People say, why worry so much about raising the marginal tax rate by a few percentage points? Do 4.6 points really matter, people like my colleague Michael “Tax and Spend” Strain and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal ask. Rates are “low” as they are, and it’s not like we’re talking about raising them to 75% here, they claim.
And I’m not going to judge them for that. They live in a world in which mass media and public discourse have conspired to trick them into believing such things. Clinton-era rates brought such prosperity!
Current rates are lower than they were in 1997! The ’50s were awesome and rates were much higher then!
Well, lemme tell you something: The period of greatest economic growth in American history was 1880-1910. What was the top federal income tax rate back then? Correct, 0%. Zero. Nada. You know, where people get to keep what they earn. THAT should be the baseline, not some arbitrarily high rate that seems reasonable because your frontal lobe is drowning in recency bias and your temporal lobe only processes Maddow and Matthews.