Tax Burden – Michael Kruse Responds

Over at this blog, I left a comment which summarized my post. The blog host was kind enough to offer this comment:

PGL, I don’t think anyone is suggesting we ignore the impact of state and local taxes when thinking about economic justice but A) these taxes vary widely from locale to locale and B) they are not under the control of federal tax policy. I don’t see what these taxes have to do with whether or not the federal tax policy is just.

The impression being suggested by the cry of “tax cuts for the wealthy” is that these cuts have made the tax code less progresive and absolved the wealthy of obligations. What these numbers demonstrate is that the tax code is progressive and that the Bush cuts made them more progressive.

Now we can argue all sorts of reasons why these cuts were not appropriate. Maybe they set all the rates to low. Maybe they didn’t go far enough in their progressiveness. Maybe they shouldn’t have been made in the fiscal climate in which they were made. But I don’t see that any of these are warrant for the outrage of “tax cuts for the wealthy.” The wealthy come out of the process shouldering a greater proportion of the total federal tax burden. I would think that Democrats would at least want to celebrate this aspect. State and local taxes are not within the control of federal authorities.

I did leave a follow-up comment but this seems to have disappeared. I’m not sure why as it was simply the following three thoughts:

(1) His rejoinder did not address the point about deferred taxes from those Federal deficits

(2) If one is talking about the “federal tax burden”, one should say so and not say “all taxes”.

(3) Given the fact that the Federal government mandates certain activities from the state and local governments, suggesting that the FEDs don’t impact state and local taxes is a bit incomplete.

This is not verbatim as I don’t have access to the original post over at Michael’s place. And I’ll admit that I said his rejoinder was not that convincing. Now I don’t wish to accuse Michael of deleting a contrary view – it is odd that the comment used to be there and now is not.