Tag Archives: economy

Sorry, Democrats, but the Federal Tax Code Disproportionately Hits the Wealthy

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., wrongly asserted Wednesday that the federal tax code is regressive, hurting low-income workers more than the rich. During a Senate Budget Committee Hearing on the benefits of a balanced budget, Merkley sparred with former Gov. John Engler, R-Mich., the president of the Business Roundtable.

Merkley asked Engler, “Why should low-income or middle-income Americans pay a higher tax rate for every $1,000 they earn than the rich?”

“I thought our tax code was progressive,” Engler responded.

Merkley replied, “Well then you’re deeply misinformed and I encourage you to read up a little on it.”

To the contrary, Merkley is the one deeply misinformed about how progressive the federal tax code is.

The wealthy pay far higher tax rates than the poor do. The highest fifth of income earners pay the government 12 times more of their income than the lowest fifth of income earners. The top one percent of income earners are hurt even more by the tax code, paying an average federal tax rate of 29 percent, compared to the two percent paid by the lowest-fifth.

Some tax breaks are claimed more often by high-income earners, such as the home mortgage interest deduction. But the size of these deductions and credits does not offset the higher tax rates the wealthy pay.

The progressiveness of the federal tax code is largely driven by the individual income tax, which provides nearly half of all federal revenue. The top fifth of income earners pay an average individual income tax rate of 14 percent, while the bottom fifth instead face an average rate of negative eight percent.

Read the rest at the Washington Examiner…

Venezuela: No Hope on the Horizon

In its sixteen years under the Chavista regime, Venezuela never had it worse than it has had in the last three months. For years, stories have circulated about rigged elections, brutal responses to public demonstrations, disregard for the rule of law, and growing poverty and scarcity. However, since the death of Hugo Chavez and the ascent of Nicolas Maduro to the Miraflores Palace, the situation has worsened month after month.

On February 19th, the opposition mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, was arrested in his office by 50 heavily armed agents of the Bolivarian Intelligence Service, without a warrant. Hours after the arrest, President Nicolas Maduro offered one of his favourite excuses: Ledezma was part of an American plot to overthrow the government. No formal charges were given, according to Ledezma’s lawyer. Arbitrary detentions were commonplace in Chavista Venezuela, but this was the first time that a major political authority figure has been publicly detained without a warrant.

About a month ago, former president of Colombia Andrés Pastrana denounced the existence of La Tumba (The Grave), an underground prison located five stories below the Bolivarian Intelligence Service headquarters in Caracas. This seven cell, windowless complex is allegedly used by the Maduro regime to unlawfully detain and torture dissidents, most of them young students. One year ago, these dissidents would have been sent to Ramo Verde military prison, but now it seems that the government is looking for a greater show of strength in order to discourage dissenting voices.

Read the rest at City A.M. …

Advocate Matthew Published in Forbes on the Polish Economy

Advocate Matthew Tyrmand was published in Forbes about how political corruption threatens its economic stability.

I was recently asked by a Polish venture capitalist what my thoughts were on a recession occurring in the Polish economy and if so what the timing and depth of it would be.

You can find the piece online here.

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