[NOTE Augusut 8, 2017: The marginal and effective U.S. Tax rates mentioned in this 2011 post have been supported by research conducted by Thomas Piketty (Paris School of Economics), Emmanuel Saez (UC Berkeley and NBER), and Gabriel Zucman (UC Berkeley and NBER). These economic researchers are well-respected by progressives. Data are data, though we differ on interpretations. "Income" vs. "Wealth" presents much of the challenge, as wealth accumulates but is not taxed in the United States. Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the United States published July 6, 2017, includes the following table:
As the table shows, the effective tax rate for the top 1 percent peaked at 45 percent of income in 1944-45. Unfortunately, the overall revenue intake of the United States kept growing and the burden has been falling most on the bottom 50 percent. Tax increases on the middle and lower classes reduce potential economic growth since these individuals spe…
Though the contemporary Republican Party has never been libertarian enough for me or many others focused on economic issues, we at least imagined the GOP would lead a President Trump, who came into office with no governing experience and a platform that was populist and nationalist.
The GOP has failed to do much practical at all. If you, like me, at least hoped Trump would be contained by party orthodoxy, the year has been nothing but disappointment after disappointment.
Civil Rights: Hard to think of anything the GOP or Pres. Trump has proposed with which I agree, from gender issues to voting rights, the GOP is allowing Trump to lead on these subjects — in the wrong direction.
Gay marriage should never have been a national issue. Private matters are private, between consenting adults. The libertarians and social conservatives will always be in conflict on these issues.
On voting rights, I am okay with a basic national ID standard, as is being implemented for the TSA via new d…
Map of U.S. Minimum Wage laws (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Minimum wage debates tend to overstate the estimated and real effects of any changes to the minimum wage in the Unites States. Most studies show a minor increase in a place with wages already rising has no significant effect on employment. But, there is a cost when wages rise quickly and there is an effect when wages fail to keep pace with the cost of living. The problem is that the minimum wage is not, contrary to any mythologies, the income of most adults with full-time work.
As the debates below suggest, there is a limit to what a local economy can bear in terms of wage growth. At the same time, we know that low wages also reflect jobs that can be or will be automated away in many instances. We are in a new era of creative destruction, with no real plan for the displaced workers without skills.
Allow me to provide an example of how silly on all sides the debate on wages is. Mark Perry gets the facts right in his piece on th…