[FoRK] Taxes and Federal Revenues

johnhall johnhall at isomedia.com
Mon Mar 29 20:49:05 PST 2004

==> I dug a little further to look at revenue estimates and such.

Before the first round of Bush tax cuts (in 2001) the 2002 estimates
Revenue: 2,221
Outlay : 1,938
Surplus:   283

The 2001 tax cuts reduced 2002 receipts by $32 Billion.  The second
round reduced them another $53 Billion.

The recession seems to have reduced receipts by $215 to $285 Billion.
(They separate $70 billion in technical adjustments, but all the
adjustments they mention were the result of people making less money.)

Finally, we spent an additional $73 Billion (net).  That includes $37
Billion for the military, $52 Billon on other things and a savings on
interest rates of $16 Billion.

Actual values:
Revenue: 1,853
Outlay : 2,011
Surplus:  -158


So, we have a historic swing in the debt scale of $441Billion.  That is
over half the actual individual income taxes paid in 1999, just to give
a scale to the issue.

About 20% of that was tax cuts, about 20% was spending increases, and
the other 60% was what I imagine is a record reduction in revenues due
to a recession.

I take the following things from this:

1. We were far more dependent on the bubble economy in financing the
government than I had thought.  All those stock options being reported
as normal income must have made a LOT of difference.

2. The Tax cuts were justified to keep the money out of politician hands
lest they spend it.  They wound up being, quite accidentally, the best
timed tax cuts in history for their counter-cyclical benefit.  Bush and
the country got lucky.

3. The Medicare Drug benefit was the most irresponsible idea since,
well, Medicare.


One more thing.

Social Security collects $713 Billion and spends $524, leaving a spread
of $189B.

The argument that we are somehow stealing the $189 is poppycock, just
like the idea that there really is a trust fund.  However, what IS NOT
poppycock is that we have $189B in effectively regressive taxes today
that almost doubles the percentage of receipts from such sources.

[I'm subtracting Social Security payments from the revenue side.  That
leaves 1,258B of which I consider the $713 to be progressive income
taxes and the rest (extra SS payroll taxes, excise taxes, corporate
income taxes) to be regressive.]

Page 251.

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