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Schiff: High Tax Rates Always Fail

By Dan Weil   |   Sunday, 09 Dec 2012 06:58 PM

As part of their argument for higher taxes on the wealthy, Democrats argue that the economy was doing swimmingly in the 1950s, when the top marginal rate was 91 percent.

But a look at the numbers shows that the wealthy weren’t actually paying more taxes then than they are now, says Peter Schiff, CEO of Euro Capital.

“In 1958, the top 3 percent of taxpayers earned 14.7 percent of all adjusted gross income and paid 29.2 percent of all federal income taxes,” he writes in The Wall Street Journal.

Editor's Note: Tiny Loophole Found in 70,320 Page IRS Tax Code Could Pay $87,500

“In 2010, the top 3 percent earned 27.2 percent of adjusted gross income, and their share of all federal taxes rose proportionally, to 51 percent.”

How is that the case, given that the top rate is now 35 percent?

First, the middle and lower classes have a lighter tax burden than in the past, Schiff says. And second, the wealthy didn’t actually pay 91 percent taxes back in the day, thanks to generous exemptions, deductions and shelters.

The lesson of all this: “Tax policies that diminish the incentives and capacities of innovators, business owners and investors will not spur economic improvement,” Schiff writes.

While most Republicans oppose a tax increase on the wealthy, some GOP senators have expressed a willingness to give on the issue.

Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, told Fox News Sunday that it may make sense to do so in return for Democrats’ agreement to cut entitlement spending.

Editor's Note: Tiny Loophole Found in 70,320 Page IRS Tax Code Could Pay $87,500

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