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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 22,329

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Let's look at history: where did income tax brackets fall?

Most discussion of tax history mentions the top marginal rates of the past (91% in the 50s, 70% in the 60s and 70s, 50% through most of Reagan's presidency, etc.)

I like to highlight a different aspect: leaving aside what the rates were, where did they kick in? We live in times where people argue "are couples who make $250K 'rich'?" "Should we raise taxes on people who make over $250K? Over $500K?"

Where did these sorts of things lie in the past?

Using the inflation adjusted historical tax bracket tables from The Tax Foundation for married couples filing jointly, let's break it down a little and find out the equivalents in 2012 dollars:

Total number of brackets: 24
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 14
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 9
Top bracket affects income over: $2,551,044

Total number of brackets: 24
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 16
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 11
Top bracket affects income over: $3,426,776

Total number of brackets: 25
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 13
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 8
Top bracket affects income over: $1,457,740

Total number of brackets: 25
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 9
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 5
Top bracket affects income over: $853,509

Total number of brackets: 15
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 1
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 0
Top bracket affects income over: $360,650

Total number of brackets: 5
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 1
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 0
Top bracket affects income over: $386,423

Total number of brackets: 6
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 1
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 0
Top bracket affects income over: $383,773

Total number of brackets: 7
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 2
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 0
Top bracket affects income over: $440,876

Special Bonus Gipper edition numbers:

Total number of brackets: 2 (No, not a typo. Two brackets)
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 0
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 0
Top bracket affects income over: $57,738
(There was a reason why Poppy Bush had to go back on his 'Read My Lips' line -- this rate was so low it was unsustainable (naturally, they crucified him for it). And every RWNJ wants to go back to this, or lower...)

ALL income tax progressivity for very high incomes was eliminated under Reagan, and has stayed that way ever since.

So what is Bizzaro World saying about Scott Prouty?

Are there any reports from RWNJ-land?

What's the hotline to MIRT?

I just served on a jury for a post by an obvious RW bigot, first-poster, who'd signed up about 15 minutes prior to the jury session. Does MIRT get jury decisions automatically and review them for appropriate persons, or is there a direct reporting system?

Pat Robertson predictions from Jan. 1991: how'd his "special link to God" serve him?

I was cleaning out some old papers and found some notes I'd jotted down while watching Pat Robertson on his 700 Club show (back then I'd occasionally monitor Robertson and other politically active RW religious figures**cough**nuts**cough**)

The date on it is 2 Jan 1991, so just over 22 years ago. At the time it was halfway through Poppy Bush's presidency, 5 months after Saddam Hussein had invaded Kuwait, and a little over 2 weeks before "Operation Desert Storm" (i.e., while military assets were still being moved into place).

Pat "special link" Robertson's predictions and comments:
- Short war with Iraq
-low interest rates, prime rate to 7%, stocks plummet
-by September, vibrant stock market out on a limb
-Bush reelected
-collapse in '93
-God is holding off disaster so that evangelicals can get the job done
-people of God support CBN (Robertson's cable network-JHB), high increase in donations
-if we leave Saddam, we must garrison Saudi Arabia indefinitely. Must attack Saddam or he will ___(must have dropped the word that followed-JHB). We Are Americans and must act like Americans, not back down to some tin pot dictator

Considering the lack of opposition from the then-nearly-collapsing Soviets, the short war wasn't all that tough to predict, though I think he had in mind weeks not the "100 hour war" that resulted (as long as you don't count our presence in Iraq for the next 10 years). I haven't looked up how the interest rates, prime rate, and stock market fared. I think his "special link" glitched on the '92 election, and gee, somehow we didn't collapse in '93. As for the rest, the only rational response is to point at him and laugh one's fool head off.

A question for Republicans from Driftglass:

@Mr_Electrico: Remember 12 hours ago when the technical terms for teachers, firefighters & cops were "overpaid public employees" & "union thugs"?

Wingnut watch, countdown to blaming you-know-who

I really hate that I've become this cynical, or that the nuts in our country have become so predictable, but how long until we start hearing the nutballs turn this most recent horror shooting into yet another anti-Obama conspiracy theory "to take away our guns".

And why do I have the sinking feeling that the appropriate instrument to measure this with is a stopwatch?

Speaking of Fiscal Cliffs...

Don't show fear


Today I discovered that Grover Norquist agrees with me about something...

It's a conservative meme that liberals are stuck in 1968. The conservative bomb of a movie "An American Carol" had a whole musical number about it complete with choreographed tie-dyed, sandal-wearing, long-gray-haired university professors.

My counter has been that if you're going to reduce it to something dopey like that, then conservatives are stuck in 1978 (give or take a year): taxes are high, the economy is stagnant, crime is high and going up, looting of stores in the blackout and "the Bronx is burning" are still fresh in everyone's minds, Team B confirmed (for conservatives) that the Soviets were just chomping at the bit for world conquest (invading Afghanistan, overthrowing the legitimately-inherited dictatorship in Nicaragua, yadayadayada), every union is just like the mob-controlled Teamsters (and strict union rules cripple business), regulation is too tight, etc. etc. etc. Everything from views that were reasonable for that time to complete paranoid delusions were set in stone (and embossed with Ronald Reagan's profile).

Back to Norquist: from a 2009 "First Person Singular" column in the Washington Post:
When I became 21, I decided that nobody learned anything about politics after the age of 21. Look at people who grew up in the Great Depression, and their understanding of politics is Hoover and FDR. Fifty years later, everything is Hoover and FDR.

And when was it that Norquist turned 21? Why, in 1977, of course.

Thank you, Grover, for being so intellectually stunted as to prove my point with your own.

And let's not forget to add: by his very words, Norquist is obsolete and should be put out to pasture.


“People who just want stuff”: 1860

With all the conservative whining and wailing going on about Obama’s re-election, saying that he won because of “people who just want stuff” and other assorted poutrage, it’s worth noting that this is a trope they’ve been playing for a very, very long time.

Below is a conservative political cartoon from 1860, engraved by Currier and Ives and published in Harper's Magazine.

Back then, when “The Party of Lincoln” was actually running Lincoln for president, it was considered the liberal/left party.

See if you recognize the playbook:


"The Republican Party Going to the Right House"

Lincoln rides in on a (fence) rail, carried by Horace Greely (anti-slavery editor of the New York Tribune), leading his followers into a lunatic asylum.
GREELY: "Hold on to me Abe, and we'll go in here by the unanimous consent of the people."
LINCOLN: "Now my friends I'm almost in, and the millennium is going to begin, so ask what you will and it shall be granted."

Younger Woman: "Oh! what a beautiful man he is, I feel a passionate attraction' every time I see his lovely face."
Bearded Man: "I represent the free love element, and expect to have free license to carry out its principles."
Man with trim beard and hat: "I want religion abolished and the book of Mormon made the standard of morality."
Caricatured black man: "De white man hab no rights dat cullud pussons am bound to spect' I want dat understood."
Older woman: "I want womans rights enforced, and man reduced in subjection to her authority."
Scruffy man with bottle: "I want everybody to have a share of everybody elses property."
Barefoot man: "I want a hotel established by government, where people that aint inclined to work, can board free of expense, and be found in rum and tobacco."
Seedy top-hat man: " I want guaranteed to every Citizen the right to examine every other citizen's pockets without interruption by Policemen."
Man at the end: "I want all the stations houses burned up, and the M.P.s killed, so that the bohoys can run with the machine and have a muss when they please."

Let’s go down the list, shall we?:
Supported by "liberal media": Check
Liberals will embark on profligate giveaways to THOSE PEOPLE? Check.
Flighty, emotional, entranced by charisma/celebrity? Check.
People conservatives consider sexual deviants? Check.
People conservatives consider religious deviants? Check (and how ironic, this particular turn).
Grasping minorities after special rights? Check.
"Feminazis"? Check.
There's a vast army of layabouts, terrorists, and outright thieves who want to take your hard-earned stuff? Check, check, check, and check.

A hundred and fifty years later, and they're playing the same effing tune.
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