A recent Heritage Foundation backgrounder would have you believe that President Bush’s tax cuts, two wars, and a new prescription drug program under Medicare “play a relatively minor role in the growth of future deficits.” Quite the contrary, the tax cuts alone are a huge factor.
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
After-tax incomes nearly quadrupled for the top 1 percent of Americans in the last three decades, while barely rising among middle- and lower-income households, according to new data from the Congressional Budget Office. Here’s how different income groups did over that period:
Combining bad economics with bad fiscal policy, opponents are on the verge of defeating the compromise jobs bill before the Senate, and we can expect more hardship and a slower economic recovery as a result.
As I’ve said before, the case for extending unemployment insurance (UI) benefits and state fiscal assistance is powerful:
When New Jersey Governor Chris Christie claimed that his proposed budget would “protect and care for the most vulnerable among us,” he apparently was referring to the state’s millionaires rather than its low-wage workers.
I’ve been calling the TANF Emergency Fund the Recovery Act’s best-kept secret, but the secret is out — just ask the nearly 200,000* adults and youth who will get jobs through one of the many subsidized jobs programs the fund supports across the country (see map). The Senate is considering jobs legislation that would extend the fund (which expires September 30) for a year and fully offset the cost. This may be the last chance for congressional action before both the fund and most of those jobs disappear.
As Ezra Klein’s research desk explains, most studies show that rich people don’t flee higher-tax states for lower-tax ones and “the revenue generated by state tax increases on high earners overwhelms that lost from taxpayers’ leaving.” (Brad DeLong and Matthew Yglesias also discuss this issue here and here.) In fact, raising taxes on the highest-income households — a group that’s enjoyed the greatest rise in incomes and the greatest decline in taxes in recent decades — is a sensible and effective way for states to help offset the huge drop in revenues during the recession.
With the country facing high unemployment and a weak economy in the short term and severe budget problems in the long term, you’d think that senators negotiating a jobs bill would be trying to maximize both its short-term economic boost and its long-term budget savings. You’d be wrong.