Robert McIntyre

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

Recent Articles

The Taxonomist

Those Progressive '90s The 1990s saw lots of federal tax legislation enacted. The biggest changes included the modestly progressive tax increases that President George H.W. Bush reluctantly signed in 1990, Bill Clinton's 1993 tax hikes on the rich, and the generally regressive 1997 tax cut deal worked out between Clinton and the Republican Congress. So what did all these tax changes accomplish? The answer may surprise you. Compared to what would have happened if the 1990 income tax code had simply been adjusted for inflation, federal income taxes are actually lower today for every income group except the top 1 percent. If we add the payroll tax changes in 1990 and 1993, which lifted the wage cap on Medicare taxes, we find that, on average, combined income and payroll taxes are down for every group except the best-off 5 percent. In other words, despite the lamentable upper-income loopholes adopted in 1997 (in particular...

The Taxonomist

OIL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL It's been widely publicized that GOP vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney left his job as CEO of Halliburton with a pretty sweet severance package. Nobody's yet pointed out, however, that American taxpayers may have helped finance Cheney's good fortune. Last year the oil supply company reported $257 million in U.S. pretax profits to its shareholders. But rather than paying 35 percent of that in federal income taxes, Halliburton says it got an $85-million tax rebate from Uncle Sam! At least in 1999, this was one company that certainly didn't want to eliminate the IRS. THE DLC WAY Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle told a Democratic Leadership Council (DLC)-sponsored seminar on August 15 that our nation's next "critical step" should be to give more tax loopholes to the high-flying technology sector, including research tax credits, bigger depreciation write-offs, and tax breaks for donations of...

The Taxonomist

Lots of career employees at the IRS were annoyed at the partisan tone of the tax-rebate letters the agency mailed out in July. The IRS has a long apolitical tradition, and its workers felt uncomfortable with a letter that made them appear to be shilling for Republican policies. We are pleased to inform you that the United States Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed into law the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, which provides long-term tax relief for all Americans who pay income taxes. The new tax law provides immediate tax relief in 2001 and long-term tax relief for the years to come. As part of the immediate tax relief, you will be receiving a check in the amount of $____. Some Democrats in Congress objected to the letter, and New York Senator Charles Schumer even tried to cut off funds for the mailing. But in the end, the IRS itself found a way to even the score--by sending out a second>/I letter to 32 million tax filers who won't>/I___...

Tax Wars

N othing so neatly differentiates the presidential candidates as their views on taxes. George W. Bush offers a rather extreme version of what passes for "conservative" fiscal policy these days. This philosophy doesn't tout deficit spending per se , but holds that low taxes, particularly on the wealthy, are the Holy Grail. Many who support this approach hope to starve the government of revenues and eventually shrink public spending. Republican antitax activist Grover Norquist summarizes this position when he argues that "a small government with a big deficit is a lot better than a big government with no deficit." But others in the antitax camp, epitomized by former Representative Jack Kemp , offer the opposite theory. They believe that through the miracle of supply-side economics, tax cuts will so stimulate economic growth that revenues will go up and we will maintain or even expand government programs. Oddly enough, it's not uncommon to hear both conflicting...

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