Friday, September 07, 2007

How Bad Is The Wall Street Journal?

How Bad Is The Wall Street Journal?: "On August 24th, [the WSJ] published an editorial entitled 'How To Raise Revenue.' In it, they promised to defend further tax cuts on grounds of equity. They did so by arguing that 'The supply-side revenue effects on the rich are remarkable: Tax rates on higher incomes have been halved, but the federal tax share of the top 1% has nearly doubled.' They even produced a helpful graphic:

Wsj Graph-2

Can't argue with a graphic. But you can mention what it leaves out. According to the Pikkety and Saez data, in 1980, the income share of the Top 1% was 8.18% of the national total. In 2004, it was 16.08%. For those playing along at home, that's a 96% increase.

During the same period, their share of federal income taxes went from 19% to 36% -- a 89% increase. So controlling for the increase in income, the tax burden on the rich fell. That's some remarkable supply side effect: As the incomes of the rich go up, their tax liability goes down. And it didn't just drop a few percentile points: Because we have progressive tax rates, as more income pooled at the top, their tax liability should have increased substantially, as they'd pay more on that income than less wealthy families would.

The Wall Street Journal editorial page either couldn't figure this out -- in which case they're innumerate -- or they didn't want to tell their readers, in which case they're mendacious. Either way, why does Will believe this is an institution worth supporting?"

(Via Ezra Klein.)

More on the supply side claims made by Republican candidates here and here


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