Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Budget follies short takes:
More on those people who won't pay taxes

tax-&-income-shares.jpg
The blue bars are the share of national income earned by the population segments listed at the bottom; the magenta bars are the share those population segments pay of all taxes collected. This actually seems more than equitable, until you remember that the groups on the right enjoy about the highest standard of living of any people who ever lived. From Citizens for Tax Justice via Jonathan Chait.

I like this by Daniel Gross from Newsweek:

I have two pieces of bad news for the over-$250,000 crowd. First, the reversal of some of the temporary Bush tax cuts is probably inevitable, given the appalling mismanagement of fiscal affairs between 2001 and 2008. ... Second, for those of you making more than $250,000, I regret to inform you yet again: Yes, you are indeed rich—any way you slice it.

To a surprising degree, feeling rich or poor is a state of mind. There are people who pull down $3 million a year who are miserable and feel strapped for cash and people who make $30,000 a year who believe they have everything they need. But income data can surely tell us something. And they tell us that $250,000 puts you in pretty fancy company, especially after the collective pratfall the economy took in 2008.

If you think it is important to balance the budget (or reduce the deficit), you are going to have to tax rich people who will always howl. And you are going to have to rein in military spending. There are no other measures that will do the job and maintain some semblance of common responsibility for the general welfare.

(Since we're in national budget season, I'm not going to to resist offering occasional short comments on budget matters and process under this headline, just as I have done about health care reform. I have strong foundational views on what the U.S. government ought to be doing about and with taxpayers' money that I've laid out in this post.)

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