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The Rich Are Taxed Enough

The BriefGet Up To Speed

How do we fix the economy? The U.S. government's budget deficit is nearing a trillion dollars for the fourth straight year and unemployment remains high. With the Bush-era tax cuts that are set to expire at the end of 2012, what is the best move for continued economic recovery? President Obama says we should raise taxes on those making more than $250,000 to reduce the deficit. Others say that the richest 1% already pay more than a quarter of all federal taxes and higher taxes for job creators would slow economic growth. Are the nation's wealthiest not paying their "fair share," or should tax breaks be extended for everyone in the name of job creation?

   *Panelists subject to change


There is little doubt that government can redistribute wealth: taxing high-income individuals can and has increased equality. But there is little evidence to suggest that this results in increased economic mobility for the poor.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Stephen Moore

The president’s insistent desire to raise taxes is a distraction. It won't solve our nation's fiscal problem.

Thursday, April 14, 2011
Alan Reynolds

A favorite liberal argument is to attribute the economy’s strong performance during the 1990s to President Clinton’s economic policies, chief among which was a huge tax increase. The economic defense of the Clinton tax hikes does not hold up against the historical facts.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Curtis S. Dubay

Fiscal stimuli based upon tax cuts are more likely to increase growth than those based upon spending increases.

Thursday, October 1, 2009
Alberto Alesina and Silvia Ardagna

Warren Buffett's recent call to increase taxes on the super- and mega-rich would have little effect on reducing the nation’s deficit and debt.

Friday, August 19, 2011
David S. Logan

The president spends a lot of time talking about the fairness of the tax code, and the notion that people making over $1 million should not pay lower taxes than the middle class. The real question at hand is: ‘Do the rich pay their fair share in taxes?’

Monday, September 26, 2011
Veronique de Rugy

Reasonable people can disagree about whether and how much the government should redistribute income. But don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that when the government taxes the rich, only the rich bear the burden.

Saturday, October 9, 2010
N. Gregory Mankiw

Some have argued that extending the high-income cuts is necessary for the economy. This is simply wrong.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Christina Romer

To sustain supply-side myths, Heritage Foundation miscalculates economic growth and ignores the job creation records in the Clinton and Bush eras.

Thursday, September 22, 2011
Michael Linden

There is a case to be made that the rich can pay much more. The reason has nothing to do with fairness, justice or ideology. It is about economics and math.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Eduardo Porter

I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain.

Sunday, August 14, 2011
Warren Buffet

Rich people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is the feedback loop between customers and businesses.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Nick Hanauer

One factor underlying the hard-line Republican position that taxes must not be increased by even $1 is their assertion that the Bush tax cuts played no role in creating our deficit problem.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Bruce Bartlett

The biggest problem in the U.S. economy, in fact, is a shortage of job creators to reward and protect. Part of the Republicans' plan is to lower taxes, streamline regulation, open more trade and take other steps that will stimulate job creation. But we've already tried some of that, including several rounds of tax cuts since 2008.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Rick Newman

This paper concludes that a revenue-neutral individual income tax change that incorporates the features Governor Romney has proposed – including reducing marginal tax rates substantially, eliminating the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT) and maintaining all tax breaks for saving and investment – would provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Samuel Brown
Obama & Romney Tax Plans

The Obama administration tax policy page.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Mitt Romney’s plan for jobs and economic growth.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Lois Shepherd

For 2011, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that if current laws remain unchanged, the federal budget will show a deficit of close to $1.5 trillion, or 9.8 percent of GDP.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Congressional Budget Office
Tax Policy Center

TPC has analyzed the distributional effects of tax proposals from President Obama, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have introduced legislation to extend some of the tax cuts originally passed in 2001 through 2009 and that Congress extended in the compromise legislation at the end of 2010. TPC has produced distributional analysis of the competing plans against both a current law and a current policy baseline for the 2013 calendar year.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

U.S. taxes are low relative to those in other developed countries. In 2008 U.S. taxes at all levels of government claimed 26 percent of GDP, compared with an average of 35 percent of GDP for the 33 member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Williams compares the adjusted gross incomes of the top 400 with the incomes of all other taxpayers with income over $1 million and finds that because they realize more capital gains, the top 400 tend to have lower effective income tax rates than other very high-income taxpayers.

Friday, July 6, 2012
Roberton Williams

The Simpson-Bowles commission, formally known as the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, bipartisan proposal to address the nation's fiscal challenges.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Report of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
Bipartisan Policy Center

The BPC Tax Reform Plan represents a radical simplification of the current tax code and would raise approximately $1.4 trillion less than the system under current law.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

At the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013, several policies are set to take effect that would reduce deficits and debt, but in untargeted and abrupt ways.

Monday, July 16, 2012
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
Fiscal Cliff

In the first two days of 2013, large tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003 will expire and across-the-board cuts to defense and nondefense programs in the government will begin a drastic and sudden hit to the economy — a so-called fiscal cliff — that both parties say could be damaging to the unsteady recovery.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Jonathan Weisman

Speaking this week at the Western Economic Association International, economic forecaster Allen Sinai talked about the damage the “fiscal cliff” of 2013 will cause the economy. Sinai concludes that a recession is unavoidable if Congress does not act to fix the fiscal cliff.

Saturday, July 7, 2012
Salim Furth

Failure to extend tax cuts before January will not plunge the economy into immediate recession.

Monday, September 24, 2012
Chad Stone

When fiscal policy is in chaos, companies cannot plan for the future.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

For all the attention the fiscal cliff is getting in Washington and on Wall Street, most consumers just aren't paying attention.

Monday, October 15, 2012
Ben Casselman
State Taxes

Despite all the political hubbub, federal income tax rates for the rich remain at or near historical lows. But in the states, it’s a different—though constantly changing—story. During the recent recession-related state budgets mess, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon and Washington, D.C. all hit high-income folks with targeted rate hikes, most of them billed as temporary.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Ashlea Ebeling

This study assesses the fairness of each state’s tax system, measuring the state and local taxes paid by different groups in 2007 (including the impact of tax changes enacted through October 2009) as shares of income for every state and the District of Columbia.

Sunday, November 1, 2009
Carl Davis

This policy brief examines the contributions of progressive income taxes toward better state tax policy, explains why claims about their negative impact on economic growth are unfounded, and describes several reforms states could adopt to address some of the problems wrongly attributed to progressive income taxes.

Sunday, July 1, 2012
Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy

The debate over the proper balance between taxing and spending has been raging in Congress, on the presidential campaign trail and in statehouses around the country, and no two states have settled it more differently this year than Maryland and Kansas, whose fiscal years began July 1.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Michael Cooper
Additional Articles

Amid debate about whether and how to reform the tax code, a look at how the picture has changed.

Monday, August 6, 2012
David Wessel

Last year, the federal government collected $2.3 trillion in taxes. Planet Money breaks it down graphically.

Friday, April 13, 2012
Lam Thuy Vo and Jacob Goldstein

The Tax Foundation presents a few facts that highlight the modern American tax system.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Richard Morrison

How did $250,000 become the magic number?

Saturday, May 14, 2011
Andrew Ross Sorkin

This paper confirms recent studies which find little or no sustained increase in the inequality of disposable income for the U.S. population as a whole over the past 20 years, even though estimates of the top 1 percent's share of pretax, pretransfer (market) income spiked upward in 1986-88, 1997-2000 and 2003-2007.

Thursday, October 4, 2012
Alan Reynolds

A Republican proposal to preserve tax cuts for the nation’s wealthiest households next year would cost about $80 billion more than a Democratic proposal to extend the cuts solely for middle-class taxpayers, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Thursday, July 19, 2012
Lori Montgomery

When it comes to tax deductions, it is good to be rich -- the richer, the better.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Jay MacDonald

By two-to-one (44% to 22%), the public says that raising taxes on incomes above $250,00o would help the economy rather than hurt it, while 24% say this would not make a difference. Moreover, an identical percentage (44%) says a tax increase on higher incomes would make the tax system more fair, while just 21% say it would make the system less fair.

Monday, July 16, 2012
Pew Research Center

Half of Americans believe the amount they pay in federal income taxes is too high, while 43% consider it about right and 4% too low.

Monday, April 18, 2011
Lydia Saad