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Nonpartisan Tax Report Removed After Republican Protest 555

Posted by Soulskill
from the information-wants-to-trickle-down dept.
eldavojohn writes "On September 14th a report titled 'Taxes and the Economy: An Economic Analysis of the Top Tax Rates Since 1945' (PDF) penned by the Library of Congress' nonpartisan Congressional Research Service was released to little fanfare. However, the following conclusion of the report has since roiled the GOP enough to have the report removed from the Library of Congress: 'The results of the analysis suggest that changes over the past 65 years in the top marginal tax rate and the top capital gains tax rate do not appear correlated with economic growth. The reduction in the top tax rates appears to be uncorrelated with saving, investment, and productivity growth. The top tax rates appear to have little or no relation to the size of the economic pie. However, the top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution. As measured by IRS data, the share of income accruing to the top 0.1% of U.S. families increased from 4.2% in 1945 to 12.3% by 2007 before falling to 9.2% due to the 2007-2009 recession. At the same time, the average tax rate paid by the top 0.1% fell from over 50% in 1945 to about 25% in 2009. Tax policy could have a relation to how the economic pie is sliced—lower top tax rates may be associated with greater income disparities.' From the New York Times article: 'The pressure applied to the research service comes amid a broader Republican effort to raise questions about research and statistics that were once trusted as nonpartisan and apolitical.' It appears to no longer be found on the Library of Congress' website."
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Nonpartisan Tax Report Removed After Republican Protest

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 02, 2012 @06:06PM (#41859237)

    Of course it was removed!

    Non-partisan is just a politically correct way of saying, Lib'rul bias.

    Now excuse me, I have to go back to watching Fox News.

    • by Mitreya (579078) <(mitreya) (at) (gmail.com)> on Friday November 02, 2012 @06:37PM (#41859607)

      Non-partisan is just a politically correct way of saying, Lib'rul bias.

      All politicians have their issues, but Republicans are departing further and further into never-land

      It's one thing to argue in generalities, but to directly and blatantly contradict facts - that's something else.

      How do you reconcile a non-partisan analysis that directly contradicts one of your main philosophies? In tune with Romney/Ryan platform of cutting taxes on everyone, increasing spending on military and keeping the good parts of Health Care Act (that cost money), while getting rid of the "bad" parts (that bring in money). And of course all of this will balance the budget somehow.

      • by AvitarX (172628) <me@@@brandywinehundred...org> on Friday November 02, 2012 @06:45PM (#41859719) Journal

        To be fair, Romney had one of the better close loopholes proposals I've heard.

        rather than fight about this or that, he wants a cap on deductions. I can't think of a better way eliminate massive deductions without picking and choosing (which is political suicide).

        I think Romney's plan won't work, and I won't vote for him, but I appreciate that small step to a better tax system (his limit was high enough that it would absolutely only effect the upper class)

        • Re:Of course it was! (Score:4, Interesting)

          by AK Marc (707885) on Friday November 02, 2012 @07:03PM (#41859931)
          Many countries moved to PAYE (pay as you earn), rather than the US pay April 15, and not before or after, but with a complex set of pre-pay rules and penalties, withholdings and such. PAYE means that the tax withheld from your paycheck is what you owe, no more no less. No deductions, no refunds, no returns (with a few exceptions in the "liberal" PAYE countries to help the children and such). All the people talking about eliminating the IRS really don't care about the IRS, they care solely about changing taxes to help the rich (spending taxes to punish the poor and reward savings). You can eliminate the IRS (as we know it) without touching the idea of an income tax.
          • Re:Of course it was! (Score:4, Informative)

            by cas2000 (148703) on Friday November 02, 2012 @08:29PM (#41860927)

            i don't know how it works in other PAYE countries, but in Australia income tax is deducted from your weekly/fortnightly/monthly pay by your employer and paid to the government.

            Withheld tax is calculated based on your pay for that period, with a progressive tax scale [ato.gov.au] (the first $18,200 you earn is tax free).

            You are still expected to file a tax return every year, and there are all sorts of exemptions and deductions and expenses you can claim (e.g. if you have children, and you can claim the cost of tools or education required for your work). Deductions aren't subtracted directly from the tax you pay, they reduce your taxable income (e.g. if you earn $50K and have $2K worth of deductions, you pay tax as if you earned $48K). For most people, this results in a tax refund, especially if they spent any time not working or had irregular overtime.

            You're also supposed to declare in your tax return any other income you may have received (interest from investments, share dividends, capital gains, etc). For people who make significant incomes in this way, they end up with a tax bill to pay.

            e.g. someone making $50,000 in a year would end up paying abut $8600 tax over that year, including the 1.5% medicare levy but not including any deductions. That works out to an effective tax rate of 17% - which isn't too bad considering that it pays for roads, schools, universities, hospitals, police, tax collectors :), army, navy, pharmaceutical benefits scheme (subsidised and price-regulated drugs - pharma companies hate it, people love it. PBS-approved drugs cost a maximum of $35 for a month's supply, but usually less - or about $5 if you're a pensioner or unemployed), infrastructure projects like the NBN, and thousands of other government services. it's not perfect, and money is wasted, and nearly everyone can think of some things that they'd rather their tax money wasn't spent on but the benefits greatly outweigh the cost.

        • by Mitreya (579078) <(mitreya) (at) (gmail.com)> on Friday November 02, 2012 @07:03PM (#41859933)

          I think Romney's plan won't work, and I won't vote for him, but I appreciate that small step to a better tax system

          I know that Romney's plan won't work, because he hasn't given the details (you know, the ones that have the devil in them). I am not saying his plan is bad, I am saying it is at best half-defined and thus hard to evaluate either way.

          Until he gives us some idea of the cap amounts he is thinking of, the non-partisan budget office can't even evaluate his plan. And I suspect that he is keeping it vague, because he knows it won't work

          Is it really too much to demand a specific economic plan (with some numbers) from the president _before_ he is elected? Especially as he makes some significant promises about what his plan would achieve?

    • Re:Of course it was! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 02, 2012 @06:58PM (#41859871)

      The really funny part... this reminds me exactly of that masturbatory, dystopian, boat anchor of a book, Atlas Shrugged. Government research agencies were operating under extreme pressure from ultra left wing political interests to generate only the results they wanted, or risk losing their jobs. Any results to the contrary were buried.

      Note that this one follows one of the worst financial calamities in US history, perpetrated in reality by those magnates at the top (so revered in the story), and total lack of regulation.

      My irony gauge just blew a fuse.

      • Irresponsible (Score:5, Informative)

        by microbox (704317) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @11:38AM (#41864681)

        Government research agencies were operating under extreme pressure from ultra left wing political interests to generate only the results they wanted, or risk losing their jobs.

        It is hard to believe how much projection there is on the extreme right. If you retargeted GOP words back on themselves, then they may well be more accurate. After-all, if you look at recent history:
        + The GOP are about big government. (Reagan, Bush & Bush)
        + They are fiscally irresponsible. (Reagan failed to balance the budget, but wasn't completely nuts. George W's own treasury secretary resigned because of his attitude towards money.)
        + They are obstructionist, but accuse Dems of not working across the table. (They will ask for the moon and more -- e.g., Debt ceiling, Eric Holder, the list is endless)
        + They believe Dems are engaging in voter fraud, and then aggressively engage in their own voter suppression campaign.
        + They believe they have the "truth" and others are just biased. (The kicker for me is that O'Reilly believes he's an independent, and his show is a "Spin Free Zone"
        + They believe their freedoms are restricted when they cannot restrict the freedoms of others. (The social conservative influence.)

        There is a lot to respect about the historical GOP, but recently, they have become irresponsible. + They are disliked by about 70-80% of the rest of the world

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by AK Marc (707885)
      I thought it was well accepted that reality has a liberal bias.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Simply saying it is non-partisan is not the same as it being non-partisan. the chief author is a substantial contributor to the Obama campaign and democratic party.

  • by gman003 (1693318) on Friday November 02, 2012 @06:12PM (#41859309)

    Seriously, when are people going to learn about the Streisand Effect?

    I would never have heard about this had they left it up. But now, it's gone from "boring tax report" to "the economic analysis that THEY don't want you to know about!".

    • by Mitreya (579078)

      I would never have heard about this had they left it up.

      Sure you would have.
      Obama would probably site it in his address (or debates, even) and release ads that mention it

      I assume that it just doesn't have the same ring to it:
      "Romney wants to cut taxes for the rich, but a never-released economic report proves him wrong".

      The goal here is to keep the report from the undecided voters and the remaining sane Republicans. That may have been a success.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by peragrin (659227)

        No it is one of the major weaknesses of democrats. they won't stand up and start shouting liar.

        The democrats have enough economic strengths that if they started laying out the truth and forcing the republicans to admit their own hypocrisy it could truly be scary. However the democrats won't stoop that low as then the republican's can fight their dirty laundry.

        Sort of like MADD with weapons of political destruction.

        the trick is only one republican has ever lead this country out of a recession.
        However only a

      • "Romney wants to cut taxes for the rich, but a never-released economic report proves him wrong".

        It *was* released, and then quietly retracted. You can grab a copy here. [msnbc.com]

        One of the complaints was the phrase "Bush era tax cuts" doesn't set the correct tone.

    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday November 02, 2012 @07:24PM (#41860215) Journal

      But now, it's gone from "boring tax report" to "the economic analysis that THEY don't want you to know about!".

      And the other half of America is going to hear how it's "the lying economic analysis that LIBERALS want to cram down your throat!"

      The Republican Party has created a bubble of alternate facts and alternate narratives.
      It damages their ability to govern and has destroyed their ability to compromise.

  • the facts (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    have a well-known liberal bias.

  • FACTS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ossifer (703813) on Friday November 02, 2012 @06:15PM (#41859353)

    Facts don't match my ideology so FACTS MUST BE WRONG!!!

  • by benjfowler (239527) on Friday November 02, 2012 @06:17PM (#41859379)

    The Right seem to live in this strange world, where you can change reality by wishing hard enough, or lying hard enough, or by denying evidence and truth hard enough.

    A bit like how Communists and their whacked-out theories about how reality could be changed by willing it so, e.g. the New Soviet Man.

    And a bit like left-wing crazies in academic literary circles with postmodernism; where they deny objective reality, and consider science and reason to be something not to be trusted, because it's invented by powerful people to keep the little man down.

    So what we're really seeing, is right-wing postmodernism; where the FOX crowd deny objective reality, because they see rationality, science and evidence-based-anything as a liberal left-wing plot to repress and hold down Galtian supermen such as themselves.

    In a nutshell, the modern American Right is losing credibility, because enough of them are so split from reality, that they think that simply making shit up, denying the truth, and being stupid will bend the world to their will. Serious right-wing thinkers like William Buckley would have been appalled by the intellectual and moral rot.

    It's tragic and bizarre, but nobody's laughing, because they're dangerous and get into power often enough to cause serious damage, like expensive and pointless wars, massive environmental damage, and yawning inequality.

    • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday November 02, 2012 @06:24PM (#41859455)

      where you can change reality by wishing hard enough

      well, lets be real, here. the right *is* the party of prayer.

      everyone knows it.

      not the party of facts, but the party of 'sky daddies'.

      facts only get in their way.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by benjfowler (239527)

        People prone to "magical thinking" (e.g. the religiously pious), are likely to apply their flawed thinking to other areas, like politics and economics.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by El Rey (61125)

        I don't believe these guys believe in anything except:

        If you aren't rich you need to do whatever we say and STFU.

        Freedom means the freedom for us to screw you over because we are rich and for you to be free to do nothing about it.

        The "we're Christian" thing is just a ruse to convince poor people to vote against their self interest.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The conclusion in the report has nothing to do with core conservatism. To a conservative it doesn't matter. The question is if it is the government's responsibility to equalize incomes and wealth. The question is if it right to take so much wealth not for the purpose of running a government and safety, but to subsidize pet projects and re-allocate the money to people or people groups to "help" them. Conservatism points out that spreading wealth around is an issue of the person's own wealth, not the governme
    • The Soviet gangsters also practiced rewriting history and making inconvenient facts disappear.

      They also valued Party connections over competence. Compare that to the people flown out to do Iraq reconstruction straight from college because they were in the Young Republicans.

    • In a nutshell, the modern American Right is losing credibility

      yeah, since the reagan era, pretty much.

      not one of their ideas has ever worked. not one.

    • by Hatta (162192) on Friday November 02, 2012 @06:55PM (#41859837) Journal

      In a nutshell, the modern American Right is losing credibility

      The modern American Right is losing credibility because they so completely and thoroughly won that positions more conservative than Nixon's or Reagan's are considered left wing these days. Conservatives have managed to move the political center so far to the right that there are no longer any tenable positions rightward of center.

      Even if the Republican party completely implodes and never elects another official again, conservatives still have the Democratic party, which is well to the right of anything considered centrist anywhere else in the world. Right wingers in the US can choose between two parties. Left wingers in the US really only have one candidate, and she has to get arrested [examiner.com] to get any attention.

      • by jfengel (409917)

        I think that you're correct, but I'd say that America probably never was all that progressive as a nation. Socialism never got a real foothold in the US, in part because victories by unions eliminated the worst of the abuses without setting real groundwork for progressivism.

        The nation has drifted much further to the right than I believe is its natural state. And I think that the implosion of the Republican party, or a drawn-out drift back from the brink of lunacy, will gradually let the nation drift back cl

    • by Maow (620678)

      The Right seem to live in this strange world, where you can change reality by wishing hard enough, or lying hard enough, or by denying evidence and truth hard enough.

      A bit like how Communists and their whacked-out theories about how reality could be changed by willing it so, e.g. the New Soviet Man.

      And a bit like left-wing crazies in academic literary circles with postmodernism; where they deny objective reality, and consider science and reason to be something not to be trusted, because it's invented by powerful people to keep the little man down.

      So what we're really seeing, is right-wing postmodernism; where the FOX crowd deny objective reality, because they see rationality, science and evidence-based-anything as a liberal left-wing plot to repress and hold down Galtian supermen such as themselves.

      In a nutshell, the modern American Right is losing credibility, because enough of them are so split from reality, that they think that simply making shit up, denying the truth, and being stupid will bend the world to their will. Serious right-wing thinkers like William Buckley would have been appalled by the intellectual and moral rot.

      It's tragic and bizarre, but nobody's laughing, because they're dangerous and get into power often enough to cause serious damage, like expensive and pointless wars, massive environmental damage, and yawning inequality.

      While I agree with everything you've said, I must point out that in stories that might touch on climate change [slashdot.org], the craziness appears to be hemorrhaging from everywhere. Seeing people posting to a tech oriented site to dismiss scientists is truly depressing. (Note, I'm not vouching for the quality of that particular post that begat the thread, just commenting on the ridiculous nature of *some* of the comments - a surprisingly large number of comments).

  • zero sum game (Score:5, Insightful)

    by godrik (1287354) on Friday November 02, 2012 @06:18PM (#41859387)

    I never understood that idea that giving a tax break to high salary people will stimulate the economy.

    Usually the reasonning is that since they will have more money, they will consume more and that will help the economy. If you give a tax break to low income people for the same amount of tax dollars, they will use that money as well. They are not going to set it on fire, they will use it in a grocery store.

    Am I understanding something wrong?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by aicrules (819392)
      That's why you give tax breaks to everybody and cut the size of government. Win-Win-Win
      • Re:zero sum game (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday November 02, 2012 @06:57PM (#41859859)

        tax breaks.

        to the extremely wealthy.

        of course, our infrastructure is in fine shape, our roads don't need upgrading. neither do our comms infra or any of the other social programs that help raise the overall qualtiy of life for everyone.

        oh, but the infra can go fark itself. it will just self manage. right? that rotting bridge or overpass - we don't need to invest in fixing that.

        the me-generation should have run out of steam, but it only gets stronger as time goes on. no one wants to invest in our own infrastructure or help those who are below what should be a minimum american standard of living.

        but lets give the rich more reasons to not help out. they'll just naturally be good people on their own, right?

        right??

        left to their own devices, they'll steal you blind. this class of people need to be watched more than the worst criminal among us.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Except starve the beast is a failure; look it up.

    • Re:zero sum game (Score:5, Insightful)

      by benjfowler (239527) on Friday November 02, 2012 @06:24PM (#41859453)

      Giving tax cuts to rich people as economic stimulus has been shown to not be as effective as giving tax cuts to lower-income earner, and the reason's really simple.

      Rich people invest. Poor people spend; many people live paycheck-to-paycheck, so any extra dollar goes straight into consumption, and good, services and jobs. However, for the wealthy, there is too much money chasing too few investment opportunities.

      • Re:zero sum game (Score:4, Interesting)

        by AvitarX (172628) <me@@@brandywinehundred...org> on Friday November 02, 2012 @06:54PM (#41859823) Journal

        The thing about consumption is it tends to have a larger local economy element (less so than it used to though).

        this means tax cuts to the poor help poorer areas get better.

        investment is very global now, and has for a long time been less local, this means it will.have a broader area it improves, and less of it will go to poorer areas.

    • by Chirs (87576) on Friday November 02, 2012 @06:25PM (#41859467)

      If I give $1000 to a guy who is worth a billion dollars, he may just stick it in the vault and let it sit there.

      If I give $1000 to someone who's living hand-to-mouth, it's going to get spent on food/drink/rent/clothes pretty much immediately.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      some rich folks use their money for overall good.

      but most don't! they hoard it for personal power.

      putting more money in the hands of the rich is futile. I'm hoping that we, as a culture, grow up soon and stop giving rich folks more and more gifts!

    • by khallow (566160)

      Usually the reasonning is that since they will have more money, they will consume more and that will help the economy. If you give a tax break to low income people for the same amount of tax dollars, they will use that money as well. They are not going to set it on fire, they will use it in a grocery store.

      I understand the usual reasoning along those lines is that the rich will invest the money and the poor will consume it. The implicit assumption for those who support high income tax cuts is that investment is better than consumption.

    • by wurp (51446)

      The proposal is that rich people invest in business, creating more new jobs and more value. Poor people spend their money on stuff.

      I haven't seen any real support for the notion that investing in businesses based on what rich people think will succeed creates more jobs or a "bigger economic pie" than poor people giving more money to businesses that provide services & goods that the poor actually need.

      Obviously, I don't buy it, but that's the supposed reason.

    • by Americano (920576)

      Yes, the typical argument is that the high-net-worth individuals are the ones who will *invest* their money into other businesses, thus helping to create jobs, which grows the economy, which also helps bring about higher tax revenues in general, because more people will be making money to put them into the tax-paying income brackets.

      The argument continues that since a fair share of of "low-income" people already pay little-to-no-taxes, and much of any stimulus given to them would go into consumption, the st

      • Re:zero sum game (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday November 02, 2012 @06:47PM (#41859741)

        the elite class is the richest they've ever been.

        you see a lot of spare jobs around this economy?

        hmmm, we gave the rich all they asked for. they wanted this and that and we gave it to them.

        have they 'created more jobs?'

        yes.

        in india!

        fuck the rich. they don't deserve our respect. (yes, I had my job outsourced by some rich ceo asswipe. yes, I'm bitter. having to train your foreign replacement to help the ceo get a bigger boat tends to make one bitter. my company was doing very well but they wanted even better numbers, so we had mass layoffs. the rich do NOT carry their weight. they are a liability to us, more than an asset.)

    • If you give a tax break to low income people for the same amount of tax dollars, they will use that money as well. They are not going to set it on fire, they will use it in a grocery store.

      I thought we didn't want the money to end up in grocery stores.

      We wanted the money to be spent on the latest gadgets and entertainment. That's where the more interesting jobs are.

    • by jader3rd (2222716)

      I never understood that idea that giving a tax break to high salary people will stimulate the economy.

      Usually the reasonning is that since they will have more money, they will consume more and that will help the economy. If you give a tax break to low income people for the same amount of tax dollars, they will use that money as well. They are not going to set it on fire, they will use it in a grocery store.

      Am I understanding something wrong?

      I don't know about understanding it wrong, but your confusing might come from the fact that what we call 'tax breaks for the rich' aren't per se for the rich, it's taxing different categories of income at different levels, and it just so happens that rich people tend to make up the vast majority of some of the categories. The tax breaks for the rich are in reality lower tax rates for income made from investments. If a poor person were to make the same investments, the income made from these investments woul

    • the idea is that if you give money to wealthy people and corporations, they will use it to expand or build new companies which will result in more jobs for low-income folks. more jobs means less unemployment, which means more demand for workers and higher wages.

    • by Shagg (99693)

      That's because it's nonsense. "Stimulating the economy" is just the excuse they use. I bet even they don't take it seriously.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 02, 2012 @06:24PM (#41859449)

    Wealth disparity [wikipedia.org] is actually more important than income indequality, as the extremely wealthy often earn a tiny fraction of income compared to their immense wealth, while the extremely poor have only their income to rely on.

    Unfortunately, wealth inequality is rarely talked about in the mainstream media. Usually it's income that's talked about, and as horrible as income inequality is, focusing on it paints an unduly rosy picture of the real economic injustice suffered in the US.

  • BFD (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sloppy (14984)

    What's the big deal? Everyone knows economics and history are lies straight from the pit of hell.

  • by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Friday November 02, 2012 @06:34PM (#41859577)

    The plan advocated by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan that is embodied in the House Budget Resolution (H.Con.Res. 112), the Path to Prosperity, also proposes to reduce income tax rates by broadening the tax base.

    There is not conclusive evidence, however, to substantiate a clear relationship between the 65-year steady reduction in the top tax rates and economic growth. Analysis of such data suggests the reduction in the top tax rates have had little association with saving, investment, or productivity growth. However, the top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution. The share of income accruing to the top 0.1% of U.S. families increased from 4.2% in 1945 to 12.3% by 2007

    Roughly interpreted: Ryan doesn't know what he's talking about, by extension neither does Romney. In fact, the only thing accomplished by reducing taxes on the rich is a money grab that increases the disparity between the 1% and the other 99%.

    You know I really cannot understand why the Republicans would take issue with this report. I mean really, you'd think they'd like to know that their domestic policy is specious so that they can find real solutions. Unless, perhaps they already understood the reality of their talking point...

    • You know I really cannot understand why the Republicans would take issue with this report. I mean really, you'd think they'd like to know that their domestic policy is specious so that they can find real solutions. Unless, perhaps they already understood the reality of their talking point...

      When has it ever been a goal of the Republic Party to attempt to minimize income disparity or concentration of income? Equalizing outcomes, regardless of merit, is the goal of the Democrats. The typical republican position is that there is nothing wrong with receiving an income well above the national average, provided it is freely given and not acquired by theft or fraud. If this report turns anyone away from the Republican Party, it can only be because they were never ideologically aligned with the Republ

  • by DavidHumus (725117) on Friday November 02, 2012 @06:41PM (#41859655)

    ...-based reasoning, reality will continue to take on an increasingly liberal tinge.

  • by ortholattice (175065) on Friday November 02, 2012 @06:54PM (#41859825)

    Let me propose a radical idea to discuss: abolish the income tax and replace it by a tax on net assets. I'm not proposing any particular rate structure, but let me describe the general ideas.

    Income tax has too many loopholes for the wealthy. For example, the Facebook and Google CEOs pay themselves $1 per year, avoiding any income tax and paying only the low capital gains rate when they occasionally sell some stock to finance their lifestyles. The rest grows tax-free, indefinitely, as their companies grow.

    It seems to me that a fair tax would be based on a person's ability to pay it. The ability to afford a tax is much more dependent on how much wealth you have than how much income you make. Taxing the income of someone who can barely make ends meet, preventing them from accumulating any savings, doesn't seem beneficial for society overall.

    It is much harder for a wealthy person to hide their assets than to exploit income tax loopholes. Of course there will always be loopholes, but most of the information regarding the ultra rich, for example, is even public, otherwise it would not be possible to compile the Fortune 400 list.

    The middle class is already subject to an asset (real estate) tax on what, for most, is their primary asset, their home. So it's nothing new, and although those who pay it don't enjoy doing so of course, it's accepted and viewed as a necessary evil to finance their local community. The real estate tax is actually very regressive â" the less equity you have in your home, the higher percentage of that equity you pay, since it is based on the home's value, not your equity in it. You pay it even if your equity is negative (i.e. if the mortgage is underwater)! If both real estate tax and income tax were replaced by a net asset tax, it would seem to me to be much fairer.

    One argument I've seen against an asset tax is that it would encourage people not to accumulate wealth i.e. would encourage stagnation. I disagree. A positive benefit of the real estate tax, for example, is that it discourages the accumulation of property sitting idle, but encourages the development and use of that property. Similarly, I would imagine a net worth tax would encourage productive use of the money, possibly even finally leading to that trickle-down job creation we hear so much about.

  • News of document removal comes on Friday, so fewer readers? Check.

    People gossiping about removal of document instead of contents? Check.

    People blaming republicans, conservatives, FOX News, and general unfairness instead of the rich? Check.

    Advertising to elect a president and support staff who will lower taxes the most on the richest real-life gamers the world has ever known? Work in progress, though even a Democrat is a success; so check.

    People calling and writing their elected representatives? Not enough t

  • by jgarry (126205) on Friday November 02, 2012 @07:03PM (#41859927) Homepage

    I've been saying it since Howard Jarvis and Ronald Reagan implemented their "tax revolt" at the end of the '70s: any benefit from tax cuts and less regulation is temporary, short-term, and soon overridden by the increased size of the crash after the greedy rich people abuse various economic sectors. That's why there was an S&L crises in the '80s, a housing crash in the '90s, bank and housing crises in the oughts, California schools run out of money. Shoot, does anyone think to check the top tax rates under Eisenhower? Even Greenspan was shocked... shocked! that rich people were greedy, that Objectivism is... oh well, why bother, people just filter it through their biases. Brown and Clinton have the best budget surpluses of their eras, then conservatives have to go and mess it up with voodoo economics.

    Will some psycho please reenact an episode of Criminal Minds with George Will and Arthur Laffer as victims?

  • by khallow (566160) on Friday November 02, 2012 @07:07PM (#41859977)
    OTOH, we do need to consider that the paper did have real problems. For example, there are almost no dynamics considered. Very few of the variables are lagged. That was one of the Republican complaints.

    And it misses some important economic issues such as the declining value of labor versus capital (one would expect owners of capital to do relatively well in a global market with extremely cheap labor available and for that capital to move to foreign locations) and the burden of regulation (which has considerable effect on hiring people and creating new businesses, both which would favor those who own established, working capital). In other words, there are two big, contrary effects which might mask any economic benefit from cutting taxes for the highest income bracket.

    As to the article being pulled, it was allegedly done at the behest of Senate Republicans who are a minority in the Senate. Why didn't Democrats block that? In fact, who actually asked for and sequestered the report? Doesn't seem to be a Republican thing to ask for stuff that might run counter to their agenda, but maybe the people who requested it thought they could bury anything inconvenient.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday November 02, 2012 @07:18PM (#41860163) Homepage

    Normally, I am not about Replublicans versus Democrats. I see them both as rather "bought and sold out" groups who behave at the request of big money.

    That said, I find it fitting and typical of my observations and expectations of those who subscribe to Republican philosophies. If the truth gets in the way, hide it, change it, deny or it erase it. This type of behavior is known among commoners as deceitful. Others just simply call them liars and cheats.

    I understand all too well how people try to cling to their beliefs even when facts and evidence is staring them right in the face. But I see it as a mental weakness or flaw and such people are ill equiped to make important decisions which affect millions of lives across the planet.

  • "“There were a lot of problems with the report from a real, legitimate economic analysis perspective,” said Antonia Ferrier,"
    No, there wasn't. You set up a different set of goals and then complained the report didn't take into account for your made up goals.

    These are the same people who complain when the study might be delayed by Sandy.

    Then they don't actual raise any factual concerns. Some talk about verbiage that in no way impacts the results.

  • What most miss. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by garyoa1 (2067072) on Friday November 02, 2012 @07:46PM (#41860513)

    See, the thing most miss is that when higher incomes had higher taxes they'd have to look for tax breaks by hiring, diversifying, expanding, whatever.

    With taxes low they can just invest in the stock market. Less aggravation, likely higher (and lower taxaable) income.

    So, the markets bloom, they get richer with no aggravation with hiring, firing, building costs, overhead, etc. While the average guy starves.

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Friday November 02, 2012 @08:26PM (#41860905) Journal

    I used to think that the fact that mid-20th-Century US highest tax bracket rates were in the 80%+ region was a VERY persuasive argument that Republicans had significantly overshot in their efforts to relieve taxation on job-creators, and reached a point where it was more about enriching the rich than any sober policy of trickle-down economics.

    However I had the opportunity in September to be seated next to an older gentleman who was a personal accountant in the 1950s. As he explained to me, the tax rates were high but NOBODY paid those rates, nobody. There were so many massive loopholes, and much-easier "wink'n'nudge" accounting going on (than today, in his opinion, although he's been retired for 20 years), he said it was uncommon if a top-bracket individual was paying over 20%, ever.

    It was his suspicion that in fact the top tax brackets probably paid the same today in fact, as they ever had, plus/minus 5%.

    I didn't perceive him as a demogogue of either side, and he was pretty comprehensive in his discussion. I was convinced that the "taxes were higher in the old days and we were great" is also, in reality, as much bullshit as what usually comes from politicians' mouths otherwise.

    • by kenh (9056)

      With a tax rate of 80% the incentive to find loopholes is great, when the tax rate is 15 or 20%, the incentive is much less.

      Faced with a 95% tax on his income, John Lennon left England for the US as a tax exile.

      Faced with a similar tax rate, U2 moved out of Ireland, for tax purposes.

      The idea of "geting the rich to pay through the nose" relies on the mistaken belief that the rich have no alternative...

  • Want to read that report? go here and download the PDF -> http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/ [msnbc.com] Thanks to Rachael Maddow for making this available

Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig. -- Lazarus Long, "Time Enough for Love"

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