Robert McIntyre

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

Recent Articles

Supply-Siders Go to War

When Abraham Lincoln faced the dissolution of the nation in the early 1860s, he imposed new taxes on the wealthy to help pay to save the Union. When Franklin D. Roosevelt took America to war against the Nazis, he sharply increased taxes on businesses and the rich to help fund that crusade. Now George W. Bush is leading a new battle against international terrorism, and insists that as part of that effort, we need to cut taxes on corporations and the best-off Americans! In late September, after the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, Bush and congressional Democrats seemed to have reached general agreement on what should be done to boost our sagging economy. The goal of saving the Social Security surpluses for the future would have to be put on hold for a while to deal with the current crises. But both sides said they accepted the advice of Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and other economists that additional stimulus measures should be temporary to avoid exacerbating our fiscal...

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...

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