Showing posts from August, 2017

More on the 90 Percent Tax Myth

The marginal and effective U.S. income tax rates mentioned in my 2011 post The 90 Percent Tax Myth 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 individual…

Democracy in Chains and Inter-Disciplinary Problems

American economist James Buchanan won the 1986 Nobel Prize in Economics. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Democracy in Chains by Historian Nancy MacLean was worthy of a few online posts earlier this summer, when I first read a loaned copy and was pained by how often the text misstated economic theories associated with libertarians (and some conservatives). As a historian, she makes the all too common mistake of conflating the "radical right" (named on the book's cover) with standard, rather unexceptional and mundane, free-market economic models and theories. She presents common knowledge and well-known debates over theories within economics as some sort of secret plot to destroy democracy when, in fact, the people and theories she discusses seek to protect minority rights and freedoms from an easily manipulated government.

I didn't post my columns to my blogs because others, including the economists and political scientists from perspectives other than the Chicago or Austria…