Posts Tagged ‘Taxes’

Mathematical Malpractice Watch: Marginal Taxes

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

I’ve noticed a little flaw in commentary lately. The Left Wing, in their push to raise taxes, are citing work like this, which claims the Laffer Curve peaks at 50-70% and therefore we could massively raise taxes on the wealthy.

Let’s put aside that you never want government taxation rates to be at the peak of the Laffer Curve (it leaves you zero fiscal room for emergencies and means you’re crippling the economy but not quite enough to depress tax revenue). The problem is that we already pretty close to that peak. For the very wealthy, the marginal income tax rate is 35%. Medicare tax is another 2.9% (employer+employee). We’ll ignore Social Security tax under the assumption we’re just dealing with millionaires. Then you have state income taxes, which range from 0% in states like Texas to a top marginal rate of 11% in Oregon and Hawaii. So marginal tax rates are currently at 38-49%, which is pretty much the lower bound of what the rather optimistic Diamond and Saez say is the peak of the Laffer Curve. And since it’s a Laffer Curve, not the Laffer Triangle, it starts bending before it rolls over, so we’re probably getting within shouting distance of peak revenue already.

I’m not saying whether we should or should not raise taxes (I’ve come out on the other blog in favor of raising them on everyone since I see little alternative given our present circumstances). But let’s at least debate honestly about where we are on marginal rates, huh?

The “Liberal” Me

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Am I a liberal? Have I become one?

That may seem like a ridiculous question to the three people who read this blog and are, on balance, to the left of me. But it’s been on my mind a bit lately. I am constantly accused of being a RINO or an out-and-out liberal on conservative sites. Friends and family often describe me as “so liberal”. And every time Obama screws up (about once a week), I get a message or an e-mail or a comment asking if I’m happy that I voted for him (which I didn’t; I voted for Barr). The current GOP primary race — in which none of the candidates really appeal to me — has only exacerbated this since I spend most of my time pointing out why each of the candidates is a terrible choice.

Thinking about it for a while, however, there may be something to the criticism. There are a handful of issues on which I’ve moved “left” in the last decade or so. But I do not see these as some sudden wellspring of liberalism. They are my fundamental conservatism and libertarianism refined. As I become more aware of the complexity and debate over certain issues, I find my libertarian/conservative philosophy leading me to views that I consider to be fundamentally conservative, but are no longer considered dogma by the GOP, least of all their collection of media dog washers.

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Weekend Linkorama

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

Non-political links:

  • Honestly? This racy ad on HPV doesn’t bother me. As my blogging on porn has shown, my offense threshold is very high.
  • Orac destroys Mann Coulter’s sloppy research on radiation.
  • Now this is interesting. Maybe we don’t have to drug up our livestock and risk epidemics.
  • Political Links:

  • This just in: Nancy Pelosi is also a lying fool. Maybe she just felt bad that the Republicans were making such idiots of themselves and joined the fool parade in solidarity.
  • Signs that Newt Gingrich’s Presidential campaign is doomed: over at the very Right Wing site Hot Air, only half of the users are buying his bullshit in re: flip-flopping on LIbya. When the half the Right Wing already thinks your full of shit and the election is still 19 months away, you’re doomed.
  • Justice in America: banks get off, home-owners go to jail. What’s most disturbing is how they found this guy – the IRS is targeting people for acting too rich.
  • I’m beginning to think that the GOP really has lost their fucking minds on the abortion issue. The law being proposed (outlawing abortion after 20 weeks) sounds restrictive, but is of a piece with the view of large majorities of Americans (assuming you think these things should be decided by majority rule). But the rhetoric accompanying it is insane.
  • You know, at this point, the fact that AARP was bribed to the tune of a billion dollars to support PPACA doesn’t surprise me.
  • Was Bill Clinton more conservative than George Bush? Hells yes.
  • Oh, that liberal media. Right.
  • The latest idiocy from PPACA. Healthcare is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.