In an August 10 article, Michael Lind of the New America Foundation presented the liberal case for regressive taxation.
Also on August 10, Urban Institute economists Gene Steuerle and Stephanie Rennane posted an analysis of families with incomes too low to pay federal income taxes—a group that the Wall Street Journal calls “lucky duckies.” The income threshold at which federal income taxes must be paid has risen from 33 percent of the median family income in 1974 to 71 percent in 2008, mainly as a result of policies enacted by Republicans.
And on August 10, Edward Kleinbard, former chief of staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation of Congress, published an article in which he argued that the best way to reduce the deficit would be to curtail “tax expenditures” that distort the tax code.
On August 9, Dylan Matthews of the Washington Post surveyed various economists about how high the top marginal income tax rate could go before revenues began to decline; i.e., the peak of the Laffer Curve. Estimates varied widely.
Also on August 9, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a paper suggesting that tax buyouts might be an effective way of raising revenue. Basically, people would pay the government for the right to earn income at a lower tax rate for a certain period of time.
In an August 6 paper, Boston University economists François Gourio and Jianjun Miao examined the impact of the 2003 cut in the tax rate on dividends and capital gains. They find that when such tax cuts are temporary, aggregate investment actually falls. Note: the 2003 tax cuts were always temporary and expire at the end of this year.
On August 4, the Tax Foundation released new data on the share of federal income taxes paid by age group.
In an August 2 commentary, University of Massachusetts economist Nancy Folbre is critical of Republican arguments for tax cuts.
On July 30, the Joint Committee on Taxation produced a distributional table on the impact of extending the Bush tax cuts except for those with high incomes. It shows that those with high incomes would still pay less taxes than they would under the pre-2001 tax regime.
A July 26 report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities urged that the Bush tax cuts for the rich not be extended and that the money instead be used to pay for measures that would be more stimulative.
On July 22, the Tax Policy Center released a study of a value added tax for the United States by economists Bill Gale and Benjamin Harris.
A June 22 study by the Manufacturers Alliance is highly critical of the Obama administration’s 2011 tax proposals and supports the Wyden-Gregg tax reform plan.
A May 24 report from Pew questions the wisdom of permanently extending all of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts given the projected budget deficit.
Note: I previously posted items on tax policy on July 15 and June 17.
Bruce Bartlett is an American historian and columnist who focuses on the intersection between politics and economics. He blogs daily and writes a weekly column at The Fiscal Times. Read his most recent column here. Bartlett has written for Forbes Magazine and Creators Syndicate, and his work is informed by many years in government, including as a senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House. He is the author of seven books including the New York Times best-seller, Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy (Doubleday, 2006).