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Misleading tax statistics

A recent letter titled “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (Spokesman-Review, Sept. 2), that erroneously concludes “This tax cut benefits the middle class,” is a classic example of grossly misleading statistics like those used by Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

The letter misleads by comparing percentage cuts rather than absolute dollar cuts. In absolute dollars, a larger percentage cut of a relatively small number (middle class income) is much smaller than a smaller percentage cut of a huge number (top 1 percent income)

Thus the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has estimated that, under the law, the middle fifth of American households will see an average increase in after-tax income this year of $930 while the top 1 percent gets an average increase of $51,140; and, incidentally, this is paid for by a huge increase in national debt (nonpartisan CBO).

Economist Lisa Brown agrees: “The fundamental reality of this [tax] bill is that 83 percent of the benefits go to the top 1 percent, and I don’t see that as pro-most families. And I don’t see it as pro-economy either.” (Spokesman-Review, 12/21/17)

So, middle class, which would you prefer: your (larger percentage) $930 tax cut or the top 1 percent’s (smaller percentage) $51,140 cut?

Norm Luther



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