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November 13, 2007


Great web-site Brendan!

Is it no arguably just as evident that Democrats a matter of election strategy appeal to "race in ugly ways." By emphasizing discrimination as a cause of economic disparity rather than cummulative individual behavior within communities.

But that is not the point of my comment. Please read this article; I have been telling people that survey and tracking of tax returns is the only way to determine wage stagnation across income groups:


Wage stagnation in the Reagan Revolution era (1981-2007) is a myth; the poorest incomes are rising fastest! The wealthiest incomes are the only ones shrinking. As I've been saying here and elsewhere, the only way to determine actual wage stagnation is to survey and track actual taxpayers; not look at wage level tables which only show the "elevator," rather than peoples movement on it.

Thanks to low unemployment, people with experience are in ever increasing demand. The Reagan Revolution has ended the economic malaise that plagued the USA in the 70s, acutely in the Carter era where leftist-Democrats controlled the Presidency, the Congress, and the Supreme Court; forever as long as we do not utterly abandon Reaganomics. And this is proof the Bush tax cuts have helped the poor the most in their aspiration to better lives for themselves and their families.

Please respond.


How precisely must we match the loaded "state's rights" phrase?

From his days as Governor, here is Reagan in 1967 - the topic was federal legislation on water use:

We believe the essential ingredients of an acceptable augmentation study to be: ...(4) that the rights of the states and regions be fully respected;

And in general remarks to some Republicans in 1967:

It is not enough for our senators and our representatives to seek to pass legislation involving the several states, they must also work to insure that legislation does not infringe on the rights of the individual states...

And that is not the product of a comprehensive search - I just went to a collection of Reagan speeches and clicked on two likely ones.

That said, the book "In His Own Hand" - the collection of Reagan radio addresses - does not contain the loaded phrase, if we can trust an Amazon search.


A quick comment ...

It's a good study, but you (and others) are drawing conclusions from it that aren’t there.

It says that many poor families don't stay poor forever. It shows that over time families can (and do) increase their income. So America remains a land of opportunities.

But it doesn't say they benefit from tax cuts to higher earners. The study also doesn't say that extreme income disparity doesn't exist, or doesn’t matter. To the contrary, it agrees that income disparity has increased dramatically.

It actually concluded that income disparity off-set any changes in income mobility, "so that relative income mobility has neither increased nor decreased over the past 20 years".

The study states that income mobility is the result of economic growth, not “tax cuts”. And guess what, it isn't new.


We need enough taxes to fund Government spending. Sorry, it's that simple.

Government programs (the GI Bill, subsidized school loans, health care programs for the poor or elderly) are beneficial to society as a whole. They create income mobility and economic growth also. The long-term benefits of these programs can be less than the cost.

The debate needs to be about developing sensible programs and then funding them.

It is magical thinking to believe that letting the wealthy (or the well-off) keep more of their money will automatically help everyone.

Brendan -

Can you cahnge the last sentence above ("It is magical thinking...") ?

I’d rather it say this -

Saying that letting the wealthy (or the well-off) keep more of their money will help the poor “the most” seems like wishful thinking at best.

Thanks !

TOH, anybody with any knowledge of an atmosphere of deregulation in the 80's that allowed the flourishing of junk bonds, crumbling real estate ventures, failed savings and loans (yeah, the Democrats helped, too) and the raising of taxes that Reagan and Bush both had to do because of an early failed tax policy could refute any notion that Reagan's policies were good for the country as a whole.

As for the study, this cherry picked sample quoted below says it all:

The Treasury study examined a huge sample of 96,700 income tax returns from 1996 and 2005 for Americans over the age of 25.

Uh, that's scientific?


A few comments before I sleep for Howard; I was a teenager in the 1970s. The poor are vastly better off now than they were then, compare say 2007 to 1977 (when government tax-and-spend Democrats, which you basically state you are) were in control of the White House, the Congress, and the Supreme Court (whose neutrality is preposterous and always has been). Even if incomes were more close then, it's far better for the poor to have a job and earn income than be idle and have income. You may find this counter-intuitive, but condition-less welfare is what created the inner-city nightmare of irresponsible sex, illegal drugs, and brazen crime. These self-destructive and anti-social memes always effect the poor, particularly poor children, more.

Also, income inequality charts are snapshots of a society. One would need to look at lifetime income to determine trans-temporal inequality. If a 60 year old CEO is making $1 million (constant dollars) today and the mail-room 18 year old is making $20,000, the snap shot will show inequailty. If the 18 year old at 60 is making $1 million (and another 18 year old) is making $20,000, then there is perfect equality during the course of the lifetime although the snap shot will misleadingly show inequality. The data here overwhelmingly confirms exactly this.

Also, diminishing marginal returns indicates that income inequality becomes increasingly meaningless about, say, $100,000.

Also, consumption by the rich is only 2.5x greater than that of the poor (I don't have the reference, but you can count on it) so that what exists in terms of current disparity is paper-wealth. What is really happening is that the rich are CONTROLLING more wealth than before; and investing it quantum leaps more efficiently than the government would in just giving to people who have less. In the 1970s, the government would give people without condition funds, i.e., whether they were addicts and criminals or not. In the 2000s, venture capital is giving people jobs from entry level upward, if once vetted, those people can be presumed NOT to be addicts and criminals. This is because individuals will invest more efficiently than the government and will put in place market forces that incentivize sobriety and lawfulness.

What is wishful thinking, sir, is to believe tax-and-distributing helps the poor either quantitatively or qualitatively; it's wishful thinking because we tried that from roughly 1964 until 1986. And it backfired. As this data shows it did not help them economically and as out-of-wedlock birth statistics, drug abuse statistics, and crime statastics and any one who lived it will tell you it led to negative externalities that the poor are taking generations to escape, especially African-American poor. The decrease in out-of-wedlock births, drugs, and crime are all the result of NOT employing your tax and spend redistribution policies, not to mention the reduced waste from avoiding a government program that is always rife with moral hazard and corruption.

So, permitting the wealthy to CONTROL more wealth DOES HELP THE POOR overwhelmingly both quantitatively and qualitatively.


And, for the record, opposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has nothing to do with racism. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was one of the greatest intrusion on American Civil Liberties in the 20th Century. If the ACLU had any integrity, they would have fought it and it's progeny tooth-and-nail since it's promulgation. If someone owns a hotel in Georgia off of I-95 and don't want to host African-Americans in it, why should they have to? [Naturally, I find this disturbing, personally; I find foul language disturbing personally, too. But a simple respect for civil liberties would permit both.]

Reagan was against this law forcing people to treat African-Americans equally in the private sphere for the same reason the ACLU defends free speech .... FREEDOM!


Er, uh, Reagan and Bush I did raise some taxes a little on case-by-case basis, but to treat this substantively is ignorant of the facts. Reagan's tax cut was approximately a 25% across-the-board tax cut that has remained in place regardless of marginal increases and decreases since (including Clinton's small tax increase on the top income bracked). From 1982 until 2007, taxes have remained generally speaking where Reagan put them in 1982, i.e., about the same for 90% of Americans with the top 10% paying more under Clinton and less under Bush.

Reagan rescued the USA from Carter and the leftist-Democrats nightmare. The classic proof of this is that Clinton's two signature programs were Welfare Reform and NAFTA-Mexico. Reagan could not have done better himself. What transpires today is taht both Democrats and Republicans debate how to adjust marginally Reagan's great work. If I'm wrong, where are the Democrats proposing we go back to 70% marginal tax rates (like they were under Carter)?



Most polls survey at the most 700 people. 96,700 is huge!

Reagan was a great president and Jimmy Carter the worst. Again, if Reagan's tax policies were bad for the USA why have they remained largely in place since? Where is anyone including the likes of Maxine Waters and Barney Frank calling for a return to the Carter tax regime? They'd be laughed out of town. Rangel's proposal, which frankly I don't find so very outrageous, would still leave Reagan's tax structure fundamentally in place. Anyone who disparages Reagan simply does not - perhaps is afraid to - look at how things were before him and how things have been since.

And, junk bonds are alive and well; which is why, along with venture capital, the USA leads the world in innovation.


Believe what you will, TOH. I laugh at the notion that Americans are using their personal incomes for the betterment of the American people. The goal of unregulated business is to create a monopoly. There is only a faint hope that government will step in, but it rarely is effective.

Bad incentives are a nice result of the Reagan years. I remember the abandoned shopping malls of the 80's. Revisionist history is entertaining.

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