Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tax Day, 2009

"Taxes are what we pay for civilized society."
-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Apparently many members of the right-wing are holding "tea parties" across the country. Actually, while these look like grass-roots events, they're really AstroTurf orchestrated by the Republican Politburo, and publicized via Fox (Faux) News, aka GOPTV. Here's their national website, promoting events around the nation.

Since it's Tax Day in the good 'ole US of A, here's a NY Times article that manages to shed some new light on taxes, while dispelling a few myths at the same time. Basically, it's good journalism being practiced. Maybe newspapers can be saved?

From the article, on why raising top marginal rates may not be such a bad thing, despite protestations from the right:

The argument against such increases is not insignificant. Conservative economists say that higher tax rates could damage the economy and ultimately be self-defeating, because they would give the rich an incentive to shift their pay into stock or other investments that are taxed less. And to some degree, such shifting would surely happen.

But one economic lesson of the last couple of decades is that these responses are fairly modest. An academic study of the Clinton tax increases found that they caused corporate executives to exercise some stock options earlier than they otherwise would have. But the increases had no noticeable long-term effect. The executives didn’t ask to be paid entirely in stock, and the economy boomed. Increasing taxes on the rich, in other words, has some unintended consequences, but it mainly has the intended ones: it raises revenue and reduces inequality. That study was written by Austan Goolsbee, a University of Chicago professor who later became the first economic adviser to a Senate candidate named Barack Obama.

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