Can someone out there relieve my confusion? I'm being told one thing by my President, but the numbers on his tax plan are telling me something else.
When George W. Bush unveiled his plan to cut taxes, I listened carefully. He said his tax cuts would be fair. He said his plan takes taxes and "returns it to the people who earned it in the first place." He said that even though wealthy folks would get a bigger tax cut dollar-wise, poor people would get the biggest percentage tax cut while wealthy people would get a smaller percentage of their taxes cut.
In short, Bush argues that his tax cut proposal is progressive, that it diminishes the relative tax burden on the poor (and therefore increases the relative tax burden on the wealthy) even while cutting the tax rates for everybody.
So I did a bit of reading, and it turns out that the top 1% of Americans in terms of income currently pay 23% of income taxes - actually, a bit more than 24% if you include all federal taxes. My source is the U.S. Congress Joint Committee on Taxation's report submitted on March 6, 2001 for the Senate Committee on Finance. But 31% of Bush's income tax cut, and 45% of the complete set of Bush's proposed tax relief, would go to the top 1% income-earners.
These numbers, available for your perusal here, are not widely disputed. According to the Washington Post's Dana Milbank, even conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation accept these figures, and the Bush administration has declined to counter the estimate with one of its own.
Bush has spent a lot of energy in the past few weeks claiming his tax proposal would not disproportionately benefit high-income earners. But it sure looks like that's exactly what his tax cut would do. 45% of all Bush's tax cuts go to a group that pays 24% of all federal taxes. 31% of Bush's income tax cut goes to a group that pays 23% of all income tax. That, my friends, is the definition of disproportional benefit.
So can someone help me here? I'd really like to know how Bush's proposed tax cuts don't disproportionately benefit the top 1%.
I don't want to know why I'm a sore loser, or why I should stop complaining, or why I'm engaging in class warfare, or why a flat tax would be cool, or why Bush has a good heart.
I want to know how the tax cut doesn't disproportionately benefit the top 1%.
I'm sure the answer is obvious, and that I just can't see it. So somebody help me out and point out the glaring error here.
Can You Help Me Out?
Talk Back Here.
Burst my naive liberal bubble!