$63 Billion? Chump Change!

When Professor Mishra and I debated the Bush tax cuts last week, he made the following point:

Should we let the Bush tax cuts expire for those who earn more than $200,000, in order to rein in the current budget deficits, at an all-time high, to pay for government spending? It would bring in revenue of only $630 billion over the next 10 years, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

In other words, we have a chance to reduce the budget deficit by $63 billion per year, but we shouldn’t do it. Not because anything bad would happen. Just because it’s “only” $63 billion.

“Because it’s too small” is not a good reason. There is no magic bullet. If you’re looking for an economically neutral way to cut $1.3 trillion all at once, it doesn’t exist. You cut $50 billion here, you raise $100 billion there, and eventually you’ve reduced the deficit significantly. ¬† Continue reading “$63 Billion? Chump Change!”

What to Read on Taxes

Nine Things the Rich Don’t Want You to Know About Taxes — David Cay Johnston
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  1. Poor Americans do pay taxes.
  2. The wealthiest Americans don’t carry the burden.
  3. In fact, the wealthy are paying less taxes.
  4. Many of the very richest pay no current income taxes at all.
  5. And (surprise!) since Reagan, only the wealthy have gained significant income.
  6. When it comes to corporations, the story is much the same — less taxes.
  7. Some corporate tax breaks destroy jobs.
  8. Republicans like taxes too.
  9. Other countries do it better.

Top Ten Tax Charts — Center on Budget and Priority Policies

  1. The United States is a low-tax country.
  2. Federal income taxes on average families are historically low.
  3. Corporate tax revenues are historically low.
  4. Effective tax rates on wealthiest people have fallen dramatically.
  5. Bush tax cuts heavily tilted to the top.
  6. Rise in debt could be halted over next decade by letting Bush tax cuts expire.
  7. Tax expenditures are substantial.
  8. Income gains at the top dwarfed those of low- and middle-income households.
  9. Top 1 percent’s share of total after-tax income has more than doubled over the past thirty years.
  10. Most of budget goes toward defense, Social Security, and major health programs.

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