TAX FOLLIES….As a blogger, here’s one of my problems. I see something like this, and I think: Oh God, not that again. He can’t really be that clueless, can he? Gotta do a takedown! But then: I’m tired. Can I rouse myself to take on this nonsense yet again? On the other hand: he’s got a big audience! People read this stuff and believe it. And yet: None of those people are going to come over to my site and read a bunch of tediously factual tax numbers anyway. A rebuttal won’t really accomplish anything.
So…..what to do? Beats me. But just in case any of Glenn’s readers do hop on over here, the short answer is: there are many taxes other than the federal personal income tax. Honest. If you add them all up, everyone does pay “at least some tax,” and the overall distribution is only modestly progressive. OK?
UPDATE: Back from lunch and full of energy now. Here’s a chart showing part of the tax picture:
So the tax system is moderately progressive until you get up to the 5,000 richest people in the country, at which point it becomes regressive.
However, this includes only federal income tax and payroll taxes. It doesn’t include excise taxes, state income taxes, sales taxes, or property taxes. If you add in all that stuff, things get even flatter. The chart below doesn’t include imputed corporate incomes taxes or the employer portion of the payroll tax, so the overall numbers are lower than they should be, but it still gives a pretty good idea of the overall flatness of our tax system: