30 Issues: Tax Cuts vs. Tax Reform

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

30 Issues in 30 Days is our election year series on the important issues facing the country this election year. Today: How individual and corporate taxes — and potential changes to their rates and distribution -- impact the economy. Visit the 30 Issue home page for all the conversations.


Open Prep: Questions, Articles, and Links to Get You Started


Key Questions

  • Is tax fairness a drag on economic growth?
  • Are Americans undertaxed or overtaxed?
  • Who deserves to pay what?

What are your key questions on this topic? Post them below and get the conversation going!




Links and Articles

30 Issues Interactive from WNYC Data News



Got a Follow Up?

Each Friday we'll be following up on one of that week's issues. Got a particular follow-up question from this conversation? Comment below or tweet us. Tweet to @brianlehrer

Comments [21]

Barbara Brinker from NYCity

The news that Romney did not claim all the contributions that he was entitled to on his tax return so that the returns would show at least a tax rate of 14% should have included the fact that you can amend your tax returns any time during 3 years after their due date!!!!!! So what are the odds that after the election, no matter who wins,that the Romneys will amend and claim ALL those dedutions and get a big refund PLUS interest.

Oct. 05 2012 04:31 PM
Terrence from Brooklyn

this says it all...

Sep. 26 2012 12:47 PM
Croix from Bedford PA

First, let me say that being out in the mountains of Central PA, or what we call Pennsyltucky, the area between Philly and Pittsburgh, I am so grateful for my iPhone and the WNYC app. As always your show is an eye opener.

The two guests on the Tax segment today should be running for posts in our government. The both have FACTUAL information, Arithmetic answers, (numbers don't lie) and probably the most logical solutions to this problem of our deficit. I have Zero economic background, but I know when I am in debt, the only way out of it is to make more money. Keep up the good work, I have had to volunteer for the Obama campaign out here, just find my peeps!!!


Sep. 26 2012 12:00 PM

It is beyond disgraceful that Bruce Bartlett refuses to vote. He states he doesn't want to vote for the lesser of two evils - what the hell does he think most Americans do every time they go to the polls? He's above it?

He's a one-percenter and he should go to hell!

Sep. 26 2012 11:47 AM

Please don't insult our collective intelligence. Many people know that we must raise taxes. These are the critically-thinking, non-Tea Bagger citizens. Raise taxes; our current course is unsustainable.

Sep. 26 2012 11:43 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

So "Bobk" - who will pay NYC firefighters, cops, teachers, sanitation etc - the federal govt?

Sep. 26 2012 11:34 AM
John A

I know some people with three houses between two people, yet the US bank account, with its debt, is going downwards. Yeah, wrong. I would give more even with my 1-car, 1-house profile, but proportionately less than the rich.
BTW I'm not touching the republicans at all while they chant this science fiction. It's candy for votes.

Sep. 26 2012 11:32 AM

the republicats say “we are over taxed”
if you keep repeating a lie people start to believe it

Sep. 26 2012 11:31 AM
Susan from nyc

I am not an economist (as will be abundantly clear), but allow me to make a modest proposal, predicated on fairness and an end to politicians indulging in blatant conflicts of interest by manipulating the tax code to reward their contributors and lobbyists. Eliminate ALL deductions for both individuals and corporations (now that the supreme court has recognized corporations as persons with full constitutional protection, so should the tax code). Let the congress determine the nation's needs, then set a single tax, steeply progressive but including everyone with an income, to pay the tab. The current system breeds distrust and contempt, as our purported representatives ignore their constituents in favor of their paymasters, obscuring their bought-and-paid-for favors with endless, incomprehensible layers of taxes and deductions. Representative government can only function if those in office actually represent those who elected them rather than those with deep pockets. Time to clean house (and senate). If politicians wonder what is fueling populist rage, they need only look in the mirror. As Dennis Kucinich would say, "WAKE UP AMERICA!'

Sep. 26 2012 11:30 AM
Jay from New York

Tax fairly -Mitt Romney's income from Bain on his 2011 form -- an S corporation distribution instead of paying Medicare taxes -- Medicare is short that over $60,000. Change the tax code to close these loop holes that deny the government the income due -- these programs the money they need to stay operational -- and pay off our debts. We are ignoring and unfairly taxing the middle class to provide loop hole after loop hole to the very rich.
Change the UNFAIR tax laws written by the tax lawyers of the wealthiest.

Sep. 26 2012 11:27 AM
John from NYC

Can your guest comment what her thoughts are regarding the topic of Outsourcing and the resulting loss of Jobs in the U.S. which are the source of among many other things - payroll and income tax payers.

Sep. 26 2012 11:21 AM
RJ from prospect hts

I'm an independent contractor and pay quarterly taxes of about $10,000 a year, estimated. But I also pay over $13,000 a year in insurance premiums (I have a chronic illness and need many regular checkups and meds), copays, deductible, etc. Some of this is deductible, but not all--and considering that the countries being compared, such as those of Europe, all have a form of universal care, my medical costs should be considered as part of any comparison of "fairness." It is, as Gov. Romney so notably was recorded as saying, a question of whether we consider Americans "entitled" to food, health care, and housing.

Sep. 26 2012 11:15 AM
Dom from Lost in NJ

I saw a documentary on the USA's infrastructure recently and the creator said that we have more than a trillion dollars worth crumbling roads, bridges and water supply systems. They made a point that NYC, for example, loses 10% of it's tap water to leaks and Buffalo loses 40% to leaks! We need tax dollars to fix these kinds of problems and fixing the tax code to ensure we gather the funds we need to keep America from falling apart.

Sep. 26 2012 11:14 AM

I must have heard half a dozen definitions of "fair". Fair is a quixotic endeavor.

Sep. 26 2012 11:02 AM
Cory from NYC

The economy should be based on what we need in life. The basic biological needs are housing, food, heat and so on. We should measure the health of the population as the indicator of the health of the economy, instead of using the GNP to measure the economy. We should all have basic rights to decent housing and enough food to eat, without a struggle to get it from demeaning welfare agencies.

On top of these basic needs are things like education, public space, income equality, the relative quality of housing, etc. Employment is also a basic right that should be available to anyone who wants a job.

Taxes should be assigned to the sales of items that are additional to these basic needs. Tax the financial industry to a higher extent than the others. (Regulate the financial industry as well...increasing the taxes would mean nothing without changes that eliminate offshoring funds).

If something like this isn't done, there will be a price to way anyway... in terms of the lost labor, the mental health problems, the riots in poor areas of the city, the crime, etc.

Sep. 26 2012 10:58 AM
ann from Manhattan

I'm locked in sports hell. crazy.

Sep. 26 2012 10:37 AM

david sard
and have u seen scott brown and his team in MA making fun of elizabeth warren's native american heritage.

Sep. 26 2012 10:35 AM

Why do some groups ignore the fact that there is a threshold below which one cannot subsist? I keep hearing cries of "flat rate", but that ignores those at the bottom. If someone with a spouse and kids in NYC who makes 30k/yr is taxed at 0%, they are still essentially destitute. Concepts involving cost of living like that are NOT always linearly scaled!

Sep. 26 2012 10:07 AM

get rid of all deductions, and have a flat tax. no city or state tax, only a federal flat tax, on all income , interest , dividends, and cap gains...and i no longer work, but, I do collect interest dividends, and cap gains. so it would cost me more. but at least it would be fair...

Sep. 26 2012 08:51 AM
david sard from west orange, NJ

I may have missed a topic - if so, please bear with me. (I can't find a list of topics covered.)

Why is there so little discussion of the role of racism in the election? Last summer the Republicans demonstrated that they were willing to rick wrecking the economy to make Obama look bad. the Republican Governors of Florida and NJ rejected vast public works projects from the federal government that would have employed thousands. The complaints about Obama's alienness are coded complaints about his race. Why is everyone so reluctant to discuss this?

Sep. 26 2012 12:39 AM
Becky from Albany

What exactly are all these tax loopholes that are on the table that everyone pays lip service to wanting to close? If they were all closed, how much more revenue could we expect to raise from the various stakeholders - corporations, the rich and the middle class?

Sep. 25 2012 10:19 PM

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