Robert McIntyre

Robert S. McIntyre is director of Citizens for Tax Justice and a contributing editor for The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Bush's Most-Favored Taxpayers

A s federal budget deficits head back into the stratosphere, most congressional Democrats remain petrified about frontally attacking the Bush tax cuts that are the central cause of the problem. Perhaps if they understood that most of us already face a tax cut freeze they'd be more willing to fight to extend such a freeze to the richest Americans, too. By the richest Americans I mean people in the top 1 percent of the income scale, where the average income is just more than $1 million. This year there are 1.3 million families and individuals in that bracket. By 2010, the top 1 percent will likely have about 1.4 million taxpayers, averaging $1.5 million a year. Every state has at least a few of these wealthy people, although most live in just eight states: California, New York, Florida, Texas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Michigan. A new study by my group, Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ), finds that from 2001 to 2010, the richest Americans are slated to pocket almost half a...

The Bush Plan: Tax Complification

Does George Bush have a secret plan to impose a flat tax? I can't read his mind but one thing is clear: Unless the president's tax program adopted last year is amended, by the end of this decade most of the personal income tax revenue will come not from the regular, graduated-rate system but from the essentially flat rate, individual "alternative minimum tax." This isn't supposed to be how the alternative tax -- first adopted in 1969 to prevent wealthy people from sheltering all their income from tax -- was supposed to work. As recently as 1999, only a million taxpayers, almost all of them very well off, actually paid the alternative tax, which added just $6.5 billion to federal revenues. But absent legislative change, by the time the Bush tax cuts are fully in place in 2010, 36 million families will have to fill out the complicated alternative tax forms, and cough up an extra $140 billion on top of their regular taxes. By 2010, some 27 million families, just under a fifth of all...

States Blow Off Bush

W hile politicians in Washington have been falling over themselves to provide huge new tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy, the story in the states is quite different and quite heartening. Take, for starters, states' response to the big corporate tax cut that Congress passed in March at President Bush's insistence. By law or by custom, almost all states -- with the notable exception of California -- follow federal rules in their corporate income tax codes. As a result, the central provision of Bush's so-called stimulus bill -- a vast increase in corporate depreciation write-offs -- threatened to drain state coffers by upward of $12 billion over the next three years. Less than a week after Congress passed its corporate giveaway bill, however, the GOP-dominated Virginia legislature passed a measure that "decoupled" the commonwealth's tax code from the federal depreciation changes. Six other states, along with the District of Columbia, quickly followed suit. In Mississippi, the...

Your Federal Tax Dollars at Work

T ax day has come and gone, and about 100 million Americans have filed their income-tax returns. For all the grumbling about complexity -- fair enough, tax filing is way too complicated -- most of us understand that taxes pay for defending our country, protecting our environment, building our roads, educating our children, and all the other essential things we depend on government to do. One thing most people probably don't realize, however, is that almost a fifth of the income-tax dollars we send to Washington aren't spent on these kinds of important programs. Instead, this year more than $170 billion of our money will be paid out in corporate welfare. If big corporations actually paid 35 percent of their U.S. profits in federal income taxes, as the tax code ostensibly requires, corporate income taxes this year would total at least $308 billion. But actual corporate-tax payments this year are expected to be only $136 billion. In other words, this year (and next), for the first time...

The Unrelenting Corporate Welfare Lobby

It's not often that I agree with Representative Bill Thomas , Republican chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. But when it comes to his explanation of the so-called stimulus bill that Congress enacted in March, I couldn't agree more. Thomas disputed Washington Post coverage that said the bill would be focused on unemployed workers. And he was right. At the end of last year, it seemed that Senate Democrats had stymied efforts by the Bush administration and congressional Republicans to use the economic slowdown as an excuse to pass more regressive tax cuts, this time mostly for big business. As winter waned, there was improved economic news and growing federal budget problems. On top of that, Enron-inspired public outrage about corporate tax avoidance appeared to make the idea of new corporate welfare subsidies impolitic. Yet just as Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan pronounced the short-lived recession over, congressional Republicans and Democrats cut a backroom deal to...

Pages