“How to Tax Our Way Back to Justice: It is absurd that the working class is now paying higher tax rates than the richest people in America.” (NYT) is kind of fascinating for what it says about our media and taxpayer-funded universities.
Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, economists at UC Berkeley, figured out that the “bottom 50%” of Americans earn $18,500/year on average and pay a tax rate of 25 percent.
Here’s my comment on the piece:
I wonder if these guys ever leave their offices on campus.
If they were to walk down to one of the less genteel neighborhoods in their fair city of Berkeley they would discover folks who are living in taxpayer-funded housing, signed up for taxpayer-funded health insurance (Medicaid), receiving taxpayer-funded food stamps, and using a taxpayer-funded smartphone.
Unless you’re going to turn all of these noncash welfare programs into some kind of cash income equivalent, there is no meaningful way to calculate the tax rate paid for an American on welfare. Given that 71 million of us are on Medicaid, for example, the numbers presented in this article cannot possibly be correct. The economists have the “bottom 50%” with an average annual income of $18,500. The income limit for welfare in the writers’ native Bay Area is at least $117,400/year (see https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/06/25/the-eye-popping-definition-of-what-is-low-income-in-the-bay-area-increases-again/ ).
Maybe they found some people with a cash income of $18,500, but that isn’t their spending power. If it were, these folks could not afford to live in the U.S. at all (since, if they have a kid or two, health insurance would consume 100% of their income, leaving nothing for food or shelter).
The truly amazing thing here is that middle class Californians are being taxed to fund these two professors!
The article has a lot of information about how the rich are getting richer.
Since it is obviously absurd to talk about the tax rate paid by people who are mostly living on welfare, what could the purpose of the article be other than to sow discord and rage? (the authors hint that they have been advising Elizabeth Warren and presumably would be on track for central planning jobs if she were to be elected)