Paul L. Caron

Friday, January 20, 2012

More on Mitt Romney's Tax Returns

Following up on this morning's post, Caron: Romney Is Surprisingly Ill-Prepared on Tax Issue

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Woody is quite clearly from a different generation than me. My involuntary "contributions" to Medicare and Social Security are a tax. One from which I will see little, if any, benefit.

Gibson and Woody also take the 1980s tax reform completely out of context. Prior to the (very brief) tax rate hike on capital gains, there was a HUGE spike in capital gain activity. The spike was undoubtedly triggered by the impending rate hike. So if capital gain tax revenues were averaged over several years (rather than just a single year taken out of context), I doubt the rate hike lessened revenues for the government.

Cutting the capital gains rate does not encourage investment, although messing with the rate will influence the timing of investment activity. In fact, if the capital gains rate were cut, current investment activity would probably stagnate while investors waited on the lower rate to be effective (unless the rate cut was immediately effective).

Posted by: Anon | Jan 21, 2012 10:42:40 AM

Re Woody's "Capital gains rate cuts encouraged investments..." Yes, keep covering you hears and shouting "lalalalala, I can't hear you!"

Posted by: GaryD | Jan 21, 2012 5:37:57 AM

Social Security and Medicare CONTRIBUTIONS go to benefit the individual workers and are not taxes. They are not properly included in a discussion about income taxes.

Capital gains rate cuts encouraged investments and resulted in higher tax revenues. In trying for "fairness," do we want to get someone else?

GIBSON: And in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased. The government took in more money. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28 percent, the revenues went down. So why raise it at all, especially given the fact that 100 million people in this country own stock and would be affected?

OBAMA: Well, Charlie, what I’ve said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.

Posted by: Woody | Jan 20, 2012 8:44:51 PM

Don't forget payroll taxes as you think about Romney's tax rate. Romney's federal tax rate is around 15%.

Most wage-earners are hit with Romney's rate in payroll taxes before a single dollar of income tax is paid. For a wage-earner earning less than the wage base of $106,800, total payroll taxes alone are 15.3%. (Currently, payroll taxes have been cut by 2%, but the amount is still approaching 15%).

It is about time that this country had a good discussion on fair tax rates.

Posted by: Anon | Jan 20, 2012 2:38:28 PM