The End of Welfare as We Don't Know It

Tresy Kilbourne tresyk at
Mon Oct 12 10:31:55 PDT 1998

Max Sawicky writes:

>The tax burden on middle class has been very stable
>for the past twenty years.

Social security taxes have been raised 9 times since 1977, and have increased 31%. This of course is a tax that only affects the first $55,000 of income. From 1971 to 1991, the combined tax bills of median-income families increased 329 percent. (Barlett & Steele, "Who Really Pays the Taxes?" p. 104) The government now taxes unemployment benefits. Some stable burden.

>The share of taxes paid
>by the rich has gone up a lot (because their income
>share has).
While the top tax rate was slashed from 70% in 1977 to 39.6% in 1994. I don't know anyone who cares what their class' share of the overall tax burden is; given a choice between their class paying a smaller share and themselves paying a lower tax rate, anyone is going to choose the latter.

Put the bottom 90% out of work and the share of the top 10% goes to 100%, whatever the tax rate. Big deal. Focussing on share of the overall tax burden is flummery.

Item: in 1991 with an income of $1,324,456, George Bush paid $239,083 in federal, state, and local taxes, for an effective tax rate of 18 percent. A typical middle-income family in Oregon making an AGI of $43,690 paid 26 percent of their income in taxes (excluding things like gas taxes and such). (Who Really Pays the Taxes? p. 295.) The tax lobbyists for Bush and his fellow Yalies are clearly earning their retainers.

_____________ Tresy Kilbourne Seattle WA PGP Keys <mailto:tresyk at>

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