Robert McIntyre

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

Recent Articles

The Taxonomist

Tax Families "For lower-income families, my tax plan restores basic fairness," President George W. Bush asserted in his address to Congress on February 27. "People with the smallest incomes will get the highest percentage of reductions." To help us understand what the president meant, here's some interesting data from The Washington Post business section of March 13. What follows are captions that ran under photos of the CEOs of Apple Computer and of IBM. Apple chief executive Steven P. Jobs received options to purchase 20 million shares of the company's common stock at an exercise price of $43.59, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. If the company's stock grows at an annual rate of 5 percent, the executive's options will be worth $548.3 million on January 12, 2020. Jobs's bonus for fiscal 2000, ended September 30, totaled $90 million, according to the filing. The Bush tax cut on Jobs's $90-million bonus would amount to $5.1 million. The tax cut on Jobs'...

The Taxonomist

Teaching John McCain John McCain says he wants to spend $1 billion a year to give America's "best" million K-12 teachers tax-free bonuses averaging $1,000 each. It's a strange idea on its face, given all the pitfalls in trying to determine which of the nation's 3.1 mil-lion teachers should qualify. McCain suggests that each state compile a list of its best teachers (public and private) and send it to Washington. States in turn would presumably have to rely on local schools for the first round of information and then find a way to compare teachers in different schools and areas. Even if this arduous process costs only, say, $300 per evaluated teacher, it would take close to $1 billion in administrative overhead to pay the $1 billion in bonuses. But the plan gets even weirder. To assuage antigovernment Republican primary voters, McCain plans to structure his teacher bonuses as a 25-percent credit against federal income taxes. Details haven'...

The Taxonomist

Compassionate Tax-Cutters? Now that John McCain has joined George W. Bush in presenting a major tax-cut plan, the two GOP candidates are engaged in a debate that is, by conservative standards, unusual: Whose proposal does the most for taxpayers in the middle and lower portions of the income scale? Each candidate claims that the other's plan does little or nothing for these taxpayers. In this case, actually, both candidates are right. Bush targets only 11 percent of his tax cuts to the three-fifths of all taxpayers from the bottom to the mid-dle of the income scale; McCain offers these 76 million taxpayers a mere 5.5 percent of his tax reductions. As it turns out, both Bush and McCain give almost three-quarters of their tax cuts to the best-off fifth of the population. But within that fifth, there is a major distinction. Bush compassionately targets 37 percent of his total tax cuts to the top 1 percent , those making...

The Taxonomist:

In his 1997 tax deal with Congress, Bill Clinton helped add multiple new items to our tax forms, such as tax credits for children, deductions and credits for college expenses, a new flavor of IRAs, medical savings accounts, and more--along with a variety of eligibility rules and phase-outs. The IRS managed to squeeze all of these onto the 1040 form, but it'll be hard to make space for any more lines without resorting to obituary-size type and a magnifying glass. Yet in this year's State of the Union, the president has proposed an even longer list of additions to the tax form. There's a new kind of college tax credit/deduction as well as tax subsidies for long-term care expenses, health insur-ance credits, still another type of retirement savings vehicle, a new adjustment for certain charitable donations for nonitemizers, different standard deductions for two-earner couples versus one-earner couples, and so on. Yes, I understand the president feels he can't get his policy initiatives...

The False Messiah: Pete Peterson's Revelations Are Not Gospel

Virtually without challenge, Pete Peterson claims to be a champion of the middle class. But his proposals would actually cut taxes for the rich and benefits for middle-income people.

Peter G. Peterson, as he cheerfully admits, is not a member of the middle class. He's a rich Republican Wall Street investment banker. But in his crusade against deficits and entitlements, he adroitly poses as a champion of the middle class. Given his circumstances, it's not entirely surprising that Peterson is an outspoken opponent of the federal government's two most progressive (and successful) programs: the graduated income tax and Social Security. What is odd is that his pose as a friend of the common American succeeds; that he publishes in liberal journals like the Atlantic and the New York Review ; and that he enjoys a largely uncritical press. Even odder is the fact that Bill Clinton, after presiding over the most progressive tax reform in two decades, would name Peterson as one of his ten appointments to the newly formed Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform. Peterson is at the epicenter of a growing network dedicated to demonizing entitlements. In order to...

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