Barlett and Steele's Who Pays the Taxes? has been dug
out of the basement. Let me start on page 20, with
"[Single parent] Jacques Cotton [paid] 19.8 percent of
his income [of $33,500] in taxes. George and Barbara Bush's tax
rate, remember, was 18.1 percent."
--As we noted before, this is the only year of the Bush presidency
during which the Bushes paid such a low average tax rate. The
that the denominator includes royalties from _Millie's Book_,
the Bushes declared as income, gave away, and took a charitable
Our tax system is not as progressive as I would like. But
it is progressive.
And Barlett and Steele are trying to mask the fact that it is
Page 21: "[The Federal Government] encourages people
to secure an advanced education to qualify for jobs at companies
that are not hiring or are paying wages that make the degree
a poor economic investment."
--In fact, the educational wage premium today is higher than
at any time
since the end of World War II: getting a college education is
good economic investment.
Page 21: "[The Federal Government] talks of retraining
the newly unemployed to fill high-tech jobs that don't exist."
--Stagnant real wages are--according to Janet Yellen--the
result not of
the fact that new jobs are by and large bad, low-wage, low-skill
the result of declining real wages at old, already-existing jobs.
Page 23: "Squeezing the American Family--Part One"
--No mention of the fact that the Earned Income Tax Credit
makes up for the decline in the relative value of personal exemptions
for a typical family making less than median income.
Page 25: "If you are a middle-income [California] family,
you may pay nearly as much in real estate taxes as a wealthy
family whose home has a market value ten to fifteen times what
yours is worth."
--No mention of the fact that this is a result of the overwhelmingly-
popular Proposition 13: as long as you don't sell your house,
property taxes do not rise as your house's value appreciates.
13 was not the result (as Barlett and Steele imply) of nasty
in smoke filled rooms eager to give the rich a break while the
rest of us
aren't watching, but of a *voter* *referendum*.
Pages 30-4: "Every so often Congress... extends a benefit
reserved for the privileged to everyone. It never lasts. A case
in point: retirement savings plans.... When the Tax Reform Act
of 1986 was finally signed into law, the tax-deductible IRA disappeared
for millions of workers."
--Barlett and Steele don't seem to understand that the tax
as it existed between 1981 and 1986 was a *regressive* piece
But once again, enough. Barlett and Steele are *unreliable.*
They don't *understand* what they are talking about.