Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Regressive taxes

By Heraclitus

Okay, I swear I'm not trying to be glib or facetious by following so many posts on death with a post on taxes. It's just that time of year, and I thought this post by Jonathan Chait was worth drawing to your attention (thanks to Kaveh for drawing it to mine). It's largely a snarky demolition of an extraordinarily dishonest (and perhaps also incompetent) column in The Wall Street Journal by Air Fleischer, but it makes some good points about how regressive our tax code is generally.

If you add in state and local taxes, you get a more complete picture of the tax burden. As it happens, conservative economist Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute addressed this topic in yesterday's Washington Post. Hassett found that, in 2003, the average family of four earning $50,000 a year paid 31 percent of its income in taxes. The average family of four earning $150,000 paid 30 percent. (Note to Fleischer: 31 is greater than 30. I can explain this to you in more detail if you'd like.) These figures came from 2003, the last year for which data was available. They don't take into account the 2003 Bush tax cuts, which made the tax code even more regressive.


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