I highly recommend this piece. It pulls together a lot of recent data and analysis on the economy, tax policy, and income inequality in the U.S. It seems like it’d be useful to have on hand for discussions about both the Occupy movement and the upcoming presidential campaign:
[E]ven with the wildly popular surcharge [proposed by President Obama on annual incomes over a million dollars] beginning in 2013, the tax bite for America’s millionaires would look little different than during the Clinton era (35 percent income tax rate now versus 39.6%; capital gains rate of 15% now versus 20 percent then) when they and almost everyone else enjoyed a booming economy. More importantly, with income inequality at its highest level in 80 years while the federal tax burden is at its lowest in 60, the top 1% has already triumphed in the class war Republicans continue to fight on their behalf.
Economic data from the past few decades overwhelmingly shows that GOP trickle-down type economic policies are actually quite harmful to the economy:
[H]istorically lower tax rates for the richest Americans did not produce either more job creation or faster economic growth. (In fact, the Bush years produced what David Leonhardt of the New York Times rightly labeled as “The decade with the slowest average annual growth since World War II.”) But what the conservative cornucopia for the gilded-class does reliably produce is unprecedented income inequality.
Analyses by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities showed that the Bush tax cuts accounted for half of the deficits during his tenure, and if made permanent, over the next decade would cost the U.S. Treasury more than Iraq, Afghanistan, the recession, TARP and the stimulus - combined.
[T]he Washington Post summed up data from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to explain the origins of the $14.3 trillion U.S. debt. As the numbers show, history did not, as Republicans pretend, start on January 20, 2009:The biggest culprit, by far, has been an erosion of tax revenue triggered largely by two recessions and multiple rounds of tax cuts. Together, the economy and the tax bills enacted under former president George W. Bush, and to a lesser extent by President Obama, wiped out $6.3 trillion in anticipated revenue. That’s nearly half of the $12.7 trillion swing from projected surpluses to real debt.