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View Diary: Peasants as far as I can see (169 comments)

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  •  The CBO does not have data back that far (1+ / 0-)
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    but it's nowhere near the marginal rates, for a couple of reasons.  

    First, the top marginal rates were for incomes in the millions in today's dollars, not $250,000 and up.

    Second -- and far more importantly -- the tax code at that time was written with so many exemptions, deductions, loopholes, shelters that only a very very very rich person who was too stupid to hire a tax accountant paid those rates on more than a very small part of their overall income.

    While there is no real data regarding EFFECTIVE federal income tax rates prior to the beginning of the CBO data in 1979 (that link in my prior post is a summary of CBO data), you CAN look at tax receipts as a share of GDP much farther back.  It is summarized here.   In the 1950's, individual income taxes were about 7 - 8% of GDP.  It gets to 9 - 10% under Clinton.  

    The idea that the Clinton tax rates are historically low compared to prior eras is a myth.  

    •  Piketty and Saez (2+ / 0-)

      involved with Wealth for the Common Good analyzed IRS data from 1955 through 2007 for the 400 richest Americans and found that their effective Federal tax rate declined from 51 percent in 1955 to 16.5 percent in 2007. Middle class effective rates actually went up during the same time frame, and corporate tax rates as a percent of Federal revenue declined by two thirds. Taxes such as financial transaction taxes present in the 1950s were gone by the 1970s. All in all, the tax code became flatter and in some ways, quite regressive. I don't have a link right now as I am on my mobile device in the field, but this information is readily available on Wealth For The Common Good's website.

      Trickle Down Economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower.

      by NoMoreLies on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 01:47:30 PM PST

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      •  The 400 richest Americans is not (1+ / 0-)
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        the top 1%. In 2010, there over 137 million returns with positive AGI filed.  You are talking about the richest 400 of those 137 million households.

        And that would prove my point.  Raising top marginal rates (as the President advocates) on earned income does not affect the super rich.  Instead, it affects two income working professional couples, AGI $250,000 to $1 million.  Those 400 families you are talking about are not affected by individual income tax rates  -- they pay primarily on capital gains rates  

        The Clinton rates most likely were the highest federal individual income tax EFFECTIVE rates ever.  

        (And I've seen that link, but if I'm not mistaken, they don't explain their methodology - just that they are making "estimates" of the top 400 families based on some IRS data released.  So I'm not sure how reliable their estimates are without seeing the methodology.)  

        •  Reverting to the Clinton tax rates (0+ / 0-)

          would also raise rates on unearned income from 15 to 20 percent, a significant increase. However a fair and equitable tax code would have equal rates on earned and unearned incomes. That is the thrust of what Wealth For The Common Good proposes. And in the 1950s more of the rich's income was earned as opposed to passive income.

          Trickle Down Economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower.

          by NoMoreLies on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 02:53:10 PM PST

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      •  NoMoreLies - given the code pre'86 (0+ / 0-)

        It is nearly inconceivable to me that the top 400 richest Americans had an effective rate of more than 50% from 1955 - 2007.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:23:11 PM PST

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        •  The 400 richest (0+ / 0-)

          paid 51% in 1955. By 1961 it was down below 45 percent and kept dropping.

          Trickle Down Economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower.

          by NoMoreLies on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 06:04:45 PM PST

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