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Mon Apr 15, 2013, 09:58 AM

A Tax System Stacked Against the 99 Percent - By JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ

A Tax System Stacked Against the 99 Percent
By JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ
New York Times’ “Opinionator” blog
Sunday, April 14th, 2013 9:36pm

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...No one enjoys paying taxes, and yet all but the extreme libertarians agree, as Oliver Wendell Holmes said, that taxes are the price we pay for civilized society. But in recent decades, the burden for paying that price has been distributed in increasingly unfair ways.

About 6 in 10 of us believe that the tax system is unfair — and they’re right: put simply, the very rich don’t pay their fair share. The richest 400 individual taxpayers, with an average income of more than $200 million, pay less than 20 percent of their income in taxes — far lower than mere millionaires, who pay about 25 percent of their income in taxes, and about the same as those earning a mere $200,000 to $500,000. And in 2009, 116 of the top 400 earners — almost a third — paid less than 15 percent of their income in taxes…


… What should shock and outrage us is that as the top 1 percent has grown extremely rich, the effective tax rates they pay have markedly decreased. Our tax system is much less progressive than it was for much of the 20th century. The top marginal income tax rate peaked at 94 percent during World War II and remained at 70 percent through the 1960s and 1970s; it is now 39.6 percent. Tax fairness has gotten much worse in the 30 years since the Reagan “revolution” of the 1980s…


the rest:
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/14/a-tax-system-stacked-against-the-99-percent/

8 replies, 1572 views

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Reply A Tax System Stacked Against the 99 Percent - By JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ (Original post)
kpete Apr 2013 OP
Faryn Balyncd Apr 2013 #1
sabrina 1 Apr 2013 #6
Scuba Apr 2013 #2
1-Old-Man Apr 2013 #3
hfojvt Apr 2013 #7
reteachinwi Apr 2013 #4
hfojvt Apr 2013 #8
hfojvt Apr 2013 #5

Response to kpete (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2013, 10:02 AM

1. Stiglitz should be Secretary of the Treasury.

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Response to Faryn Balyncd (Reply #1)

Mon Apr 15, 2013, 12:11 PM

6. Absolutely. There are so many great progressive economists who have been RIGHT about everything

in this country you have to wonder why we got stuck with people like Geithner eg.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2013, 10:09 AM

2. Taxing capital gains at the same rate as payroll would be a good start.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #2)

Mon Apr 15, 2013, 10:53 AM

3. And here is the pitifully silly argument against taxing capital gains at the same rate as earnings

The notion is that if you tax capital gains at the same rate as earnings that it will have the effect of decreasing investment. Of course those same tax rates do not stop people from looking for high-paying jobs. So, if the tax rates on earnings are no detriment to a desire for gainful employment it is difficult to understand how they could hinder investment.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #2)

Mon Apr 15, 2013, 01:11 PM

7. and dividends too

but it was Clinton who signed a tax cut on capital gains, and it was Obama who made a lower tax rate of dividends permanent.

So go figure.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2013, 11:08 AM

4. It happens at the state level as well.

 

The bills are just the latest twists in a 60-year tax-shifting trend: In the 1950s, about half of all property taxes in Wisconsin were paid by homeowners, according to Todd Berry, president of the nonpartisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. The other half were paid by businesses, farms, industry and other nonresidential property owners.

Today, that split is about 70-30.

Read more: http://host.madison.com/news/local/chris_rickert/chris-rickert-bill-to-aid-broadcasters-just-the-latest-in/article_4bbd9f04-9714-11e2-a6b5-0019bb2963f4.html#ixzz2QXqFFtSy

And elsewhere.
http://www.wvpolicy.org/the-property-tax-shift

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Response to reteachinwi (Reply #4)

Mon Apr 15, 2013, 06:11 PM

8. in the 1950s though

there were a lot more small farms, most of which are probably now just classified as homes.

But states rely on regressive taxes like sales and property, and also their income taxes are often very flat.

And, of course, the states got worse in the 1990s as many legislatures and Governors pushed for regressive tax cuts.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2013, 11:51 AM

5. "those earning a mere $200,000 to $500,000"

Is he serious? A MERE $400,000 a year? MERE?

A MERE $280,000 a year? MERE? 50% of taxpayers make less than $35,000 a year. So $200,000 is not "mere".

Those are the people who SHOULD be paying higher taxes - because they have most of the money.

In 2008, the top 0.1% had 10% of all AGI, the top 1% had 20% of it, and the top 10% had 46%. The bottom 50% had only 13%.

So, it looks like this
top 0.1% - 10%
top 0.9% - 10%
top 9% - 26%
next 40% - 41%
bottom 50% - 13%

Collectively, the top 9% has more money that the top 1%

I am NOT saying that the top tax rate shouldn't be much higher, or that the top 1% shouldn't pay more in taxes.

But you cannot give $666 billion in tax cuts to the top 1% (like Obama just did when he made most of the Bush tax cuts permanent) and also give $1.7 trillion to the top 19% and then say "the problem is ALL with the 1%" like that fucking $1.7 trillion is just chump change.

Again, here is a clue for the top 20% - quit looking up at the top 0.1% and feeling poor. Look down at the bottom 80% and realize YOU are rich. That maybe YOU can pay another $1,800 a year in taxes and that money could be used to fund food stamps or unemployment benefits for people much less fortunate than you.

In fact, the top 20% is a very, very big part of the problem. They favored the Reagan tax cuts - because they themselves got decent money from it. THEY also (most of them) favored the Bush tax cuts, AND favored keeping most of them permanent. They wanted to keep getting their slice of the $1.7 trillion. In fact, I am quite sure that most of them would rather impose the chained CPI on the rest of us before they would give up their share of the $1.7 trillion.

Things are more stacked against the bottom 70% than they are against the bottom 99%. Remember the $1.7 trillion.

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