Thursday, August 05, 2010


GT is at it again.
From Blogger Pictures

When people ask him  "How can we justify tax cuts[?]" he responds with bullshit.  Let's take a closer look at this.

First, let me concede that GT is almost correct when he says that more than 50% of those that will be affected by allowing the Bush/Cheney tax cuts to expire on high income taxpayers are small business owners. Almost because the figure applies to taxpayers that claim  small business income. Not all of these taxpayers are, in fact, small business owners. 

Setting that aside for the moment, let me  be clear that that this is not the same as 50% of small business owners will be affected by the expiration of the tax cuts, but my guess is that many who read GT's tweet get that wrong impression. And GT, or more likely a smarter staffer, probably  was aiming to induce that misunderstanding.

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center reports that a  large proportion (33%) of taxpayers claiming small business income either have incomes too low to pay taxes or are in the lowest tax bracket. In fact, 14.5% taxpayers claiming small business income claim the Earned Income Tax Credit for low income workers.

How many taxpayers claiming small business income will be hit by the expiration of the Bush/Cheney tax cut on high income taxpayers? That would be 1.9%,  again according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.  But about half of these taxpayers aren't small business owners. Included in this number are high income investors who receive part of their income from investments in small business. As the Tax Policy Center noted, of the 1.9% of taxpayers  with
...small-business income who face one of the top two tax rates are merely passive investors who have nothing to do with running the business. This is because the Tax Policy Center data cited above use the Treasury Department’s relatively broad definition of “small business.” Under the Treasury definition, for example, the $84 of income President Bush received in 2001 from a passive investment in an oil and gas company7 made him a “small-business owner.” About 35 percent of “small-business owners” with incomes above $200,000, and about 58 percent of “small-business owners” with incomes over $1 million, received some or all of their business income in the form of passive investments. The Treasury definition also counts as “small-business income” the fees that CEOs are paid for sitting on corporate boards.
From Blogger Pictures

So we see the reason that  more than 50% of taxpayers who would see their tax bill go up after the Bush/Cheney tax cut expires are "small business owners" is that many high income earners get some of their income classified by Treasury as coming from a small business even though they are not small business owners.

How much would extending the Bush/Cheney cuts for ten years cost the US Treasury? That would be $678 billion.

An how many jobs would we get for that price tag? Not too many would be my guess. Recall,  that during the whole Bush presidency while these cuts were in effect, which included, let us not forget, the housing bubble, the rate of job creation never matched that during the Clinton years. 

But I'd  still be interested in hearing how many jobs GT thinks this $678 billion give away to the rich would create and why?. Comon', give us a ballpark figure GT.

(h/t Kevin Drum)

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