Tag Archive: Taxation


New CBO Study Shows That ‘The Rich’ Don’t Just Pay Their ‘Fair Share,’ They Pay Almost Everybody’s Share

 

 

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” The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just released its annual report on “The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes” analyzing data through 2011 on American household’s: a) average “market income” (a comprehensive measure that includes labor income, business income, and income from capital gains), b) average household transfer payments (payments and benefits from federal, state and local governments including Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance), and c) average federal taxes paid by households (including income, payroll, corporate, and excise taxes). Some of the key findings of the CBO analysis are displayed in the table above, with the data organized by household income quintiles. The data in the first five rows above appear in the CBO report (from Tables 1 and 4), and rows 6-8 above have been calculated separately based on data from the first four rows in the table.

  The CBO report received attention and commentary this week from John Merline at Investor’s Business Daily (“New CBO Report Explodes Tax Fairness Myths”), Reason’s Nick Gillespie (“3 Charts About Income Inequality, Transfers, and Taxes”), AEI’s Jim Pethokoukis (“Here is what’s really happening to middle-class incomes and inequality”), Heritage Foundation’s Curtis Dubay (“The Richest 1 Percent of Americans Pay 24 Percent of Federal Taxes”) and former economist Paul Krugman (“Why the One Percent Hates Obama”).

  Some additional analysis and commentary will be provided here that reveal a yet-to-be discussed major implication of the CBO report – almost the entire burden: a) of all transfer payments made to American households and b) of all non-financed government spending, falls on just one group of Americans – the top one-fifth of US households by income. That’s correct, the CBO study shows that the bottom three income quintiles representing 60% of US households are “net recipients” (they receive more in transfer payments than they pay in federal taxes), the second-highest income quintile pays just slightly more in federal taxes ($14,800) than it receives in government transfer payments ($14,100), while the top 20% of American “net payer” households finance 100% of the transfer payments to the bottom 60%, as well as almost 100% of the tax revenue collected to run the federal government. Here are the details of that analysis.”

 

Read it all

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Government Has Paid Millions For Workers To Stay Home

 

 

 

 

The federal government has shelled out more than $700 million in paid leave to more than 57,000 employees who were home from work for time periods stretching from one month to three years, a Government Accountability Office report has found.

  In a 62-page report published Monday, the GAO analyzed why so many federal employees were home and getting paid for such long periods of time and they discovered a variety of reasons.”

 

Paid Leave

 

” In many cases, employees were home awaiting the outcome of investigations into alleged misconduct and criminal actions. Some racked up paid leave for “physical fitness activities,” and others were away from work seeking professional development. Employees also took paid leave for “recuperation” from overseas work.

  Hundreds of federal employees remained at home, collecting a paycheck, for years.

  The report found that during a three-year period beginning in 2011, 263 employees remained on paid leave for one to three years at a cost of $31 million.

  In some cases, about five percent of the time, the federal government couldn’t come up with a reason why some employees were home on paid leave.”

 

   Those 263 employees cost the US taxpayers an average of $117,870 each to sit on their asses … “We’re in the best of hands”

 

Read more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ranking Known State Subsidies To Private Businesses

 

 

 

 

 

” While corporate welfare, whether in the form of subsidies or bailouts, is more often associated with the federal government, state governments also regularly use generous, targeted subsidy packages to entice corporations to locate within their borders. As these charts show, corporate welfare is a significant problem at the state level, with New York State leading the rest.

  This week’s charts use data from the Subsidy Tracker 2.0 dataset compiled by Good Jobs First, a government accountability and smart-growth advocacy group, to display the states (plus the District of Columbia) that disperse the highest amounts and numbers of subsidies, along with the top parent corporations that cumulatively benefit from these subsidies. 

  Comprehensive data on total state assistance to private businesses have long been hard to access, since the relevant information has been inconsistently scattered among various government reports and websites. The Subsidy Tracker project is an ambitious effort to compile state data on subsidized projects, amounts, beneficiaries, and outcomes in one location. The dataset distinguishes between 11 types of subsidies, including tax credits and rebates, property tax abatements, low-cost loans, infrastructure assistance, and enterprise zones. The dataset is a constantly updated work-in-progress; while it does not yet contain every single state subsidy, it is one of the most comprehensive sources of state subsidies assembled so far. Additionally, the database compilers decided to count sales tax exemptions on business purchases of inputs as a “subsidy.” However, some economists argue that applying sales taxes to input purchases would inefficiently favor vertically integrated firms over firms that purchase inputs from other businesses. Therefore, this kind of sales tax exemption is not a “subsidy,” but an efficient tax policy. Despite these important limitations, the dataset can give us an early glimpse of the rough value of the  subsidies that each state issues. The User Guide provides further details on the methodology.

  The first chart displays the states known to have extended cumulative subsidies exceeding $1 billion, according to the dataset. In the top portion, the states are ranked, left to right, from the highest amount of subsidies to the lowest amount of subsidies. In the bottom portion, the equivalent number of deals are displayed for each state. 

  New York state clearly leads the pack, extending a known 71,759 subsidy deals worth $21.71 billion. The second highest corporate beneficiary in the dataset, Alcoa, received a plum deal from the Empire State in 2007, raking in an astounding $5.6 billion to build an aluminum plant. “

Veronique de Rugy at Mercatus has much more on state funded corporate welfare

 

6 Key Supreme Court Cases This Term

 

 

 

 

” If you use Facebook, pay taxes, enjoy fishing or drive a car, the 2014-2015 term of the Supreme Court, which begins Oct. 6, will be worth watching.

  Many of the cases from the last term touched on issues such as executive power, religious liberty, free speech and racial preferences.

Here are highlights of the upcoming term:

  To hear about all these cases and how the term may unfold, join us at Heritage for our annual Supreme Court Preview on Thursday at noon (or watch online). Legal luminaries Paul Clement and Michael Carvin will discuss the big cases of the upcoming term.”

 

Daily Signal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christine Lagarde – The Most Dangerous Woman In The World

 

 

 

 

 

” I have gone on record that the most dangerous organization is the now French led IMF with Christine Lagarde at the helm, which has presented a concept report that debt cuts for over-indebted states are uncompromising and are to be performed more effectively in the future by defaulting on retirement accounts held in life insurance, mutual funds and other types of pension schemes, or arbitrarily extending debt perpetually so you cannot redeem. Yes you read correctly, The new IMF paper is described in great detail exactly how to now allow the private sector, which has invested in government bonds,  to be expropriated to pay for the national debts of the socialist governments.

  I have been warning that there is an idea that has been running around behind the curtain that the national debt of the USA could be settled by usurping all pension funds in the country. Here is a remarkable blueprint that throws all previous considerations concerning the purchase of government bonds over the cliff. The IMF working paper from December 2013 states boldly:

 

“ The distinction between external debt and domestic debt can be quite important. Domestic debt issued in domestic currency typically offers a far wider range of partial default options than does foreign currency–denominated external debt. Financial repression has already been mentioned; governments can stuff debt into local pension funds and insurance companies, forcing them through regulation to accept far lower rates of return than they might otherwise demand.”

  People are blind. They think this is authorization to go get the rich. They are going after everyone for the “rich” are tiny players in the game. People do not want to hear that. They want to think the rich can pay the bills for everyone else. That is not practical and even Julius Caesar recognized that they may be a small group, but they are the engine of the economy that creates jobs. It would have been popular for him to wipe out all the rich who he was against. But in the end, he had to solve the debt crisis by simply retroactively attribute all interest to capital in order to solve the debt crisis that led to the first civil war.”

 

Armstrong Economics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMF Slashes Estimate For US Economic Growth In 2014

 

 

 

 

 

” The International Monetary Fund slashed its forecast for US economic growth on Monday, citing a harsh winter, problems in the housing market and weak international demand for the country’s products.

  In its annual review of the US economy, the IMF cut its growth forecast by 0.8 percentage points to 2%. At a press conference IMF managing director Christine Lagarde blamed the bad winter for much of the cut and said the setback should be temporary. But she warned: “Growth in and of itself will not be enough.”

  As part of a series of reforms the IMF has called for an increase in the minimum wages in the US, currently the lowest when compared to the average wage in any of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s 34 countries.

  She said the number of long-term unemployed, 3.4 million in May according to the Department of Labor, remained too high and the percentage of people in or actively looking for work, the so-called participation rate, remained too low.”

 

 

 

    While acknowledging the impact that our huge unemployment rate is playing in the lack of recovery , Ms Lagarde proceeds to lecture the US on the need to hike the minimum wagethat will spur employment , yeah , right . Their second recommendation is the other tried and true Statist “recovery tool” … government stimulus

 

” The IMF believes the US also needs to do more to mitigate the impact of its aging population and to stimulate productivity. The best option would be for government to boost spending, notably on infrastructure, the IMF said.”

 

 

 

The Guardian has more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Libertarians Trail Meter Readers, Telling Town: Live Free Or Else

 

 

 

 

 

” In most places, the parking enforcement officer reflects the municipal compact. Armed only with a gadget that can spit out a ticket at the forgotten drop of a dime, the officer quietly serves civic and commercial life by ensuring that meters are fed.

  In most places, yes. But not here in charming Keene, where parking officers figure in a philosophical tug of war between a small band of activists who live by the motto “Free Keene,” and the great majority of residents who were unaware that their city was in bondage.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Keene’s two parking officers, both women, are often videotaped by young adults known as “Robin Hooders.” They track the whereabouts of the officers by two-way radio, feed expired meters before $5 tickets can be written, and leave a business card saying that “we saved you from the king’s tariff.”

  Welcome to Sherwood Forest, N.H., where these acts of charity have led to some donations and gratitude, but also to sidewalk tensions, harassment allegations and litigation. They are part of a broader effort by about two-dozen activists, most of them from someplace else, to unshackle Keene from the “violent monopoly” of government and its enforcers, including these parking officers who work in weather fair and foul.”

 

 

 

   Meet the Robin Hoods Of Keene in the New York Times and visit their Facebook page to give them a Like as they do battle with the State in an effort to keep New Hampshire free .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video: Toyota Bailing On California

 

 

 

Toyota Is Dallas Bound

 

 

 

” The world’s leading automotive maker will follow the lead of its competitors and other large businesses, and leave California for better business climates elsewhere. Toyota had its US headquarters in Torrance for more than three decades, but now nearly 5,000 jobs will shift to Texas:

  Toyota Motor Corp. plans to move large numbers of jobs from its sales and marketing headquarters in Torrance to suburban Dallas, according to a person familiar with the automaker’s plans. …

The automaker won’t be the first big company Texas has poached from California.

  Occidental Petroleum Corp. said in February that it was relocating from Los Angeles to Houston, making it one of around 60 companies that have moved to Texas since July 2012, according to Texas Gov. Rick Perry.”

 

 

Hot Air has more on the ongoing California business exodus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

62 Percent Of Americans Say They Favor A Flat Tax

 

 

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” The latest Reason-Rupe poll asked Americans if they would support or oppose changing the federal tax system to a flat tax, where everyone pays the same percentage of his or her income, finding that 62 percent favor the flat tax and 33 percent are opposed. When asked where they would set the flat tax, the average response was 15 percent.

  This reflects another recent Reason-Rupe poll finding that 67 percent of Americans say it is “not the responsibility of the government to reduce the differences in income between people with high incomes and those with low incomes,” while 29 percent say it is.

  Strong support for a flat tax extends across income groups (62 percent) among those making less than $30,000 a year and 73 percent among those making more than $110,000 a year. Similarly across education groups and age groups, 6 in 10 say they support the flat tax.”

Contrary to media memes and their class-warfare compatriots on the Left , the rich do pay a higher percentage of taxes …

” Urban Institute data reports that in fact, the wealthy do pay a higher tax rate than the middle class. Average effective federal tax rates in 2011, as a percentage of adjusted gross income find the following (after tax credits):

Lowest Income Quintile: -5.8%

Second Quintile: 1.3%

Middle Quintile: 9.2%

Fourth Quintile: 12.9%

Top Quintile: 20.6%

The “1 Percent” pay 25.3%” “

Reason has more

Internet Transition Triggers GOP Backlash

 

 

 

 

” The Obama administration’s decision to relinquish oversight over the group that manages the Internet’s architecture has raised an early red flag with Republicans, who blast the move as a threat to free speech.

  Exactly who would regulate the Web’s back-end is unclear, but the decision already has sparked backlash among some in the GOP, who warn it could allow the United Nations or authoritarian countries to step in and seize control of the Web.

  U.S. lawmakers have long warned about the dangers of ceding ICANN’s authority to the International Telecommunication Union, a United Nations agency. They see the U.N. as a vehicle for countries with tight constraints to allow even greater online censorship. Congress unanimously passed Bono’s resolution ahead of a 2012 ITU meeting to reinforce America’s commitment to an open Internet.”

    At first glance the Obama administration’s promise to relinquish control over ICANN seems like a good idea … one less thing the government controls … but given that this administration is not known for championing liberty and the free markets one is left wondering if this is a back-handed way for the Statists to cede control over the free flow of information to the UN or some other Statist body while appearing to do the opposite .

   There is much talk as well that this new move opens the door to an internet tax and censorship which should be of concern to us all . If there is one thing we know about the Obama administration it is that it loves both taxes and regulation so we cannot help but wonder that something larger is at play here than “fairness” and freedom . 

 

Read on

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Worst Run States In America

 

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” For several years now, 24/7 Wall Street has analyzed how well each state within the United States is run by its elected officials and government bureaucrats. To determine how well each state is run, they looked at each state’s financial data as well the services that each provides to its residents, while also factoring in their standard of living.

  To determine how well the states are run, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed hundreds of data sets from dozens of sources. We looked at each state’s debt, revenue, expenditure, and deficit to determine how well it was managed fiscally. We reviewed taxes, exports, and GDP growth, including a breakdown by sector, to identify how each state was managing its resources. We looked at poverty, income, unemployment, high school graduation, violent crime and foreclosure rates to assess the well-being of the state’s residents.

  While each state is different, the best-run states share certain characteristics, as do the worst run. For example, the populations of the worse-off states tended to have lower standards of living. Violent crime rates in these states were usually higher and residents were much less likely to have a high school diploma.

  The worst-run states also tended to have weak fiscal management reflected in higher budget shortfalls and lower credit ratings by Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poors.

  The better-run states tended to display stable fiscal management. Pensions were more likely to be fully funded, debt was lower, and budget deficits smaller. Credit ratings agencies also were much more likely to rate the well-run states favorably. Only two poorly run states received a perfect credit rating from either agency. California and Illinois, which are ranked worst and third worst, received the lowest ratings from both agencies.

The states that were well-managed also tended to have lower unemployment rates.

  We won’t keep you in suspense – the map below, which was produced by USA Today from 24/7 Wall Street’s data, reveals which states were reported to be the worst run in 2013:”

 

 

Is it any wonder these states produce more than their share of corrupt politicos in DC ? 

MyGovCosts.org has the story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Rand Paul Comes This Reminder Of Why Everything Government Costs So Much

 

 

 

 

 

    In the event that our readers had any doubts as to why a proposed $60 million project , as mentioned in our previous post , ends up costing $94 million this picture should serve as a stark reminder of the cost of government business .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colorado Ballot Measure Proposes Education Classes To Marry

 

” As if getting married wasn’t complicated enough, a proposed ballot initiative would require mandatory pre-wedding education before couples could say “I do.”

  Lumped onto the hours spent debating centerpieces, picking a photographer, finding the perfect dress and corralling future in-laws, the proposed Colorado Marriage Education Act calls for 10 hours of pre-wedding marriage education.

  If either the bride- or groom-to-be is marrying for the second time, the requirement kicks up to a minimum of 20 hours. It goes up to 30 hours for a third- time’s-the-charm.

  A re-marrying widow would be held to the same standard as a first-timer. The law would not apply to civil unions.”

 

 

Why the double standard regarding civil unions ? This young woman sums it up nicely …

 

 

” “This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard,” said Alyx Reese-Giles, who was married for the third time in November. “The government has no business deciding what education people should or should not get before entering into marriage. Marriage is about communication and being ready to commit, and no class is going to teach you that.” “

     Just where are the limits to State intrusion into our lives ? The answer ? There are no limits as long as we are willing to sit back and allow the State to insinuate itself into every aspect of our lives . Sheep will be herded … or eaten .

 

 

” As proposed, the prenuptial curriculum would be created and overseen by the Colorado State Board of Marriage and Family Therapist Examiners. The board would then validate completion and issue a “Marriage Course Completion Certificate.” The couple would pay the cost associated with the education.”

 

Tax and control , that’s what it’s all about , tax and control .

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brought To You By The Free State Project

 

 

Free State Project

 

 

” Among the many advantages of moving to New Hampshire, these 101 reasons are at the top. If you know of a good reason that should be added, let us know.

Government

Sales Tax

New Hampshire has no general sales tax.

Income Tax

New Hampshire has no general personal income tax. Dividends and interest are taxed at only 5%.

Source: Bankrate
Eminent Domain

New Hampshire state law prohibits the use of eminent domain for private use or private development.

Source: USA Today
Gun Laws

New Hampshire offers some of the least restrictive gun laws in the nation: no license is required to open carry and a concealed carry license is available on a shall-issue basis.

Seat Belt Laws

New Hampshire is the only state that does not have a mandatory seat belt law for adults.

Right to Revolution

New Hampshire’s constitution is one of only four state constitutions that expressly protect citizens’ right to revolution (Section 1, Article 10).

Image: Some rights reserved by James Walsh

Your Money In Pictures: The Top 5 Charts Of 2013

 

” As part of our countdown to the new year, here are Heritage’s top five must-see charts of 2013.”

 

 

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Each American’s Share of Publicly Held Debt

” As Washington lawmakers continue to spend more and pile on debt, each American’s share of public debt has risen to $36,000—about six times more than in 1970—and is set to rise astronomically in coming years. Without reform, the government will have borrowed $135,547 in public debt for each American, or almost three times the current median income, by 2036. This chart shows that serious consequences lie ahead if the government continues on its current path of reckless spending with no reform in sight.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brought To You By The Libertarian Party

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tea Party

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Government Doesn’t Work … Never Has , Never Will

 

 

 

” People shouldn’t be surprised about the botched roll-out of Obamacare and all the damaging effects of the law that are now generating headlines. Over the decades, federal efforts to subsidize and manipulate the economy have failed over and over again.

That lesson has been driven home to me in researching Downsizing Government. Farm policies, for example, have been an ongoing boondoggle for more than eight decades. President Herbert Hoover’s Federal Farm Board blew $500 million trying to stabilize crop markets, but it did the opposite by inducing overproduction and depressing prices. Every farm bill since then—including the one moving through Congress right now—has been based on two very dumb ideas: that farm businesses need welfare and that agriculture needs government central planning.

I recently came across “The Sickness of Government,” (PDF) a 1969 essay by famed management theorist Peter Drucker. It is strikingly relevant to the problems we see in Washington today from Obamacare, to farm programs, to IRS abuse, to NSA spying. Unlike, say, Ayn Rand–who at the time was writing about government from the standpoint of individual freedom–Drucker was writing from the practical perspective that Big Government simply wasn’t working.

Modern government has become ungovernable. There is no government today that can still claim control of its bureaucracy and of its various agencies. Government agencies are all becoming autonomous, ends in themselves, and directed by their own desire for power, their own narrow vision rather than by national policy.” “

 

 

 

   In simple terms , big government runs contrary to human nature . Competition , ambition and self-interest are the motors of the human spirit and government is the antithesis of all . Big government , by it’s very nature , contradicts the natural order of things as it attempts to do FOR the individual that which should be done BY the individual . 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mercatus Center Policy Guide

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” The Mercatus Policy Guide is intended to summarize and condense the best research available on the most pressing topics. It serves as a starting point for discussion, not a comprehensive overview of economic policy. Anyone who wants to go deeper into these studies should consult the references listed at the back. Mercatus scholars are available to further explain the results of their studies. We hope the guide will prove to be a valuable tool in your evaluation of economic policy.”

Courtesy Of Rightwing Art

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Taxes Penalize Gun Owners, Threaten Second Amendment

 

 

” Liberals are trying every tool at their disposal this year to go after guns. They have failed on Capitol Hill to restrict the Second Amendment, so they are moving through the states to enact their agenda. The latest maneuver is to hike the tax on guns and ammunition to dissuade the law-abiding from buying firearms. It’s the perfect storm of liberalism — more revenue for a bigger government and fewer people keeping and bearing arms.

President Obama’s hometown of Chicago started the movement late last year by enacting a $25 tax on new firearm purchases, which went into effect on April 1. Cook County stopped just short of adding a levy on ammunition.

In February, Rep. Linda T. Sanchez, California Democrat, and 26 of the most uber-liberals in the House introduced a bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code to create an excise tax of 10 percent on any concealable gun in order to empower Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to establish a firearms buy-back grant program. Since the Newtown, Conn., school-shootings tragedy, anti-gun states across the nation have introduced similar measures.

A new bill in the House would prevent this infringement on the Second Amendment. Rep. Sam Graves introduced legislation on June 13 that would make it illegal for states and municipalities to raise taxes or fees on firearms and ammunition. The Missouri Republican’s proposal would also prevent raising taxes in order to pay for background checks. “The Constitution says ‘shall not infringe,’ ” Mr. Graves told me in an interview Thursday.

These costly measures disproportionately affect lower-income people, who often live in higher-crime areas. Along with other costly mandates, such as maintaining liability insurance, these restrictions would likely be overturned as unconstitutional by the courts.

“This is no different than a poll tax — but on the Second Amendment,” said Lawrence Keane, general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation. “These anti-gun politicians are clearly trying to unduly burden the exercise of the Second Amendment by pricing firearms and ammunition out of reach of many law-abiding Americans. Mr. Graves’ bill will put a stop to these sinister schemes.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Economic Situation June 2013

” The US economy is creating new wealth and growing employment, albeit at a slow pace. But uncertainty is the key word that describes the economic situation at mid-2013.There are major unknowns with respect to Fed policy, taxing and spendingthe effects of the Affordable Care Act on employment, the implementation of Dodd-Frank financial reform, regulatory policy affecting the production of electricity, and the prospects for Europe’s recovery from an extended recession. Add to this pallid picture reductions in growth in China,India, and the developing world taking some of the edge off the global boom, which, in spite of that growth haircut, is still tugging away on America’s export growth.

With the closing of the books on the 2012 economy, real GDP growth registered 2.2 percent. But the current picture suggests we will be lucky to break 2.0 percent in 2013 and a bit more in 2014. This compares with the results of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Livingston Survey in December 2012, which predicted 2.1 percent growth in 2013’s first half and 2.3 percent in the second half of the year. It will be a while before Livingston speak again, but right now, Economy.com’s dynamic GDP growth meter indicates the economy is expanding at 1.8 percent.

As Goldilocks might put it, “It’s not just right.” Not by a long shot. We can see images of the slowdown in the Institute of Supply Management’s indexes for the manufacturing and non-manufacturing (service) economies shown below. Both indexes are headed south of the border. Recall that 50 is the magic number that coincides with zero growth.”

” Now the bad news. Consider the next chart. It shows in nominal terms the level of federal receipts and expenditures for 1Q 1990 through 4Q 2012. Even with progress being made, there is a yawning gap waiting to be closed.

If the gap is to be closed, there is no doubt but that it will take more revenue and less spending. But when it comes to getting revenue, there is a never ending political debate regarding tax-rate fairness and which taxpayer income group, if any, should pay the higher or lower tax rate. (After all, there could be a flat tax.)There is hardly any discussion of revenues, which seems odd, to say the least.

But of course, there is reason to be concerned about fairness. People understandably rebel when they perceive they are being treated unfairly by government. (Consider the current IRS controversy.) But if revenues are the chief concern, then how much revenue is collected may be an equally important consideration when politicians talk about taxes.

Writing in 1924, treasury secretary Andrew W. Mellon said this about the political manipulation of rates:

   I have never viewed taxation as a means of rewarding one class of taxpayers or punishing another. If such a point of view ever controls our public policy, the traditions of freedom, justice and equality of opportunity,which are the distinguishing characteristics of our American civilization, will have disappeared and in their place we shall have class legislation with all its attendant evils. The man who seeks to perpetuate prejudice and class hatred is doing America an ill service. 

But why pay attention to the thoughts expressed by Andrew Mellon? Does he have credentials that command attention? Yes, indeed. As Secretary of Treasury during the Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover administrations, Mellon led a successful effort to reduce the size and debt of the federal government. In the earlier part of his government service, the nation was adjusting to a post–World War I environment, with lots of debt overhang. Sound familiar? His arguments about the relative merits of lower tax rates to produce higher revenues won the day. And he saw higher revenues when rates were reduced. He literally discovered the basis of what we now celebrate as the Laffer Curve. In all fairness, we should call it the Mellon-Laffer Curve.”

Read the whole thing for it’s glimmers of hope and dread .

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