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Response to MannyGoldstein (Reply #8)

Tue Sep 18, 2012, 12:32 AM

14. The difference, and why Krugman's is more appropriate



Krugman:

Actually, if you look at the facts, you learn that the great bulk of those who pay no income tax pay other taxes; also, many of the people in the no-income-tax category are (a) elderly (b) students or (c) having a bad year, having lost a job — that is, they’re people who have paid income taxes in the past and/or will pay income taxes in the future. The idea that half of Americans are just grifters is grotesque.

If this is real, it’s very, very ugly.


Klein:

<...>

Part of the reason so many Americans don’t pay federal income taxes is that Republicans have passed a series of very large tax cuts that wiped out the income-tax liability for many Americans. That’s why, when you look at graphs of the percent of Americans who don’t pay income taxes, you see huge jumps after Ronald Reagan’s 1986 tax reform and George W. Bush’s 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. So whenever you hear that half of Americans don’t pay federal income taxes, remember: Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush helped build that. (You also see a jump after the financial crisis begins in 2008, but we can expect that to be mostly temporary.)

Some of those tax cuts for the poor were there to make the tax cuts for the rich more politically palatable. “Do you think we wanted to include a welfare payment to people who don’t pay taxes and call it a tax cut?” A top Bush administration official once asked me. “No. But that’s what we needed to do to get it done.”

But now that those tax cuts have passed and many fewer Americans are paying federal income taxes and the rich are paying a much higher percentage of federal income taxes, Republicans are arguing that these Americans they have helped free from income taxes have become a dependent and destabilizing “taker” class who want to hike taxes on the rich in order to purchase more social services for themselves. The antidote, as you can see in both Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney’s policy platforms, is to further cut taxes on “job creators” while cutting the social services that these takers depend on. That way, you roll the takers out of what Ryan calls “the hammock” of government and you unleash the makers to create jobs and opportunities.

So notice what happened here: Republicans have become outraged over the predictable effect of tax cuts they passed and are using that outrage as the justification for an agenda that further cuts taxes on the rich and pays for it by cutting social services for the non-rich.

That’s why Romney’s theory here is more than merely impolitic. It’s actually core to his economic agenda.

Klein is literally stating that there are Americans not paying income taxes who have become dependent, but that it's a "predictable" outcome of Republican policies. That's bullshit. The "taker class" is a good point, but he's making an argument that leaves an opening to claim that a "dependent" class exists, but it was created by Republicans. That is not a good argument.





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MannyGoldstein Sep 2012 OP
jsr Sep 2012 #1
uppityperson Sep 2012 #2
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MannyGoldstein Sep 2012 #8
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Zalatix Sep 2012 #25
LineLineLineReply The difference, and why Krugman's is more appropriate
ProSense Sep 2012 #14
Zalatix Sep 2012 #26
Egalitarian Thug Sep 2012 #6
nadinbrzezinski Sep 2012 #7
fascisthunter Sep 2012 #30
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