The Corner

World

Your Tax Dollars at Work

The United Nations has issued a report attacking American tax, welfare, health-care, and criminal-justice policies. It’s “thoughtless political propaganda,” I argue at Bloomberg Opinion.

Alston’s report asserts that the tax cut of December 2017 “overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy,” without so much as a footnote to back him up. The truth is more complicated.

The tax cut reduced federal tax burdens in rough proportion to how much each income group pays in federal taxes. People who make more than a million dollars a year will see their federal taxes drop by a slightly smaller percentage than other people will. On the other hand, they will do much better than most people if you measure the effect of the tax cut on their after-tax incomes. That’s what happens when you cut highly progressive federal taxes proportionally.

Which way is the right way to look at it depends on your premises about what taxes are supposed to do. The U.N.-commissioned report pretends there’s an undisputed fact of the matter and, worse, wrongly implies that federal taxes are not progressive at all.

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.

Most Popular

White House

More Evidence the Guardrails Are Gone

At the end of last month, just as the news of the Ukraine scandal started dominating the news cycle, I argued that we're seeing evidence that the guardrails that staff had placed around Donald Trump's worst instincts were in the process of breaking down. When Trump's staff was at its best, it was possible to draw ... Read More
World

Is America Becoming Sinicized?

A little over 40 years ago, Chinese Communist strongman and reformer Deng Xiaoping began 15 years of sweeping economic reforms. They were designed to end the disastrous, even murderous planned economy of Mao Zedong, who died in 1976. The results of Deng’s revolution astonished the world. In four decades, ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Elizabeth Warren Is Not Honest

If you want to run for office, political consultants will hammer away at one point: Tell stories. People respond to stories. We’ve been a story-telling species since our fur-clad ancestors gathered around campfires. Don’t cite statistics. No one can remember statistics. Make it human. Make it relatable. ... Read More
Economy & Business

Andrew Yang, Snake Oil Salesman

Andrew Yang, the tech entrepreneur and gadfly, has definitely cleared the bar for a successful cause candidate. Not only has he exceeded expectations for his polling and fundraising, not only has he developed a cult following, not only has he got people talking about his signature idea, the universal basic ... Read More
Politics & Policy

O’Rourke’s America

With apologies to Margaret Atwood and a thousand other dystopian novelists, we do not have to theorize about what an American police state would look like, because we know what it looks like: the airport, that familiar totalitarian environment where Americans are disarmed, stripped of their privacy, divested of ... Read More