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Column in the Wall Street Journal by Brian Riedl: The Bush Tax Cuts and the Deficit Myth.




The highlights:


" the much-maligned Bush tax cuts .. caused just 14% of the swing from projected surpluses to actual deficits (and that is according to a "static" analysis, excluding any revenues recovered from faster economic growth induced by the cuts). The bulk of the swing resulted from economic and technical revisions (33%), other new spending (32%), net interest on the debt (12%), the 2009 stimulus (6%) and other tax cuts (3%). Specifically, the tax cuts for those earning more than $250,000 are responsible for just 4% of the swing. If there were no Bush tax cuts, runaway spending and economic factors would have guaranteed more than $4 trillion in deficits over the decade and kept the budget in deficit every year except 2007."


Liberals cannot admit that government spending has gotten us into this mess. George Bush doubled the size of government. Within the first 19 months of Obamas reign, he increased our federal debt by $2.5260 trillion, which is more than the cumulative total of the debt amassed by all presidents from George Washington through Ronald Reagan. But to criticize government spending is to criticize government itself and for liberals who love government, this tugs at the very core of their being.


Whether it was Bush doubling the size of the fed or Obama doubling the national debt: it's the spending, stupid.


Small business (largely owned by those making $250,000 or more) accounts for 64% of the new jobs over the last 15 years.



So you want to eliminate 64% of new jobs in order to recoup 4% of the budget deficit?


How is your face gonna look without your nose?



(This message has been edited by joebob)

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What I see is what we called in the Carter years STAGFLATION.


The economy is not growing.


Inflation is here. 50 cents an ear of corn? Hello? $3.48 a gallon for gas, down from $3.89? Hello?


If we had the rising economic tide all of us desire, it would float all the boats. We don't.


We further have the problem of debt service and entitlements.


I'm not smart enough to fix the problem, but I know this: It took America 70 years to tie the Gordian knot. Slicing it, as the House proposes to do (but not attacking the entitlements), is going to generate pain and risk. Untying the knot takes time.


We need a bunch of Scouters in Congress, who can say the Pledge, recite the Oath and Law, listen to a prayer, and then in friendship and courtesy work through the problem.


That's a sad pipe dream.

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So, now the Republican negotiator bows out (probably a better term could be found), of the budget talks because the other side continues to insist that income has to be part of the solution, either taxes or closing of loopholes that favor a tiny proportion of society (those who have the Republicans in their pockets). Compromise; finding a middle ground, or giving something to get something.


What confuses me is that I cannot find many "regular people" who have a problem with stopping the tax breaks for the rich, or closing their loopholes so that they actually pay for their profits. It would be interesting to see a completely unbiased, balanced survey of maybe 2% of the on the street citizens regarding how they really feel about the Republican refusal to even consider income and higher taxes on those feeling the least pain. I suspect that not only would they smack the Republicans down on that idea, but they also would have some pretty harsh words for the Democrats too regarding other issues. The reality is that the general public has zero confidence in either side. But our so called elected "representatives" hardly ever actually care about those they supposedly serve.


When the oil companies start actually spending profits in long term projects to improve their business, such as new refineries, and the financial wizards of the large institutions start actually giving loans without impossible barriers to overcome, and all of the corporate big shots give back some of their inflated compensation,then maybe we (the 97% or so of the common people)will have some hope.


Right now, I personally would like to chuck them all. That said, what we might get is even a scarier proposition.(This message has been edited by skeptic)

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I read somewhere that when Lyndon Johnson was President the wealthy, the upper 10% of our society, provided 20% of our tax revenue. Now that number is near 4.5% of our tax revenue. Things have shifted drastically, and for the worse. I dont buy the Trickle Down Economics bunk, its just that. If these numbers are accurate, and I suspect theyre close, this puts the middle class providing 95.5% of the tax revenue. We pride ourselves as a nation on how well we take care of our poor, and that is noble, but we know the lower class are not contributing to this revenue. Of course, whats ironic, is the lower class lives better than the middle class who is paying for their benefits. This system is way out of whack, and our elected officials wont change it, as theyre campaigns are funded by the wealthy, and kept in the office by the votes of those who are getting a free ride on us, and get wealthy off the system.

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One set of data points:



For tax year 2008 (last available):


Percentiles Ranked by AGI

AGI Threshold on Percentiles

Percentage of Federal Personal Income Tax Paid by this population group


Top 1%





Top 5%





Top 10%





Top 25%





Top 50%





Bottom 50%


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So, this shows that those least likely to afford it pay very little; but those most able pay the least. The major hit is by those of us that are in the second quartile, more or less. Very few of our "representatives" fall into that level; they are mostly in the top quartile, so of course pay less percentage. And we wonder why they side with the rich; most of them are the rich.

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Skeptic and Ox,


Y'all need to study those figures more closely to try and justify your statements:


1... 38% - 1% pay ..........................................38%

5... 58% - 2-5 (Next 4% of taxpayers) pay...20%

10.. 70% - 6-10 (Next 5% Taxpayers) pay ..12%

25.. 86% - 11-25 (15% of Taxpayers) pay.. 16%

50.. 97% - 26-50 (25% of Middleclass) pay 11%


Bottom 50% pay.............................................. 2.7%


Another way to look at it:

Top 10% pay 70% of the bill

The rest of us, 90%, pay only 30%


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  • 11 months later...

Escape from New York:





Top 1% pay ............38% of all taxes Paid


Top 2% to 5% .... pay...20%of all taxes Paid


In the 6%-10% you pay ..12% of all taxes Paid


Between 11% -25% (15% of Taxpayers) pay.. 16% of all taxes Paid


The folks between 26% - 50% (25% of Middleclass) pay 11% of all taxes Paid



The proud Bottom 50% pay............................... 2.7%


The kind of tax reform we need will never get past the bottom 50%.


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Weird as it is, I like reading IRS and state tax revenue documents. It's fascinating stuff to try to really understand. Really.


Anyway, it's not entirely correct to say the bottom 50% pay 2.7% of the tax. It's more like the 14% of the population in the 36% - 50% of income bracket pay 2.7%. The lowest 36% pay no income tax. The lowest 25% get "credit" for taxes paid that amount to around $60 billion or about 5% of all income taxes collected.


Just saying that if you factor in credit given, the bottom 50% of the population actually pays a "negative" 2.3% of the taxes collected.


I'm not arguing against EITC. I'm just saying taxes are no where as punitive as stated.

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These are the kind of statistics that partisan organizations and clueless media like to use because they tell a story that they want people to believe without telling anything behind that story - so let's take a look behind that story.


The mean income for the under 50% (2009) is $16,198. Easy to get it, it's the midpoint between $0.00 and $32,396 which the National Taxpayers Union uses as the ceiling income for the under 50%.


The lowest income amount for the top 1% is $343,927 (2009), again, according to the NTU.


Let's say that both taxpayers pay 36% in income taxes. The 1%er pays $123,813 in taxes (without deductions) leaving him a net income of $220,114 - pretty livable. Our 50%er pays $5,831 in taxes, leaving her $10,367 to live on - good luck!


It would take 21 people paying $5,831 to equal the amount of taxes paid by the 1%er. However, the 1%er has a bunch of deductions that will drop his taxes down - he may still end up paying from the high 90's to low 100's, but he's still has a good net income. The 50%er, as has been pointed out, is as likely have an earned income credit that not only eliminates taxes, but results in more money coming to her in her refund than she paid.


No wonder the percentages are the way they are. Of course, another way to look at it is that the bottom 99%, the Upper Middle Class to the Poor, pay 62% of the taxes. As a middle class tax payer, I'd welcome some tax relief, but not at the expense of the poor - I'd rather see the percentages go to 50/50, with the top 1% paying 50% of all federal personal income taxes and the bottom 99% paying 50%. And since Corporations are now People, I say we re-write the tax laws so that Corporations can only get the same tax credits and write-offs as the People.

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Well they pass it through to their customers, you and me, as a cost of doing business.


Their owners, stockholders, are then taxed again on their dividends or capital gains. But at least they don't pay payroll taxes on this income and the capital gains tax are generally lower than income taxe rates.


So if corporations really don't pay taxes, they shouldn't have a say in the political process. No representation without taxation.


Comparing the relative tax rates based on Income Tax tables is pointless anyway. It leaves out Soc. Security and Medicare taxes dissproportionately paid by those who have wages less than $110,000 per year. One reason Republicans don't like the payroll tax cut is because they don't get the full benefit. It's a tax cut that disproportionately favors the middle class. The income tax rates also don't account for state and local taxes, sales taxes, etc. You need to look at studies that look at the overall tax burden Those clearly show the how those with higher incomes pay a smaller percentage of their income in taxes.


I'm not outraged about the bottom 50% making

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This is silly, taking more from the rich won't even put a dent in the budget or deficit problem. Its purely another political strategy to gain votes from the majoirty of non-rich.



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It may not put a dent in the budget problem or the deficit problem but it's a good start to the debt issue - spending cuts alone won't do it - we need to inrease revenue as well, and I'd rather increase taxes for the 1% before increasing the taxes of the 99% - and I'd like to see taxes on capital gains increased to 36% as well.

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