Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tax Rates and Share of Tax Revenues from Top 1%

The chart above shows the relationship over time (from 1979 to 2007) between: a) the top marginal income tax rate, and b) the share of total income taxes paid by the top 1% (data).  In 1979 the top marginal income tax rate was 70% and 18.3% of the total taxes paid were collected from the top 1% of taxpayers.  By 2007 the top tax rate was 35% (half of the 1979 rate), and the tax share of the top 1% had more than doubled to 39.5% (from 18.3% in 1979).    

The historical record shows an inverse relationship between the highest marginal income tax rate and the share of taxes collected from "the wealthy."  It's a relationship to keep in mind during the current tax policy debate, where Obama wants to increase tax revenues by raising tax rates for "the rich," and Rep. Ryan alternatively suggests a cut in the top marginal rate to stimulate economic growth, which would likely increase tax revenues from the wealthy, and increase overall tax revenue. 

Thanks to Steve Moore for the idea for the graph.

66 Comments:

At 4/21/2011 2:27 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Of course, keep in mind that it is payroll taxes that most middle-income workers now pay heavily, not income taxes.

This chart would look a lot different were it to include payroll taxes.

 
At 4/21/2011 2:51 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"This chart would look a lot different were it to include payroll taxes."

Yes, and your comments would look a lot different if you weren't a half-wit.

 
At 4/21/2011 3:08 PM, Blogger bob wright said...

The payroll taxes are FCIA and FUTA.

FICA pays for Social Security - what was sold to the American people as a pension plan. You cannot commingle pension dollars with the general fund dollars collected via the income tax. So SS is either a pension or it isn't. You have to make up your mind.

Same for FUTA, which pays for Medicare - what was sold to the American people as a health insurance plan.

Everyone pays FICA and FUTA because everyone is promised a government pension and government health care. These are benefit plans. FICA and FUTA withholding is simply the premium you're paying for the benefit you will receive. You pay for the benefit while you work. You collect the benefit when you retire.

If you want to turn FICA and FUTA into general fund dollars that are used to pay for welfare benefits and other general fund expenses, you need to say so clearly.

 
At 4/21/2011 3:13 PM, Blogger bob wright said...

If you want to see where the "real" money is, check out Where the Tax Money Is in Monday's WSJ.

As with most things in life, it's pretty much a bell curve and the "real" money is in the middle.

 
At 4/21/2011 3:13 PM, Blogger Bill said...

Benjamin, you can view the shares of total federal tax liabilities at the link provided in Mark's post

 
At 4/21/2011 3:14 PM, Blogger Jack said...

You should also include a line for "Share of Income Earned by Top 1%" - the share of tax revenues paid by top 1% should increase if the share of income is also increasing.

 
At 4/21/2011 3:23 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"Of course, keep in mind that it is payroll taxes that most middle-income workers now pay heavily.."

Typical Democrat talking point from Benji. Those payroll taxes are supposedly to be paid back to them in benefits in the form of Social Security and Medicare. Entirely different from income taxes.

 
At 4/21/2011 3:57 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

If the top 1% of earners is bringing in 38% of revenue then they should at least qualify for:

Free corn for life or maybe top 1% only days at the Smithsonian museums.

BTW, I favor a VAT and much lower rates.

 
At 4/21/2011 4:23 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

jack-

the top 1% take home 24% of income and pay around 39% of income tax.

america's top 10% of taxpayers pay a greater share of taxes relative to share of income than any other country in the OECD.

http://taxfoundation.org/blog/show/27134.html

the average T/I ration for the top 10% in the oecd is 1.11.

in the US it is 1.35.

that's a HUGE difference.

contrary to what our current class war instigator in chief would have you beleive, relative to every other rich country, our rich ARE paying their fair share and then some.

 
At 4/21/2011 4:28 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

also note:

that OECD study is payroll and income taxes combined.

if you look at just income tax, the ratio is more like 1.65...

 
At 4/21/2011 4:50 PM, Blogger stephen said...

"our rich ARE paying their fair share and then some."

Fair share? I'm not sure what kind of ethics you're thinking of but the top 10% get their wealth by expropriating worker's labor value. At my job I get less than 2% of the value my work brings in. Most of the other 98% goes to the top 10%, who's job is simply to manage how much lower they can make the percent I have to sell my labor for.

 
At 4/21/2011 5:29 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Fair share? I'm not sure what kind of ethics you're thinking of but the top 10% get their wealth by expropriating worker's labor value"...

ROFLMAO!

Oh dear! Here we go, the big red whine...

" At my job I get less than 2% of the value my work brings in. Most of the other 98% goes to the top 10%, who's job is simply to manage how much lower they can make the percent I have to sell my labor for"...

There's a simple solution to that situation...

Quit and start your own company and see if the results aren't the same...

 
At 4/21/2011 5:40 PM, Blogger stephen said...

"
There's a simple solution to that situation...

Quit and start your own company and see if the results aren't the same..."

Mind-bogglingly simple, wow! Now I see the light of capital! Oh, wait, maybe it's not so simple...

 
At 4/21/2011 6:00 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

My comment was sound.

According to the link, the top quintile, or fifth, pay about 43 percent of Social Insurance Taxes.

So, yes, the wealthy do pay more, but to look at just one type of taxation is misleading.

Actually, what eats up income taxes?

More than 70 percent goes to Defense, Homeland Security, VA, USDA, Commerce, Interior and debt.

The Medicare/Social Security programs are funded by payroll taxes.

So, if you want lower income tax rates--and I do--I suggest you start taking the coprolite out the programs I have identified.

 
At 4/22/2011 7:52 AM, Blogger Seamus Coffey said...

Stephen

Why is it "not so simple"? If you think you can generate value that is 50 times greater than your current salary there must be something you can do to capture it.

Maybe the value created in the company isn't all down to you? Maybe there are substantial risks that you are insulated from that others have to be rewarded for taking? Or maybe, you just have a conceited notion of the "value" you generate and that any of thousands of other workers could do your job just as well?

 
At 4/22/2011 8:08 AM, OpenID basking2 said...

@stephen, if it's not so simple, perhaps there's more going on in management than just oppressing you. ;)

Real question: Is there any evidence that the top graph is responding to the bottom graph? They seem to be moving independently of one another. Curious. Thanks!

 
At 4/22/2011 9:41 AM, OpenID austextrader said...

Benjamin,
The Tax policy foundation calculation actually includes payroll taxes, so US tax code is still the most progressive including that.

Bob wright, I believe Benjamin is correct though that you should include the social security taxes in calculating who pays how much taxes and the reason rests in the way the govt currently does its accounting.
Currently when they calculate federal deficits, they include revenues from Social Security and FICA.
So these funds are actually being used up to reduce federal income taxes in the present for general revenue purposes.
For too long our lawmakers have used up revenue collected for future promises to make the situation in the present look better than it is.
So based on the current policy of raiding retirement savings for general revenue you should include those in the general tax burden.

 
At 4/22/2011 9:47 AM, Blogger edpin said...

The fact that the red line kept on increasing during the flat part of the blue line, makes me wonder if there's a causation effect here. It's very likely the rich were getting richer because the economy grew.

Here's Charles Wheelan debunking this myth: http://finance.yahoo.com/expert/article/economist/4065

 
At 4/22/2011 9:55 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"The Medicare/Social Security programs are funded by payroll taxes."

not for long they aren't. did you not notice that these programs have slipped into deficit? where do you think the rest of the money is going to come from in 10 years?

 
At 4/22/2011 10:09 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

stephen-

no offense, but i'm calling BS on your claim.

if you have an even rudimentary education and are only getting 2% of the value you produce, then you need a new job.

you could do better than that mowing lawns for a landscaping co.

no employer who wants to stay in business pays employees the whole of the value they produce. what would be the point of that? and how would you be compensated for the capital you provide and risk you take?

the guy who trims my trees (and doesn't speak english) gets more than 2% of the fees i pay his company. he probably gets about 25%, perhaps a bit more.

so lay out your math for us oh underpaid one. i just flat out do not believe your claim.

you do realize that if you work on an assembly line making cars, from the standpoint of the employer, the value you create is not the price of the finished car, right?

it's the price of the car - all the input costs - all the amortized capital and rental costs -taxes paid.

that value from labor is going to be less than 10% of the price of the car just on input costs, and probably more like 5% after capital costs etc.

and that production of labor has to be split between ALL the employees, not just one.

even freed of it's debt, GM had what, 1% operating margins last q? after hitting maybe 5% with massive subsidy and debt relief?

i will bet you that the real math of your exploitation failed to take any of this into account. i'll bet you are off by at least an order of magnitude.

 
At 4/22/2011 10:20 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"Currently when they calculate federal deficits, they include revenues from Social Security and FICA."

this is a bit tangential, but am i the only one who finds the way that federal deficits are reported to be incredibly misleading?

they are reported as a % of GDP. what does that have to do with anything? i can report my personal deficit as % of California GDP too, but so what?

if you look at the federal deficit as a % of federal income, then it looks horrifying.

last year they took in 2.16tn and spent 3.46 for a 1.3tn deficit. that's a 60% deficit, not an 8% one.

and even that horrifying 60% number is only achievable because the government uses a kind of cash accounting that any public co CEO would be jailed for. it fails to take into account any future liabilities incurred.

using GAAP, the federal deficit was 5.3tn in 2010 (including SS and medi), a 314% deficit relative to income.

the time has come to get the government onto a real accounting system. the existing one just provides endless incentives to kick the can down the road and promise future benefits that can be ignored in the current period.

 
At 4/22/2011 11:47 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

It's very likely the rich were getting richer because the economy grew.

Right. Who the hell do you think was growing it?

The link you posted to doesn't support your assertion.

 
At 4/22/2011 11:49 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Here's Charles Wheelan debunking this myth ..."


Sorry, but this guy hasn't debunked anything.

First, he starts by conceding that Laffer is certainly right about the effects of reduced tax rates generating increased economic activity and revenue, but claims that this is only the case if we start at a very high rate of taxation: "In fairness to Mr. Laffer, there's nothing wrong with this theory. It's almost certainly true at very high rates of taxation ..." He then explains that the impact on growth and revenue at lower levels, involving smaller cuts, would not have as dramatic an effect. Duh.

The point is to find the place along the curve where incentives for work and investment maximize both economic growth and tax revenue. That point maybe 33 percent, or 25, or 27. If you are starting from a very high tax rate you keep cutting until the economy is expanding and revenue falls off then you tweak the tax rates to arrive at the optimal spot along the curve.

Wheelan then claims that the tax cuts enacted by both Reagan and G. W. Bush led to large budget deficits: "That's basically what happened with the large Reagan and George W. Bush tax cuts, both of which were followed by large budget deficits." Knowing that rational, informed people are going to call bullshit, he immediately acknowledges that "Yes, spending has a lot to do with that ...". In fact, the budget deficits during both Reagan's and Bush's terms were entirely the result of increased spending. Unwilling to accept that fact, he shifts his argument: "... the bottom line is unequivocal: In both cases, government revenue was lower than it would have been without the tax cuts." Lower? In what way? Tax revenue actually increased dramatically following both the Reagan and Bush tax cuts, so he must mean, as he puts it, as a "cut of all the economic activity". So what? The real world effect was increased economic activity and increased tax revenue, a point that he earlier in his argument seems to acknowledge and understand: "Laffer reasoned that, under some circumstances, a tax cut would stimulate so much new economic activity that the government would end up with more in its coffers -- by taking a smaller slice of a much larger pie."

He then devolves into complete gibberish: "The Laffer Curve offers the false promise that we can cut taxes without making any sacrifice on the spending side, and that's simply not true ... If Laffer were right, lower taxes would never require any spending sacrifice. We could pay a mere one percent of our income in taxes and still fund all of our government spending -- and maybe more! Do you think that's really possible?" This is bullshit. Laffer never argues that ever increasing spending can be offset by ever reduced tax rates. Laffer argues that there is a point along the taxation curve that optimizes tax revenue by providing an appropriate incentive to work and invest resulting in increased incomes through economic growth.

 
At 4/22/2011 11:55 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

methinks-

"Right. Who the hell do you think was growing it? "

that is an excellent point. i find that the redistributionist/liberal mindset tends to start with the assumption that wealth is like a spring in the ground that spews out water. if someone gets more, then they must be hogging it.

they fail to see that growth and prosperity only comes from people doing things and that those getting rich are CREATING wealth, not sneakily taking more than their share of a finite resource.

ironically, it is the redistributionists who hypocritically do this. they want other people's wealth without having to work for it. they don't understand wealth creation because they never do it.

 
At 4/22/2011 12:08 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Mind-bogglingly simple, wow! Now I see the light of capital! Oh, wait, maybe it's not so simple"...

Now you know why you're worth 2% Stephen...

 
At 4/22/2011 12:12 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"More than 70 percent goes to Defense, Homeland Security, VA, USDA, Commerce, Interior and debt"...

pseudo benny is still a LIAR...

 
At 4/22/2011 1:04 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

By 2007 the top tax rate was 35% (half of the 1979 rate), and the tax share of the top 1% had more than doubled to 39.5% (from 18.3% in 1979).

===============================

In 2007 the top one percent had a higher percentage of the total income.

 
At 4/22/2011 1:09 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Those payroll taxes are supposedly to be paid back to them in benefits in the form of Social Security and Medicare. Entirely different from income taxes.

================================

Supposedly being the key word. Since that money has already been spent on general fund stuff. In order for them to be "paid back: in social security taxes will have to be higher on the gerneral revnue side so the general fund can pay back the money it (we) borrowed.

It is all tax, just call it what it is and move on.

 
At 4/22/2011 1:18 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Fair share? I'm not sure what kind of ethics you're thinking of but the top 10% get their wealth by expropriating worker's labor value. At my job I get less than 2% of the value my work brings in.

--------------------------

I think stephen has a point. I have one employee and we work shoulder to shoulder, doing the same work. I get paid more because I provide the place, the tools, the planning, accounting and marketing.

But there is an intangible in that together we get more work done, than I would get done alone. And, I woulod have to do all that other stuff anyway.

He gets more than the market rate for labor, because he is a long term employee, who can work without supervision. But it is pretty easy to make the argument he is not getting paid for all the benefit he provides.

Just because the world does not work the way Stephen would like, does not mean he hasn't got a point.

 
At 4/22/2011 1:20 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

they want other people's wealth without having to work for it. they don't understand wealth creation because they never do it.


==============================

Gross generalization, and not entirely true.

 
At 4/22/2011 1:21 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Yes, and your comments would look a lot different if you weren't a half-wit.

=========

Fascinating intellectual argument.

 
At 4/22/2011 1:28 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Fascinating intellectual argument."

Pot. Kettle.

 
At 4/22/2011 1:32 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Laffer argues that there is a point along the taxation curve that optimizes tax revenue

========================

Undoubtedly true. So why is it there is no general agreement on where that point is?

Some peoplehere have argued that it is as low as 8%.

Take a poll. Assume the policy takes time to reach its full effect, and we are looking 5 years into the future.

Please provide a point for the max Laffer curve revenue and a range of uncertainty.
ie 30% +/- 10%.

Benny?
Che?
MJP?
Bob Wright?
Bill?
Jack?
Paul?
Buddy?
Stephen?
Juandos?
Morganovich?
Edpin?
Austextrader?
Basking2?

 
At 4/22/2011 2:16 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

This chart would look a lot different were it to include payroll taxes.

Payroll taxes go to fund SS contributions that workers get when they retire. Given the fact that most have received more in benefits than they paid out I do not see what your point is. Once you net out what they got from what they paid middle class workers did all right.

 
At 4/22/2011 2:21 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

You should also include a line for "Share of Income Earned by Top 1%" - the share of tax revenues paid by top 1% should increase if the share of income is also increasing.

An excellent point Jack. In 2005 the top 1% earned 21.20% but paid out 39.38%. No matter how we try to look at the picture the top 1% paid much more than 'their share.'

 
At 4/22/2011 3:18 PM, Blogger stan_sipple said...

FUTA is not a tax employees pay to fund Medicare. FUTA is the employer's tax on payroll to fund unemployment compensation. It is solely an employers tax and they do not withhold it from pay.

 
At 4/22/2011 3:34 PM, Blogger zahmb said...

@hydra - I don't think you're going to get a specific target because there is no finite point. Ceteris Paribus, the ideal spot would imply you continue to cut taxes while the revenue increases. But the complexity of the economy doesn't make the solution so simple.

 
At 4/22/2011 3:54 PM, Blogger Jim said...

Mr. Perry,

Is the top 1% share of tax revenues more a function of enlarging exemption of say, the lower quintile than of tax rates themselves?

 
At 4/22/2011 4:06 PM, Blogger JW Ogden said...

"Of course, keep in mind that it is payroll taxes that most middle-income workers now pay heavily.."

If SS is a welfare program why is the benefit higher for the middle class and the rich that the poor and if SS is a retirement plan why are we forced to put in more than the minimum.

BTW I think that we should make it a welfare program and pay everyone the same amount.

 
At 4/22/2011 5:38 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"BTW I think that we should make it a welfare program and pay everyone the same amount."

Thank you, Karl Marx. No one owes you a retirement check. How about you learn to take care of yourself and let others take care of themselves? The days of chattel slavery are over.

 
At 4/22/2011 7:06 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

hydra-

hauser's law shows that federal tax receipts tend to stabilize at about 19% of GDP irrespective of tax rates.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2010/11/wsj-hausers-law.html

this would seem to imply that a flat tax of around 19% would work as well as anything or at least provide a ceiling in terms of what a max rate really ought to be (if applied to everyone, as i feel it should be).

it is also quite reasonable to argue that the tax rate ought to be lower than that if it will promote further growth.

this is to say that if a 17% tax rate would make the pie bigger over a period of time such that 17% at time x+t is > than 19% would be if it slowed growth, then 17% actually maximizes tax revenues.

that said, i tend to resist laffer's notions on "optimization" because they ignore the idea of "for whom". is maximizing government revenues really what we want to be striving for? why do we want the government to take as much of our money as possible?

 
At 4/22/2011 7:12 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"Gross generalization, and not entirely true."

oh really?

so what would you call it when someone wants money you make so that they can not work or enjoy a standard of living that they have not earned?

it's one thing to make sure no one starves, but to buy them TV's and $200 sneakers is another.

why is it my job to make sure that a politician gets reelected by using my money to shower largess on those who vote for him?

much of this philosophy boils down to foment class war for precisely this reason.

he has a big house. you don't. you deserve some of what's his.

taking money away from the most productive and giving it to the least is not the path to growth or prosperity.

 
At 4/22/2011 7:15 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

also:

for those who keep raising this FICA issue, go back and read the link i posted on taxes/income. that includes payroll taxes. the US still has the highest "milk the rich" ratio in the OECD and is WAY over the average.

also keep in mind that in most cases, people only pay half their FICA. the other half is paid by their employer piling yet another tax burden onto US companies that already pay the highest corporate income tax rate in the developed world.

 
At 4/22/2011 7:19 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"the top 10% get their wealth by expropriating worker's labor value"

this is just foolish. who do you think allows them to sell their labor at such prices? if they could capture so much more value on their own, why aren't they doing it?

that's just failed marxist dogma.

labor is just another commodity. it has value depending on how much it produces and how scare the skills/abilities are.

why would anyone let you use their capital for free? why would they take risk without reward?

 
At 4/22/2011 8:14 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

If SS is a welfare program why is the benefit higher for the middle class and the rich that the poor and if SS is a retirement plan why are we forced to put in more than the minimum.

It isn't 'higher.' The benefits are determined by the contributions so anyone who does not put in the maximum does not get out the maximum.

BTW I think that we should make it a welfare program and pay everyone the same amount.

While it is against my principles what you say makes sense. Everyone should get the same, say $1 a year, and there would be no problem with funding the benefits as there is now.

 
At 4/22/2011 8:17 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Thank you, Karl Marx. No one owes you a retirement check. How about you learn to take care of yourself and let others take care of themselves? The days of chattel slavery are over.

Come now. Suppose we made it a payment of $1 a year. Marx or no Marx I think that you would go for that because it is superior to the system that you have now. Of course, our friend is unlikely to go for his own suggestion of paying everyone equally because he expects a much higher benefit to be funded by some group of 'rich' that can be taxed by the government.

 
At 4/22/2011 8:22 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

so what would you call it when someone wants money you make so that they can not work or enjoy a standard of living that they have not earned?

I call it victory for the progressives, who generally support the parasite class.

that's just failed marxist dogma.

Come now. You hear this from elements in both the Republican and Democratic parties. In a social democratic state populism works.

 
At 4/23/2011 2:35 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"You cannot commingle pension dollars with the general fund dollars collected via the income tax."

Correct. You can only commingle these funds by first borrowing them from the Social Security Trust Fund in the form of "special bonds". Then Treasury can use them like any other funds.

 
At 4/23/2011 3:04 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jack

Here's a chart included in an opinion piece from the San Francisco Chronicle indicating that the top 1% of earners earn roughly 24% of income.

As they are paying 39% of income taxes, at a marginal rate of 35%, they already pay more than their share and will pay a higher share of taxes if they earn more. This group includes those earning more than $380k.

 
At 4/23/2011 3:28 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Fair share? I'm not sure what kind of ethics you're thinking of but the top 10% get their wealth by expropriating worker's labor value."

Gee, that doesn't sound fair, do you have a reference for this?

"At my job I get less than 2% of the value my work brings in."

That sounds pretty low. Can you explain how you arrived at that number?


"Most of the other 98% goes to the op 10%, who's job is simply to manage how much lower they can make the percent I have to sell my labor for."

That sounds like a great job for those top 10 percenters, but I'm not sure what you mean by "have to sell my labor".

What percentage of the total income taxes do you think someone at your income level should pay, if anything?

What about the top 10%? They currently pay 70% of all income taxes. Should they pay more?

 
At 4/23/2011 4:17 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I call it victory for the progressives, who generally support the parasite class."

...because they vote.

 
At 4/23/2011 8:55 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

"I call it victory for the progressives, who generally support the parasite class."

...because they vote.


It is simply a matter of numbers. When the majority is in the parasite class it is easy to elect progressives even if the turnout rate for the parasites is lower. There is also the calender effect. After a certain age even the producers are shifted into the parasite class and begin to depend on government handouts.

 
At 4/23/2011 10:16 AM, OpenID pumping-irony said...

Well, as we know, tax rates are not about raising revenue, they're about FAIRNESS (translation: there's no opportunity for our "friends" to buy tax breaks from us if everybody's paying the same low rate.)

BTW, the SS Admin says FICA is a "contribution", not a tax. (Insert laughter here.)

 
At 4/23/2011 12:12 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"BTW, the SS Admin says FICA is a "contribution", not a tax. (Insert laughter here.)"

haha They also claim that your employer contributes an equal share.

 
At 4/23/2011 1:06 PM, Blogger geoffrobinson said...

The rejoinder will be that the rich are making more money today. Rich get richer, etc.

However, so a more accurate comparison would be percent of income tax paid relative to income. Even with that ratio considered, the rich are still paying more.

 
At 4/23/2011 2:47 PM, Blogger Randy said...

The more interesting chart is total effective tax rate, which shows effective tax rate recently declining a bit for the top 1%, but with the trend still rising slightly from 1979 to present.

The real problem with all of these numbers, though, is that they're showing tax rate as a percentage of income, not of capital assets, which of course swamp everything else for wealthy households. You can't really make any rational decisions about tax policy without knowing something analogous to return on equity, and data on capital assets and their distribution is pretty thin on the ground.

 
At 4/23/2011 8:58 PM, Blogger kmg said...

Serious question :

1) Is there any chance whatsoever that Ryan will be able to reduce the top rate to 25%?

2) If yes, then when?

Increasing the top rate back to 39.6% would be a disaster. Sadly, Americans will have to learn the hard way.

 
At 4/23/2011 8:59 PM, Blogger kmg said...

The complexity of the tax code says a lot about what Americans have become as a people.

Leftists want to tax the 'rich', yes, but they also oppose simplification of the tax code.

What type of parasites actually prefer a tax code of such insane complexity?

People want to find some way to put non-leftists into gas chambers and gulags, that is who.

 
At 4/23/2011 9:03 PM, Blogger kmg said...

Regarding the 'rich' paying their 'fair share'....

..who says the 'fair share' is a function of income?

Why can't it be a function of consumption of government services?

No one should have to pay more than $200,000 a year in taxes, no matter what they make. A rich person is not consuming the roads, airports, medicare, military, etc. 100 times more than the average person.

If the IRS were to say "No one has to pay more than $200K in taxes. Just fill in a half-page form and a check for $200K, and we don't care how much you make.", that would greatly increase the US economy, put lots of lawyers and tax accountants out of business, and cause most of the superwealthy of other countries to move to the US.

Most of the world's superrich would come to the US if they knew they had a tax payment ceiling of $200K (a level way above what 99.9% of Americans pay).

AMT : Alternative MAXIMUM Tax.

 
At 4/23/2011 9:52 PM, Blogger msm55skm said...

Just a question. Would you not expect this graph as more people on the bottom paid no tax? Could that factoid, if true, jumble the analysis?

 
At 4/24/2011 11:03 AM, Blogger Service Tech People for assisting the concrete block industry said...

@Hydra

"He gets more than the market rate for labor, because he is a long term employee, who can work without supervision. But it is pretty easy to make the argument he is not getting paid for all the benefit he provides."

Well, h-e--l-l yeah it's a pretty easy argument to make...for every single taxpayer out there. The "Leviathan on the Potomac" has declared they OWN up to 35% of your a--s-s. YOU, as a human being are a SLAVE to this government...You will pay us what we decide we want from you, and if you choose not to do so we will throw your cheating a--s-s in jail (Unless of course your a democrat...then all is cool, just pay us now so we can get this tinsy winsy nasty bit of business off the news cycle).

I believe Galts Gulch is about the only place where a man is payed the FULL value of his labor.

 
At 4/25/2011 6:12 PM, Blogger Bert said...

At 4/22/2011 1:32 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Laffer argues that there is a point along the taxation curve that optimizes tax revenue

========================

Undoubtedly true. So why is it there is no general agreement on where that point is?

Some peoplehere have argued that it is as low as 8%.

Take a poll. Assume the policy takes time to reach its full effect, and we are looking 5 years into the future.

Please provide a point for the max Laffer curve revenue and a range of uncertainty.
ie 30% +/- 10%.

Benny?
Che?
MJP?
Bob Wright?
Bill?
Jack?
Paul?
Buddy?
Stephen?
Juandos?
Morganovich?
Edpin?
Austextrader?
Basking2?

Conventional wisdom suggests that point is 20%. Above 20% and people start thinking creatively about not paying taxes. Laffer argues for a 12% income/12% VAT tax. This is interesting, but a VAT would require a Constitutional amendment. A better solution is repeal the 16th amendment and return to a proportional tax levied per-capita on the states.

 
At 5/07/2011 7:54 AM, Blogger David King said...

Actually, the tax burden of the wealthiest has doubled because their share of the wealth is tripled. If you take this to its extreme, when the very rich have 100% of the wealth, they'll pay 100% of the taxes. The rest of us won't have to pay any taxes at all! Of course, we'll be working 60-hour weeks and buying our daily crust of bread from the company store with company script, but, hey, at least no taxes, right?

 
At 5/08/2011 7:35 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Actually, the tax burden of the wealthiest has doubled because their share of the wealth is tripled.

They call it income tax. That tax went up faster than the wealthiest share of earnings. You can't justify that.

If you take this to its extreme, when the very rich have 100% of the wealth, they'll pay 100% of the taxes.

But that can't ever happen. There is always going to be a limit to how much the 'rich' can have because they have to eat, buy stuff from companies and individuals, have someone take care of their kids, etc. The only reason that the wealthy in the US managed not to lose much of that wealth is because the idiots in Congress bailed them out when their bets went bad. To have a more natural distribution (in which you will still see a power law dominate) all you need is to neuter Congress so that it cannot meddle in economic affairs.

The rest of us won't have to pay any taxes at all!

Half of you don't pay any taxes at all. In fact, around 18% of national income comes from transfer payments. How much more tax do you want from the rich, who already bear a disproportionate share of the burden?

Of course, we'll be working 60-hour weeks and buying our daily crust of bread from the company store with company script, but, hey, at least no taxes, right?

The rich already work much more than 60-hour work weeks. It is one of the reasons that they are rich. And the last time I looked the US had a huge amount of choice about where they could buy their daily crust of bread and other goods. There were not many company stores and no company script.

 
At 10/22/2012 5:37 PM, Blogger singinggiraffe said...

unless you count the 90s. Which ended with a budget surplus. look at your own chart. as for the discussion of FICA and FUTA. Remove the income cap, budget shortfall solved. The rich keep shifting the cost of health and retirement onto their employees and the government (to their own rapid enrichment and the impoverishment of the former middle class)- why not have them hel recoup some of that?

 
At 10/22/2012 5:38 PM, Blogger singinggiraffe said...

unless you count the 90s. Which ended with a budget surplus. look at your own chart. as for the discussion of FICA and FUTA. Remove the income cap, budget shortfall solved. The rich keep shifting the cost of health and retirement onto their employees and the government (to their own rapid enrichment and the impoverishment of the former middle class)- why not have them hel recoup some of that?

 

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