Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Posts Tagged ‘taxes’

Laffer Was Wrong: Tax Cuts Don’t Help Economy, Tax Hikes Don’t Hurt It.

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 29, 2012

Hat tip to David Dayen for passing this NYT piece along:

It is true that high-income Americans carry the biggest tax burden. While fewer than 1 in 20 families make more than $200,000, they pay almost half of all federal taxes.

However they feel about the tax man, there is a case to be made that they can pay much more. The reason has nothing to do with fairness, justice or ideology. It is about economics and math […]

For 30 years, any proposal to raise taxes had to overcome an unshakable belief that higher taxes inevitably led to less growth. The belief survived the Clinton administration, when taxes rose and the economy surged. It survived George W. Bush’s administration, when taxes were cut yet growth sagged.

But now, a growing body of research suggests not only that the government could raise much more revenue by sharply raising the top tax rates paid by the richest Americans, but it could do so without slowing economic growth. Top tax rates could go as high as 80 percent or more.

It gets better. As Dayen says, quoting from the article in question:

My favorite conclusion of theirs was that the rich don’t really contribute all that much to economic growth:

Perhaps the most controversial conclusion, made by Mr. Saez and two colleagues in another study published last December, is that while the rich would respond to a big tax increase by shielding income from the tax man and maybe working less, this would not slow the economy at all. That’s because a lot of what the rich do does not, in fact, generate economic growth. So if they reduced their effort in response to higher taxes, the economy wouldn’t suffer.

In other words, losing the rent-seeking behavior of the rich from the economy will only help it.

Dayen goes on to cite Ezra Klein’s quotation of this research paper by Filip Spagnoli of the National Bank of Belgium:

Low tax rates can be seen as a desirable policy goal for a variety of reasons. Your views on justice and desert may require a system of taxation that allows people to keep as much as possible of what they earn. Or you may have strong opinions on property rights, self-property, self-reliance and the “undeserving poor.” In this paper, however, I will examine the merits of another and prima facie more convincing rationale, namely that low levels of taxation — especially low levels of taxation on the income or wealth of the so-called productive segments of society — are beneficial for economic growth. I criticize both the theoretical underpinnings of this view and its factual basis . . . It may even be the case that low tax rates have unwanted harmful consequences instead of the assumed beneficial ones.

There you go. Or, as Dr. Thompson and Cicero might say, res ipsa loquitur.

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Rush, Breitbart, And Corporate Taxes Truths

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 10, 2012


It feels like a whole bunch of things may be coming to a head. We may be about to face a paradigm shift.

Item. Rush Limbaugh’s implosion is not just crippling Rush, but the entire right-wing puke funnel:

Premiere Networks, which distributes Limbaugh as well as a host of other right-wing talkers, sent an email out to its affiliates early Friday listing 98 large corporations that have requested their ads appear only on “programs free of content that you know are deemed to be offensive or controversial (for example, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Leykis, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity).”

This is big. According to the radio-industry website, which first posted excerpts of the Premiere memo, among the 98 companies that have decided to no longer sponsor these programs are “carmakers (Ford, GM, Toyota), insurance companies (Allstate, Geico, Prudential, State Farm), and restaurants (McDonald’s, Subway).” Together, these talk-radio advertising staples represent millions of dollars in revenue.

In fact, just about the only paid advertising Rush himself has left are ads from conservative and Republican sources:

For example, the ads that ran on Limbaugh’s WABC show in New York on Thursday consisted primarily of public-service announcements. Among the few actual advertisements were spots from the Mitt Romney–associated super PAC Restore Our Future (featuring negative attacks on Newt), Lear Capital, and the conservative Hillsdale College. Media Matters has been monitoring national trends along the same lines. When PSAs for nonprofit organizations like Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the United Negro College Fund run in place of actual advertisements on radio, it means the show starts losing money for the local station. And make no mistake, money is the only barometer of success the industry ultimately cares about.

This is telling. Rush’s audience — and indeed that of right-wing media in general — skews to the white, male and elderly; it’s not that lucrative for advertisers and it’s dying off. Meanwhile, the most prized and lucrative advertising demographic consists of women between the ages of 24 and 55 — precisely the people most turned off by Rush and his comments.

It will be interesting to see whether the same shadowy right-wing sugar daddies that got Rush’s radio empire built will stand by him in his hour of need, or if they will write him off as no longer useful to them. They may well write him off, much as the once-mighty Breitbart internet cottage industry seems to have been written off now that he’s dead. The death of Andrew Breitbart has sent his own online media conglomerate into a tailspin, and it doesn’t look like whatever sugar daddies he had are willing to step in and pay for competent coders to save his websites.

Item. The same corporate sponsors who are now fleeing right-wing media in droves have ironically been using right-wing media to push nonsense about how we just overtax our poor helpless corporations. Here are some antidotes to that nonsense:

As you can see from this Tax Policy Center chart and the EPI chart shown above, Corporate America pays less in taxes than you do — and always has. (Interestingly, the very states where income inequality is greatest and the middle class the weakest — the former slave states of the Confederacy — are those that vote most strongly for the Republican persons and policies that keep the mass of people in these states poor.)

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Tony Sutton, Baja Sol’s Tax Scofflaw

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 9, 2012

I’m kicking myself for not seeing this earlier. Kudos to City Pages’ Gregory Pratt for birddogging it down:

Sutton “sold out” of Baja Sol, the Mexican restaurant chain he ran with his wife, Bridget Sutton, in February, and left the eateries thousands of dollars in debt to the Minnesota Department of Revenue. The state placed several liens against various Baja Sol companies last fall, including Sutton Enterprises, LLC, which owed $93,114 in unpaid taxes.

If you read the whole article, you’ll find that the total amount of unpaid taxes for various Baja Sol locations added up to over $250,000.

Amazing. And Republicans are supposed to be good with money?

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John Kerry Sells Most Americans Down The River Rather Than Raise Teresa’s Taxes

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 11, 2011

Bend over America, here it comes:

The old joke is that robbers hit banks because that’s where the money is.

If Congress hopes to resolve the nation’s budget deficit problem, it’s going to have to go after entitlement spending for the same reason, says Senator John Kerry.

That is one of the hard truths the Massachusetts Democrat offered up as he settles into his role as one of 12 members of the congressional “supercommittee’’ charged with cutting an additional $1.5 trillion from the deficit during the next 10 years.

Why is Kerry pushing to put us all on cat food rather than raise taxes on the rich back to, say, Eisenhower-era levels? Scuttlebutt is it’s because he’s angling for a job in the austerity-jonesing Obama’s administration, probably as the next Secretary of State.

Maybe we should all tell him what we think of his selling us down the river rather than raising Teresa’s (or his biggest campaign donors’) taxes.

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Business Owners: If Anything We Need MORE Regulation, And Republicans Need To Shut Up

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 8, 2011

From a recent McClatchy article:

McClatchy reached out to owners of small businesses, many of them mom-and-pop operations, to find out whether they indeed were being choked by regulation, whether uncertainty over taxes affected their hiring plans and whether the health care overhaul was helping or hurting their business.

Their response was surprising.

None of the business owners complained about regulation in their particular industries, and most seemed to welcome it. Some pointed to the lack of regulation in mortgage lending as a principal cause of the financial crisis that brought about the Great Recession of 2007-09 and its grim aftermath.

Go read the whole thing.

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A Quick Note of Correction

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 6, 2011

Governor Dayton is not currently asking for higher taxes on all millionaires, only on those who make $1 million or more a year — the 7,700 individuals mentioned.

Karl Northman
, a stalwart of the old and lamented Table Talk, set us all straight:

The problem with the number of millionaires is a problem with Star-Tribune reporting. Dayton’s final offer was to raise the taxes on people earning more than a million dollars a year. The Strib managed to refer to that as “millionaires” – but in normal usage, a millionaire is someone with a million in assets – a vastly larger group. I believe his original proposal (that he ran on, and held firm on for a long time, was for tax increases on the top 2%, which I recall as being in the neighborhood of $250K a year.

As soon as I read the article, I knew that was going to be one of those stupid copy-editor tricks that never goes away.

The Strib today published a letter from a reader pointing out their mistake.

Thanks, Karl!

(Crossposted to Renaissance Post.)

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Minnesota GOP: Of The Rich, By The Rich, For The Rich

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 4, 2011

Comrade Emmer courtesy of

If, after Tom Emmer’s War on the Waitstaff last year, there was any doubt in anybody’s mind that the Republican Party of Minnesota does not encourage among its ranks any sort of empathy for the average Minnesotan who isn’t a Mr. or Ms. Gotrocks, state legislator and ALEC member Mary Kiffmeyer has erased that doubt quite efficiently:

Minnesota’s liberal-to-progressive blogosphere was aghast today at reading a comment made by Representative Mary Kiffmeyer (R- Smallpond) in the St. Cloud Times:

But Kiffmeyer is skeptical about Dayton’s push for revenue; she believes it’s motivated chiefly by Dayton’s desire to hike taxes on the wealthy.

“It’s not about revenue,” Kiffmeyer said. “It’s about a tax increase, because they want to go after those who’ve actually worked hard.”

No further comment; none needed.

(Crossposted to Renaissance Post.)

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

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