Patterico's Pontifications

4/17/2006

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Public Policy — Patterico @ 10:23 pm

An L.A. Times article about the flatter tax structure under Bush contains this quote:

“It’s as if Santa Claus dropped bags of money down everybody’s chimney,” said Leonard E. Burman of the private Tax Policy Center. “Only he dropped extra-big bags in rich people’s homes, and extra-small ones in smaller homes.”

Gee, I didn’t realize Santa was just giving us our own money back. That ho-ho’ing bastard!

This quote appears over a headline that states: “For the Wealthy, More Wealth.” (The headline on the front page is: “Taxes Flatten but Deep Pockets Bulge.”)

The article argues that, under a flatter tax, the rich are making out like bandits and everyone else is screwed.

But the article doesn’t really support this thesis. It makes no effort to establish a cause and effect relationship between flatter taxes and economic hardships faced by workers.

Some argue that a flatter tax structure stimulates growth. Has that happened? The paper reluctantly admits that it has — but buries the fact in paragraph 20 of this 31-paragraph article.

So what’s the problem? Well, many workers still have problems. Health care costs are high. Family net worth is growing, but at a slower rate.

But did a flatter tax *cause* or *contribute to* these problems? The article cleverly elides this issue by saying that “flatter income tax rates have contributed to an economic landscape” that has these problems.

By the same logic, if you work and you’re poor, your work contributes to an economic situation in which you’re poor.

Does that mean that work causes poverty? No — just like lower taxes don’t cause the economic problems faced by workers.

Cause and effect. It’s what the article is about. Why is no evidence provided to support the thesis?

3 Responses to “”

  1. Cause and effect. It’s what the article is about. Why is no evidence provided to support the thesis?

    I presume the answer is that Mr. Havemann is lazy, talking points are easier, and perhaps he even realizes that he is arguing a giant non-sequitur.

    Why? If taxes had been increased on the lower 45% of the population, thereby eroding their income, he might have a point. However, federal income taxes have been reduced to roughly $0 for this segment of the population. Whether any other segment of the population pays more or less than previously is immaterial, absent the intention to transfer significant wealth from “the rich” (that’s most of us two wage earner families making anything like a decent middle class wage) to “the poor”.

    Aside from engaging in a series of logical falacies, the author of the article fails to make a cogent point.

    No, wait, it’s the Bush tax cuts that have caused a lowered standard of living for the bottom half of the income spectrum. Of course. How did we miss that?

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  2. The original St. Nick DID throw sacks of money into people’s homes…

    Angry Clam (fa7fff)


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