Biggest International Tax Bite - 9/30/11

Denmark has the highest rate of income tax for a person earning $100,000, according to a survey of effective tax rates in 93 countries published on September 29th by KPMG, an accounting firm. But employee social-security contributions in Denmark are only 0.2%...


Soaring Energy Subsidies - 9/30/11

Total federal energy subsidies increased from $17.9 billion to $37.2 billion, an increase of 108 percent over the three-year period. Of the increase, 77 percent was due to the infamous stimulus. And the lion’s share of the increase went to renewables, from $5.1 billion to $14.7 billion.


Design Your Own Tax Reform - 9/29/11

What if you were in charge of reforming the U.S. individual income tax? Would you consider ditching today's complex tax code in favor of something much, much simpler?


Pressure on Men's Earnings - 9/29/11

In terms of real earnings, male college graduates were absolutely pounded, taking a 9.7% decline in real pay from 2000-2010 (that’s bachelor’s only). Meanwhile female college grads saw no decline at all in real earnings. (we’re looking here at the real mean earnings of full-time workers 25 years and over).


Crime and GDP - 9/27/11

Nationwide, crime rates have been falling for two decades, a trend that continued through the recession. The latest figures reveal the surprising depth of the decline in property crime between 2007 and 2010. In the states which suffered the biggest drops in per-person income, such as Nevada, the rate of property crime has also come down most.


Prosperity and Safety:Weather - 9/26/11

Proponents of drastic curbs on greenhouse gas emissions claim that such emissions cause global warming and that this exacerbates the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including extreme heat, droughts, floods and storms such as hurricanes and cyclones. But what matters is not the incidence of extreme weather events per se but the impact of such events—especially the human impact. To that end, it is... More

Metro Washington Riches - 9/26/11

Seven of the 12 highest-income counties in the country, and four of the top five, are in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.


Effective Tax Rates - 9/26/11

These are average effective tax rates, calculated as income taxes paid divided by adjusted gross income (AGI). The chart shows that taxpayers with incomes above $500,000 had tax rates averaging about 25 percent. Middle-income taxpayers had tax rates of half of that or less.


Inflation and Debt - 9/23/11



Highest, Lowest State Sales Taxes - 9/23/11

Most shoppers have some idea of the sales tax rate imposed by their state, or they can at least find the rate by looking at the receipts they receive with every taxed purchase. However, it's easy to forget about the local rates imposed by many jurisdictions on top of the statewide rate. Local option sales taxes can add significantly to the amount consumers pay for everyday goods.


Tax Deductions of the Rich - 9/22/11

In 2009, people with incomes over $200,000 claimed $67.8 billion in itemized tax deductions on their tax returns for that year. Of that amount, the largest share of $22.8 billion, or roughly 34% of the total, was claimed through....


3,545 Green Jobs - 9/22/11

Even without the bankruptcy of Solyndra, the Washington Post noted that the Department of Energy’s entire $38 billion loan guarantee portfolio has generated a total of just 3,545 jobs—rather fewer than the 65,000 jobs the Obama administration projected the program would generate.


Buffett and Tax Rates - 9/21/11

The chart above displays average federal income tax rates (as a share of taxable income) paid in 2009 by various income groups from $10,000, to $10,000,000 and above.


Logic of Payroll Tax Cuts - 9/21/11

At least 97 percent of people not working would still not be working regardless of a payroll tax cut. That’s because, as you might deduce, payroll taxes are only one factor among many that determine how many people are employed. Nevertheless,a payroll tax cut would raise  employment by one million to three million.


Our Paltry Education ROI - 9/19/11


While most every other service in life has gotten faster, better, and cheaper, one of the most important things we buy -- education -- has remained completely stagnant, unchanged since we started measuring it in 1970, even though spending on public schools has soared.


Demise of Normal Housing Market - 9/19/11

Some analysts have claimed that the growth of all-sale purchases by investors is a positive development for these major housing markets. Are they right? Or is it a sign that “normal” home sales by owners with equity in the property is relentlessly shrinking?


Housing Debt and Unemployment - 9/15/11

For some economists, the presence of high levels of debt (particularly mortgage debt) remains a factor preventing the recovery of employment. Arguments of this sort are used for radical measures to reduce household debt, at a cost to the taxpayer. But is that what is really going on in the economy right now?


World's Biggest Employers - 9/14/11

One of the biggest headaches for policymakers in many rich countries has been how to create jobs during a period of fiscal austerity and anaemic growth. The private sector has been slow to generate jobs, and government-spending cuts usually end up cutting jobs. And governments employ a lot of people: in our chart of the ten biggest global employers, below, seven are... More

Payroll Tax Cut Stimulus - 9/14/11

The real job-creating potential in the president’s proposals comes from one of its payroll tax cuts.


Uninsured In America - 9/14/11

The chart shows the household income levels of those 49.9 million uninsured Americans. There were 9.4 million uninsured Americans living in households making $75,000 per year or more...


Investment's The Problem - 9/12/11

The economy remains moribund not because consumption spending has failed to recover and not because government spending has failed to increase, but because the true driver of economic growth—private investment—remains deeply depressed.


Occupations That Are Growing - 9/12/11

Yes, despite the deep, deep troubles in the labor market, some occupations have grown since the recession started.


Payroll Tax Holiday a Bad Bet - 9/12/11

It is temporary, and unlikely to substantially change economic plans, particularly the hiring plans of businesses which are multi-year gambles.  So, for the most part,  extending the payroll tax cut won't directly address the unemployment problem.


Part-Time Workers and Recessions - 9/09/11

The continuing high percentage of Americans working part time is a pretty good indication that  the recession that officially began on December 2007 has never really ended.


Dodd-Frank In Pages - 9/09/11

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 became a boon for the Big Four accounting firms as public corporations were forced to tighten compliance in the wake of the Enron and WorldCom scandals. Now, the Dodd-Frank Act is quickly becoming such a gold mine that even Wall Street bankers, never ones to undercharge, are complaining that the costs are running... More

Postal Crisis: Employee Costs - 9/05/11

In the case of the Postal Service, we could simply decide to quit treating mail delivery as a business that ought to be “competitive” and instead consider it a service that’s vital to the infrastructure. But, aside from some very remote outposts and the recalcitrant geriatrics, that’s getting to be a harder argument to make. How much is it worth to us as a society to keep grandma from having to learn to use a... More

Crumbling Infrastructure - 9/05/11

Whenever someone writes about infrastructure or bridges, they always use the word “crumbling” and say that we have neglected our infrastrucutre. We have to spend more, we’re told.


Social Security Contributors - 9/05/11

The facts in the graph above are crystal clear: the number of active workers per Social Security recipient is declining, and will continue to decline, and the Social Security system is clearly unsustainable.  Whether Social Security technically meets the technical definition of being a Ponzi scheme is less important than the fact that the current system has become a Pyramid scheme as the population ages.


The Real Corporate Tax Rate - 9/02/11

A new Tax Foundation report analyzing IRS corporate tax return data since 1994, when the top corporate tax rate was raised to 35 percent from 34 percent, finds that over this 15 year period, corporations paid an average effective tax rate of 26 percent on their domestic profits. The chart summarizes this data.


Not Enough Givers - 9/01/11

The number of those paying no income tax legally approaches half of all filers.


Mortgage Refinancing as Stimulus - 9/01/11

Today, the effective interest rate on mortgage debtMore

No Housing Bottom In Sight - 9/01/11

A survey of consumers released in May by and found that 54% thought that a housing market recovery would not occur until “2014 or later.” A look at several markets suggests they may be right.