The top 0.1 percent see incomes that are 8.6 percent higher without paying for the rate cuts, and 4.4 percent higher if they're fully financed. Meanwhile, the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers see incomes fall by 1.1 percent if the rate cuts are paid for by cutting tax breaks.
High school dropouts' earnings have fallen 66 percent since 1969, and people with some college - the median level of education in the United States - have seen earnings fall by a third. Reasonable people can disagree about what caused this massive decline and what should be done to fix it. But it's a major crisis.
The headline figures from today's GDP report for the second quarter of 2012 aren't great: first quarter growth was revised up to 2.0 percent from 1.9, and second quarter growth was at 1.5 percent, neither of which looks particularly great. But there was a lot more to the report than just those numbers. So what else did it tell us?
If you hear politicians worrying about the 55 percent rate, remember that when it was last in place, fewer than 5,000 people were affected every year. It's simply not that big a part of the tax code, and the idea that "millions" of families and small businesses would be affected by a return to Clinton rates is just plain wrong.
One thing is for sure - we can't rely on polling, especially at this stage but even later on - to predict how well a third-party candidate will perform. I don't know if Gary Johnson is going to matter in November. Something dramatic could change and make him a real factor in the race. But be very, very suspicious of the polling.
How much did the stimulus really help ordinary Americans? Jared Bernstein crunches the new data that the Congressional Budget Office recently released to help quantify the impact. He finds that the bottom 20 percent gained more in government tax cuts and benefits than they lost in income at the height of the crash, in large part because of the 2009 stimulus.
State and local budgets are slowly beginning to improve from the worst of the recession. But their spending on infrastructure projects—schools, sewers, and police stations—is still a long way from recovery. According to the Commerce Department, state and local spending on public construction fell to $242.6 billion in May. That's the lowest figure in nearly seven years.
In plain English: a family going from $10,000 to $40,000 and benefiting from welfare (TANF), housing subsidies, Medicaid, food stamps (SNAP), etc. pays an average of 82 cents per dollar earned in new taxes and lost benefits. And that's just the average.
The centrality of tax policy to the 2012 election raises the question: what has actually changed in the tax code since Obama took office? Here's every major tax change Obama has made, and every major tax change he says he wants to make.
When asked to defend his economic record as governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney protested that he shouldn't be blamed for the jobs lost during his first 11 months. What if you apply that rule to President Obama?