Friday, January 01, 2010

On four decades of tax and wealth creation in the U.S.

By a quirk of chance, the top U.S. income category in the 1961 U.S. Statistics of Income report contained just 398 taxpayers - which makes it possible to compare with data compiled by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on the richest 400 taxpayers. A new article by the U.S. tax expert David Cay Johnston takes a look. One thing he notes, using 2006 dollars as his reference, hardly surprises:

The average income for the top 400 taxpayers rose over the 45 years from $13.7 million to $263.3 million. That is 19.3 times more. The income tax bill went up too, but only 7.8 times as much because tax rates plunged. Income tax rates at the top fell 60 percent.

(Click here for a more detailed table.) Citizens for Tax Justice has more on the top 100 here, including the remarkable fact that the 400 richest income tax filers paid just 17.2 percent of their adjusted gross income (AGI) in federal income taxes.

And the story for those at the bottom?

"In 2006 dollars, the average income of the bottom 90 percent grew from $22,366 in 1961 to $31,642 in 2006. That is a real increase of $9,276 in average income. But it was also after 45 years, longer than the careers of most workers."

Not only that, but inflation-adjusted GDP grew by 227% -- and families worked 45% longer hours than they did in 1961.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been looking over your site and your stated positions, and I must say I've never seen such stunning and artful use of deliberate illogic, misstatement, overstatement and faulty generalizations before. I'm also fascinated by the sheer lack of emphasis on the government mismanagement, lack of transparency and misappropriation of tax dollars that occur in countries not categorized by you as tax havens. I also love the incredibly asinine assumption implicit in the statement that tax havens cause poverty -- as if domestic partisan politics, pork-barreling, chicanery and waste suddenly have become invisible in places like the USA. If you want individuals and companies to be more forthcoming and honest about their money, that's great -- but only if government is held to account by the same standards and with the same rigor (not the farcical dog-and-pony shows currently in place).

Typical of you folks -- if we're short of tax dollars because our government has misspent what it had, it must be the fault of those dastardly tax-evaders and the havens that hold their money for them! Raise more taxes! Catch the bad guys! Let's do whatever we can to AVOID addressing the issues that cause people to want to hide their money from government in the first place because, heaven knows, THAT might be logical! After all, NOBODY could possibly be that upset by the hundreds of billions of tax dollars wasted by the US government over the decades that they'd actually resent paying their taxes -- would they?

"Tax Justice Network"? Yeah, right. You folks make me sick.

10:50 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Figures that you characters wouldn't have the guts to post my comment from a few hours ago -- truth always hurts, doesn't it?

2:19 pm  
Blogger TJN said...

No, we just hadn't opened our blogger account over the holidy to approve the comments. Now they're up there, in all their glory (how about revealing who you are, just so we can see you have the courage of your convictions and are happy to associate your name with your opinions.) No, our mission isn't to serve as a watchdog on government waste - plenty of others are already ably (and some not so ably) doing this. You have knocked down some venerable Aunt Sallies - now read what we're about and we look forward to a more considered response.

8:12 am  

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