I know a man, a man of a conservative bent, who gets downright irate anytime you use some variation or another of “tax cuts for the rich” in conversation. He can’t be taking it personally, I don’t suppose, since he isn’t rich and, as far as I can tell, he has no prospects for getting that way unless he happens to trip over a winning PowerBall ticket. So I guess you’d say he’s like Joe the Plumber and many millions more Americans who have very little, but want to make damned sure that they look after the interests of those who have everything.
People like this man are the reason I always giggle when I encounter political and economic theories that hinge on things like “rationality” and “informed self-interest.”
I was reminded of this man today, when the following story found its way to my desktop:
Richest Americans’ Income Doubled as Tax Rate SlashedJan. 30 (Bloomberg) — The average tax rate paid by the richest 400 Americans fell by a third to 17.2 percent through the first six years of the Bush administration and their average income doubled to $263.3 million, new IRS data show.
This man, best I can tell, regards “tax cuts for the rich” as some sort of evil liberal meme, no doubt crafted in a Satanic sex ceremony involving Jane Fonda in George Soros’ basement. So just to be clear, let’s snip some key facts – yes Virginia, there is such a thing as a fact – from the story:
- “The average tax rate paid by the richest 400 Americans fell by a third to 17.2 percent through the first six years of the Bush administration”
- “their average income doubled to $263.3 million”
- Source: IRS data
- “The 17.2 percent tax rate in 2006 was the lowest since the IRS began tracking the 400 largest taxpayers in 1992”
- “The drop from 2001’s tax rate of 22.9 percent was due largely to ex-President George W. Bush’s push to cut tax rates on most capital gains to 15 percent in 2003”
- “Capital gains made up 63 percent of the richest 400 Americans’ adjusted gross income in 2006, or a combined $66.1 billion”
If this man I know is reading, I’m sure he’s angry. And why not. As noted conservative TV pundit Stephen Colbert has noted, facts, reality, and even information itself have a well-known liberal bias.