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Thinking About Tax Policy, Part 5: Three Good First Steps

April 16, 2012

After decades of sharp increases in income inequality and dramatic tax cuts at the top, the case for reversing course and raising taxes at the top is overwhelming.  That’s especially true given the sacrifices that policymakers will likely ask of Americans of modest means to help reduce long-term deficits.  Below are three good first steps:

  1. Sunset the high-end
  2. ...

Thinking About Tax Policy, Part 4: Ryan Plan a Costly Step in the Wrong Direction

April 13, 2012

This series has explained why we need to raise more revenue and why it makes sense to start at the top of the income scale.  The budget from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan goes in exactly the opposite direction — it would cut taxes deeply at the top and raise even less revenue than...

Ryan Budget Would Raise Some Taxes; Guess Who Gets Hit?

April 12, 2012

You’ve undoubtedly heard lots about how House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget plan would give millionaires an average $265,000 apiece in new tax cuts, on top of the $129,000 apiece they would get from Ryan’s call to extend President Bush’s tax cuts. Have you also heard, however, that he wants to raise taxes for some other Americans?  Want to guess who would bear the brunt of his...

Thinking About Tax Policy, Part 3: In the Search for More Revenue, Start at the Top

April 12, 2012

As this series has explained, our unsustainable budget deficits should remain in the forefront of tax policy discussions.  Given the need for more revenue, it is fortunate that taxes are low both historically and compared to other countries.

So the next question is: Where should we look...

Thinking About Tax Policy, Part 2: Taxes Today Are Low

April 11, 2012

Yesterday’s post in this series explained why the nation’s unsustainable budget deficits must be in the forefront of any tax reform discussions.  That means...

Thinking About Tax Policy, Part 1: The Most Important Tax Reform Chart

April 10, 2012

All discussions of tax reform should start with this chart.  Here’s why.

The mantra that tax reform should “broaden the base and lower the rates” — in other words, scale back loopholes and other special tax breaks and use the resulting revenue to pay for cuts in marginal tax rates — is close to conventional wisdom in Washington.   All else being equal, it reflects sound...

Chairman Ryan’s Misleading Chart

March 27, 2012

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan recently summarized his new tax proposal this way:

[W]e’re saying get rid of all the special...

Even in a Down Year, Top 1% Had More Total Income than Bottom 50%

March 6, 2012

The total adjusted gross income (AGI) of the top 1 percent of households in 2009 was 25 percent greater than the total AGI of the bottom 50 percent of households, new IRS data show (see graph).  That’s particularly striking given that 2009 was a “down” year for high-income people.


When Reforming Corporate Taxes, Don’t Forget the Deficit

February 24, 2012

We released a brief analysis of the President’s corporate tax reform framework this morning.  Here’s the opening:

The Administration has advanced a coherent framework for corporate tax reform that could lead to a more efficient corporate tax regime.  The framework’s main weakness is that...

The Buffett Rule Revisited

January 26, 2012

The “Buffett Rule” basically says that people at the top of the income scale shouldn’t face lower tax rates than middle-income people.  The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center has found that people making over $1 million a year who receive more than two-thirds of their income from capital gains and dividends — as some at that income level do — pay a combined individual income and payroll tax...