Clandestine Inequality

The other week, I wrote a post in which I observed a connection in the United States between the rate of federal income tax on the wealthy and the rate of economic growth. As the rate of tax on the rich fell, the pace of economic growth appears to slow. However, it was pointed out to me by readers that despite changes in the tax rate, effective tax rates remained more or less the same. In 1979, the formal tax rate, the rate the baseline rate mandated by the tax code, on the rich was 70%, and in 1996, it was 40%, yet the effective tax rates, the rates people actually pay after taking into account deductions and other loopholes, according to the CBO, were only 1 percentage point apart–37% in 79′, 36% in 96′. Surprisingly, according to a Berkeley study, the effective rate of individual income tax on the rich in 1970 was actually lower–32%. Yet despite this, we still have lower growth rates and more inequality. This is bizarre. What on earth is going on? Read the rest of this entry »