August 12, 2011

Pelham: Cut the budget baloney

Vermont's Tom Pelham cuts through the rhetoric and soundbites with a numbers-based reality check on Washington's excesses. Well worth a read.

"Both sides hold shaded self-serving positions. Democrats look back at the surpluses in the Clinton years and blame the “Bush Tax Cuts,” code words for tax breaks given the wealthy. But the facts are, the “Bush Tax Cuts” were for everybody, not just the wealthy. The U.S. Treasury values the “Bush Tax Cuts” at $3.6 trillion over the next decade, with only $700 billion, or 19 percent, going to “the wealthy” and $2.9 trillion going to the rest of us. In 2000, the effective federal income tax rate on the bottom 50 percent of filers was 4.6 percent. In 2008, the last year for which numbers are available, their effective rate was down to 2.59 percent. With these lower rates, 46.9 percent of all federal income tax filers in 2009 paid no federal income tax. Comparatively, for the top 5 percent of filers, the effective rate dropped from 24.4 percent to 20.7 percent by 2008."

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