The Kennedy Tax Cuts

The “drown Uncle Sam in a bathtub” crowd likes to point to the point to the rate cuts enacted under the Democrats in the early sixties.  They brought the top marginal individual rate down to 77 percent.  Down from 91 percent.

That 77 percent rate is still too high for me.  There is some scholarship about finding the revenue-maximizing point on the Laffer curve (my allies think maybe low sixties).  But this issue of the right top rate is like theology:  each of us is unlikely to make personal converts among those who disagree with us.




A Patriotic Era

Sure, there were loopholes, but from 1950 through part of 1963 the top Federal income tax rate was at least 91 percent.

That was too high, but today’s rates are too low, I think.  That opinion and those opposing it are as subjective as theology.

$563 million in Marijuana Taxes in FY 2015: Official Washington State Estimate

Partial Fiscal Note – 032012-1

The high numbers show up about halfway down the .pdf file, in the section titled “I‐502 Fiscal Note Projections.”  Search for “Fiscal Note Projections” to get there.

I’m planning to look at the numbers in detail before long.

Beating the tobacco tax

I saw a guy inhaling from an e-cigarette in a theater lobby the other night.  That seemed to be OK.  Now Lorillard is buying a company that makes them.  And there’s a loophole.  “Prices for e-cigarettes vary greatly but can cost half as much as traditional cigarettes, which are heavily taxed.”  “Got a Light—er Charger? Big Tobacco’s Latest Buzz,” Mike Esterl, WSJ, April 26, 2012, Continue reading “Beating the tobacco tax”

Pure Potency Pricing

“British Prime Minister David Cameron will propose . . . that British retailers charge a minimum of 40 pence (63 cents) per unit of alcohol. A unit is the equivalent of 10 milliliters of pure alcohol.”

American taxes on alcohol depend on the form it comes in:  alcohol in beer is taxed less than alcohol in liquor, with wine in between.  Cameron’s policy of treating all alcohol alike has a lot of theoretical appeal.  Why doesn’t he propose taxing it?  Do pro-business leanings explain his desire to see the money to people in the alcohol business?

Quote is from Paul Sonne and Jeanne Whalen, Cameron Wants Brits to Pay More for Alcohol in Bid to Curb Drinking, WSJ, March 23, 2012,