Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Making the United States More Like Greece

Simon Johnson at Baseline Scenario writes in Making the United States More Like Greece:

One of the big problems in Greece over the past decade or so is that the government was not honest with its data. Various people assisted in the matter – including Goldman Sachs with respect to some debt issues – but ultimately this was a political decision at the highest level. The people running the country decided to conceal the true nature of their budget and their debt. This deception ended up costing the country dearly – completely undermining its credibility under pressure and making it much harder to turn the fiscal and economic situation around.

In the modern United States, cutting taxes leads to lower revenue and larger budget deficits. There are no two ways about this – as Ronald Reagan discovered in the early 1980s. (In our new book, White House Burning, we go through the evidence on this point in detail, including important work by Greg Mankiw, former top economic adviser to George W. Bush and now working with Mitt Romney, which confirms that cutting taxes in the U.S. will lower revenue.)
But many Republicans feel that this is not true – in my conversations with them, for example in congressional hearings over the past year, the conviction seems to be that the research on this topic is bad science, even when done by Republicans. But convincing the CBO to abandon its proven and sensible approach to budget scoring has been difficult.

The solution currently under consideration is simple in its elegance – and downright frightening in its implications.

Simon points us to via this post that was ungated at his request at Tax Notes.

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Even critics of the safety net…

This article in the New York Times (Even critics of the Safety Net) presents a gentle desription of some voter feelings about the political and economic ‘issues’ of this economy and election. I have a lot of different feelings about the description of people interviewed. The current media surrounding the election campaigning does not allow for voter foibles and confusions, and appears to demand stark responses so far. I do wish the author could have pressed for more thinking on the part of the people interviewed to illustrate how such ambivalence plays out in real life.

Update:  I will have a post taking a look at the author’s writing, which is actually a piece of propaganda if you follow the statements of ‘fact’ and lack of easily added context for the figures and stated problems.  Hence the author chose (or the editors, perhaps) instead  to promote the confusions without educating readers or those interviewed.

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Romney’s Tax Proposal by pgl

Romney’s Tax Proposal

The Tax Policy Center provides its review of which taxpayers will pay more and which ones will pay less under the tax proposal introduced by Mitt Romney. A really short summary goes as follows:

(a) The well to do will pay less in taxes;
(b) The working poor will pay more in taxes; and
(c) Overall tax revenue will be significantly reduced.

But wasn’t that also the case for the Herman Cain tax proposal as well as any other tax proposal from the Republican candidates for President? And the Republicans claim they are for fiscal responsibility!

Posted by ProGrowthLiberal at Econospeak.

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Corporatism and taxes

by Linda Beale

Corporatism and taxes

Corporatism is the term used to describe a economic and governmental approach that favors large entities over people, including adopting rules and regulations to suit the regulated entities, tilting legislation to protect corporate entities that might otherwise be considered to be causing harm to the public good, and allowing access to public fora and public representatives in ways that ensures that corporate voices are heard, whether or not those opposing them are heard.

Corporatism in tax policy has resulted in highly favorable readings of the reorganization provisions–for example, current IRS regulatory approaches proclaim that even losses can be recognized in corporate reorgs, going against well-settled understandings of the operation of the corporate reorganization provisions, and the Code and regulations permit a vastly expanded range of flexible transactions, especially of spins under section 355 and of A reorgs (a mere 40% equity consideration now ‘counts’ as sufficient to provide tax-free reorganization status).

Corporatism has been around in one form or another for a long time, but it was immensely aided by the activism of organizations like the US Chamber of Commerce and the National association of Manufacturers and the ideological ‘think-tanks’ supported by them and by corporate and wealthy backers.

For a revealing slice of the history of corporatism, every reader should be familiar with Lewis Powell’s 1971 memo on the means by which business could take over government. It is given a thorough airing (and there’s a link to the memo itself) by William Black on the blog New Economic Perspectives, My Class Right or Wrong: the Power memorandum’s 40th Anniversary (April 25, 2011).

ataxingmatter

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Competing GOP Tax proposals Graphic

An organization that is called: American Institute of Certified Tax Coaches has put up a summary graphic of the various tax proposals ofthe GOP candidates. It not only notes the major points of their plans, but what their plans would cost.

It is presented in a sort of game board race layout. The Institute introduces it thusly:

The US tax code is so complexeven those who write the law don’t understand all of it. Infact, few members of Congress prepare their annual tax returnsaccording to a survey by the congressional newspaper, “The Hill.” Politicians cite the complexity of the tax code as the primary reasonleading them to turn to professionals for help. Even theCommissioner of the IRS can’t prepare his own tax returns!

Ask most taxpayers and theyagree our current system is too complicated and unfair. So there’sno easier way for a politician to gain approval than to say thecurrent system should be eliminated.

It’s no surprise theRepublican presidential candidates have come out with somewide-ranging tax proposals. Even deciphering the content ofthese plans can be a challenge, so we took it upon ourselves toidentify how the GOP hopefuls’ differ and just what is in them.

Click on the AICTC link to see their take. The image is too big to post here. (Thanks C & L)

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Ian Ayres on the Brandeis Tax

by Linda Beale

  Ian Ayres on the Brandeis Tax

I’ve often argued here that vast inequality is harmful to democracy, and that the kind of unequal society that we have today, reflected the Gilded Age of yore, is especially worrisome.  Much of what is happening in this country that threatens freedom and economic suffering for many is related to the vastly unequal incomes and wealth of the top 1% compared to the rest of us.  Oligarchy finds it easy to flourish in such a society, and democracy struggles to keep its head above water.  The corporatist agenda that favors big business (and its owners) facilitates the capture of the state for the benefit of the rich–lobbyists swarm legislators, and campaign funding by corporations floods the airwaves with repetitive (and hence believed even if untrue) messages favoring corporatist allies.

The main defenses that a society has against such developments are twofold:  1) a strong sense of community that incentivizes the uberrich to give a good bit of their wealth away to help the community and 2) a strong tax system–especially estate taxes and other taxes that fall primarily or exclusively on the uberrich as a way of skimming off the excess rents they have acquired because of their status and unrelated to genuine merit or hard work.  {As Elizabeth Warren said, nobody can claim to have earned all they earn without the help of the state, and the wealthy in particular depend on the state to protect their property and even their status.)  Hence I talk here of democratic egalitarianism and my view that equilibrium is not a realistic state so redistribution is always occuring.  Most redistribution will be ‘upwards’ for the benefit of those at the top, unless democratic institutions push for a rebalancing redistribution ‘downwards’ to assist those in the middle and lower income groups.

Ian Ayres has a series of postings on a proposed “Brandeis” tax intended to impose limitations on the inequality gap.   
Don’t tax the rich, tax inequality itself, New York Times, Op-Ed, Dec. 18, 2011.

In 1980, the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans made 9.1 percent of our nation’s pre-tax income; by 2006 that share had risen to 18.8 percent — slightly higher than when Brandeis joined the Supreme Court in 1916.

Congress might have countered this increased concentration but, instead, tax changes have exacerbated the trend: in after-tax dollars, our wealthiest 1 percent over this same period went from receiving 7.7 percent to 16.3 percent of our nation’s income.
What we call the Brandeis Ratio — the ratio of the average income of the nation’s richest 1 percent to the median household income — has skyrocketed since Ronald Reagan took office. In 1980 the average 1-percenter made 12.5 times the median income, but in 2006 (the latest year for which data is available) the average income of our richest 1 percent was a whopping 36 times greater than that of the median household.
Brandeis understood that at some point the concentration of economic power could undermine the democratic requisite of dispersed political power. This concern looms large in today’s America, where billionaires are allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money on their own campaigns or expressly advocating the election of others.

There will be rich always: finding a new way to think about income inequality, Freakonomics, Dec. 20, 2011.

The vast shift in national income toward our richest 1 percent is especially vivid if their income is expressed in terms of the median household income. Indeed, an important goal of our op-ed was to suggest a new unit of measure, “medians” to help us think about what it means to be rich. In 1980, if you earned 3.8 medians, you were in the top 1 percent, but by 2006 even the poorest in the 1 percent club earned 6.9 medians.
What we call the “Brandeis Ratio,” the average income of the richest 1 percent (which includes the billions earned by the lucky few) has grown even more disproportionate. As shown in the chart below, in 1980, one-percenters on average made 12.5 medians, but in 2006 (the latest year in which data is available) the average income of our richest 1 percent was a whopping 36 medians.

An inequality tax trigger: the Brandeis Ratio explained, Freakonomics, Dec. 21, 2011.

A central idea behind our Brandeis tax proposal was to have a tax that is triggered by increases in inequality. Our Brandeis tax does not target excessive income per se; it only caps inequality. Billionaires could double their current income without the tax kicking in — as long as the median income also doubles. The sky is the limit for the rich as long as the “rising tide lifts all boats.” Indeed, the tax gives job creators an extra reason to make sure that corporate wealth does in fact trickle down.
***
As emphasized by Lawrence Lessig in Republic, Lost (presaged somewhat in Ayres’ book with Bruce Ackerman, Voting With Dollars), the bulk of campaign finance dollars comes disproportionately from not just the 1% club, but the richest one-half of one-percenters.  Focusing on the average income of one-percenters is a good proxy for the rising political power of plutocrats.

Of lags and caps: possible implementations of a Brandeis Tax, Freakonomics, Dec. 26, 2011 (discussing potential ways to deal with bunching of income and the question of work disincentives–see my earlier post on Greg Mankiw).
originally published at  http://ataxingmatter.blogs.com/tax/2011/12/ian-ayres-on-the-brandeis-tax.html

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Guest post: Who Are the 1%?

Update: Mike Konczal also takes a  look at this question in Who are the one percent and what do they do for a living.


Update 2: Another source for historical trends on inequality is at The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities

by Taryn Hart 
    
Taryn Hart publishes at her blog Plutocracy files and has interviewed John Quiggen, Bill Black, Larry Mishal to name three economists

Guest post:    Who Are the 1%?

A week or so back, Dan from Angry Bear passed along this Boston Globe article. On its face, the article bemoans rising inequality through a comparison of two Massachusetts neighborhoods: Sherborn, the State’s wealthiest neighborhood and Springfield, a former working-class neighborhood that now resembles a globalized ghost town. Although the article quotes a Sherborn resident disavowing his status as a one percenter, the piece clearly implies that the upscale Sherbornites are one percenters.
However, as Dan correctly pointed out, Sherbonites are not the one percent: The median income of Sherborn is $190,000 per year; not peanuts, I know, but the lowest paid one percenters make $500,000 per year (even using a significantly narrower definition of income, one percenters make in excess of $330,000 per year). Moreover, the biggest gains over the past thirtyodd years have gone to the top .1%.
When Occupy Wall Street identifies its opposition as the 1%, it’s not talking about people who live in posh neighborhoods with great schools; it’s talking about people who can hire teams of lobbyists who live in posh neighborhoods with great schools. As Gordon Gekko put it:
I’m not talking a $400,000 a year working Wall Street stiff flying first class and being comfortable, I’m talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player, or nothing.
And keep in mind, that’s 1980s dollars. Given the scandalous increases that have gone to the top 1% since then, the amount required to be a player these days is several times that amount. And the problem with that kind of concentration of wealth is that it inevitably undermines the incentive for collective action required for social well being.
As Matt Taibbi has pointed out in response to the one-percenter meme that those who are so poor they don’t pay federal income tax have “no skin in the game,” concentration of wealth creates perverse incentives that ensure most of the mega rich are terrible citizens:
The very rich on today’s Wall Street are now so rich that they buy their own social infrastructure. They hire private security, they live in gated mansions on islands and other tax havens, and most notably, they buy their own justice and their own government.
            *            *            *
Most of us 99-percenters couldn’t even let our dogs leave a dump on the sidewalk without feeling ashamed before our neighbors….
But our Too-Big-To-Fail banks unhesitatingly take billions in bailout money and then turn right around and finance the export of jobs to new locations in China and India. They defraud the pension funds of state workers into buying billions of their crap mortgage assets. They take zero-interest loans from the state and then lend that same money back to us at interest. Or, like Chase, they bribe the politicians serving countries and states and cities and even school boards to take on crippling debt deals.
Nobody with real skin in the game, who had any kind of stake in our collective future, would do any of those things.
Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz made the same point in May of 2011 (well before Occupy Wall Street), in a must-read Vanity Fair piece entitled, Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%”:
[A] modern economy requires “collective action”—it needs government to invest in infrastructure, education, and technology…. America has long suffered from an under-investment in infrastructure (look at the condition of our highways and bridges, our railroads and airports), in basic research, and in education at all levels. Further cutbacks in these areas lie ahead.
None of this should come as a surprise—it is simply what happens when a society’s wealth distribution becomes lopsided. The more divided a society becomes in terms of wealth, the more reluctant the wealthy become to spend money on common needs. The rich don’t need to rely on government for parks or education or medical care or personal security—they can buy all these things for themselves. In the process, they become more distant from ordinary people, losing whatever empathy they may once have had.
Be clear: This is who Occupy Wall Street is talking about – the small class of people who have amassed so much wealth that they have no need for the social infrastructure that is the life blood of the 99% (even the 99 percenters who live in swank neighborhoods like Sherborn, Massachusets).
And suggesting that Sherborn is the 1% and Springfield is the 99% – when they’re both the 99% – seems designed to falsely frame the problem of inequality as the poor (Springfield) versus the well-to-do (Sherborn). Of course, in the realm of those set on denying or deflecting inequality concerns, improperly defining the opponents of the 99% is fairly mild. (See discussions of income-inequality deniers here and here). However, this particular sleight of hand has made more than one appearance of late and therefore, is worth reviewing a bit more closely.
David Brooks recently distinguished what he termed “Blue Inequality” of the mega rich from “Red Inequality,” which Brooks claims results from an education gap and is “much more important.” According to Brooks: “The zooming wealth of the top 1 percent is a problem, but it’s not nearly as big a problem as the tens of millions of Americans who have dropped out of high school or college….”
As Dean Baker immediately pointed out, Brooks’s Blue Inequality/Red Inequality thesis is absolutely unsupported by the data:

David Brooks Complains That He Can’t Get Access to Inequality Data

Actually he didn’t complain about his lack of access to data, but he probably should have given the column he wrote today.
Let me just pause for a moment to say: Snap! Good on Dean Baker for pointing out that Brooks’s argument flat-out ignores well-known inequality data. Alright, back to Baker:
Brooks purports to lecture the Occupy Wall Street crew about how they are focused on the wrong inequality.
He tells them that that there are two inequalities in the U.S. On the one hand we have the CEOs, the Goldman Sachs crew, the lobbyists and the other members of the one percent who have done incredibly well in the last three decades. Brooks calls this the “blue inequality”….
Brooks tells us that this is less of a big deal than the red inequality, which he defines as the gap between college educated workers and those without a college degree….
This is where Brooks lack of access to data is so important….
[S]ince the 90s, the wages of workers with high school degrees have not departed much from the wages of workers with just college degrees, the vast majority of the economys gains have gone to the top 1 percent.
Despite the blatant lack of empirical support and Dean Baker’s decisive take down, Megan McArdle dutifully picked up on the trope. And, of course, the Boston Globe piece highlights the education gap between the residents of Springfield and Sherborn and implies the gap between two communities is the result of the “one percent phenomenon.” However, these arguments – and, more often, implications – are clearly undercut by the data.
The mega rich Occupy Wall Street opposes do not live in “neighborhoods,” not even well-to-do neighborhoods like Sherborn. The top 1% – and probably more accurately the top .1% – live in gated mansions with private security. As Joseph Stiglitz and Matt Taibbi have pointed out, the mega rich have reached a level of wealth that completely insulates them from society. So, don’t be fooled: Occupy Wall Street is not opposed to the affluent. Residents of Sherborn and similar affluent communities – like all citizens who still have a stake in our country’s well being – are part of the 99%.

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Gingrich tax ‘plan’ starves government, feeds the wealthy, rests on flawed assumptions

by Linda Beale

Gingrich tax ‘plan’ starves government, feeds the wealthy, rests on flawed assumptions

In case you hadn’t heard about it, Gingrich would offer taxpayers a choice to pay tax under current policy or at a 15% rate, with zero taxation of capital gains, dividends and interest that accrues mostly to the rich and uberrich, while corporate tax rate would be reduced to a mere 12.5%.  For the rich, the 15% rate on their ordinary income and the 0% rate on their predominant form of income (capital gains and income from capital) would be a windfall.  For corporations, it would practically amount to the elimination of the corporate tax.  It should be no surprise that tax revenues would decline substantially: the Tax Policy Center study of Gingrich’s planestimates by $1.3 trillion over a decade.  While the lower two quintiles would get an average tax cut of about $440, the top 1% (starting at incomes of about $629,000) would get an average $344,000 cut and the top 0.1% (starting at incomes of about 2.868 million) an average $1.9 million cut.  Id.

See also Study: Gingrich Plan would provide big breaks for rich, blow huge hole in budget deficit, Washington Post (December 12, 2011); Rubin et al, Gingrich Plan to Add $1.3 trillion to Deficit, Study Finds, Bloomberg (Dec. 12, 2011).

Gingrich’s rationale is one that the right-wing American Enterprise Institute strongly supports–the tired old reaganomics rationale that eliminating taxes on capital will create new investments.  See, e.g., Why Romney is Wrong and Gingrich is Right on Capital Gains Taxes, AEI ( Dec. 12, 2011).  This theory is hogwash–lowering the return on investment by the piddling tax (whether 15% or 20%) will not keep folks from investing.  Folks will still make profits and they will still invest those profits, even if they have to pay taxes.  Paying no tax on dividends and capital gains won’t make the rich suddenly invest in entreprenuerial activities, my friends.  (Simply trading corporate stocks on the secondary market is not, by the way, entrepreneurial.)

The Gingrich website also objects that this plan is really good for everybody.

An optional flat tax reform will be simple: Tax returns can be done on one sheet of paper,” the website says. “Subtract from income a standard deduction and deductions for charity and home ownership, multiply the result by the fixed, single rate of taxation of at most 15 percent, and the process is over.”  Wash. Post, above (quoting the website).

Folks, the hardest part of the income tax is figuring out whether you have income and how it is characterized (capital or ordinary).  Neither of those two difficulties disappears under Gingrich’s system.  Furthermore, ordinary fold really don’t have a very difficult time with their tax returns–they have wage income (withheld against), report the standard deduction and personal exemptions, and get a refund of part of the amount withheld.  The appeal to simplicity is a cover for the real purpose–to provide an unprecedented tax break to the wealthiest Americans at a time when the right is targeting Medicare and Social Security for cuts.  This is just one more example of class warfare from the right wing.

originally published at ataxingmatter

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Peter Diamond, Emmanuel Saez, Paul Krugman and Me!! Looking at Optimal Tax Rates

by Mike Kimel

Peter Diamond, Emmanuel Saez, Paul Krugman and Me!! Looking at Optimal Tax Rates

Via Paul Krugman, I learned of this paper by Peter Diamond and Emmanuel Saez. Diamond, of course, is a Nobel Laureate. I will be shocked if Saez isn’t one too in ten or fifteen years.

Long story made very short, Diamond and Saez jump through a lot of hoops and find that the optimal top marginal income tax rate (all in, that is, including federal, state and local), which they define as maximizing social welfare, is about 73%.

Now, long time readers may recall I’ve been doing this sort of analysis for years, though of course I’ve been looking at tax rates that maximize real GDP growth. Simply put, you cannot maximize long run social welfare if you aren’t maximizing economic growth.

My approach is much simpler than that followed by Diamond and Saez. I like to think its much more intuitive and easier to explain. I note that US data shows a simple quadratic relationship between real GDP growth from one year to the next and tax rates:

growth in real GDP, t to t+1 = f(top marginal tax rate, top marginal tax rate squared, other variables)

One recent post on the topic is here. (Unlike the Laffer curve, the coefficients come out statistically significant and with the right signs.)

I mention all this to note that no matter what I throw into the equation, I find that the top marginal tax rate that maximizes economic growth is somewhere around 65%. Of course, I’ve focused only on federal tax rates… add in state and local it comes pretty close to what Diamond and Saez have found.

As I noted above, my approach is somewhat simpler, and easier to follow than that of Diamond and Saez. Part of the reason is that they come at it from a point of view of elasticities. But with all due respect to my betters (Diamond and Saez, and Krugman as well considering the explanation in his post) I think this is the wrong way to consider the problem. It requires all sorts of assumptions and generalizations about people’s behavior, some of which are both false and create resistance from folks on the right.

For example, there is a notion that raising tax rates will reduce people’s willingness to work… which is only true above certain thresholds. (That threshold, of course, varies per individual.) As anyone who has ever had a business will tell you (when they’re not busy demanding tax reductions), you don’t pay taxes on income from the business if you turn around and reinvest that income. (An accountant would talk to you about decreasing your tax liability by increasing expenses which amounts to the same thing.) You only pay taxes on that income you take that income out, presumably for consumption purposes.

So to simplify, consider an example…. is a successful businessperson more likely to take money out of the business if his/her tax rate is 70% or if its 25%? In general, a person is more likely to take that money at 25%, as there’s less of a penalty. At 70% tax rates, there is more of an incentive to reinvest in the business, creating more growth in the business in subsequent years, and more economic growth thereafter. 70% tax rates are more likely to generate faster economic growth than 25% tax rates precisely because people are self-interested and the higher tax rates induce people to continue investing in things they do well.

(Of course, tax rates can get too high. At 95%, people will reinvest almost every dime… even if they have exhausted every good investment opportunity they have. Thus, to avoid taxes they’ll be making lousy investments which in turn slow economic growth.)

Still, its gratifying to see others who are more, er, credentialed doing similar work. If I might end on a digression, though, I can think of a number of examples of work being done on blogs by people who are essentially hobbyists which is somewhat ahead of the academic literature. However, to a large extent, if something wasn’t published in the academic literature, for all practical purposes it didn’t happen. Which is a shame, because most of us who aren’t academics don’t have time or the resources required for such publication (such as access to econlit). That inevitably slows economic development three ways:

1. the lack of recognition discourages hobbyists who have the potential and otherwise would have the willingness to improve on the existing literature
2. should such hobbyists persist and do the research, that research will not be widely disseminated even if it is an improvement over the academic literature
3. it maintains an insular attitude among those who are not hobbyists. As smart as Diamond, Saez, and Krugman all are, none of them are thinking the way someone running a business thinks of they’d have realized immediately how people who are running a business react to higher and lower tax rates. I have read a lot of academic papers on taxation and have yet to stumble on one that gets it right.

Thanks to Steve Roth of Asymptosis and Jazzbumpa of Retirement Blues for notifying me of Krugman’s post.

And since I always offer… if anyone wants any spreadsheets showing the quadratic relationship between tax rates and economic growth or anything else I’ve done, drop me a line. I’m at my first name (mike) then a period then my last name (kimel – with one m only!!!) at gmail.com.

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Cut now has a plan, revenue increases have wishful thinking…Supercommittee

by Linda Beale

GOP two-step approach problematic

Discussion continued apace yesterday about the “supercommittee” and the idea of agreeing to agree someday on some revenue increases while going ahead with cuts.

This approach is a terrible one since it gives the obstructionist GOP members just another setting in which to refuse to go ahead with tax increases and to “negotiate” yet again over just what counts as a revenue increase.  Like the gimmicks that became so overused in the 2001, 2003, 2004 Bush tax bills, this “deal” is just another gimmick for the radical right to get its way–cuts to Social Security and Medicare, cuts to all programs intended to help the vulnerable, no cuts to military programs, and no tax increases–especially not for the rich.

Republicans on the right are already arguing for applying “dynamic analysis” which tends, in their versions, to be rosy scenarios of increased growth due to tax cuts:  this is a cop-out way to claim revenue increases that won’t materialize while making actual cuts to much needed social programs.  They are also arguing for dramatic changes in the way the earned benefits programs work–such as means-testing for recipients–as first steps in working towards outright elimination of those programs.  You get comments like those of Jim Jordan (Republican of Ohio) who wrote in an op-ed in USA Today that taxes “should not punish success to satisfy some false definition of balance.”  See Rubin,  Debt Accord May be Two-Step Process, Hensarling Says, Bloomberg (Nov. 14, 2011).

Meanwhile, Jim Jordan (Republican of Ohio) said in a USA Today piece that taxes should not be raised because they “should not punish success to satisfy some false definition of balance.”  Id.

This is a wrongheaded view of taxes.  The radical right uses language about taxes “punishing success” because they see defending the rich from  taxation as their mission.  The rich are defined as “successful”–even if the wealth is merely built on top of inherited wealth and position, and even if the rich did nothing at all to earn the wealth.  Taxes do not punish success.  Taxes are the way that we cooperate together to fund important government programs that serve all of us.  Even when they act as transfer programs that transfer resources to the poor and elderly, they are serving all of us by making our society work better.

originally published at ataxingmatter

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