Thursday, April 12, 2012

Now the New York Times is Doing it too

Further to my recent post on the Buffett rule, here's the New York Times on the Buffett rule.

Unfairness in the tax burden is one important example and driver of that divide. The White House released tax data showing that the average federal tax rate of the wealthiest 0.1 percent of Americans has fallen from 51 percent to 26 percent over the last 50 years. At the same time, the middle-class tax burden was basically unchanged or slightly higher, with those taxpayers paying 16 percent of their income in federal taxes in 2010, versus 14 percent 50 years ago.

But of course, the "tax data" that the White House released isn't tax data at all.  It's invented data invented by the Council of Economic Advisors to make the political point that the President wants to make.  They are not referencing historical data but a modeled exercise, a modeled exercise that does not comport to the actual historical data.

No doubt there's a reasonable argument for the data released as being a good way to assess changes in taxes but to argue (as the WH does) or infer (as the Times does) that this is somehow historical data is simply false.

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