Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It's Official: Cutting Top Tax Rates Doesn't Grow the Economy, It Only Grows Income Inequality

From our redoubtable friends Citizens for Tax Justice in the U.S.
A new study by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) using data from the past 65 years found that there is no correlation (PDF) between top tax rates and economic growth. But it doesn’t stop there. The study also found that there is a correlation between the reduction in top tax rates and the increasing concentration of wealth toward the top of the income distribution. The report, Taxes and the Economy: An Economic Analysis of the Top Tax Rates Since 1945, is also clear that this is not only about tax rates on regular income, and points out (PDF) that “changes in capital gains and dividends were the largest contributor to the increase in income inequality since the mid-1990’s.”

This has to be just about the last nail in the tax-cutting, supply-side coffin. CRS is a bunch of smart people at the Library of Congress whose mission is “providing comprehensive and reliable legislative research and analysis that are timely, objective, authoritative, and confidential, thereby contributing to an informed national legislature.”  And while the study has earned volumes of media coverage, it’s worth noting that even the Wall Street Journal report didn’t quibble with the study’s finding that “tax cuts for the rich don’t seem to be associated with economic growth…. [but] can be linked to a different outcome: income inequality.”
It doesn't get much clearer than that.

The CRS study looked at the U.S. For a more international view, take a look at this.


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