Holey crap Batman. The NY Times sure is nosey. If anyone asks I am over 100, am a clergyman who makes over $150,000 a year, and specifically manufacture computers.
Ok, the New York Times is an extremely political rag. Their bias is legendary. I was expecting an article on economics. This is nothing of the sort. It is complete political crap.
Ok, the guy mentions "average" but does not say whether it is mean, median, or mode. He uses an arbitrary term, "very few", which can be widely defined. And the actual reference to 50% or more in taxes often includes other taxes in addition to federal, state, and local. There are sales, real estate, gas, and a multitude of other taxes. You cannot turn around and not be taxed.
Also he mentions what people in other countries pay compared to America, then fails to mention their economies. Too often people leave out little tidbits of information, like mentioning another country that has a higher minimum wage, and fails to mention that this country had double digit unemployment at the time.
Check out this quote: "The average corporate tax rate across 30 OECD countries has fallen from 37.6 percent in 1996 to 31.4 percent by 2002. The combined U.S. Federal and state rate is 40 percent." - http://www.cato.org/fiscal/2002/factsfigs.html
Back to the article he is quick to point out that just because the economy improved under Regan's tax cut's, that this does not mean that this is the only thing that affected the economy. This is true, but then mentions Clinton raising taxes and stating that the economy improved, and forgot to mention the economy has a stagnated recovery, and then boomed after the Republican controlled congress dropped the capitol gains taxes.
At least he did mention, "Let's be clear: very few economists think that Clinton's policies were primarily responsible for that miracle." But his bias is still showing in his statement, "As the economic success of the United States under Bill Clinton became impossible to deny?" He makes it obvious that he thinks that an economic expansion under Regan was a fluke, while Clinton caused the expansion during his presidency.
Also he likes to mention how one side used "advertising" to change the term estate tax to death tax, but then he does the exact same thing calling a tax cut a "cost" which is a twist of meaning.
He is also skilled at twisting statistics to support his statements. Mentioning how tax cuts are estimated to help the rich more, yet forgetting to mention what percent of all taxes are paid by this same percent. He is "lying with statistics" by using total amounts instead of percent of income. For example if Bob makes $10 grand while Steve makes $100 grand and each gets a 1% tax cut, the exact same amount, then with the same tax cut Steve received over 90% of the tax cut. (Again using his words, as if not taking as much from a person means they are receiving.)
I love his statement, "One technique involves exploiting the public's lack of statistical sophistication." And the complete article is doing the exact same thing. Also his statement, "But this calculation carefully leaves out the 50 million taxpayers who received no tax cut at all. And even among those who did get a tax cut, most got a lot less than $1,000, a number inflated by the very big tax cuts received by a few wealthy people." forgets to mention that many don't receive $1,000 in tax cuts because they don't even pay $1,000 in taxes. If a person only pays $500 in taxes how can he get a $1,000 tax cut? That wouldn't be a tax cut, but welfare. Also 4.6% of households making under $10,000 paid taxes. In the $10,000 - $20,000 group it jumped to a whopping 29.7%. (These are 2001 number.) in the $20 - $30 grand group it moved up to 54%. In all 35.6% of all households do not pay taxes. (It is 1/10 of one percent for people making over $200,000, and 1/5 of one percent for people making $100,000 - $200,000.) Also just over 50.5 million households pay no federal tax in America.
Unfortunately listening to economists is like listening to nutritionists warning of the dangers of excessive protein consumption, and the benefits of soy. Economists will take every side, and mention the improving, declining, stagnant, expanding economy. When you take this group and filter their information through politics you end up with completely blind theories.
There were some intelligent responses to this article. (I read them after I wrote the above.)
After doing some searching I found out I didn't have to join NY Times, though I am sure I might check out other articles there. If anyone does not want to join and still read the article, go here: http://www.pkarchive.org/economy/TaxCutCon.html