EMAIL PAGE TWO
COLUMN 106, JUNE 1, 2004
(Copyright © 2004 The Blacklisted Journalist)
LET THEM EAT RABBIT
Shifting the tax burden
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2004 17:51:01 -0700
From: "Peter Coyote" Peter@wdprod.com
By Sean Gonsalves
Wednesday April 2004
Tommy had just caught a rabbit. On his way home, walking down a dusty road
carrying the furry, squirming little creature he tried to console his captured
Rabbit," he said. "Pretty li'l rabbit, sweet li'l rabbit, why are you
wiggling so much. I ain't gonna do nothin' but knock you upside your head an'
skin an' cook ya."
my dear rabbit readers, analysts at United for a Fair Economy have just released
a new report called "Shifty Tax Cuts: How They Move the Tax Burden off the
Rich and onto Everyone Else."
are some of the key findings in the report. (Go to
http://FairEconomy.org/ press/2004/ShiftyTaxCuts_pr.html to see the full
For fiscal years 2002-2004, state governments filled approximately $200 billion
in budget gaps by raising state taxes and fees and by cutting services. And
during those same years, newly enacted federal tax cuts delivered about as much
money " $197.3 billion " in new tax breaks for the wealthiest one percent of
Americans (households making more than $337,000 a year).
that money instead been directed to state fiscal aid, it could have prevented
virtually all recent tax hikes and service cuts at the state level, which fall
hardest on low- and middle-income Americans," write the report's authors.
The choice to send nearly $200 billion to the top one percent rather than to
state governments underscores just one way the federal tax cuts of 2001 and 2003
are actually "tax shifts," not tax cuts, for the vast majority of
Between 2000 and 2003, the United States saw a federal-to-state tax shift of
historic magnitude: the share of the total tax burden borne at the state and
local level jumped 15 percent.
is the largest such shift in the tax burden since the period 1947-1950. This
shift is making the tax system more regressive."
in 2002, Americans in the bottom 20 percent of households paid 11.4 percent of
their income in state and local taxes, while those in the top 1 percent paid
only 5.2 percent of their income in state and local taxes " less than half the
rate of the poorest fifth.
Since 1962, the share of total federal receipts collected from the regressive
payroll tax, which collects proportionately more from low-income workers than
high-income workers, has risen from 17 percent of total receipts to 40 percent
" an increase of 135 percent.
the total share supplied by progressive income and corporate taxes has dropped
from 63 percent of total receipts to 52 percent, which is a decline of 17
Between 1980 and now, the main tax on wage income " the payroll tax " has
jumped 25 percent.
the same period, top tax rates on investment income and large inheritances have
been cut between 31 percent and 79 percent. "Taxes on wealth are falling
fast with shrinking taxes on capital gains, dividends and estate taxes."
Oh, it gets better.
Since 1962, the share of federal revenues contributed by corporations has
declined by two-thirds, while the share contributed by individuals has risen 17
Current tax policies are fueling the national debt, imposing an average $13,000
in additional debt on each man, woman and child in America between 2002 and 2007
-or more than $52,000 in added debt per family of four.
During the summer of 2003, millions of parents received $400-per-child checks
from the IRS " an advance payment for the expanded federal child tax credit.
But, at the same time, many of those same parents saw their local and state
will consider this a propaganda piece encouraging class warfare. Call it what
billionaire Warren Buffet points out, "If class warfare is being waged in
America, my class is clearly winning."
them eat rabbit!
Sean Gonsalves is a Cape Cod Times staff writer and a
syndicated columnist. Call him at 508-775-1200, ext. 719, or e-mail him at
AS LONG AS PEOPLE KEEP
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