Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line posted a story on the Democrats’ recent efforts to pay for a continuation of the payroll tax by imposing a tax on the rich. (Actually, the Democrats solution to any given problem at any given time is to impose a tax on the rich). Anyway, a Power Line reader ran the numbers to see how much impact the proposed tax on the rich would have. This is what the reader found:
The taxes on the highest incomes are never enough for any of their schemes. The Dems’ proposal is a fraud, which the MSM helps to perpetrate by never estimating the revenues from upper income tax increases.
Politico reports that the cost of the Democrats’ payroll tax reduction is $265 billion. Will that really be paid for by a 3.25 percent surtax on adjusted gross incomes over $1 million?
According to the Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute/Brookings Institute, approximately 388,000 households have income above $1 million in any given year; the average income of such households is about $2.7 million. The surtax would be levied on the increment above $1 million. So the arithmetic is simple on a static analysis: 388,000 * $1.7 million * 3.25% = $21.437 billion.
So the “millionaires and billionaires” surtax doesn’t come even remotely close to the reduction in payroll tax. It’s a complete fraud–gratuitous class warfare for revenues that, in the overall scheme of things, are trivial.
The problem with the budget is not the lack of tax revenue–it is the increase in spending. The Obama administration has increased government spending to approximately 24 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). It had previously been between 18 and 20 percent. The average tax revenue collected by the government in a year is about 18 percent of the GDP. Therein lies the problem. Even when taxes on the rich are increased, the amount collected hovers around 18 percent because the ‘rich’ have accountants that help them pay as little taxes as possible. When you tax the rich you only wind up taxing the middle class more and moving closer to the elimination of the middle class. That is not a good idea.