TAX CUT MATH
WaPo has some graphics and various figures illustrating the tax cut that has just passed Congress. The thing that amuses me is that, while the press is so ridiculously cynical on most political claims, using “claims” or “so-called” in front of even the most innocuous political spin, the term “marriage penalty” is always reported as if it were an objective measure. The chart reports that the standard deduction for married couples will increase to twice that of singles, as will the amount of income subject to the 15% tax bracket. Fine. But, of course, this is not a benign move. For some married couples with two incomes, this move is indeed “fair;” currently, they are indeed “penalized” for being married in that they would be better off filing as two single people. But, for “traditional” couples in which there is only one earner, this amounts to a huge bonus.
The other thing that never seems to come up in these discussions is regional variation. $50,000 a year is big money in Podunk, Mississippi; it is near-poverty in Manhattan. But the two earners are treated identically for the purposes of federal income taxes. Which isn’t particularly “progressive.”
More info on the tax cut is available here.
(Hat tip: PoliBlog)