Paul L. Caron

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Income Redistribution Under Obama's Budget

The Tax Foundation has published How Much Does President Obama’s Budget Redistribute Income?:

New analysis of President Obama's Budget finds that he is targeting the nation's highest earners for greater income redistributions. By 2012, the federal government is scheduled to be redistributing an extra $79 billion from the top-earning 5% of American families, and $71 billion of that will be paid by the top-earning 1% of families.


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My "low-income housing project" near my house shows:

78% have satellite TV

98% of the adults have cell phones

90% of kids age 16-19 without jobs, have cell phones

78% of 16-22-year olds have personal stereos ("iPods")

....and they are considered "poor" and in need of more of my money.

Posted by: My Word! | Jun 28, 2009 10:44:56 AM

Sorry Charles C, but 'income disparity' is a red herring -- nothing more than spite and envy masquerading as a moral crusade.

I spend a good deal of time in the more Hobbesian neighborhoods of this planet, and your 'bottom 80%' live better than most of the world's people. I've seen too much real poverty, up close, to muster much patience for the ginned-up pity over 'poor' people with cell phones and satellite television.

We have a government comprised of millionaire legislators, aided and abetted by bureaucrats who are paid higher average incomes than the public they serve, busy buying off the constituencies needed to keep them in power with wealth created by this nation's productive classes. This is little more than theft.

Posted by: vinny vidivici | Jun 28, 2009 8:05:33 AM

This all ends badly, with gunpowder in the air.

Posted by: PD Quig | Jun 28, 2009 7:17:16 AM

Oops...-$63,619 = 2 families NOT off welfare

Posted by: Joe C. | Jun 28, 2009 5:43:37 AM

-$63,619 = 3 entry-level jobs not created per year
-$63,619 = 2 families out of welfare
-$63,619 = 1 teacher, policeman, firefighter not hired

Posted by: Joe C. | Jun 28, 2009 5:41:25 AM

Unfortunately, for some pro-dem posters here they appear to have a very poor understanding of history and economics.

It is the wealthy who create jobs. It is the wealthy who own the companies that produce the goods and services a society requires for a healthy vibrant economy. These wealthy will simply move their money and business to alternative countries that offer more favorable taxation, etc.
And no, new wealth or business will not replace them. Why would they? Would you locate yourself in a country with high taxation and a hostile business environment if you had the means to avoid it?

Posted by: missing link | Jun 27, 2009 11:21:35 PM

If I were rich, I would be decamping right about now. Americans WORK for their money; nobody should tell 'em that they're greedy and should give back. Giving some semi-literate a job is giving back. Paying taxes is giving back. Charitable giving is giving back. It's not Barack Obama's job to decide who has too much and take their money to give it to those who don't want to work or don't have what's necessary for success. The amazing thing is, the Hypocrite in Chief gave back practically nothing. When he was doing his community organizing schtick in Chicago, the people in his district are still waiting for him to stand up for them against their landlords. He never did. He himself gave very little or nothing to charity. I'm poor as hell, but I don't want a dime from some guy who busted his chops to get what he has. He worked for it. It's his. He has a RIGHT to keep it. Who the hell is Obama to say what that guy has is too much and should be shared? Enough! Time for a revolution!

Posted by: apodoca | Jun 27, 2009 9:32:43 PM

its unfair for those who became rags to riches

Posted by: matt | Jun 27, 2009 8:28:29 PM

Do I detect a "donut hole" for the middle class?
Destroy the middle class, Obama's primary focus, and you destroy America (obama's ultimate goal).

Posted by: mad-as-H | Jun 27, 2009 7:20:16 PM

Right off the bat,.... connotations. "MASSIVE INCOME REDISTRIBUTION.".... Even Faux News tries to be Fair and Balanced. The fact is we are just going back to tax rates under Clinton. And if you look at how the top 20% has fared over the last 8 years verses the bottom 80% they have not exactly received a bad deal(,,,, gag, barf, choke)...understatement of the century, but I'm just trying to get my comment posted.

Posted by: Charles C. | Jun 27, 2009 7:17:04 PM

Actually I've met quite a few folks in the upper five percent, other than having nicer homes and cars as they got to retirement age, most got rich by spending far below their means and plowing the money back into the business(es) that made them wealthy. It isn't until you get into boxers, ball players and entertainment types (and now politicians, God help us), that you see the big spending. Taxing that reinvestment money will cripple the economy.

Posted by: Peter | Jun 27, 2009 7:06:02 PM

Also, as Margaret Thatcher is alleged to have said, "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." Folks who think this can't happen haven't studied socialist "utopias."

Posted by: Peg C. | Jun 27, 2009 5:55:17 PM

What if the top 1% Go Galt? I would.

Posted by: Peg C. | Jun 27, 2009 5:52:45 PM

Axelrod Kidz like David don't read, Gerald. They only astroturf and tell you what a "shameful" person you are for muddying the message of Dear Leader.

Posted by: Lifeguard | Jun 27, 2009 5:31:43 PM

ROFL! Boy I am so glad to be a poor person today. It is so awesome. I get 18k in cash every year from the government, who steal it from hard working middle class suburban people.

what a freaking joke

Posted by: whatajoke | Jun 27, 2009 4:36:08 PM

I guess Obama is still assuming that, in 2012, all those "top-earners" he's squeezing will still be a) top-earners and b) residing in the United States.

If Obama's assuming both of the above, then he's likely assuming wrong.

Posted by: MarkJ | Jun 27, 2009 4:09:49 PM

Actually, if you had read the report (which it's pretty safe to say you didn't) this analysis, we have allocated national defense spending (and most other public goods) on the basis of income.

I doubt you even looked at the chart because you would see that the top 1 percent is assumed to have a dramatically larger amount of spending than other income groups.

Posted by: Gerald Prante | Jun 27, 2009 10:09:02 AM

The Tax Foundation should be ashamed of itself for continuing to peddle these fantastic statistics.

Last year they invented this bizarre method of counting government "redistribution" in which all government spending is considered as though it were a benefit payment to individuals.

For instance, the government has spent billions on an Iraq War. Did this money go to benefit the CEOs and shareholders of military contractors? No, according to the Tax Foundation, it was money that the government "redistributed" to all citizens equally in the form of the Iraq War.

Sen. Stevens' "Bridge to Nowhere" -- was that a redistribution of money from taxpayers to Senator Stevens' reelection committee, or to his pals in Alaska, or to the lucky people who live near the bridge, or to the companies who can profit by building it? No, it's a "redistribution" of money to all Americans equally in the form of a bridge.

So of course, since tax collection is progressive, and since using this bizarre voodoo accounting spending is nearly-flat -- with more going via social security to low-income retirees, and to low-income EITC recipients -- the nation's tax system can be better-described as one big redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor.

And the Tax Foundation counts on lazy journalists and bloggers to take their numbers at face value and assume that the government really is planning to redistribute $18,000 to folks in the bottom 10%... those lucky duckies.

More detailed analysis of this dishonesty:

Posted by: David Gross | Jun 27, 2009 8:31:10 AM