There is a "myth" that the economy of the United States chugged along at least in part due to higher taxes on the wealthy in the past. First, this myth, like so many about creating prosperity, ignores that U.S. growth came after two world wars wiped out most of our competitors. Second, the implication is that "the rich" were actually paying 90 percent taxes at some point in history. That's never been the case.
The U.S. tax system uses an "Effective Marginal Tax Rate" model. The EMTR is applied on ranges of earned taxable income. Each taxpayer pays roughly the same amount on his or her income within these ranges. According to the IRS, the EMTR schedule for 2011 is:
Tax RateIncome RangeTaxed10%$0 – $8,500$8,50015%$8,501 – $34,500$25,99925%$34,501 – $83,600$49,09928%$83,601 – $174,400$90,79933%$174,401 – $379,150$204,74935%Over $379,150N/A
Everyone paying income taxes pays the same 10% on his or her first $8,500. So, to calculate a person's "Comp…
One good sign from this election year: none of my close friends has made a stink and defriended me for not agreeing with X, Y, or Z and not being a vocal supporter of Candidate A, B, or C.
I never felt embarrassed to have this president and his family represent the United States, despite not agreeing with him on several core issues. For eight years we've had a president with whom I disagree but consider a decent father, good role model, and generally well-intentioned human. (Foreign affairs, generally disappointed by both parties since 2001.)
For eight years, the big change was health care. Did anything else change? I'm not sure. I wish we had seen some Big Bank CEOs in prison (capitalism without the rule of law doesn't work), a reworking of corporate and personal tax systems (simplify, close loopholes, end "targetted" breaks), and a willingness to confront long-term infrastructure issues while interest rates are low.
Do we vote our consciouses? Do we vote pragmatically? Do we vote for our "cause" (party) even when the candidate falls short of our ideals? Why and how to vote are serious questions we should consider. Yet, I'm unconvinced there are "right" answers philosophically.
Myself, I cannot vote for a person with whom I disagree or distrust significantly. That's a moral centering I cannot violate, even when it proves to be less than pragmatic. And in this presidential year, I disagree with and distrust all four major-minor candidates. That's depressing.
David Frum offered "A Guide for Undecided Republicans: Choosing a president isn't easy in this election, but here are three ways a principled conservative might vote."