vote Democrat. 

Nice framing, except that it is nonsense. As the site says, with data from the Government Accountability Office, "A whopping two-thirds of American corporations and foreign corporations doing business in the United States pay absolutely no federal income taxes—despite taking in $2.5 trillion in sales."

Meanwhile, here is David Stockman, Reagan's budget director. He is effectively acknowledging the unsustainability of Reaganomics, especially the obsession over tax cuts, an idea which has infected Republicans ever since.

No comments:

Post a Comment