One week after President Obama proposed his deficit reduction plan, the cries of “class warfare” that escaped the mouths of alarmed politicians and media pundits around the country can still be heard by anyone standing near a radio, television set or computer.
To those nodding along with this assessment, Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine would like to point out the following: Under Obama’s proposal, the tax rate paid by households making between half a million and $1 million per year would rise only 2.7 percentage points, while the taxes paid by earners of $1 million and over would suffer a piddling increase of 5.5 percentage points.
Other antidotes to the omissions, distortions and untruths poisoning the national conversation about taxation appear below. —ARK
Daily Intel at New York:
How do you take this state of affairs and portray it as a kind of quasi-Bolshevism? First, you ignore the taxes that burden average Americans most heavily. The income tax is progressive, taxing the rich at higher rates and the poor not at all. On the other hand, payroll taxes, which finance all of Social Security and most of Medicare, levy higher rates on the poor and middle class. And state and local governments tend to employ sales taxes and other levies that are more regressive still. The overall progressive character of the American tax system is quite mild. But if you pretend income taxes are the whole of the tax system, then it can be made to look as if the rich are being oppressed.
... It’s important to note that the interminable campaign to persuade Americans that the rich are overtaxed has not succeeded one iota. Raising taxes on the rich remains highly popular. Among voters, raising taxes on the rich unites Democrats, independent voters, and even many Republicans, isolating a small, recalcitrant base of committed right-wingers. At the level of political elites, by contrast, it works just the other way around. Higher taxes for the rich is “class warfare,” a left-wing play for the Democratic base, alienating thoughtful centrists. Proposals like Obama’s deficit reduction plan will be met with gasps of horror, not just from conservatives but from moderate Republicans like David Brooks and even moderate Democrats like Mark Penn.
Flickr / SamPac
A soldier in the long, ongoing class war takes a moment to rest.