Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Kleinbard: Tax Fairness and Fairness in Tax Data Reporting

Following up on yesterday's post, WSJ: Taxing the Rich -- The Facts:  Huffington Post:  Tax Fairness and Fairness in Tax Data Reporting, by Edward D. Kleinbard (USC):

The impetus for this little paper was an op-ed by Ari Fleischer in the Wall Street Journal a couple of weeks ago [The Latest News on Tax Fairness] that unfairly claimed that the Congressional Budget Office had demonstrated that the most affluent Americans were "overtaxed." That op-ed contained many rhetorical tricks and incomplete statements that are a staple of the current political right, and I felt it important both to defend the honor of the CBO and to offer readers a more balanced presentation of the underlying issues. Editorials like Fleischer's simply polarize discussion and distract from the real questions of fiscal policy, which are the appropriate role of government in contemporary society and the best modes of financing it, and as to which reasonable people can come to somewhat different conclusions.

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Mr. Kleinbard's primary complaint of Fleischer's WSJ op-ed (other than the ad hominems like "a political operative, not a scholar or journalist" and it goes on from there) is that he said the US income tax system is "incredibly progressive" and then proceeds to nit-pick about how it's not. If he's going to nit-pick, he needs to explain what the Reynolds-Smolensky and Kwakani indices do to the Gini index. Also, it would be enlightening to hear his explanation of how it is not a progressive tax system where half of the "taxpayers" pay no tax.

Posted by: TexEcon | Aug 7, 2012 9:06:48 AM