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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Tax Simplification

Were you exposed to any of the annual Tax Day shriekathon by conservatives about the horrendous tax burden of wealthy Americans? Jared Bernstein has a post up at TPMCafe that nicely simplifies the games played by those who try to make this case:

[I]f you want to make our tax system sound unfair, you do two things. First, you talk only about income taxes, ignoring payroll and other sources, and second, you talk about the share of taxes paid by each income class.

The first gambit excludes the highly regressive Social Security and Medicare taxes, largely paid by the middle class. And the second avoids all sorts of alternative and better measurements of the tax burden, most especially effective tax rates and after-tax income. The one good thing that’s come out of the Bush tax agenda is that progressives, who used to avoid saying much of anything on Tax Day, now have lots to say.

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