Shifting Responsibility: How 50 Years of Tax Cuts Benefited the Wealthiest Americans

Source: Chuck Collins, Alison Goldberg, and Sam Pizzigati, Institute for Policy Studies, April 12, 2010

From the summary:
The scene has become depressingly familiar. A governor — or a mayor or a county executive — steps to the podium and somberly intones the necessity of making “hard choices” and “living within our means.” The elected leader then proceeds to announce prodigious budget cuts that will overcrowd classrooms, furlough public employees, and deny medications to poor families.

Some observers blame these painful podium processions on the Great Recession and the resulting drop-off in income that can be taxed. Others blame former President George W. Bush. His administration’s massive 2001 and 2003 tax cuts left the federal budget deeply in the red — and state and local governments on their own, overwhelmed by federal mandates for everything from Medicaid to special ed.

The recession and the second Bush administration no doubt contributed — and significantly so — to the fiscal crisis we face today. But the roots of today’s crisis go back farther. Indeed, by George W. Bush’s inauguration in 2001, the prime damage had already been done. By 2001, the United States had already stopped taxing the rich at the levels that had promoted middle-class prosperity in the mid 20th century.

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