Paul L. Caron
Dean


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

NY Times: The Rich Really Do Pay Lower Taxes Than You

New York Times op-ed:  The Rich Really Do Pay Lower Taxes Than You, by David Leonhardt:

Almost a decade ago, Warren Buffett made a claim that would become famous. He said that he paid a lower tax rate than his secretary, thanks to the many loopholes and deductions that benefit the wealthy.

His claim sparked a debate about the fairness of the tax system. In the end, the expert consensus was that, whatever Buffett’s specific situation, most wealthy Americans did not actually pay a lower tax rate than the middle class. “Is it the norm?” the fact-checking outfit Politifact asked. “No.”

Time for an update: It’s the norm now.

For the first time on record, the 400 wealthiest Americans last year paid a lower total tax rate — spanning federal, state and local taxes — than any other income group, according to newly released data.

NY Times

The overall tax rate on the richest 400 households last year was only 23 percent, meaning that their combined tax payments equaled less than one quarter of their total income. This overall rate was 70 percent in 1950 and 47 percent in 1980. ...

The data here come from the most important book on government policy that I’ve read in a long time — called “The Triumph of Injustice,” to be released next week. The authors are Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, both professors at the University of California, Berkeley, who have done pathbreaking work on taxes. ...

In their book, Saez and Zucman sketch out a modern progressive tax code. The overall tax rate on the richest 1 percent would roughly double, to about 60 percent.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2019/10/ny-times-the-rich-really-do-pay-lower-taxes-than-you.html

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Comments

When you make most of your income through capital gains ... and capital gains has a preferential tax rate. Duh.

Posted by: ruralcounsel | Oct 9, 2019 3:28:07 AM

For those whose primary concern regarding taxation is insufficient lack of progressiveness, the obvious solution is to support repeal the most regressive taxes of all, namely, taxes on tobacco, alcohol, and gasoline.

Posted by: PaulB | Oct 9, 2019 7:30:35 AM

"For those whose primary concern regarding taxation is insufficient lack of progressiveness, the obvious solution is to support repeal the most regressive taxes of all, namely, taxes on tobacco, alcohol, and gasoline."

Huh, I would think the most obvious solution would be to restore the progressive nature of the taxes in question in the article...

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Oct 9, 2019 8:22:30 AM

Perhaps a little more explanation or, as Delbert Grady might say, "correction" is needed for this article. >> More Sloppy Analysis from the New York Times

Posted by: Woody | Oct 9, 2019 1:26:56 PM

The primary disagreement between the viewpoints of PaulB and Unemployed Northeastern (whom I would hope is finally employed by now; if not now, when? Employment conditions are not likely to get any better) is whether the root problem is too much spending or not enough revenue. Either are perfectly reasonable positions; both advocating a form of balancing the equation of spending versus taxation. What always bothers me is the hypocrisy of those who advocate for higher taxes, because there is nothing stopping an individual from paying a higher percentage of their income to the U.S. Treasury if that’s what they truly believe is more fair. That those advocate for that solution generally do NOT do so, and rationalize their behavior with various excuses (which we’ve all heard and I need not enumerate here). But seriously, if that’s the “right thing to do,” why aren‘t they doing it ?

Posted by: ruralcounsel | Oct 10, 2019 3:50:02 AM

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