Inequality and Taxes

A month after the Massachusetts Legislature refused to raise the state income tax to fund investment in our Commonwealth infrastructure and future, here’s some national data from the Economic Policy Institute showing that income inequality has been growing — and accelerated by our increasingly regressive taxes.

During an era in which the rich were getting richer anyway, we deliberately set out to reduce their tax burdens so that they could become even richer. – Mother Jones

During an era in which the rich were getting richer anyway, we deliberately set out to reduce their tax burdens so that they could become even richer. – Mother Jones

Kevin Drum of Mother Jones explains:

The middle blue line shows rising inequality after you account for taxes and transfers.

But what if we had the same tax system we did in 1979? Well, inequality still would have gone up, but it would have gone up significantly less (bottom light blue line). In other words, during an era in which the rich were getting richer anyway, we deliberately set out to reduce their tax burdens so that they could become even richer.

…No matter how many different ways you illustrate this, it’s still pretty remarkable. Instead of trying to ameliorate the effects of a broad economic trend, we’ve done everything we possibly can to accelerate it. That includes tax policy, financial deregulation, trade policy, anti-labor policy, and much more.

And since there’s approximately zero evidence that any of this has actually increased economic growth, it means that U.S. policy for the past 30 years has been aggressively dedicated to shifting income share away from the poor and middle class and into the pockets of the already rich.

For some local context — “the gap between upper- and lower-income families has grown more in Massachusetts than in forty seven of the fifty states”(MassBudget), and our tax burden falls disproportionately on the poorer:

Massachusetts Taxes are Regressive — as a percent of income, the wealthiest pay much less than the poorest.

Things to keep in mind as Massachusetts continues to cut services that help sustain our families and children, and the rhetorical and legislative war on the poor continues to amplify.

 

 

 

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