Tag Archives: Tax Hikes

What will the Republican and Democrat plans for the economy mean for you?

Pretty soon, our mandatory expenses will consume all of our tax revenues
Pretty soon, our mandatory expenses will consume all of our tax revenues

I found two very good articles about the Republican and Democrat plans for taxing and spending. On the one hand, there’s an article about the effects of the Trump tax cuts, posted at the Washington Times. On the other hand, there’s an article posted at the radically leftist Vox, about the cost of Democrat party spending plans. I wonder which one is better for you and your family?

First, let’s look at the effects of the Trump tax cuts:

Almost immediately, numerous employers — including Boeing, AT&T, FedEx, CVS, and others — began offering bonuses to their employees. Nearly 200 companies, including Walmart, announced wage hikes due to the 2017 tax cut. Still others enjoyed higher contributions to their retirement plans.

The benefits soon went beyond that, however. The tax cut contributed to the strong economy we’ve been enjoying, leading many businesses to hire more and more workers. The United States added more than 2.6 million new jobs in the year following the passage of the tax cut — nearly a 25 percent increase from the previous year.

Unemployment is way down, with jobless claims at their lowest since 1969, thanks in large part to the tax cut.

[…]The Heritage Foundation used IRS data to produce a special report last year that shows how widespread the tax benefits truly are.

They found that in 2018 taxpayers would save an average of $1,400. Even better, married couples with two children would save more than twice that: $2,917.

So, that sounds pretty good if you’re a taxpayer. You got to keep more of the money you earned, and spend it on the things you wanted for yourself and your loved ones. If that money had gone to government, then government employees would have taken half for their own salaries and benefits, and then the rest might have been spent in a wasteful way by someone who never earned it.

By the way, you might think that taking less money from the people who earn it would cause tax revenues to go down. But that’s not the case. Whenever you allow job creators and workers to keep more of what they earn, they work harder and take more risks developing better products and services. This naturally results in more revenue to the government from increased economic activity. In Feburary of 2018, after the tax cuts were in effect a whole year, federal revenues were $1.4 billion HIGHER than the previous year.

But let’s see what the Democrats can do for the taxpayer, by looking at this article in the far-left Vox.

It says:

Sanders has proposed a Social Security expansion, including higher cost-of-living adjustments and higher minimum benefit levels, that the liberal Tax Policy Center estimates will cost $188 billion over the next decade.

The Tax Policy Center also scores the Sanders “free college” proposal at $807 billion over the next decade. (Note that free college benefits students from wealthy families and those whose tuition is currently affordable.)

Next, the center estimates that Sanders’s proposal of up to 12 weeks of paid family leave for new parents and for people with serious health conditions would cost another $270 billion.

Those costs, however, pale beside the cost of replacing private insurance, including copayments, with a Medicare-for-all plan. The liberal Urban Institute estimates that Sanders’s single-payer health plan would add $32 trillion in federal costs over the decade.

[…]Ocasio-Cortez and Senate Democrats also want to guarantee a job for anyone who wants one, at $15 per hour plus benefits. The liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, commissioned a report by outside scholars Darrick Hamilton, William Darity, and Mark Paul that estimates the cost of a more modest proposal along these lines (with a lower wage, for example). It suggested the cost would be $56,000 apiece for 9.7 million enrollees, for a total of $6.8 trillion over the next decade.

[…]Finally, Senate Democrats have promised $1 trillion for new infrastructure, and House Democrats are rallying around legislation to pay off all $1.4 trillion in student loan debt — both of which the far left generally supports. I will exclude vague promises such as universal pre-K and expanded special education funding.

Total cost: $42.5 trillion in new proposals over the next decade, on top of the $12.4 trillion baseline deficit.

OK, that does sound like a lot of money, but the rich are just sitting on trillions and trillions of dollars that they aren’t even using, right? So the total cost of all this spending is only $42.5 trillion of new spending and $12.4 trillion of existing spending, for  a total of about $55 trillion dollars over the next 10 years. I’m sure that if we just raised taxes by 5% on the rich, we could easily raise 10 times that amount, right?

Not quite.

In 2011, the Tax Foundation explained that even if you taxed ALL THE INCOME from all the people who make $200,000 or more, you would only raise $1.53 trillion dollars:

So taking half of the yearly income from every person making between one and ten million dollars would only decrease the nation’s debt by 1%. Even taking every last penny from every individual making more than $10 million per year would only reduce the nation’s deficit by 12 percent and the debt by 2 percent. There’s simply not enough wealth in the community of the rich to erase this country’s problems by waving some magic tax wand.

Finally, to put everything in perspective, think about what would need to be done to erase the federal deficit this year: After everyone making more than $200,000/year has paid taxes, the IRS would need to take every single penny of disposable income they have left. Such an act would raise approximately $1.53 trillion. It may be economically ruinous, but at least this proposal would actually solve the problem.

Now, if I were a rich person making over $200,000 a year, and someone came along and told me they would take all of it, I would not continue to work. And I doubt they would either. But taking all this money from “the rich” would just barely cover the BASELINE deficit of $12.4 trillion over the next 10 years. It would not cover the new $42.5 trillion of Democrat spending plans.

Think about that. What that means is that can’t pay for their spending even if they take every penny from “the rich”. Do you know what that means? It means they’re going to have to take money from YOU, the ordinary middle class American taxpayer. Something to keep in mind.

Will raising taxes on the rich help the economy and create more jobs?

The presidents of my two favorite think tanks, Arthur Brooks (AEI) and Edwin Feulner (Heritage) explain in this USA Today editorial.

Excerpt: (links removed)

First, there is no evidence that tax increases will actually solve our troubles. On the contrary, years of data from around the world show that when nations try to solve a fiscal crisis primarily by raising tax revenues, they tend to fail. In contrast, fiscal approaches based on entitlement reform and spending cuts tend to succeed.

American Enterprise Institute economists Kevin Hassett, Andrew Biggs and Matthew Jensen examined the experiences of 21 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries between 1970 and 2007. They found that countries with successful fiscal reforms, on average, closed 85% of their budget gaps with spending cuts. The countries with failed reforms, on average, relied at least 50% on tax increases. President Obama’s strategy falls firmly in the latter camp. After discounting the accounting tricks that create fictitious spending cuts, the president’s plan would impose about $3 in tax hikes for every $1 in spending cuts.

That is, his approach would probably land America in the “failed attempt” column. Five years down the line, we would be in the same fiscal mess we are in today, just with higher taxes and a bigger government.

Second, tax hikes aimed at small segments of the population wouldn’t raise much in revenues. Consider the “Buffett Rule” that the president spent many months promoting. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, it would raise about $47 billion over a decade. The federal government currently spends about $4 billion more per day than it takes in. The Buffett Rule, then, would raise about enough next year to cover 28 hours of government overspending. Heritage Foundation economist Curtis Dubay finds that closing the deficit solely by raising the two highest tax brackets would require hiking them to 159% and 166%, respectively.

Third, as economists and business executives have noted repeatedly, raising taxes on families earning over $250,000 per year is effectively a massive tax hike on small businesses. Most small businesses today organize as S-corporations or other pass-through entities; their income is taxed as personal income. A study by Ernst and Young shows that Obama’s proposed tax hike would force these small businesses to eliminate about 710,000 jobs. Moreover, these households already bear a great deal of tax liability. According to the most recent Internal Revenue Service data, those earning $250,000 and above — roughly 2% of all taxpayers — earn 22% of income, but pay 45% of all federal income taxes.

Simply put, increasing tax rates on the wealthy is not a serious approach to solving America’s fiscal woes. The problem is purely one of excessive spending, not inadequate taxing.

Revenues haven’t changed substantially over the last decade, but government spending is way, way up. That’s what’s causing us to go into debt – massive government spending on turtle tunnels and Solyndra. We can do better than socialism.

Two-thirds of British millionaires disappeared after income tax increase on the rich

What happens when you “tax the rich”, like Obama wants to do?

The UK Telegraph explains what actually happens when you tax the rich.

Excerpt:

Almost two-thirds of the country’s million-pound earners disappeared from Britain after the introduction of the 50p top rate of tax, figures have disclosed.

In the 2009-10 tax year, more than 16,000 people declared an annual income of more than £1 million to HM Revenue and Customs.

This number fell to just 6,000 after Gordon Brown introduced the new 50p top rate of income tax shortly before the last general election.

The figures have been seized upon by the Conservatives to claim that increasing the highest rate of tax actually led to a loss in revenues for the Government.

It is believed that rich Britons moved abroad or took steps to avoid paying the new levy by reducing their taxable incomes.

[…]Last night, Harriet Baldwin, the Conservative MP who uncovered the latest figures, said: “Labour’s ideological tax hike led to a tax cull of millionaires.

Far from raising funds, it actually cost the UK £7 billion in lost tax revenue.

Similarly in France, with their Socialist leader’s 75% top tax rate: (worse than Obama!)

A flood of top-end properties are hitting the market as businessmen seek to leave France before stiff tax hikes hit, real estate agents and financial advisors say.

“It’s nearly a general panic. Some 400 to 500 residences worth more than one million euros ($1.3 million) have come onto the Paris market,” said managers at Daniel Feau, a real-estate broker that specialises in high-end property.

[…]While the Socialists’ plan to raise the tax rate to 75 percent on income above 1.0 million euros per year has generated the most headlines, a sharp increase in taxes on capital gains from the sales of stock and company stakes is pushing most people to leave, according Didier Bugeon, head of the wealth manager Equance.

French entrepreneurs have complained vociferously against a proposal in the Socialist’s 2013 budget to increase the capital gains tax on sales of company stakes, which they argue will kill the market for innovative start-up companies in France.

Entrepreneurs in the high-tech sector in particular often invest their own money and take low salaries in the hope they can later sell the company for a large sum.

They say a stiff increase in capital gains tax would remove incentives to do this in France. They also argue that capital has already been taxed several times in the making.

Rich people are not stupid. If you change the rules of the game, they make adjustments. Why on Earth would anyone keep working as hard as before when the government takes more of what they earn and gives it away to left-wing special interest groups? You either stop working as hard as before or you leave the country entirely. Rich people are not our slaves.

We let people keep the profits they make so that they will risk their capital and try to invent new things and create jobs. If we don’t let them keep their profits, then they will not save, invest, take risks and create jobs. People who depend on “Obamaphones” don’t create jobs. Only rich people do. And the more you tax the rich, the fewer jobs you will have. That’s the way the world really works. Taking money from those who work and giving it to those who don’t sounds “nice”, but it doesn’t actually help the poor. What helps the poor is having a job, not giving them free stuff paid for by others who work. You should not be able to make more money by not working than by working in this country, either.

Remember what happened when Reagan and Bush cut taxes? Massive drops in unemployment and higher revenues from taxes.

Harvard economist explains why spending cuts are better than tax increases

From Investors Business Daily, an editorial by Dr. Alberto Alesina of Harvard University, that explains which approach to reducing debt and deficits works best. Is it cutting spending and reducing regulation? Or is it continuing to borrow and spend, and raising taxes?

Let’s see what Dr. Alesina says:

The evidence speaks loud and clear: When governments reduce deficits by raising taxes, they are indeed likely to witness deep, prolonged recessions. But when governments attack deficits by cutting spending, the results are very different.

In 2011, the International Monetary Fund identified episodes from 1980 to 2005 in which 17 developed countries had aggressively reduced deficits. The IMF classified each episode as either “expenditure-based” or “tax-based,” depending on whether the government had mainly cut spending or hiked taxes.

When Carlo Favero, Francesco Giavazzi and I studied the results, it turned out that the two kinds of deficit reduction had starkly different effects: cutting spending resulted in very small, short-lived — if any — recessions, and raising taxes resulted in prolonged recessions.

[…]The obvious economic challenge to our contention is: What keeps an economy from slumping when government spending, a major component of aggregate demand, goes down? That is, if the economy doesn’t enter recession, some other component of aggregate demand must necessarily be rising to make up for the reduced government spending — and what is it? The answer: private investment.

Our research found that private-sector capital accumulation rose after the spending-cut deficit reductions, with firms investing more in productive activities — for example, buying machinery and opening new plants. After the tax-hike deficit reductions, capital accumulation dropped.

The reason may involve business confidence, which, we found, plummeted during the tax-based adjustments and rose (or at least didn’t fall) during the expenditure-based ones. When governments cut spending, they may signal that tax rates won’t have to rise in the future, thus spurring investors (and possibly consumers) to be more active.

Our findings on business confidence are consistent with the broader argument that American firms, though profitable, aren’t investing or hiring as much as they might right now because they’re uncertain about future fiscal policy, taxation and regulation.

But there’s a second reason that private investment rises when governments cut spending: the cuts are often just part of a larger reform package that includes other pro-growth measures.

In another study, Silvia Ardagna and I showed that the deficit reductions that successfully lower debt-to-GDP ratios without sparking recessions are those that combine spending reductions with such measures as deregulation, the liberalization of labor markets (including, in some cases, explicit agreement with unions for more moderate wages) and tax reforms that increase labor participation.

Let’s be clear: This body of evidence doesn’t mean that cutting government spending always leads to economic booms. Rather, it shows that spending cuts are much less costly for the economy than tax hikes and that a carefully designed deficit-reduction plan, based on spending cuts and pro-growth policies, may completely eliminate the output loss that you’d expect from such cuts. Tax-based deficit reduction, by contrast, is always recessionary.

UPDATE: George Mason University economists agree: debt is wrecking the economy and the right way to stop it is with spending cuts, not tax increases. In order to grow the economy we need a balanced approach of spending cuts and tax cuts.

Excerpt:

The United States’ high levels of debt are already contributing to slower economic growth and decreased competitiveness. These impacts will worsen if the nation’s debt-to-GDP levels continue to rise, as is currently projected.

[…]High levels of government debt undermine U.S. competitiveness in several ways, including crowding out private investment, raising costs to private businesses, and contributing to both real and perceived macroeconomic instability.

[…]Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff examine historical data from 40 countries over 200 years and find that when a nation’s gross national debt exceeds 90% of GDP, real growth was cut by one percent in mild cases and by half in the most extreme cases. This result was found in both developing and advanced economies.

Similarly, a Bank for International Settlements study finds that when government debt in OECD countries exceeds about 85% of GDP, economic growth slows.

[…]While fundamental tax reform is required to correct a host of structural inefficiencies, policymakers can quickly reduce the U.S. statutory rate of 35% to the OECD average rate of 26% or less.

That’s what research tells us. But that’s not what we are doing, because we voted for Barack Obama.

How would raising taxes on the rich affect middle class working families?

Investors Business Daily explains.

Excerpt:

Raising taxes on all those above $250,000 as Obama proposes would raise just $34 billion. That’s a whopping 3% of our $1.1 trillion deficit. Even if you seized all their income, it would only run the government for three months.

So the idea that taxing the wealthy will reduce the deficit is false. This is just class warfare, pure and simple.

Even so, Obama compounds the fib by going on to say his tax hike will have virtually no impact on small businesses. He notes, for example, that 97% of all small businesses would be untouched by his tax hike.

True, but irrelevant, as Treasury Department data show. For while there are 34.8 million small businesses in America, 30 million of those employ no workers.

Just 4.8 million, or 12%, employ workers. But an even smaller number — just 1.2 million — earn 91% of all the small business income. These are Obama’s “rich.”

But while they make up just 3% of all small businesses, they employ a stunning 54% of the total private U.S. workforce.

They are, in short, the nation’s job creators. And their owners, who report their small-business income on their personal income tax return, will be taxed at a higher rate by Obama.

So don’t be fooled. It’s not really the “wealthy,” as Obama says, who’ll get taxed. It’s small businesses. And it will have a devastating impact on jobs.

How devastating? A recent study by Ernst & Young noted that Obama’s tax hike, far from being “balanced,” would cost 700,000 people their jobs.

And it will no doubt kill hundreds of thousands if not millions more jobs in the future as would-be entrepreneurs decide not to start businesses in such a hostile tax and regulatory environment.

It’s important for us to realize that the people voting for Obama have no idea about these facts. A lot of people are annoyed that we lost the election last week. I think that if we want to win the next one then we have to start to think about becoming more persuasive with the people around us. We have to learn to deflate the slogans of those on the left with facts.