The Corner

Obamanomics: Not Quite That Bad. . .

Michael Boskin has an attack on Obama’s economic platform in today’s Journal. He writes that Obama’s agenda includes “dramatically raising marginal tax rates on the ‘rich’ to levels not seen in his country in three decades.” Boskin assumes that Obama’s payroll-tax increase on people making more than $250,000 a year would amount to as much as 12.4 percent of their wages. The Obama campaign says that the rate would probably be between 2 and 4 percent; assuming that the same tax would be levied on their employers, the total payroll-tax rate would be 4 to 8 percent. That’s still a pretty substantial increase in the top marginal tax rate. Accepting the rest of Boskin’s figures, it would go from 44.6 to 58.4 percent. The after-tax return per dollar of earnings would therefore go from 55.4 cents to 41.6 cents–a drop of 25 percent. Bad, but not quite as bad as Boskin makes it out to be.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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