Paul L. Caron

Thursday, October 29, 2020

NY Times: Say Yes To Progressive Taxation

New York Times editorial, Say Yes To Progressive Taxation:

Most Americans accept the common-sense case for progressive taxation: Those who have more ought to contribute more to the society that is the foundation of their prosperity.

In most American states, however, the distribution of taxation is actually regressive. Those who earn less money pay a higher share of income than the rich in state and local taxes.

Voters in Illinois and Arizona, two of the states where taxation is most regressive, now have the chance to make the tax system a little more fair. Ballot measures in both states would shift more of the burden of taxation onto wealthier residents. In California, where the overall distribution of taxation is already progressive, voters can make a change for the better.

A more progressive approach to taxation is necessary to counterbalance the rise of economic inequality, which has reached the highest levels since the 1920s. This imbalance undermines the nation’s foundational commitment to the equality of opportunity, weighs on economic growth and exacerbates political tensions. ...

All three state measures signal a welcome shift in public debate. Decades of relentless advocacy for limits on taxation have left states strapped for resources and forced to lean heavily on lower-income households. A new generation of politicians is now stepping forward to make the case for progressive taxation, promising to use the money to invest in services like high-quality education. It is up to the voters to give that effort their support.

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Took a quick look at this advocacy report, someone can correct me if I missed something. But in making the argument that tax distribution is "regressive", they exclude federal tax liability. If you include it, which essentially doubles the average household's total tax liability, it's no longer regressive. In fact, it's quite progressive.

But it's shocking, positively shocking, that Deep Blue Illinois imposes some regressive taxes on its citizens. I can name several in my home state of California that have the same effect: parcel taxes on property, sales taxes on pretty much everything, fees and surcharges for infractions and misdemeanors. And these are progressives' bread and butter. Fascinating the the Times actually balks at overtaxing citizens!

Why do I keep seeing selective and conspicuous omissions like this? I mean, do researchers just assume readers are stupid?

Posted by: MM Classic | Oct 29, 2020 7:29:31 PM

People don't read the NY Times for facts, they read it (a) to bask in their perceived moral superiority over conservatives; and (b) for the cathartic sense of anger it generates deep in their hearts. By both reflecting and amplifying left-wing myths, the paper achieves both aims.

The readers aren't stupid, they're just addicts getting their fix. Facts get in the way.

Posted by: Ross | Oct 30, 2020 2:03:46 PM

These are the same people who opposed limiting the deduction for wealthy taxpayers in high-tax jurisdictions

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Oct 31, 2020 3:14:57 AM